Can’t even see where the city ends. Photo by D. Ramos

Last month I took a vacation to Japan but my mind couldn’t stop enjoying and analyzing how everything is efficient. From the train stations to the restaurants, it’s amazing to be reminded what’s possible.

There’s a balance of system and culture all throughout Japan. In this photo, my wife and I are waiting our turn to take a picture with the famous torii gate at Itsukushima Shrine. Balancing tourist, locals, and even a wedding it seems like everyone has a chance to have an experience. Photo by D. Ramos

I really appreciated all the little notes and signs used to inform and make sure everyone is aware of their surroundings. Not only are people informed, but there’s some practicality to it. Check out the bar code below:

It’s all in the detail. There’s function and a little bit of fun when it comes to how bar codes are printed on this bottle of Orangina manufactured in Japan. Photo by D. Ramos

Data/Information is all around us. Its pushing for actions to be made. Take the example below:

One of the most efficient ways to order Ramen in Japan. You even get your own water to refill your cup. Photo by D. Ramos

Are you doing any summer traveling? Have you been anywhere else but the place you reside? Do you find some things done differently that you think is impossible to implement where you call home? Let’s talk story. Holler @ me.

Fuzzy Lookups

McDonald's Hawaiian trash cans
In Hawaii, we are wealthy in culture but sometimes it creates challenges in managing data.

One of the projects I was working on for a few years involved cleaning up Address data for a customer database. I found out the admin did a lot of manually data correction. That works well for a customer base of less then 1,000, maybe even less than 500. In our situation, we had 40k customers at any given moment. That is a lot of tedious work.

When the admin was gone for vacations, I would take over the responsibility of maintaining the member’s database. Due to the restriction of having only x amount of hours in a day, I took some time to test out fuzzy lookups to manage the data.

The basic concept is that I can automate the computer to take a look at one list (in this case, the member’s database) and compare it to another list to see what are the strongest matches. Not being familiar with Hawaiian street names at the time, it was difficult to do it manually. So I decided I would try to compare a confirm address list and the customer list I had to maintain.

I never convinced the admin that this would help them with their job. I’m thinking it’ll be useful in the future to minimize “Lost in Translation” moments.

Anyway, to help you understand better, here’s a quick video on Fuzzy Lookups that I thought was useful: