Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Okay. I know that my postings are sketchy and often random, but I try not to post details of my work here. However, at the moment I'm a little frustrated, so am going to break my rule and clue you in.

I know some of you know that I "design databases" for a living, but you might wonder how it is a grandmother would be the "expert" for such a job. There are several reasons, not the least of which is that my client uses a database that has been unavailable for YEARS now. It's called "Access 97". People graduating from college now have typically never even seen it because it is so old. If you wanted to buy a copy and learn it, you would be hard pressed to do so, even on eBay. And installing it on a machine that has other, newer Microsoft products causes trouble too. So, like me, Access 97 is a bit of a dinosaur.

Oh, I know I complain about it a lot. On my own machine at home I prefer the much newer, cleaner, and cooler Access 2007. The things that Access 2007 will do automatically, with the click of a button, are typically the things I spend time coding into the back end. For me, this is a lot like a complex jigsaw puzzle with one major difference that really makes the analogy inappropriate--I never know the way the picture is going to turn out in the end. As a matter of fact, I ALWAYS find myself going back and making adjustments to change that picture to something slightly different in the end.

And in case you're wondering...this is work that I absolutely love to do.

Note: picture at right is from another project. The project I'm working on now is the most difficult one I have encountered, and it has me a little down. I have a reputation for getting in, working the data, developing a workable solution, and getting out, ready to move on. However, the dataset I am working with now is so convoluted, comes from so many different sources, and has no real linkages. I am having to devise some spider-web-like tentative strands of linkages as I go. And every time I think I have it right, a check with my customer shows me an exception, an anomaly, or in one case, a total failure to understand the desired outcome. This project is an exception and I'm worried that the client is unhappy with my progress. So, I've put in some long, difficult, crazy hours, worked sometimes without charging for my time, and neglected other clients, family, friends, and even my own body which occasionally, like when I got home this morning, screams out to me "STOP IT...YOU ARE KILLING ME".

Still...I have hope. I am focusing on this project to the exclusion of all other things, and am determined to make significant progress (i.e. deliver a workable mock-up for the client to "play with") by the end of the week. Failing in this, I am facing something I have never faced before in my database development career. Never. Failing in this, I am facing defeat.

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