Sunday, July 11, 2004

A bit of a breather

As usual, summer has been nuts. We had very hot weather in June. If you enjoy the heat, enjoy having lazy summers, don't become a refrigeration mechanic. On top of that, my coworkers were either on holiday or home caring for newborns and wives, leaving me holding the fort. I'm not bitter. So far it's a very good year. Our volume has almost passed last year's total. And the work has been interesting, predominantly product refrigeration and freezers. That is my preference. Lettuce doesn't talk back when it is too cold, warm, draughty, or generally miserable.

An interesting observation from having my daughter travel the world. We expected to communicate through email, which presumably would be cheaper than phones. The problem is that internet access isn't universal, as phones are. We received emails sent from kiosks in airports, internet cafes, and a hostel in Belgium, but phone calls from the homes where she stayed. Is it too expensive, limited usefulness, or people are avoiding the Microsoft Experience(tm) of worms, trojans and virus'? It isn't limited to Europe, Montreal being the same.

Not much progress on the Digest coding front. I have Quanta open most of the time to some php file, but can't seem to get past the staring blankly phase. I fixed a problem where a developer used --------------- to format his commit log. Dashes are used in the cvs log as a divider. It's fixed now.

Maybe it's time to try something completely different. A project that has been rolling through my mind for a while is a residential heat load calculation program. I've got a spreadsheet that works, but it takes forever. The calculations are quite straightforward, just grabbing appropriate entries from tables, multiplying and summing. Data entry is the challenge. It takes me a couple of hours to do one, and it is very tedious exacting work. There are commercial applications available, but from what I've seen, they enforce a way of seeing the project. I can do an educated guess heat load within 10-15% in 15 minutes. The data needs to be viewed and entered in 3 or 4 different contexts. An interesting usability challenge.


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