Posted by Greg as Posts About Me at 16:00 PST
I was browsing my visitor list yesterday (yes, although lately I have found myself incredibly short on time to write, I do still check in, if only to remove the comments that fool the spam filters), and saw a hit from a search engine that was corrosion-related. That always piques my interest – judging from how high my poor little site ranks using some common corrosion terms, there just isn’t much corrosion-related traffic out there on the Internet, and sometimes it’s from my own company (I try to keep tabs on that traffic.)
But this hit originated from the headquarters of NACE International, the world’s leading corrosion society, of which I have been a member since 1992. It’s also the group through which I hold a certification as a Cathodic Protection Specialist, one of the highest certifications in the CP field, which allows me to sign off on just about any regulatory requirement there is that’s aimed at protecting people and the environment from corrosion-related damage; i.e. keeping gasoline tanks from leaking or high-pressure gas or petroleum pipelines from rupturing.
Shortly thereafter I got an email from NACE. Someone there was surfing the net looking for information on Professional Engineers in California of the now defunct “Corrosion” type. She stumbled across my site, and contacted me because she thought I might know how get more information. PE’s in California are regulated by the California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, which has a searchable database, but it doesn’t allow you to search by a category, such as the Corrosion type. I called and talked to her, took a look at the site, and offered to help; but I wanted to know why she was looking for this. She let me know that NACE was interested in trying to revive the Corrosion PE license.
This is very interesting to me. The difficultly at present for engineers to get the highly coveted PE label is, IMHO, one of the reasons that we seem to be experiencing a decline in new blood in this field. And by promising to help, she offered to keep me updated with NACE’s efforts and progress.
So I looked carefully at the online database and saw a way to prize the information about all licensed Corrosion PE’s, past and present, from the interface; including names, addresses (which I’m assuming are business), and license status. All I need to do is write a script that will retrieve information pages for each individual for Corrosion PE license number 1 through 1087 (the last one apparently issued), and dump the results into a comma delimited file, filtered via regular expressions, which I can them import into a database such as OpenOffice Base. This is all very much like what I had already done with my Google automated search plugin for WordPress, before that project came to a screeching stop when I learned that automated searches of Google violated their Terms of Service.
It shouldn’t be too hard to do; it’s just that I’m really clumsy with regex, and without the filtering, I would be holding a huge lump of information that would be very difficult to go through by hand.
Oh – and although she found my site the day before, she was at first put off by my rotating skull and bones image. She only persisted when she came across the site again using a different search. Is my adopted logo too severe for professional issues? I’m pretty fond of it, and don’t want to give it up.
When I watched the last episode, I wept; for there were no more.
Funny how a work of art featuring a home named Serenity comes into my life, years after its release, just at the point when I find myself looking hard for the same. Almost like someone’s trying to reach out and send a message, a message of hope. Shiny? Then again, I suppose one finds comfort where one can. Ones that know how to find find their own strength when they need it.
I’d love to sit and rapture about how the Firefly series has touched me; how it strikes so many chords, touches on so many relevant themes, and digs up so many familiarities. I’d like to join the chorus of praise for its creator. But it’s all been done long before and by better men and women than me, and I don’t have the time to indulge. I’ll take the personal comfort and drive on.
Just wanted someone to know.