Sep
06
2009
0

I Just Make It Look Easy

Easy-to-make iPhone

Easy-to-make iPhone

A company once told me someone had offered to build permanent disability calculators for their website in three months for $7,500.  One said six months and $20,000.  Recently, another suggested it would take them a year and $40,000.  My response is usually some variation on “You’ve got to take that deal.  You’re wasting your time talking to me.”

It’s no big secret that building a great product takes a lot of work.  The important thing to remember is that just because something is easy-to-use, that doesn’t mean its easy-to-make. [1]

Real iPhone

Difficult-to-make iPhone

Let’s take the iPhone for example.  Everyone will concede its an easy phone to use.  However, it was released more than two years ago on 6/29/2007. [2]  In that time the other players – BlackBerry, LG, Nokia, and Palm have all been trying to catch up.  If this easy-to-use phone were easy-to-build everyone would have their own version.

Look, there’s no special magic to building a website like this.  Really, anyone can do it.  All you have to do is learn the calculations inside-and-out, deconstruct the math involved in the various calculations, learn some client and server side programming languages, learn a content management system, make it all work together, keep current on changes in the law, start all over again each time the law changes, and earn the respect of the workers’ compensation community.  Once done, you’ll have your very own workers’ compensation calculator website!

To return to the lesson of the iPhone, building a touch screen phone that can play music and surf the web is totally doable.  Doing it right is another matter entirely.

  1. Visit the link for a PDF of a cut-and-fold iPhone.  Thanks Gizmodo! []
  2. Wikipedia link. []
May
29
2009
0

Flashback to the 90’s

Pirate Radio!

Pirate Radio!

Last week while in Stockton I heard on NPR that a local station was switching to an “all ’90’s” format.  I hoped against hope that it was not KWOD 106.5.

However, on the drive home yesterday I was flipping around the dial and caught FM 106.5 from Sacramento.  I grew up in Sacramento and have fond memories of this particular station.

  • I remember the time a rival station, 102.5, was playing rap and hip hop and alternarock.  At about the same time 102.5’s format went more towards the rap and hip hop while KWOD 106.5 went towards the grundge and alterna-rock scene.
  • I remember a DJ on 106.5 who decided to play the entirety of U2‘s (then) newest album “Achtung Baby” start to finish without interruption at midnight the day that it was supposed to be released.  He was doing this because for some reason the release date had been delayed a few days.  I sat next to my stereo[1] with a blank cassette so I could tape the entire album.  That album was released on November 19, 1991. [2]  This album was also one of the first prerecorded cassette tapes I ever owned. [3][4]
  • I remember feeling a little sad and nostalgic when the morning duo[5] jumped to another station, 100.5.
  • I was listening to KWOD 106.5 when I learned that Kurt Cobain had committed suicide.

Anyhow, KWOD 106.5 just became “The BUZZ.”  I listened to it for about five minutes this evening and shut it off.  BuzzKILL is more like it. [6] [7]

  1. Dual cassette –  thankyouverymuch []
  2. Thanks to Wikipedia for making me look smarter than I really am. []
  3. So much for the RIAA and music piracy, eh? []
  4. Photo courtesy of id-iom []
  5. Shawn & Jeff in the Morning []
  6. I sound like my dad. []
  7. Sorry Dad! []
Nov
17
2008
1

My Laptop is Back!!! (Part II)

Data is important...

Data is important...

Quick recap:

...so backup your Data

...so keep a backup

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Backup your data before something goes wrong[2][3]
  2. A flash drive is your friend
  3. Decide whether it makes sense to repair or replace your laptop
  4. Make sure you find a good reliable laptop repair shop
    • Get a referral, if possible.  Otherwise, do your homework.
    • Researching a repair shop is time consuming, but you’ll be glad you did.
  5. Make sure your repair shop stands behind their work.  Paramount Technologies’ repair warranty is 90 days.  I think that’s pretty reasonable.
  6. Ask them what went wrong and how to prevent it

Ideas for new posts:

  • What to do when your laptop or computer dies?
  • How do you choose a laptop repair facility?
  1. Dell’s are great – if you know what you’re doing OR if you spring for the all-you-can eat repair buffet AND like talking to tech support. []
  2. Like discovering you have an evil android twin who’s exactly like you – except that he has emotions. []
  3. Thanks to wikipedia for the photos. []
Nov
07
2008
0

Daylight Savings Time – The Argument Against

89 days and counting...

Wake up!

Perhaps its the political climate, or the recent daylight savings time change, or that I’m an argumentative guy.  Today’s post is my argument against daylight savings time.[1][2]

If Wikipedia is to be believed, Daylight Savings Time was not invented by Benjamin Franklin.[3][4][5] [6] If Wikipedia is to be further believed, some guy named “William Willett” was the one who thought of it.

Its a mixed blessing for Mr. Willett that no one knows his name.  Ben Franklin gets the credit for daylight savings sandwiched between kudos for electric kites and bifocals.  Then again, Franklin also has to put up with abuse from people who hate daylight savings.  Such as myself.

The Benefits

Set aside for the moment the historical benefits to daylight savings time – the farmers getting out of bed and whatnot.  I’ll stipulate that it may have served some terrific purpose yeas ago.  The real issue is whether daylight savings time has any ongoing net benefits for our society.

Let’s assume arguendo there are practical benefits to getting everyone in your state to wake up, get home from work, and go to bed an hour earlier or later.  They have more “time” to do whatever is they want to do. [7]  Let’s even suppose that having an “extra hour” improves the mood of people with seasonal affect disorder. [8]

The Problems

Infrastructure. You have to admit that a truly Herculean effort is required to support the infrastructure necessary for daylight savings time.  People engineer wall clocks that manipulate the time twice a year.  Cell phones, computers, and TiVo’s all have to be pre-programmed to change the time twice a year.  Its exactly this kind of ridiculous time-accounting nightmare that lead to the Y2K bug in the first place.

Manual Upkeep. All of non-computerized devices such as coffee pots, car stereos, wristwatches, ovens, microwaves, climate control devices, and sprinkler systems need to be manually reset.  In this way, daylight savings time is almost like having a guaranteed power outage twice a year.

Productivity. The missed appointments, reschedulings, and groggy commuters and workers.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Starbucks was behind the continued use of daylight savings time.

Uniformity. Not every state, let alone every country, uses daylight savings time.  What happens why you’re in California and you need to call Hawaii or Arizona before the close of business? [9][10][11]

Workers’ Compensation Claims. The workers compensation implications alone are staggering.[12] Every home and every office must keep one poor bastard around whose job duties include dragging a chair or step ladder around the office to change all the wall clocks.

If the Office Poor Bastard falls and gets hurt, you’re going to have to hand him a claim form.  If the Office Poor Bastard gets an attorney, that attorney is going to see the mechanism of injury and argue for a higher occupational code than “Office Poor Bastard.”[13][14] The Office Poor Bastard will be considered an occupational code 482, “RIGGER, HIGH amuse. & rec.”[15]

The Solution

There are two possible solutions.

First, we eliminate daylight savings time.  If the potential drawbacks of daylight savings time outweigh the benefits, then it should be eliminated it.

Secondly, as an alternative we could agree to set the entire coutnry on the time halfway between daylight savings time and non-daylight savings time.  If you get 100% of the benefits and drawbacks from daylight savings time, then at the time halfway in-between you’d get half the benefit and drawbacks. [16][17]

I’m in favor of eliminating daylight savings time altogether, but I would certainly be willing to “split the baby.”

  1. I wonder if I should try to put it on the ballot as a proposition… []
  2. Original photo courtesy of Laffy4k. []
  3. Third best Ben Franklin quote here. []
  4. Second best Ben Franklin quote: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to prosper.” []
  5. Best Ben Franklin quote: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  Too political for a Friday?  :/ []
  6. Thanks QuoteDB!  []
  7. Keep in mind, they get no more than one “extra” hour. []
  8. Not that I think anyone’s arguing this.  I’m just setting up the best possible arguments in favor of daylight savings time. []
  9. Those Arizonans really are mavericks. []
  10. Or, how about: “Well, I guess Hawaiian and Arizonans are both mavericks!” []
  11. Too soon? []
  12. I bet you thought this wasn’t going to have anything to do with workers’ compensation. []
  13. “211 OFFICE CLERK, GENERAL clerical,” for those of you playing at home. []
  14. <shameless plug>I’d suggest this great workers’ compensation website to help you find such things.</shameless plug> []
  15. I say this only half-jokingly.  Years ago I had someone make this exact argument to me.  Ken, I’m looking at you. []
  16. This assumes an arithmatic progression of benefits and costs associated with daylight savings time. []
  17. This also assumes that no new benefits or costs are conferred by half-daylight savings time.  I can concieve of at least one additional drawback – namely that the United States would be in time zones half an hour from the rest of the world.  Then again, I suppose that’s better than being a full hour off? []
Oct
20
2008
1

200th Registered User!

It was not very long ago I announced 100 registered users for this site.  Today there are more than 200 registered users of this website.[1]  Since that time:

Pass Go, Collect 200

Pass Go, Collect 200

Wikipedia has this to say about the number 200:

  • 200 MeV is the temperature of quark-gluon plasma phase transition. [4]
  • An HTTP status code indicating a successful connection.
  • The sum of dollars given in the classical Monopoly game to a player passing Go.
  1. Photo courtesy of Mark Strozier. []
  2. Scroll down about halfway to see the list of new calculators. []
  3. As long as the economy and presidential election keeps giving me material, I’m not afraid of writer’s block. []
  4. Of course it is… []

Use of this site constitutes agreement to its Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Legal Disclaimer.
Copyright 2007 - 2017 - PDRater – PD calculators and Jay Shergill
Powered by WordPress | Aeros Theme | TheBuckmaker.com WordPress Themes