Don Johnson's Website

My Personal 'Stuff'


Back in the 70s - when I built my first computer - The Compukit UK 101 - I took a BASIC program for running a TOTE and rewrote it to function more efficiently and to display 'real' odds - the ones that bookmakers use, not mathematicians!  For Round Table, the Scouts, other groups and - later - Rotary, I used the program at many fund-raising Race Nights.  If you are unaware of these, they are events where films of horse races are shown - after people have bought tickets (i.e. 'bet') on the one they think might be the winner.   At the end of the race, the total amount 'wagered'  (less a percentage for the fund being supported) is divided amongst the holders of tickets for the winning horse.   They can be fun evenings, and the TOTE program adds to the atmosphere - and promotes more 'betting!'

In the early days, the computer display was a television - tuned to a particular channel.   For the Race Nights, more than one screen was needed to let everyone see the TOTE, so TVs were borrowed, and fed via aerial cables from an amplifier/splitter.  Apart from the aerial cables, the TVs needed mains as well, so those attending had to be careful not to trip over the mass of wires on the floor!  What would today's 'elf 'n safety society make of that?   Besides actually running the computer, I also had to keep all the TVs correctly tuned, and keep adjusting their vertical holds to keep the pictures stable - these evening could be quite stressful, especially if the power went off and all the data was lost!   Those TVs were also damn heavy, so getting them into the event hall,  and out again afterwards, was exhausting!

I improved the program over the years, and eventually re-wrote it in the 'C' programming language so that it could run on more up-to-date computers, and it has been used in that form for some years -  though less frequently of late.   Nowadays, instead of TVs, a computer display projector is used, showing the TOTE on the same screen that is used for projecting the films, and the program runs on a laptop.  Unfortunately,the modern laptops cannot display my 'C' program properly, so I needed to re-write it.   I discovered some free software called JustBASIC, which I have used to update my program - albeit going back to the first program language available for general use.  Below are some pictures of the different screens that the program displays.  

If you are interested in getting a copy of this program - FREE - for your own use, please contact me at the e-mail address on my Home Page, (you will need to adjust the settings for Data Execution Protection (DEP) to get the installed program to run)

You can look at three videos of how the program operates here:

Parameters & Names

Use your Browser 'Back' button to return from the videos

Below are some of the display screens used by the program

This is the opening screen

This is the screen where various parameters can be adjusted

On this screen, the names of horses and their owners can be entered/edited, along with the Race title and sponsor

This is the actual screen used during the event.  It shows the horse numbers and names, and the current odds for each.
  It also shows the F - Favourite(s) and the
O - Outsider(s)

Here, the operator has just entered some new bets, and can Redo them, or accept them to update the odds display

This is the result screen showing the payback applicable for the winning horse

This is the screen showing the results for all races.  A printed version can also be produced.