Hip Roof

I’m in the middle of building a shed with my father.  We decided to use a hip roof, which requires a lot of cuts. Dad found this awesome site that will give you dimensions for all the rafters as well as a complete materials list. It even calculates the amount of sheathing you will need.

The plans worked out well and I highly recommend this site if you are building a hip roof.

Link: http://www.blocklayer.com/roof/RoofEng.aspx

The Beauty of the Common Application

The Common Application is a beautiful thing – and not just for students and high school counselors. It also allows college admissions offices to achieve greater automation in their application processing.

First of all, we wrote ELF processes to import most of the common application and college supplement into Ellucian Colleague’s product, saving thousands of hours of staff time in manual processing. Key to this process is recording the common app ID number in Colleague so we can later link up additional information.

Secondly, we keep track of all required pieces of the application in Ellucian Colleague’s communication management module. This allows us to easily know which applications are ready to be read and tell students which pieces of their application are missing. I have written an ELF import process to check off the pieces of the application as we receive them from the common app. An export file from the Common App provides the data for this import process. The file lists the documents received for each student – the record key is the common app ID.

Lastly, the common app makes application filing a breeze. Previously we stored application information in paper file folders. Each incoming document needed to be manually filed away. Two years ago we switched over to a paperless solution – Perceptive’s ImageNow product. Each night we retrieve from the Common App PDF copies of applications, supplements and other supporting files and send them to the ImageNow server. We also send a key file to ImageNow from Colleague – it lists the students Common App ID, Union ID, name, start term and other information we need for ImageNow. An ImageNow import script matches the Common App ID in the PDF file name with the corresponding record row in the key file. The import script then imports the document in ImageNow with the Union ID, name, start term, etc.

Technology is a wonderful thing in the Admissions office!

IPv6 & Higher Ed

Computer networks have always fascinated me. I recently read Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet by Andrew Blum. It is a fascinating book that covers the development of the internet from the beginning.

We are at the beginning of another major change in the architecture of the internet. The transition from the IPv4 addressing system to IPv6. The biggest benefit with IPv6 is the significant increase in the number of available addresses available to connect our ever increasing number of devices to.

I’ve recently written a script to track IPv6 adoption within Higher Ed, at least as far as an institution’s main web presence is concerned. So far, the new standard hasn’t seen much adoption.  As of this writing only 88 colleges have websites publicly accessible via IPv6. Over the next few months I plan to write more about this trend. Until then, feel free to follow along. Results are updated each night.

Disk Space

These days, I can never remember the command to check where disk space is being used. Perhaps it’s because disks have gotten so big and I just don’t need to check as often.

For quick reference:

Show space available on the file system:

df -h

Show disk space usage by directory:

du -hs /path/of/interest/*

Monitoring Apache Logs

The web presence is one of our most effective tools for marketing the institution to prospective students. In addition to engaging content and excellent navigation we need to make sure users aren’t encountering broken links on our sites.

There are many tools out there that will crawl your website for broken links. Ideally we would fix all broken links right away. However, this can be an overwhelming process complicated by many different owners of site content. We need to prioritize. We need to find out what problems occur most often for our users.

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