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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Format change

Lately I've been trying to download our Verizon Wireless call data on a monthly basis and get it into an Access database to do some reporting - mostly so that we can take the appropriate tax deductions for our use of our phones for work purposes. My wife more or less is required to have a cell phone by her employer, and she gets a monthly reimbursement, but I think we may be able to claim some of the difference between her reimbursement and the monthly bill on our taxes as well.

Anyway, I logged into the Verizon Wireless site this morning to pull our latest billing cycle data, and they've gone and changed the format of the CSV downloads that they offer. This, of course, requires a change on my part so that I can keep using the data.

Why do they insist upon doing this? They aren't providing any different data, they've just changed the data structure and presentation. No longer is "PM" used - it's "P", which breaks my date/time parsing. Phone number are no longer (123)456-7890, they're 123-456-7890.

Are they doing this to foil screen-scrapers and other automatic downloaders? Or is it because they don't think people are trying to use the data, thus they can change it at will?

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