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you be the judge By Kim Medlin And the Winner Is... Everyone will agree that one of the most important single entities of our industry, or any judged and score competition, is the tabulator. In today’s world of super powerful computers and similar devices abetted by “the cloud,” guarantee your results are delivered quickly, correctly, and most importantly (if recently history is not to be dis- counted), easy to understand and verified to be the correct decision of the judges W hether you’ve been to one or one hundred pageants, I bet you’ve experienced a delay from the time the competition phase ended until the awards ceremony began. The emcee always says something about the judges “hav- ing their work cut out for them,” and the audience should be patient while the winners are determined. And then some combination of talent, farewell speeches by outgoing queens, and tap dancing by the emcee fills the time until you finally get to see what you really came for-the crown- ing. Here’s a news flash: Now that we’re in the twenty-first century, there is absolutely no legitimate reason to have a delay of more than a few minutes before the crowning be- gins. The internet and cloud computing allow many people to simultaneously contribute to and share information. Pageants should take advantage of this technology so that events flow smoothly, without error or delay. How do you make this promise a reality? It is possible, but first, let’s look at how we got to where we are today. In the beginning, long before there were computers, there were paper ballots and a team of tabulators with cal- culators that added the scores. When the tabulators fin- ished their job, the auditors manually checked and double checked their figures to ensure accuracy. Obviously, this process was extremely slow and prone to error. And it was- n’t just pageants. This was the way all information was 112 PAGEANTRY ABACUS, the original computer. processed before the advent of computers. The first killer app of the PC era was the spreadsheet, which promised a step forward for the task of tallying and auditing pageants. But spreadsheets have drawbacks. First, they are primarily single-user programs. It’s not practical for multiple judges to enter scores into a single Excel or Numbers (Mac) spreadsheet. Also, certain typical pageant configurations are very difficult to imple- ment in spreadsheets. An example would be when a con- testant isn’t eligible to win certain awards because they won some other award. In this case, the contestant is considered “placed out” or “pulled” for the subsequent awards. For a spreadsheet to handle this situation gracefully, computer language must be implemented, and this is beyond the technical capabilities of most pageant staffs. Perhaps the most definitive drawback to spreadsheets is