Best of September 2008

*PDRater up, the Dow down

PDRater up, the Dow down

September 2008 was a pretty good month for  Yay! ((Original photo courtesy of Daniel Martini.  Mad photoshop skillz, all mine!))

Not so good for the economy. Boo! Perhaps this website needs a new, darker, tagline?  How about: “When you’ve lost everything else, you’ve still got”

Here’s my favorite posts from this past month.

I had the most fun with the “End of the World” posts from mid-September.  If you read nothing else, check out the one labeled, “The End of the World: A To Do List“.  That one is worth a look for my mad photoshop skillz alone.

For the more practical minded, the Road Warrior Checklists might be helpful.  I think I’ve got at least one more “Road Warrior Checklist” in me.  Also, I’ve provided some advice on what to do when your laptop stops working.

Six new calculators this month!

  1. Retroactive Benefits Calculator
  2. Convert WCAB and DWC “legacy” numbers into the new EAMS ADJ numbers
  3. Search with all EAMS registered Offices
  4. EAMS Body Part Codes search engine
  5. EAMS Document Type and Title search engine
  6. EAMS and DWC forms search engine

The World Ended on 9/10/2008

Laptop Repair Saga

Road Warrior Checklists

Virtual Real Estate (since the non-virtual kind is dead)


Another Three New EAMS Calculators!



As you know, last Monday I brought you two new EAMS calculators / search engines which were basically an improved search engine for the EAMS ADJ number lookups and EAMS office lookups.

The IT guy for my law firm wrote an e-mail to me on Friday suggesting:

Hey, how about a body part search function on your website? That might be useful sometime.

First off, thank you for the suggestion TK!  Secondly, I was actually in the process of building such a calculator on Sunday September 21, 2008 when my laptop stopped working.  My laptop was fixed on Friday (more tomorrow) and I was able to finish the EAMS body part to body part code search function.



I was so happy to get my laptop back I built a whole new EAMS search engine and a better way to access forms.  After having a hell of a time trying to locate the proper document type and document title on Friday I decided to make this my next project.

With the new EAMS forms on the DWC forms page, you now have a bewilderingly large number of forms to search through in order to find the one you need. Not only do you have to look through the 136 different forms offered by the page, but the EAMS forms are not easily distinguishable from the non-EAMS forms.

  • What I’ve done is create an EAMS and DWC forms search engine which scans through the DWC’s lists of forms by the form type, form name, and form number, and generates a list of just the forms which fit your search.  On my forms search engine, the EAMS forms will be highlighted so you know its an EAMS form at a glance.

And THAT is how I squandered my weekend.


Blog Bigtime!

Wednesday afternoon I received an e-mail “Link Exchange Request” from another website.  That website is for legally related services, but really has nothing to do with what this website is about:  California workers’ compensation, nerdy technobabble, and random silliness.

This other website proposed that I put up a link to their website here.  Incoming website links are one of the primary tools search engines use to rank web pages, which is why people are always offering link exchanges.  Google’s PageRank system ranks a website on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the best.  Like the Richter scale for earthquakes, PageRank scores require exponentially more energy to reach the next level.

Bad Link Exchange Offer

Bad Link Exchange Offer

These links to my site can be “high quality” because they are from a website that also deals with California workers’ compensation, nerdy technobabble, or random silliness.  Or, they can be “low quality” because they have nothing to do with what my site is about.

In order to find out whether they were offering a high quality linkback, I checked out their website.  On the right is a screenshot of their website.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with workers’ compensation.  The green circle is where they had the link to their “resources” page.  The green box at the top is the only part of their page that’s visible when you go to their page.

So, not only were they offering me a low quality link, but they were offering me a low quality link that no one would ever look for, let alone find.

While they were clearly making a terrible offer, the idea that they looked up my website in order to solicit a link was amusing.  My website’s gotten so big people want links from me!  Blog bigtime, baby!


Bailouts for Everyone!

Baled Hay

Baled Hay

Maybe I’m just being thick or just something here.  Someone, please, explain this to me.  Our president was adamant that home owners needed to learn a lesson about the free market and that the government would not bail them out of bad mortgages.  A few weeks ago, $700 billion in bailouts for huge companies was also unthinkable.  As of last night, our president tried to convince us that bailing out these companies is a good idea.

And, it probably is – that’s not the point.  The point is that this seems a double standard.  I realize that every major bank closing its doors overnight is not a good thing.  Millions of people losing their homes is not good either.  After all of this, I’ve got one question and one idea.

The Question:

Assuming (at the time I’m writing this) a U.S. population of 305,248,844 of which there are 138,000,000 taxpayers.  Our government is about to spend $700,000,000,000 of our money.  I figure that’s about $5,072.46 a person.  Hey, what’s the worst that could happen if we passed that money out to the taxpayers?  A complete collapse of our financial institutions overnight?  HAHAhaha … um… ha?  <crickets chirping>

The Idea:

The big problem right now isn’t so much the bad mortgages, its that people aren’t paying their mortgages.  And, people aren’t paying their mortgages because they can’t afford the increased payments due to the higher interest rates from their adjustable rate mortgages.  My idea is give everyone with an ARM the option to freeze their interest rate at their introductory rate.


  • Mortgages and property taxes get paid.
  • Lawns get mowed.
  • Banks get paid back.


  • People get to live in houses they can’t really afford.  So what?  At least they’re mowing their lawn.
  • I’ve just invented the 90 year home loan.  Again, so what?  That loan will have to be paid off before its sold – and they will sell it.
  • Banks get paid back slower than they thought.  Its better than closing your doors, amiright WaMu?

Anyhow, I guess I’ll leave the economic policy up to the professionals.  (’cause, you know, they’ve been doing a bang up job).


When to Repair A Laptop

Okay, your laptop doesn’t work.  What do you do once you’re done grieving?  Your options are to:

  1. Fix it yourself. Slowest and cheapest solution.
  2. Pay someone to fix it. Moderately time consuming and expensive, and potentially fraught with peril (your laptop could get damaged or ruined).
  3. Get a new laptop. Quickest and most expensive solution.
Computer Help

Computer Help

Setting aside the idea of diagnosing and fixing the issue yourself, which is just not an option for most people, the choice is usually between fixing and getting a new laptop.  With computer processing power, RAM/memory, hard drive space, and battery life constantly increasing while prices consistently decrease, the ideal time to repair versus buying a new laptop is always going to be a moving target.  There are three main factors to consider when making this decision.


Cost is probably the single biggest deciding factor.  The good news is that your laptop can probably be repaired.  Sight unseen, it will probably cost you between $200.00 and $500.00 including parts and labor.  A new laptop will cost you roughly $500.00 for a bare bones machine, $1,250.00 for a nice machine, and $2,500.00 and up for a ridiculously powerful machine.


For most people a computer has a 3 year timeline of usefulness.  After that something about the computer will be too outdated to be of use beyond basic usage.  If your computer is more than 3 years old, you’ve had a good run.  Replace the poor thing.

Time & Need

If you need a computer for your business, every hour without your computer means you’re losing money.  If you don’t need it for your business, you’ve got more time to decide.  Your time is important and your downtime is even more important.


Here’s my totally unscientific and completely quantifiable formula for determining with nearly totally complete guesstimate-approximation of whether you should repair or replace your laptop.  First, let’s assume a constant – the amount you would spend on a new laptop and set that equal to the original purchase price of your current broken laptop.  The formula is as follows:

  • O = Original cost of broken laptop
  • A = Age of broken laptop in months
  • R = Repair cost
  • L = Lost work hours
  • H = Hourly rate

Repair your laptop if:

  • [(42-A)/42]*O – (L*H) – R > 0

Replace your laptop if

  • [(42-A)/42]*O – (L*H) – R < 0


I need to get my laptop repaired.

How about yours?

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