Thursday, February 19, 2015

Changes in fortune, continued

Re-reading what I wrote a week ago, I see that I mentioned two important emails but only wrote about one of them. I think that the second email was from Felienne, in which she asked me to help two of her students. Nothing has come of this yet.

I devoted some time on Monday to adding material to my research paper; I sent this to the designated editor who told me two days later that the paper was much improved. This morning, I woke up during the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep for some time (too many ideas running through my head and the dog was snoring). As one of the ideas was for adding a sentence to the paper, I decided to get up (this is at around 2am) and work for about twenty minutes on the paper. I added some more material but more importantly, changed the order of some of the paragraphs to make it flow better. The conference style sheet requires that references be in numbered order (as opposed to the style in my thesis, where I simply name the authors in the body of the text), so I had to renumber the references, both in the body of the text and in the references section. This version is so much better. I don't have any room left to add anything more.

I went to visit the 'pilot' company on Sunday; we talked about their problems for about an hour and a half (and my research for another half hour). They are using the 'assemble to order' production approach but with a twist which I am not totally convinced is necessary. I have seen variations of their immediate problems in my normal job so improving their use of Priority should not be too difficult. On Monday, I spent about an hour and a half writing a 'work order generator' suitable for their use. 

Late Tuesday afternoon, I spent three hours at this company. Some of this time was spent sitting around, waiting for their IT man to sort out a connection between my computer and theirs, but most of it was spent getting the generator to work (someone disturbed my concentration at a certain point so I missed a definition) then showing it in turn to three people. Then followed a discussion of what they have to do next in order to set up their system for the new way of working. 

According to our plans, I am to spend another two hours there this afternoon, after finishing work, checking that things do work as I intend and as they want. There is some amount of uncertainty as to whether I will in fact go there today, as there has been intermittent heavy rain all day. Hopefully, there will be a break at just after 4pm, allowing me to walk there when it's not raining.

Before hooking up with this company, I had been in desultory conversation with another Priority using company somewhere in this industrial section. For some reason, the conversation simply stopped. As I didn't recognise the name of the company, I didn't know where they were located. I think that they are opposite the 'pilot' company which means that sometime next week I may pay them a visit, if only to become acquainted.

On Sunday and Monday, I spent time adding functionality to my 'research' database program. The first module which I added was an interface to record a company's answers to the company questionnaire, and the second was an interface to record answers to the user's questionnaire. This is based on the computerised version of the questionnaire which I developed several months ago but simplified, as it's me entering the values and not someone else. To complicate matters, the computerised questionnaire kept all its data (questions, options, help messages and skips) in a resource file, whereas in the new module, I am directly accessing the database. It was surprisingly hard to write a query which displays the questions in the order in which they are displayed in the questionnaire. I have added the pilot company's answers and today I hope that I will receive some completed user questionnaires.

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