Monthly Archives: May 2015

AFL Tipping Spreadsheet – Round 9

There’s some interesting matches this week according to the systems. They show the biggest predicted margin so far this season (SYD v CAR) and the smallest predicted margin (RIC v ESS). In fact, the RIC v ESS game has a zero margin in 2 of the systems. I think Richmond are the likely winners of the game, they’ve beaten better sides in the last few weeks than the Bombers. Personally I think the BRS v STK and COL v NM are close games too. Collingwood still hasn’t beaten a side of note and their ladder position is deceptive, I think the Roos have their measure. The Lions and St. Kilda are both rubbish and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Saints get the lollies up in BrisVegas.

Game My Tips System 1 System 2 System 3 System 4
Sydney vs Carlton Sydney Sydney Sydney Sydney Sydney
Hawthorn vs Gold Coast Hawthorn Hawthorn Hawthorn Hawthorn Hawthorn
Melbourne vs Port Adelaide Port Adelaide Port Adelaide Port Adelaide Port Adelaide Port Adelaide
Western Bulldogs vs GWS Giants GWS Giants Western Bulldogs Western Bulldogs Western Bulldogs Western Bulldogs
Richmond vs Essendon Richmond Richmond Essendon Richmond Essendon
Adelaide vs Fremantle Fremantle Adelaide Fremantle Adelaide Fremantle
Brisbane vs St Kilda Brisbane St Kilda St Kilda Brisbane Brisbane
Collingwood vs North Melbourne North Melbourne Collingwood Collingwood Collingwood Collingwood
West Coast vs Geelong West Coast West Coast West Coast West Coast West Coast

AFL Tipping Spreadsheet – Round 8 Results

Well, my two 50/50 tips went against me this week (damn you GWS and Sydney). All of the systems managed to beat my own tips, which is what happens when you tip on gut feel rather than logic. Did I already say damn you GWS and Sydney?

Results Round 9

My Tips System 1 System 2 System 3 System 4
9 0 0 0 0

Current Leaderboard (Round 9)

My Tips System 1 System 2 System 3 System 4
49/72 40/72 43/72 44/72 46/72

Case Study – How Much Time are Employees Spending Working on Jobs?

Recently I’ve been working with a local truck re-finishing company. They work for their customers on a job-by-job basis, providing fixed priced quotes for each job. Obviously their profitability relies on them controlling both the time and materials spent on those jobs. Their billing, invoicing and payroll is controlled with MYOB, while employee time and attendance and tracking time spent on jobs is done via wall mounted Fingertec Timeline 100 time clock and Fingertec’s TCMSV2 time and attendance software. The time clock only allows for tracking of two digit job numbers which means job numbers must be re-used. There is no link between the TCMS software and MYOB.

The Client's Fingertec Timeline 100 Time Clock

The Client’s Fingertec Timeline 100 Time Clock

The Problem

The owner of the business has little or no idea of how much time employees have spent on jobs until the job is complete. This has lead to losses being made on jobs where better control could have resulted in less time being spent by employees. It has also lead to problems in quoting as it has been difficult for the owner to access historical cost information for jobs of a similar type. The reasons for the delay in reporting can be pinned down to the following root causes:

1. The employee responsible for monitoring time and attendance and generating job reports had little understanding of the TCMS software and was not willing to learn more. As a result reporting was largely a process of printing hard copy reports and manual calculations that were either wrong or severely delayed.

2. The TCMS limitation of two digit job numbers meant that the historical information stored by the system was useless. For example, job 89 in May could easily be a completely different job in December. The client controlled what each job code represented via a descriptor the TCMS software could store with each code. When a number was re-used the descriptor would be changed. However, the TCMS software only discriminated by job number.

3. Delays in reporting meant the owner was loathe to ask for reports as they took so long to generate and (appeared) to require a lot of work to generate.

The Goal

The goal of the project was to provide the owner of the business with a simple tool that could report on the time his employees spent working on customer jobs. The tool should be easy to use by admin staff and be able to generate reports in minutes rather than hours or days.

The Solution

I spent several hours familiarising myself with the TCMS software. The reason for this was two-fold. First to understand what data integration was possible, and secondly to investigate the TCMS software for automation opportunities to speed up the time and attendance reporting and payroll processing procedures. The second task lead to immediate cost savings within the business via the following:

1. Configuring TCMS to automatically round times to the nearest 15 minutes (previously done manually)
2. Set up overtime within the software to automatically determine daily overtime on week days and penalty overtime for employees working on weekends.

These two changes have immediately reduced the time taken to process payroll by 2-3 hours per week.

The TCMS reporting system can produce reports in a variety of formats. I was hoping the software could generate reports directly to MS Excel as this would have made my job a lot simpler. However, the Excel reporting system in TCMS is severely flawed resulting in a single report taking more than an hour to generate (I suspect due to not setting the Calculation property of Excel to xlCalculateManual). Further digging around indicated that CSV reports could be generated. In particular the TCMS “Job Cost Analysis” report could be generated in CSV format. The format was a simple flat file that included a record for each time punch pair, the employee, the date, and the recorded job number and job descriptor tag.

The Excel Job Reporter

I developed an Excel spreadsheet that could import the Job Cost Analysis CSV file from TCMS and then present the data to the business owner in a useful format. The spreadsheet allows the construction of a master list of current jobs so that monitoring of current spend of jobs is quick and easy. You can see what this job sheet looks like below. This report is generated daily and made available to staff so that they can see how much budget is available on their current jobs.

Excel Job Tracker - Current Job List

Excel Job Tracker – Current Job List

The system also allows the owner to easily see the time spent on any historical job by any employee. Incredibly useful for quoting of new jobs. You can see that report below.

Excel Job Tracker - Detailed Job Report

Excel Job Tracker – Detailed Job Report

A number of other reports are also available allowing the owner to see who has been spending time on what in the preceding day, week, or month.

The Benefits

The entire system was developed from start to finish in under 20 hours. The cost of the project is going to be recouped in lower payroll processing costs alone in about 3 months. The opportunities for better job cost control are likely to give multiples of project cost in savings and better quoting each month. All of this with some simple business process analysis, better use of the time and attendance software the client already owned, and making use of Excel.

Gage Roads Sleeping Giant IPA Review

Gage Roads Sleeping Giant IPA

Gage Roads Sleeping Giant IPA

Gage Roads Brewery (who are fussy bastards according to the label on their bottles) are located in Palmyra, Western Australia. Their Sleeping Giant IPA (5.4%ABV) is described as dry hopped as “malt driven with slightly spicy aroma, and lingering bitterness”. Poured it was reasonably clear dark amber colour, there was little head developed in the pour. On the nose there is strong passionfruit and lime. Taste wise it is what I can only call, bluntly bitter but it does not linger. The aftertaste is strongly malty and the beer is quite dry.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA Review

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Sierra Nevada Brewery has factories in Chico Californa and Mills River North Carolina. They describe their Torpedo Extra IPA (7.2%ABV) as dry hopped with their “revolutionary” hop torpedo (whatever that is). Pouring into a large glass the beer was a dark amber with a beautifully fine bubbled dark cream coloured head that held right to the bottom of the glass. The beer itself had strong passionfruit on the the nose with undertones of pine. The taste was bitter up front with some citrus and passionfruit with a lingering bitterness at the back of the mouth. There was considerable mouth feel and the beer was not particularly dry.

AFL Tipping Spreadsheet – Round 8

I found it tough tipping this week with 2 very doubtful games and 2 more that could easily end in upsets. I’ve tipped Adelaide over GWS despite Adelaide’s long injury list, and GWS playing at home. GWS have never looked like beating Adelaide and I can’t see a 10 goal turn around from the last time they played at Metricon. I’ve also backed in Hawthorn against the Swans, they’ve got three great players coming in, the game is in Melbourne, and the Swans didn’t convince me last week against the Cats despite coming home with a wet sail in the final quarter. Don’t be surprised to see an upset in the ESS/BRI or the POR/RIC games either.

Game My Tips System 1 System 2 System 3 System 4
Geelong vs Carlton Geelong Geelong Geelong Geelong Geelong
St Kilda vs West Coast West Coast West Coast West Coast West Coast West Coast
GWS Giants vs Adelaide Adelaide GWS Giants GWS Giants GWS Giants GWS Giants
Gold Coast vs Collingwood Collingwood Collingwood Collingwood Collingwood Collingwood
Hawthorn vs Sydney Hawthorn Hawthorn Hawthorn Hawthorn Hawthorn
Fremantle vs North Melbourne Fremantle Fremantle Fremantle Fremantle Fremantle
Essendon vs Brisbane Essendon Essendon Essendon Essendon Essendon
Melbourne vs Western Bulldogs Western Bulldogs Western Bulldogs Western Bulldogs Western Bulldogs Western Bulldogs
Port Adelaide vs Richmond Port Adelaide Port Adelaide Port Adelaide Port Adelaide Port Adelaide

AFL Tipping Spreadsheet – Round 7 Results

One real upset this round (Port failing against the Lions), and a 50/50 game that went against all the systems and my own tips (damn you Richmond). My own tipping is leading all the systems comfortably now.

Results Round 7

My Tips System 1 System 2 System 3 System 4
7 5 5 5 6

Current Leaderboard (Round 7)

My Tips System 1 System 2 System 3 System 4
44/63 34/63 37/63 38/63 40/63

Brew Day 4 18 May 2015 – American IPA

I’m having a go at an extract brew today. My aim is a simple hop forward American IPA. I used the Kit & Extract Beer Designer from the Aussie Home Brewer forum to design the beer. The beer includes the following ingredients.

1.5KG Briess CBW Golden Light LME
0.5KG Light DME
0.3KG Brown Sugar
Briess Light Crystal Malt 0.25KG
21g Simcoe @ 60 mins 14%AA
21g Simcoe @ 5 mins 14%AA
48g Simcoe dry hopped after 4 days for 3 days.
11g SAFALE US-05 Dry Yeast

Brew Type : 3 Gallon Extract

Simcoe hops pellets, Bairds Crystal Malt, Bairds LME, Brown Sugar

Simcoe hops pellets, Bairds Crystal Malt, Bairds LME, Brown Sugar, Yeast

OG: 1.068
FG: 1.014
ABV: 7.4%

I chose a single hop recipe with a decent late boil addition and dry hop to bring out the piney/fruit aromas of the American Simcoe hop. It was a little expensive ($12 for 90g) but I think it’s better to go for quality.

Method:

1. Steep the crystal malt in 1L of 65-70C water for 30 minutes.

Steeping the Crystal

Steeping the Crystal

2. Drain into boil pot and sparge with 1L of 65-70C water.
3. Make up boil pot to 5L and bring to boil switch off and add 400g of DME mixing to make sure it dissolves fully.
4. Put heat back on and bring to rolling boil. When boiling make first hop addition. Boil for 55 minutes and make second addition. Boil for a further 5 minutes before plunging pot into ice bath to bring down to 20-25C.

First Hop Addition - Smells Good!

First Hop Addition – Smells Good!

5. While wort is boiling bring 2L of water to boil and dissolve remainder of DME and brown sugar and cool rapidly in ice water.
6. Pour cooled wort, cooled sugar/DME solution and LME into FV. Add cooled water to bring volume to 12L.

Aerated wort at 24C prior to pitching yeast.

Aerated wort at 24C prior to pitching yeast.

7. Pitch yeast at 20-25C, seal FV, put airlock in place and commence fermenting.

I ended up getting the wort to 24C in the FV. I took a gravity reading (1.071) which wasn’t too far off target and pitched the yeast. After the FV was sealed I put the airlock in place and moved the vessel to my temperature controlled refrigerator. Set temperature was 18.5C.

Fermentation Notes

I’ve only used the US-05 yeast once and it was slow to start. The reading I’ve done suggests that’s fairly common and that it can be sped up by re-hydrating it before pitching. This brew showed the first signs of active fermentation after about 12-18 hours with the barest hint of a krausen ring appearing on the inside of the vessel. The airlock became active sometime between 24 and 36 hours after pitching the yeast. The fermentation fridge smells like pine trees!

24/5/15

Made up a muslin bag, sterilised it and half a dozen marbles (for ballast) in StarSan. Put 48g of Simcoe hops and the marbles in the bag tied it off and dropped it into the fermentation vessel. You can see the hop bag sinking in the image below.

48g of Simcoe pellets sinking into the beery depths.

48g of Simcoe pellets sinking into the beery depths.

Took sample at same time and measured gravity at 1.018, four points above target. OG was 3 points above target so I wonder if I got more un-fermentable sugars from the crystal than expected. Will measure again when bottling. Drank the sample, it had a lot more odour and flavour from the hops than I was expecting. Very piney/resinous on the nose without much fruit. Will be interesting to see if the dry hopping adds more fruit. Not unpleasant at all for a warm, flat half glass of beer!

Current plan is to fine with gelatin on 28/5/15 29-5-15 and cold crash for three days before bottling on 2/6/15.

29/5/15 9:00AM – Mixed half a teaspoon of gelatin into 100mL of 70C water and stirred until completely dissolved. Dropped the lot into the fermentation vessel. The FV was at 14.5C. I’ve turned on the refrigerator and will cold crash until next Tuesday (2/6/15) and will bottle then. I need to work out the bulk priming rate before then.

Bottling

3/6/15 – After 5 days of cold crashing I bottled this brew today. Mixed 65g of brown sugar with 250mL of water and brought to the boil to dissolve. Add the sugar water to my bottling container and then racked off the FV to the bottling container ensuring a good swirl so that the sugar was well mixed. Bottled into 12 750mL PET and 1 500mL glass bottles, with about 400mL left over for SG testing and drinking! Yield was a bit under 11L which isn’t great. Final SG was 1.018 at 5C, which included the priming sugar. Once corrected for temperature and the sugar the FG was 1.015, only two points from estimate, so things have fermented out nicely.

There was a huge passionfruit aroma from the dry hopping, even my young kids who hate the smell of beer commented on how strong the passionfruit was. The sample was a dark amber with a strong mouth feel, strong malt, which tempered the lingering bitterness. It was, in short, delicious. Easily the best brew I’ve done to date! The beer had no real clarity so I don’t perceive any benefit of using the gelatin to fine the beer. However, this could be due to the fact that when I steeped the crystal malt I only strained it with a fine colander which could easily lead to fine particulates in suspension. Next time I’ll make sure to steep the grains in a muslin bag and see if that helps with clarity.

As an aside I harvested some of the trub and put it into a sterilised glass jar with cooled boiled water. I’ve put it in the fridge to keep the yeast dormant. I plan to make a starter from this and pitch this into my next brew. As a note to myself I’ll make the starter from 1L of water with 100g of LDME. You can see an image of the jar below.

Harvested Yeast/Trub

Harvested Yeast/Trub

And here it is after 12 hours in the cold to settle out:

Harvested Yeast after 12 Hours

Harvested Yeast after 12 Hours

AFL Tipping Spreadsheet – Round 7

An interesting round of tipping this week. On the surface there’s a few obvious games but closer examination suggests 3 games this round could go either way. ESS v NM, CAR v GWS, RIC v COL are all up in the air. At first glance NM, GWS, and COL seem like simple picks. However, NM has only beaten quality opposition once (GEEL in Geelong), GWS has had one good win (last week v HAW) but other than that hasn’t beaten anyone of quality, and COL and RIC are both diabolical. COL has had a few wins but last week showed their real colours when they came up against a decent team (GEEL) that pantsed them. That all being said I can’t bring myself to tip Carlton or Richmond at all because they are rubbish. And Essendon is surely due for a massive down game after WADA announced the appeal to the 2012 Essendon doping program earlier in the week.

Game My Tips System 1 System 2 System 3 System 4
Essendon vs North Melbourne North Melbourne Essendon Essendon Essendon Essendon
Adelaide vs St Kilda Adelaide Adelaide Adelaide Adelaide Adelaide
Hawthorn vs Melbourne Hawthorn Hawthorn Hawthorn Hawthorn Hawthorn
Carlton vs GWS Giants GWS Giants GWS Giants GWS Giants GWS Giants GWS Giants
Sydney vs Geelong Sydney Sydney Sydney Sydney Sydney
West Coast vs Gold Coast West Coast West Coast West Coast West Coast West Coast
Western Bulldogs vs Fremantle Fremantle Western Bulldogs Western Bulldogs Western Bulldogs Fremantle
Richmond vs Collingwood Collingwood Collingwood Collingwood Collingwood Collingwood
Brisbane vs Port Adelaide Port Adelaide Port Adelaide Port Adelaide Port Adelaide Port Adelaide

AFL Tipping Spreadsheet – Round 6 Results

Another fun round of upsets. GWS getting up over Hawthorn is one of the biggest upsets of recent times. Brisbane doing the deed on Carlton helps emphasise how truly crap the Blues really are. I’ll have to think long and hard before tipping them again this year.

Results Round 6

My Tips System 1 System 2 System 3 System 4
4 4 5 4 5

Current Leaderboard (Round 6)

My Tips System 1 System 2 System 3 System 4
37/54 29/54 32/54 33/54 34/54