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I published another app

It is a fun, two-player word game that tests your vocabulary and creativity.

Login with facebook (or email) and challenge your friends or play a random opponent.

How to Play
1. Start a game with a friend or random opponent
2. Make up a definition for a word you’ve probably never seen before
3. The turn passes to your opponent who makes up a definition for the same word
4. Both players must choose which definition is correct: the actual definition or the definition made up by the opponent
5. You get one point for choosing the correct definition and one additional point if your opponent picks your definition (first to five wins)

The free version is ad-supported and limited to a word bank of 250 words. The full version has no ads and has a word bank of 500 words.

Have fun!

I published an app!

See that exclamation point? I don’t overuse those puppies. I am truly excited about publishing this app. It was a lot of fun, and I hope, the first of many. Download it from the app store. It will be free until 6/8/2012. I built out a website to support the burgeoning app enterprise: http://ahelms.com/apps

Facelift for ahelms.com

I recently updated ahelms.com to the latest version of wordpress mu (2.7) and decided, while I was at it, to update the look and feel as well.  The theme I’m using and plan to heavily customize is called “plaintxtblog”.  In the update process something funky happened with the categories, tags and blogroll; I plan to sort those issues out this weekend.  Thanks for visiting.  Let me know what you think of the new design.  Thanks

Importing large tab-delimited txt files into an Oracle database

Yesterday a co-worker asked me to help load a large tab-delimited txt file into an Oracle database.  The file had 6.5 million rows and eleven columns.  She typically uses TOAD to import data from personal sources like txt files and Excel spreadsheets into disparate databases.  When she tried to use TOAD to import the 6.5 million row file, it failed at around 4 million rows on multiple multi-TB databases.

I used sqlldr to import the file and ran into a few issues along the way so I thought I’d share my experience for a couple reasons: 1) to help me remember what I did, and 2) to help other poor souls who run into problems when faced with similar circumstances.

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Browser Wars

I have not settled on a browser.  I use an IBM/Lenovo T41 and a Dell Dimension; both have Windows XP SP3.  Whenever my machine is on, a browser is open with tabs for:

  • VPN to connect to the office network
  • meebo for instant messaging
  • gmail
  • google calendar
  • google reader

I have tried using Internet Explorer 7, Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Flock. It is kind of annoying but I don’t mind needing to have two browsers open: IE7 for VPN and then another browser to use for everything else.  Most of the time I just use my laptop as a terminal to get to servers at my office anyway.  What irritates me and leaves me unsettled is the fact that I cannot get a rather ordinary set of sites/services to cooperate in one browser.

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Typealyzer analysis of ahelms.com

My psychological profile according to an analysis of ahelms.com done by typealyzer (typos and grammatical errors not mine):

This show what parts of the brain that were dominant during writing.

ISTP – The Mechanics

The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generelly prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

Hat tip: Greg Mankiw

Hello, how did you get here?

ahelms.com is purely for my edification and enjoyment.  I do like hearing from people who keep up with the posts.  One friend told me he subscribes to the RSS feed just to stay up-to-date with US soccer scores; he is not interested in reading my analysis but he appreciates that I put the scores in the title.  Friends usually hear about the site from my wife, facebook profile or IM away message.  I enjoy learning about how other people find the site, where they come from, what browser they use, etc.

The two things I find most interesting are where visitors are geographically located and what search terms lead people to ahelms.com. Most of the searches are from recruiters looking for data architects/analysts, but people also love a good car crash as evidenced by the different variations of searches looking for bicycle accident photos: bad bycicle accident pictures, bicycle crash photos, photo of cycle accident, photos of mountain biking accidents, mountain bike accident photo

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Dropbox – a fast, easy online storage solution

dropbox logo

This morning I received an email from Dropbox that invited me to download and install its python-based desktop client for online storage. The client creates virtual folders that automatically sync to an Amazon S3-backed storage ‘facility’, what TechCrunch author Mark Hendrickson esoterically calls ‘the cloud’. It was his blog post last month that motivated me to register with Dropbox. In my first day using the app there are two things that I find really cool: (1) it is wicked fast and (2) the ability to upload a file to a public space and then right-click the file to get a public link is a simple way to share files with multiple machines or friends. In fact, the Dropbox image in the header of this post is hosted in a public Dropbox folder which can also be accessed here in a photo gallery format (Dropbox provided the three stock photos). It sure beats emailing files or uploading everything to my ahelms.com server.

TDWI World Conference 2008

I had the privilege of spending three days at The Data Warehousing Institute‘s (TDWI) 2008 World Conference in Las Vegas this week.  The event runs Sunday to Friday; I attended Monday to Wednesday.  TDWI puts on a first-class event.  The main reason I went and what I most enjoyed about the three days was the opportunity to learn from experts in the courses that were offered. Read the rest of this entry »

Politics, Markets, Presidential Nominations

Donkey vs Elephant

I’ve been captivated by the presidential nomination process and have been consuming all the information I can handle relating to the debates, speeches, endorsements, posturing, etc. The polarizing, counter-productive nature of American politics bothers me but I make it a point to try to stay informed. So as not to alienate or terribly offend anyone, I subconsciously adopted a common, practically failsafe method of engaging in political conversations with co-workers and acquaintances: never take a side, always play the cynic. It’s really a cowardly, easy out. In Good Will Hunting, Sean (played by Robin Williams) confronts Will (played by Matt Damon) and his similar approach to women: “I think that’s a super philosophy, Will, that way you can go through your entire life without ever having to really know anybody.” Don’t worry, I’m not going to address my cowardice here.

CNN put together a cool tool called Political Market that is right up my alley. According to CNN, the “goal of CNN Political Market is to combine the opinions of a diverse group of people to try and predict the probability of an event occurring or the value of something”. I don’t have to take sides; I just have to predict outcomes. I created an account today and bought shares. A couple of widgets that track performance on the answer to a question I am particularly interested in are pasted below. If you’re inclined give it a shot.

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