Late Buses Cancelled, Fare Talks Continue

Teamsters Union and OTS negotiators are scheduled to resume talks today, and will probably continue late into the night. Many people will not know the outcome until the morning news tomorrow.

In preparation for tomorrow’s threatened bus strike, urban buses that begin operation after 11 PM, and rural buses that begin after 10 PM, have been cancelled for tonight.

At Honolulu Hale, one of the current proposals is dropping monthly and yearly bus passes, and instead charging all riders a 75 cent fare (Honolulu Advertiser, August 25th, 2003). This is a dollar less than current pay-as-you-go fares for adults, but the current discount from bus passes means daily commuters would be paying approximately $7.50 more per month for the same level of service – with no promises that the daily rate will stay the same. (That figure also doesn’t account for the proposed transfer fees.)

More news will be posted as it becomes available.

Back to Class

School’s starting tomorrow, and I’m finding myself feeling scatterbrained. Summertime makes it really easy to relax, since I don’t have to worry as much about unyielding deadlines and being constantly judged by professors. Going back to the structure of it is challenging, and it’s going to take a few days to adjust.

I’m sure that the uncertainty of my travel plans on Tuesday is not helping with the stress I’m feeling.

Wish me luck.

Tips for Designing Databases

If you’re a developer for a small to mid-sized web application, one of the very first questions you’ll be faced with is, “How should the database be structured?”

If you’re new to the world of relational databases, understanding structures can be very complicated. The first thing you need to do is understand that in general, more tables are better than less. If you’re doing a member directory, for example, you may find yourself putting name, addresses, phone numbers, etc. into one table. Resist the urge! It’s very easy to pull information from multiple tables into a single SQL query, and you’ll be thankful later when you have the flexibility to add information you didn’t think you needed.

On the subject of flexibility, try to anticipate the future needs of your application. You may want to sit down with the people that will use your application, and ask them to tell you everything they might need to do with the information. Have them walk you through their work (or volunteer) day, so you can see where inefficiencies can be improved by your application. Ask them what the company/organization’s future goals are. Take lots of notes – the more, the better.

Oh, and one more thing. Don’t ever, ever duplicate data. You’ll get headaches down the road. Trust me. Crying smiley

Bad News in Hawai’i News

Two recent Hawai’i stories I’ve been following have taken turns for the worst:

TheBus – An August 19th letter* by OTS President James Cowen dropped a bombshell. It said, “We recommend that TheBus customers not purchase a September bus pass until it is apparent whether the buses will be running.” A bus official recommending riders pay day-to-day is not reassuring. The letter also says that the Teamsters have broken off negotiations until August 25th – the day before the strike deadline. Yes, I already have contingency plans, but I’d be really happy if I didn’t have to implement them.

Kamehameha Schools – Although the school does not have a statement on its web site, all the media outlets do. A Honolulu court ordered Kamehameha to allow incoming seventh grader Brayden Mohica-Cummings to attend classes – at least temporarily. (This is a different person than the anonymous student that led to this blog entry.) Mohica-Cummings is not Hawaiian, and there is some question as to whether his mother falsified his application form intentionally.

Despite Headmaster Michael Chun’s optimism, I fully expect a backlash from students. The teachers and staff are all professionals, and will do their best to protect him. Still, life is bad in middle school as it is – I fully expect student backlash of some kind. I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

The unscientific opinion polls for two local news stations, KITV 4 and News 8, show that approximately two-thirds of respondents are against non-Hawaiian admissions to the Kamehameha Schools. It should be noted that according to the 2000 Census, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders make up only 9.4% of the Hawai’i state population, and less than 0.1% of the U.S. population.

Right now, I’m sitting on the sidelines and continuing to follow both stories. Cross your fingers.

* LINK TENDING 1/11 – Removed dead link.

‘Net Milestones

Here’s a collection of some things on the Internet, taken for granted, that have had an incredible impact on ‘net culture:

  • The Original new.gif: At least as recognizable as Yahoo’s version.
  • On the subject of Yahoo!, here’s the search engine’s first home.
  • The First Smiley 🙂: September 19th, 1982.
  • RFC 2555: RFCs are the standards responsible for the formation of the Internet. Don’t worry, this one isn’t too techy. It commemorated 30 years since RFC 1. (Yes, that’s 1969. And you thought the Internet was one of those new-fangled toys for geeks.)