Geeks on Campus

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This Blog Has Moved

Posted by jeggent on 7th December 2022

As I am not sure how long BGSU will be kind enough to host this blog, the contents have been migrated to a new site

New posts will only be made at the new link. Sorry for the trouble.

All the best.


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Design to Deliver

Posted by jeggent on 8th January 2021

Some years ago I started to get concerned about something. My group was becoming responsible for an increasing amount of regular maintenance as we automated more and more processes. I decided that we needed to deliver solutions in a way that empowered the end users and minimized the ongoing involvement of the technical staff. So I came up with an outline/template laying out the items to address to accomplish these goals. I called it Design to Deliver. Having this outline also helps to establish the scope of a project to make sure that everything is included and to correctly estimate a project timeline. The components of Design to Deliver are:

  • Security
  • Flexibility
  • Usability
  • Documentation
  • Training

Does the project have any security requirement? Do all of the users have access to the pages and items included in the solution? Getting security changed can often take some time. It is important to include security changes to have an accurate timeline.

Is the solution flexible enough to handle minor variations without needing rework? For example is the end user able to specify which aid year or term is to be processed? If codes are known to change over time is the selection logic written to account for that, such as using using LIKE or BETWEEN instead of EQUAL or IN?

Is the design user friendly given the skill sets of the end users? Solutions that include steps that are too complex for the end user will likely continue to require technical support. Good usability also includes being compatible with the users current process. For example, will the next item appear on a screen that is already being used often or within a current workflow? Or will the user have to take additional steps and review different screens?

I know. I know. Documentation is not fun. However it can be critical in empowering end users to be more self sufficient. Some processes are only done once a year. Sometimes staff change responsibilities. And in these cases having documented the process in detail can make all the difference. A year from now the user may not remember how to complete the process. It’s likely the developer won’t either. Then time will need to be spent re-learning and re-explaining the steps.

Does the project include time and materials for any training that will be required? Training is another item that is too often overlooked but goes a long way to empowering users. Training can take a while to complete depending on the number and locations of the users.

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Blog Comments

Posted by jeggent on 18th July 2019

I don’t at all understand how blog comment spam works, but sometimes it’s funny.  Every once in a while an old post on here will get a bunch of spam comments. Right now that post is Drilling URL.  That post is from 2011! Why/how is it being targeted now for comment spam? You all will never see those comments because I have my blog set to not post any comments that are not approved by me. Just for fun I’m going to post some snips from the recent group of spam comments.

  • I have been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be a lot more useful than ever before.
  • hello!,I like your writing so a lot! proportion we communicate more approximately your article on AOL?
    I need an expert on this area to resolve my problem.
    Maybe that’s you! Having a look ahead to peer you.  ** AOL huh?  Cool. **
  • We would like to thank you all over again for the beautiful ideas you offered Jeremy when preparing a post-graduate research and, most importantly, with regard to providing the many ideas in one blog post. In case we had been aware of your web site a year ago, we would have been saved the useless measures we were taking.  ** Who’s Jeremy? **
  • Hello.This article was extremely interesting, particularly since I was investigating for thoughts on this subject last Saturday.  ** Really, last Saturday you were looking for drilling URL thoughts? **
  • Good article over again! I am looking forward for your next post.  ** Good news, this post is 8 years old. There have been others since. **
  • Merely to follow up on the up-date of this issue on your web page and would want to let you know how much I valued the time you took to write this beneficial post.
    In the post, you spoke on how to definitely handle this concern with all comfort.
    It would be my own pleasure to accumulate some more thoughts from your blog and come as much as offer some others what I learned from you.
    Thanks for your usual great effort.  ** I did indeed speak on how to definitely handle this concern with all comfort. Thanks for noticing. **
  • ** So very many comments about prescription drugs **
  • …. appreciate the knowledge you shared with others, the content is lit …..  ** lit 🙂 **
  • We Samish Leather assisting our customers since a decade, providing them the best of the best product in cheap rates, do not waste your time, and visit our web store. ** saved by the comma **
  • … I care for such information much. I was seeking this particular information for a very long time. ** 8 years is a long time **

Thanks for your usual great effort.  Cheers. John

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Five Years Later: Drawdio

Posted by jeggent on 28th January 2019

Well, it only took about 5 years from the initial post. But I finally built the Drawdio.

As mentioned in another post, I had trouble finding a couple of components.  Radio Shack closed their stores and I gave up for a few years.  Then I started playing  around with the Ardiuno Mega 2560 I got for Christmas and my interest was renewed in completing the Drawdio.  My Drawdio looks quite a bit different than the one from the link above.  I did not want to have to solder the components. I don’t have good soldering equipment and I’m way out of practice.  So I found these mini breadboards on Amazon and it worked great.  I also got the last couple of components on Amazon. FYI a 300K Ohm resistor works just fine in place of the 270K from the spec.  🙂

I wonder what other projects from the past I could dig up and finish…..

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More Randomness

Posted by jeggent on 3rd August 2014

I have no good reason for this post, so I’m just going to get into it.

DIY done

clipOK, so I’ve basically chickened out on a previously mentioned DIY project, but there is one that I actually completed.  Even though this is an old project, I’ve used this a couple of time recently which is why I’m thinking about it now.  This was done from this post on LifeHacker on building a card mount for your cellphone from office supplies. The picture on the left is the actual one that I built and use.  It fits my LG phones, I’m not sure if it will work with some of the really large phones like the Samsung S series.  A note of caution with this, be careful about clipping it to the vent when the AC is on.  I did that once and got a lot of condensation on the phone.

All the Hoopla

My local library has a subscription to Hoopla Digital which gives me (as a patron) access to their library of movies, TV shows, music, and audio books.  The TV and movie selections are kind of weak but the music and audio books have current and popular releases.  If you have a library card it’s worth checking to see if you have access to Hoopla.

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Summer Reading

Posted by jeggent on 1st August 2014

I’m reading a couple of things right now that I’m really impressed with and felt like sharing with you all.  In a previous post I mentioned reading The Inheritance Cycle books.  I have just recently finished the fourth and final book.  I started to burn out a bit at the end there.  That’s a darn lot of pages.  After taking about a two week break I’m back to reading in the evenings.

Fiction Unboxed – The Dream Engine

The fiction book I’m reading, The Dream Engine, is actually the product of a really successful Kickstarter called Fiction Unboxed.  The description from the Kickstarter is:

Watch two bestselling authors write a book LIVE in 30 days (from nothing to print) and change how the world thinks about storytelling.

I’m not a writer, so I didn’t participate in the Kickstarter, but I have started reading the book that was the product of the process.  So far I am very impressed and really enjoying the story.  The book is described as a “thrilling young adult steampunk adventure”.  I’ve enjoyed a number of stories classified as “young adult”; Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Divergent to name a couple.

Eloquent JavaScript

I found out about this online book from this post on LifeHacker.  I’ve been using JavaScript for years, some could say misusing JavaScript for years.  The book gives a really good background for people new to JavaScript or even new to programming.  It is really well written and I’ve already learned something useful in the first couple of chapters.  I learned what the conditional (a.k.a. ternary) operator is (ex. true ? 1 : 2).  I’ve encountered code like that several times in the past without really understanding what it is or how it works.  I was just trying to decide if I should start learning Java and Eclipse or game programming with Unity.  Now I can put off that decision while I read this and learn more about JavaScript.

I hope you are having a good summer.  Keep reading.

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Some Updates

Posted by jeggent on 12th March 2014

Bootstrap Site

I’ve made some good progress on my Bootstrap site.  The site is still very much under development, but you can see several Bootstrap elements (containers, columns, a form, an image rotator, responsive table, and footer) on my American Warming Louver Selection Wizard.  That image rotator was quite a bit of trouble and I did have to make some minor changes to the bootstrap.css file to get the right and left buttons to show.  I would really like to update the DIV with the results using AJAX, but I couldn’t figure it out quickly.  So AJAX will be a 2.0 feature if there is ever a version 2.0.

The Drawdio

Since I was making such good progress with the Bootstrap site I thought it would be OK to get started on the Drawdio weekend project.  To buy all of the items on the list as specified would be around $50.  There are four resistors needed and the parts list has you buying a 100 pack of resistors for over $20.  You can buy three of the four separately for just a couple of dollars.  I still need to find a 270K ohm 1/4 watt resistor.  The parts list also has you buying a 50 pack of capacitors to get the one 560 pF capacitor that is needed.  I’m hoping to find just these two things to keep the total cost around $30.

Another Daily E-mail

I have another e-mail to add to the list of daily emails you actually want to receive.  The BookBub e-mail sends you ebook deals that you may be interested in based on the options you select on sign-up.  I’ve found a couple of good bargains from this email, one of which I’m reading right now (Moth).

I hope you find this information useful.

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Weekend Project

Posted by jeggent on 21st February 2014

I found this online earlier this week and thought it looked like a cool project that the kids would really get a kick out of.  I was hoping to build one of these Drawdios this weekend, but now I’m not sure if the schedule will allow it.  If I do get around to it I will post a picture and let you know what the total cost was since that information seems to be hard to find.

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Geeky Reading

Posted by jeggent on 7th February 2014

So… what to do when it’s freezing cold outside pretty much all the time?

Well if you’re a Geek like me, one such activity may be reading fantasy novels.  I am currently reading Brisingr, the third book in The Inheritance Cycle. You may not recognize that title, but you’ll probably know the title of the first book Eragon (think dragon rider).  One of the story arcs has taken a turn in tone and style that really reminds me of another series I recently finished.  Last year I finished the six book series (Codex Alera) by Jim Butcher that started with The Furies of Calderon.  I really enjoyed the Romanic (not romantic) setting and the military strategy elements in the Codex Alera and now in Brisingr I am seeing more similar elements.  The one downside to this evolution is that my 9 year old son is also reading The Inheritance Cycle books and parts of Brisingr are quite a bit more violent and gory than the previous books.  He is already halfway through the book, so I don’t think I’ll stop him, but I will likely read the final book in the series (Inheritance) before he starts it.  I really recommend both book series to fans of fantasy novels.

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Geeky fun

Posted by jeggent on 17th September 2013

Need something geeky to do over lunch?  I have a couple of suggestions.

1.  The Freakonomics Radio Podcast

The authors of the great Freakonomics book do a podcast called Freakonomics Radio.  In the podcast they address similar types of topics that the book does.  One recent topic was “Do Baby Girls Cause Divorce?”  They talk about the statistical chance of couples staying together when there first child is a boy vs. girl and how likely they are to have more children depending on the gender of the first.  I enjoy how they ask interesting questions, take obscure positions, and support them with statistics.

2.  Ted Talks

I’ve known of and watched Ted Talks for some time.  When I recently watched and really enjoyed a talk on large prime numbers, I realized that I should add it to this blog.  At the top of the viewing page you can subscribe to a daily or weekly e-mail for updates.

– John

You may have noticed the theme of this blog has changed.  I really liked the previous one that looked like a desk but there was something wrong with it.  Visitors attempting to leave a comment where getting a Javascript error with the prior template.

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