Date   

Re: Grid chase 2022

Gordon Beattie, W2TTT
 

Hi Folks,

Please consider these thoughts and refrain from flaming.  It's unbecoming, tiresome, and doesn't accomplish anything.

Let's be clear that the ARRL CEO, Dave Minster has extensive academic and operational leadership experience in entrepreneurial environments.  It begins with an IT degree from Ohio State and progresses through a long, successful career where he has managed customers, products, employees and shareholders with excellent interpersonal and technical skills across a wide-ranging portfolio. 

Here's Dave's LinkedIn page.

Anyone who has contested or DX'd with Dave knows of his skills, competitiveness, and grace when dealing with complex technical and interpersonal challenges. 

The timeframe of the LOTW development has spanned the terms of four CEOs, some of whom did not manage effectively.  Often their effectiveness was driven by issues on the ARRL Board. The Board is the CEO's boss along with the membership.  The Board's own collective style, perspective and skills have recently been evolving to the betterment of the ARRL membership, but change takes time.  Some decisions will be unpopular, but a revised roadmap for LOTW has to be considered in the broader and more important context of a roadmap for the ARRL and Amateur Radio. 

The priorities of different segments of the Amateur Radio community vary according to how one operates.  Lifestyles, physical circumstances, age, and other factors drive different activities that impact LOTW, ARRL membership, and the overall attractiveness of our wonderful hobby and the ways we pursue it.  The ARRL CEO, the Board, and HQ staff balance the diverse needs of the membership and sometimes our favorite aspect of the hobby is not on top of the worklist.  This is not to say that there is no progress, but it may be at a slower pace, or include elements needed to address the needs of other members. 

Arguing about prior decisions, architecture, and business requirements when most of those involved in the process are no longer on the scene, makes little sense and is a waste of energy that does not advance the cause.  "No point in crying over spilt milk." 

73,
Gordon Beattie, W2TTT
201.314.6964
W2TTT@...



From: ARRL-Awards@... <ARRL-Awards@...> on behalf of Dave AA6YQ <aa6yq@...>
Sent: Saturday, November 27, 2021, 22:02
To: ARRL-Awards@...
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Awards] Grid chase 2022

+ AA6YQ comments below
 
               What is an “SAP Database Engine”?

+ A database is a mechanism that stores large quantities of data in one or more tables, and facilitates its rapid retrieval. For example, LoTW's database has a table that stores the QSOs each use submits, and an indication of whether that QSO is confirmed for DXCC, VUCC, WAS, WAZ, and/or WPX. A database engine is the mechanism the provides this storage and retrieval functionality. SAP is a company that develops and sells database engines. The develop of LoTW chose to incorporate SAP's database engine in LoTW rather than take time to develop his own.

                What is an “ODBL Interface”?

+ ODBC is an abbreviation for "Open Database Connectivity". It's an industry standard way that an application like LoTW interacts with a database engine. An application that interacts with a database engine via ODBC can replace one vendor's ODBC-compliant database engine with another vendor's ODBC-compliant database engine with little or no change to the application; such a change might be made to increase capacity, increase performance, or reduce cost.

                What is a “Proprietary Interface?”

+ The version of the SAP database engine that the LoTW developer chose did not support an ODBC interface. LoTW interacted with it  through a specific set of invocations that were unique to SAP. Thus this database engine could not easily be replaced with another vendor's database engine. In the SAP case, LoTW could not even upgrade to the currently-supported version of the SAP database engine because that currently-supported engine employed an ODBC interface, not the proprietary interface used by its predecessor.

                What is a “Cloud Oriented Database Engine?”

+ "The cloud" is a term used to refer to computational resources accessible via the internet. Companies like Amazon, Google, and Oracle maintain large datacenters around the world and sell access to these resources to companies who would rather rent these resources on an as-needed basis than maintain them. Besides eliminating the need to maintain a data centers, computational resources in the cloud are elastic, meaning that they can expand and contract on an as-needed basis. Instead of maintaining a data center with enough computational resources to cover the largest conceivable load - around this time of year for online retailers, for example - one is only charged rent for resources actually used.

+ A company cannot acquire a database engine license for use on a computer in its data center and then deploy it in the cloud, unless the license explicitly permits it. The SAP database engine cannot be licensed for use in a cloud-hosted application. There are many database engines that can be used in cloud-hosted applications.

                What is a “Radiosport Interface?”

+  The "Radiosport Web Experience" refers to the proposed design of a set of web pages optimized for use by DXers and Contesters. Today's "LoTW Web Experience" is accessible here:

http://www.arrl.org/logbook-of-the-world

+ It is implemented with primitive and obsolete technology, making it difficult for ARRL personnel to update. It forces LoTW users to be aware of implementation details, like the need to link an LoTW account to a DXCC record. It provide little personalization. For example, you can't "inform" it that you're only pursuing DXCC in CW; it assumes that you are pursuing DXCC in every mode and on every band. Furthermore, it doesn't inform you when the latest ARRL DX News indicates that a station in a DXCC entity you haven't yet worked in CW will be QRV next week.

                What is “GetSimple” Content Management?

+ A "Content Management Engine" is a tool used to create, store, and manage the information that can be displayed by a web application. GetSimple is a specific Content Management Engine that was included with the tools the ARRL acquired to create and maintain everything accessible via arrl.org. It provides a small fixed-sized window in which raw HTML must be composed; HTML is the language that a web browser interprets to display a web page.

In one post, the author stated that “Step one was completed in 2016” but was interrupted by various programing tasks for unique events. Grid Chase was one mentioned. Grid Chase was not even held until 2018. How does this interfere with a task that was completed in 2016?

+ You are correct; implementing the Grid Chase Leaderboard did not adversely impact the LoTW Server improvement project.

Another comment made was that in 2018 we (the ARRL), hired staff with development tasks for LoTW, but were quickly reassigned to other duties, which have not been completed.

+ You misunderstood. The ARRL Board authorized the hiring of two dedicated developers for LoTW in 2013; it took several months to recruit, hire, and on-board them. One of them left after a year or two, and was replaced. Those two worked on LoTW until early 2018, when they were re-assigned to other projects unrelated to LoTW.

No mention of their release for the incompetence of those “other duties not completed,” so I presume, perhaps wrongly, they are still in employ by the ARRL.

+ What leads you to the conclusion that duties were not completed, or that these developers were incompetent? Neither is correct.

 Why are we paying them if that is the case? If one works 4 years for an organization and cannot complete their task, they should be certainly fired, and the salary expense associated put to better use.

+ If a developer does not complete a task because management directs them to stop working on it and instead work on a different task, it's not the developers fault that the original task was not completed. If management interrupts a developer in the middle of one task by asking them to work on another task, then management should expect that the first task will take longer to complete than if the developer had been allowed to complete it without interruption. Interrupts are the bane of software development, as a developer must keep large amounts of context in mind while working; if that that context is lost to an interrupt, time must be taken to re-establish it -- and that process is often imperfect, leading to an increase in the number of defects.

+ None of the developers hired to work on LoTW are now ARRL employees; my understanding is the one of them is willing to provide help on a contract basis.

Why is a “Radio Sport Web Presence” have priority to improvement of LoTW? Would that not be better addressed on the Contesting Web Pages of the arrl.org site?

+ The proposed "Radio Sport Web Presence" is a replacement for

http://www.arrl.org/logbook-of-the-world

+ and thus would provide a significant increase in LoTW's usability. Extending it to support contesting as well as DXing is justified by the many common needs of DXers and contesters, and the fact that many users engage in both activities.


Having an IT Director would have a positive influence on LoTW. It has been implied that we are failing to move in that direction even though the job position has been posted for some time.

+ It's a fact that more than a year has elapsed since the new CEO came on board, and that no IT Director has been hired.

Could the lack of hiring be related to salary considerations, relocation, qualifications, or any combination? Reading the posting the criteria to meet position requirements are stiff, narrowing down the field of eligible prospects. Those few may find that some of the above criteria to be too demanding in their stage of career development. Hence, much harder to find a suitable person. Which would be the best solution: Lower our standards to get a warm body on board, or keep looking until we find someone immensely qualified and suitable for our needs?

+ Lowering standards to get a warm body on board is the worst possible course of action. Hiring competent software engineering leadership is extremely challenging, particularly for a non-profit organization that cannot offer equity (stock options). Well-led software companies develop software engineering leadership talent in-house, and provide a culture and compensation that retains that talent.

I too would pay extra, (not to be confused with membership dues), for enhanced use of programs such as LoTW. Surely, one who enjoys working with legacy equipment would not. We all have our niches.

+ If competently managed, the ARRL's Awards business, of which LoTW is a component, could easily be cash neutral or better. They don't even try.

It has been said a clear road map for LoTW was created in 2016. Even with my lack of training in computer science, that map could be used for a dumpster fire, as this is late 2021 and technology has marched right along.

+ No. The roadmap did not choose specific technologies. It refers to an ODBC-compliant database engine, not a specific database engine; there has been no significant change in database interface technologies since 2016. It refers to the selection of a user experience framework, not the use of a specific framework; better frameworks have become available, and we remain free to choose the one that best meets our needs.

The ARRL exists because of the inflow of substantial amounts of money through endowments, gifts, donations, fees for awards, classes, publications, membership, and profits from the ARRL Store. It also takes a large amount of money to cover the operational expenses. That being said, information exists that it has substantial amounts of investments. What are we holding the money for? As a suggestion, could a little be used towards LoTW? Not for paid staff or recurring expenses, but the one-time purchase of equipment or services. Or do we have plans for those investments, aside from those that are designated funds? What was this video about LoTW needing donations to operate? For viewing where would one find it?

+ Since Board Meetings are confidential and Board Meetings Minutes contain little information, your guess is as good as mine.

It seems like every positive suggestion that is posted is shot down by the recurring argument that it cannot be done, by a few naysayers who cite the past as a reason we cannot move forward.

+  That's false. The disagreement boils down to "take LoTW forward by incrementally improving what we have to achieve what we want", vs. "keep using what we have now while a new team spends several years building want we want". I advocate the "incremental" approach, consistent with the ARRL-LoTW Committee's roadmap. The ARRL CEO advocates starting over from scratch.

 Can’t we move forward with ideas making use of current resources (or those of the near past with “tweaking”) and doing the best we can with what we have?

+ There are no current resources. If we had resources, it would be critical to align everyone around a consistent set of objectives and constraints, from janitor to CEO to Board members. "Do the best we can with what we have" does not provide that alignment.

 Grid Chase: Maybe I’m wrong, but an insertion in the rules to eliminate robots and use the honor system, and updating the headings in the template could hardly take more than a day of LoTW time. Surely, we can handle that.

+ Congratulations, you've fallen into the pit of estimating how long it will take to do something about which you have zero understanding. There are plenty of skeletons around you.

+ I spent months using GetSimple to develop

https://lotw.arrl.org/lotw-help/

+ so I have a very good idea how long it takes to make changes.

     de AA6YQ








Re: Grid chase 2022

K8TS
 

Dave;

Thank you for taking the time to enlighten me.

73

Dale K8TS

 

Sent from Mail for Windows

 

From: Dave AA6YQ
Sent: Saturday, November 27, 2021 10:03 PM
To: ARRL-Awards@...
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Awards] Grid chase 2022

 

+ AA6YQ comments below

               What is an “SAP Database Engine”?

 

+ A database is a mechanism that stores large quantities of data in one or more tables, and facilitates its rapid retrieval. For example, LoTW's database has a table that stores the QSOs each use submits, and an indication of whether that QSO is confirmed for DXCC, VUCC, WAS, WAZ, and/or WPX. A database engine is the mechanism the provides this storage and retrieval functionality. SAP is a company that develops and sells database engines. The develop of LoTW chose to incorporate SAP's database engine in LoTW rather than take time to develop his own.

 

                What is an “ODBL Interface”?

 

+ ODBC is an abbreviation for "Open Database Connectivity". It's an industry standard way that an application like LoTW interacts with a database engine. An application that interacts with a database engine via ODBC can replace one vendor's ODBC-compliant database engine with another vendor's ODBC-compliant database engine with little or no change to the application; such a change might be made to increase capacity, increase performance, or reduce cost.

 

                What is a “Proprietary Interface?”

 

+ The version of the SAP database engine that the LoTW developer chose did not support an ODBC interface. LoTW interacted with it  through a specific set of invocations that were unique to SAP. Thus this database engine could not easily be replaced with another vendor's database engine. In the SAP case, LoTW could not even upgrade to the currently-supported version of the SAP database engine because that currently-supported engine employed an ODBC interface, not the proprietary interface used by its predecessor.

 

                What is a “Cloud Oriented Database Engine?”

 

+ "The cloud" is a term used to refer to computational resources accessible via the internet. Companies like Amazon, Google, and Oracle maintain large datacenters around the world and sell access to these resources to companies who would rather rent these resources on an as-needed basis than maintain them. Besides eliminating the need to maintain a data centers, computational resources in the cloud are elastic, meaning that they can expand and contract on an as-needed basis. Instead of maintaining a data center with enough computational resources to cover the largest conceivable load - around this time of year for online retailers, for example - one is only charged rent for resources actually used.

 

+ A company cannot acquire a database engine license for use on a computer in its data center and then deploy it in the cloud, unless the license explicitly permits it. The SAP database engine cannot be licensed for use in a cloud-hosted application. There are many database engines that can be used in cloud-hosted applications.

 

                What is a “Radiosport Interface?”

 

+  The "Radiosport Web Experience" refers to the proposed design of a set of web pages optimized for use by DXers and Contesters. Today's "LoTW Web Experience" is accessible here:

 

http://www.arrl.org/logbook-of-the-world

 

+ It is implemented with primitive and obsolete technology, making it difficult for ARRL personnel to update. It forces LoTW users to be aware of implementation details, like the need to link an LoTW account to a DXCC record. It provide little personalization. For example, you can't "inform" it that you're only pursuing DXCC in CW; it assumes that you are pursuing DXCC in every mode and on every band. Furthermore, it doesn't inform you when the latest ARRL DX News indicates that a station in a DXCC entity you haven't yet worked in CW will be QRV next week.

 

                What is “GetSimple” Content Management?

 

+ A "Content Management Engine" is a tool used to create, store, and manage the information that can be displayed by a web application. GetSimple is a specific Content Management Engine that was included with the tools the ARRL acquired to create and maintain everything accessible via arrl.org. It provides a small fixed-sized window in which raw HTML must be composed; HTML is the language that a web browser interprets to display a web page.

 

In one post, the author stated that “Step one was completed in 2016” but was interrupted by various programing tasks for unique events. Grid Chase was one mentioned. Grid Chase was not even held until 2018. How does this interfere with a task that was completed in 2016?

 

+ You are correct; implementing the Grid Chase Leaderboard did not adversely impact the LoTW Server improvement project.

 

Another comment made was that in 2018 we (the ARRL), hired staff with development tasks for LoTW, but were quickly reassigned to other duties, which have not been completed.

 

+ You misunderstood. The ARRL Board authorized the hiring of two dedicated developers for LoTW in 2013; it took several months to recruit, hire, and on-board them. One of them left after a year or two, and was replaced. Those two worked on LoTW until early 2018, when they were re-assigned to other projects unrelated to LoTW.

 

No mention of their release for the incompetence of those “other duties not completed,” so I presume, perhaps wrongly, they are still in employ by the ARRL.

 

+ What leads you to the conclusion that duties were not completed, or that these developers were incompetent? Neither is correct.

 

Why are we paying them if that is the case? If one works 4 years for an organization and cannot complete their task, they should be certainly fired, and the salary expense associated put to better use.

 

+ If a developer does not complete a task because management directs them to stop working on it and instead work on a different task, it's not the developers fault that the original task was not completed. If management interrupts a developer in the middle of one task by asking them to work on another task, then management should expect that the first task will take longer to complete than if the developer had been allowed to complete it without interruption. Interrupts are the bane of software development, as a developer must keep large amounts of context in mind while working; if that that context is lost to an interrupt, time must be taken to re-establish it -- and that process is often imperfect, leading to an increase in the number of defects.

 

+ None of the developers hired to work on LoTW are now ARRL employees; my understanding is the one of them is willing to provide help on a contract basis.

 

Why is a “Radio Sport Web Presence” have priority to improvement of LoTW? Would that not be better addressed on the Contesting Web Pages of the arrl.org site?

 

+ The proposed "Radio Sport Web Presence" is a replacement for

 

http://www.arrl.org/logbook-of-the-world

 

+ and thus would provide a significant increase in LoTW's usability. Extending it to support contesting as well as DXing is justified by the many common needs of DXers and contesters, and the fact that many users engage in both activities.

 

 

Having an IT Director would have a positive influence on LoTW. It has been implied that we are failing to move in that direction even though the job position has been posted for some time.

 

+ It's a fact that more than a year has elapsed since the new CEO came on board, and that no IT Director has been hired.

 

Could the lack of hiring be related to salary considerations, relocation, qualifications, or any combination? Reading the posting the criteria to meet position requirements are stiff, narrowing down the field of eligible prospects. Those few may find that some of the above criteria to be too demanding in their stage of career development. Hence, much harder to find a suitable person. Which would be the best solution: Lower our standards to get a warm body on board, or keep looking until we find someone immensely qualified and suitable for our needs?

 

+ Lowering standards to get a warm body on board is the worst possible course of action. Hiring competent software engineering leadership is extremely challenging, particularly for a non-profit organization that cannot offer equity (stock options). Well-led software companies develop software engineering leadership talent in-house, and provide a culture and compensation that retains that talent.

 

I too would pay extra, (not to be confused with membership dues), for enhanced use of programs such as LoTW. Surely, one who enjoys working with legacy equipment would not. We all have our niches.

 

+ If competently managed, the ARRL's Awards business, of which LoTW is a component, could easily be cash neutral or better. They don't even try.

 

It has been said a clear road map for LoTW was created in 2016. Even with my lack of training in computer science, that map could be used for a dumpster fire, as this is late 2021 and technology has marched right along.

 

+ No. The roadmap did not choose specific technologies. It refers to an ODBC-compliant database engine, not a specific database engine; there has been no significant change in database interface technologies since 2016. It refers to the selection of a user experience framework, not the use of a specific framework; better frameworks have become available, and we remain free to choose the one that best meets our needs.

 

The ARRL exists because of the inflow of substantial amounts of money through endowments, gifts, donations, fees for awards, classes, publications, membership, and profits from the ARRL Store. It also takes a large amount of money to cover the operational expenses. That being said, information exists that it has substantial amounts of investments. What are we holding the money for? As a suggestion, could a little be used towards LoTW? Not for paid staff or recurring expenses, but the one-time purchase of equipment or services. Or do we have plans for those investments, aside from those that are designated funds? What was this video about LoTW needing donations to operate? For viewing where would one find it?

 

+ Since Board Meetings are confidential and Board Meetings Minutes contain little information, your guess is as good as mine.

 

It seems like every positive suggestion that is posted is shot down by the recurring argument that it cannot be done, by a few naysayers who cite the past as a reason we cannot move forward.

 

+  That's false. The disagreement boils down to "take LoTW forward by incrementally improving what we have to achieve what we want", vs. "keep using what we have now while a new team spends several years building want we want". I advocate the "incremental" approach, consistent with the ARRL-LoTW Committee's roadmap. The ARRL CEO advocates starting over from scratch.

 

Can’t we move forward with ideas making use of current resources (or those of the near past with “tweaking”) and doing the best we can with what we have?

 

+ There are no current resources. If we had resources, it would be critical to align everyone around a consistent set of objectives and constraints, from janitor to CEO to Board members. "Do the best we can with what we have" does not provide that alignment.

 

Grid Chase: Maybe I’m wrong, but an insertion in the rules to eliminate robots and use the honor system, and updating the headings in the template could hardly take more than a day of LoTW time. Surely, we can handle that.

 

+ Congratulations, you've fallen into the pit of estimating how long it will take to do something about which you have zero understanding. There are plenty of skeletons around you.

 

+ I spent months using GetSimple to develop

 

https://lotw.arrl.org/lotw-help/

 

+ so I have a very good idea how long it takes to make changes.

 

     de AA6YQ

 

 

 

 

 

 


Re: Grid chase 2022

Dave AA6YQ
 

Thanks for the info on ODBC. I ordered the book you recommended. I was blown away to see that the book was printed way back in the 1990s. I looked around on my C disk. I have all kinds of stuff there, which evidently comes with windows, which are DLLs to implement various sorting and database stuff.

I don’t know much about the history, complete with ups and downs, of LOTW. I have been using it since about 2005. In recent years it has worked OK for me.

+ Yes, good progress was made from 2013 to 2018.

I notice that the job description at ARRL for the Head of the IT area says the applicant needs experience with LINUX. Is LOTW running on a LINUX platform?

+ Yes.

73,

Dave, AA6YQ


Re: Grid chase 2022

Dave AA6YQ
 

+ AA6YQ comments below

What is an “SAP Database Engine”?

+ A database is a mechanism that stores large quantities of data in one or more tables, and facilitates its rapid retrieval. For example, LoTW's database has a table that stores the QSOs each use submits, and an indication of whether that QSO is confirmed for DXCC, VUCC, WAS, WAZ, and/or WPX. A database engine is the mechanism the provides this storage and retrieval functionality. SAP is a company that develops and sells database engines. The develop of LoTW chose to incorporate SAP's database engine in LoTW rather than take time to develop his own.

What is an “ODBL Interface”?

+ ODBC is an abbreviation for "Open Database Connectivity". It's an industry standard way that an application like LoTW interacts with a database engine. An application that interacts with a database engine via ODBC can replace one vendor's ODBC-compliant database engine with another vendor's ODBC-compliant database engine with little or no change to the application; such a change might be made to increase capacity, increase performance, or reduce cost.

What is a “Proprietary Interface?”

+ The version of the SAP database engine that the LoTW developer chose did not support an ODBC interface. LoTW interacted with it through a specific set of invocations that were unique to SAP. Thus this database engine could not easily be replaced with another vendor's database engine. In the SAP case, LoTW could not even upgrade to the currently-supported version of the SAP database engine because that currently-supported engine employed an ODBC interface, not the proprietary interface used by its predecessor.

What is a “Cloud Oriented Database Engine?”

+ "The cloud" is a term used to refer to computational resources accessible via the internet. Companies like Amazon, Google, and Oracle maintain large datacenters around the world and sell access to these resources to companies who would rather rent these resources on an as-needed basis than maintain them. Besides eliminating the need to maintain a data centers, computational resources in the cloud are elastic, meaning that they can expand and contract on an as-needed basis. Instead of maintaining a data center with enough computational resources to cover the largest conceivable load - around this time of year for online retailers, for example - one is only charged rent for resources actually used.

+ A company cannot acquire a database engine license for use on a computer in its data center and then deploy it in the cloud, unless the license explicitly permits it. The SAP database engine cannot be licensed for use in a cloud-hosted application. There are many database engines that can be used in cloud-hosted applications.

What is a “Radiosport Interface?”

+ The "Radiosport Web Experience" refers to the proposed design of a set of web pages optimized for use by DXers and Contesters. Today's "LoTW Web Experience" is accessible here:

http://www.arrl.org/logbook-of-the-world

+ It is implemented with primitive and obsolete technology, making it difficult for ARRL personnel to update. It forces LoTW users to be aware of implementation details, like the need to link an LoTW account to a DXCC record. It provide little personalization. For example, you can't "inform" it that you're only pursuing DXCC in CW; it assumes that you are pursuing DXCC in every mode and on every band. Furthermore, it doesn't inform you when the latest ARRL DX News indicates that a station in a DXCC entity you haven't yet worked in CW will be QRV next week.

What is “GetSimple” Content Management?

+ A "Content Management Engine" is a tool used to create, store, and manage the information that can be displayed by a web application. GetSimple is a specific Content Management Engine that was included with the tools the ARRL acquired to create and maintain everything accessible via arrl.org. It provides a small fixed-sized window in which raw HTML must be composed; HTML is the language that a web browser interprets to display a web page.

In one post, the author stated that “Step one was completed in 2016” but was interrupted by various programing tasks for unique events. Grid Chase was one mentioned. Grid Chase was not even held until 2018. How does this interfere with a task that was completed in 2016?

+ You are correct; implementing the Grid Chase Leaderboard did not adversely impact the LoTW Server improvement project.

Another comment made was that in 2018 we (the ARRL), hired staff with development tasks for LoTW, but were quickly reassigned to other duties, which have not been completed.

+ You misunderstood. The ARRL Board authorized the hiring of two dedicated developers for LoTW in 2013; it took several months to recruit, hire, and on-board them. One of them left after a year or two, and was replaced. Those two worked on LoTW until early 2018, when they were re-assigned to other projects unrelated to LoTW.

No mention of their release for the incompetence of those “other duties not completed,” so I presume, perhaps wrongly, they are still in employ by the ARRL.

+ What leads you to the conclusion that duties were not completed, or that these developers were incompetent? Neither is correct.

Why are we paying them if that is the case? If one works 4 years for an organization and cannot complete their task, they should be certainly fired, and the salary expense associated put to better use.

+ If a developer does not complete a task because management directs them to stop working on it and instead work on a different task, it's not the developers fault that the original task was not completed. If management interrupts a developer in the middle of one task by asking them to work on another task, then management should expect that the first task will take longer to complete than if the developer had been allowed to complete it without interruption. Interrupts are the bane of software development, as a developer must keep large amounts of context in mind while working; if that that context is lost to an interrupt, time must be taken to re-establish it -- and that process is often imperfect, leading to an increase in the number of defects.

+ None of the developers hired to work on LoTW are now ARRL employees; my understanding is the one of them is willing to provide help on a contract basis.

Why is a “Radio Sport Web Presence” have priority to improvement of LoTW? Would that not be better addressed on the Contesting Web Pages of the arrl.org site?

+ The proposed "Radio Sport Web Presence" is a replacement for

http://www.arrl.org/logbook-of-the-world

+ and thus would provide a significant increase in LoTW's usability. Extending it to support contesting as well as DXing is justified by the many common needs of DXers and contesters, and the fact that many users engage in both activities.


Having an IT Director would have a positive influence on LoTW. It has been implied that we are failing to move in that direction even though the job position has been posted for some time.

+ It's a fact that more than a year has elapsed since the new CEO came on board, and that no IT Director has been hired.

Could the lack of hiring be related to salary considerations, relocation, qualifications, or any combination? Reading the posting the criteria to meet position requirements are stiff, narrowing down the field of eligible prospects. Those few may find that some of the above criteria to be too demanding in their stage of career development. Hence, much harder to find a suitable person. Which would be the best solution: Lower our standards to get a warm body on board, or keep looking until we find someone immensely qualified and suitable for our needs?

+ Lowering standards to get a warm body on board is the worst possible course of action. Hiring competent software engineering leadership is extremely challenging, particularly for a non-profit organization that cannot offer equity (stock options). Well-led software companies develop software engineering leadership talent in-house, and provide a culture and compensation that retains that talent.

I too would pay extra, (not to be confused with membership dues), for enhanced use of programs such as LoTW. Surely, one who enjoys working with legacy equipment would not. We all have our niches.

+ If competently managed, the ARRL's Awards business, of which LoTW is a component, could easily be cash neutral or better. They don't even try.

It has been said a clear road map for LoTW was created in 2016. Even with my lack of training in computer science, that map could be used for a dumpster fire, as this is late 2021 and technology has marched right along.

+ No. The roadmap did not choose specific technologies. It refers to an ODBC-compliant database engine, not a specific database engine; there has been no significant change in database interface technologies since 2016. It refers to the selection of a user experience framework, not the use of a specific framework; better frameworks have become available, and we remain free to choose the one that best meets our needs.

The ARRL exists because of the inflow of substantial amounts of money through endowments, gifts, donations, fees for awards, classes, publications, membership, and profits from the ARRL Store. It also takes a large amount of money to cover the operational expenses. That being said, information exists that it has substantial amounts of investments. What are we holding the money for? As a suggestion, could a little be used towards LoTW? Not for paid staff or recurring expenses, but the one-time purchase of equipment or services. Or do we have plans for those investments, aside from those that are designated funds? What was this video about LoTW needing donations to operate? For viewing where would one find it?

+ Since Board Meetings are confidential and Board Meetings Minutes contain little information, your guess is as good as mine.

It seems like every positive suggestion that is posted is shot down by the recurring argument that it cannot be done, by a few naysayers who cite the past as a reason we cannot move forward.

+ That's false. The disagreement boils down to "take LoTW forward by incrementally improving what we have to achieve what we want", vs. "keep using what we have now while a new team spends several years building want we want". I advocate the "incremental" approach, consistent with the ARRL-LoTW Committee's roadmap. The ARRL CEO advocates starting over from scratch.

Can’t we move forward with ideas making use of current resources (or those of the near past with “tweaking”) and doing the best we can with what we have?

+ There are no current resources. If we had resources, it would be critical to align everyone around a consistent set of objectives and constraints, from janitor to CEO to Board members. "Do the best we can with what we have" does not provide that alignment.

Grid Chase: Maybe I’m wrong, but an insertion in the rules to eliminate robots and use the honor system, and updating the headings in the template could hardly take more than a day of LoTW time. Surely, we can handle that.

+ Congratulations, you've fallen into the pit of estimating how long it will take to do something about which you have zero understanding. There are plenty of skeletons around you.

+ I spent months using GetSimple to develop

https://lotw.arrl.org/lotw-help/

+ so I have a very good idea how long it takes to make changes.

de AA6YQ


Re: Grid chase 2022

rksimpson1
 

Dave:

 

Thanks for the info on ODBC. I ordered the book you recommended. I was blown away to see that the book was printed way back in the 1990s.  I looked around on my C disk. I have all kinds of stuff there, which evidently comes with windows, which are DLLs to implement various sorting and database stuff.

 

I don’t know much about the history, complete with ups and downs, of LOTW. I have been using it since about 2005.  In recent years it has worked OK for me.

 

I notice that the job description at ARRL for the Head of the IT area says the applicant needs experience with LINUX. Is LOTW running on a LINUX platform?

 

73     Roger    K5RKS

 

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows

 

From: Dave AA6YQ
Sent: Saturday, November 27, 2021 4:45 PM
To: ARRL-Awards@...
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Awards] Grid chase 2022

 

I have been reading through this thread. One subject that keeps coming up the using a database that is accessed by the ODBC driver. Is there a beginners book about ODBC?

 

+ This article

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Database_Connectivity

 

+ cites this book:

 

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Inside_ODBC/G-ZQAAAAMAAJ?hl=en

 

 

I’d like to learn something about ODBC by setting up a database of all K5RKS QSOs in my log. This is about 15,000 QSOs. Then I’d like to set this log up in the right format to be a database. Then I’d like to set up some query screens so I can, for example, see if I have worked Lower Slobovia on Digital Modes on 15 meters.

 

Is there some hardcopy book any of you would recommend? My background is working on embedded systems. I worked as a consultant of firmware in Silicon Valley for 10 years and before that I was a manager in a microcode development group at IBM in San Jose working on the embedded code that was in the 3990 control unit. I find all kind of stuff on the web but if possible I’d like to have a book with physical paper pages. I guess I’m kind of old fashioned. 

 

Since I can download all QSL records for all of my DXCC awards from LOTW at any time I’d like to use that dataset to set up a local database.

 

+ Using the web service described here

 

https://lotw.arrl.org/lotw-help/developer-query-qsos-qsls/

 

+ you can download all of the QSOs you submitted to and accepted by LoTW, or all of the QSLs that have been created in LoTW. In each case, you will receive a file of records in ADIF format. You can develop an application that parses those ADIF records and inserts each QSO's or QSL's information into a database of your choice. The ADIF specification is here:

 

http://adif.org.uk/312/ADIF_312.htm

 

+ The ODBC interface to the LoTW Server's database engine is not exposed to users. It is exclusively used by code in the LoTW Server.

 

      73,

 

           Dave, AA6YQ

 

 

 

 

 

 


Re: Grid chase 2022

K8TS
 

Greetings;

I too have been following this long exhaustive thread. I follow this group because I am interested in awards. It seems that some of the ARRL threads always turn into a negative discussion of LoTW with plenty of browbeating.

Many of us current amateurs do not come from software or hardware engineering. Myself just for reference retired from the home improvement industry after 20 years. For the most part, hams come from diverse occupations across the board. So, some of the information being tossed about is completely Greek to us.

For instance:

                What is an “SAP Database Engine”?

                What is an “ODBL Interface”?

                What is a “Proprietary Interface?”

                What is a “Cloud Oriented Database Engine?”

                What is a “Radiosport Interface?”

                What is “GetSimple” Content Management?

In one post, the author stated that “Step one was completed in 2016” but was interrupted by various programing tasks for unique events. Grid Chase was one mentioned. Grid Chase was not even held until 2018. How does this interfere with a task that was completed in 2016?

 

Another comment made was that in 2018 we (the ARRL), hired staff with development tasks for LoTW, but were quickly reassigned to other duties, which have not been completed. No mention of their release for the incompetence of those “other duties not completed,” so I presume, perhaps wrongly, they are still in employ by the ARRL. Why are we paying them if that is the case? If one works 4 years for an organization and cannot complete their task, they should be certainly fired, and the salary expense associated put to better use.

 

Why is a “Radio Sport Web Presence” have priority to improvement of LoTW? Would that not be better addressed on the Contesting Web Pages of the arrl.org site?

 

Having an IT Director would have a positive influence on LoTW. It has been implied that we are failing to move in that direction even though the job position has been posted for some time. Could the lack of hiring be related to salary considerations, relocation, qualifications, or any combination? Reading the posting the criteria to meet position requirements are stiff, narrowing down the field of eligible prospects. Those few may find that some of the above criteria to be too demanding in their stage of career development. Hence, much harder to find a suitable person. Which would be the best solution: Lower our standards to get a warm body on board, or keep looking until we find someone immensely qualified and suitable for our needs?

 

I too would pay extra, (not to be confused with membership dues), for enhanced use of programs such as LoTW. Surely, one who enjoys working with legacy equipment would not. We all have our niches.

 

It has been said a clear road map for LoTW was created in 2016. Even with my lack of training in computer science, that map could be used for a dumpster fire, as this is late 2021 and technology has marched right along.

 

The ARRL exists because of the inflow of substantial amounts of money through endowments, gifts, donations, fees for awards, classes, publications, membership, and profits from the ARRL Store. It also takes a large amount of money to cover the operational expenses. That being said, information exists that it has substantial amounts of investments. What are we holding the money for? As a suggestion, could a little be used towards LoTW? Not for paid staff or recurring expenses, but the one-time purchase of equipment or services. Or do we have plans for those investments, aside from those that are designated funds? What was this video about LoTW needing donations to operate? For viewing where would one find it?

 

It seems like every positive suggestion that is posted is shot down by the recurring argument that it cannot be done, by a few naysayers who cite the past as a reason we cannot move forward. Can’t we move forward with ideas making use of current resources (or those of the near past with “tweaking”) and doing the best we can with what we have? Grid Chase: Maybe I’m wrong, but an insertion in the rules to eliminate robots and use the honor system, and updating the headings in the template could hardly take more than a day of LoTW time. Surely, we can handle that.

 

Harping on the past and naysaying on the future is not going to right the ship.

Dale Cole K8TS

 

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows

 

From: Dave AA6YQ
Sent: Saturday, November 27, 2021 5:45 PM
To: ARRL-Awards@...
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Awards] Grid chase 2022

 

I have been reading through this thread. One subject that keeps coming up the using a database that is accessed by the ODBC driver. Is there a beginners book about ODBC?

 

+ This article

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Database_Connectivity

 

+ cites this book:

 

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Inside_ODBC/G-ZQAAAAMAAJ?hl=en

 

 

I’d like to learn something about ODBC by setting up a database of all K5RKS QSOs in my log. This is about 15,000 QSOs. Then I’d like to set this log up in the right format to be a database. Then I’d like to set up some query screens so I can, for example, see if I have worked Lower Slobovia on Digital Modes on 15 meters.

 

Is there some hardcopy book any of you would recommend? My background is working on embedded systems. I worked as a consultant of firmware in Silicon Valley for 10 years and before that I was a manager in a microcode development group at IBM in San Jose working on the embedded code that was in the 3990 control unit. I find all kind of stuff on the web but if possible I’d like to have a book with physical paper pages. I guess I’m kind of old fashioned. 

 

Since I can download all QSL records for all of my DXCC awards from LOTW at any time I’d like to use that dataset to set up a local database.

 

+ Using the web service described here

 

https://lotw.arrl.org/lotw-help/developer-query-qsos-qsls/

 

+ you can download all of the QSOs you submitted to and accepted by LoTW, or all of the QSLs that have been created in LoTW. In each case, you will receive a file of records in ADIF format. You can develop an application that parses those ADIF records and inserts each QSO's or QSL's information into a database of your choice. The ADIF specification is here:

 

http://adif.org.uk/312/ADIF_312.htm

 

+ The ODBC interface to the LoTW Server's database engine is not exposed to users. It is exclusively used by code in the LoTW Server.

 

      73,

 

           Dave, AA6YQ

 

 

 

 

 

 


Re: Grid chase 2022

Dave AA6YQ
 

I have been reading through this thread. One subject that keeps coming up the using a database that is accessed by the ODBC driver. Is there a beginners book about ODBC?

+ This article

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Database_Connectivity

+ cites this book:

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Inside_ODBC/G-ZQAAAAMAAJ?hl=en


I’d like to learn something about ODBC by setting up a database of all K5RKS QSOs in my log. This is about 15,000 QSOs. Then I’d like to set this log up in the right format to be a database. Then I’d like to set up some query screens so I can, for example, see if I have worked Lower Slobovia on Digital Modes on 15 meters.

Is there some hardcopy book any of you would recommend? My background is working on embedded systems. I worked as a consultant of firmware in Silicon Valley for 10 years and before that I was a manager in a microcode development group at IBM in San Jose working on the embedded code that was in the 3990 control unit. I find all kind of stuff on the web but if possible I’d like to have a book with physical paper pages. I guess I’m kind of old fashioned.

Since I can download all QSL records for all of my DXCC awards from LOTW at any time I’d like to use that dataset to set up a local database.

+ Using the web service described here

https://lotw.arrl.org/lotw-help/developer-query-qsos-qsls/

+ you can download all of the QSOs you submitted to and accepted by LoTW, or all of the QSLs that have been created in LoTW. In each case, you will receive a file of records in ADIF format. You can develop an application that parses those ADIF records and inserts each QSO's or QSL's information into a database of your choice. The ADIF specification is here:

http://adif.org.uk/312/ADIF_312.htm

+ The ODBC interface to the LoTW Server's database engine is not exposed to users. It is exclusively used by code in the LoTW Server.

73,

Dave, AA6YQ


Re: Grid chase 2022

rksimpson1
 

I have been reading through this thread. One subject that keeps coming up the using a database that is accessed by the ODBC driver. Is there a beginners book about ODBC?

 

I’d like to learn something about ODBC by setting up a database of all K5RKS QSOs in my log. This is about 15,000 QSOs. Then I’d like to set this log up in the right format to be a database. Then I’d like to set up some query screens so I can, for example, see if I have worked Lower Slobovia on Digital Modes on 15 meters.

 

Is there some hardcopy book any of you would recommend? My background is working on embedded systems. I worked as a consultant of firmware in Silicon Valley for 10 years and before that I was a manager in a microcode development group at IBM in San Jose working on the embedded code that was in the 3990 control unit. I find all kind of stuff on the web but if possible I’d like to have a book with physical paper pages. I guess I’m kind of old fashioned. 

 

Since I can download all QSL records for all of my DXCC awards from LOTW at any time I’d like to use that dataset to set up a local database.

 

One of my niche interests is participating in ARRLs Frequency Measurement Tests. I run with my own software during the FMT which looks at an audio signal in the time domain and builds a frequency plot from it and then finds the peaks representing the reference frequency and the signal received off the air from the station transmitting the FMT tone.

 

Right now I am running Windows 10. I’ll  be switching to windows 11 early next year.

73  Roger   K5RKS

 

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows

 

From: Dave AA6YQ
Sent: Saturday, November 27, 2021 9:40 AM
To: ARRL-Awards@...
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Awards] Grid chase 2022

 

The first sentence of the 5th paragraph below was meant to be

+ In 2017, the extension of LoTW to support WAZ and the establishment of a "Trusted Partner" relationship with ClubLog provided long-awaited functionality for users.

 

On Sat, Nov 27, 2021 at 07:29 AM, Dave AA6YQ wrote:

That's a ridiculous misrepresentation. Here's my perspective:

+ The concepts underlying LoTW are sound; it provides excellent value to a worldwide user community.

+ The initial implementation of LoTW was a disaster: the project was horrendously under-scoped and under-staffed.The failure to conduct any performance testing or stress testing combined with the decision to add new awards rather than address known deficiencies led to a complete meltdown in November 2012, when a long-latent defect was triggered by the increase in user QSO submissions.

+ The Board's 2013 authorization to hire two dedicated LoTW developers and purchase hardware so that changes to LoTW could be tested prior to public release, combined with the formation of the ARRL-LoTW Committee and the rebooting of the TQSL open source project initiated a period during which LoTW gradually became more reliable and more usable. Release of the revised LoTW Server in 2016 substantially increased "up-time" to more than 99%, and doubled the rate at which submitted QSOs are processed. The combination of TQSL and TQSLCert into a single application with a modern user interface that could be localized by volunteers (now 16 languages!) significantly improved usability.

+ In 2017, the extension of LoTW to support and the establishment of a "Trusted Partner" relationship with ClubLog provided long-awaited functionality for users. Plans were in place to enable IOTA to accept LoTW confirmations. Discussions were underway with JARL and the CQ "Worked All Counties" award manager.

+ In early 2018, ARRL Management re-assigned both LoTW developers to other projects, bringing LoTW development to a screeching halt. This was a terrible decision - particularly given that the projects to which those LoTW developers were assigned have yet to bear fruit. In 50 years of professional computer hardware and software development, I have never seen a more striking example of "grasping defeat form the jaws of victory": 

+ Since 2018, there have been no additions to LoTW functionality and no improvements to it usability. Only Rick K1MU's continuing efforts with TQSL have yielded progress.

+ Now, ARRL management claims that the current implementation of LoTW "has problems", and has abandoned the iterative roadmap developed by the ARRL LoTW Commitee. Ask for an explanation of these problems, and you'll get a raft of personal insults, but no substantive response.

+ Has the ARRL failed with LOTW? No, but its current management now seems intent on doing so.

de AA6YQ

 


Re: Grid chase 2022

Dave AA6YQ
 

The first sentence of the 5th paragraph below was meant to be

+ In 2017, the extension of LoTW to support WAZ and the establishment of a "Trusted Partner" relationship with ClubLog provided long-awaited functionality for users.

 

On Sat, Nov 27, 2021 at 07:29 AM, Dave AA6YQ wrote:

That's a ridiculous misrepresentation. Here's my perspective:

+ The concepts underlying LoTW are sound; it provides excellent value to a worldwide user community.

+ The initial implementation of LoTW was a disaster: the project was horrendously under-scoped and under-staffed.The failure to conduct any performance testing or stress testing combined with the decision to add new awards rather than address known deficiencies led to a complete meltdown in November 2012, when a long-latent defect was triggered by the increase in user QSO submissions.

+ The Board's 2013 authorization to hire two dedicated LoTW developers and purchase hardware so that changes to LoTW could be tested prior to public release, combined with the formation of the ARRL-LoTW Committee and the rebooting of the TQSL open source project initiated a period during which LoTW gradually became more reliable and more usable. Release of the revised LoTW Server in 2016 substantially increased "up-time" to more than 99%, and doubled the rate at which submitted QSOs are processed. The combination of TQSL and TQSLCert into a single application with a modern user interface that could be localized by volunteers (now 16 languages!) significantly improved usability.

+ In 2017, the extension of LoTW to support and the establishment of a "Trusted Partner" relationship with ClubLog provided long-awaited functionality for users. Plans were in place to enable IOTA to accept LoTW confirmations. Discussions were underway with JARL and the CQ "Worked All Counties" award manager.

+ In early 2018, ARRL Management re-assigned both LoTW developers to other projects, bringing LoTW development to a screeching halt. This was a terrible decision - particularly given that the projects to which those LoTW developers were assigned have yet to bear fruit. In 50 years of professional computer hardware and software development, I have never seen a more striking example of "grasping defeat form the jaws of victory": 

+ Since 2018, there have been no additions to LoTW functionality and no improvements to it usability. Only Rick K1MU's continuing efforts with TQSL have yielded progress.

+ Now, ARRL management claims that the current implementation of LoTW "has problems", and has abandoned the iterative roadmap developed by the ARRL LoTW Commitee. Ask for an explanation of these problems, and you'll get a raft of personal insults, but no substantive response.

+ Has the ARRL failed with LOTW? No, but its current management now seems intent on doing so.

de AA6YQ


Re: Grid chase 2022

Dave AA6YQ
 

+ AA6YQ comments below
In Dave's world the ARRL has failed,

+ That's a ridiculous misrepresentation. Here's my perspective:

+ The concepts underlying LoTW are sound; it provides excellent value to a worldwide user community.

+ The initial implementation of LoTW was a disaster: the project was horrendously under-scoped and under-staffed.The failure to conduct any performance testing or stress testing combined with the decision to add new awards rather than address known deficiencies led to a complete meltdown in November 2012, when a long-latent defect was triggered by the increase in user QSO submissions.

+ The Board's 2013 authorization to hire two dedicated LoTW developers and purchase hardware so that changes to LoTW could be tested prior to public release, combined with the formation of the ARRL-LoTW Committee and the rebooting of the TQSL open source project initiated a period during which LoTW gradually became more reliable and more usable. Release of the revised LoTW Server in 2016 substantially increased "up-time" to more than 99%, and doubled the rate at which submitted QSOs are processed. The combination of TQSL and TQSLCert into a single application with a modern user interface that could be localized by volunteers (now 16 languages!) significantly improved usability.

+ In 2017, the extension of LoTW to support and the establishment of a "Trusted Partner" relationship with ClubLog provided long-awaited functionality for users. Plans were in place to enable IOTA to accept LoTW confirmations. Discussions were underway with JARL and the CQ "Worked All Counties" award manager.

+ In early 2018, ARRL Management re-assigned both LoTW developers to other projects, bringing LoTW development to a screeching halt. This was a terrible decision - particularly given that the projects to which those LoTW developers were assigned have yet to bear fruit. In 50 years of professional computer hardware and software development, I have never seen a more striking example of "grasping defeat form the jaws of victory": 

+ Since 2018, there have been no additions to LoTW functionality and no improvements to it usability. Only Rick K1MU's continuing efforts with TQSL have yielded progress.

+ Now, ARRL management claims that the current implementation of LoTW "has problems", and has abandoned the iterative roadmap developed by the ARRL LoTW Commitee. Ask for an explanation of these problems, and you'll get a raft of personal insults, but no substantive response.

+ Has the ARRL failed with LOTW? No, but its current management now seems intent on doing so.

de AA6YQ

 

 


Re: Grid chase 2022

Dave AA6YQ
 

+ AA6YQ comments below
I stand by the iterative roadmap developed by the ARRL's LoTW Committee.

+ While this roadmap was occasionally discussed in the online ARRL-LoTW Discussion Group, it was never publicly released. I will summarize it here:


Step 1: eliminate the technical debt in the LoTW Server, and replace the dependency on a obsolete version of SAP database engine with an industry standard ODBC interface

- eliminating the technical debt included correcting crash defects, eliminating performance bottlenecks, and providing comprehensive documentation for users

- replacing the proprietary interface to the SAP database engine with ODBC would enable an immediate upgrade to the then-current version of the SAP database engine, and eventually to more powerful ODBC-compliant database engines, including cloud-hosted database engines

Step 2: Provide a web service the enables non-ARRL award sponsors can (for a fee if desired) gain access to LoTW confirmations without ARRL IT staff having to construct a user interface (as was done for WPX and WAZ).

Step 3: Provide a basket of capabilities to which users could optionally subscribe for $10-$25 annually; examples included direct communication with QSO partners, notification of awards earned, log backup and recovery. The resulting revenue stream would enable LoTW to achieve financial break-even with two dedicated developers.

Step 4: Develop a RadioSport Web Presence: a new online user experience (UX) for DXers and Contesters employing modern user interface technology, with an emphasis on personalization. This (UX) would enable each user to declare his or her specific interests (e.g. 5-band DXCC and 6m VUCC, or phone contests) and provide access to all underlying sub-systems (DXCC, VUCC, WAS, WPX, WAZ, LoTW, Leaderboards, etc.) while hiding the implementation details (like the current need to "link" an LoTW account to one's DXCC record). Like TQSL, this UX would be localizable to other languages by volunteers.

 

Step 1 was completed in mid-2016, taking longer than expected in part due to the requirement that NPOTA, Centennial, and Grid Chase be supported. LoTW's measured availability increased from less than 90% to more than 99%, where it remains to this day. The rate at which submitted QSOs are processed was doubled.

After step 1 was completed, we chose to extend LoTW to support WAZ. While not part of the roadmap, it was deemed necessary given user expectations (surveys showed WAZ support to be the most requested new functionality), and given a long-unfilled commitment to CQ Magazine, the sponsor of WAZ.

A working prototype of the web service called for in Step 2 was constructed, but never carried forward due to the lack of development resources.

"Market research" for step 3 was conducted at the Dayton Amateur Radio Convention and via online surveys, but never advanced beyond that point due to the lack of development resources.

Step 4 has an unfulfilled prerequisite: the selection of user interface framework to replace what's currently employed by arrl.org. The current framework is a disaster that should have been replaced years ago. Creating content using its "GetSimple" content management system is like building a ship in a bottle using tweezers; every content creation task takes 10X longer than it should.

 

So what should be done now? When appropriate resources become available, the ARRL should

A. select a modern user interface framework to replace what's currently used by arrl.org

B. construct the top level of the RadioSport Web Presence using the selected user interface framework, implement access to a small subset of LoTW functionality (say, DXCC statistics and awards), and make this accessible to users

C. refine the RadioSport Web Presence based on feedback from B, and continue extending it, iteration by iteration, until all RadioSport functionality is accessible

D. re-implement aging subsystems (e.g. DXCC) in a manner that is transparent to users; if the necessary resources are available, this can be accomplished in parallel with step C

E. replace the LoTW Server's SAP database engine with an ODBC-compliant database engine that can be cloud-hosted, and then relocate the LoTW Server to the cloud; if the necessary resources are available, this can be accomplished in parallel with step C

de AA6YQ

 

 

de AA6YQ

 

 

 

 


Re: Grid chase 2022

Dave AA6YQ
 

+ AA6YQ comments belows
We’ve seen the job ads for an IT Director, demonstrating that ARRL Management accepts the need for one,

+ Recruiting an IT Director does not imply any commitment to LoTW 2.0

+ A year has gone by with no IT Director being hired.


Re: Grid chase 2022

Kermit Lehman
 

With all the discussion this way and that way about the ARRL and LoTW, I want to say that I think LoTW is one of the greatest advances in ham radio in the last 20 years.  QSLing for awards used to be a major PITA.  It was time consuming, sometimes difficult to find the QSL route, routes went stale, postage was expensive, IRCs were hard to get and hard to get processed, money was stolen in the mail, the bureau slow.  The list goes on and on.  (PITA)**2


Now most of that misery is gone.  It's been a long time since I've had to paper QSL to get or endorse awards.  The only reason I try to get paper QSLs now is to have one for every DXCC entity I've worked, or for some unusual or special event station.


Anything reasonable that can be done to encourage LoTW's use should be considered.  


Troubling history and current problems aside, we should use and support LoTW is any way we can.  $$ if they need it.


73,

Ken, AB1J


-----Original Message-----
From: Dave AA6YQ <aa6yq@...>
To: ARRL-Awards@...
Sent: Fri, Nov 26, 2021 9:39 pm
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Awards] Grid chase 2022

Again, you missed the humor and therefore the point.

I'll stop trying to broaden your perspective, as I see it frustrates you and everyone else.

Remember, it's Friday and 5 o'clock somewhere.  Have a glass of iced tea if you don't drink and watch the sun set.  It's good for
the soul.

+ I spent 6 years as a volunteer helping the ARRL's IT team get LoTW onto a positive trajectory, only to have software-ignorant ARRL
management trash it just as we were finally gaining traction and momentum. There's nothing remotely humorous about it.

de AA6YQ








Re: Grid chase 2022

Gordon Beattie, W2TTT
 

Gary,
Remain upbeat.  In Dave's world the ARRL has failed,


From: ARRL-Awards@... <ARRL-Awards@...> on behalf of Gary Hinson <Gary@...>
Sent: Friday, November 26, 2021 8:53:12 PM
To: ARRL-Awards@... <ARRL-Awards@...>
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Awards] Grid chase 2022
 

😊   <- Iconic smiley face pre-empting a vaguely humourous, tongue-in-cheek retort, Dave.

 

Imagine where LoTW, plus the rest of ARRL’s IT presence, might be in a year or three’s time, given appropriate strategies, support, resourcing and a modicum of good fortune!

 

Sorry to be so upbeat and enthusiastic.  Just trying to counterbalance your negativity and angst in the hope of ending up in a more realistic place, most of all moving forwards, neither backwards nor at a dead stop.

 

73

Gary    ZL2iFB

 

 

From: ARRL-Awards@... <ARRL-Awards@...> On Behalf Of Dave AA6YQ
Sent: Saturday, 27 November 2021 1:56 pm
To: ARRL-Awards@...
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Awards] Grid chase 2022

 

Imagine where we'd be now had the ARRL gotten LoTW mostly right from the get-go....

 

de AA6YQ


Re: Grid chase 2022

Gary Hinson <Gary@...>
 

The case rests, m'lud.

-----Original Message-----
From: ARRL-Awards@... <ARRL-Awards@...> On Behalf Of Dave AA6YQ
Sent: Saturday, 27 November 2021 5:16 pm
To: ARRL-Awards@...
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Awards] Grid chase 2022

Dave I am avoiding answering your questions because you are the master of the strawman and back and forth arguments and inanity.

So don’t even bother. We are done.

+ Translation: LoTW has no serious underlying problems that make adding additional awards/events problematic.

+ If such problems existed, they would have become evident when we extended LoTW to support NPOTA, Centennial, Grid Chase, and WAZ; each of those extensions proceeded smoothly. For an independent assessment, consult John KC5LK, CQ's WAZ Award Manager, or Rich W2VU, the Editor of CQ Magazine.

+ Furthermore, there's a prototype of an LoTW web service that accepts an ADIF file from a licensed award sponsor and produces a report showing which of the QSOs in that file are confirmed via LoTW -- without requiring LoTW credentials from the user who made those QSOs. Productized, this web service would support a wide range of award sponsors from small radio clubs to national organizations like DARC, JARL, and WIA - and generate a modest revenue stream to help fund LoTW development.

+ Now explain why you aren't being truthful.


Re: Grid chase 2022

Gary Hinson <Gary@...>
 

We’ve seen the job ads for an IT Director, demonstrating that ARRL Management accepts the need for one, and supporting various management statements about intending to press ahead with Project X and (no doubt) other IT activities. 

 

Once appointed, hopefully the IT Director will get to work and – presumably/hopefully - recruit her/his team (assuming there is the support and budget for the headcount).

 

73

Gary  ZL2iFB

 

PS  Go on, Dave, surprise us.  Let that blatant assumption remain unchallenged.  Accept that at least I have been up-front about it.  Let other reflectees reflect on it and make their own minds up, and let’s all wait patiently for some sort of affirmation or denial from ARRL management or at least news about the recruitment.  Failing that, how about pointing out (one more) how nobody in their right mind would even apply for any such positions anyway, and even if they did they would not match your caliber or expectations, could not possibly succeed, and yes we’re doomed, doomed I tell you.

 

 

From: ARRL-Awards@... <ARRL-Awards@...> On Behalf Of Dave AA6YQ
Sent: Saturday, 27 November 2021 3:39 pm
To: ARRL-Awards@...
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Awards] Grid chase 2022

 

+ AA6YQ comments below

Imagine where LoTW, plus the rest of ARRL’s IT presence, might be in a year or three’s time, given appropriate strategies, support, resourcing and a modicum of good fortune!

 

Sorry to be so upbeat and enthusiastic.  Just trying to counterbalance your negativity and angst in the hope of ending up in a more realistic place, most of all moving forwards, neither backwards nor at a dead stop.

+More than a year has gone by since the new CEO and his LoTW 2.0 plan arrived, but the ARRL has yet to hire an IT Director, which is evidently a prerequisite for hiring a development team (since the latter do not appear in http://www.arrl.org/employment-opportunities). Doubtless you can spin this as a positive.


Re: Grid chase 2022

Dave AA6YQ
 

Dave I am avoiding answering your questions because you are the master of the strawman and back and forth arguments and inanity.

So don’t even bother. We are done.

+ Translation: LoTW has no serious underlying problems that make adding additional awards/events problematic.

+ If such problems existed, they would have become evident when we extended LoTW to support NPOTA, Centennial, Grid Chase, and WAZ; each of those extensions proceeded smoothly. For an independent assessment, consult John KC5LK, CQ's WAZ Award Manager, or Rich W2VU, the Editor of CQ Magazine.

+ Furthermore, there's a prototype of an LoTW web service that accepts an ADIF file from a licensed award sponsor and produces a report showing which of the QSOs in that file are confirmed via LoTW -- without requiring LoTW credentials from the user who made those QSOs. Productized, this web service would support a wide range of award sponsors from small radio clubs to national organizations like DARC, JARL, and WIA - and generate a modest revenue stream to help fund LoTW development.

+ Now explain why you aren't being truthful.


Re: Grid chase 2022

Ria, N2RJ
 

Dave I am avoiding answering your questions because you are the master of the strawman and back and forth arguments and inanity. 

So don’t even bother. We are done.

Ria
N2RJ

On Fri, Nov 26, 2021 at 9:49 PM Dave AA6YQ <aa6yq@...> wrote:
+ AA6YQ comments below
Don’t use my personal feelings about the grid chase as a stick against it. 
 
If members want it there can be a case for it. I do not make policy by myself or in a vacuum. 
 
Also I didn’t say I was against it anyway. I did say that I didn’t like that it had become basically a battle of (fully) automated FT8 robots. If it can become a properly managed non automated event then it would be nice to have

+ I don't have a personal problem with the grid chase, but there is no effective way to prevent automation in FT8, FT4, PSK, RTTY, or CW if someone is intent on implementing it.

+ Are you going to identify the serious problems in the current implementation of LotW that you mentioned above?

de AA6YQ

 


Re: Grid chase 2022

Dave AA6YQ
 

+ AA6YQ comments below
Don’t use my personal feelings about the grid chase as a stick against it. 
 
If members want it there can be a case for it. I do not make policy by myself or in a vacuum. 
 
Also I didn’t say I was against it anyway. I did say that I didn’t like that it had become basically a battle of (fully) automated FT8 robots. If it can become a properly managed non automated event then it would be nice to have

+ I don't have a personal problem with the grid chase, but there is no effective way to prevent automation in FT8, FT4, PSK, RTTY, or CW if someone is intent on implementing it.

+ Are you going to identify the serious problems in the current implementation of LotW that you mentioned above?

de AA6YQ

 


Re: Grid chase 2022

Dave AA6YQ
 

+ AA6YQ comments below

Imagine where LoTW, plus the rest of ARRL’s IT presence, might be in a year or three’s time, given appropriate strategies, support, resourcing and a modicum of good fortune!

 

Sorry to be so upbeat and enthusiastic.  Just trying to counterbalance your negativity and angst in the hope of ending up in a more realistic place, most of all moving forwards, neither backwards nor at a dead stop.

+More than a year has gone by since the new CEO and his LoTW 2.0 plan arrived, but the ARRL has yet to hire an IT Director, which is evidently a prerequisite for hiring a development team (since the latter do not appear in http://www.arrl.org/employment-opportunities). Doubtless you can spin this as a positive.

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