More Weather & Thoughts On Inventory

Tonight’s Headlines:

Another wet, windy, snowy storm hitting Washington

Storm Pounds Region With High Winds

Apparently 2007 will resemble 2006 in some annoying ways. It’s really blowing hard at the boat tonight.

Nity & I have made a good start on inventorying her stuffed animals. We’re creating a spreadsheet for all the goods we have on board Katherine Jane, but might forget about because they’re packed away. I intended to begin in the pantry and work our way back. But somehow, Nit thought her stuffed animals were more critical, so we’re working on them first. At least she’s learning about data capture, sorting, & tracking. These skills will probably serve her well someday. I suggested tagging each animal with a number, but she “doesn’t believe in it” ~ too cruel, evidently. She settled on a column for “Distinguishing Characteristics” instead (You wouldn’t believe how many Bunny-brown-smalls she has ~ luckily they all have different ribbons and such).

We’ve been thinking a lot about managing all of the little cubbyholes, nooks, and crannies on the boat. Ever since my friend John mentioned the space program’s bar code management system, I’ve been coveting something like that, where I could just slap a sticker on an item, scan the drawer label in which I put said item, and have a computer to magically keep track of everything for me. But for now, it’s all about meticulous data entry.

Inventory Management System

An attempt to remedy these problems with a prototype on-orbit Inventory Management System (IMS) was conducted during three missions on Mir from 1991 to 1993. The Russian IMS included ground preparation of bar code labels, attachment of labels to items carried to Mir, and the creation of a database listing all items.

The ground system printed three copies of each bar code label. One label was placed on the equipment, another on the document that tracked the equipment, and the final label on the flight manifesting document.

The on-board hardware included a pen– style bar code reader, which was attached by Velcro to the crewmember’s clothing, a battery charger and docking station that allowed data downloading to the IMS database, a laptop computer workstation that contained the IMS and two bar code label printers. One printer was used on the ground and the other on Mir.

Apparently they even had trouble with that system ~ synchronizing the ground and orbiting databases, some issues with crew discipline in making the updates. It’s going to be work no matter what, I suppose.

Greg has caught the cold virus which has been making it’s way through his family. I’ve managed to steer clear of that so far. Unfortunately that puts me in charge of nursing the poor boy back to health. Which means I’m off to make hot cocoa now. Have a good night!

Later: Greg & Nity, with their mugs full of steaming drinks prepared lovingly by Yours Truly, have pronounced this the most boring post ever. Nity couldn’t even stay focused enough to read the whole thing. On the other hand, we’ve had a lovely discussion about military inventory naming conventions and such. Pretty much all I know is that the odd numbers will be port and the evens will be starboard. The rest is still being considered. Brilliant suggestions welcome!

Even Later: OK, this is what I want: Astronauts Little Helper. I swear I’m done for tonight. For a while anyway.

No Responses to “More Weather & Thoughts On Inventory”

  1. rob
    January 6, 2007 at 10:11 pm #

    Hi! love the grammar videos and I agree that space girl was great! Re the inventory system I instigated a sysyem that was similar in a theme park I ran (well my immediate boss had the title,but I actually ran it while he did the marketing :o)) we had quite complicated checks on all equipment to ensure that it was safe and so attached to the piece of equipment ajacent to the check area I placed a bar code and then using a pen and a comment the engineers recorded each days completed checks. this worked fine for a while until the clear plastic protection on the stylus clouded over and we started to go through “Pens” at a rate of knots)I then went over to a computerised system which in conjunction with a Palm all the checks (daily, weekly, monthly, annually) for all the equipment was loaded on and the engineers just recorded a comment along side, Done, needs replacing, dangerous etc, etc(in a code form) This was OK until I found out that a particular guy was sitting in a warm dry spot not carrying out the acrual checks but ticking off the checks and after a few dozen cofees reporting back that he had done the checks, and to a certain amount, checks that were missed for what ever reason were open to similar abuse, whn the guys couldnt face getting the rope out and climbing coaster for one check! Soooooo! Yaaawwn! on my boat I fancy using some sort of cheap hanheld thingy that I can do as you are doing and then chuck it in a draw somewhere! I just hope that I can remember where I put it when I need something! Great blog by the way! lovely boat, nice family!

  2. Anonymous
    January 6, 2007 at 2:47 pm #

    Sorry Gregory has a cold. I guess we can assume where that came from…. As for the post, I thought it was fascinating. I didn’t know they had an inventory system on MIR. I have a friend at Intermec where they have developed an innovative RFID tracking system, including compatible fork lifts that are practically robotic in tracking and finding inventory. Of course, size is problematic on the KJ, so perhaps we could put our minds to a miniature robotic RFID system that could run all over the KJ and fetch whatever you desire. Oh, but that all sounds like a lot of work. I think I’d just rely on my memory. CT