Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The database fetish

I can't help myself. Every day, at about this time, when its quiet and I'm frustrated by having to copy out the same list of details as I did the day before and the day before that, I can't stop myself from loading up MS Access.

All the company computers have it installed as standard, and no one uses it. I know, I know, it isn't the best database in the world, but its ubiquitous.

Rather than try to explain the need for a database, how it would make my colleague's and my job so much easier, rather than be dissuaded and redirected to someone else to try explaining again and it all falling on deaf ears, I load up Access, click on New - Blank Database and I start creating it.

One table at a time, one purpose at a time. Sometime suppliers, sometimes products, sometimes specs, sometimes delivery times.

The information is all out there elsewhere, sometimes in Sage, sometimes in Word or Excel, or handwritten forms in folders on a shelf, all in a miriad of locations and format. But I know if I put it in my database myself then its right, the fields have the correct names, the crosslinks are sturdy, and its all sortable and searchable. Its all at my fingertips cos I put it there.

It takes me two minutes to set up the table, and then plugging the information in starts slowly, either by hand or importing, and debugging. By the time I look at the clock, twenty minutes have passed, the table is half complete.

Then I tremble in the knowledge of what will happen if my manager finds out what I've done.

I close Access, click through to the location where the database was saved, I press delete, and pause a moment before clicking the Yes button.

This job could be easier, more satisfying, less frustrating, simpler, more accurate and foolproof.

I click and ceases to exist.

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