Posts Tagged ‘wrapup’

Winning at life — wrapping up the light project

The light install­a­tion is com­plete, I put it in last Sat­urday. That means I’m no longer a fail­ure at life, well not a com­plete fail­ure just a 50% fail­ure. And if there’s one thing I learnt from my Engin­eer­ing degree, 50% is a pass, think about that next time you put your life in an Engineer’s hands (fly­ing in a plane, driv­ing a car, walk­ing over a bridge or switch­ing on a power point).

The design worked a treat and the cli­ent was happy. I’m not sure what they were expect­ing but they seemed a little over­whelmed with a cus­tom solu­tion that per­fectly fixed all their prob­lems. It makes me won­der what they thought I was doing when I spent over an hour talk­ing to them about what the issues were and what they needed.

Even the install­a­tion went fant­ast­ic­ally even though there were a few little things I hadn’t fully thought and maybe a vital tool I for­got. For­tu­nately Keith agreed to come along and brought his ute full of tradie gear so I got away with it. With him tak­ing the lead on the install it even looked like a really nice pro­fes­sional job. I know I can do most of the things an exper­i­enced trades­man can do but it’s like the dif­fer­ence between me cook­ing out of a recipe book and a pro­fes­sional chef, both end products could be described as food but only one bears any resemb­lance to the picture.

There was a bit of ironic excite­ment, I was there installing a light designed to pre­vent the quad­ra­ple­gic cli­ent from burn­ing him­self. While at the same time he decided to burn a let­ter and man­aged to set his foot on fire, I heard him call­ing out and looked out the win­dow to see flames climb­ing up his leg. I man­aged to stop him burn­ing with only a little dam­age to myself, mainly due to the plastic fab­rics. Unfor­tu­nately he ended up with a huge blister cov­er­ing most of the top of the foot, at least he couldn’t feel it.

The only think I for­got to do was take some pic­tures. So this is another bor­ing lump of text, here, have a puppy.

Box of a puppies milk, complete with a picture of the puppy it was stolen from

Milk for sad­ists, stolen from 100% organic puppies

In praise of Bunnings

I wanted a three bulb halo­gen light fit­ting, prefer­ably run­ning at 12V. Bey­ond that cheaper was more import­ant that pretty and — because I wanted to play with the wir­ing — often bet­ter. I priced a few dif­fer­ent options:

  • $100 South­side Light­ing, Fyshwick
  • $90 Pro­ject Light­ing, Tug­ger­an­ong (With spe­cial TADACT discount)
  • $52.70 Bun­nings, Fysh­wick (240V)

It ended up being a bit of a no brainer. I under­stand it’s hard for a spe­cial­ist to com­pete with a massive chain like Bun­nings and I agree with sup­port­ing bet­ter ser­vice. Frankly though I would have got­ten bet­ter ser­vice from an illus­trated cata­log than I got from South­side Light­ing, maybe even some pretty mod­els too.

The dim­mers I used are designed for stand­ing lamps and came from South­side Light­ing. Mind you the product I was quoted wasn’t in stock, they did how­ever have an almost identical one that was $15 cheaper. Cata­log wins again… if I had known about the cheaper one I could have brought the quote down to $200.

To fin­ish this up and bring it back to Bun­nings. I also dis­covered this week­end that it’s 1/3rd of the price to buy a cheap exten­sion cable than to buy wire and a plug. I love mass production.

Wan­der­ing fur­ther off topic

I think we are going to see the end of most of these spe­cial­ist shops and I couldn’t be hap­pier. When a decent webpage can tell me everything I need to know with bet­ter ser­vice, they’re doing some­thing wrong. The costs are just far too high to jus­tify in the mod­ern age, these are large shops and Pro­ject Light­ing had four staff work­ing when I last went in, for two cus­tom­ers (includ­ing me).

How long until someone moves through and eats their 100% profit mar­gin with a local online ware­house. And why aren’t I doing it?

Maybe that could be October’s project.

Tax Project March Wrap up

So I cheated a bit and pushed the dead­line out a week. While much of the check­list is done the pro­ject over­all is nowhere near where I hoped it would be. The issue I think was that I assumed that I would be pro­duct­ive for the whole week­end but it turns out I actu­ally do do social stuff and reg­u­lar main­ten­ance like clean­ing or iron­ing. Look­ing back I think I com­mit­ted about half the time I expec­ted to.

Tax website screenshot showing layout

Tax web­site screenshot

Tar­get features

  • Tem­plat­ing system

    Check. Using TT2 as described earlier. The tem­plat­ing isn’t com­plete but I was
    always plan­ning on grow­ing it as I went. Sadly it doesn’t prop­erly imple­ment the
    prim­at­ives I’m using but It’s good to start with a win, even if you steal it.

  • Basic lay­out

    Check. To start off with I had a ghastly col­our scheme of dif­fer­ent shades of red and roughly the lay­out I ended up with. I read on one of those innu­mer­able web­site design blogs that col­our schemes are import­ant. All the clas­sic mood stuff, red is firey and aggres­ive, white is ser­i­ous, bor­ing and reli­able. Reli­able seems like a good mood for a tax web­site but black and white is a bit too hard for someone as inept as I to pull off. So I went with a cream back­ground and a yellow/browny sec­ond­ary colour.

  • Func­tional data entry

    Check. This works pretty well actu­ally, change an input box and it’s imme­di­ately pushed to the server. Not per­fect (none of the code is), not­ably it’s not fully back­groun­ded so you get a slight delay.

  • Javas­cript data checking

    Fail. I didn’t get around to try­ing this.

  • Server­side storage

    Check. I went with Mon­goDB and it’s going well so far. Ended up hav­ing to write a very simple PHP script to expose the DB to the Javas­cript, primar­ily authen­tic­a­tion wrapping.

  • Basic cal­cu­la­tions

    Par­tial. I have some cal­cu­la­tions work­ing but it’s not a reusable structure.

  • Inde­pend­ent domain name

    Fail. The pro­ject isn’t far along enough to be use­ful yet so the domain isn’t import­ant, so I’m mark­ing this as a fail but don’t care. I also couldn’t find a free name I liked.

  • Pub­lic source repository


Maybe fea­tures

  • Cli­ent side encryption

    Fail. Didn’t start on this.

  • User login system

    Check. Pretty easy to imple­ment with the DB layer in place. I don’t have user
    cre­ation work­ing yet but that is actu­ally a fairly small amount of work.

  • Basic per­sonal tax pack covered

    Fail. I’m nowhere near achiev­ing this, it’s crazy how much they cram into a few pages.

  • Cli­ent side PDF generation

    Fail. Didn’t start on this.

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