River City Racing VIR 24 hour Classic Race Recap

This recap is from the August 9 – 10, 2014 ChumpCar 24 hour race in the #301 River City Racing Nissan 240SX.
The week before the race, many of us were up to 2-3am in the morning each night while going about our normal 9-5 jobs during the week trying to finish the car. A special thanks to Joey for all the effort put in to get us on track!On Thursday night, we stopped working to take the car around the block around 2am. Around 3am the car was loaded on the trailer and the gear was mostly packed. We met at 7am Friday and left with the car and two trailers around 8am after finishing our packing. We arrived at VIR, went through registration and unloaded in the paddock around noon. We went through a pre-race checklist developed for team Biohazard and were able to get the car ready enough for us to feel comfortable for some test laps. Morgan took the car out and soon found high air fuel ratios and saw our temperature quickly rise.

Upon inspection, the engine was clattering heavily and after removing the cam cover to inspect the valvetrain, a bad cam chain tensioner was found. The closest replacement part was 1.5 hours away and David drove to Greensboro and back to retrieve the required part. The part was installed the same night and validated as functioning but our practice time plus engine and clutch break-in time was lost. New air ducting was installed to improve cooling across our tiny oem radiator. As most of the team was new to ChumpCar, most members had to to through gear check-in. Some of the team had never put in hot laps at any racetrack, let alone the very technical and challenging VIR Grand course!

On Saturday morning, the team met around 8am and began to prepare for the event. It was raining heavily and ours was one of the later cars to enter the track. This was good however, as the pace could be kept low to work with a completely new car with many new parts that had never been run before. While the team did think about defogging, thanks to teams Racing Strong Motorsports & Biohazard, a squeegee was the only solution that could be arranged in time for the race start.

The first session in any ChumpCar race is filled with incidents and the consistent rain and green track made this start especially attrition filled. James started the race and took it easy to keep everything together and to debug the car in the mess of the first session. After running for a few, laps it became evident that the fog could not be cleaned fast enough for safely racing at speed! The rear brakes were also found to be FAR to aggressive, leading to lockup in nearly every braking event. A pit stop was taken to install ducting to bring airflow to the rear of the windshield and replace the rear pads. The team did an amazing job and had the pads replaced in just minutes!

The fog solution was completely resolved, unfortunately now, water entered the ducting to the window and on the straightaways, the water spray onto the window leading to visibility problems. Another pitstop later and holes were punched to drain the ducting and a cover was made. The cover later had to be modified to increase airflow but our fogging solution was now resolved and the car was handling well.

Drew was next in the car and did an amazing job. This was Drew’s first time in a racecar on a race course and this was in the rain with a new car in wheel to wheel racing! Drew immediately showed good pace and kept the car together. Each pit stop was slow, around 12 minutes, compared to the 5 minute stops of well practiced teams. This was our first race and modifications were being done each pit stop to improve the car and check on basics like oil level, pad wear, tire pressure, tire temperature, etc.

Kevin was next in the car and was also able to show immediate pace. Kevin is an accomplished autocrosser and this showed through at his first wheel to wheel racing event on a full road course! The course began to dry and Kevin’s times dropped with the conditions. Our clutch began showing slippage through Kevin’s session.

Alex was next in the car and also showed immediate pace. As the course continued to dry out, Alex picked up the pace and continued to set times we weren’t sure the car was capable of. The clutch condition worsened through this session and we found that the closest replacement clutch was hours away. Another cooperative team, #777 Wood is Wonderful, from the Lake Gaston area was able to provide a spare clutch. The team decided to employ a comically unique approach Morgan found. The solution was to mix Coke & flour and put this directly onto the clutch! We joked that if this solution worked, we would have to publish it and tell it to everyone.

David went in at the next pit stop and while the clutch felt better initially, it did continue to slip. David quickly found the pace and with the continually improving conditions, set our fastest time of the day! Another car gave David a bump but only smeared some rubber on our drivers side door, allowing the car to continue. Conditions began to worsen once again as our wet weekend started to get dark, requiring our driving lights be installed at the next pit stop.

Morgan was next in the car and quickly found our lighting solution to be inadequate. Fortunately, Morgan’s skill as a driver enabled him to set excellent times through the difficult and dark conditions which were difficult to see through.

At the end of Morgan’s session, we were happy to have achieved the lofty goal of getting every member of the team a full stint in this wheel to wheel endurance racing series. Luckily, all team members but Morgan were able to drive a full two hours to learn the course before the dark conditions, so we were able to work around our lighting problems.

Through the remainder of the event, the brakes warped heavily due to lack of cooling but later improved. The clutch worsened dramatically to a point of functioning like a CVT and only holding about ¼ throttle on the straights only to come back to full function by the end of the race. Whether by good fortune or a functional coke & flour solution, we will never know.

The car overheated and was brought in by Alex before any serious damage was done! Another bullet dodged by driver awareness from our amazing group. The problem was found, resolved as rapidly as possible and Alex was sent back out on track to complete his session. The remaining sessions saw improving conditions and corresponding lap times where a new fastest time was set by David in the morning and then Morgan during the last session with a forming dry line.

The team managed to get the car put together just in time for the event. The team sailed through technical inspection. The drivers demonstrated excellence across the board in pace, driving in inclement conditions, and especially keeping the driving clean and safe to keep the car in one piece. We received excellent support from friends and family, including Gretchen without whom we would not have had our defogging solution or clutch solution.

Congratulations to everyone involved with River City Racing! The team exceeded every possible expectation and surprised veteran teams across the board by finishing 38th of nearly 100 cars in difficult conditions with no incidents!

Dropbox made a poor choice with their newest Android version

I switched from Verizon to Straightalk on AT&T and reset my phone in the process.  I reinstalled my apps and everything worked fine except Dropbox.  Specifically, the automatic camera upload feature did not work.

So, I look into this in the settings and only find the option to connect to a personal Dropbox.  I have a business / team account with my company. I try to connect this to my Dropbox account and I am told I cannot connect it to the same account.  Crap.  I find this relevant article -> https://www.dropbox.com/help/307/en .  The summary is that Business users now need to create their own personal accounts or manually upload the photos.  I contact Dropbox support for a workaround and get the same information.

Here is where it breaks down for me.  I don’t need or want a personal account that makes file management more difficult and obfuscates my data further.  Do I need another email and password and login to access the information I could previously access in one location?  No.  I understand the use case here and I think only having camera upload on by default for personal accounts is wise for the majority.  Allowing a connection from business to personal accounts is also wise for those who want this capability.  However, completely disallowing a business user from using a previously available feature with their higher cost plan is a problem.  There are business users who have legitimate business needs for their cameras with their business Dropbox accounts.  Why completely prevent those users from selecting this option?

Generally, Dropbox is fantastic and it has made a huge improvement at work, at home and for my data management in general.  File revisions are a life saver as well as being able to easily sync between a mix of devices.  This is one of the few times Dropbox has made a design choice that is a genuine disappointment.  I hope they will hear from more business users to understand that this feature should not be specifically and wholly excluded from the business accounts.

Update:  I found a short term resolution.  The version I had installed with this frustrating limitation was v2.4.2 of the Dropbox Android App.  I looked for older versions and found them here: http://dropbox.en.uptodown.com/android/old .  I tried v2.4.1 which had the same issue.  I then went back to v2.3.12.10 and was able to restore full function!  I turned off auto-update on this version and will be keeping this version until Dropbox resolves this problem.




Finally winning the Ant war

2016 Update: Still winning the ant war and I maintain more properties now.  I’m still using the TERRO PreFilled Liquid Ant Killer II Baits 6 Pack T300 and TERRO Outdoor Liquid Ant Bait 6 pack T1806 for bigger nests.  I’ve tapered off my use of TERRO 600 1-Pound Ant Killer Dust a bit. The only major change is this stuff for when you just are $#@!ing around anymore, Termidor.

I moved to a property in 2012 that has a lot of ants.  Local pest control companies wanted $250+ for the first visit and $65 or so for followup visits.  I have a rental property where they charge far less but for whatever reason they are classified differently.  The ants are coming into the home, trees, planters, gardens, garage, shed, etc.  I started with Ortho Home Defense MAX Indoor and Perimeter Insect Killer RTU Wand, 1.1-Gallon which partially effective for exterior perimeter but I would not recommend.  Perhaps it would be better indoors than out.

Next, I started to use these little traps TERRO PreFilled Liquid Ant Killer II Baits 6 Pack T300.  While they were more effective, they usually did not kill the colony.  I used several other products which were less effective and then decided to step  up the war with the larger traps TERRO Outdoor Liquid Ant Bait 6 pack T1806.  While more effective, these were only a solution for closed environments like planters or raised gardens.  I would recommend a combination fo the little and bigger bait traps for a garden where you don’t want to spray chemicals.

The final ingredient I was missing was a way to prevent the small group of remaining ants from reaching the house, tree, shed etc. TERRO 600 1-Pound Ant Killer Dust did the job and them some.  At this point, the pest issue is under control for the ants I can see.


Dog Chews

I have  a Shiba Inu who develops plaque on his teeth consistently.  My vet years ago told me to provide him with rawhide chews to help clean his teeth.  While this did keep his teeth cleaner, he would vomit a whitish liquid after chewing on one for 15 minutes or more.  I tried several different brands and types with the same result.

Naturally, I stopped giving him the chews as they made him vomit.  I could not find another good method to clean his teeth and daily brushing was only moderately effective.  I did have him cleaned at the vet periodically but as he is older now, I didn’t want to have him put under for this any longer.

After talking with a different vet about the issue, he suggested that I try USA made rawhides because the products from Asia, Mexico, Brazil, etc used arsenic and other chemicals in the hide processing & drying.  I tried a brand called Wholesome Hide Chewsthat I purchased from Cherrybrook Pet Supplies.

The chews work, his teeth are cleaner, all is well.  I relate this to pet owner friends often and as I am re-ordering just realized this would be a helpful blog post for many dog owners.

Verizon Motorola Razr MAXX

My Verizon based Motorola Razr MAXX phone has slowed down substantially over the years and is currently at a point where it will take 30 seconds or more to respond to user inputs.  I chose to clean off most of the applications I had accumulated over the years which had a positive effect but was not fully restorative.  I also removed 1000s of images held on the camera and synced to Dropbox which further improved the phone but still did not bring the phone back to original form.

Last night, I chose to perform a factory reset on my Razr MAXX to bring the phone back to its original performance.  After the factory restore, I was faced with a large list of bloatware and applications I didn’t necessarily want re-installed immediately.  I use two Google accounts with the phone so they each come with their own applications.

Here is a list of the applications I chose to freeze or disable:

  • Android Live Wallpapers
  • Stop & Clear Data & Clear Cache on Backup Assistant Plus, Backup Assistant+ Contacts Client, Backup Assistant+ Media
  • com.motorola.huxvmm.setting
  • Face Unlock
  • Forest Wallpaper
  • Help Center
  • How to Videos
  • Home Screen Tips
  • Let’s Golf 2
  • Magic Smoke Wallpapers
  • Movie Studio
  • My Verizon Mobile
  • Music Visualization Wallpapers
  • newbayservice (runs backup assistant)
  • NFL Mobile
  • Rescue Security
  • Setup Wizard
  • Slacker Radio
  • Swype
  • Verizon Login
  • Verizon Tones
  • Video Calling
  • VZ Navigator

A fantastic list of applications you can freeze or disable is here:

The summary is that the phone is now far better than it was and is much closer to original condition.  I still have many Apps installed such as Dropbox, Facebook, two email accounts, etc that keep the phone from performing like the first day I owned it.  I tried a MotoX with Republic Wireless for a brief period and while the phone was fantastic, the service was not.

Update:  I ended up getting a MotoX to replace my Motorola Razr MAXX as I continued to have issues on the newest Android OS.

Allworx Security Vulnerability

For the first time, our Allworx 6x system was hacked and made to initiate fraudulent calls internationally.  Our SIP trunk provider, bandwidth.com, caught the error and shut down the calls which were initiated early on a Saturday.  I happened to be in the office working on Saturday and Sunday worked on the issue when I saw the service was clamped on Sunday.

The very short version of the story is that the hacker spoofed one of our generic sip phones and remotely initiated a large number of international calls.

We are on the most current Allworx firmware ( as I write this article and we have used this Allworx 6x system for many years at this point.

We use a Polycom 6000 and 5000 respectively for two conference rooms.  We don’t believe the hackers gained access to the phones directly or to the Allworx 6x directly.  It appears that they were able to remotely initiate calls to the Allworx using the Polycom 6000’s login username and password.  We created more robust usernames and passwords for all of our generic sip phones.  The login usernames changed from the SIP registration data such as 5111 to a longer, descriptive name.  The passwords went from a few digits to many digits.  This doesn’t have any effect on the use of the phone so there is no reason to choose a simple password here.  The passwords were changed on the Polycom speakerphones and similar devices and the Allworx 6x password was changed.

After emailing with our rep regarding the issue, a very simple question came up.  Can’t we just block external calls for these generic sip phones? If we were able to associate the SIP registration with an IP, MAC address or even just to say the call must be initiated from within the local network the problem would be immediately solved.  In fact, this is so simplistic, one has to ask why isn’t this security step 2 right after the username and password? Such an omission seems negligent unless I am missing something.

From what I currently understand, it appears that the Allworx box is set up to accept remote calls for a generic sip phone given the proper credentials with no concern for the validity of the source.  This means that any hacker can sit and hammer away at your Allworx box using brute force methods to gain access to calling abilities on your call system.  Some INVITES were rejected based on our logs but clearly the hackers were able to work around the infrequent rejections.


For reference, here is the current list of Security Recommendations from Allworx:

Suggested Security Best Practices


One of the primary advantages of the Allworx family of products is its flexibility in configuration and settings in a way that is easy to understand. Security is an important consideration, and we are constantly striving to improve our systems to protect our partners and their customers. It is also equally imperative that you never knowingly put your customer in a situation where it is easy for fraudulent attacks to compromise their Allworx systems.

We are investigating reported instances and have seen fraudulent SIP registration attacks that search public IP addresses and gain access to either an Allworx server or, most recently, to remote Allworx handsets not installed behind a firewall. We have also received reports of recent toll fraud incidents in which fraudulent attacks take over the SIP registration of an Allworx handset attached to a public network. This document summarizes the security best practices to prevent security compromises.

What You Should Do

When installing an Allworx system, it is imperative to use the proper security settings so that hostile, unauthorized attempts to access the system do not result in situations where either remote access or the spoofing of handsets can occur. Most often, the result is unauthorized calling and toll fraud. Compromises usually start with port scans to determine if a host is a candidate for unauthorized access. Disabling the use of ports often discourages a fraudulent attack, and the attacker will move on to another IP.

Please implement the following practices when installing any Allworx system:


  • Update every server to the most recent patch level of either the 7.3 or 7.4 software release. For example, releases and higher, or and higher. These patches change each Allworx phone SIP registration passwords during the phone reboot.
  • Install the server behind a firewall or connect it to the public internet using the WAN port. DO NOT connect the Allworx LAN port directly onto the public internet.
  • Disable Allworx WAN services (ports) not in use.
  • Change voicemail ports (SMTP and IMAP) to non-standard port numbers.
  • Change all server admin, phone admin, and user passwords from the default values.
  • Use strong passwords for server and phone administration pages. DO NOT use simple passwords such as “1234” or “Allworx”.
  • Verify that there is no exposure of the Admin Page (Port 8080) to the Public network. DO NOT port forward directly to the LAN port of an Allworx server from the customer’s router. For remote maintenance, use the Allworx VPN. Navigate to Home > Network > VPN > modify to configure the VPN settings.

When configuring WAN interface to connect to the public internet:

  • Enable the server in NAT Firewall mode, preferably with Stealth DMZ. In stealth mode, the WAN interface does not respond to “pings” from other devices.

Remote phones

Password protection is very important to avoid fraudulent attacks on remote phones. Implement the following practices when installing an Allworx remote phone:

  • Use a strong password for the phone administration password. DO NOT use simple passwords such as “1234” or “Allworx”, (Home > Servers > VoIP > modify > Phone Administration Password).
  • Use a strong password for the Plug ‘n’ Play Secret Key. DO NOT use simple passwords such as “1234” or “Allworx”. (Home > Servers > VoIP > modify > Plug ‘n’ Play Secret Key).
  • Use proper firewall protection to connect remote Allworx phones to the public Internet. Allworx handsets provide web access to important information, including its login credentials and SIP Registration password. Phones with weak Phone Administration Passwords can easily have the SIP Registration passwords stolen.
  • Disable Phone Creates via LAN and WAN Plug and Play except during phone installation.

Px Expander

  • Change the Px admin password from the default value.
  • Use a strong password for the Px admin password. DO NOT use a simple password such as “1234” or “Allworx”.
  • Use proper firewall protection to connect remote Allworx Px Expanders to the public Internet. The Px Expander provides web access to important information, including its login credentials and SIP Registration password.
  • Disable Phone Creates via LAN and WAN Plug and Play except during phone installation.

Other Considerations

Evidence from recent security incidents does not show attackers penetrating firewalls to access customer LANs or the servers/phones on customer LANs. Nonetheless, because aggressive malware/botnet/spyware attacks are known to compromise many desktop PCs, encourage customers to deploy LAN security solutions including:

  • Maintaining up-to-date anti-virus/anti-malware protection on LAN systems.
  • Deploying phones on VLANs to reduce opportunities to sniff SIP phone network traffic. This also improves network Quality of Service for phone traffic.
  • Reporting any observed activity to Allworx Technical support immediately so we can investigate and stay in front of these malicious attempts.

Trying out Republic Wireless and how I evaluated other options

I have a Motorola Droid Razr Maxx on Verizon Wireless sharing a plan with another person which costs me about $75 / month.  While the service is good, the plans have only increased in price for even the most basic level of service.  Adding to  the increases are many new services available from no contract providers following the International model of phone use.

To put it simply, we pay more here in the USA on contract plans with the likes of AT&T and Verizon compared to service in other Countries.  A lot more.  T-Mobile is breaking that system currently, offering excellent no contract plans and finally improving the pricing model for all.  AT&T and Verizon are reacting with new plans that are still off-target in my view.

After doing some research, I’ll put forward the options I found and explain why I went the way I did.

#5 No contract plan from AT&T or Verizon.  Expensive ($60) with phones I did no like. ~$120 yearly savings.

#4 T-Mobile no contract plan.  Better pricing based on usage, can bring your own phone.  Still $50 – 60 per month + a new phone in my situation.  T-Mobile coverage is poor compared to Verizon in the areas I travel in (Southwest & Central Virginia). ~$120 – 240 yearly savings.

#3 Ting Wireless.  Wonderful plan in which you use exactly what you need.  I should end up right around $44 per month + phone cost.  Phones are expensive directly but you can bring your own CDMA device.  What stopped me is the network methodology.  The primary network is Sprint on which data is available.  The secondary is network is Verizon on which data is NOT available.  Spring coverage is very poor at home, work and where I travel and I use mobile data often. ~$320 yearly savings.

#2 Straight Talk Wireless.  $45 per month + phone cost.  Pick your network (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile).  Traditional plan, straightforward. Data is tapered around 2 – 2.5GB leading to some complaints.  I usually end up near 500MB and was unconcerned about this limitation.  This seems like a great option if not for #1.  ~$320 yearly savings.

#1 Republic Wireless.  $25 on 3G ($40 on 4G) + phone cost.  EXPERIMENTAL.  We use SIP trunks at work rather than traditional copper lines through Bandwidth.com.  These are the same people that run Republic Wireless and the model is the same.  They put you on wireless and initiate a SIP based call when and if available.  They seamlessly hop between wireless and actual cell.  They only offer a couple of phones but I happen to like their choice (MotoX) which they offer at $299 which is an excellent price.  This system uses Sprint as a primary provider and Verizon as a secondary provider with data available on both.  ~$550 yearly savings.

I am in the trial period and have not switched over my Verizon number yet.  If Republic fails to meet my expectations, I will simply go with Straight Talk and select Verizon as the carrier and use my existing phone or the Republic MotoX.  Either way, the savings will be significant and I will not be bound to a wireless contract.  I am happy with these new options and glad to see this market finally take hold in the USA.

My observations so far with Republic:

  • The wireless to cell handoff is quite good.  I have tested this on calls many times now with excellent results thus far.
  • Wifi calls lead to high levels of buffering such that you can expect 500ms or more before you receive a response from the person you are talking to.  This delay makes conversation slightly more akward.
  • The system favors being on Wifi which may encourage you to hop onto less secure locations when travelling.
  • I have experienced jitter and garbled communication due to two problems.  Wireless latency and a problematic service provider (Comcast).  Comcast service in my area is poor with excessive jitter, excessive downtime, random connection losses, etc.  This means that with my ISP so goes my voice service now that they are tied.  In a total disconnect, the phone will hop to a cell tower. (I think, I am not made fully aware while talking)
  • It so happens that I am in a zone with a weak Sprint tower and an excellent Verizon tower.  As this system heavily favors the Sprint network, my situation is a worst case scenario when Comcast starts to fail.  My phone call has to bounce to Sprint then hopefully Verizon.  The phone will sometimes hold onto a poor Sprint tower before successfully moving to a Verizon tower.  (I think, I am not made fully aware while talking)
  • From experience with our office phones, I can say that Bandwidth.com SIP trunking has it’s own periodic issues.  With this system you are reliant on your ISP and Bandwith/Republic or your traditional cell carrier depending on whether you are on Wifi or not.
  • I plan to move my verizon number and if this doesn’t work just unlock the MotoX or use my older Razr MAXX with Straight Talk on Verizon.
  • Here is a complete list of Caveats for this system: http://republic-wireless.wikia.com/wiki/The_Complete_List_of_Caveats

I plan to update this Republic Wireless review as I use the service going forward.

Update:  I had garbled calls and calls I had to abandon on my work and home Wifi networks.  I also had several times where I was in a full coverage Verizon area and Republic would hold onto the Sprint tower AT ALL COSTS.  So, if I just wanted to look something up or check my email I would have to wait through several minutes of connection failures before the service would hop to the Verizon tower if at all.  If not for these two significant issues, I would have kept Republic.  As it is, I sent the phone back for a refund.  I also did not like the ~1 second buffer that made it hard to hold a flowing conversation with someone when on Wifi.  I should also note that the MotoX is a wonderful phone and it was only the service which posed a problem.

Second update: I have two co-workers who are using Republic and have been happy with the service but are more willing to deal with some of the little idiosyncrasies than I.  One has a MotoG and the other a MotoX.

Dominion Power in Mechanicsville, VA

Well, our office’s power has been unreliable despite the absence of any major storms or weather.  I came in today, I found several short power failures and one that lasted over an hour.  Some equipment had shut down, mission critical items were buffered against such an event.  Still, the lack of reliability is surprising given our location in Mechanicsville, VA.

2013-12-19 09:47:29 -0500  Power failure.
2013-12-19 09:47:29 -0500  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2013-12-19 16:47:29 -0500  Power failure.
2013-12-19 16:47:30 -0500  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2013-12-20 15:04:06 -0500  UPS Self Test switch to battery.
2013-12-20 15:04:33 -0500  UPS Self Test completed: Battery OK
2013-12-22 11:37:31 -0500  Power failure.
2013-12-22 11:37:32 -0500  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2013-12-22 11:37:52 -0500  Power failure.
2013-12-22 11:37:52 -0500  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2013-12-22 11:38:27 -0500  Power failure.
2013-12-22 11:38:28 -0500  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2013-12-22 11:38:29 -0500  Power failure.
2013-12-22 11:38:35 -0500  Running on UPS batteries.
2013-12-22 13:01:50 -0500  Mains returned. No longer on UPS batteries.
2013-12-22 13:01:50 -0500  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2013-12-23 09:01:32 -0500  Power failure.
2013-12-23 09:01:32 -0500  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2013-12-23 09:02:24 -0500  Power failure.
2013-12-23 09:02:25 -0500  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2013-12-23 09:03:03 -0500  Power failure.
2013-12-23 09:03:04 -0500  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2013-12-23 09:03:05 -0500  Power failure.
2013-12-23 09:03:06 -0500  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2013-12-24 07:01:11 -0500  Power failure.
2013-12-24 07:01:11 -0500  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2013-12-25 03:04:24 -0500  Power failure.
2013-12-25 03:04:25 -0500  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2013-12-25 16:34:15 -0500  Power failure.
2013-12-25 16:34:15 -0500  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2013-12-26 03:20:53 -0500  Power failure.
2013-12-26 03:20:54 -0500  Power is back. UPS running on mains.

Sighthound Video

Several years ago, I looked for an ip camera system that would help reduce noise (false positives), install simply and work with a wide variety of cameras and encoding formats.  I wanted a software package that I could install on flexible computer hardware without any specialized camera needs acting as a central recording hub.  Vitamin D Video fit the bill and we used this system with various cameras from Panasonic, Axis, & Sharx.

In dealing with Vitamin D Video, I felt that we were one of their fringe customers using a higher number of cameras than typical. I scaled our hardware with a high end processor and respectable raid array for the job.  This system worked well for years until moving to a larger facility this year with some new cameras.  The HD video revolution has pushed resolutions higher quickly and at low cost.  Mid-tier cameras in 2013 ($350) are dramatically better than some expensive ones in 2008 ($1500).

The new cameras came with new Codecs and some new requirements. Sadly Vitamin D Video was not continuing development.  I got everything working using some older codecs and using reduced resolution.  After contacting Vitamin D for news about development, I found that Sighthound Video was picking up the project where Vitamin D left off.  Initially I thought this might be a rag-tag group of former developers until they really started to push the platform development at an unexpectedly rapid pace.

Now I have most of the features necessary for our multi camera environment with an excellent platform that is seeing active development again.  I highly recommend this platform as it takes a lot of the work out of similar options (even the free ones and the more expensive ones).  http://sighthoundlabs.com

Error: QuickBooks has a problem in reading this registration file: qbregistration.dat resolution

I installed a Microsoft update today, Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.1 for Windows 7 x64-based Systems (KB2858725).  After a reboot and some other updates I ran into a problem with Quickbooks Enterprise v11 (we haven’t upgraded due to issues in 12 & 13).  I received an error message whose exact text I did not copy but it went something like Error: QuickBooks has a problem in reading this registration file: qbregistration.dat .

Basically, Quickbooks could not open because it had lost my registration information.  I was directed to some help files by a Quickbooks popup message.  I validated that the file was in the proper location and intact.  I went to http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=15697#filelist and downloaded, then installed msxml.msi .  Once this package was installed, the issue was resolved.

This help article was useful though I picked a specific part of one method to a resolution shortcut:

I did not need to re-create the qbregistration.dat file but here is a relevant article: