Christopher
Stoll

Take My Order Please

Why do we still have people manually taking orders at fast food restaurants? It seems like the largest point of failure in the whole fast food experience. A person pulls up and says what they would like, the worker has to understand them and then correctly key in the correct order. Why couldn’t I just pull up and key in the order myself? I think that the cash registers at the major fast food chains have visual keyboards for entering the order information, why not just let the customer punch in their order themselves. Many people pay with credit cards now, and you don’t really need human intervention for that. One of the greatest conveniences at the gas station is being able to pay and pump all at the same spot. And, even major groceries and home stores allow people to do self check out. So, why not make fast food faster and eliminate the person who takes the orders.

While we are on the subject, couldn’t we have an express lane for people who send in their orders via text message or email? Think about it. A person orders ahead by sending a text message, and then they simply pull up to the express lane, pay, and drive away with their food.

That would be fast food.


Trading KeePass for SplashID

Update: I use 1Password to keep track of passwords, and have for a long time now; this is a very old post. I have a Mac Tools page which shows the software that I currently use.

Since I purchased my iPhone a few months ago I have been continually trying to find ways to get more value out of it. They are fairly expensive devices, and I want to make sure that I get all that I can for my money. It obviously replace my old cell phone and to some extent my iPod, but the iPhone has also been a good substitute for the personal sub-compact laptop that I used to use. Now, there is only two electronic devices that I carry with me regularly, the iPhone and my memory stick.


Cholula and Popocatépetl

After work today we had the opportunity to visit the Great Pyramid of Cholula, which is the largest pyramid and monument (by volume) in the world. The huge structure is actually 5 overlapping structures that were created over a period of 10 centuries. The pyramid looks rather unimpressive from the outside, it resembles one of the many other small mountains or hills in the area, but archeologists have excavated miles of tunnels into it. Discovered in 1910 during the construction of an insane asylum, local legends say that the pyramid was so sacred that the people covered it with dirt to protect it from the Spanish conquistadors. But, it was probably covered by dirt from neglect or volcanic eruptions long before the arrival of Cortés.


iPhone Application Ideas

I don’t yet have an Apple computer to develop on, but when I get one I would like to write some applications for the iPhone. Maybe I could make some money off of them, but more importantly I could customize my own iPhone to do things that I want it to do in the manner in which I desire. Here are some of my ideas, I am sure many of them have already bee implemented in some form, but here is how I would like to see them work:


Query Active Directory

I am always trying to remember the exact format for querying active directory using T-SQL, so I decided to document it here for posterity’s sake. If any one else is interested in using this code, our domain is na.company.com, so you would just have to change the “DC=” statements to match your company’s domain.

SELECT [name], company, department, mail

FROM OpenQuery( ADSI, 'SELECT name, company, department, mail, adsPath FROM ''LDAP://DC=na,DC=company,DC=com'' WHERE objectCategory=''Person'' AND objectClass=''user''')

WHERE department IS NOT NULL

ORDER BY name

ITIL Certification Results

Dear Chris Stoll,

CSME and ISEB hereby certify that you have participated in the examination:

Examination: ITIL
Student Name: Chris Stoll
Student Number: xxxxxxxx

Result: Pass


Network Taken Down by a Cable

Today at work we experienced a very serious network issue. Initially it seemed that the network just went down, we couldn’t get outside of our facility, neither to the internet nor to our other facilities via the MPLS connection. But, nslookup (domain resolution via UDP) was working. We noticed that we could get to things on the network as long as they were in the same network (10.x.y.n/255.255.0.0 could connect to 10.x.z.n/255.255.0.0), so it seemed that the core switch was not able to route requests. I opened up a simple network monitor and saw that there were two devices flooding the network with broadcasts (10.x.x.x port 138 -> 10.x.255.255 port 138 and 10.x.x.y port 1985 -> 224.0.0.2 port 1985). The networking group found that the core switch was running at 100% processor. So, they identified which ports on the core these packets were coming from, then unplugged that cable. From there we tracked it to the next closet, and to the next closet. From there it was narrowed down to a room with thin clients that were not turned on. In the process of trying to identify which hardware might be causing the problem they found a small switch with an Ethernet cable plugged into it in an unussual manner.


Software Development Guidelines 03e

At my company I have seen a lot of bad software development practices over the years, so I have created a set of software development guidelines to help establish a set of best practices and baseline software requirements. I am publishing a series of experts from those guidelines here so that I might get some useful feedback that will help improve them.

Uncoupled Configuration

Configuration options should be separated from the program. A program should be able to be configured using external configuration information whenever possible. This is especially true for file paths and network locations.