Archive for November, 2007

Ruby On Rails

Over the past week, I’ve spent quite a bit of time working on a project for school. It was supposed to be an inventory / rental / customer management system for a video store, complete with changeable rental policies, bonus policies, rental limits, and the like. Quite a large project, especially for one towards the end of the quarter. Our group ended up with a pretty good implementation, which very largely met all of the requirements. A few groups have presented their project already, and most of them seem pretty buggy and feature incomplete. I’m proud of our work, even though it’s not great.

Now, what I really think helped us was our use of Ruby on Rails, which is an amazing web application development environment. Considering I didn’t know any ruby on Wednesday morning (6 days ago) and went ahead to write a fairly complex web application by Monday at midnight-ish. All I’ve got to say is: Ruby on Rails rocks! I’ve been avoiding writing web apps, and working with databases because of all the pain that comes along with them, but Rails made it pretty darn painless. I’d recommend it.

Musings About Cell Phones

I realized the other night, when I got a call on my cell phone long after I had gone to bed, that despite the fact that having bright blue lights everywhere in your cell phone may look cool, it is no good for the eyes.

Blue light is very close to the top of the visible light spectrum. It has a short wavelength, and high energy. Just what you don’t want when looking at something in the dark, because it ruins your night vision very quickly. Red light, being at the bottom of the spectrum, has a longer wavelength, and is lower in energy. Maybe we should convince cell phone makers to use red lights in the cell phones?

Crazy UPS Shipping

Well, I ordered a chumby about 2 weeks ago now. If you don’t know what it is, go check out their website. For now, let’s just say that I love it even more than I thought I would. The interesting part is how it arrived (via UPS) at my door:

So, the chumby was shipped from Shenzhen, China, presumably where it is manufactured. From there it went to Chep Lap Kok, Hong Kong, which is really close to Shenzhen. It is the closest large airport, according to google maps. From there, it goes to Incheon, Korea. I’m guessing this is the path that UPS flys things from China to the USA. From there, it goes to Anchorage, Alaska. So far so good. From there it goes to Louisville, Kentucky, which is a giant UPS hub.

Now, here is where it gets weird. From Louisville, it goes to Albequerque, New Mexico, then to Long Beach, California. Seems good, we’re in the general area of my house now. From Long Beach, it makes it’s way to Los Angeles. Not too bad. A little out of the way, but I figure that it has to stop at the LA hub on it’s way here. From LA, it makes it’s way to Ontario, CA, which is kinda weird. From Ontario, it flies back to Louisville, Kentucky! What the hell!! Seems they have a loop….

Then, from it’s second time in Louisville, it flies back to Ontario, CA, and then gets delivered the next day. How very weird. The Ontario, Louisville, Ontario thing really screws with my head. Seems like they need to hire a better software engineer to do their routing algorithms. 🙂

To UPS’s credit, though, the package did arrive quickly, 5 days after it was shipped, and undamaged. It was delivered exactly when their website estimated that it would be.