25 May

Did you catch his face, was it 10538?

Usually, people in technology seek overly complex solutions to simple problems. Bob Lewis recounted how he once sat in a restaurant that offered a “bottomless bowl” of soup. (I cannot recall all of the particulars, so I’ll fill in the gaps with the power of imagination–you’ll get the gist.)

He wondered how they keep the bottomless bowl customers separate from the non-bottomless ones. And in his head, he constructed something like an entire RFID infrastructure that would provide tracking and alerting based upon tokens…or maybe a mag-stripe cards that could be swiped at the counter…

Turns out, he said, that the bottomless bowls had a blue stripe and the rest were just plain.

Edit: Mr. Lewis replied to an email with:

enough – glad the column stuck with you. If you’re interested (or want to
provide the link), here’s the original: http://www.issurvivor.com/ArticlesDetail.asp?ID=349

And in that vein, Mr. Mike Cummings has developed one of the most useful technological excesses of which I know…the Where’s Lunch spreadsheet. Since it’s adoption into our “Tech Talk Thursdays” framework, we no longer spend all morning in emails trying to decide where everyone would like to eat lunch.

The Magic Spreadsheet tells all!

Just edit the restaurant list to suit your local proclivities. There is logic built in to prevent repeats for within four executions, however, if you are facile with VBA, this can easily be adjusted. Oh, and obviously, your Excel security settings come into play–read the code if you’re concerned. I offer no warranty or support in any way, shape, or form–use at your own risk.

Once again, technology is an enabler. Now our office is much more efficient–we spend all morning in emails complaining about the choice rather than attempting to make it.

10 May


Wow…post a little article on rec.models.rockets and a KCAR member immediately responded.  Now that’s diligence!

I have some new shots of the Sirius to put up under the project.  I’ll try to get that done later this afternoon.  Mike Cummings came through with a loaner dremel for me to chew out the fin notches, for which I threw him a fish.  So, as soon as I can get an answer on the lug vs. button question I’ll be able to complete my last fillet and start on the finish. 

Maybe I can decide on a color scheme before I get done filling the spirals and priming it.

In other news, I’m becoming a m4d SQL h4><0r.  I should have developed my DB skills long ago–it isn’t the mystery I thought it was. 

04 May

You’ve Been Selected!

First, you probably need to read this sluggy.

Twice this week I’ve received voicemails that said I have been selected for the grand prize.  The last one actually said that it was from “an entry in the mall”.  I mean, bald-faced.  I never fill out those silly cards in the malls–why on earth would anyone?  Not only that, it was my direct office line–no chance I’m giving that one out.

Bryan, in the next cube over, has been getting them too.

So I call them up and waste their time for a little while.  The first chick asked me my phone number.  I said in a sweet voice, “Doesn’t this prize confirmation number give you that informantion?” 

“No, it doesn’t work like that,” She told me haughtily.  “I need to verify your information.” 

“Ok.”  I said, “Give me my information and I’ll verify it for you.”

At this point, she was getting a little mad at me.  “How can I verify it if I give it to you?!?”

Once again, in the most innocent voice I could manage, “Oh?  You mean you don’t know who I am?  Then how can you have a new Ford Explorer for me?”

It kinda went downhill from there.

The next guy was from Phoenix, AZ.  When I called him and asked how he got this number, he told me that they got them from malls, sporting events, contest entries, etc.  I remarked how interesting that was, as this was an unlisted direct business line that I’m hesitant to give out even to my company’s own customers. 

He was good–I’m telling you.  All the while clucking sympathetically at this horrible mistake, he started in on his script; asking me for the number that I was contacted on…you know, so they could remove it from their list.  Wow.  I have to tell you he almost got me there.  I am a highly certified IT security professional and he almost social engineered me.  Who knows, maybe he was SK+ certified.

I told him that it couldn’t have been a misskey or something because several people had received the same call.  OH!  That was different–If I would just fax him a directory of all the direct lines in my office he’d make sure that they were off the call list!

Sometimes I just stop and marvel at it all.  I’ve got to give him props, he had some nerve.

01 May

Sirius – Part 2

There was plenty of time last Saturday afternoon to get some rocketry work done. And things are progressing nicely-the fin can and baffle are completed and assembled. I need to chop my airframe and make my fin slots now, and the bottom of the rocket will be finished. As soon as my RedArrow shipment arrives, I will be able to balance this thing–I’m afraid that I’ll have to add some nose mass to pull my CG higher.

I’ll be working on some graphics pretty soon. If anyone has any good ideas for decal paper, lemme know.

Anyway, if you want more of a pictorial walkthrough on the work so far, click the Sirius link on the main site.