Tuesday, June 19, 2018


It's time for the biennial (or so it seems) resealing of the roads within our condo complex. Most of the time the pavement looks rather ratty, which is probably why they keep trying to fix it so often, but it doesn't seem to take.

The main effect on us is that, every time this happens, we have to move our cars out to the outside streets for two days (or else leave them trapped in the driveway or garage). And we can't even walk on the pavement for much of that time, making it a narrow and hazardous enterprise along curbs and avoiding plantings even to get out from home to where the cars are.

This time the sealing was laid on Monday morning and had dried enough by the afternoon to allow painting of the parking and lane lines. So then, why were the workmen out on Tuesday morning laying down a new and even more noxious-smelling layer of sealing that, incidentally, entirely obliterated the newly-painted lines? They were re-painted again in the afternoon.

I wasn't at home while most of this was going on. I'd made my way out to my car to spend the better part of both days at my synagogue library. We have an online catalog, and now the directors want to automate circulation. Considering our relaxed library policies, I tend to consider this a mistake, but it's their decision and it's my job to facilitate this technically. From our catalog vendor we ordered a fat package of sheets of barcodes, which arrived last week. We're going to shelf-read the collection and paste the barcodes into the books and other items. That comes next week.

In the meantime, my job is to enter the barcode numbers into the catalog database, assigning one to each item. There's a utility program that will populate the database, or any portion of it that you select by key fields, with barcode numbers, but it's weird and balky. For one thing, the utility can add the numbers, but can't erase them. (There's another utility which will erase almost anything you ask it to, but not barcode numbers.) And if you do it by hand - a slow process; there's a display format that looks like an Excel spreadsheet, but it sure as heck doesn't work like one - the system doesn't know you've done it. This is relevant because it won't let you reassign numbers you've already used. Nor, it turns out, will it let you use numbers you've previously skipped over. I'd thought about assigning full sheets to discrete parts of the collection, and collecting up the leftover overage barcodes to use on other materials later. But it looks like I'd have to enter them manually.

Enormous amounts of time running tests on the database, and e-mailing or live chats with what is apparently our vendor's one and only tech guy, who's amazingly patient. Two days of work and still no barcode numbers definitely assigned. I'd better get that far tomorrow.

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