Summits on the Air (SOTA) and highpointing

Did some quick looking for information on Summits on the Air (SOTA), a ham radio contest to make contacts while either you or your contact are standing on top of a summit (mountain peak, usually) and highpointing, which is a hiking contest to stand on all the high points in a given set of jurisdictions (continents, counties, US states, US counties, etc.). Links below.

  • https://www.sotamaps.org/ maps to help you find official SOTA summits, although determining which association you belong to is not especially clear. Minnesota is association K0M and North/South Dakota are association W0D.
  • https://sotawatch.sota.org.uk/en/ SOTAwatch is a good place to let people know what peak you’ll be on so they can try to contact you
  • SOTA summits in North Dakota and South Dakota: https://summits.sota.org.uk/region/W0D
  • SOTA summits in Minnesota: https://summits.sota.org.uk/association/K0M
  • Getting started with SOTA: http://www.pnwsota.org/content/getting-started-sota
  • SOTA Minnesota association reference manual: https://sotastore.blob.core.windows.net/arms/ARM-K0M.pdf
  • Joining in with SOTA: https://www.sota.org.uk/Joining-In
  • How to activate a SOTA peak: http://www.pnwsota.org/sites/pnwsota.org/files/How%20to%20Activate%20a%20SOTA%20Peak.pdf
  • Minnesota county high points: https://www.peakbagger.com/list.aspx?lid=13407

 

Getting Started in Genealogy

I responded to a “how do you get started” question somewhere else and came out with the following brain dump, so I’ll post it here too.

What tips and tricks would you have to get started with genealogy?


You don’t have to put your tree in Ancestry and pay monthly, especially if you have hosting somewhere. Webtrees is good software. If you are associated with a university, you may have access to an Ancestry subscription for free through the library. Set up a system for digital files and naming conventions on your local machine to back up any documentation you add to an online tree. Family tree software should all operate with the GEDCOM format, which makes it really easy to move around if you are dissatisfied (although objects like photos may be harder to).

When I started in high school 20 years ago, it was just a tree of everyone I knew I was related to. Then you get back far enough and have to ask people for help. My grandmother remembered dozens of names and dates, which got me further. Ancestry and similar free websites (findagrave.com) can fill in a lot. Newspapers.com helped me find a ton of obituaries and gossip column entries, which filled in even more.

It’s only recently that I got into thinking about the “History” going on around my ancestors when they were alive, and that’s been driving my interest for the last year. Person A lived in this place in the 1890s–what was going on there, and how were global events affecting them? Newspapers.com or another archive were very useful for this as well.

Although Ancestry and Newspapers.com are subscription, even one month lets you dig into and download as much as you want, so if money is tighter you can sign up for a single month and dedicate a lot of time to getting as much raw material as possible.

Urban Arrow Family winter riding

I can’t promise a lot of updates about this, but here are some observations from this morning. 20 degrees F, alleged 7 mph wind (felt like more). Put studded tires on last night, felt super solid with two kids in the box. Trace to drifts of 2″ of snow, drifts were sketchier on return trip without kids.

Kids stayed warm with the classic rain tent, coats, mittens, hat/hood, and big flannel blanket. Still would like more protection from wind in the back where it’s just mesh.

LCD screen seemed okay, although I think battery is discharging faster than usual. I am bringing the battery inside now between rides.

All around, a wonderful ride. Plus we saw turkeys!

photo of the corner of an urban arrow cargo bike and some turkey tracks in snow
Turkey tracks on the preschool commute.

 

Redis server weirdness and workaround

Don’t have a better title yet. Sometimes bug email lists are the best way to find answers!

After installing Nextcloud using yunohost (which is awesome so far), the Redis server crashed and couldn’t be restarted. Turns out a couple cifs (Samba) drives I was mounting in fstab were preventing Redis from starting.

I unmounted the drives, started Redis through yunohost, and then remounted the drives. If I have to reboot, will probably have to go through this again, so not an ideal solution.

Error message:

Jul 19 22:14:46 systemd[1]: Failed to start Advanced key-value store.

Solution figured out from: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=834551#27.

Blogging to do?

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything long-form that isn’t related to work. Although “technical and boring” seems to be my wheelhouse, it’s not my entire goal in life.

Nothing long-form is coming today, however. Instead I present a list of things I have written down (in Joplin or Trello) under “to blog about someday.” Enjoy!

This post in some cases counts as “the ghost of done,” so…rad?

  • blog about prediction interval
  • report on eHam how Wilderman went and put on blog
    • I guess the simple answer to that is: https://www.eham.net/community/smf/index.php/topic,120178.msg1147755.html#msg1147755
  • do wasteful people subsidize the rest of us?
  • blog formula for number of downspouts
  • Babboe City review blog series
  • sum both time and distance approaching recent races
  • pro-cycling arguments
  • chronomen
    • This one is pretty neat, you can see some chronomen charts in my dissertation, however I guess I need to change the name so it doesn’t clash with a watch brand and whatever else might be using it.
  • residential roundabouts
  • KML file of Wallace’s line or biogeographic regions
    • Surely this must exist by now. It’s probably SaaS somewhere.
  • “DEM thing I did for NCRDS”
    • Not sure which thing this is…
  • expressing your software/method/procedure in layman’s terms
    • Less jargon is good. I’m looking at you, modeling or “computational geoscience” software.
  • physical activity as a way to see new things
    • I literally seem to have meant “see new physical things because you are physically somewhere you usually aren’t.”

Ebook to Morse code (CW)

As I get back into ham radio and attempt to learn CW again (after I upgrade to General, one thing at a time), I want to put this here so I remember it: https://fkurz.net/ham/ebook2cw.html.

Sounds like a great way to re-read some of my favorite books and practice Morse receiving at the same time.

Also of note, this method seems to really work: http://www.learnmorsecode.com.

Hack Grand Forks – 311

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and finally took a few evenings to do it. I built a Mastodon bot that toots each Grand Forks 311 request: https://botsin.space/@hackgfk_311. It also crossposts at https://twitter.com/hackgfk_311.

The code can be found at https://github.com/mattbk/hack-grand-forks. Yes, I built it in R.

Mastodon toots from @hackgfk_311@botsin.space.

Why “hack”? In the sense that this is information that should be more available to people, and I’m making it more available without going to a separate location. Perhaps something good can come of it.

Babboe City Review, Part 1: Ordering and Shipping

Since I’ve wanted a cargo bike for some time now (and saved up my pennies), I finally placed an order for a Babboe City and two accessories (rain tent and toddler seat) with myamsterdambike.com (MAB) on Friday, February 9th. This post will summarize the update process on shipping. If you are planning to purchase from a local shop (and you should, if you have one that stocks cargo bikes), you can skip this post.

I plan to write a series of posts about this bike as it arrives, gets unboxed, assembled, and ridden. A more detailed post about “why buy a cargo bike” and “why this cargo bike” is planned as well.

Things got interesting when Package 1 was delivered, because it contained the rain tent for a Babboe Curve, not a Babboe City (which I had ordered). I emailed My Amsterdam Bike and they will be shipping a new rain tent.

The same tracking numbers are used by both DHL and USPS. I didn’t know USPS would be delivering beforehand, I only found out through one of the DHL updates. Your delivery may use different vendors. Only the accessories arrived via USPS; the bicycle arrived in three boxes directly from DHL.

It took 18 and 19 days for accessories to arrive, and 24 days for the bicycle itself.

Here are the data on shipping to East Grand Forks, MN (dates with no news are included so you can see the pace of updates).

  • Day 0 (2018-02-09)
    • Order submitted
  • Day 1
    • Received email confirmation of order, saying “2 to 3 weeks for delivery”
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
    • Email from DHL with two tracking numbers (Package 1 and Package 2), but comment only mentioned toddler seat.
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
    • Package 1 processed in Dorsten, Germany
    • Package 2 processed in Dorsten, Germany
  • Day 7
    • Package 1 processed in Rodgau, Germany
    • Package 2 processed in Rodgau, Germany
    • Package 1 at the airport IPZ-Ffm, Germany
    • Package 2 at the airport IPZ-Ffm, Germany
  • Day 8
  • Day 9
  • Day 10
  • Day 11
  • Day 12
    • Package 2 processed in ISC CHICAGO IL (USPS)  
  • Day 13
    • Package 2 Inbound Out of Customs 
  • Day 14
    • Package 1 processed in ISC CHICAGO IL (USPS) 
    • Email from MAB: “Next week you will receive your tracking and the  estimated delivery date. I expect your bike to be delivered end of next week, or maybe beginning of the week after.”
  • Day 15
    • Package 1 Inbound Out of Customs 
    • Package 1 Arrived at USPS Regional Facility CHICAGO IL INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER
  • Day 16
    • Package 1 In Transit to Next Facility 
  • Day 17
    • Package 1 In Transit to Next Facility 
    • Package 2 Arrived at USPS Regional Destination Facility WEST FARGO NETWORK DISTRIBUTION CENTER (note that Package 2 skipped Chicago USPS…)
  • Day 18
    • Package 2 Arrived at USPS Regional Destination Facility GRAND FORKS ND DISTRIBUTION CENTER 
    • Package 2 Sorting Complete EAST GRAND FORKS, MN 56721
    • Package 1 In Transit to Next Facility (it’s weird how this package has very little detail about where it is, just that it’s moving)
    • Package 2 Out for Delivery EAST GRAND FORKS, MN 56721  
    • Package 2 delivered
  • Day 19
    • Package 1 Arrived at USPS Regional Destination Facility GRAND FORKS ND DISTRIBUTION CENTER  
    • Package 1 Arrived at Unit GRAND FORKS, ND 58201
    • Package 1 Sorting Complete EAST GRAND FORKS, MN 56721 
    • Package 1 delivered
    • I emailed to ask about the bike tracking number, since both packages I knew about had arrived.
  • Day 20 (2018-03-01)
    • Email from MAB: “The bike will be shipped this week (I think today) and will send you the tracking number as soon as receive it from the shipping company”
  • Day 21
    • DHL shipment created for Package 3 (rain tent for City)
  • Day 22
  • Day 23
  • Day 24
    • With no tracking code ever delivered to me, the bicycle arrives in a DHL van! So it was delivered according to the email way back on Day 14. Of note, DHL delivered during a snowstorm so I was actually home (actually outside shoveling) and able to sign for it. Not sure if they would have left the boxes otherwise.

 

 

Rainmeter Snow Skin for JohnDee.com

Snow map from JohnDee.com.

JohnDee.com has some pretty neat maps, but the URL structure is dynamic, so this one is a little more complicated than my previous skins. Enjoy!

Update: I’m not sure why this isn’t refreshing automatically, but manually refreshing the skin must reload the variables.

;Shows the 4-day snowfall prediction from JohnDee.com.
;Much help from https://www.reddit.com/r/Rainmeter/comments/2qjbpw/help_build_url_by_concatenating_text_date_time/cn99at7/

[Rainmeter]
Update=3600
;To make this to immediately show up, change value to 0 and refresh.

[MeasureDateY]
Measure=Time
Format=%Y

[MeasureDateM]
Measure=Time
Format=%m

[MeasureDateD]
Measure=Time
Format=%d

[MeasureURL]
Measure=String
String=http://johndee.com/wp-content/uploads/[MeasureDateY]/[MeasureDateM]/MIDSNOW[MeasureDateM][MeasureDateD].jpg
DynamicVariables=1

[MeasureImage]
Measure=Plugin
Plugin=WebParser
MeasureName=MeasureURL
URL=[&MeasureURL]
Download=1

[MeterImage]
Meter=Image
MeasureName=MeasureImage
H=375
W=500