Reporting automation workflow



I work for a retail company and one of the consequences of this is IT not being a core competency of the organization. This is driven by a variety of factors—from internal customer demand to the sort of talent the organization attracts to where budget money gets allocated—but the net impact is an IT infrastructure and tooling that can be extremely limiting. This is in stark contrast with my peers, many of whom work in tech directly or in closely related fields, for whom provisioning a new VM is as simple as clicking a few buttons on an internal tool.

As an analyst, my work involves a lot of data wrangling. Most of this can and should be automated, but our IT limitations can make this a challenge. Figuring out how to automate with the available tools, which usually don't offer APIs—and if they have reporting at all it's to PDF or RTF documents formatted for printing and faxing (and can't be scheduled), has been a challenge.

These limitations have offered opportunities to get creative. This post outlines some of the convoluted processes I use to automate reporting with constraints on data retrieval, data processing, and report distribution.

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Thoughts on Animal Crossing: New Horizons


Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Title screen of Animal Crossing: New Horizons 1.5.1

I came of age at the ideal time to enjoy the first Animal Crossing game on GameCube, so it holds a place of nostalgia in my heart—paying off Tom Nook, hunting for rare fish, basement gyroid-dungeon, lectures from Mr. Resetti, collecting all of the K.K. Slider songs, and playing Balloon Fight and Excitebike—my sister and I both played the game excessively.

I finally decided to pick up a Nintendo Switch (ironically, the Animal Crossing special edition—though mostly because it was in stock at the time) at the end of the summer and Animal Crossing: New Horizons was one of the first two games I purchased with it.

So how does the fifth entrant in the main series hold up nineteen years after the first release and how does it hit now that I'm nineteen years older?

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