ASP, TLC, and HOPE

This entire last week I’ve been trying to learn ASP so i can build a frontend to the database that the call center guys at work use to answer questions. Right now, they’re working directly from the console of what appears to be an old mainframe computer, and I can’t make heads or tails from the display. So I’ve come up with a better way of doing it, started coding in PHP, then realized that I’m in a Windows shop, and started learning ASP. The syntax is similar to PHP, but the finer details are annoying. Like how an ODBC connection has to exist on the server for the page to be able to access the SQL database. Also, as a long-time PHP lover, the lack of a character to note the end of a line is slightly disturbing.

I’ve been rescued from banging my head against the wall a couple times this week. Yesterday, I went out to Woodside to help train the drivers for the accessible dispatch system. The idea is that people in wheelchairs can call 311, then have a yellow taxi dispatched to their location and capable of handling their needs. TLC is using Blackberries with a special Java app to handle the dispatching, and we spent about 4 of the 6 hours of class teaching the cabbies how to use it. Some of the guys got the idea immediately, others took some hand-holding to get the concept, but eventually everyone understood. And while the slower of the group were recieving extra instruction, the others decided it was a good time to vent their frustration with TLC’s rules and taxis in general, complaining about everything from the lack of weight restrictions to the dispatchers at JFK. We told them we’d look into it, but I’m not sure there’s much we can do.

The other interesting thing going on is that the PR department at Penn State has gotten wind of my upcoming HOPE presentation and wants to advertise it on the website and elsewhere. Heung Xu and Gerry Santoro also expressed interest in booking me to do the presentation in their classes this Fall. I’m doing a phone interview with someone on Wednesday, and I sincerely hope I can get the presentation cleared by the end of next week. One week after that I’ll be on stage, and I can’t wait.

Cat and I have reservations at Virgil’s BBQ at 6:30, but otherwise no plans for the 4th.

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