About us RCL 20 Projects Colour Selector Library
Paola Kathuria
Frank Wales
Clients with several projects
Oxford University Press (1997-2005)
Redesign of OED Online
Redesign of OED marketing site
General & technical consultancy
Redesign of OED Online Help
OED Online Tour
OED marketing site
OED Online prototype
@ Limitless Innovations (2000-2003)
Berry Bros. & Rudd
One World Telecom
Scott Morrison Photography
Gratis & personal projects
Paolability Jewellery
Windsor Half Marathon
Psychology of Programming Interest Group
InetUK Usenet FAQ
Other sites by Paola
@ Limitless (1995-1999)
SilverPlatter Health & Safety Publishing
Institute of Physics Publishing
EU & UK ISP surveys
New Millennium Experience
Moorfields Eye Hospital
Ace Records
Embassy of Japan
Reuters Insurance Information Services
IBM Global Networks
Barclays Bank BarclayNet
Sainsbury's Wine Direct
@ Zengrange (1984-1990)
HP-41 Emulator for HP-48
Technical services


Cybersport projects




Frank Wales @ Limitless


Cybersport hired Limitless to develop new technology so that they could see if it was possible to have online shared participation in fitness and sporting events.

Cybersport approached Limitless in early 1996 to create a proof-of-concept system against a functional specification.

[River course for the PC interface]

Their idea was to use fitness equipment, such as rowing machines, connected to personal computers. These PCs, in turn, would somehow be organised on an ad-hoc basis over the public Internet, to allow several people to participate in a shared event, such as a rowing race. Cybersport would then provide the focal point for these events, and would offer proper fitness advice and training remotely.

In order to find out if this was technically feasible, Limitless was hired to design and build a proof-of-concept system. This involved the design and development of:

  • a PC client under Windows to both transmit data about the individual participant whose PC it was, and to display graphically the continuously changing positions of all the participants in the event
  • a central racing server to gather, synchronise and co-ordinate event data
  • a communications protocol that would work over the public Internet with satisfactory performance for home users with analogue modems

Frank Wales designed the protocol, wrote the graphical Windows client in C++ and the server software in C on Unix.


Frank Wales @ Limitless


NetTrainer splash screen

The full-scale version of Cybersport's online fitness club involved first designing a robust and efficient protocol for co-ordinating several rowing machines connected to PCs via dial-up access to the Internet. Using the lessons learned from the successful proof-of-concept system, the resultant design formed part of a successful patent application for the completed system.

"By linking [their] rowing machine to a PC, rowers can book a race on the Net then watch themselves competing while receiving updates on their position."

Sprint against the world inside your living room, The Times, 23 Sep 1998

Taking what was learned from the proof-of-concept system, Frank Wales wrote a detailed technical specification for the production Cybersport service. This specification formed a major part of the successful patent application that Cybersport subsequently made, which names Frank as co-inventor.

Limitless built the production racing system, which included designing an Oracle database (to hold member and race information) and a beta test web site.

Frank designed and wrote the server software at the heart of the racing system on Unix, taking into account the need to interoperate with a web site being built on Windows NT. The PC client was developed by a third-party software house with more expertise in Windows, with its data exchange interface based on the specification Frank had written.

The other kind of live testing

Among many tests the system passed was the Internet athletic challenge on BBC television's Tomorrow's World. In this, Olypmic medallist Steve Redgrave used the system to compete over the internet against other rowers in Europe, the United States and New Zealand. As is usual with Tomorrow's World, the show went out live on the BBC's main popular channel, so there were no second chances to get it right if anything went wrong.

Navigation prototype page

We designed and built a web site for the various project companies. We also created three prototypes of the site structure and navigation, to show where functionality and content would be added to the site in the short-, medium- and long-term.