What is EBITDA

EBITDA is a proxy for operating Profit Margin
ratio used by companies with larger amounts of
depreciation, say, manufacturing companies.

The idea behind using this by such payday loans online companies is to not to send a
wrong signal of its deteriorating operating profit
margins because of its higher depreciation, and at the
same time show a true picture of its operating
efficiency.In a nutshell, this is one of the ratios which
depicts the as is state of the operating efficiency of a
co. rather than being manipulated

New Year’s 2010 @ The Pool After Dark

My wife and I went up to Atlantic City to celebrate New Year Eve 2010.  We chose The Pool After Dark at the Harrah’s Resort because it sounded fun.  While we had a good time (very little of it, explain later), we definitely wouldn’t do it again.

To set up the proper context for the rant, the general admission tickets were $145/ticket ($125 + $20 processing fee).  We went with “Will Call” because the cheapest mailing option was $15 dollars.  Not cheap but to be expected for NYE I suppose.

The party was 9pm – 12am.  We arrived at exactly 9pm to find two REALLY long lines; One for Will Call and the other to get in if you have the tickets in hand.  When you are done with Will Call, you still need to get in the other line to get in.  My wife and I decided to split up to hopefully save time.

At around 10:30pm, ~1.5hr worth of waiting, I was only half the distance closer to the front of the Will Call line — there were only two alphabet-challenged staff working the Will Call table.  Luckily, the event folks finally decided to accept printed receipts from online order and my wife was at the front of the entrance line.  We pitty the fools who didn’t bring a copy of the receipts.

After a few more moments of cluster-f*ness, we finally got in (around 10:45pm I think).  The place was packed with people all with the same mindset — rush to the bar and stay there to get their monies worth.  I think we had 4 – 6 drinks a piece because we took turn ordering non-stop.  By 12am, open bar was over … $145 and 1.25hrs worth of drinking later, we had no idea what The Pool look like or a moment to dance because we were too busy trying to get drinks.

If you are a single, it might be worth looking into because there were a lot of folks looking for “action”.  However, for everyone else, save your money and do/go something else!

New York Yankees is not evil…

New York Yankees is not evil…

I have been a New York Yankees fan for a long time. I grew up in NYC and so it was naturally either the Yankees or the Mets. I picked the winning team as my fav (no brainer). Over the years, I’ve heard various arguments on why the Yankees is evil with Steinbrenner “buying” the players being the final blow.

If you are a member of that camp, I would like you to answer the following questions truthfully…

  • Do you think it’s acceptable for a business to hire talented individuals with substantial financial offer?
  • Have you ever considered working for a different company (or even changing line of work) because they (it) offer a high pay?
  • If a competing business gives you a job offer with a big paycheck, would you join them?
  • Do you feel talented individuals (you included) should be paid what they’re worth?
  • Do you believe in supply and demand?

If you answer yes to all five, you my friend, might be evil as well.

In short, the Yankees haven’t done anything that you and I wouldn’t do in a heartbeat. So if you still feel strongly that because “buying” to win is wrong, then I say you’re just bitter your favorite team(s) couldn’t pony up the dough.

Congrats to the NYY for their 27th World Series Championship!

Random thoughts about our upcoming cruise

We’re going on our 3rd cruise mid-October onboard the Carnival Freedom heading to Key West, Grand Cayman Islands, and Ocho Rios,  Jamaica.  Here is a list of random things we are most and least looking forward to on this cruise in no particular order.

Most:

  • Being off the “grid” for a week
  • Key West: Been wanting to to go KW for a long time. Key Lime anything…key lime pie on a stick at Kermits(?!) sounds like a winner
  • Cayman: Stingray and seeing first hand just how expensive thing are. A little perverse I admit.
  • Casino and craps: Not big rollers but love craps. Been reading up on the slot tournament so might have to give it a try as well.
  • Breakfast food. I love breakfast food but not breakfast per se (not morning person, hardly up early enough to cook). There is nothing better than waking up to room service on the balcony on sea days wearing nothing but my underwear. That’s right, I said it! :

Least:

  • Potentially long wait to embark at FLL.  Our flight is scheduled to arrive at 1:30pm so it should be interesting.
  • Jamaica: People calling us “Mon” wanting to braid our hair and/or sell us a cab ride to nowhere. We will see Dunns River Falls through an excursion but probably not much more. I’ve heard there is a cool Margaritaville near the port so might check that out.
  • End of the cruise

Visual Studio said to WSDL, “Size does matter!”

I am sad to say that as I write this, the information is already irrelavant, however I feel it should be written simply because it is a problem nonetheless.

The circumstances (long story, will post about it later) around the BizTalk 2009 project I’m working on is forcing us to, most than likely use SOAP adapter instead of WCF — In case you are not aware, the SOAP adapter has been tagged as deprecated in BizTalk 2009 and should not be used with new development.  Nevertheless, it is what it is, we have to make do with the problem at hand.

The SOAP adapter need a proxy generated from a WSDL.  In order for the entities to be made available to an Orchestration or Map during design time, the Web Reference must be added to a BizTalk project.  This is where the pain began….the WSDLs we are seeing are north of 800KB (i.e. REALLY big WSDL).  That by itself is not a problem, however when the generated entities are used in a BizTalk map, Visual Studio 2008 SP1 will spin for 10 – 20 minutes and try to consume every bit of RAM available before throwing a very frustruction System.OutOfMemoryException.  Don’t understand it, and absolutely can’t work around it.

To see for yourself:

1. Create a BizTalk project
2. Add Web Reference to a large (> 500kb) WSDL
3. Create a Map and transform anything into an entity created during step #2.
4. Hit build and enjoy the show

For the record, my development environment consists of Windows 2003 Enterprise x64 with 3.75GB of RAM.

I know what you are thinking, may be we should pare down the WSDL.  Well, let just say the 3rd party vendor can’t do that.  I will update if/when I find a workaround.

Update 09/14/2009:  One of my colleague figured this out.  The root of the problem is a bunch of circular reference in the schema — Entity A contain Entity B, B contain Entity C, C contain A.  This is a known deficiency in the .NET XMLSerializer.

Update 09/18/2009:  A bunch of test later, it looks like WSDL size is a problem at design time (i.e. can’t compile) and circular reference is a problem at run time (i.e. SOAP Adapter can’t serialize the message using XMLSerializer).

My 24 Hours of Booty

No no…it’s not about that. Get your mind out of the gutter. Although, *that* would make for an interesting story.

(24HoB), as the name implied, is a 24 hours event in which the participants can ride their bicycle for the duration fundraising for cancer research with a strong tied to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. You can read more about the history here.

The following is how my 24 hours went…

I arrived on-site (Bootyville) a little after 2pm to setup a pop-up tent for my group. Keeping in mind the camp group did NOT open until 2pm, I was somewhat surprised how many people were already there. Good real estate was going fast so I was glad I showed up when I did. Afterward, I went to check in at the “host” hotel, Marriott Courtyard Charlotte SouthPark. The hotel is around 3 miles away so in theory you can rde your bike to Bootyville. But I decided against the idea simply because I was not prepared to travel light…I had too much crap to transport.

I returned to Bootyville around 4 and found the place to be absolutely ALIVE with activities. There was music blasting over the loud speakers, a film and photo crew were walking around taking in the scenes and the campground was nearing capacity. Around 6pm, Spencer Lueders, founder of 24HoB, got on stage to do the event kick-off. Shortly after, the annoucer asked everyone to begin “staging” to the start/finishline. Being new to the event, I thought his watch must have been set to a different timezone; The event schedule said 7pm start, but it’s only 6pm. Needless to say, when we saundered over to the start/finish at 6:50pm, we found ourselves at the back of the bus — there were ~1200 other cyclist there hence the early staging. Not a huge issue, just meant the first few laps will be slooooow.

Before the event, I had some reservations about riding in a 3 miles loop. How many can I ride before I’m bored?! The answer, not enough. I rode 100 miles (or 33 laps) if that tells you anything.  The route is a nonstop roller coaster (see elevation) ….huge suprise, it is NOT FLAT! The inclines are not steep nor long, but will wear on you over time. Also, you will not get the same look of the course twice because of the crowds lining the streets like a giant block party (which it was the first few hours) and the different cyclists around you might require a different line each time. In addition, light condition is ever changing as the 24 hours progresses — a corner you took at speed an hour ago might be too dark to see the exit an hour later. To make things even more interesting, the organizer used social media, specifically Twitter to perfection. They continuously tweet via the #24HoB hashtag with photos, vidoes of the course and vidoes of interviews you might not see even if on-site. Excellent way to keep the momentum through the 24 hours.

Last but not the least, the support staff were incredible. Detail oriented, super friendly, always accessible and I honestly think some of them worked all 24 hours.   They had food and beverages out throughout the 24+ hours. Oh! They even had a stash of ice cream sandwiches in a hidden cooler. Definitely hit the spot at 1am! However, nothing can ever be perfect. My biggest complaint is the lack of COLD water. There were plenty of cold beverages — various flavors of powerade, flavored vitamin water, NOS (think redbull) — but all I wanted was cold water. All that sugary drinks gave me a head buzz that “crashing” was ineviatable. Crashed I did at around 2pm Saturday. The sugar crash left me completely useless.  It was somewhat appropriate since I got to Bootyville at 2pm the day before…so that was my 24 hours.  Time to go home.

Speaking of going home, on a completely unrelated topic, during my 5 hours drive home I stopped for gas in Oxford, NC off of I-85. During my brief visit at their BP gas station, I learned that a) I did not belong in that town because I was too courteous (I will leave it at that) b) Oxford, NC or may be that specific gas station is the only place I know that sells individual cigarettes individually. As in, why buy a pack when you can buy one “stick” at a time. Any who….

All in all the event was a BLAST. It was probably the most fun I’ve had at any bike event in a long long time. So much fun that my friends are talking about doing the Columbia, MD edition later in the year.