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cacharbe (3002)

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Journal of cacharbe (3002)

Friday October 25, 2002
07:48 AM

Weight Watchers Update

Since April 4th, 2002, I have lost:

*drum roll*

52 pounds.

I'm going to continue to work to keep it off. I feel healthier, I have more energy, and when a few of us opened our theatre last night (yes, I'm now officially an 'Associate Producer') people were more amazed by my weightloss than my improv.


Take the notice where you can, I suppose.


Thursday April 11, 2002
08:12 AM

People Actually DO THAT?!?

[ #4115 ]
The Current Process:
  1. Users (from various locations) ftp files containing financial data to a central repository in Tab delimited files
  2. Someone (by hand) opens these files one at a time and Copy/Pastes them into Excel.
  3. Final combined file is saved out to One Big Frickin TAB file(tm)
  4. Two tables are created prior from a Duns & Bradstreet SAM dB export into MS Access
  5. Using queries as filters, said TAB file is loaded into Access, filtered and exported back out
  6. Final file is uploaded to the SAM database
  7. Rinse-Repeat, once a week. Process takes 3-7 hours from start to finish

WHAT?!? Who the hell thought that one up?!?

My solution? - Write 200 Lines of code (exactly, as a matter of fact) that:

  1. Traverses the Dir tree (File::Find)
  2. Validates each entry from the files against Enterprise SQL server tables (Automated / Scheduled Import into SQL tables from SAM)
  3. Creates proper upload file and updates an 'unknown' table for unknown entries for user validation via a web based interface
  4. One button click, or automated scheduled process (still in debate)
  5. Total Time from start to upload - 34 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on number of files and file size.

I can't stand inefficiency...It's chaps my ass.


Wednesday April 10, 2002
07:20 AM

The Actor's Nightmare

[ #4080 ]
No kidding. Last night, I had the Actor's Nightmare. I'm moments before a show, I don't know my lines (I think we were doing "Long Days Journey into Night"), and my costuming is all wrong. The crowd is tiny, and I do believe we were on a train. erk, the Dinner Train theatre crowd. *Shudder*

As an actor and improviser for the past 10 years, I can honestly say I've only had this dream once maybe twice in the past. Wow. Weird. And I'm only directing a show right now, no lines to learn what so ever.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

I recently started reading Declan McCullagh's Politech newsletter / email list. There are some well informed, well connected people on this list, that or they are a group of no-sh!t bullsh!tters. I suspect that it's the former, and look forward to good tech information as it relates politics in our current uncertain society.

*sigh* Back to the grind.

My task over the next few days is to determine whether Peter Tschipper's MsgQ module will be enough for a project that I am working on, or if I have to write a queuing system of my own devising. I'd like to make one that uses a mysql back end with possibilities of hooking to an IBM MQ series queue (yet another package to read through), so I'm thinking I might have to build onto what ever I find anyway.

No rest for the wicked.


Tuesday April 09, 2002
03:09 PM

The Things we do for Love

I was having lunch recently, when the topic of Weightwatchers came up, and how one of the fellas at the table had lost 47 pounds in about six months.

I'm over weight, about 40 lbs heavier than when I started college, and I have been trying desperately to change that. His 47 lbs weight loss struck a chord.

I got home early from work that afternoon (it was the Thursday before Easter, we had the next day off, and the lunch was an appreciation lunch for a project roll out) and decided to surf a little cable while my laptop booted up.

*flip*Weight Watchers Commercial
*flip*Weight Watchers Commercial
*flip*Weight Watchers Commercial


And I proceeded to surf over to perl monks for some light reading. A few hours later my girlfriend got home from work (she works at a styling salon), and the first thing out of her mouth?

<VOICE accent="Ben Stein">

"We had a new customer today, and she was really informative. She is a manager at the local Weight Watchers, and I want to go, but I don't want to do it alone."

OKAY!! I can take a hint!!

For those of you that don't know (but might care) WW uses a "POINTS" system to determine how much and of what you can eat in one day. Based on my weight, I can eat so many points in one day, each food item has a points value based on Dietary Fiber, Calories and Fat. But I'll be damned, all of their data is in booklets, in pamphlets and on a little slide-rule like device.

How archaic!

(Of course, they do have a subscription based on-line service, but I'm already shelling out $12 each for the two of us a week plus the money it's costing me to change my diet - cleaning out the fridge can be painful)

And so began the quest. I scoured the web for all of the data files and perhaps even a canned application to do all this data tracking and number crunching. I found one for the Palm (that has been 'decommisioned' thanks to the WW legal team - but that's another story) and it's related data files. Problem is, only one of us has a PalmPilot, and it ain't the girlfriend.

So the quest continued. I've found a large number of text files that contain most of the data I want, now it's a matter of parsing over 100 different files with different file formats, getting them into a data base with some kind of maintainable structure, and implementing an application that will track all the data on the intranet at home.


If she hadn't said something, I could have ignored the prompting, but no...

At least I can flex the geek(tm) by designing the application