blog.ecorrado.us

Ramblings about library technology, open source software, and other adventures!

 

Contoocook Lake in Jaffrey, NH, Track #298 2014 February 3

Filed under: racing — ecorrado @ 18:02:01

This weekend I wasn’t expecting to go to any races because I had some work-related things I wanted to do. However, as it turns out, I got most of the things I wanted to get done by the end of the day on Saturday and my Sunday was freed up. I decided to see some ice racing in New Hampshire. As far as I can tell there are three groups that run automobile ice races in New Hampshire and they all run there regular shows on Sunday and all start between 12:00 and 12:30 pm. I checked with each group and they all were running. After some hemming and hawing, I decided to go watch the Jaffrey Ice Racing Association race on an oval on Contoocook Lake in Jaffrey, NH. The main reason why I choose this club was that it was an hour closer to where I live than the others.

There were 3 divisions of racing and the scheduled called for each division to have two 6 lap heat races and a 10 lap feature heat race. While you could watch for free on the road, I paid $3 to walk onto the ice. Another option would have been to pay $10 to drive onto the ice. The weather was a bit warm for ice racing (40 degrees) and rain was on its way so I appreciated that they started on time. They probably could have taken a little less time between heat races though with rain in the forecast and on its way. In the end, they managed to get 5 of the 6 heat races completed before the rain and warm conditions made the event organizers call off the rest of the racing at about 1:30 pm. Besides being the first ice race I’ve seen in New Hampshire, this was my first oval ice race. I really did enjoy the oval ice races and hope to get to another one this year but with ice racing being so weather-dependent that may or may not happen.

PS: I didn’t write up a report for last weekend when I went to Georgia, but I saw two new tracks that weekend.

New Track since last report:

Albany Motor Speedway, dirt oval, Albany GA (dirt late models): 01/25/2014
Watermelon Capital Speedway, paved oval. Cordele GA (paved super late models): 01/26/2014
Contoocook Lake, ice oval, Jaffrey, NH: 2/1/2014

2014 Stats:
Total Tracks: 6
New Tracks: 6
States I saw new tracks: 5 (Georgia, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia)
Countries: 1 (USA)
Total Races: 6
Total lifetime TrackChaser countable tracks: 298

 
 

Two new tracks this weekend: Richmond Coliseum and Charlotte Legends Road Course 2014 January 19

Filed under: libraries — ecorrado @ 15:01:22

After looking at various ice racing and weather reports on the morning of Friday, Jan 17, I decided to head to Richmond, Virginia for the ArenaRacingUSA mini-cup racing. I heard good things about these indoor mini-cup races on high-banked tracks but I have never seen a race. While they used to race in multiple locations, it appears the Richmond Coliseum is the only place they still race. Admission was a reasonable $14 and I paid $6 to park in a parking garage nearby. Some people saved the $6 by parking on the street but I couldn’t find a legal place. The track is pretty high-banked with a wooden surface. The track is a good size for the cars and they can pass and they get around really fast. I had an enjoyable time. The biggest downside was the volume of the announcer (too loud), but I guess that is better than none (see below) an the kids in attendance seemed to like it. I liked that they started on time and moved the show along.

My original plan was to start heading home after the race but I knew the Legend Cars were running on a road course in the infield of Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina on Saturday, Jan. 18 with the drivers meeting scheduled for 8:30 AM. I figured that would mean I could get out of there in a reasonable time to still make it home Saturday night so I went for it. There was no admission charge – I just had to sign a waiver. I showed up after the driver’s meeting and the first round of practice was just starting. They had two rounds of practice (with the second round setting the lineups for the heat races). It was about 34 degrees and when someone saw my New York license plates they accused me of bringing the cold. I managed to find a parking spot were I could see part of the course and sat in the car for the most of the practices. It was sunny so the car was pretty warm. Once the heat races came out, I braved the cold and saw some pretty good although I still prefer oval racing -especially for these types of cars. Really, the only downside was the lack of a PA system. They did “tweet” out and place some things on facebook, but not really enough to keep me as informed as I would like. In that way it definitely wasn’t designed for spectators .Still, I managed to get out of there at a reasonable time after seeing some enjoyable racing and make it home without having to find a place to sleep on the way home. This was my fourth countable track at the Charlotte Motor Speedway speedway, having previously seen racing on the big oval, the paved inner- short-track, and the dirt track,

New Tracks this weekend:

Richmond Coliseum, Richmond VA (mini-cups) (1/17/2014)
Charlotte Motor Speedway (Inner Short Track) (1/18/2014)

2014 Stats:
Total Tracks: 3
New Tracks: 3
States I saw new tracks: 1 (North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia)
Countries: 1 (USA)
Total Races: 3

Total lifetime TrackChaser countable tracks: 295

 
 

BMI Indoor Speedway – 2014-01-11 (Track #293) 2014 January 12

Filed under: libraries — ecorrado @ 13:01:58

On Saturday, January 11, I headed with Mike K. do the BMI Indoor Speedway kart complex in Versailles, Ohio to attend our first race in 2014. When we got there we met up with 4 other TrackChasers who were in attendance. On tap were a few different classes of karts, with Champ Karts being the countable class for TrackChasers. The track was a 1/10 mile high banked concrete oval costructed inside of a large building. I was surprised about the banking. I was expecting the typicall flat concrete track you get indoors. The biggest disappointment was the lack of cars, but there were 3 or 4 other indoor kart races within 3-4 hours so that probably didn’t help any. The Champ Karts only had 3 karts. At least that is enough to be countable! It would have been quite disappointing to drive all the way to western Ohio and not get a countable race in. The Champ Karts ran 4 7-lap heats (with inverts between them) and a feature. The feature was 12 laps and took under a minute and a half according to Guy Smith.

Not the most exciting race ever but seem good bench racing was had and my first TrackChaser countable track is in the books for 2014!

2014 Stats:
Total Tracks: 1
New Tracks: 1
States: 1 (Ohio)
Countries: 1 (USA)
Total Races: 1

Total lifetime TrackChaser countable tracks: 293

 
 

Checking if xml is well formed using xmllint 2013 December 12

Filed under: technology — ecorrado @ 17:12:16

I had to check if an xml document was well formed today. I have a few nice graphical tools that can do this, but I wanted to do it in a script on my linux box. I found out that xmllint does a good job of this. The command I used is:

xmllint -noout input.xml

If the XML document is not well-formed errors well go to standard out and then I can figure out how to correct the cause of the errors.

 
 

Top 11 College rankings 2012 October 14

Filed under: top10 — ecorrado @ 16:10:35

Here are my first rankings for the 2012 college football season. I normally do the top 10, but since there are 11 undefeated teams that are eligible for the bowl games, I’ll include all of them. Ohio State is 7-0 but they do not get a slot in my pole based on there ineligibility status. I’m not sure where they would go in my rankings, but they would be in the bottom half of the 12 undefeated teams. As per past year, I look at out-of-conference games (which teams can control more then in-conference) a lot more favorable than some others and rank more on results then potential. For example, if you look like you have a great team, but thus far have played a weak schedule, you’ll probably be lower then a team that doesn’t “look” as good. This does mean, however, as the season moves on, my top 10 won’t be static since it isn’t based on predictions.

  1. Notre Dame (6-0): I know many are not believers yet, but they have three wins over teams that were in the AP top 20 at the time (including one on the road). They have two really tough road games coming up though. At Oklahoma (Oct 27) and at USC (Nov 24).
  2. Oregon State: Two wins over top 20 AP teams including a win out-of-conference against then AP #13 Wisconsin. That win puts them above in-state rival Oregon in my pole.
  3. Florida (6-0): Another cream puff schedule from an “elite” SEC team. They will have one tough out of conference game though, but that isn’t until November 24 against Florida State. Good wins on the road against Texas A&M and LSU puts them ahead of Alabama.
  4. Kansas State (6-0): They blew out Miami in an out-of-conference game and beat (then #6) Oklahoma on the road. The Miami win would be better of the U was better this season, but still at least they were willing to schedule them.
  5. Rutgers (6-0): Rutgers gets the top ranking of the Big East undefeated based on there out-of-conference road win at Arkansas. Next week they are at Temple which is an underrated team but Rutgers should still be able to beat them. If they do, they have a good chance of going into their November 17 road game against Cincinnati with a 9-0 record
  6. Cincinnati (6-0). I considered putting them above Rutgers with there 27-24 win in D.C. Against Virginia Tech, but decided that overall Rutgers has had the tougher schedule thus far. A win ar Louisville next week may have them jump the Scarlet Knights, however.
  7. Alabama (6-0): I know the pundits love them, but they haven’t had any real tough away games yet. Actually, they only have one all season (LSU) although Arkansas should have been better early on (I think Arkansas has talent, but we will see as the season moves on if the ship can be righted). Still, ‘Bama gets credit for the win on a neutral site over Michigan and because they haven’t let anyone come even close to beating them. They will move up in my rankings if they keep winning though as they have some tougher games like the aforementioned one at LSU latter in the season<./li>
  8. Louisville (6-0) Good out-of-conference wins against Kentucky and North Carolina but both games were at home. In two weeks Cincinnati comes in for a visit. That should be a great game.
  9. Ohio (7-0): The only 7 win team in my rankings gets into the top 10 with season-opening a road victory at Penn State.
  10. Oregon (6-0): Arkansas State, Fresno State, Tennessee Tech? I guess they don’t like to be challenged out of conference. Only one road game at 2-5 Washington State so far. Really need to see more from them but their schedule is back-heavy so they have a chance to move up.
  11. Mississippi State (6-0): Best win so far was at Kentucky or maybe home against Tennessee. Out of conference games include Jackson State, Troy, South Alabama, and Middle Tennessee. Consider me unimpressed. We won’t have a clue on how good they are until Oct 27 when the go on the road against Alabama.
 
 

Closed Stacks 2012 February 19

Filed under: libraries — ecorrado @ 11:02:54

There is an interesting post on the Oxford University Press’s blog by Michael Levine-Clark, “An academic librarian without a library.” In truth, Michael does have a library, but it is being renovated and what he means is he doesn’t currently have a library with open stacks. In Europe, closed stacks are a more common occurrence then in the United States. In the U.S. people have become accustomed to being able to browse open stacks and many faculty, students and librarians think going to closed stacks would be a loss. However, with many academic librarians being on prime campus real estate and the needs for the library to serve other uses, such as being an Information Commons, moving a portion of the physical collections off-site is becoming more and more common. It is a trend I don’t see going the other way anytime soon.

At the University of Denver where Michael Levine-Clark as Collections Librarian and Professor, the library is closed for renovations. Originally up to 80% of the psychical collections was to remain off-site but after an uproar from students and faculty 50% of the collection is set to return after renovations. Michael’s blog post details how “every comment I’ve heard from faculty and students about the temporary dislocation [of stacks] has been positive” and “raises the question of what exactly a library is.”

While browsing may not be, as Michael says, “an ideal way” of finding books no one single way is and no amount of technology will change that. The serendipity of finding something you are not looking for is far less likely in online environments and I think that is a big loss. I wonder if the lack of access to the physical collection via browsing is not getting as much negative reaction because faculty and students know that the library is being renovated and that it is a temporary inconvenience and when the renovations are done half of the collections will return to open stacks? Browsing stacks might not be the best way to find ALL books on the topic you can get, but it is probably the most efficient way to find and access SOME physical books on a topic. Depending on the users’ needs at the time, that is often just what they want. It certainly works for the cook book and travel sections at my local Barnes and Noble and unless they typical undergrad is different then i was in college (which they may very well be the case but I’m skeptical) it serves there purpose most of the time.

 
 

Symlinking MySQL data files 2012 January 19

Filed under: technology — ecorrado @ 18:01:30

Due to space issues, I had to move my MySQL data files (/var/lib/mysql) on a Ubuntu box to another file system. I did that and created a symlink, but MySQL would not start. It turns out to be an easy fix. I found a post on MySQL Forums from someone who had a similar problem, and someone named Richard Guy posted my solution:

Did you fix the apparmor config file for mysqld and restart apparmor?

first you need to edit /etc/apparmor.d/usr.sbin.mysqld and add the new fully qualified (ie, no symbolic link) path(s). [you may want to leave the original /var/lib/mysql entries intact :-) ]

then “restart” apparmor:

sudo invoke-rc.d apparmor reload

for more info, see https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AppArmor

I edited the file as appropriate, and MySQL started fine and now I don’t have to worry about my disk space filling up again.

 
 

Is that annonymous e-mail annonymous? 2012 January 17

Filed under: technology — ecorrado @ 22:01:57

A friend on facebook posted a link the other day to an article about University of Illinois President Michael Hogan’s chief of staff resigning after an anonymous e-mail was sent to the University Senates Conference from a Yahoo! e-mail account. I don’t know much about what is happening at the University of Illinois but I was intrigued about the attempt at anonymous e-mail.

The article stated that a computer science professor, Roy Campbell, was able to determine that the emails may have been sent by someone in the president’s office. The initial article I read didn’t say how the computer science professor figured that out so I thought he might have looked at the e-mail headers. I did some checking with e-mails sent to my personal e-mail account from people with Yahoo! addresses and found that, indeed, Yahoo! e-mail does include the senders ip address in the header (actual IP replaced by XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX):

Received: from [XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX] by web112906.mail.gq1.yahoo.com via HTTP; Fri, 13 Jan 2012 12:11:28 PST

However, I came across another article that had a little more information and while I don’t know that Dr. Campbell didn’t look at the headers (I imagine he did), he also found some clues as to where the e-mail was sent from because the person who sent them composed the e-mail using Microsoft Word and then pasted the content into the Yahoo! Mail. A Chicago Tribune article noted Dr. Campbell as saying “One should also be careful writing anonymous email using (Microsoft) Word :-).

I did some testing with cut and pasting from Microsoft Word and I wasn’t able to find any personally identifying information in the mark-up that comes across when you don’t send the e-mail as plain text via Yahoo! but I am sure that depending on your configuration and version of Word it could happen.

I think the take-away from this story in regards to e-mail is that you should never assume any e-mail you send is truly anonymous. It is true that you can make it “more anonymous” and harder to figure out depending on how you sent it and what tools you used, but unless you really take great lengths and know what you are doing, given enough resources if someone wants to enough where an e-mail came from thy can probably can figure it out or come close enough. Maybe not enough for a court of law, but enough that you’ll probably wish you didn’t send it. While it was a computer science professor that first figured out the e-mail was probably not from someone on the committee, it really wouldn’t have taken a computer genius in this case to figure out where it may have come from.

 
 

Worldcat record use policy causes National Library of Sweden to end negotiatons with OCLC 2011 December 22

Filed under: libraries,technology — ecorrado @ 19:12:42

The National Library of Sweden has decided to end negotiations with OCLC about uploading their union catalog, Libris, into WorldCat as well as using WorldCat as a source of records in Libris. According to the announcement, Libris is and needs to remain an open database and OCLC’s WorldCat Rights and Responsibilities for the OCLC Cooperative does not make that possible. The National Library also believes that the record use terms would make it impossible to contribute biographical data to Europeana and the European Library. As Karen Coyle mentions in her blog post about this decision, open data (or the lack of it) is not just an idealogical stance: it “has real practical applications.” Whatever good the WorldCat record use policy has had, this is a real-world example of how it can (and in this case, has) also harm libraries – including OCLC member libraries who will not be able to access Libris records via WorldCat.

Library Journal contacted OCLC about the announcement, but they did not immediately respond to LJ’s request for comment.

 
 

MITx 2011 December 20

Filed under: general,technology — ecorrado @ 17:12:03

Some of you probably have seen MIT’s announcement of MITx on December 19. Basically, “MITx will offer a portfolio of MIT courses through an online interactive learning platform.” It will “operate on an open-source, scalable software infrastructure” and offer many features that current learning Management Systems offer as well as some other unique features. While the technology sounds interesting, I am most interested in the program itself, in particular the credentialing. MIT has been a leader in the open education with its OpenCourseWare project, but adding a level of credentialing is a huge step. There isn’t a lot of information available yet, but basically if you want to learn, you can do that for fee. If you want some form of credential, there will be a fee for that. The credential will be a certificate of completion that will be offered buy a not-for-profit body within the Institute created to do such a thing. The body offering the credentials will be distinctly named to avoid confusion that MIT “proper” awarded the credential and costs are yet to be determined.

MITx has yet to announce what classes will be available but they plan to start offering classes in Spring 2012. More information can be found on the MITx announcement FAQ. If they have something I am interested in and it fits my schedule, I may try to take a class and, if I do, I’ll probably pay for the credential.