Database Handicapping Software- JCapper

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By Laptop Reviews
12:33:25 PM

Lenovo Idea Pad
Brand: Lenovo
Product Name: Idea pad
CPU: Intel I5 – 3210M 2.5 Ghz
RAM: 8 Gigabytes
Hard Drive: 750 Gigabytes
Monitor: 15.6 High Def
Operating System: Win7 Premium
Price: $599.00 less $40.00 in store rebate.

The last new laptop I bought was a Toshiba Satellite A215 back in August, 2007. That machine has proven to be reliable and durable. It has accompanied me on outings to Keeneland, Las Vegas, Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Santa Anita, ski trips in Utah in the dead of winter, and has even made it into the official transcript of at least one CHRB meeting.

But by today’s standards, that machine is no longer (even close to) state of the art. Understandably, I’ve had “new laptop on the brain” for quite some time now. Even so, I was perfectly happy with my current lineup of outdated machines until yesterday. The thing that finally pushed me over the edge was a desktop PC purchased in 2003 that refused to boot up yesterday morning.

That desktop had been my “testing” environment for every JCapper new program update ever published. And while I’m a little sad to see that machine go, the truth is I’ve been long overdue for something a little more modern.

Lenovo – The Brand
I was a little apprehensive (at first) about Lenovo the brand. There I was, in a computer store, looking at and evaluating the latest laptop and desktop offerings from all of the PC and laptop manufacturers. Lo and behold one machine in particular catches my eye. It is made by a manufacturer I have never heard of before (not that I’m up on who’s coming out with what like I used to be.)

But the little machine that has caught my eye comes with a faster processor, more RAM, a bigger hard drive, and longer battery life (at least in the specs) than name brand machines from HP, Dell, and Toshiba costing hundreds more.

Smart phones are a wonderful thing. I pulled mine out of the case, launched the browser, and started reading reviews about Lenovo laptops:

Best Buy Reviews:

When I asked about Lenovo as a brand, the store clerk mentioned that Lenovo, based in China, had acquired IBM’s PC Division back in 2004. I recall reading about that at the time but was unable to put two and two together while looking at the laptop on the display counter.

JCapper Install
I was actually surprised at how smoothly everything went.

The first thing I did was to plug in the USB cable from an external hard drive. A second or two later I was copying existing folder structure for years 2004-2012 along with the c:\JCapper and c:\JCapperBuild folders from the external drive to the c:\ drive on the new machine.

Next, I downloaded the VB6 Runtime, right clicked it, selected RUN AS ADMIN, answered Y at the “Are you sure?” prompt – and ran it.

After that I downloaded Build 185 from the JCapper Message Board – right clicked the program download package .exe file, saved it to the c:\JCapperBuild folder, used Windows Explorer to find the file, right clicked it, selected RUN AS ADMIN, answered Y at the “Are you sure?” prompt – and ran it.

When the Extractor finished and the Installer came up I ran a “Perform JCapper Install” and watched with some satisfaction when registration of all those .dll and .ocx files resulted in “Registration Successful” messages.

Finally, using the JCapper2 Imports Screen in the Utilities area of the WagerHistory Module, I imported data from all of the tables in my old JCapper2.mdb file into the new file placed in the c:\JCapper\Exe folder by the Installer.

Install complete.

Being the program’s author – and knowing exactly what to do if something goes astray during an install – (that helps!) – but what impressed me was the fact that the Win7 build put on this particular machine by the engineers at Lenovo caused zero conflicts when it came time to registering all of those (older) .dll and .ocx files needed to get a good JCapper install up and running. That type of thing doesn’t happen by accident. It tells me that the engineers at Lenovo actually took the time to unit test registration of everything shipped inside the VB6 Runtine download. (Kudos to them.)

I’m happy to report that the engineers at Lenovo seem to have done their homework and have anticipated that a percentage of their customers still run applications written in VB6.

SQL Data Window Queries
The first SQL UDM that I ran through the Data Window took about 16 seconds to run. (2400 plays pulled from about 81.5k races - 19 1/2 months of all tracks everywhere HDW data.)

By way of comparison, that same query takes about 44 seconds on the Toshiba Satellite laptop mentioned above.

The next thing I did was select a breakout factor (CPace Rank) before rerunning the same UDM through the Data Window. I didn’t know what to expect but I literally pumped my fist in the air when I saw the results. Elapsed Time: 1 Second.

I selected a different breakout factor from the drop down (EarlyConsensus Rank) and reran the UDM through the Data Window. Elapsed Time: 1 Second.

I wasn’t expecting this at all. Apparently, the database driver shipped with this machine interfaces with Win7 in such a way that it caches the query results just in case. If the user executes the same query, the database driver recognizes this fact. Instead of making a new trip through the database to get query results, the database driver makes a trip through the cached query results instead – which has the effect of drastically cutting down query execution time.

Let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised by this.

PlayList File Mode Data Window Queries
I ran an all button query against my Q3 2012 pl_profile.txt file. Elapsed Time: 27 Seconds.

Next, I ran an all button query against the same pl_profile.txt file on the Toshiba laptop mentioned above. Elapsed Time: 128 Seconds.

Calc Races SQL Mode
I ran a SQL Calc Races on Folder 1. Nine loaded .JCP files. Elapsed Time: 56 Seconds.

Next, I ran a SQL Calc Races using the Toshiba laptop mentioned above. Same nine race cards, same scratches, same UDMs. Elapsed Time: 363 Seconds.

I ran a SQL Calc Races for a single race card - ELP0819.JCP. Elapsed Time: 9 Seconds.

Next, I ran a SQL Calc Races using the Toshiba laptop mentioned above for the same race card. Elapsed Time: 31 Seconds.

Build Database Routines

Q3 2010 Folder - Mode 1
One of the things I wanted to do was create a good archive containing all of the V4 .jcp and .xrd files built since I began downloading from HDW. While putting that together I noticed that for some dumb reason I missed downloading files for August 31, 2010. Thanks go out to Bill Thompson (Hdcper) for emailing HDW files to me for that one date. (I'm sure Ron Tiller would have done the same but I didn't want to bother him for something that trivial.) After copying the raw HDW files to my Q3 2010 folder, I quickly built .JCP and .XRD files.

On the new machine, the .JCP files rendered in just under 2 seconds each, whereas on the old Toshiba it takes 7-8 seconds per race card to get a .JCP file built. The .XRD files rendered almost instantly (very little point in trying to time them.)

From there I rebuilt the entire folder from scratch using Mode 1. The Build Complete message at the end indicated a build time of about 2.7 seconds per .DAT file. (Compare to about 15 seconds per .DAT file on the 2007 Toshiba machine.)

Q3 2012 Folder - Mode 5
I've been building my current Q3 2012 folder daily using Mode 5. My current JCapper2.mdb file contains starterhistory table data going forward from Jan 01, 2011. That makes the file size of the JCapper2.mdb about 1.0 gigabytes.

Timing the daily builds up until the point in time just before the compact and repair db begins tells me that the builds are taking about 2.7 seconds per .DAT file on the new machine (compared to the "benchmark" of 15 seconds per .DAT file on the old machine.)

The compact and repair of the 1.0 g .mdb file on the new machine at the end of each build takes between 45 and 70 seconds - depending on whatever else might be open and running.

The same compact and repair at the end of each build on the old machine was taking between 5 and 8 minutes - depending on whatever else might be open and running. Truthfully, it had gotten to the point where I would just start the build and walk away from the machine because if I were using a web browser, there would come a time towards the end of the compact and repair when Firefox would "lock up."


File Extensions
When I look at file content sitting in directories I prefer to see details. How many times in a Video, Help Doc (or even while on a phone call) have I said right click inside the folder, select VIEW and then select DETAILS!

Well, the first thing I noticed when I looked at file content in my folders was that file extensions were omitted from the details. Ugh. Easy enough to solve:

Power Saver Settings (Overkill)
The other annoyance that I noticed was that the machine powered itself down within a couple of minutes unless I were actively using it.

Easy enough to solve. I bumped it up from 2 minutes (the out of the box default) to NEVER power yourself off:

Final Thoughts
The clerk at the store where I bought this machine told me the store (Staples) has a 14 day no questions asked return policy on everything including computers. He made it abundantly clear that should I wish to return the machine I would need to produce the original store receipt.

Day two - Even if they offered to refund the entire purchase price plus 20% for time and effort evaluating this machine – I would tell them in an instant to get lost.

So far I am absolutely thrilled with this machine.



~Edited by: jeff  on:  9/7/2012  at:  12:33:25 PM~

5:43:49 PM

Enjoy your new toy....

You must have cringed each time you had to query something pertaining to my emails..:)

As for your PC not booting...could be the power supply if you get absolutely nothing when you press the button..


~Edited by: Caveat  on:  8/21/2012  at:  5:43:49 PM~

2:43:45 PM
Cringe?... Naw.

Questions about the software or running queries to get them answered... that comes with the territory.




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