Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. Do you have a stated Privacy Policy?
  2. Do I need to register in order to download and evaluate ClubScheduler?
  3. Will I need to re-enter our club & member info after registering?
  4. ClubScheduler won't recognize my new transfer file... What's wrong?
  5. ClubScheduler failed when attempting to Upgrade... What's wrong?
  6. Why is ClubScheduler no longer free?
  7. How many clubs are currently using ClubScheduler... and what's been the response?
  8. Do I have to enter all my club's members in order to evaluate the software?
  9. What kind of help is offered for new users?
  10. How can I update speech titles and objectives after they've been committed to History (actualized)?
  11. Can ClubScheduler track member's attendance at meetings?
  12. Can I suggest an idea for improving the software?
  13. Why does ClubScheduler offer a "Save Changes" button?
  14. Why does the auto-assignment engine sometimes fail to make an assignment?
  15. What's the difference between "Smart Lists" and "Complete Lists"?
  16. Why are "Smart Lists" sometimes unavailable when "Editing Upcoming Assignments"?
  17. Why is the program always asking me to "Actualize Past Schedules"?
  18. Why can't I view un-actualized schedules by clicking on "Review & Edit Completed Assignments"?
  19. Can ClubScheduler also generate nicely formatted Meeting Agendas?
  20. Why does ClubScheduler attempt to access the Internet when I "Save & Quit"?
  21. Are there versions of ClubScheduler that run on other operating systems?
  22. Does ClubScheduler offer multi-user support?
  23. How do I enter officer training dates?
  24. How do I record or update past speech information?
  25. Is ClubScheduler compatible with the Vista operating system?

  1. Do you have a stated Privacy Policy?

    We do now, and this is it:  WE WILL NOT SHARE ANY PERSON'S OR ANY CLUB'S CONTACT INFORMATION WITH ANYBODY.  (PERIOD - END OF STORY.)  We were prompted to post this FAQ after one new user noticed that ClubScheduler accesses the Internet when the program is closed via the "Save & Quit" button.  That person quite justifiably assumed that we were collecting information about them or their club.  WE DO NOT DO THAT!  ClubScheduler only checks this website for newer versions of itself, so that it may alert you to the availability of new features, enhancements and bug fixes.  We placed this FAQ first to reflect how important we feel it is to protect your privacy.  Hopefully, we've put your mind at ease.  But if you have any more specific privacy-related questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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  2. Do I need to register in order to download and evaluate ClubScheduler?

    No... There's no need to register in order to evaluate the software.  Feel free to download, install & start exploring the benefits of using ClubScheduler right away.  Actually, you may want to finish reading these FAQs first.  And if you haven't already done so, you might also consider checking out our tutorial for more details concerning the installation and use of the software.  By the way, the only difference between the evaluation copy and the registered copy is that the evaluation copy does not allow users to create or restore backup & transfer files.  Other than that, all the functionality is there for you to try out.  The evaluation period lasts for 60 days, but you might not want to wait until the last moment to register, since we can't always respond immediately.  We hope you enjoy using ClubScheduler, and eventually find it worth registering.

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  3. Will I need to re-enter our club & member info after registering?

    No... Any information that you've ented while using ClubScheduler in evaluation mode will remain completely intact after entering your new registration code.

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  4. ClubScheduler won't recognize my new transfer file... What's wrong?

    One problem that's come up for more than one user is that ClubScheduler will seemingly fail to recognize the presence of a new transfer file.  The most common reason for this is that the file is set for read-only access.  (This can happen, for example, when the file has been burned onto a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM and then copied off again.)  Check the properties of the transfer file (TRANSFER.DTF) by right-clicking the mouse over the file and selecting "properties". Reset the read-only flag AND click the Apply button. Then try launching the program again. If you're still having difficulties, make sure that the transfer file is located in the ClubScheduler folder -- the same folder containing the application (ClubScheduler.exe). If that doesn't fix the problem, make sure that both the old and the new users are running the very latest version of ClubScheduler, and if not, that you both upgrade and try again. (You can verify the version number by checking the About tab on ClubScheduler's main window, and confirming it against the version number listed at the top of our Latest Features & Bug Fixes page.) If all else fails, contact us, and we'll do our very best to work through the problem with you right away. By the way, don't forget to write with the email address of your new scheduling administrator... We like to keep track of who's using the software, especially in the event that there's some critical information to communicate about recent releases.

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  5. ClubScheduler failed when attempting to Upgrade... What's wrong?

    A few users have written telling us that ClubScheduler's auto-upgrade feature sometimes fails.  This can happen because of a sharing violation when attempting to overwrite the application itself while it's still running.  To fix the problem, simply open the ClubScheduler folder (placed by default on your Windows Desktop), and double-click on the Upgrade application (Upgrade.exe).  That should do the trick. If you still have difficulties, visit our download page to download the full installer (CSInstall.exe), and run it application, choosing the same location as before.  Note, however, that if you've elected to place ClubScheduler in a location other than the default location (Desktop), make sure to select the folder in which you wish to have the ClubScheduler folder placed, i.e., the parent folder containing the ClubScheduler folder...  If you select the ClubScheduler folder itself, a new copy will be installed INTO the ClubScheduler folder, creating another ClubScheduler folder within your existing ClubScheduler folder.  For example, if your ClubScheduler folder is found at "C:/Program Files/ClubScheduler", choose "C:/Program Files/" as your destination folder, and NOT "C:/Program Files/ClubScheduler".

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  6. Why is ClubScheduler no longer free?

    Originally, we planned to charge a small yearly fee for the use of ClubScheduler... Assuming that we'd get more than a handful of users, this seemed like a reasonable approach to help offset our original investment, and to help pay for program maintenance and support.  The problem was that we were having difficulty enlisting anyone to help promote ClubScheduler if we charged for it.  And we would have had to charge an unacceptably high fee if we paid for marketing ClubScheduler through conventional channels.  Now that we have more than 2000 registered clubs, it is no longer possible to continue this policy while still providing timely customer support, program maintenance and feature upgrades.  We now ask for a $40US donation with each registration, though we understand that not all clubs will be able to contribute at this level.  For that reason, we continue to issue registration codes regardless of any club's ability to pay, no questions asked.  We make this pledge to ensure that every Toastmasters club, no matter how small or financially strapped, can benefit from the time-savings and increased member satisfaction that comes from using our product!

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  7. How many clubs are currently using ClubScheduler... and what's been the response?

    So far, we've signed up more than 1000 clubs, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.  One user mentioned to us that he had been spending up to 4 hours each month in preparing the schedule of assignments for his club.  Now, he spends only 10 to 15 minutes.  And that's just time spent preparing schedules.  With ClubScheduler's ability to track each member's attendance and speech progress, and create nicely formatted Rosters, Attendance Records and Speech Progress Charts, there's many more opportunities for enhanced club management and time savings.  If you're curious, check out our new Testimonials page, where you can read what others are saying about ClubScheduler.  Of course, our club (Tamalpais Toastmasters) is the longest standing user, having used it for over 2 years now, and obviously, we love it!  But if you've tried ClubScheduler, and for any reason find that it doesn't quite meet your needs (is that possible?), we'd appreciate hearing from you too.  So far, we haven't received any unfavorable comments, although we have received and incorporated many suggestions for improvement.

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  8. Do I have to enter all my club's members in order to evaluate the software?

    No.  We've provided a sample member list that you can quickly import.  Here's how it works.  Simply start up ClubScheduler and follow the simple instructions.  When it comes time to add members, choose the option to "Import Member Data".  Then select the sample member list ("Sample Member List.csv"), and you'll be ready to start trying everything out.  You can quickly generate some schedules, and check out the nicely formatted output files.  Then, when it comes time to quit the program, select the option to "Quit (No Save)".  That way, all those sample members won't get saved to your computer's hard drive.  But if you do accidentally save the sample members, you can always delete them manually later.

    By the way, the "Import Member Data" option is handy if you already maintain your membership data in an ExcelTM spreadsheet.  Press the F1 key to view ClubScheduler's context-sensitive help for more information about creating your own import file.  This information is also provided in the "readme.txt" file found in your ClubScheduler program folder.

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  9. What kind of help is offered for new users?

    There is a virtual cornucopia of help available for all users:
    » Of course, there is this page, containing answers to many of the most commonly asked questions.
    » There's our online tutorial.  Click here to review the ClubScheduler tutorial page, which includes screen-shots and provides a high-level explanation of the software, how to install it, and how to use its most basic features.  There's even a section on "Passing the baton" for users interested in handing over the scheduling responsibilities to a new club officer.
    » ClubScheduler also provides context-sensitive help:  While the program is running on your computer, press the F1-key at the top of your keyboard at any time to display help related to the currently active window.  Context-sensitive help can also be "searched" for keywords relating to any specific topic of interest.
    » One very helpful user wrote their own set of instructions for new users getting started with ClubScheduler.  Click here to view that document, and let us know if there's anything you find especially helpful or particularly confusing about it.
    » Finally, and if all else fails, one can always contact us with questions.  We list this as a last resort only because we could easily become overwhelmed with questions if the preceding help options were not reviewed first.

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  10. How can I update speech titles and objectives after they've been committed to History (actualized)?

    To change past speech titles and/or objectives, use the Agenda Designer feature.  Click on the "Review History..." button.  Navigate to the appropriate meeting date, and then click Agenda Designer.  Then double-click the speaker item that needs modification.  Modify the title and/or objective.  For further explanation, press the F1-Key for context-sensitive help while the agenda designer (or agenda item) window is displayed.

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  11. Can ClubScheduler track member's attendance at meetings?

    Yes!!! With the latest version, you can track attendance, ribbons awarded for best speaker, etc., contests attended and won, and even track when your club's officers were trained and whether members have paid their club dues.

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  12. Can I suggest an idea for improving the software?

    By all means, please do.  We try to implement every suggestion we receive, especially if a new feature would help more than just a few clubs.  Again, please don't hesitate to contact us to make your suggestion.

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  13. Why does ClubScheduler offer a "Save Changes" button?

    That's a good question.  The answer is simply because I (Mark) wanted it.  I often make some changes that I know I want to keep -- for example, entering some specific member requests or new member information -- and then I make some changes that I'm not sure I'll want to keep -- for example, changing some scheduling options to see what impact they might have on role assignments.  So I found that I was continually having to "Save & Quit" the program, and then re-launch the program to do my experimenting.  Now, I make sure to use the "Save Changes" button whenever I'm happy with what I've entered so far, especially when I've entered a significant amount of data.  This leaves me the option of using the "Quit (No Save)" button after my experimental phase without losing time and effort.

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  14. Why does the auto-assignment engine sometimes fail to make an assignment?

    This can happen for a variety of reasons, but the basic answer is that there are no members who are both available and qualified to fill the role, given the current club preference settings.  This can be a particular problem for brand new clubs, where all the members are new.

    NEW CLUBS: For new clubs, we suggest going to the Club Rules & Preferences window (from the Club Info tab) and clicking on the button labeled "New Club Settings".  For more explanation, read on...

    DETAILS: If the program is finding it difficult to fill all of the roles (because of low membership), you can go to the Club Rules & Preferences window (from the Club Info tab) and simply reduce the constraints.  For example, if the Toastmaster role isn't getting auto-assigned, specify fewer speeches required to be a Toastmaster.  Or if it's any other roles that aren't getting auto-assigned, lower the minimum durations in the "Role Repeat Intervals" section.  If speakers are not getting auto-assigned, check each member's "minimum number of weeks between speeches" in their individual Member Information.  The default setting is 4 weeks, so perhaps you could lower it to 3 weeks for everyone who's a bit more senior.  Of course, if people complain that they're getting scheduled too often, you could also start instigating a once-a-month table-topics-only meeting, or some such special meeting. 

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  15. What's the difference between "Smart Lists" and "Complete Lists"?

    When you're looking at a "proposed schedule" with "Smart lists" enabled, you can click on the Assigned Member drop-down list to expose a "Smart List" for that assignment.  The names listed in the "Smart List" include only those members who satisfy all the clubs rules and preferences, and are available.  Furthermore, the names are sorted from the best candidate at the top, to the worst candidate at the bottom.

    If you disable "Smart Lists" by clicking on the check-box directly under the Assigned Member drop-down list, then all the members are included in the list, whether or not they're a "legal candidate" for the role.  In "Complete Lists", a number next to each member's name indicates how many weeks it's been since they performed that role, unless they're simply unavailable, in which case an "X" is placed next to their name.  In general, it's good to pick the people with the highest number next to their names...  They'll probably be the best available candidate.  But make sure that they're not already assigned to some other role in that meeting.

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  16. Why are "Smart Lists" sometimes unavailable when "Editing Upcoming Assignments"?

    Smart Lists are unavailable whenever you enter "Edit Mode" while a newly generated (proposed) schedule of assignments is active.  In other words, you generated a new schedule of assignments, but have not yet "OK'd" it, and then clicked on the "Next" or "Previous" buttons to review other existing schedules of assignments.  Under these circumstances, it is necessary to disable Smart Lists because, before the newly generated (proposed) schedule is accepted, Smart Lists don't have access to the newly proposed assignments. As a result, if Smart Lists were available and selected, they would not be accurate.  If this explanation makes no sense to you at all, don't worry.  You're not alone.  Suffice it so say that the program is behaving as designed.

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  17. Why is the program always asking me to "Actualize Past Schedules"?

    It's quite common for there to be last minute changes to the schedule when members are late to a meeting, or they've simply not shown up.  Whenever this happens, it's important to tell ClubScheduler who actually filled each role, so that future assignments can be made fairly.  The next FAQ deals with the question of viewing un-actualized meeting assignments...

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  18. Why can't I view un-actualized schedules by clicking on "Review & Edit Completed Assignments"?

    When a meeting has passed but has not yet been actualized, ClubScheduler puts that meeting in a sort of quarantine state.  It's not yet considered part of the historical record until you specify who actually filled each role.  So when you go to "Review & Edit Completed Assignments", but you elect not to confirm past meeting assignments for the most recent meetings (actualize them), ClubScheduler simply doesn't display those meetings.  Once you do actualize the those meeting assignments, then ClubScheduler will make them available for you to review as part of your club's historical record.

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  19. Can ClubScheduler also generate nicely formatted Meeting Agendas?

    Yes!!!  And our implementation is pretty slick (if we do say so ourselves.)  ClubScheduler generates customizable meeting agendas that can easily be emailed to the Toastmaster of the Day as an excellent time-saver, obviating the need to cut and paste the agenda together.  The Toastmaster may then choose to use the agenda as is, or to modify and personalize it to better meet her needs and/or style, i.e., by adding images or additional formatting. (Sample)

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  20. Why does ClubScheduler attempt to access the Internet when I "Save & Quit"?

    Whenever you close ClubScheduler via the "Save & Quit" button, the program attempts to access this website to check for newer versions of the software.  If no Internet connection is open, or if no newer version of the software exists, the program shuts down normally.  If a newer version is found, ClubScheduler will ask you whether you'd like to upgrade to the latest version.  The upgrade process is quick and painless, automatically installing the new version over the old one, without prompting you for additional installation parameters.  There is a byproduct of this feature that some users may find disconcerting:  Given some computer configurations, quitting the program with no Internet connection open may cause a dialog to be displayed, asking you whether you'd like to connect to the Internet.  If this is a bother, it's most likely possible to find an option somewhere in the Windows operating system, or in your Internet connection software, to disable this prompting behavior.  If you find that there's no way to disable getting this prompt, and you wish ClubScheduler would stop trying to access the Internet, please contact us.  We'll update the software to give you the option to disable ClubScheduler's auto-update feature.

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  21. Are there versions of ClubScheduler that run on other operating systems?

    Unfortunately, the answer is "No."  As it stands, maintaining and regularly upgrading the one version has been a challenge, given everyone's great suggestions for improvement.  (However, one inspired user has confirmed that ClubScheduler does run on Linux machines using WINE - the Windows Emulator.)  Many apologies to those of you who don't have access to a Windows computer.  For the time being, we can only suggest that clubs restrict the office of VP Education to Windows users, or share the duties of VP Education such that scheduling is always handled by a member with access to a Windows computer.  Once again, we apologize for the inconvenience!

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  22. Does ClubScheduler offer multi-user support?

    There is support for running ClubScheduler on any Windows-based server, with everyone accessing the same data.  In that case, only one user is granted write-access to the database at a time.  Any other concurrent users are granted read-only access.  Currently, there is no support for handling multiple remote users, merging data changes from disparate computers.  That said, it's perfectly alright to allow two or more club members to install and run ClubScheduler using one club registration code.  And if one wanted to (although this is a little risky from a data management perspective), one could even email transfer files back and forth, allowing more than one user to modify the current database. But be careful with this approach, since it is prone to human error.

    We are currently looking into allowing for multiple remote users via a data merge feature.  This feature would not only allow different club officers to share ClubScheduler duties simultaneously, but would also allow club members to send specially formatted change requests that ClubScheduler would automatically process, easing the burden of collecting time-off requests, sign-up requests, and maintaining member contact information.

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  23. How do I enter officer training dates?

    This is done via Attendance Records.  First, from the "Meeting Assignments" tab, click on the button labeled "Review History..." and select a date (from the date field) that corresponds to the approximate date of your training session(s). It's best to select a date that's not a normal meeting date... You'll see why in a moment.  Enter the meeting theme as "Officer Training" and then click on the button labeled "Meeting Assignments".  Then click on the button labeled "Officer Training", and then move those officers who were trained to the list of Attendees.  (Use the F1-Key for Help on using this window.)  Finally, Accept your changes, and that's it.  Generate a new Attendance Report via the Output Files tab to make sure that the dates are getting displayed appropriately.

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  24. How do I record or update past speech information?

    This is done by editing past meeting data.
    1) Click on the Meeting Assignments tab and on the "Review History..." button
    2) Navigate to the correct date using the "Jump To Date" button
    3) If no meeting information was recorded at all, enter as much as you like here.  Speakers are the most important, but you can also specify who filled other roles
    4) Click on the "Agenda Designer" button
    5) Double-click on the first speaker
    6) On the "Agenda Item Properties" window, click on the "Select Manual Speech"
    7) Accept your changes and repeat for the other speakers

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  25. Is ClubScheduler compatible with the Vista operating system?

    The short answer is yes, but there are caveats...

    One dedicated user found an issue with regard to finding ClubScheduler's backup and transfer files after generating them.  Here's what he found:
    Where are the ClubScheduler backup, transfer or other data files on my Vista system? The folders appear empty!  Despair not!  Apparently, ClubScheduler runs in compatibility mode on Vista.  The backup, transfer and other data files are also created in compatibility mode.  Vista "hides" compatibility mode files in file explorer, although the rational for this eludes me.  The solution is to create the transfer file as directed by ClubScheduler.  Then, navigate to the ClubScheduler folder.  On the tool bar, click the Compatibility Files icon (an icon not normally present) to expose the hidden compatibility mode files.  Now you can copy the transfer file into that email for your new VP of Ed!

    Another issue for Vista users is that the old style Windows Help system, which ClubScheduler uses, is not present by default on Vista.  The solution is to download the Windows Help program (WinHelp32.exe) from Microsoft's website.

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