Wednesday, September 16, 2009

EMRR Corner 08-25-09


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As seen in:
Apogee Components' Free Peak of Flight Newsletter #242

Subscribe HERE

Give-Away and Super Hit List Winners Announced

Site has been updated...

Quarterly Rocket Give-Away Winner was randomly selected from those having contributed reviews, tips, articles, etc. to the site. That winner is Chan Stevens.

EMRR Super Hit List winner was randomly selected from all those that completed reviews on rockets by the Super Hit List deadline. That winner is Jason Orosco... he has to respond to this message to win!

Notice the VIDEO CONTEST deadline approaching fast, fast, fast!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

EMRR is pleased to announce the newly updated Flight Log Profile. This feature is available to any guest with > 25 flight logs recorded on EMRR. If you have a Flight Log Management Account you will be able to save your set-up on the Flight Profile, not to mention all the edit, copy, add picture, and link features associated with the Management Account.

The key features are of the Flight Profile are:

Flight Profile Summary (best to show a sample – this is mine):

Recorded Flights: 1,030 (3.3% of all flights logged on EMRR)
Recorded Rockets: 182 (46 Active - 136 "Rest In Peace" (RIP))
Average Flights: 5.7 Flights/Rocket
Average Power (N): 25.4 Newtons/Flight (This is a E-Class Rocketeer)
Average Spending: $4.89/Flight ($0.19/Newton)
Level 1 Cert: Public Missiles (PML) - Callisto (AT RMS H128-M)
Highest Altitude: 3,900 ft - LOC/Precision - Aura (AT EconoJet F20-7)
Top Motor Class: "C" (288 Motors - 24.3% of your motors)
Top Motor Specific ID: Est SU B6-4 (100 Motors - 8.4% of your motors)
Top Motor Manufacturer: Estes (765 Motors - 64.5% of your motors)
Top Motor Diameter: 18mm (551 Motors - 46.5% of your motors)
Top Rocket: OOP - Nordic Rocketry - Meanie (61 Flights - 5.9% of your flights)

In addition, enjoy (8) graphical representation of your data:

1) All Motor Usage Graph which separates your motors used by letter-designation and report total newtons and total dollars (sorry)!

2) Flight Configuration which shows the number of flights by cluster, staged, staged-cluster, etc.

3) Motor Diameter which shows the number of motors used by diameter

4) Motor Manufacturer which shows the number of motors used by manufacturer

5) Top 10 Rockets flown which shows your top 10 fliers

6) Top 10 Motors used which shows your top 10 motors with or without delay designation

7) 5 Year Comparison Motor Usage Graph which separates your motors used by letter-designation and reports total newtons and total dollars

8) 5 Year Monthly Motor Usage Graph which separates your motors used by month and reports total newtons and total dollars

Lastly, the Rocket List With Recommended Motors shows all of your rockets, what motor configurations you have flown in them and the manufacturer recommended motors (if exist).

This is truly a feature to be enjoyed!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Back-to-Back Big Updates

Another very big upload!

HURRY! There are (4) deadlines you need to be aware of:



EMRR Challengers - PLEASE CHECK YOUR POINTS and let me know of any issues.

Introduced the new Flight Log Search Engine.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

NARCON 2009

The new Sport Rocketry Magazine has the coverage article on NARCON 2009. I was able to attend this year and had a good time. Since so much time has passed I will only shared a few items here:

Picture #1 snagged from Sport Rocketry showing me there with my son in the green hat.

Picture #2 snagged from Sport Rocketry showing this young person, who ultimately walked away with a free "EMRR on Disc" that I gave to all young people that came by. Also the rocket on the left is an ARC Shark. I had set up about 6 rockets and had the reviews on them printed.


The PRESENTATION that I made (14 Meg PDF file).

Comment welcome!

EMRR - Big Update and Deadlines Approaching FAST!

After 3 weeks away... a very big upload!

HURRY! There are (4) deadlines you need to be aware of:



EMRR Challengers - PLEASE CHECK YOUR POINTS and let me know of any issues.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Flight Logs Being Upgraded (Again)

I had a few requests for some improvements in flight log management and have decided to tackle them. Seems I've learned something since I last wrote the algorithm 9 years ago.

Request: "I think the estimated impulse EMRR calculates based on designation may be off - especially on very large motors. I've submitted Gorilla motors files to you in the past so know the format, but obviously don't want to add my motors to the global motor listing, especially since experimentation will result in dozens of different types. Just wondering if there was an easy way to indicate the impulse of any ONE particular motor as it was entered into the flight log."

Request: "I entered a couple of my cluster flights and the flight logs don't seem to be logging them correctly. One is a cluster of 7x EST SU E9-6 + 12x EST SU D12-5 + 12x EST SU C6-5, another is a cluster of 1x EST SU E9-6 + 6x EST SU D12-5 + 6x EST SU C6-5, and the last is a cluster of 1x EST SU D12-7 + 6x EST SU C6-5. I have also flown one other C, D, and E motor this year which should bring the total of C's to 25, D's to 20, and E's to 9. The logs currently read 13 C's, 9 D's, and 9 E's. Please let me know if I'm entering things incorrectly."

So while thinking through these I decided to add some new fields that should speed up some reporting and maintenance of the flight logs.

The four fields that have been added are:

1) Configuration: this is for reporting to categorize, single, cluster, and staged configuration easily
2) MotorLetters: this is for building the graphs faster because instead of having to search and read at time of graphing, this is generated upon flight log entry. This also adds a "z" motor to allow me to quickly ID and maintain "unknown" motors
3) TotalImpulse: this was driven by the request above and will be allow guests to edit the total impulse for their single or cluster of motors. It will also help in the profile/statistic page because instead of having to search, read and calculate at time of reporting, this is generated upon flight log entry.
4) TotalDollars: this was a derivative of the request above and will allow guests to edit the total dollars for their single or cluster of motors. It will also help in the profile/statistic page for the same reason as above.

I have also addressed the old algorithm so that those complex motor configurations are easily captured and reported on correctly.

So, where am I at?

Phase I: Today, I downloaded and converted all 31,000+ Logs into the new database with the additional calculated fields.

I also modified all scripts (reviews, search, profiles, etc) that read from the flight log databases so they split out the new fields (they do not presently do anything with that data).

Lastly, I modified the entry forms to perform the automatic population of the new fields (and within minutes of me turning them back on, I received 10 flight logs that all worked!)

Phase II: Tomorrow, I plan on addressing the edit featured in Flight Log Management.

Phase III: Then over the next 2 months I will be updating all the graphing scripts, flight profile, and new customized flight profile.

Yeee-haaaa!

EMRR Corner 06-15-09


CLICK TO ENLARGE

As seen in:
Apogee Components' Free Peak of Flight Newsletter #237

Subscribe HERE

EMRR Corner 05-19-09


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As seen in:
Apogee Components' Free Peak of Flight Newsletter #235

Subscribe HERE

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lots O' Reviews and Articles Added

MODEL MINUTES MOVING SALE: Please help us (me) reduce inventory and take advantage of flat-shipping price of only $3.00. Click Here.

1st TWO Box 'O Parts Entries are posted: Box '0 Parts deadline is July 1st.

THANK YOU! to Lance Alligood who processed over 40 reviews/articles in the month of May. A major accomplishment. Send him your own thank you note!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

EMRR's Picture Hunt

Looking for pictures from you or someone you know that takes photos at the rocket launches.

Specifically, right now I'm looking for:

* Rockets stuck in unreachable places
* Lots 'o people at rocket launches
* Drag Races

Send what you have to EMRR in the largest resolution you have with as much information as possible.

Thanks
Nick

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Box 'O Parts and Challenge Deadlines Coming.. 7/1/09

Not much to add to the above... 

I've been traveling a lot so trying to keep up with the site when I can. Send me reminders if I missed something or you are wondering where something is.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New 2009 Rocket Video Contest Announced

Had so much fun, we're going to do it again... the 2009 Rocket Video Contest.

Don't forget you EMRR Challengers... May 1st Deadline is coming up for the Who's Who Registry.

New Elevate 11 entries... cool stuff! And, new Featured Tips added.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

EMRR Winners Announced!

Had a nice time at NARCON... watch for the posting of my presentation in the next day or so... thought more would be there (and at my presentation which had many ohh's and ahh's in it!).

While at NARCON, we had the audience randomly pick the winners for the $108 Semi-Annual Super Hit List and the EMRR Quarterly Rocket Give-Away. Congratulations to John Bergsmith and Glenn Roth, respectively.

Have completed a general site update… will be looking after the Challenge updates tomorrow AM, so if you see I missed something… please, it’s okay to send me a note.

Monday, March 16, 2009

EMRR is Going to NARCON - Site Updated

A general site update... still have a number of reviews with formatters... they'll be updated after NARCON.

Anyone going to enter the Elevate Eleven contest?

Last change to pre-order your "EMRR on CD" for pick-up at NARCON.

We are pleased to re-introduce Essence's Model Rocketry Reviews on CD (technically DVD). After over 3 years, EMRR can once again be enjoyed online or offline which makes it available to virtually everyone.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Updated and "EMRR on CD" re-release

"EMRR on CD" We are pleased to re-introduce Essence's Model Rocketry Reviews on CD (technically DVD). After over 3 years, EMRR can once again be enjoyed online or offline which makes it available to virtually everyone.


Elevate Eleven Idea: What if your rocket had 11 fins?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

You know that sound in Pac-Man?

Well, I did it. I was converting a bunch of files for EMRR on CD and BAM! They had enough of me hogging their CPU time.

EMRR will be transferred to a VPS (whatever that is)... and that will take about 20-30 minutes. It should come back up running fine.

I can't afford to keep it on a VPS though, so I will be looking at ways to trim the CPU consumption further. I have made tremendous strides with all the file caching and I know you folks have seen a tremendous improvement in navigational speed as well.

It is my maintenance scripts that are hurting me right now.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

  • The 2009 Box O' Parts Contest is now officially in the build process. All swaps and surprizes will be sent out at the end of today. You still have until the end of today (3/1) to declare your participation.
  • 2009 EMRR Challenge: Entrants should be sure of several things:
    • A: Don't forget to send in the names of the rockets for the Guest Generated Hit List
    • B: Be sure to ID someone that you can introduce to EMRR because they need to submit something by 7/1/09
    • C: Look over your present scores and be sure I haven't missed anything.
Elevate Eleven

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shutdown Server Again!


Yesterday in the wee ours of the AM, the server had to be temporarily shutdown due to high CPU usage.

Then later in the day, Yahoo Crawler activated the 60-second throttle 3 times (so at least that is working properly).

With the above, I have made more changes. These are significant and "slick" if I do say so myself.

BEFORE:

  • Guest clicks on review link that activates the rvwbuild.cgi script
  • rvwbuild.cgi would then check the dat file, update file, and shtml file
  • If any condition merited it, the shtml file was built
  • If no changes, then rvwbuild.cgi jumped to the existing shtml file

The number of links through rvwbuild.cgi were tremendous!!! All searchs, all archives, all reviews (through next and previous). That meant this script was running constantly.

NOW:

  • Guest clicks on review link and that takes them to the shtml file PERIOD

All the links from searches, archives, and reviews were changed to directly link to the shtml cached file. FAST FOR YOU... please tell me if you notice the speed.

So how do I update the reviews?

Each time someone adds a flight log, or adjusts it in the Flight Log Management page, adds an opinion or rocket specific tip a notice is added to a "refresh" list.

At midnight, the refresh list is read in and all the files in that list are "rebuilt".

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Box O Parts Deadline Extended to March 1

We really expected better participation, however, we'll not delay the start too long. Just one more week. Declare your parts and participation.

CLICKERS WANTED: On March 1st, we'll be doing our final preps for the next EMRR on CD. We will need some volunteers to help us click through some old scripts to update the files. E-mail if you can help.

Well, since switching over to our new server, EMRR has dumped them twice. This time they called me!

Bottomline is that EMRR is stealing all of the CPU time. You can read about the fixes on the Blog

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dumped the Server (again!)


Well, since switching over to our new server, EMRR has dumped them twice. This time they called me!

Bottomline is that EMRR is stealing all of the CPU time.

We believe this is from bots/spiders and it looks like despite my robots.txt blocker, they like to get into many areas.

Here were two suspect areas:

1) I had an shtml file that had links to a bunch of CPU intensive site maintenance files accessable only through my myEMRR page. The bots were able to go into that page due to review caching that leaves the link back to myEMRR. I have killed that file from the server and will generate it manually through a script.

2) The bots seem to follow the little "refresh" links in the reviews so that they show the review, follow the refresh, show the review and follow the refresh again and again!

* Numbers after + are successful hits on "robots.txt" files

So, last night I:

1) eliminated the "refresh" link on the reviews

2) changed the self-refresh check on the reviews to only refresh if:
a) there is a new guest opinion - done upon validation
b) there is a new rocket specific tip - done upon validation
c) if a new flight log has been added - this is done at midnight
d) if it is more than 15 days old (catch all; will pickup RockSIM, Rec Motors)

Today I:

1) changed the arcbuild to create cached shtml files and to only refresh upon changes to the master database. This will improve the speed of the site for you and reduce CPU time (for me)

Tomorrow I will:

1) Implement a bot detection throttle which will prevent the two main scripts from running more than 10-15 requests from the same IP within 1 minute

If anyone has any experience in reducing CPU time via perl scripting, please let me know.

2/22/09 Update:

I spent a lot of time doing the following:

1) eliminated the "refresh" link in the pages to prevent bot cycles
2) adjusted the arcbuild script to create cache pages that only refresh upon changes (faster for you)
3) eliminated a double load of a who's on counter file
4) implemented a 60-second pause page for any IP that hits the site > 10 within 1 minute
5) improved robots.txt using a professional to ID false bots to block them
6) eliminated an admin file that allowed the BOT to run some very intensive scripts that are used periodically to check the sites database/integrity

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stories and Tips

Within a month of starting EMRR, I had initiated Guest Experiences (February 1998). This was a collection of comments about various rockets and experiences in rocketry. The introduction of this feature on EMRR was simply a text-based page that folks could read, as is.

In November 1998, Mike Kent said he’d help with a project of separating the Guest Experiences into two separate databases: Guest Stories and Hints/Tips. This allowed EMRR to introduced the Hints/Tips database by the end of November 1998. EMRR has no knowledge of where Mike is or what he is up to, but his initial separating work has lasted more than 10 years on EMRR.

hint (hint) an indirect, covert, or helpful suggestion;


tip (tip) a useful hint or idea; a basic, practical


By April 1999, EMRR had flipped the text files into databases and implemented searching and a form that allowed EMRR guests to submit input into the Stories and Tips databases.

The next set of updates came in 2002 when EMRR had amassed 256 Stories and 253 Hints/Tips. Starting in March, EMRR further split the growing Hints/Tips database into generic Tips and Rocket Specific Tips. These Rocket Specific Tips were then placed at the bottom of each of the dynamically built review pages. In April, just for some visual content, EMRR collected a bunch of pictures for the various story categories and added a random picture selection to the Stories display pages. (I regret not asking for pictures from the very beginning.)

Specific Rocket Tips are observations, hints, tips and even some modifications that guests have made to specific rocket kits. Guests share their advice and this is shown along with the review, so that when folks are reading the review or building the same rocket they can have some extra guidance from others that have experience with the kit. These have been a real success and we continue to see growth.



The next evolution in Stories and Tips came in December 2004 and January 2006, respectively. At these times, EMRR introduced the first Featured Story and Featured Tip. What makes them featured? More content and a series of pictures.

fea-tured (fee'chuhrd) made a feature or highlight; given prominence


There are presently 29 Featured Stories. The most recent additions are stories that support a Youth Participation/Outreach Contest that EMRR held in 2008.

In June 2007, EMRR updated the Featured Tips page to present similar tips from the database at the bottom of the Featured Tip being displayed. In addition, there were a number of scratch articles that were really tips, so EMRR moved them over to the tips database. Presently there are 57 Featured Tips.

All-in-all, Stories and Hints/Tip (especially Rocket Specific Tips) have been a great added feature of EMRR.

Next Up: Flight Logs

Thursday, February 12, 2009

EMRR Script Directory Pointer Changes

If you point to reviews and other items on EMRR you may need to make the following changes. To make global changes, you should consider using a global search and replace tool. Here's a free one http://www.digitalvolcano.co.uk/textcrawler.html

Change cgi-bin/rocksim/ to cgi-bin/resources/

Change cgi-bin/rvwbuild/ to cgi-bin/reviews/

Change cgi-bin/arcbuild/ to cgi-bin/reviews/

The old directories will go away on 3/1

For example: The old directory pointer to a review was:

"cgi-bin/rvwbuild/rvwbuild.cgi?data...."

Only the directory changed to "reviews" so it will become:

"cgi-bin/reviews/rvwbuild.cgi?data..."

Box O Parts Deadline Approaching

If you are going to play you need to declare your participation and parts...tick-tock!

General update of a nice selection of reviews.

Some directory simplification taking place which may effect your links into EMRR (read the Blog and eList Newsletter).

Elevate Eleven Idea: Drag race with 11 rockets...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A General Update (for you!)

It is time to make your declarations for the new Box O' Parts contest. Outside of a typical update, I've been busy writing the scripts needed for the next EMRR on CD.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

2009 Box O' Parts Contest - GO!

We are pleased to announce another Box O' Parts contest. This one has a few twists, but should be very exciting.

For those wondering where some of their reviews are… we had a slight back-log in formatting and are working through them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

EMRR is ELEVEN!


Yes, we surpassed a decade! Come help us celebrate by participating in our "Elevate Eleven" contest. We've come up with prizes recognizing another anniversary: the Apollo 11 Mission which put placed man on the moon.

We are now officially announcing the 2009 EMRR Challenge and the 2009 Design this Spaceship contest. All prizes are set... thank the sponsors by placing an order with them this week!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Challenge and Design this Spaceship Pre-Announcement


We are pleased to do a pre-announcement of our 2009 EMRR Challenge with a theme of “The next STAGE to take in rocketry”. That’s right staging focus.


What you will find about this challenge:

  • Many more prizes from EMRR-ware as you move up the levels. Right now Gold Prize is not finalized. I’m working on this. Special thanks to Semroc for the Silver Prize and Squirrel Works for the Bronze prize.

  • You will quickly see is that it will be significantly easier to get to Green (as few as 2 rockets) and even Bronze (as few as 3 rockets). To get to Silver (as few as 4 rockets), you'll have to do extra points, have many more flights, or do the big challenge (Design this Spaceship). For Gold (is basically 5 rockets).

  • We have kept the milestone bonuses in place which helps you but encourage participation and not procrastination. It helps me avoid getting slammed with entries.

  • The HIT LIST is generated by YOU… so pick something from your pile that you plan on building and that also does not have a review on EMRR. How easy can that be?

  • Are you in into Mid or High Power, then there is a Staging bonus for using only composites.

  • Are you out flying a lot during the year? Then you will be 1 point for every 10 flights (maximum 4 points) for recording those flight logs… but be aware: at least 1 in 10 must have a photo attached to it.



At the same time, we are pre-announcing the 2009 Design this Spaceship contest with the theme of “Future of Space Travel”.


What you will notice about this contest:

  • Designs are better suited to the wide-variety of skill and available supplies that most rocketeers have.

  • There are no real “pull-away” designs.

  • Up to 15 bonus points are available for staging and looks of the booster you use
    Prizes and a sponsor are coming….



We hope you like what you see ahead of you… and look-forward to your participation.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Quest Motors and Ice Cream!


I just received my large order from Quest including a couple of the Area 51 SPEV UFO Saucers and a "Best Value Micro Maxx Super Starter Set" to get me back into MicroMaxx. (Good thing because my Area 51 SPEV came with a free Micro Maxx Saucer).

Also a few of their kits and one particular kit for my son.

I also order a lot of motors including two "Master Blaster Model Rocket Engine Pack's". This should take care of my 18mm flying needs for 2009.

But that isn't what this little Blog is about. The title says Ice Cream. Yes, I said Ice Cream. This is what came to mind when I saw the new packing for the C6-0 motors from Quest. Not your typical ice cream, but the packs of Space Ice Cream... you know, the freeze-dried stuff. Well, maybe it's just me!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome to 2009!

We are kicking off our 14-Day Fund Raiser and doing all the end of year maintenance.

The EMRR Guest's Hit List is now being populated.

For 2009, I decided to have a Guest Generated Hit List, so go to your pile and identify some rockets that you plan to build in 2009 that are NOT already reviewed on EMRR.

Send me that list and they will show up on the Hit List, along with some others.