Thursday, July 21, 2005

Life’s little twists…

Some of you may remember the posts I made a while back that had to do with ‘String Comparisons’, Jaro-Winkler, NYSIIS, DoubleMetaPhone, Levenshtein and my implementations of their work. I also posted recently that while that work had been useful in our initial testing as we got further down stream that it had been rendered all but ‘un-needed’.

Then about a week ago, I got an email from a fellow up in Canada who’s very interested in what I’ve done, and specifically in my Visual FoxPro implementations.

This was a bit of a surprise, as I’d sort of expected I’d see some interest from the VB.Net/Java folks first as they’re much more active development environments these days.

The guy is working on duplicate identification and ‘near matches’ in some Canadian government databases, and wants to test my work in their environment! I’m excited and flattered that he’d be willing to test out the product, sight unseen.

You see, I never really thought much about this blog actually bringing me together with other programmers, and/or clients. Back in January I was thinking of it more as a creative outlet and a ‘venting’ mechanism. It’s funny, to me at least, how a blog sort of takes on a life of its own, as well as it’s owner.

I know for certain I’d never intended to share any of those old poems, the stories about old friends, firefighting and so on, they just sort of slipped out the end of my fingers and onto the screen! I know the continual postings of others, their poetry and stories, encouraged me to post some of mine. The stories I’ve read on many of your sites have reminded me of, and encouraged me to write about, memories of my own.

I honestly thought, initially, that I’d be writing a journal, mostly for myself, but that maybe, just maybe I’d get some feedback from time to time. That so many of you would stop by and take the time to comment has been a particularly enjoyable side of this place for me!

So, for the past few days I’ve been putting some finishing touches on the programming work I’d done previously and compiling it all into a ‘Loadable library’ for him to start testing. It’s been a fun diversion from the daily “fix this”, “change that”, and “Oh, we forgot to mention we wanted this too” process that’s essentially the work day of a contractor. I’m working on ‘my’ product, for an actual ‘beta’ tester!

I expect I’ll be delivering that to him this week, and pending his feedback I’ll probably be making it available to other developers from one of the other websites in the near future. It’s unlikely I’ll ever get rich on this utility, but its one more step down the road towards that end.

Now on to a few completely unrelated issues.

First, about the chemical stripping of the truck bed, I can tell you it’s all but a dead issue. I spoke with the pricing guy yesterday and he wants more to strip it, than it would cost for me to buy a brand new floor! They don’t do the ‘dip primer’ process either, so even if it had been affordable, the end result wouldn’t have been ideal for my purposes.

So, it’s back to scrapers and strippers for me. The upside to all of this is that he did have a good idea for getting into those ‘crevices’ with paint, a cheap garden sprayer! Simply load it up with the paint/rust inhibitor of choice and slide the wand into the channels… when finished just chuck the whole thing in the trash… not a bad idea at all!!

So, the plan now is to finish the welding on the top side, flip the floor over, strip and treat the underside and start reassembling the bed,. I fully expect to be in reassembly mode by Sunday… I guess we’ll see where I get!

Second, Adobe PDF documents, has anyone here used the JavaScript utilities that are available in version 7? Do you possibly know anyone who has? If so, I’d appreciate it if you’d please point them in my direction. I’ve got an idea for handling some data gathering on the web, via PDF forms, and I’d love to talk with someone who has done this, or tried to.

Last, and certainly not least, my wife had another MRI on Wednesday. It’s looking like surgery is the only way she’s ever going to get the pain in her lower back resolved (the other pain in her back, me, will be much harder to get rid of!). She had it now, of course, after the Doctors strung her along for six months of injections, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories and pain killers they need a ‘current’ MRI before they can schedule her for surgery. As if that ruptured disc somehow ‘moved’ to another location!

I am so worn out with the medical community these days. If a car dealer did this kind of thing with car repairs we’d be calling the State Attorney General, filing ‘Class Action Lawsuits’ and all sorts of stuff. I find myself pondering the reasons we tolerate this level of medical ‘care’, instead of demanding our medical folks be as ‘up and up’ as we’ve come to demand our car repair shops are!!

It’s probably fear most of all. None of us ‘want’ to be sick, or be in need of a Doctor, but when we are, we want to be able to rely 100% on their advice and counsel. It’s just truly unfortunate that there are so few we seem to be able to do that with! The one’s who are simply adequate; seem like such stellar performers, when compared to the rest. Fortunately, the surgeon she’s seeing at the moment, is really good, and he’s pretty personable as well, as surgeons go anyway.

Despite my ranting… If I were him, and I wasn’t the Doc who’d ordered the original MRI, I’d probably want another too, just to be sure nothing ‘new’ had happened… but, then again, he took one look at the original and was wondering why the other surgeon hadn’t scheduled her immediately… go figure.


Beth said...

Bill, I hope all goes well with your wife. I am sickened by the healthcare system. The prices, the inadequacies, insurance rates ... it's just such a racket!

jenbeauty said...

I hope your wife is ok.

You should pop over to my blog, click the Wheezus link and read her writing. She has one up currently about the fires in AZ. I thought of you.

Wishing for the best.


Trevor Record said...

I also hope that your wife is ok. I hear there's a big push for socialized health care in the states, so maybe things will turn around yet.

Bill said...

Knitter, Jen and Trevor - Thanks, I'm as sure as I can be she'll be Ok... but a few extra well wishes never hurt!

Health care in the states, and around the developed nations of the world needs 'fixing' I think.

Probably not for another 20 years though, too much money at stake I think.

Firehawk said...


Man, that's a bummer that your wife's back is giving her trouble. I hope her surgury doesn't go too badly.

I don't know anyone who's used that element of Acrobat Reader 7. The extent of my PDF involvement is turning word processing docs into .pdf files with OpenOffice.

I hope the Canadians find your programs helpful, man!

Bill said...

Firehawk - Yeah it's a bummer, but she's a fighter.. and we'll get her past this.

The Adobe thing sounds very cool, as in you can create a form, let a web visitor fill it in and the data will be sent, by the form, to the server you indicate!

Has huge implications for some things the Rail industry would like to do... I'm hoping to be able to put together a proff of concept rather quickly!

I've almost got the library ready... I hope it helps them too!

Sudiegirl said...

God bless the American health care system...NOT!

My dad's been in and out of the hospital for the last month and 1/2 with a myriad of lung problems, and I could have wrung the doctors' necks for sending him home early!

Still, at least his insurance was paid in DC, 10 employees of the DC fire department were subjected to a bureaucratic snafu that caused payroll to deduct for their insurance, but their insurance premiums mysteriously went unpaid. I'd be like one of the villagers in Frankenstein, hunting someone down with a torch and a hatchet, screaming for blood.

Hang in there, man!


Jay said...

It is kind of magical how a blog can take on a life of its own.

I do hope your wife will get her health issues resolved speedily. I had a problem with my lower back, and as frustrating as it is to need surgery, and all of this preamble, I know that it cuts into your life pretty significantly when your back is not functioning as it should. Take care.

Bill said...

sudiegirl - Thanks, sorry to hear about your Dad's problems. Hopefully he'll heal up soon! Thanks for stopping by, and commenting! Feel free to point your Dad over here... we can never have to many FD folks around!

Jay - So you know first hand... when I first had problems with my back, I finally realized how debilitating it can be... all I want, for her, is to get her 'life' back. She's very active and this has been very frustrating as you might imagine!

Kim said...

omg... sometimes.... you make my head hurt.

Bill said...

Kim - Imagine what *mine* feels like most of the time!! :)

Thanks for stopping by.

Cristie said...

Thanks for commenting on my site, and thanks for the compliments on my blog, But I cant take the credit because it was designed by a 14 yr old, she just lets me use it!! On another note, I hope your wife gets well very soon. The healthcare system here in rural wnc isn't all its cracked up to be either. I learned that when I had my third child prematurely. I will keep you both in my prayers. Thanks again!

Bill said...

christie - Thanks, you're welcome, and thanks for stopping by! You're welcome anytime!

I'm always glad to see another 'neighbor'!

Comfort Addict said...

Gee, I love it when you talk code.

I'm sorry to hear about your wife. My wife is having issues with her shoulder. She's in such pain sometimes. She may need surgery, too.

Bill said...

CA - I think in code half of the time... it's strange actually, I find myself breaking everything into little discrete components!!

Thanks for your concern for Maryan, I hope your wife's shoulder problems can be resolved without surgery!