Mar
31
2009
0

Calculator Useability Update

Re-ordering can be good!

Re-ordering can be good!

You may have noticed a few cosmetic changes in the look of the workers’ compensation calculators. [1] It turns out that some of the calculators are getting a LOT more use than others.

  1. In order to make them a easier to use, I’ve re-ordered all of the calculators in rough order of popularity. [2] Hopefully you’ll find this helpful.  Eventually I plan to separate out all of the EAMS related search functions from the actual benefits calculators.
  2. I’ve found that when you click to expand a calculators it would cause the entire page to scroll to the top.  I’ve fixed this.

Send me an e-mail and let me know or leave a comment!

  1. Photo courtesy of Sock Monkey Photography []
  2. This change only affects the order in which you see the calculators and has nothing to do with how they work. []
Mar
28
2009
2

New Ogilvie DFEC Rebuttal Calculator feature!

Getting an upgrade!

Getting an upgrade!

Late last week a user asked for a new feature.[1]  He wanted to be able to perform the Ogilvie DFEC rebuttal calculation and have the results e-mailed to him.[2] Well, I built it![3]

To e-mail yourself a calculation, perform the calculation as normal.  When the website returns your calculation, it will say “E-mail Me!”  Just click that button and it will send an e-mail to the address you used to register for this website.

However, here’s the cool part:  I’ve installed this new e-mail system into every calculator! [4] No more having to copy and paste!  Just click one button and your calculation will show up in your inbox![5]

Although I intend this to be a paid-subscription-only feature, I am going to leave it open for all users while I get some feedback.  So, what do you think?  Please leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail!

  1. Thanks Dennis! []
  2. Photo courtesy of Vernhart []
  3. Why, what did you do with your Saturday morning? []
  4. I haven’t installed it in some of the EAMS lookup functions []
  5. If you filled in the boxes for Applicant, WCAB #, and File #, it will include this information in your e-mail as well.  This is only for your convenience and not a requirement. []
Mar
27
2009
0

WordPress – Not Just For Kids Any More!

Wordpress

Wordpress

A friend of mine owns and operates a number of websites – all of which run on ASP/.NET/MS-SQL servers.  He knows what he’s talking about, but he’s fairly dismissive of WordPress, PHP, and MySQL.

All this time I’ve been raving about WordPress, telling him that you can basically do anything with it.  I’ve mentioned how easy it is to use, how easy it is to maintain, its open source, how many global corporations use WordPress to build their websites, how its the tool of choice for so many designers, and how huge the WordPress community is.

In the meantime, he’s referring to his millions of rows in his “real-SQL, MicroSoft SQL” database.  I believe he’s been stuck thinking of PHP and MySQL as “kiddie” stuff, just not ready for big time.

That is, he’s been dismissive of WordPress until about two months ago.  In the last two months other people (SEO consultants, professional designers) have been raving about WordPress to him too.

I think he’s finally coming around.

Mar
26
2009
1

Improve the Ogilvie Calculator!

Could THIS be the elusive Ogilvie formula?

Could THIS be the elusive Ogilvie formula?

So, here’s the deal:  I want to build the absolute most comprehensive suite of calculators and tools for workers’ compensation professionals. [1]  I also want your help to making them better.

In the last few days several people have sent me questions about the Ogilvie DFEC workers’ compensation calculator:[2]

  1. Is it possible to get an Ogilvie DFEC adjusted whole person impairment above 100%?
    • I believe it might be theoretically possible to achieve an adjusted whole person impairment above 100% using the Ogilvie DFEC formula.  I could easily include a small variation on the calculation that would prevent it from exceeding 100, but I have not done so because I wanted to replicate the the formulas set forth in Ogilvie as exactly as possible.
  2. Why can’t I use post-injury earnings of $0.00?  What if they have no earnings at all?
    • That’s an extremely valid point.  If you try to use a post-injury earnings of “zero”, it will cause division by “zero” which is not a mathematically legal operation.  Try post-injury earnings of $1.00 or $0.01.  Doing so will give you an answer VERY close to what you need. [3]
  3. When do you round each calculation when performing the Ogilvie DFEC calculation?
    • The WCAB en banc in Ogilvie rounds to three decimal places at one step and to four decimal places at a second step.  The only way we know what they actually did is by extrapolating from the examples in the decision – they never actually state “round to four significant digits here, round to three significant digits there.”  I have rounded exactly as they did in their examples.
    • At the end of the day, there are two ways to perform the Ogilvie DFEC calculation:  the exact way the WCAB did it (sometimes four, sometimes three decimal places) and the way they probably intended to do it (four decimal places until the end).  I made the judgment call to use the formula as they performed it, warts and all.
    • Why did I choose to round as the WCAB did?  I think it is more defensible to calculate exactly as the Board did, rather than as I think the Board should have calculated.
  4. How do you put the Ogilvie DFEC adjusted whole person impairment into the rating calculator?
    • At this point, you can’t use a different FEC Rank or an Ogilvie DFEC adjustment factor in the 2005 PDRS rating calculator on this site.  In order to accomodate this, I would need to either rewrite the entire calculator or write a new calculator.  One other possibility is that I could modify the Ogilvie DFEC calculation to provide one extra line of information – where it “runs the FEC numbers backwards.”
    • Let’s take this example:  Suppose the body part FEC rank is 1 and whole person impairment is 10.  The normal FEC adjusted whole person impairment would be 11.  Let’s suppose after applying the Ogilvie DFEC formula it turns out you should have an FEC rank of 8 instead.  This would give you an Ogilvie DFEC adjusted whole person impariment of 14%.  I could write a modification of the current Ogilvie DFEC calculator to put 14% into the FEC Rank chart and look up what whole person impairment you would need with an FEC rank of 1 to arrive at 14%.  Would you find this a helpful interim fix?  Please let me know by sending me an e-mail.
  5. Jay, why in the world did the Ogilvie DFEC calculator reference “standard disability”?  Shouldn’t it say “whole person impairment”?
    1. You’re totally correct.  I’ve fixed this.  Mea culpa.

Here’s my request for your help.  In order to make an Ogilvie calculation valid, you need to put in valid post-injury earnings of similarly situated employees.  The WCAB in Ogilvie suggests several possible sources:[4]

What do you use for post-injury earnings of similarly situated employees?  If I had a better idea where people were looking it is possible that I might be able to automate the inclusion of this informaiton as well.  Please drop me a line and let me know.   If there is a general consensus, I’ll look into the possiblity of having this informaiton automatically imported from an external website.

  1. Why?  Some people have wacky hobbies.  Maybe you build hockey arenas out of toothpicks.  I build workers’ compensation calculators and give them away for free.  If it will put you at ease, I hope to make money from advertising in the future. []
  2. Photo courtesy of nerissa’s ring []
  3. I know it has a less than friendly error message about this. I’ll see what I can do about fixing that. []
  4. I’ve copied the links directly from Ray Frost‘s Ogilvie spreadsheet/calculator.  Ray has been kind enough to allow me the use of his extensive work restrictions lists.  So, thanks Ray! []
Mar
24
2009
0

Drooling over the Dell Mini 9

New Laptop

New Laptop

Since I reviewed available netbooks about two months back several new options have opened up.[1] There’s the new Samsung NC110[2][3] and a slew of new Acer One’s.

However, none of them can touch the 4GB Dell Mini 9 on sale right now for $199 with Ubuntu.

I know I had earlier said that 8GB was too small for my purposes. I had even suggested that I was more interested in some of the other available netbooks over the Dell for this reason.  However, I want to make my next computer a Dell, true to my word.

The reason I’m considering the 4GB version where I was dismissing the 8GB version before is the incredible price and the purposes to which such a laptop would be put.  In order to do about 98% of what I need with a laptop, I could easily use a netbook.  On any given day I use:

  • Firefox for web browsing
  • Thunderbird for e-mail
  • Pidgin for instant messaging
  • FileZilla for FTP transfers
  • Notepad++ for programming/text editing
  • OpenOffice for word processing, spreadsheets
  • TightVNC for remote access

All of these programs are open source software and available for Ubuntu[4] and Windows.  So, in shopping for a laptop, I really don’t care about which operating system I use.  The 4GB Dell Mini 9 with Ubuntu could do all of these things – and for a $199 price tag.  Plus, with the Mini’s SD card slot, I could pop in an extra 16GB of memory for only $26.

  1. Photo courtesy of Ciccio Pizzettaro []
  2. The Samsung NC110 is the successor to the NC10 []
  3. A review of the NC110 I found helpful []
  4. An easy-to-use Liniux installation. []

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