May
18
2009
0

Pocket Calculators

Permanent disability calculators that will fit in your pocket!

Permanent disability calculators that will fit in any pocket!

I was at the San Jose WCAB on Friday.  Since recently discovering that I could run this website’s permanent disability rating calculators from my phone’s web browser, this was the first time I left my rating manual, money chart, and date wheel in the car.[1]

It was great.  That morning I used my phone to:

  • Find the ADJ number associated with the legacy SJO number on my file
  • Calculate an Ogilvie adjustment of a rating string
  • Calculate the number days between two dates
  • Perform old and new schedule ratings
  • Perform a CVC (combined values chart) calculation[2]

The benefit for me is not so much that I don’t have to carry the rating manuals, dollar value charts, and date wheels.  Unlike these tools, my phone is not something I’m going to misplace or loan and never see again.

The best part is that if I want to refer back to the calculation I just performed, I can just e-mail it to myself!

  1. Photo courtesy of .robbie []
  2. Oh, and I called my client at one point.  Ha! []
May
13
2009
2

PDRater.com calculators for your phone!

This phone will not run PDRater calculators, but yours might!

This phone will not run PDRater calculators, but yours might!

I recently discovered that installing the Opera Mini web browser on my “smartphone” has allowed me to run this website’s workers’ compensation calculators from my phone.[1]

Since launching this website I’ve given a lot of thought to support for cell phones.  There just are not many phones that can run these calculators.[2] The glaring and notable exception is the iPhone.

Amusingly, one of this website’s users has asked for an “iPhone app” version of this site.  Seriously, you’ve got one of the few phones that can use this site and that’s not good enough for you?  (Thanks Chris!)

This is huge.  It means:

  • I can blog from the Board[3]
  • More importantly, no more bulky money charts or rating manuals at the Board!
  1. Photo courtesy of storm gal []
  2. It would be more correct to say there are not many phones that support javascript and AJAX well enough to interact with this website in a meaningful fashion. []
  3. Probably a lot more interesting for me than it is for you… []
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. []
Oct
07
2008
0

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Most people don’t even realize that they’re trend setters.  With the increase in online or website based programs, more and more people are turning to “cloud computing.”  This term refers to a process where all the computational heavy lifting is not performed on a user’s computer but rather an external computer.

Clouds, Computing?

Clouds, Computing?

The most common example of cloud computing is probably “Google Docs,” which is Google’s online suite of office productivity software.  It includes programs for spreadsheets, presentations, and of course document editing.  It can open and save in its own format, OpenOffice format, and Microsoft Office formats.  Even Adobe released a free online version of Photoshop.

Cloud computing is basically the process of outsourcing your math.  There are a lot of situations where this makes a lot of sense:

  • Money. Lower computing requirements mean you don’t need as powerful a computer, saving you money.
  • Money. Lower computing requirements also mean you won’t need to purchase an upgrade or new computer as often, saving you money.
  • Time. Nothing to install, upgrade, or troubleshoot.
  • Money. Web server updates mean you don’t have to purchase software upgrades, saving you money.
  • Scaling. Need another copy of a program?  Just fire up a new computer and launch a new web browser.
  • Fewer Resources. When the program never actually runs on your computer, it uses no memory.  When your computer isn’t working hard running a program, it uses less power.
  • More Resources. When the program is never installed on your computer, it uses no hard drive space.  On the flip side, many cloud computing programs allow you to save your work or files online – giving you more hard drive space than what’s on your computer.

So, how does all this technobabble about cloud computing apply to you?  Well, every time you use this website’s online web-based permanent disability calculators and EAMS search functions you’re letting my web server do the number crunching for you.

You’re, quite literally, letting me help you save resources, time, and money.

Sep
12
2008
0

Google Chrome compatible with Workers’ Compensation Calculators

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Google jumped head fist into the browser war last week.

The big players at the moment are Internet Explorer, Firefox/Mozilla, Opera, and Safari (Mac).  From Google’s information about Chrome, it looks like it was designed based on Apple’s popular Webkit and Mozilla’s very popular Firefox.  An added benefit is that this new browser is open source.  Google’s online comic about Chrome and their new vision of how a web browser should look and behave is actually fairly interesting.

The other bit of good news is that I’ve downloaded and installed the beta version of Google’s Chrome in order to see whether it is compatible with this website and its web apps.

Good news!  Chrome works flawlessly with my workers’ compensation calculators!  So, feel free to use your choice of web broswer to calculate permanent disability percentages, temporary disability rates, life pension rates, and nearly every other kind of benefit available under California workers’ compensation law.

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