Monday, July 28, 2008

Fairport Lighthouse Triathlon July 27, 2008

Back when I ran marathons I got into quite a rut. Although I had traveled to some out of town races, I found it very easy to simply do Cleveland's in May, Erie's Eriesistable Marathon in September and the Toe to Tow (Towpath) Marathon in October. I think I did those same three races six years in a row. That's the definition of a rut.

Towards the end of my marathoning days I started doing the Fairport Lighthouse Triathlon. I have now done that race something like 10 out of the last 11 years. But it never feels like a rut. It is always exciting!

It never ceases to be amazed me how comfortably I can complete this race with little or no training. Yesterday was no exception. I went in worried (I had swam that distance once in 2008 and rode bike the distance only once, and never had I combined events). I have been running a little more lately, upping my puny mileage a bit.

I didn't worry about much else. I was forced to stick new tires on my bike on Friday, but that was an improvement. The race went very smoothly for me. I swam strong, biked strong and ran OK. I don't really keep very good track of my times on this race from year to year - they are always about the same.

Two of my close colleagues from the firm were also doing the race, making it that much more fun. Mona Lombardi, who also did this race last year, improved her time substantially. Jean Ference flew in from New York to do the race (bringing her bike on the plane!). She took second place in her age group. Jean just whizzed by me on the bike! I am honored to be in the company of these athletic women!

The race is one of Lake County, Ohio's best kept secrets. It may be run simply and the old fashioned way, but it works. It is a beautiful setting and the weather is almost always perfect. Yesterday was gorgeous. 168 men and 100 women participated. Since Jean won an award we stuck around for the ceremony. Check out the photo album - click on the photo-link (I will add a few more in a couple days).

Friday, July 25, 2008

They Don't Put Out Any Good Music Anymore -- NOT!

I recently ran into an old acquaintance who is an aging rock music aficionado and he said something to the effect of "They don't put out any good music anymore." I think he meant it, and I told him he was wrong.

Last night I heard The Raconteurs "Consolers of the Lonely" for the first time. Right now I am listening to it for the third time. This album single handedly shoots my old friend's statement to pieces. Although I've listened to a bunch of other great new albums this year (how about Aimee Mann's "@#%&*! Smilers," for instance), this one is at the top of my best of 2008 list.

Great songwriting, brilliant production and a powerful rocking sensibility put this up there with the best albums in recent years. Get it!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Moving Central Admin (Again!)

You will note that I wrote about misadventures moving Central Admin a while back ( Maybe I should have read my post before I went to do it again, but things seem to have worked out OK this time, sort of doing it the right way.

We added two more servers to our main North American farm (now four WFE's and an indexer, and I'm not sure how we will distribute other shared services - Enterprise stuff is new to us). We had previously been running Central Admin on one of our two WFE's and the indexer ONLY indexing. One of the new WFE's is to be dedicated to indexing, and it seemed like a good idea to move Central Admin there. This will make even more sense when we add decent load balancing to this setup.

So I ran the Config Wizard for the first time on the freshly built box and indicated that it should host Central Admin. When it was all done, it pops up Central Admin, running off the old host. Hmmm. Time to read my old post. Those misadventures didn't really seem to be relevant, but I was considering running the Config Wizard on the old host to remove it. Or mess with alternate access mappings. I may still have to do that - there is some baggage in there.

In the end, though, I typed in the URL to the new host and Central Admin was running (in two places!). From the new one I just stopped it on the old and everything seems to be fine. I guess that was the right way!

P.S. - There was just one more thing. After an IIS reset the CA site stopped functioning (I don't even care why). So I went into ../_admin/AlternateUrlCollections.aspx and changed CA there to point to my new site. NOW I'm golden.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Elegant Solution or Kludge?

According to those who know, SharePoint databases shouldn't get extremely large. What I gather this means, is 50 GB is large, 100 GB is very large and 200 GB is excessively large. In an industry like mine, that's not a lot of data.

Our main SharePoint litigation support application has been a big hit, and it is beyond very large and on its way to being excessively large. We present visitors to this site a "My Sites" table of contents as there are hundreds of sites but very few users are members of more than a couple sites.

With the success of the application, it is easy to foresee growth many times what it is today, so we needed a way to deal with this. Our solution is to have multiple site collections and a custom table of contents that represents them all in one place. Users create new sites self-service, so we just force them to the one site collection that is open for new cases. It's seamless to the users - they do not need to know anything about what is under the hood.

In answer to the title question "Elegant Solution of Kludge," I'll glom the two together and call it an elegant kludge. What do you think?

Monday, July 07, 2008

In Training

Well, I am, sort of. Some of you might not know that I used to run marathons (very slowly). I quit in 2000 after about 13 years and 36 marathons (including three or so where I did not finish, but I did at least 20 miles). My time varied from 4-5 hours. Back in that day, I did have to follow a strict training schedule in order to get to the STARTING line (more important than getting to the finish).

Now ... not so much. I usually do the Turkey Trot in Cleveland on Thanksgiving (5 miler). And I may do the Johnnycake Jog in Painesville this month, just so as to get together with my old neighbor, Chris Emminger. My one big event is something I've done for the last 10 years or so, the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse Triathlon. It's a real mini - 500M swim in Lake Erie (can be a little choppy), 20 KM bike, 5 KM run.

I actually have been "training" a little - a couple bike rides, a very little bit of swimming. Lots of excessive eating and drinking (no, wait a minute). The first time I did the race I found out about it two days before and "trained" for one day. It's always fun (see last year's blog on it). July 27th, Fairport Harbor - come on out!

From "Summer" 2008

The other side of the "training" thing was going out to see my friend Frank Foti's steam engine running this weekend. This hobby is definitely model trains gone wild. They carry many passengers on these miniature trains, winding through the lovely woods in Kirtland.

Here is their track from the air.

Frank - Thanks for the ride.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Clapton, Return to Forever and Patrick Sweany

Of these varied shows I've gone to recently, the most pleasing was the wonderful Patrick Sweany (Band) at the Rock Hall last night. Let me explain.

I saw Eric Clapton at Blossom a few weeks back. I had never seen him before (it's hard to believe because I have HUNDREDS of his recordings), and I wasn't doing anything better, so I grabbed the GPS, jumped in the tC and headed South. Traffic was horrible, and if it weren't for a bold move (passing the Blossom exit and using the GPS to take back roads), I would have been late, as was much of the crowd.

What we were treated to was vintage Clapton - sounding much like a 90's show of his. Doyle Bramhall II was his second guitarist. Even though he is a major talent, I wished I could see Clapton with Derek Trucks - or both Trucks and Bramhall. Trucks is amazing. As it was, it still was a quality show, and very exciting in parts.

I had poor seats, and the venue is too big - these are the reason I had never seen him anyway - he always plays big venues. Schoolboy was there with his iRiver H120 Rockbox and was sitting right in front of a speaker, so the recording sounds pretty good.

I saw Return to Forever last week in Cleveland's lovely (sort of) Plain Dealer Pavilion (at least the place is lovelier than the name). It's a 5500 seat outdoor venue with a pretty urban setting and a cute tent. Unfortunately, the seats (at least on the floor) are very uncomfortable (too close together), and the sound is bad. It was a first for me for both the band and the venue.

Return to Forever always was one of my favorite fusion bands. This re-incarnation of the band is the perfect line-up of virtuosos - Lenny White, Stanley Clarke, Al Dimeola, and Chick Corea. They played some of their challenging repertoire and schoolboy's recording shows that the performance was somewhat sloppy. The solos by Al and Chick made it all worthwhile, but the poor sound and seating made the concert a disappointment.

Patrick Sweany is one of the treasures of Northern Ohio. I've seen and recorded him several times. At last night's Rock Hall performance Patrick was his usual energetic and spontaneous self. Pretty much throwing the set list away after the first song, he worked the crowd, trying hard to include everyone. He was especially good at bringing the small children in attendance into the show - inviting them on stage and letting them screw up his songs.

It was all very entertaining and I wished I could have gone to Patricks other gig later that night, but I'll just have to vow to catch him more frequently. Keith (the frequent taper) was there with his family. I forgot that he has recorded Patrick hundreds of times. The crowd consisted of maybe 50% tourists and 50% hard core fans. We all enjoyed it.

I was disappointed to see he had a new bass player and drummer, but they were great. Part of Patrick's act is for the bass and drums to jam in between songs. The new guys did up some classic jams in the vein of John Entwhistle and Jack Bruce. Wonderful. The opener, Christine Jackson, was also very good. She had a full band (I had previously seen her open for Buddy Guy as a solo act).

So of these three shows, I enjoyed Patrick Sweany the best. Better than Eric Clapton or Chick Corea and Return to Forever. And it's not because I'm cheap (the Rock Hall show was free).