From the random search query department, I selected ‘random college major’ from the massive list of oddball queries my site receives. Oddly, college majors vary a lot across the various higher education facilities. Enough overlapped to result in the Random College Major Generator.
I attempted to retain even the most oddball of majors. I did toss out a few that were close duplicates and one I found offensively labelled. The latter was quite odd coming from institutions that are generally far more politically correct than I am. I’m still on the hunt for oddball majors I may have missed. One never knows.
Given the launch of the Modern Business Generator, it was time to refactor some other utilities given the massive increase in available names. First and foremost, I expanded the Restaurant Name Generator to utilize the new database in addition to the original list. Additionally, it is now possible to select specific categories of eateries to refine the results.
Similar to eating establishments, I added the Hotel and Motel Name Generator which includes RV Parks, Bed & Breakfasts and other lodging services in addition to traditional hotel names. Results can be refined by category if desired.
I love random names. Especially the strange, odd, esoteric, cool stuff people come up with across the world. I’ve long wanted a business name database and I finally procured one. It is pretty massive at 21 million entries for the U.S. I’m pretty certain there is not 1 business per 15 residents, which lead to the original data conversion.
However, many of the entries are not useful for my context. They did not contain a NAICS or SIC code that usefully designated the business. Not to mention that many entries are duplicated. Plus the expected duplication of names across the nation. After trimming, taming and normal data tweaks, I ended up with about 5.5 million entries. I retained the duplicate entries across states because I may want state specific names at some point.
Presenting the information is a challenge. If it is too fine, selecting between categories is a nuisance. The general industry classification breaks out 700 odd entries. Moving it up one level in the NAICS standard still results in 99 categories. For some purposes, 99 is better but fails with specific desires. Scrolling through 700 entries isn’t happening with the 3 second attention span of most web users.
So I’ll start with 99: Modern Business Names. It is somewhat useful. The data needs additional cleanup and frankly 99 categories is far too many. In the months to come, I may split out what I believe are interesting industries into individual generators. I have a few in mind.
If there is a particular industry that would be useful, let me know. Or if you want to drill down into 700 different categories, I’m open to that as well. Until that happens, coarse will work.
I’m slower than molasses in a northern winter but am gradually migrating toward a mobile friendly layout for the the generators. In keeping with my minimal design, it should be a reasonably straight forward process. With any significant change, I expect a few hiccups and layout abnormalities.
While the blog has long had a mobile friendly theme, the generators were stuck in the last decade with a fixed-width, static layout that was tinier than a snail anus for small devices. I’m likely going to drop the side bar menu entirely and use the maximum space for results. Still, I’m waffling on some choices so pages and layouts will be in flux for the next few weeks.
Yell at me if you find anything broken. I’ll deserve it.
For those that love to browse names rather than generate random results, I’ve launched my latest list utility — The World Wide City Names. As the name suggests, the city, town, and village names from over 100 countries are available as alphabetic lists. There are a few edge cases where no data is returned that I need to rectify. Still, the number of folks looking for city names now have an alternative choice.
The 2014 venture into the Colorado Rockies is complete. The event was once again held at the base of Mount Evans at 10,000 feet in the University of Denver Alpine Field station. Holding the event at altitude is not without risk — one of our five participants had regular touches of altitude sickness. Nothing major but it did sideline him on occasion but never progressed to the point I needed to haul him back the thicker air of the Denver area.
We had five participants this year from 3 states. Three of the five flew in prior to the event. Role playing games were slim as I failed to prepare anything prior due to other responsibilities. So card games were the name of the game for most of the weekend — Magic, Munchkin and Drinking Quest.
The newest participant, Garrett, ran the one RPG over two sessions. He used the Big Eyes, Small Mouth RPG with the players involved in an alternate modern fantasy environment. It was odd. It was strange. It was a heck of a lot of fun even if it wasn’t what I expected.
Many thanks to all the guys who always make the weekend enjoyable. Glad you could come up and looking forward to 2015. I may have to invest in a oxygen bottle.
I transitioned the site from a shared hosting server over to a VPS. Due to my failure, a few posts fell through the cracks. I’m working to get a newer backup from the former hosts but it’s not on my priority list.
I still have another wordpress installation to process and I fricking hate them. Plus a few other things I have yet to setup.
Stuff is live, flowing, and doing what websites do. It is fun to see live logs again. I have to fix several bits of code to quash warnings. I’m not going to miss OldPappy. Many thanks to the guys at FirstLink for helping with the setup and actually being humans behind a phone number or email. I owe you beers and perhaps smoked pork.
It’s damn nice to be able to update files without weird oddities and “support” people telling you to use insecure variants.
Some stuff may still be broken. I’ll fix anything I can on a daily basis until I’m confident we’ve made it through the transition.