Minchin Timesheet System Version 1.1

Minchin Timesheet System Version 1.1
The Minchin Timesheet System is designed to provide an easy way to keep track of time spent on various projects, especially in situations where the user is working on several projects serially. From the main interface, click on “Record Time Stamp” will prompt the user for a project number, a subproject number, and their employee number. When they are finished, they click “Record Time Stamp” a second time to log off. A button (“Am I Logged In or Out?”) provides a simple way of confirming their status. A third button (“Generate Timesheet”) will automatically generate a timesheet for the employee, breaking down their time by day, project and subproject, and saving the result as an easy to email or print PDF.

•  ~1 min to read •  read more  

Chinese Public Transportation: A History and a Vision to the Future

Public transit has existed in China since 1969 with the opening of the Beijing Metro. Today, Shanghai has the largest metro system in the world, and is one of ten mainland Chinese cities, in addition to Hong Kong, that have a metro system. In addition, there are thirty more cities in China with metro systems either under construction or in planning stages.

The Hong Kong opened its metro system in 1979 in an effort to reduce traffic congestion. Today, public transit on the whole is very popular, with over 80% mode capture rate. Hong Kong continues to expand its rail transit network, but at a slower rate than many cities in mainland China. The system operator has also taken on the role of developer, generating more profits from property management than railway fares, and in the process has provided a very successful example of Transportation Oriented Development (TOD) policies in action, which are a model for TOD efforts worldwide.

In summary, a short compare and contrast between China’s fast growing cities of today and post-World War II American cities is provided. Both are growing (or grew) at incredible speeds, have rising middle classes and significant economic growth. What Chinese planners can note is that in America, highways were chosen over public transportation options. Today, that means that traffic congestions remains a major problem in many American cities. Additionally, funds to maintain infrastructure have waned as the cities’ growth has slowed with the slowing of economic growth.

•  ~18 min to read •  3 comments •  read more  

Sunday Quote #2: “We Were Found Equal to Our Tasks”

When, in situations of stress, we wonder if there is any more in us to give, we can be comforted to know that God, who knows our capacities perfectly, placed us here to succeed. No one was foreordained to fail or to be wicked.

When we have been weighed and found wanting, let us remember that we were measured before and were found equal to our tasks.

— Elder Neal A. Maxwell

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Introduction to Sunday Quotes

I’ve always been fascinated with quotes. Perhaps it is an offshoot of my ability to remember randoms bits, but I’ve always appreciated the humour or wisdom a good quote can bring. So, I’ve decided to share some of my favourites, along with some personal comments, with you! I’d like for them to appear regularly on Sundays, and it will be a while before I run out of material, so there’s hope for a good run. If there’s a quote you’d like to appear, email me and I’ll see what I can do. I’ll start this week with a quote on the power of love from Mother Teresa. Enjoy!

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Bretona Corner

School projects make for interesting things to post. This time, it’s the presentation from a class I took in traffic modelling. I started playing with the images I wanted to use in PowerPoint and I realized that it would probably be easier (and more fun) to just put everything into a video! So I played my in-class presentation from YouTube! The presentation is on the junction of Highway 14 and the Anthony Henday (Highway 216) on the southeast corner of Edmonton.

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Minchin.ca Homepage Redesign

Homepage redesign is kind of a big deal; people get used to seeing a site look a certain way and a site design can completely change that look. I am in the middle of doing that. On one hand, I’ll be sad to see my header image from Hawai’i go, but like the simplicity of what is replacing it. All told, the design is something that I’ve been working on in spits and spurts for almost two years. Hover over the images in the middle of the page and it will tell you what they link to. Check it out! (For those of you who want to see what the old version looked like…)

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Olympic Hockey and Water Use

A little over a week ago the Olympics in Vancouver came to a finish, which concluded with the Men’s Hockey final between Canada and the United States. It promised to be epic, and it delivered. Being away from home, I had the ‘pleasure’ of pulling out my big Canadian flag and watching the game with some American friends, although I did wish from time to time that it was a Canadian network (instead of NBC) so that the commentary on the game would have been better. But I digress, it was an epic game, and an epic finish indeed with Sidney Crosby scored the game-winning goal for Canada seven minutes into overtime.

Reports since have claimed that it was the biggest event in Canadian sporting history, with 80% of the population tuning in at one point or another. To illustrate the effect of this, EPCOR (the water utility in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) release a graph showing the city’s water demand while the game was on. It’s amazing to watch the swings between when the game picks up and the end of the periods.

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The Health Care Pricing Fallacy

The often supplied answer, in some circles, to any question that seems to do with economics is “let the market decide!” However, the limits of what the market can do effectively are rarely discussed. What the market allows is for rational actors to compete for limited resources. Where that falls apart is where one of those assumptions fails: the actors cease to be rational, the actors can’t compete, or the resource (or demand) is not longer limited. And often times, when someone faces an out-of-pocket hospital bill, all three assumptions fail. When someone is severely hurt, it is hard to argue that they are in a frame of mind to make rational decisions; people in the hospital are rarely in a state of mind to ‘comparison shop’ hospitals; and many people value their health to such a point that effectively their ‘demand’ is unlimited (think what life insurance policies pay out…). In short, it seems to me that leaving the market alone to set the price of our health care services is not a bright idea. I value my health and agree that healthcare professionals should be paid well for their services, but I am much more appreciative of healthcare I can actually afford!

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