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Comment: I've use Pentaho's offerings for a few years... (Score 1) 57

by Laughing Dog (#42328203) Attached to: Pentaho and Jaspersoft: Good Alternatives To Bigger-Name Software?

... and I like them. I'm a geologist who got stuck handling all of the lab data for my company. We make building products (think stucco and plaster- lots of mixture designs and standardized test procedures). We're also a small business, and we don't have the money to hire someone solely to handle IT or even to buy one of the commercial packages.

What we've got: a PostgreSQL database that holds data for Manufacturing and R&D.

The problem this solved: reporting.

Originally, I wrote a custom program that queried the database and spat out reports in Word and Excel formats. It was a nightmare to maintain. Want a new template? Write more code. Did the database just get divided into separate schemas for Manufacturing and R&D? Alter source code. I used Pentaho's Metadata Editor to map the database to a set of virtual tables. My report templates (which are much easier to design graphically, even though Report Designer's mechanism for calculating values is rather awkward) query off the metadata, which means that I can make changes to the database itself and simply update the metadata rather than individually update a bunch of report templates. It was more work up front, but doing things this way has saved me *a lot* of time that I would otherwise spend packaging data into reports. This is not the sort of thing you would use for reports where the tests you run are highly tailored to a product being developed, and you need to write a detailed analysis of the project. This is for form reports (like pass/fail QC test reports) where you need something like a product code, a test result, and a red "fail" or green "pass" text color, or project reports where you run a set series of tests and are typically only changing the project name, customer/location, and about a paragraph of analysis.

I've used their ETL tool to batch import CSV files into databases, and it's reasonably straightforward. I do have the BI server set up, tested, and using PostgreSQL as a backend, but it's honestly just not something we use.

Who will do well with this stuff, if your business even needs a reporting solution: can you configure Tomcat, use a database, and muddle through tutorials? Are you reasonably good at teaching yourself new things? You'll probably be fine once you get the hang of it. (The documentation can be a little lacking.)

Who will not: in general, anyone who hasn't configured servers, used databases, or done a little ad-hoc programming is going to be completely lost. Are your coworkers trying to re-implement relational databases in Excel? They're going to have to be taught what any of this stuff even is before it begins to make sense to them.

Comment: One hand at 6:00... (Score 1) 756

by Laughing Dog (#39468899) Attached to: You're Driving All Wrong, Says NHTSA
... for cruising. If I need extra control, I'm still in the habit of 10:00 and 2:00. Honestly, I'd rather my arms or hands be hurt in a crash than my head crack the windshield or my ribcage break apart on the steering wheel, so I'll keep the airbags. (A seatbelt, while important to keep from flying out of the car and getting personal with the pavement, doesn't provide great protection against smashing against hard objects within the car.) My hands are softer than the steering wheel; if something's going to hit my face, I prefer the former over the latter.

Comment: Re:It isn't that complicated (Score 1) 517

by Laughing Dog (#38703028) Attached to: White House Responds To SOPA, PIPA, and OPEN
Yes, this. Amazon's DRM-free mp3 store is what stopped me from pirating music. I could use them in exactly the same way as I did pirated mp3s (burn them to CDs for the car, back them up, put them on any portable player I wanted, etc.), and could download a high quality file of the exact song I wanted in all of six seconds. It's just more convenient than searching for people sharing the song at a decent quality and waiting for it to download, especially if it's from an artist that isn't very popular.

Comment: Re:Just what market needed... (Score 1) 240

by Laughing Dog (#38081966) Attached to: Google Music Goes Live With Google+ Integration
Amazon lets you download the music. It's DRM-free, which is how they originally differentiated themselves from iTunes. Since they launched Cloud Player, they've started saving copies there for you whenever you buy music. I haven't had occasion to download the same song more than once (as I have current backups and my hard drive has not yet moved on to the great beyond), but I'm under the impression that it's unlimited. You can also upload your own music and other files to your account.

Comment: Re:People leaving Aircon on even when not at home (Score 1) 393

by Laughing Dog (#31968840) Attached to: Arizona Trialing System That Lets Utility System Control Home A/Cs
In my case, it's because my long-haired pets, who stay in the house when I go to work, don't do so well when it gets above 85F. I can program the thermostat to let the temperature creep up to that level when I'm out, but, seeing as I live in Las Vegas, even when set at 85, the air conditioner is going to be on for most of the summer.

Avoid strange women and temporary variables.

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