So I had on tap three projects for this weekend. I got around to touching all of them, but I didn’t complete any of them…

SpeakerMatch

The major hurdle was deciding which tools to use to make development “faster” and “easier.” I settled on Struts, which meant I had to learn a little bit before diving into coding. Once I got that done, however (most of the daylight hours Saturday), I was able to put together a working prototype of an application that allows a teacher or a speaker to register with the system, logon, and edit their profile. Baby stuff, actually. (well, there actually is a complicated backend to handle courses… See, I wanted the ability to rapidly change (through XML) the nature of courses offered. For example, a BCIS course would probably cover topics in MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Access. In SpeakerMatch-world, that represents 4 distinct topics. Therefore, when a teacher indicates that he is teaching BCIS, that implies he could use a speaker in those 4 topic areas. When a speaker registers, she has the option of selecting what topics she would be comfortable speaking on… The topics are pulled from the XML course descriptions (ex, if the speaker indicates she’s a wiz in MS Word, then she can be matched with BCIS teachers).

The matchmaking is still manual by me or team leaders… Ultimately, an engagement will be initiated by a teacher (After logging in, the teacher selects which class he needs a speaker in, picks from a list of relevant topics for that class (along with a troublesome “other” option), and picks some dates for the speaker to come. The system knows the teacher’s schedule so would then send out an email to 2-3 potential speakers who match best with the request (it would be a round-robin approach so as not to tax one volunteer too much). To respond to the request, the potential speaker would log in to the site, review details for the request (dates, times, and locations of teachers) and say “yes” or “no.”

That’s a good chunk of what I do by hand, now. The next step would be for the teacher to contact the speaker to finalize details. After the engagement, I tend to follow up; teachers have evaluation forms they have students fill out… (in fact, it’s in my best interest to follow up to make sure I count the students impacted by the experience… I’m evaluated against the impact my connecting activity has… faulty as it may be, the more students impacted, the “better” I’m doing.)

So that matching stuff isn’t done, yet. It will require more thought. Also, the forms and logins are ugly as sin. They need a good design makeover to look presentable.

Tivo web

I can log into my tivo using ftp, telnet, and a web browser. Yea. For posting Tivo stuff here: The best I could find, short of opening up my Tivo to direct web access, was a set of scripts that I would set up to run periodically to query the Tivo… so at worst, a user would have, say half-hour-old data. I haven’t installed that part of the system yet… probably won’t happen tonight because the majority of the night is back-to-back shows that need to be recorded.

OTHER

  • Workplan: I crunched some numbers for this, prototyped some pretty graphs, sketched some diagrams, and outlined major parts I want to have in a status report.
  • I also read the second Harry Potter book… very dark stuff.
  • Made steak sandwiches (came out pretty well) and skillet fries (actually turned out more like skillet mashed potatoes) and was disappointed by the Cowboys, yet again.

What fun! Perfect for a rainy weekend, I say.