After doing a great job of moving on from a dead software job, a friend of mine managed to suck me into a small data reporting project for his renewable energy company’s solar panel installations. I will not let them pay me so I can’t actually get sucked in to deep.

When I asked I said “Oh that’s so easy, you just slap together an http/python/chart/template stack. No problem.” Considering I’m not interested in getting sucked into another software project yet, my first mistake was to say “no problem.”

Anyway, I had a wicked hangover and some free time so I sat down at a coffee shop to find a good chart library for python. Googling for “python charts” I decided I didn’t want to wade through a list of libs and almost gave up. Then I found google charts. Awesome.

Basically you just call a url with all your chart data and it gives you a sick graph back. You can just put the url in the src attribute for an img tag and stick it in a web page and you’ve got a report.

What these guys do is install solar panels for hot water heating in the Anchorage area. They have this cheesy little data feed coming off it that they could use to trouble shoot their installations and provide marketing data to future customers, but no reporting. Graphs. Tables. Matrix transformations. bleh. At least it’s for a good cause.

Meanwhile, getting sick of programming but fighting off a general interest and knack for code poses a very interesting problem: What kind of work feels healthy and what kind of work is too introverted. It’s a steep hill for sure.