Freelance = No Time

Things are coming along quite nicely on my projects. This is a quick post of what’s up, and why I haven’t been writing much lately. I don’t know why I feel the need to make excuses… I guess I feel like my site might get lonely without me.

Went on a hike up Mt. San Jacinto on Saturday. Drove up to Palm Springs on Friday, took a tram up to 8000′ (2438 meters). Then, we had a 5.5 mile (8.9km) hike up to 10,804′ (2438 meters). When I crossed the 10k’ mark, I stopped making sense. Brains need oxygen. It was very fun.

Sunday was spent driving. I learned that Palm Springs is farther from LA than it looks on a map. Got a free meal at the Yukon Mining Co. in West Hollywood, thanks to a good friend of mine who’s the wait staff manager.

Monday was spent recovering, mostly, and doing a little work on the Lace Apron site.

So, apart from the glorious weekend, what else have I been up to?

The project for LOM is coming along nicely. I got the raw data, so now it’s time to get down to work. But first, I have to tell them what it’ll cost.

This is the first time that I’ve ever specced out a big project. The first step is getting an outline of what is going to be done - a whitepaper/roadmap that’s going to be used in development of the actual product. The next step is where I make wild guesses about how long each step will take, and tell them how to pay me.

How is one to know how long something will take, if he’s never done it?

It’s so hard to do this without actually writing code. But, I mean, I don’t want to spend hours and hours building this great module, and then have them turn around and say, “Well… We really don’t want to pay you for 40 hours… Can you cut it down to 20?”

At present, it’s looking like it’ll be about 40-50 hours of work, at least. I’m actually really scared that I’m going to under-estimate how long it’ll take, and be stuck doing charity work. My plan at this point, having the pieces in front of me, is to build it in pieces, so that each part is easy to estimate, build, bill, and deliver. Also, of course, since there are HIPAA concerns, and I don’t want to even start without having some sort of binding agreement of what’s going to be done and what I’m going to be paid. (Not that I don’t trust them or anything… But confusion and miscommunication build animosity in this business, and I’m going to be banking on a killer referral.)

After this project is over, I’m going to have a great little tool at my disposal, too. I’ve worked out a plan to build a very generic report-building engine. It’s going to grab data from a database, using a SQL query that the user can enter and save, and a template that will be pretty simple to put together, if someone knows a bit of PHP and (X)HTML. I’m borrowing a lot from b2evolution conceptually, but I doubt that I’ll make use of any actual code from the project. However, even if I do, this will be GPLed, so it’s all legit. If it’s not GPL, then we have to pay an arm and a leg for MySQL, and who wants that?) That’s not correct. I was making a n00b mistake in thinking that my program would constitute a “derivative work,” and it doesn’t. Nothing from the b2evo codebase will be used, except for some naming conventions, and this project will not be GPL. :oops:

So, while it’s going to be used to turn raw data into EOBs, it’ll be useful for SO much more. I’m definitely looking forward to being able to market this in the future, and charge a lot more than what I’m charging LOM. :>>

I don’t have any time at all. My weekend and every evening is booked for the next several weeks. I’m wondering how soon it’ll be before my head explodes. Of course, when I’m not working, I’m usually either sleeping or bored. I’ll be getting plenty of sleep, and boredom is not something I’ll miss.

You never know your limits if you don’t push them!

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