rowyn: (current)


I open Foo.dbq in Showcase Query on my local computer.
I open the exact same Foo.dbq, from the exact same directory, on my remote computer.

I look at the properties for variable DATE1 on my local computer. It is "Range of Values (BETWEEN)"

I look at the properties for variable DATE1 on my remote computer. It is "Single Value".




Does Showcase Query have an option for "Make all variable types into Single Value on file open"? Why would anyone ever code a program to do this?  D::

rowyn: (hmm)

One of the oddities of working at a large bank is that, since I am doing reports that are viewed by far more people, I get a lot more questions about them. Naturally, I also get more of the same questions, over and over again, from different people.


And then there are the mystifying questions.


Loan Officer: "Why is this loan on my past due list? It's not matured!"
Me: "... because it's past due? Just like the other past-due-but-not-matured loan on your list of three past due loans?"


Loan Officer Assistant: "Why isn't Loan 123 on the matured loan list? It's matured! Oh, and so is 456. Why aren't they there?"
Me: " ... um. They are on the matured loan list. Right where they are supposed to be?"


I got nothin'.

rowyn: (hmm)
I wrote this out in the hopes that I'd figure out a solution once I had it laid before me, but nooooo. So I'm turning to my much smarter readers for advice. /o.o\

I need to do a report showing all loans to a given customer, and all guarantors on those loans. The tools that I have for accomplishing this task are Crystal Reports and Excel 2003. 

This information is stored in an SQL database, in a format where Customer is linked to Loans and Loans are linked to Guarantors.  So, for example:

Foo Inc has loan #s 100, 101, 102 and 103.  Loan #100 is guaranteed by Fi Foo and Fum Foo. Loan #101 is guaranteed by Fi Foo, Fum Foo, and Fi Fum Enterprises. Loan #s 102 & 103 hav no guarantors at all.

Now, I can query my database using Crystal Reports and get the following table:

Borrower Loan Number Guarantor
Foo Inc 100 Fi Foo
Foo Inc 100 Fum Foo
Foo Inc 101 Fi Foo
Foo Inc 101 Fum Foo
Foo Inc 101 Fi Fum Enterprises
Foo Inc 102 --
Foo Inc 103 --

But I actually don’t care which loans are guaranteed by which individuals.  All I want is each unique loan number and each unique guarantor.  So what I want is more like:

Borrower Loan Number Guarantor
Foo Inc 100 Fi Foo
Foo Inc 101 Fum Foo
Foo Inc 102 Fi Fum Enterprises
Foo Inc 103 --

Or, perhaps less confusing:

Borrower Loan Number Guarantor
Foo Inc 100 Fi Foo
101 Fum Foo
102 Fi Fum Enterprises

Aaaaand …

I can’t figure out how to do this.  >.<

If I wanted to show all the guarantors and didn’t care if I showed all the loans or not, I could do that by grouping on the guarantors and hiding the details (where all the loans would be hidden). Or vice-versa, if I wanted to show all the loans and didn’t care if I showed all the guarantors or not.  But I need to show the unique results for each, and I need to do this for 100+ borrowers, who may have only one loan and no guarantors, or might have 20 loans with eight guarantors each.  Showing only unique instances would be the difference between a report that fits on 10 pages and one that takes up 200.

I don’t want to do this by hand, and I don’t want the people who are currently doing it manually keep doing it manually, because that is suckage beyond words. Gah.


Apr. 14th, 2009 04:25 pm
rowyn: (Default)
So, yesterday, I combed through the help files for our banking software, looking for information on the changes made to a report in the latest version. After several hours of RTFM, and locating some wonderfully detailed information on the report that did not include the recent changes, I logged a call to their support saying "I can't find this information in the help files. Would you please let me know X, Y and Z?"

Today, I spent four and a half hours in a meeting. Four. And a half. HOURS.

When I got out, I saw I had email regarding my support call. I checked it. The response?


So that's been my day. How was yours?

* No, the support response said nothing about where to find it, or give any indication that the person who wrote it had taken any action to verify that the information she was claiming was there was, in fact, there.

I Are Dumb

Nov. 13th, 2008 04:53 pm
rowyn: (downcast)
Or maybe it's Crystal Reports, not me.

I run into this problem now and again, where I need to do a report on a database field that might or might not have actual data in it.

As an example, starting with a report that shows the value of Funfield in all records:

Name Funfield
Boo Foo
Goo Ooo
Joo Due

Now I modify this report to show all records where Funfield = Foo.

Name Funfield
Boo Foo

Next, show all records where Funfield != Foo.

Name Funfield
Goo Ooo
Joo Due

Why isn't Noo on this report?

If I try isnull({funfield}), I get no results:

Name Funfield

Now, say I do a formula named "NoFun" and define it as "if {funfield} = Foo then true, else false" and display it on my original all-results report, I get:

Name Funfield Nofun
Boo Foo True
Goo Ooo False
Joo Due False
Noo False

But if I try to get sneaky and ask for all results where Nofun is False:

Name Funfield Nofun
Goo Ooo False
Joo Due False

... Noo's still missing.

Anyone out there smarter than me that knows (a) why this happens and/or (b) how I can get around this? I'm using Crystal v.11.

... and preferably short of redoing the report in Excel, because it's not this simple a report. ;_;
rowyn: (thoughtful)
My bank recently started using a software product called "ImageNow".

Technically, the bank's been using it since before the merger in 2001. But until last year, no one at the bank had any training on it and it hadn't been set up by anyone who understood what it could do. So it was being used, but very, very badly.

ImageNow is marketed as a virtual file storage system. You scan your documents in, and then ImageNow can organize them to mimick your existing physical filing system. In theory, you can throw out your physical files and just use ImageNow for everything.

Except it's actually better than that. ImageNow doesn't just store image files; it can store and display just about any document type. It has 5 customizable property fields, plus fields for "Drawer" and "Document Type", which are mainly useful for security purposes. It basically gives you a little database of information attached to every document you put into it. One of its big selling points is that it's very easy to set it up so it "talks" to whatever database system you're already using, and it can pull the data from that program and attach it to the document you're putting into it, so you don't have to do data entry for every file.

One of my first thoughts, after training on this software, was "I want to scan my desk and put it into ImageNow". I hate digging through piles of paper looking for one piece. I want my computer to find it for me. We didn't buy ImageNow to let people organize their desks: we bought it to store the documents associated with customer accounts. But there's no reason it can't store the paper at my desk, too.

So I persuaded my boss to let me set up my own drawer, and I've been dumping this and that into it.

And the thing that struck me, as I was dumping files from my desktop into it, is that ImageNow isn't letting me do anything I couldn't have done two years ago when we replaced the department copier with a copier/scanner. I could have scanned everything then and saved it into directories and files on my computer.

Except for one thing: the directory tree architecture sucks for organizing things. Here we are, in the 21st century, and so far as I can tell every computer operating system from Windows to Macs to Linux to the Internet is still based on directory trees. What's up with that? ImageNow's system doesn't feel revolutionary or perfect, by any means. But it sure feels a lot better than C:\Toddler Bank Loans\Customer Number\Customer Name\Account Number\Document Type\Doc Date\. (Which, perhaps, is something like what ImageNow looks like on the backend that I never see. Or maybe it looks more cryptic than that and the searchable database is stored in some attached file). But in ImageNow I can, for example, do a search for name = X AND document type = Y. At the same time! It's not Google, but I've found that even Google isn't that good at, say, helping me find specific emails in Gmail. If I don't remember the right keywords it can't figure them out for me. It's kind of handy to have something prompting me to put in keywords.

I don't want to undersell ImageNow, which does more than just offer a more searchable file storage method. But I do find myself wondering "why can't my operating system's file storage work like this?" How hard would it be to make an applet that laid over Explorer and prompted me for customized key words when saving files, so that I could search for those later instead of trying to remember "What did I name this file?"

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