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Georgetown ColdFusion project praise

We recently completed a ColdFusion project for Georgetown University to automate their CEID application process. I got this email from their project manager. We always work hard to make clients happy and it is nice to hear back directly on how we did!

"Our Experience with TeraTech has been top notch.  Ajay was extremely helpful as our developer and provided us with useful feedback on our requests and task items. He was readily available for communication and delivered exactly what we wanted. The President of TeraTech, Mr. Michael Smith, impressed us as being just as available in case there were any problems and was consistently making sure we were satisfied as the project progressed. Nii was an excellent facilitator and he did a fantastic job keeping the wheels of our project turning. We thank them for all of the hard work and appreciate their efforts."
- Nicholas Backer, Georgetown University
Center for Intercultural Education and Development


Helping Allergy Supply

Recently we helped out Allergy Supply improve their ColdFusion website. The old website was hard for customers to use. Some don’t complete check out. And it didn’t display correctly in some browsers. We review current site front end and shopping cart and make list of suggested improvements and estimate of cost to do. We fixed a long list of bugs. And we figured out the shopping cart abandonment rate in the site statistics.

"From time to time we all need IT help. Allergy Supply Company recently had a project beyond our capability. We called TeraTech. After a consultation to define the job TeraTech had a solution that reflected changes in real time and allowed us to see how these changes could work for us. Thank you TeraTech.


Ray Cardinale
Allergy Supply Co."

TeraTech Creates Creativity in Business Website

TeraTech recently created the creativity in the Business Conference Website ( for the Center for Creative Emergence.  The site includes a CMS for updating content and allows attendees to register online.  Creative Emergence's CEO, Michelle James said “TeraTech was very professional and responsive to our needs.”

The conference is on Saturday, October 4, 2009 from 9:00am – 5:30pm and is being held at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts (CDIA) in Georgetown, Washington, DC.

The conference includes Experiential Breakout Sessions, Compelling Thought Leader Panels,  Real-time Ideating/Crowdsourcing, Facilitated Improvisation and Pioneering Thinkers and Facilitators such as Win Wenger, author of “The Einstein Factor” and Stan Gryskiewicz, founder of the Association for Managers of Innovation.  I use different whole brain and creativity ideas in TeraTech for problem solving, better communication, innovation and improved job satisfaction. If you are interested in learning more about business creativity check it out!

ACASI software supports unicode

Audio Data Systems (ADS) recently enhanced their ACASI software to support character-based languages.

ACASI software is used to conduct self-administered interviews. Many top universities and prominent research companies to conduct surveys.

TeraTech developed the automated interview software with ADS.

For further information visit the ACASI website: or contact Lawrence Greenfield, Ph.D at (240) 687-2052.


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SQL tricks - creative JOINs with legacy data

Have you ever needed to extract data from old tables and use it in a way the table designer never planned on? This seems to be an all-too-common experience.

Recently, I learned that I could parse a number out of a string field, cast it as an integer, and actually use that result in a JOIN (as if it were a foreign key) to another table's integer primary key. Here is the JOIN part of my query:

view plain print about
2inner join listings as list
3on list.listing_id =
4CAST ( RIGHT(op.description,(LEN(op.description)-CHARINDEX(':',op.description))) AS integer )

A few years ago, before I began to understand the power of SQL, I would have done something like this by hand in Excel. Details of the problem and solution are included below if you'd like to read on ...


More is Better -- reinvents itself

How about selling to colleges rather than directly to individuals? 

That was the question that our longstanding-client, Mark Robinholt, President of, brought to TeraTech recently. 

From his point of view, it was just a matter of a different pitch and a different mailing list.   From the technical point of view, it meant a dramatic change in the flow of the website and clever augmentation to the database.  Could we make these changes within a reasonable budget for a small business?  Since this e-commerce website was well-constructed – modular and well-documented – yes, we could do it!  Now internship-seekers have two avenues to the 60,000 internships listed on .  They can go to the website directly and register to search and apply for internships.  Students who attend colleges that have purchased the service can search the database for free.  The students enter the website through a homepage that is customized for the college – header and left nav bar have school name, colors, logo, and contact information.  Customizing is easy:  it takes office staff less than 5 minutes to generate the college’s custom page.  Yes, TeraTech can change the site to sell to colleges and to individuals.  The client has a new business opportunity and a new revenue stream.


TeraTech recently got the chance to turn around a challenging project for a large governmental organization.  A contractor had tried unsuccessfully for a year to automate a series of PowerPoint-generation routines based on extremely large, unwieldy sets of survey data.  The survey data changes frequently, and it needs to be aggregated in various ways including state and national versions. 

By applying our experience from similar projects, TeraTech created the solution our client was looking for.  Now, the client uses a simple web interface to upload a large flat text file of raw data, which our automated system parses and loads into a relational database, runs data transformations and calculates the needed statistics.  Next, through a series of steps utilizing ColdFusion, XML, and Java, it generates full-color charts and graphs, combines them with text into a finished PowerPoint presentation, and delivers it minutes later by email to the client.  The client was so happy with the result; we have now completed three more of these PowerPoint automations for them and looking forward to the fifth!

Where's That Bus?

As a result of our past work on WMATA’s successful Trip Planner application (, TeraTech is currently working on another major transit project.  The client is a major transit authority, and the ultimate result will be real-time bus data for its customers, available via web browser, cell phone or PDA.  Two separate sources of internal bus routing and schedule data must be combined and converted into a proprietary XML format to be used by another application.  It’s a huge batch process that runs only occasionally, when anything changes in the routes or schedules, and it must be 100% accurate and reliable.  The client uploads nearly 300 MB of data, some in a database and the rest as flat text files, and our system performs complex data transformations including merging, validation, and interpretation.  We load the data into a relational database, and then use complex queries to generate the XML.  Although the processing is done in parts and combined at the end, the sheer size of the finished output file makes optimization of code and memory performance a critical factor.  After performing this “magic” our automated system notifies the client that their XML data is ready to download and sent to the customer-facing application.

Insurance e-commerce

We recently help union insurance company Ullico to create their first ecommerce site for selling insurance online. The site was personalized depending on which union a client belongs to and quotes differed depending on age, gender and other factors. We involved the Ullico development team in our development process and were able to hand over the fully commented code to them for maintenance.

Employee survey and load testing

We helped a large organization to send an online survey to 300,000 employees and families recently. The last time they did this the webserver crashed and was not available 100% of the time. This time TeraTech helped them to load test the application and we fixed issues with the ColdFusion code and the MySQL database ahead of time. We hosted on a cluster of six ColdFusion servers with a hardware load balancer. This time the survey ran flawlessly with 100% uptime.

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