Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

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Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:51 pm

I've heard there's some interest for such a program, so I decided to make one. You can download it here: http://www.doc-ent.com/quizbowl/qbzip.zip.

Essentially, this simple Windows program (I've included the VB6 source if anyone wants to port it or something) will allow you to browse for your packets, select them all, and then will create individual, password-protected zip files for them and a text output of what those passwords are. Thus, the process of zipping up your packets is reduced from several minutes to about 30 seconds.

Let me know if there are any issues using the program.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:52 pm

I am adding MIKE BENTLEY to my list of things that I am a fan of.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Sir Thopas » Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:56 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:I am adding MIKE BENTLEY to my list of things that I am a fan of.
Done.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by theMoMA » Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:41 pm

From what I hear, password protected .zip files do not work with Macs. Can anyone confirm this as true?
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:43 pm

You need to download a certain program to open the files on a Mac. It's free, and an easy way to make sure the tournament isn't delayed by people looking for it is to just include the installer with the packets as you distribute them to the computers. I don't remember the name of the program offhand, but hopefully someone will enlighten us shortly in this thread.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:54 pm

Another solution that I was thinking of implementing that would be compatable with all platforms was to create a simple web-basded program that appended a few garbage characters to the front of a file so that it could not be opened rather than zipping the program. When the user wanted to use this file, he would load up the corresponding html file (such as Packet1.doc.html) and would enter a password. If the password was correct, the garbage files would be removed from the front of the document and it could be opened. The tournament director would then create a zip file containing the corrupted packets, their accompanying html files, and the password file. Users would load the html file, enter the password, and have working documents.

This would be less secure (obviously anyone could just manually edit these characters out of the file), but would work on all computers. If anyone wants to try to implement this, let me know. Otherwise some point in the future I might do it myself.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by BuzzerZen » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:42 am

Someone who is less tired than me can help interpret this, but a web directory + basic auth + chmod/moving files + ubiquitous wifi = foolproof packet delivery.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Mike Bentley » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:58 am

BuzzerZen wrote:Someone who is less tired than me can help interpret this, but a web directory + basic auth + chmod/moving files + ubiquitous wifi = foolproof packet delivery.
Requiring on ubiquitous wifi is a huge mistake and should never be done under any circumstance. Any packet delivery solution should be completely offline.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by theattachment » Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:34 am

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:
BuzzerZen wrote:Someone who is less tired than me can help interpret this, but a web directory + basic auth + chmod/moving files + ubiquitous wifi = foolproof packet delivery.
Requiring on ubiquitous wifi is a huge mistake and should never be done under any circumstance. Any packet delivery solution should be completely offline.
As noted in Rob Pilatus, where I expected to e-mail either packets one at a time or in a full zip to the readers until the U of M's WiFi was down. See my upcoming "This is everything to not do" post in the Miscellaneous thread.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:47 am

Maybe I'm remarkably obtuse, but I just don't understand what problem this solves. Why is there such an issue with distributing files? For EFT, we grabbed a flash drive and copied all the files to everyone's laptop. The file names were indicative of their order of reading (Round 1, Round 2, etc.) and we didn't have any problems. I guess I can see that you are trying to eliminate the possibility of a round being read out of order, but I wonder if this doesn't cause more confusion than it prevents.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:10 pm

Well, it solves the problem of moderators not paying proper attention. At MO trash, there was a moderator who read round 7 during round 6 simply because he was sure it was round 7, not remembering what round it actually was. There is no way to proof against this in your system (granted, I agree that what you do is just common sense). That's why people are discussing all of this.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:46 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Maybe I'm remarkably obtuse, but I just don't understand what problem this solves. Why is there such an issue with distributing files? For EFT, we grabbed a flash drive and copied all the files to everyone's laptop. The file names were indicative of their order of reading (Round 1, Round 2, etc.) and we didn't have any problems. I guess I can see that you are trying to eliminate the possibility of a round being read out of order, but I wonder if this doesn't cause more confusion than it prevents.
People reading the wrong round happens at a majority or near-majority of tournaments; it definitely is a problem to be solved. As has been noted, password-protecting the files also allows you to send teams to read on their bye rounds without giving them the ability to browse the other packets.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by theMoMA » Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:24 pm

Password protecting the files, or finding some way to deliver the files one at a time, is a major issue with modern paperless tournaments. If your solution is simply to label the files, someone will fuck it up, and everyone will be angry.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Susan » Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:29 pm

Matt wrote:People reading the wrong round happens at a majority or near-majority of tournaments; it definitely is a problem to be solved.
Seriously? I don't think it ever happened at a tournament I ran, and while I do recall it happening at one Chicago tournament, it was due to the common and easily remediable error of naming the packets round1, round2,...round10, round11,... (which leads to round11 and subsequent rounds being alphabetized after round2, causing people to read round11 in place of round2, which is why you should name the packets round01_chicagoA, round02_chicagoB,...round11_constancebillardA, etc so that they alphabetize properly and have another identifying bit of information that can be checked against the schedule).

And I would hope we wouldn't have to worry about teams browsing other packets on their bye. Has this ever happened, to anyone's knowledge?
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Coelacanth » Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:08 pm

theMoMA wrote:Password protecting the files, or finding some way to deliver the files one at a time, is a major issue with modern paperless tournaments. If your solution is simply to label the files, someone will fuck it up, and everyone will be angry.
I'm very pleased to say that I failed to fuck this up at MO, despite being on a Mac and thus having a non-password-protected zip file. On the schedule, there was very clear indication (kudos to Andrew and team for this!) of which packet was to be read which round. This worked just fine for me until some bastard stole my schedule.

So, seriously, there are lots of ways to avoid issues with this. Maybe one suggestion is, as the moderator is getting names on the scoresheet, to announce "OK, this is Round X, with Team abc playing Team def on packet xyz. Is everyone in the right place?". It's understandable if a moderator just clicks on the wrong file or something, but if the moderator and both teams get a chance to verify the correct packet, it takes a real effort to screw it up.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:01 pm

The main reason to have password protected files is to stop people from being stupid moderators.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Jeremy Gibbs Sampling » Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:33 am

Or, you keep printed packets in the stat room, and hand out only the one for the next round when the room official brings you a completed scoresheet.

That is to say, the above problem's entire existence is conditional on going paperless. I suppose that's what the cool kids are doing these days, of course.

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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:32 am

The Golden Trough wrote:Or, you keep printed packets in the stat room, and hand out only the one for the next round when the room official brings you a completed scoresheet.

That is to say, the above problem's entire existence is conditional on going paperless. I suppose that's what the cool kids are doing these days, of course.
Despite the possibility of mistakenly reading the wrong packet, the paperless option is superior both from the standpoint of efficiency and that of environmental friendliness.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by bsmith » Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:12 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
The Golden Trough wrote:Or, you keep printed packets in the stat room, and hand out only the one for the next round when the room official brings you a completed scoresheet.

That is to say, the above problem's entire existence is conditional on going paperless. I suppose that's what the cool kids are doing these days, of course.
Despite the possibility of mistakenly reading the wrong packet, the paperless option is superior both from the standpoint of efficiency and that of environmental friendliness.
It's still possible (and not far-fetched) to read the wrong round when there are paper copies.

Nevertheless, I am amazed that players give up their laptops for $20 discounts and cross their fingers that nobody will spill a drink or something on it. Somebody will have to replace that laptop, which likely costs the same as 2000 packets worth of paper.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by AKKOLADE » Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:29 pm

Bonus problem with paper copies: more likely to be damaged by a roof leak.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:36 pm

bsmith wrote: Nevertheless, I am amazed that players give up their laptops for $20 discounts and cross their fingers that nobody will spill a drink or something on it. Somebody will have to replace that laptop, which likely costs the same as 2000 packets worth of paper.
I do not do this because there are exactly seven people in the world whom I trust to touch my computer, and I react regrettably when others do. So I understand where you're coming from.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:22 pm

The probability of your laptop being destroyed during a quizbowl tournament is very low. Has this actually ever happened? The only thing I can think of is Trygve's laptop being stolen during CO Trash, and that laptop was notably in the hallway NOT being used for quizbowl purposes.

On the other hand, the probability of a paper tournament being annoying, inefficient, and expensive is 1.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Susan » Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:29 pm

My laptop has come into much greater danger from exuberant whiskey-drinking teammates before and after tournaments than it's ever come during a tournament, but I've never had it in a building that had a paper-packet-destroyingly leaky ceiling.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Kyle » Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:47 pm

Two laptops were stolen at MIT on Saturday, but Cambridge has been a particularly dangerous place lately.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by fleurdelivre » Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:26 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:The probability of your laptop being destroyed during a quizbowl tournament is very low. Has this actually ever happened? The only thing I can think of is Trygve's laptop being stolen during CO Trash, and that laptop was notably in the hallway NOT being used for quizbowl purposes.
We are indeed up to 3 laptops stolen from tourney sites, but I sincerely believe that with better communications (i.e., MIT moderators actually finding out which rooms needed to be left set up for videogames) and the higher level of paranoia that should ensue from these thefts, laptops will continue to beat paper tournaments - while the risks to computer-owners will continue to decrease.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by cvdwightw » Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:15 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:On the other hand, the probability of a paper tournament being annoying, inefficient, and expensive is 1.
My favorite "paper tournament being annoying" story comes from a high school tournament I TD'd where we promised teams a copy of the questions after the tournament. Due to an unforeseen and arguably never-before-or-since-seen problem, the tournament experienced over an hour's worth of delay right before the playoff bracketing. As a consequence, several teams left early without checking with me for a copy of the packets, and we ended up having like 5 extra copies of an IS set.

My second favorite "paper tournament being annoying/inefficient/expensive" story is the time when I used my personal printer for fourteen rounds' worth of ACF Regionals questions. This included one trip to buy another black ink cartridge, at least two paper jams, and the better part of seven hours. I think this whole experience at one point reduced me to tears.

On the other hand, UCLA's EFT mirror featured at least two moderators reading off laptops which were not their own, and forgetting to plug the power cord into the socket so that the laptop wouldn't run out of battery life and start hibernating The time lost by moderator incompetence with laptops (finding the owner, finding the cord, plugging in the computer, typing in the password, and waiting for the computer to boot back up) was far more than the time lost by any sort of paper-only moderator incompetence. I do agree that paper tournaments are uniformly more expensive, but I'm hesitant to call P(annoying) and P(inefficient) ~ 1 with paper tournaments and ~ 0 with computers.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Mike Bentley » Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:53 pm

The Golden Trough wrote:Or, you keep printed packets in the stat room, and hand out only the one for the next round when the room official brings you a completed scoresheet.

That is to say, the above problem's entire existence is conditional on going paperless. I suppose that's what the cool kids are doing these days, of course.
People still screw up reading paperless rounds. For example, they'll take from the pile for the next round rather than the current round.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:04 pm

Do you mean non-paperless rounds?
I do agree that is still a problem, but there are easy solutions, like putting all the copies of the individual rounds in a folder together and then having someone in tournament central give out each new folder's worth as the moderators bring them their scoresheets.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by Mike Bentley » Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:21 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Do you mean non-paperless rounds?
I do agree that is still a problem, but there are easy solutions, like putting all the copies of the individual rounds in a folder together and then having someone in tournament central give out each new folder's worth as the moderators bring them their scoresheets.
Right, paper rounds.
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Re: Automated Password Protected Zip File Creator

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:16 am

I personally function much better as a moderator with paperless tournament, but this mostly stems from the fact that I am so scatterbrained that I tend to misplace packets, bonuses, scoresheets, etc... Having everything in one place on a computer really keeps that from being a problem for people like me.

EDIT: It's easy to prevent laptops from hibernating; just leave them plugged in!
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