Category: Taxi

Last day with TLC

Yesterday was my last day at the Taxi and Limousine Commission. The majority of the day was filled with minor bug fixes and explaining the applications I created to the people that will be taking care of them from now on.

For lunch, I was invited to a Japanese restaurant called “Megu” with the people I was working for all summer. The restaurant itself seemed like it was pulled straight out of Deus Ex, without any graphics upgrades. The food was pretty good, I had a burger made with Kobe beef and some mystery sauce that tasted like the burgers Cat’s dad usually makes (marinated in butter before being grilled). After lunch, the person who had been supervising me all summer presented me with a very nice “thank you” card, a TLC cap, and a shirt with a New York City taxi medallion on it. It was an unexpected, but greatly appreciated gesture that started to make me realize how much my work was appreciated this summer.

The final realization came around 4 PM, when I was called into the Commissioner’s office to demo the frontend I had coded for the Call Center. I showed him how it was geared towards answering the customer’s questions as quickly as possible, and how easy the interface was to use, and he became very interested and excited about it. It was one of the greatest feelings of accomplishment to see the commissioner of the TLC playing with a system that I made, and describing all the uses it has that I never thought of.

All things considered, this has been one of the best summers of my life. I got to work with a group of intelligent and interesting people, learned about an industry that I never would have thoguht about otherwise, and left them with a useful tool that will hopefully continue to be useful and benefit the TLC, a tool that forced me to learn a whole new language and pushed the limits of my programming ability. And that is something I definitely wouldn’t have gotten out of Bear Stearns.

Rolling out the app

For the last month or so, I’ve been working on an ASP program that displays data from an SQL database that, until now, was done in a command line interface that looked far too confiusing to be functional. However, there were a few barriers to completing this assignment:

  • I’ve never coded ASP before.
  • I’ve never connected to a Microsoft SQL server through a server side app before.
  • I had no idea what the structure of the database was.

So essentially, 50% of my time has been spent learning ASP, 25% figuring out where stuff is in the database, and 23% actually coding the system. A system which went into beta testing this afternoon.

After writing and debugging close to 3,000 lines of code in a language I’ve never seen before, watching as the intended users interact with the system was one of the best feelings of accomplishment I’ve felt. And what’s even better was, except for a few minor feature requests, there wasn’t a single complaint. It seems like everyone naturally figured out how to work the system, and it displayed exactly what they needed. All that’s left is some tweaking next week, writing 2 more pages, and I can hand it off to the local IT department to maintain as I trudge back to Penn State.

5 more days of work, and then I’m free for the rest of the summer (or at least what’s left of it).