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The Fog…

Good morning out there in 'net land…

This morning we have a mixed bag of weather out there; sleet, grey skies, and now fog too… At least the fog gives the landscape an interesting insulated appearance and softens the edges of everything. Kind of neat in a grey, depressing sort of way.

I got all the base design and code done for the shop's web site last night and today I'll be creating all of the copy that goes into it. It's an interesting web site for me as it uses a database back-end to supply all of the text. You can basically change everything the web site says from an administration web page. Pretty neat actually.

My next project is designing the graphics and copy for a mailer. Dan has been outsourcing the design and mailing of these things to the tune of $7000 a month… I figure as $4000 of that is “art” fees, I'll bring the art part in house and save him that cash.

But I'm not just an art weenie, Dan also gets a software engineer out of me so I plan to interface the art part of these mailers to the database he keeps of customers and their cars. See, when you take your car to Express it gets entered into the computer system and database there along with what was done to the car, who did it, how much it cost, how long it took, and about 50 other pieces of data.

To this end I'm writing an app that pulls the data on a customer and looks at the age and mileage on the car, then extrapolates the next service date based on the manufacturers plans and the estimated miles the customer does per month.

Basically Express customers will get a little postcard in the mail about 3-500 miles before an oil change is needed and another, different one, when service dates approach.

This sort of functionality might also be rolled into the web site. I envision a system where customers can pull up the information on their cars via the web site too. I'll probably base the security off of the license plate and the last four of a social number or something… This part of the system is still in the imagination stage.

Beyond that the rice shop in building three is getting some new $60,000 dyno to test engines and cars with which has yet another database in it that I can manipulate. What I'd like to do with that is make a PHP based system where these cars are showcased. The guys who bring their cars to building three spend *lots* of money on them and they are pretty flashy. So I reference a photo with the data of the car and the graphs of torque and horsepower… Should give them some unique bragging rights as well as generating more sales as they'll be able to compare their car to other ricers at that point… Nothing separates money from a ricer like a histogram of rpm vs horsepower. 😉

I'm hoping this will generate even more business for the biggest and most high tech automotive repair shop on the east coast.