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"Sweatbox" - Isn't there a better name?


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I am glad that the combinations of FSD Server and ACSim are available for use now, but wonder about the connotations that the nickname "Sweatbox" gives to people. For me, it does not make me want to work with it because it infers a negative experience. It also seems to be a very intimidating type of name for a program. While real controllers may/may not call it the "sweatbox", I don't think that is the most productive name for people in VATSIM to call it. I'm working on trying to think of a name that would be better, so I can try to be constructive and offer solutions.

 

Just my $.02.

 

Chris

$mypvtrw() $radio()

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Can't say I like the name "SweatBox" much... Actually, I prefer to think of it as of "SweetBox".

 

I think the name "Sweatbox" Is perfect. If your not sweating, your not working hard enough. And it makes you want to beat it, giving a better sense of accomplishment when you do.
There is a lot of aspects of working hard... Why not just call it "SmellyBox", "DroolBox", or even "BathroomBrakeBox" then...

 

I think the name fits well. I don't think it has negative connotations ... I think it says "no pain no gain". It's like a challenge.
I'd say, my SweatBox experience was rather pleasant. It is a challenge, but there nothing "painful" in it.

 

 

All in all, I just prefer nicer names. (:

Eugene Zaporozhets,

ZLA I1

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By the time they are getting tested/pushed via Sweatbox, they are probably at least at the Tower or TRACON level.

 

If by that time, you don't think that when it's busy, you can barely stop to breathe from talking, and you're sweating and nervous and thinking about where to put 25 tags and what they all need to be doing all at once that those times are when this is the most fun...

 

...then you should probably take up knitting.

 

This is the most fun when you're just about to crack from all that's going on. I whip their butts when they test via Sweatbox, but we're always letting them do it when we KNOW they are ready (a good teacher NEVER lets a student crash and burn). We rock their world, they hate us during it, then they handle it just fine and p[Mod - Happy Thoughts], then we tell them they p[Mod - Happy Thoughts], then in 2 min you hear them say "That was SO FUN! Can we do more?"

 

You could call it "Fuzzy Bunny Happy Chocolate Ranidrop Performance Evaluation Connection Utility" and students will still hate it initially and think it's negative because they know it's how they are tested and evaluated.

 

Call it "Sweatbox" and it gives that sense of something to be challenged, conquered, taken on, battled against, etc., and when you do so successfully you think/feel "Yeah, I took on the sweatbox and I kicked its ... Bring it on!!!"

Matthew Kreilein

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I'm voting with those who think "Sweatbox" is a bad name. I guess it's anyway not officially called that, so it's no big deal. But the name by itself intimidated me a great deal in the beginning. I'm not a masochist, and the last thing I want is a sadistic instructor who gets his kicks from "making me sweat." Fortunately, I never got such an instructor, but the fear was there nonetheless, and it was an unnecessary fear caused by an unnecessary nickname. I don't control on VATSIM because I want to stress out and sweat. I control because I enjoy it. Now I might sweat sometimes while controlling *and* enjoy it, but they are not one in the same thing. Our training tools should stress the enjoyment aspects while at the same time preparing us for high workloads since we all experience high workloads at times.

 

Of course, now that I've experienced SweatBox many, many times, I'm no longer intimidated, and I myself have no problem with the term (for me). In fact, I find myself *asking* for SweatBox sessions so I can try out a new technique or theory, or learn a new TRACON in a new ARTCC where I'm a visiting controller.

 

Still, I worry about what students we're turning off (without even knowing why) simply because of the term we use for an excellent training tool. I think we should officially refer to it as ACSim or Traffic Generator or whatever, and reserve the term "SweatBox" for those who have already experienced it and know what a valuable experience it really can be.

 

Put another way, we should use the "nice words" around children and save the "bad words" for when the children are away or grown up. "Sweatbox" is a bad word, IMO.

 

--Shannon Miller, C3, ZSE

PP-ASEL

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I know this post will probably elicit quite a few negative responses and differing opinions, but my view/take on this thread:

 

Normally I would call the sweatbox “The Simâ€

-Dan Everette

CFI, CFII, MEI

Having the runway in sight just at TDZE + 100 is like Mom, Warm cookies and milk, and Christmas morning, all wrapped into one.

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Playing Devil's Advocate here, but if you ask me, anyone that would be scared off by the name "Sweatbox" probably won't be able to handle it anyway. Flame on! (Since I'm playing Devil's Advocate, I can handle the flames ... I'm sure the legal counsel for the Prince of Darkness is accustomed to heat. )

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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Playing Devil's Advocate here, but if you ask me, anyone that would be scared off by the name "Sweatbox" probably won't be able to handle it anyway.

Ha! But why would we want to scare off such a person? Some people have higher self-esteem and/or self-confidence than others. I'd rather present more of a "you can do it" message to those with lower self-confidence than a "you're gonna really sweat" message to them. I believe that those with lower self-confidence *can* build up that confidence level with training, and turn into good, capable, and confident controllers. But I bet some if not most instructors have had to re-[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ure hesitant students that they're not going to be tortured in the SweatBox -- that everything will be OK, it's just a game, it's not on the "live" VATSIM network, nobody's going to die or go to jail if all the planes crash, they'll learn a LOT, their SB performance will not be posted to the forums, and the instructor is not just trying to get his kicks by watching the student get incredibly overwhelmed. I also bet that such re[Mod - Happy Thoughts]urances may not even be necessary if the SB name by itself did not conjure up such unpleasant images in the minds of some students.

 

Again, as an "experienced SweatBox 'victim'" -- I'm personally fine with the name, and actually enjoy using it. It somehow adds to the "adventure" of it all. Sometimes when my ARTCC traffic is dead I wish someone was online to run a SB scenario for me so I can get my controlling "fix" that way. My concerns are with regards to how the tool is named for (1) brand new ATC students who are already overwhelmed and wondering if they're really cut out to learn all that there is to learn, and (2) full-fledged controllers who have never experienced SweatBox and do not appreciate the images the name conjures up. After a long day at work, one should be able to reasonably expect that they can learn/practice in a relaxed and friendly environment. The "pile up a full load" scenario shouldn't even be run until the student has a certain comfort level. Dan's 110% sounds good. I'd even throttle it back to 90% at times just to help build student confidence as needed.

 

I will be mentoring soon, and I think I'll call this tool "ACSim" to my novice students and not call it "SweatBox" until my students start expressing things like "that was a blast -- let's do it again, but give me more planes this time!"

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Ha! But why would we want to scare off such a person?

 

Continuing as Devil's Advocate (NOT Ross Carlson) ... we would want to scare them off because if they can't handle it, why waste our time?

 

Obviously, it's not that simple in practice. Each student is different. My point is that if the name of the training device is so scary, imagine how scary the actual use of the device will be! What happens if god forbid the student does actually have to work hard to achieve the goals set by the instructor? (Whether or not the student physically perspires is irrelevant ... the term "sweat" here is more abstract than real. It only implies that you will have to work to succeed ... certifications are not handed to you on a silver platter.)

 

It's also worth noting here that historically, the sweatbox was not employed (at least at ZBW) until the student had already worked approach a little bit with a mentor with real VATSIM traffic. Once the student had a basic knowledge of the airspace, approach phraseology, and the basics of getting an aircraft from the STAR transition down to an approach, only then would he be brought into the sweatbox in order to refine his vectoring skills and expand his traffic capacity. That's why we use Dan's 110% concept ... the student already knows the bookwork ... when the sweatbox comes into the picture, it's time to make the student work hard. Otherwise, he'd never improve to the point of being able to handle larger volumes of traffic, and he'd go straight down the tubes if ever put on approach during a busy event.

 

In other words, the sweatbox was not originally intended as a way to teach someone how to vector aircraft. It was intended to teach someone how to vector aircraft really well, under sometimes stressful conditions. You can't get there without some work.

 

Some people have higher self-esteem and/or self-confidence than others. I'd rather present more of a "you can do it" message to those with lower self-confidence than a "you're gonna really sweat" message to them.

 

I agree, and I think the name of the training device has very little impact here. The instructor's attitude is what matters here, in my opinion. Any significant fears that a student may have about the sweatbox can be [Mod - Happy Thoughts]uaged with a simple "don't worry, we won't start you out with the certification scenario your first time in the box."

 

I believe that those with lower self-confidence *can* build up that confidence level with training, and turn into good, capable, and confident controllers. But I bet some if not most instructors have had to re-[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ure hesitant students that they're not going to be tortured in the SweatBox -- that everything will be OK, it's just a game, it's not on the "live" VATSIM network...

 

I personally have never had to coddle any student that much, and I hope I never will. I find that pretty much all of our students, once they make it to the approach level, can't wait to get into the sweatbox. All they want is their certification, and they understand that they have to work for it. The word "sweatbox" isn't going to matter a bit. If anything, it will excite and challenge them. Again, I think that the expectations set by the instructor are what really matters in terms of preparing the student.

 

In the end, I don't think it makes an appreciable difference if we call it the "happy fun realm of everlasting joyful goodness" or the "vicious starving controller-eating beast of eternal doom and suffering" so long as the student understands how it is used and what's expected of him. As an instructor, I could make someone fear the "happy fun realm" just as easily as I could make someone look forward to the "beast of doom".

 

Again, as an "experienced SweatBox 'victim'" -- I'm personally fine with the name, and actually enjoy using it. It somehow adds to the "adventure" of it all. Sometimes when my ARTCC traffic is dead I wish someone was online to run a SB scenario for me so I can get my controlling "fix" that way.

 

I hear ya ... I sometimes run the sweatbox for myself, in order to try different vectoring strategies.

 

The "pile up a full load" scenario shouldn't even be run until the student has a certain comfort level. Dan's 110% sounds good. I'd even throttle it back to 90% at times just to help build student confidence as needed.

 

I don't think anyone is suggesting that the full-on test scenario be loaded up from day one.

 

I will be mentoring soon, and I think I'll call this tool "ACSim" to my novice students and not call it "SweatBox" until my students start expressing things like "that was a blast -- let's do it again, but give me more planes this time!"

 

Yeah, in the end, this conversation is academic (and somewhat fun) because we can really call it anything we want.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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Well, the PM button is "disabled" for some reason, so I'll post my reply here.

 

I think I see our main disconnect, Ross. As a new VATUSA Academy mentor, I'm coming at this from a different angle, because we're using SweatBox from "day one" so-to-speak, since the other primary training tool is not yet ready. That's right, we'll use SweatBox to teach DEL if I understand my orientation correctly. That other tool, by the way, has a fine name and a fine author.

 

That's why I said that, for my new academy students, I don't intend to tell them we're going to be using "SweatBox" -- rather I'll call it ACSim or "SAGS" (Simulated Aircraft Traffic Generator ) or something a little less intimidating. I think I'll do the same if ever I run a session for a full-fledged controller who has never been in a SweatBox session. After they see how harmless it is, then I'll say, "Yeah, in the lounge area we call this tool SweatBox."

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Haha ... believe me, if I thought the name was really that much of a factor in setting student expectations, I would have chosen a name other than "TWRTrainer".

 

Note that TWRTrainer is not designed to be used from day one, either. It certainly can be, but that's not the best way, in my opinion. I believe that students should start out on VATSIM under light to moderate traffic levels, with a mentor ready to step in. That way, they get exposed to the "realities" of the VATSIM pilot right away. The go in the sweatbox when it's time to sharpen their skills and prepare them for heavy traffic. The sweatbox is also very convenient for delivering OTS tests for certification since you don't need to try to drum up enough traffic on VATSIM to give a real test.

 

I'm not saying that using the sweatbox (ACSim or TWRTrainer ... they're BOTH "finely named" traffic generators for SWEATBOX.vatsim.net!) from day one is wrong, just not what I think is the best way, nor the way they were intended to be used. Consider this the etymology of the name.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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As I understand it, VATUSA Academy students will not have the opportunity to do "real VATSIM" controlling until they graduate from the academy. ALL of their practical training from DEL through TWR will be via TWRTrainer and SweatBox.

 

I think we agree on virtually everything but the "SweatBox" name, and for that, I'm content to agree to disagree.

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Hehe! this entire thread is cracking me up!

 

WHATS IN A NAME? Heck this isn't some corporate marketing strategy to sell millions of copies, it's just a tool to be used by instructors to hone the skills of their students. Someone once mentioned that a "simulator for a simulator" was a crazy idea, but once they tried it, found it to be a very usefull tool. The idea to get the student up to speed quickly (as Instructor time is a limited [Mod - Happy Thoughts]et) in my mind is a great idea.

 

Just as in real life, when teaching an instrument student how to recognise a vacuum failure in the real aircraft cannot be done realisticly by just covering up the AI, where in the sim it would fail slowly, and allow the student to make mistakes (ie. losing altitude, headings) that wouldn't be practible in real life.

 

As a software developer myself, naming the application has it's own considerations, but it's what the application does, not it's name that should be the consideration.

 

PS Yes I'm looking to either purchase a new keyboard and or spellchecker!

Gerry Hattendorf

ZLA Webmaster

VATSIM Supervisor

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As I understand it, VATUSA Academy students will not have the opportunity to do "real VATSIM" controlling until they graduate from the academy. ALL of their practical training from DEL through TWR will be via TWRTrainer and SweatBox.

 

That's really a different animal. In that case, they're using the sweatbox to teach basic concepts to a total beginner. In that case, the name sweatbox is really just a misnomer (regardless of its alleged negative connotations), since it is no longer in line with what the sweatbox was originally designed for. Perhaps they should rename the server to "academy.vatsim.net" or similar, at least in the instructions for configuring ipaddr.txt and myservers.txt.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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In my experience, students aren't intimidated by "sweatbox" at all. I get an average of 1-2 emails per day asking for sweatbox sessions from students. When I was a student, I loved working in the sweatbox. Even if I crashed some planes...so what? They're not real planes, or even real people sitting at the computers flying them. In fact, when we get frustrated in the sweatbox, we have a good time crashing the fake planes into Mt. Rainer. We even have a special DP for them now...the RAINR1 departure. heheh.

ZSE ATM and I1

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