Saturday, November 3, 2012

View Your Operator Readings in an Excel Pivot Table

A powerful new feature of the FieldData Pro solution is the ability to access the data collected by your staff in a MS Excel spreadsheet with a direct connection to the database that stores your historical data.

As shown in the image above, viewing your data in a pivot table allows you to perform more powerful analyses than in a standard spreadsheet.

In our example, with just a few clicks we filtered by:
  • Parameter (pH)
  • System Type (Cooling Tower)
  • Site
  • Year
We also sorted by:
  • System
  • Employee

All of this with just a few mouse clicks.

This data is data that was collected using FDPMobile, our mobile app designed for use with barcode scanners that run Windows Mobile.

This data used to be recorded on log sheets that were maintained at the cooling tower locations. Back then, if you wanted to analyze this data, you had to start by spending half a day collecting the log sheets, carrying them back to the desk and keying them into a spreadsheet. Now this data is available for analysis as soon as it is entered into the barcode scanner.

FieldData Pro helps you put your data to good use.

Explanation of a pivot table

For typical data entry and storage, data usually appear in flat tables, meaning that it consists of only columns and rows, as in the following example showing data on cooling tower water:

While tables such as these can contain a lot of data, it can be difficult to get summarized information from them. A pivot table can help quickly summarize the data and highlight the desired information. The usage of a pivot table is extremely broad and depends on the situation. The first question to ask is, "What am I looking for?" In the example here, let us ask, "How does water pH vary in each cooling tower over time?":

A pivot table usually consists of row, column and data (or fact) fields. In this case, the column is Observation Time, the row is Point of Interest and the data we would like to see is (average of) Observation Value. The pivot table allows you to quickly filter and summarize data. This allows you to run different scenarios, compare results under different conditions and identify trends. This type of analysis allows you to use your data to solve problems and improve your operations.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bacon Fried Turkey

How do take something great, like deep fried turkey, and make it better?

Wrap it in bacon, of course.

We did it this Thanksgiving and it tasted even better than it sounded. The turkey maintained its moist and tender texture while absorbing some of the bacon flavor. Both the kids and adults will fight over the chunks of bacon / skin that fall off in the bottom of the carving plate.

Here is what you need:

10 pound turkey, thawed
2 pounds bacon
3 gallons canola oil (peanut oil will work also)
cooking twine

You will also need a turkey setup.

In the kitchen, wrap the turkey in strips of bacon:

Tie up the turkey with cooking twine, securing the bacon to the turkey.

Set the turkey in the frying basket:

Preheat the oil to 400 F.

Slowly lower the turkey (in basket) into the oil.

Be careful here. The oil may splatter up and get you here. I recomend the following safety precautions be taken when lowering the turkey into the oil:

Long sleeve shirt
Leather gardening gloves
Safety glasses
Use a set of channel locks or pliers to grip the basket handle.

The turkey should cook for 3 1/2 minutes per pound.

You will need to monitor the oil temperature and maintain it at 350 F while it is cooking. This may require adjusting the flame every 5 minutes or so.

After the 35 minutes or so has passed, follow the same precautions you followed when you lowered the turkey into the oil (gloves, glasses, etc) and remove the turkey (in basket) from the oil. The turkey will stick a little to the sides of the basket. Jiggle it loose and slide the bird into a pan.

Remove the cooking twine, carve  and serve.