Blog Archives

Large Archive of Boating and Repair and Maintenence Now Available

The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) has announced a revamp of its BoatTech resource, a free archive of boating maintenence and repair information. It’s available at http://www.boatus.com/BoatTech/.

BoatTECH

The information is searchable but several categories are listed on the front page, from “Anchoring and Docking” to “Hull Maintenance and Repair” to “Winterizing.” I did a search for propeller and got over 2000 results, but they were from all over the BoatUS site. I did a revised search, this time for propeller BoatTech, and this time got better results more oriented to repairs and maintenence.

I don’t know from boating so I can’t tell you what the Sacrificial Anodes article was about completely, but I can say all the articles I looked at were extensive and included many photographs as well as the occasional oddly-philosophical sentence. (“We all know rust, but to understand rust, we have to go back to the very beginning.”) One thing I did not see were many videos embedded in the articles. Maybe I used the wrong search term.

There is a simple mechanism for sharing articles but no way to leave comments that I found, or embed the article itself. Tons of information.

Case Western Reserve University Offers Online Collection of Air Race and Aviation Films, 1928-1939

Case Western Reserve University has announced a digital collection of National Air Races and aviation films covering 1928-1939. From the announcement: “The National Air Races began in 1920 and by the 1930s had become a major public event comprised of closed-course pylon races, most notably the Thompson Trophy Race, cross-country derbies, and a variety of aviation-related exhibitions, both flight and static. Cleveland first hosted the races in 1929. The city remained the primary locus for the event (with the exception of 1930, 1933, 1936 and the war years, 1940-1945) until 1949.” The collection is available here (sorry, really ugly URL).

Lindbergh and his momThe collection is small (23 items) but the reason I’m covering it here is what it includes. Names you’ll recognize here include Charles Lindbergh, but more interesting is the “candid” footage you’ll find here. The first film I looked at went from a newsreel about Lindbergh and 1926 aviation disasters to a family snowball fight and then a horse ride from what looks to be the same time period (these were family-donated films and family scenes were digitized right along with the aviation footage.) Other scenes included in the film include factory construction of monoplanes (and women working in airplane construction long before WWII), balloon races from the mid-1930s, and … is that the Goodyear Blimp?

The collection is best browsed; the descriptions for each item are minimal and appear to get even more minimal as you go down the list of available films. Each item’s page includes citation information but also — very cool — a link to download the video. These are not tiny files — all the ones I looked at were over 600MB — but this could come in useful especially when you’re trying to get a better view of an odd vehicle or factory scene that shows up on the screen for only a second or two. A great browse.

Database of Moving Companies has 7,500 Listings

MoversReviewed

I do love seeing a database where the creators have gone above and beyond and organizing the information. I love it even more when the database is a services directory, and not something academic or institutional. I’m talking about Movers Reviewed at http://www.moversreviewed.com/, a database of 7,500 active, licensed moving companies in the US and Canada. (It says “Reviewed,” but I didn’t see a lot of “reviewed” — mostly I saw “listed.” But that’s okay as there is plenty of information to gather from a search here, as you will see.) It’s in beta.

From the front page you can specify where you’re moving from (by state/province or zip code.) You can also search by mover name or for a particular moving specialty or feature (like piano movers, auto movers, commercial movers, employee relocators, etc.) I looked for all mover types, moving from Maryland.

I got 130 results. Listings included standard stuff like contact information, but also information on any associations to which a company belongs, the number of registered vehicles, and links to safety information from the DOT. (Well, sort of. Each company has registration numbers listed and a link to the US DOT site but you have to run the search yourself.) If 130 results are too many for you, you can use the nav on the right to narrow down your results by a variety of factors including just companies with Web sites, association memberships, or types of specialty movers.

There didn’t seem to be a lot of extra information on the Maryland movers page, but that wasn’t always the case. The list of movers in Florida had all kinds of extra information for some listings, including pictures, amount of warehouse space, brief description of the company, and some descriptions of the different types of moving they do. There were also checkboxes for some listings by which you could get a quote for moving jobs.

In addition to the lists of movers, the site also has a page of tips and information, including what to know about hiring a mover, “red flags,” how insurance works, how to spot a company that brokers moves, but doesn’t actually perform them, most common consumer complaints for movers, etc.

Somebody put a lot of work into this and it shows. I love the way you can slice-and-dice the lists of movers. The only bump is looking at safety information via the US Department of Transportation’s Web site, and that’s more due to the way IT’S organized than anything else. A good reference site.

Database of Transit Zones

The Center for Transit-Oriented Development has has launched a database of information about more than 4,000 transit zones in the United States. This means information about zones around various transit stations including streetcars, bus transit, ferries, and streetcars. The site only covers a certain number of metro areas, however. The site is available at http://toddata.cnt.org/.

You’ll need to be registered to use the site, which requires only a name, e-mail address, password, and some information about your company. Once you’ve registered, you’re given a list of metro areas to choose from (there are around fifty) and once you choose one you’ll get a map. I chose San Diego.

In the case of San Diego you’ll get a list of both extant and potential transit systems (though in many cases you’ll get a list of just existing transit systems.) Pick one and you’ll get a list of stops for that system. Finally when you pick a stop, the map will show you a map of the stop and demographic information for a radius around the stop, including 2000 population, jobs in 2000 and 2008, and the median household income.

That’s only a small amount of the information available, however. If you chose the “Data” button on the left side, you can choose from several other data sets, including information about household income, household age, vehicle ownership, and how residents travel to work. The information is available both for the metro area as a whole and for the transit zone.

It’s unfortunate that the data is ten years old in some cases — but I guess it can’t be helped until all the numbers are crunched from the most recent census. I’m impressed at the amount of data sets that are available for such small, precise areas. I’m also impressed with the way Google Maps are used — the icons and overlays are terrific.

American Motorcyclists Association Puts 50 Years of American Motorcyclist Online

The American Motorcyclist Association has put a 50+ year archive of its official publication, American Motorcyclist, up online. The archive spans from 1955 to 2007 (over 630 issues!) and is available through a partnership with Google Books.

The easy way is to go to http://books.google.com and search for American Motorcyclist. If you want a direct URL, though, try this giant link, which will start you at January 1955.

All issues are available for free and are available in full format, including ads and covers. The digitizing is excellent quality though you will have to zoom in to read many of the articles (unless you have spectacular eyes.) How great to read about the upcoming 1955 Daytona Beach Classic, and the ads! I think may favorite one is the full-pager that uses Annie Oakley to sell savings bonds. (The headline: “She shot the ashes off the Kaiser’s cigaret”.)

You can do searches of individual issues, of course, but doing full-archive searches is a little more tricky. I found appending “American Motorcyclist” to my search sort of worked, but in the experimental searches I ran I never felt like I was getting a realistic number of results. Do full-archive searches with caution.

That aspect of search is disappointing, but this archive is absolutely worth a look.

Railway Museum Launches New Digital Archive

The Revelstoke Railway Museum, in British Columbia, Canada, had a digital archive of images that got wiped out by a computer virus last year, but it’s recently gotten a new grant and is starting all over again! The Revelstoke Railway Museum Photo Archive is currently available with over 600 photos at http://www.railwaymuseum.com/cgi-bin/photo_archive/imageFolio.cgi. (The museum’s collection actually has over 6500 images and more will be added to the online archive over time.)

The archive is divided into categories including Bridges, Tunnels, Equipment, and even Train Wrecks, but the biggest part of the archive is the selection of locomotive images, with over 200 available. That category is further divided into Cabooses (caboosi?), Passenger Trains, Diesel, and Steam Locomotive (again the largest section with over 150 images available.) Images are presented in a galley format with a default of 16 to a page (you can change that to 8 or 12 if you like.) The listings show thumbnails, number of hits, size of image (in Kb, not dimensions) and the date it was added. (There’s also a spot for ratings but I didn’t see it used much.)

Click on the image and you’ll get a much larger image and a description, usually brief, sometimes not helpful (“View of unknown steam engine.”) Available sizes are somewhat limited; I was disappointed that I couldn’t zoom in more on the pictures. You can send pictures as an e-postcard, but I didn’t see any links for further manipulation.

Actually all the fun stuff for this archive seems to be at the nav at the bottom of the pages. There you can get the newest pictures (the most recent ones were added 3/17) as well as a random selection and the most-viewed and top-rated images. There’s even a ten-second slide show mode, so you can pick a category, kick back and watch the pictures go by.

It’s easy to tell that this digital archive is in its early beginnings; there’s a lot of fleshing out to do here. But the categorization breaks down well, some of the photos here are very unusual (top view of a steam engine buried by an avalanche) and there’s a lot, lot more to come. Worth a look.

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