Donations ticker is online.

I whipped up a page that is showing live data coming from the donations ticker on the Red Cross donations page. The page is updated on the server once a minute.
The page is here.

Donation rates at http://www.redcross.org/

I’m running a small program that’s watching how fast money is flowing into the Red Cross from donations. As of this morning, the rate is running between $9k and $17k A MINUTE.

|Total amt | Last
Datestamp     |donated   |minute
--------------+----------+--------
20050902-1332 | 35332065 | $54340
20050902-1333 | 35344485 | $12420
20050902-1334 | 35354175 | $ 9690
20050902-1335 | 35369140 | $14965
20050902-1336 | 35385620 | $16480
20050902-1337 | 35397525 | $11905
20050902-1338 | 35412485 | $14960
20050902-1339 | 35428895 | $16410
20050902-1340 | 35443220 | $14325
20050902-1341 | 35460745 | $17525
20050902-1342 | 35470625 | $ 9880
20050902-1343 | 35487250 | $16625
--------------+----------+--------

I’ll have a live version of this up and running in the next hour or two.

Update at 16:09pm -The live version is online. See this post.

Ergonomics 101

Now that I’m back behind my desk regularly, the setup I have for my desk, mouse, chair, and keyboard is starting to be problematic. I rather like how it’s arranged – I have a nice monitor and natch keyboard (I can’t type on flat keyboards anymore. Ow ow ow), but my chair is really becoming a problem. My older leather standard joe office chair finally fell apart, and I’m using a similar shaped one now, but it’s causing all sorts of aches and pains.
I don’t trust ‘ergonomic’ chairs in general, since it’s just a buzzword nowadays. The concept is totally valid, but you can’t ‘shop’ for an ‘ergonmic chair’ – you have to go sit in a lot of chairs until one clicks in. I was under the impression that most chairs are basically the same, and there are minor improvements left and right, but really, being 6’6″ means I’ll never be totally comfortable.
Oh, woe, was I wrong. I found a chair and a situation that is incredibly comfortable and perfect and great. But there’s a catch.
Next to my current favorite lunchtime spot there’s a Relax the Back store. I’d seen these around, but never actually stopped in. I figured, in my search for a good chair, lets start with a specialist.
Had a great chat with the owner – the store was large, had some normal-looking office chairs – they don’t look particularly edgy or special, just regular high-back chairs.
I sat down in one, and started fiddling. And then fiddled more. And the manager fiddled some more, and… eventually… it just clicked in. The position was right, the support was right, the armrests were right… it.. was just right. I’d never been that comfortable in an office chair before. We added wrist rests (sort of palm-sized cups for the hands), and a foot rest (normally I don’t do foot rests, and actually started to tell him that, but then he adjusted it right, and… voila! It worked!) and I felt I could work there all day without a single twinge. Delightful!
So, after 15 minutes of this, realizing I was running a little late for lunch, I finally asked the fellow how much the chair was, with the accoutrements I was using (wrist rests and headrest). “Oh, that chair is… lessee… 1495.”
1495. One thousand, four hundred, and ninety five dollars. For a chair. Granted, an amazingly cool comfortable wonderful chair. But YIKES!
Ah well, guess I’ll keep shopping. At least I have a baseline to compare it to now.
<small voice> yeah, but, it was a really nice chair. </>

Familial Geeking.

One of the fun bits about having kids when you’re a geek is you can justify going back and playing with cool kids toys all over again. When I was a kid, (boy isn’t THAT a lead in), we didn’t have Rokenboks but I sure as patootie wish we did.
Zach and I spent 2 hours tonight setting up the layout again on the train table we had from back in the Brio days. This table is perfect for Rokenbok setups, because it has high sides and is a fixed physical dimension, so the layout won’t spread all over the place.
We have misc pieces from at least two starter sets, a couple bridges and roadways sets, and at least 2 elevators and mixers from pumping stations. We have 3 RC trucks (two loaders and a skipjack) and 4 controlers. It can make for quite a complicated setup.
It’s a great system and a great toy, and Zach and I love spending time together on it. I have great fantasies (!?) about getting a barrelful of rokenbok pieces and building huge structures all over the place. Doesn’t every kid?

A brief bit about Katrina

There’s not a lot to be said here that isn’t being said everywhere else on the web. It’s not a time for finger-pointing, blame-gaming, or politicing. None of that will help the people who need help right now.
The logistics for me going to Louisiana to help out in person would be complex and ultimately not very helpful, as I’m not a trained emergency volunteer. It may seem crass, haughty, or elitist, but the best thing we can do right now is send money. The American Red Cross has consistently and IMHO skillfully handled disaster after disaster, avoiding politics and scandal (other than those created by folks who like nothing better than creating scandal out of nothing). During this time, they need our support more than anything, as they are the most organized and have the best planning for this sort of disaster.
I’ve donated. I encourage anyone who has the means to donate. $100 to them would mean meals and blankets and shelter to a family for weeks. There are thousands of families who need this help now.