Yes I have been known to greet some sleepy compadres at work with that loud obnoxious greeting (its done with a Gilbert Godfrey voice). It also wakes the kids at times. Sometimes it is not even Friday when I do it. But I already feel GREAT!! I don't know why though. It might be that I started riding the bikes in the fitness center. Usually I declare bike day April 1st. This is fitting because watching a fat guy on a road bike in spandex seems perfect for April Fools day. However I want to get started now. The cold makes me want to be moving. Also I can't really start riding my bike to work until I am done dropping Ike off at St. Marcus. I still say he should ride his bike with me. I could get him some spandex bike shorts too. You may not be aware of this, but nothing is cooler than pulling up to an inner city, all black school on your bike wearing spandex. I think Ike would appreciate the attention.
So in lieu of a paying customer for CCD I have started on a project that I have always wanted to do. Well at least for 6 years or so. It's not new or even that interesting of an idea, but I think could be beneficial for WELS schools. Well any school but I wouldn't do this for them. Its an online grading program. I have researched the ones out there and there are some fine ones out there already. I have learned two things. The good programs...cost a fortune in subscription fees for schools. They are naturally prohibitive for a WELS school budget. Setup fees around $600 - $2000 and $10 to $15 per student per year. There are other pricing models but they all end up around the same prices. Then there are the not so good programs that are affordable. Their technology is not as good and can be a nightmare in configuration and often have nasty MS Access databases as their base. I have seen two of the more popular grading programs in action and they have plenty to be desired.
I have started the design of this program and am modeling the database now. I will be doing it in ASP.Net using a MS SQL Server DB. It will be completely online and not supported by advertising (as many "free" online graders are). It will be configurable and customizable online as well. I am going to try and make it the most robust in grading rules as I possibly can. I have already been collecting a lot of data on grading scales, curves, grade point calculation, weighting, pass/fail, etc... The worst part will be making it so everything prints all nice. I'll be using FOP to make web data print in nice formatting or as PDF's. Of course It will need to run in a data center and have good support. I'm sure some schools will not want to part with their in-house systems so that means I will need to develop good file import converters so they could upload grades from their current systems just for online use. That wouldn't be my ultimate desire but I know it will happen.
I think I can add a lot of value in the space particularly for WELS or maybe parochochial schools in general because what I do is sweat equity and I don't need to live off of it. Also I have experience designing software used by a large number of users. It will be fun and keep my programming skills sharp. I have been slacking lately. As an architect I only draw pretty pictures and tell people what to program. I hardly ever get to actually program anything anymore. Thats no way to be a .NET master. Well we'll see if I can have this finished in 6-12 months. I have no particular end date in mind.
Well thats enough for this Friday. Poke your head into the Fitness center at NML around 1:20 this afternoon if you want to see a fat guy sweating on a bike.