Aug
31
2009
0

What do you use Verify!® for?

Theres nothing silly about Verify!(R)

There's nothing silly about Verify!®

A few weeks ago I launched a Social Security Number verification tool powered by Verify!®.  Since its launch its become a very popular tool.  One of the coolest things about having these calculators is finding out all of the new ways people think of to use them.  These new and unintended uses are almost always far more interesting than the original pedestrian reasons for which a tool was created.

Take Silly Putty for instance.  Silly Putty was originally created as a potential replacement for rubber during World War II.  It didn’t work as a replacement for rubber, scientists were unable to think of a use for it, and it sat in a lab for years before a toy store owner began stuffing it in plastic eggs.[1]

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Use it to determine whether someone is a U.S. citizen.
  2. Use it to double-check someone’s year of birth.
  3. Use it to determine approximately when someone became a U.S. citizen.[2]
  4. Use it to determine whether someone is potentially Medicare eligible.[3]

What other uses can you think of?

  1. Photo courtesy of unloveablesteve []
  2. I thought of this one during a deposition last week when a deponent couldn’t recall when they first came to the United States.  I just fired up the cell phone web browser, went to the calculator page, and asked the follow up question. []
  3. Thanks Chris! []
Feb
09
2009
0

Ogilvie DFEC Rebuttal Calculator – Ask for access

How to build a calculator: Its like smashing a calculator - only in reverse

How to build a calculator: It's like smashing a calculator - only in reverse

I’m going to delay the launch of the Ogilvie DFEC rebuttal calculator for a day or two. [1]  I believe it works just fine, but I would like to test it a little more.  This said, I will grant anyone who is interested access to this calculator.

Why the delay?  Well…

The interesting thing about taking apart a set of calculations is that you find all sorts of “hidden steps” to the calculation.  The majority in Ogilvie does a respectible job of going through the steps of this new formula and even gives several examples.

When performing most calculations one will need to round numbers at some point.  However, rounding almost invariably takes place at the very end.  In the case of the Ogilvie calculations, it appears that the WCAB rounds various figures throughout the calculation.

Even though the DFEC rebuttal calculator was giving correct answers, the fourth or fifth decimal places on some intermediary figures occasionally did not coming out right.  It took me a little while to track down all the spots where the WCAB was implicitly rounding their figures (and to what decimal place!).

I am fairly confident the calculator will work without a hitch, but I’m going to test it a little more before I make it available to the public.  If you’re interested in testing this Ogilvie DFEC rebuttal calculator, please drop me a line and let me know.

If you’re not a registered user for this website, its free to sign up and free to use all the workers’ compensation calculators.  Seriously, free as in free!

  1. Photo courtesy of mhuang []
Dec
15
2008
1

300 Registered Users!

Tonight, we dine in HELL!

He's really excited about so many users!

Just this last Saturday we reached 300 registered users – and King Leonidas couldn’t be happier.[1]

On August 20, 2008 the 100th person registered for this site since its re-launch on July 6, 2008.  On October 20, 2008 the 200th person registered.  In the time since this website’s relaunch, I’ve:

  1. You know, King Leonidas from the movie 300.  The really happy looking guy to the right. []
  2. I’ve got at least two or three more checklists planned. []
  3. More laptop advice on the way. []
Sep
03
2008
1

New Retroactive Benefits Calculator Launched!!!

Google

Google

Google has a saying, “launch early and iterate.”  Launch your idea, get feedback, make it better, keep doing it! As a friend of mine has delicately suggested, I’m no Google.  This doesn’t mean I can’t learn from Google, right?

Two of the calculators I’ve been developing are a commutation calculator (for pre-1/1/2003 injuries) and a retroactive benefits calculator.  I’ll discuss the commutation calculators more closer to their launch.

However, today is the day I’m publicly launching my Retroactive Benefits calculator!  Its fairly straight-forward.  You tell it the weekly rate, start date, end date, payment date, and an interest rate.  It tells you how many days, how much is due, how many days the benefit was delayed, and how much is due with interest.

Take a look, play around with it, let me know what you think.  Drop me a line or post a comment.

Aug
27
2008
0

Website upgraded again!

In my never ending quest to build the world’s best workers’ compensation website, I’ve made a few upgrades:

  • Upgraded from WordPress 2.6 to WordPress 2.6.1
  • Infinitesimal changes to the theme
  • Adapted a new plugin for WordPress that redirects you directly to the calculator page as soon as you log in

Why keep upgrading WordPress?

Using open source software can be a two-edged sword. On the down side, anyone with the ability to read the source code can figure out the security vulnerabilities. The plus side is that people are constantly working to improve and eliminate those very same security vulnerabilities.

Since people are working on WordPress all the time, it will need to be upgraded all the time. Doing so allows me to take advantage of the latest features and security updates. So far I’ve used WordPress 2.3.2, 2.5, 2.5.1, 2.6, and now 2.6.1.

Why change the theme?

The theme (the “look” of this website) is completely user configurable. Since this website’s launch I’ve been constantly tweaking the look. Minor changes to the color scheme, menu at the top of the website, and how many posts are shown on the blog page.

I work on the theme in order to (hopefully) make the website more aesthetically pleasing and easier to use.

Why the new plugin?

I’d like to make the free registration process as quick and as painless as possible. I’ve had the opportunity to watch a few people go through the free registration process for this website. What I saw was that people were logging in for the first time and were sent to their user page – which looks totally different from the rest of the website. Unfortunately, this caused no end of confusion.

I modified an existing plugin to override website’s default settings to send users directly to the calculator page as soon as they log in.

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