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A New Project . . .

I heard back from Snider Transmission with so-so news about our Dodge Dakota. There’s nothing externally wrong with the transmission, so the next step is to take a look inside. And that will cost me $300.

That’s the charge for removing it, disassembling it, and diagnosing the problem. If at that point I do decide to repair it, the $300 will apply to the bill.

But that doesn’t include putting it back together afterwards if I decide not to get it repaired. And in fact due to all the O-rings and gaskets that would have to be replaced even without actually repairing, it wouldn’t be cost-effective anyway.

But I decided to roll the dice and hope I don’t Crap out.

For a while now I’ve been trying to get my client to take a look at how they do shipping. Numerically, our order totals are pretty much equally divided between USPS and UPS. We do ship a few orders via FedEx, but they’re mostly international shipments. But money-wise, the $ totals are about 3 to 1 for UPS.

But there can be a lot of difference in shipping cost between the various methods. For example, if we ship a 10# package to New York City, NY with USPS, check out the possible differences in cost.

Via standard Priority Mail (weight-based) it would be $28.45.

Via a Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box, it would $11.60.

And via a Priority Mail Regional Rate Box A, it would be only $9.70

That’s a big range!

To make things more confusing, there’s actually a fourth shipping method called Priority Mail Cubic, that’s only based on the size of the box.

And that’s not even bringing UPS into the mix.

The problem turns out to be how to quickly and easily figure out the cheapest way to ship a package. Your variables are package weight, shipping distance (Postal Zone), and package size. And the same weight package will ship cheaper either of 4 different ways, depending on how far away it’s going.

So what we need is a program that will take the weight and the destination zip code and tell you which way is the cheapest. There are a couple of online sites that purport to do this, but mostly seem to try and get you to ship through them.

So my new project is write a program that will take the shipping weight and the destination zip and tell you the cheapest way to ship it.

I’ll probably just do the first verison in Liberty BASIC since it’s quicker for prototyping, and then once the logic flow is nailed  down, I may move it into something like C+. But it may work just fine in Compiled BASIC. I’ll just have to see.

But at a quick glance, the first problem I see is that the USPS charts I need, like the Domestic Zone Chart that translates Zip Codes into Postal Zones, doesn’t seem be available in computer form, just printouts. But I’ll  keep looking.

Tomorrow we’re meeting up with Miss Piper for breakfast at The Egg and I, then she and Jan are going to get Mani-Pedi’s. Well, just a Pedi for Jan.

Then Sunday we’re going up to Brandi’s in Katy and lounge around their pool while Lowell grills something.

Really looking forward to it.


Thought for the Day: Irony

Croc Irony

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