Off to Portland for a day
This Is Broken - ATM language choice

Back from Portland

Uneventful drive, which is the best kind.

The work day was interesting. Met a slew of people I'd only talked to by phone until now. It's funny how you form an image of the way a person looks and far more often than not (for me, anyway) that image is exactly wrong. What a wonder is the human mind, its ability to determine a person's looks by voice alone.

Anyway, I was there to train the local project managers on a new type of electronic data format and uploading method, but first we had the Whirlwind Tour and Meet'n'Greet. After that came their daily status meeting, a 10-minute gathering where each area supervisor explained their capacity and any problems that might affect their ability to accept rush work and the like. And then I retired to the conference room with a few of the project managers to go over the new data format.

This new method means we can load the data directly out of our LIMS and into their database, so we eliminate most sources of transcription or data-entry errors. The hard part is making sure our data match their valid-value requirements, which is difficult at best because, well, they don't tell us what the valid values are.

That's right, we have to load our data into their system and view the error status in order to see what we already have matched to their valid values purely by chance.

A pretty cockamamie process, in my opinion. It seemed much more so before they'd given me a chart describing common data-loading errors and responsibility for fixing them, and it turns out we're not the responsible party for the valid-values errors. It's up to the consultants who manage the work on the client's behalf.

Still a bit disconcerting to upload a data set of 4,000 records and get 12,000 error notices about that set, but oh well.

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In other news, the Escape got 22-24 miles per gallon on the drive down and back, which pleased me greatly. I usually keep an eye on the fuel gauge closely the first few times I take a new vehicle on a road trip so I get a feel for how far I'll be able to go on a tank of fuel. The Escape's fuel tank allegedly holds 16.5 gallons, giving a range of 360 to 410 miles per tank at the mpg ratings I've seen, but I take those with a grain of salt.

We also encountered a downpour from hell in the Beaverton area. End of our lunch break and we walked outside to sheets of water, the kind of rain that drenches you utterly if you stand in it for five seconds.

Coincidentally, that's how long it took us to get to the car from the restaurant door. We steamed up the car windows almost immediately, it was unreal.