Nov
24
2008
0

Calculator Update 11-24-2008

Calculator

Calculators

Last week a website user notified me of a problem he was experiencing with this website’s rating calculators.  He’s been a regular user for nearly a year now.  When he tried to perform a calculation the calculators would just show waiting indicators without showing the answer.  If he closed the browser window and reopened it, it would sometimes fix the problem.  To complicate matters, his coworker was having a similar problem.

Worst of all, this problem had been plaguing them for two weeks.  If you have a problem with this website, let me know as soon as possible so that I can track down the last change to the site to see if its causing a problem.

My troubleshooting went like this:

  1. Get a detailed description of the symptoms.
  2. Try to replicate the problem.
  3. Reiterate the problem to make sure I’ve got it right.
  4. While working to diagnose and fix the problem, offer a temporary fix (putting up a temporary site for their use).
  5. Look into recent changes in the website (going back two weeks).
  6. Since I couldn’t replicate the problem, ask additional questions.
    • Does the problem occur at a particular time of the day?1
    • What web browser and version do they use?2
    • What operating system?  When was the last update?3
      • Explain how to figure out their version of Windows and how to install update.
    • Do they have any third-party “toolbars” installed?  Yahoo, Google, MSN, etc toolbars.4
      • Ask them to temporarily disable or uninstall the toolbar.  Give them links to where they can re-download the toolbar software.
    • Do they single-click or double-click on buttons?5
    • Are other co-workers having the same problem?6
    • Do they have this same problem on different computers?7
    • Is the browser showing javascript errors?8
    • Ask them to try out a new browser. I recommended the PortableApps.com version of FireFox.
      • If the problem disappears, its obviously in their computer or network.  If the problem persists, it could still possibly be their network or the website.
  7. Above all else: KEEP THE CLIENT INFORMED.9

As of right now, one of this client’s co-workers has contacted me to say that he’s no longer having trouble with the website.

So, problem solved?  If not, let me know, alrighty?

  1. This would indicate a data bottleneck at the server.  Time to upgrade! []
  2. And, tell them how to find this information. []
  3. Have I mentioned how much I loathe Microsoft VistaSeriously, I think people should delete Microsoft Vista because its crap. []
  4. These browser helper objects are notorious for interfering with normal browser operations.  Worse, you can’t rule them out based upon when they were installed because they’re constantly downloading and installing updates to themselves. []
  5. Double clicks send two requests to the server – and might be confusing the browser. []
  6. Two computers on a single network could be a coincidence, a sign of a problem with the website, or a sign of a problem with the client’s network. []
  7. If not, its a problem with that computer.  If so, could still be a problem with either the website or their computers/network. []
  8. Tell them how to tell if there’s an error and how to give you the error code information. []
  9. They may not care for the constant updates, but they will know you’re on the case. []
Nov
12
2008
0

5 Reasons Why Your Office Staff Needs PDRater.com

In a prior post I talked about the top five PDRater.com features that make your life easier.  But, when was the last time you thought about your office staff, hmm?

How can you make their job easier?  Well, the good news is you don’t have to, I’ve given you all the tools to make your office run faster and more efficiently, saving you time and money.

  1. American Idol, Top 5

    Top 5

    MPN’s.  Medical Provider Network lists, complete with logins and passwords.  Whether you’re on the applicant or defense side, your staff is going to need access to these lists.  You can find a doctor for your client or so you can give a list of doctors to opposing counsel.

  2. EAMS DWC to ADJ Number Search Engine. Chances are you’ve got cases with more than one “legacy” Board file number.  With this search engine, you can search for the corresponding EAMS ADJ numbers.  And, you can search for as many Board (or ADJ) numbers as you want at the same time, just by separating them with commas.
  3. EAMS Office Search Engine. When your staff is filling out documents for you, they’re going to need to know the correct name and address for all the parties.  When they need to call opposing counsel, they can also look up the phone number with this search engine.
  4. EAMS Document Type and Document Title Search Engine. Your staff needs a quick way to find the exact EAMS document type and EAMS document title for every document cover sheet getting filed with the Board.  Sure, they could comb through four or five pages of 3 point font on the Board’s form.  Or, better yet, they could search and find exactly the document type and title they need.
  5. EAMS Body Part Codes. There are 62 different body part codes in the EAMS system.  There’s no need to keep the EAMS chart on hand, just tell your staff what body part you want on the form and have them look it up on this website.
  6. DWC / WCAB  / EAMS Forms. There are now more than 130 different forms, new and “legacy”, available on the DIR website.  There’s no reason your staff should have to scroll up or down looking for the right form.  Type in a few characters and get a direct link right to the exact form you need.
  7. Date Calculator. Sure, everyone in your office could have their own date wheel.  In my experience, date wheels and money charts are two of the most commonly swiped office aides right after the good stapler and scotch tape.  With a date calculator built into the website, all of your staff can quickly and easily calculate the number of days between two dates or what day it will be in a certain number of days.

So, there you have the top 5, er 7, PDRater.com website search engine and workers’ compensation calculators your staff is going to benefit from using.  Registration for this site is quick, easy, and free.  Save your staff some time and frustration by having them register for this website and try out the calculators, search engines, and links.

Oct
27
2008
0

Two More Calculator Features!

Not a new calculator

Not a new calculator

Last week, at the request of a paid subscriber, I added a new permanent disability rating calculator feature.1 2 Prior users had asked about incorporating an automatic dollar value of permanent disability or “money chart”  For the reasons I described in that prior post, I just couldn’t think of a good way to incorporate an automatic calculation of the monetary value of permenant disability.

New Paid Subscriber Feature

New Calculator

New Calculator

Once I added this feature, I realized there were at least two more instances when an automatic calculation of dollar value of permanent disability might come in very handy: when calculating the Multiple Disabilities Table3 or Combined Value Chart4 values from combining one or more permanent disability ratings.

Now, when a paid subscriber calculates the CVC or MDT of multiple ratings, the calculated combined rating is fed to the dollar value of permanent disability calculator and the dollar value calculated.

  1. Old calculator photo courtesy of ansik. []
  2. New calculator photo courtesy of dan taylor. []
  3. 1997 Permanent Disability Rating Schedule []
  4. 2005 Permanent Disability Rating Schedule []
Oct
24
2008
0

WordPress Update to v2.6.3

Wordpress Upgrade

Wordpress Upgrade

Quick Update

or those of you keeping score at home, I’ve updated to WordPress v2.6.3 last night. 1  This version was released as a security fix.  Unlike other WordPress upgrades, this one took only a few seconds.

Less Quick Updates

Admittedly, prior updates probably only take about 10 minutes, max.  This 10 minutes includes roughly 9 minutes of backing the website and database up and 1 minute of actually uploading the new version.  Since the 9 minutes of backing up is essentially all processing/downloading time, there’s nothing for me to monitor which makes the whole process very painless.

Upcoming Updates

The kind folks over at WordPress have been hard at work on the version 2.72  If you scan through the above link, you’ll get to see what the new WordPress 2.7 control panel/dashboard is supposed to look like.

Best Thing About WordPress

(If you just can’t wait, skip down two paragraphs.)  Regular readers have heard me go on and on about the virtues of WordPress3  The interesting thing about new versions of WordPress is that any upgrades would be seamless to a website visitor. 4

A website that is easy to read is a function of the author

Website content is really all that matters to a website visitor.  Visitors don’t care about what software a website owner is using – just as long as the content is useful. 5

A website that is easy to write is a function of the program

The single best thing about WordPress is that this program makes maintaining a website a breeze.  I would recommend WordPress to absolutely anyone interested in creating a website.  For the novice, the program makes it easy to write, edit, and delete single pages or the entire website without any knowledge of programming.  For the tech-minded, the program makes it easy to install, upgrade, and personalize a website.

If you know a little PHP, MySQL, and javascript you could do some c-r-a-z-y things with WordPress. 678

  1. Talk about unnecessary decimal places. []
  2. I call them “kind” since a lot of these people are working for free. []
  3. You know, you three should really form some kind of support group for people who read unnecessarily nerdy and self-referential blogs. []
  4. I think its interesting, anyhow. []
  5. If they don’t care about what kind of software, they sure as heck don’t care its version 2.6.3. []
  6. You could even put together your own workers compensation calculators and EAMS search engines! []
  7. Am I going overboard with these footnotes? []
  8. The answer is “No, I’m not going overboard.”  In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “You can never go too far.” []
Sep
02
2008
1

Homemade WordPress 2.6+ Plugins

If you’re at all curious, I’ve written about four eight of the plugins for this website.  WordPress was specifically written to allow users to create their own plugins.  A “plugin” is a little piece of programming code that will modify how a program behaves.

I’ll discuss them later on, but for the ravenously curious my plugins include:

  • A plugin that creates rounded corners throughout the website
  • A plugin that creates the “accordion” menu effect on the Links and Calculator pages
  • A plugin that adds AJAX effects throughout the website
  • A plugin that creates a “gray-out” screen over certain pages when you’re not logged in or a registered user
  • A plugin that redirects a user to the calculator page when they log in
  • A plugin that changes the look and operation of the registration page to be more user friendly
  • A plugin that makes lots of little tweaks to the site to make it look and act better (I’m constantly adding to this one)
  • A plugin that allows users to sign up for automatically recurring subscriptions using a credit card or their PayPal account (I’m still working to make this more user friendly)

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