September 05, 2007
K.O.K.O.P.E.L.L.I. is koko-licious!
The world’s greatest software application is about to be released. OK, maybe not the world’s greatest, but certainly, this country’s greatest software. That COULD be a bit of a stretch, too. Why don’t I tone it down a bit and just say that a useful piece of software is now available? It will be particularly useful if you are planning on attending the Southwest Fox 2007 Conference in Mesa, AZ USA from October 18-21, 2007. K.O.K.O.P.E.L.L.I. is its name and you can read more about it at Rick Schummer’s blog, http://www.rickschummer.com/blog, and download it at http://www.swfox.net/kokopelli.zip. Allow me to tell you a little bit more about it.
Several years ago, a co-worker, Doug Carpenter, and I were annoyed by the time we “wasted” in trying to come up with the optimum conference schedule when attending a developer conference with multiple sessions. It seemed like we would spend several hours with pencil and paper trying to pick and choose the correct combination of times and sessions to get the best bang for our conference buck. It was then that we embarked on the quest to come up with some semi-intelligent, intuitive software that would do the scheduling for us. It was that software, “The G.O.D.D.E.S.S.”, which debuted at the DevEssentials Conference in Kansas City in 2004. K.O.K.O.P.E.L.L.I. is the next generation of this type of software.
Written in Visual FoxPro 9, Kokopelli (K.O.K.O.P.E.L.L.I. is too difficult to type) takes the attendee’s preferences and converts them into a SUGGESTED conference schedule that all but guarantees, by the time the conference is over, that the attendee will have seen every session they wanted to see. You will need either VFP8 or VFP9 installed or have the run-time files available to run the executable. If you need the run time files, leave me a comment and I will e-mail them to you (about 11 meg.).
Once you download the zipped file, unzip the file into the directory of your choice and just run the executable. Take the time to both READ the help (4th page of the page frame) and/or use the graphical help by clicking on the Help! button. This is all the help you should need. I do have a couple of warnings however. If you keep them in mind, you will have the best chance of getting the optimal schedule.
First, although it may appear to be so, it should NOT be your goal to “pick” the session in each time slot that you want to attend. The software will eventually do that for you. YOUR job is to rank the four sessions in each time slot as if they were the only four sessions you could attend the entire conference. i.e. Of the four sessions in the time slot, which one would you MOST like to attend? Which one would be your 2nd choice? Third choice? It is so important that you understand this concept; I am suggesting that you read this paragraph over again. Do the same thing for EACH time slot (ignoring what you chose before in other time slots). To reiterate... Treat EACH TIME SLOT as an entity unto itself. By following this plan, Kokopelli will determine which sessions are most important to you and present a schedule that should meet your needs and ensure that you have had a chance to attend the sessions that interest you the most.
Second, the generated schedule is ONLY A SUGGESTION. No one is twisting your arm and forcing you to attend a particular session. I think you will be amazed at how well it does in creating a schedule for you. You can always tweak the rankings to fine tune the schedule. If you have any questions, concerns, comments, feel free to comment them here and I will answer them and guide you down the right path.
Lastly, we tried to come up with a form that isn’t your standard Visual FoxPro/Windows form in appearance. We hope you like it and appreciate the Southwestern theme of the form.
Posted by Dave Aring on September 5, 2007 | Permalink
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Cool! I just ran the program and the schedule it produced looks great. I had already reviewed the schedule and knew of four sessions where particular time slots worked best and the program came up with the same results for those and figured out the rest for me... Thanks!
Kudos for K.O.K.O.P.E.L.L.I
Posted by: Mary Pilon | Sep 6, 2007 10:36:30 AM
GREAT first response! (Just like we rehearsed) The $5 I promised you is in the mail ;-)
For what it is worth, there is always a chance that the session schedule might change (slightly) before the conference begins. I BELIEVE (not 100% sure) that the organizers will send out an e-mail to all registrants informing them of the changes. IF, repeat, IF that happens, just go back to the SWFox website and download the application again. The tables that drive the application should have been change accordingly and you can generate a more accurate schedule.
Once again, thanks for the kind words.
Posted by: Dave Aring | Sep 6, 2007 10:48:18 AM
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