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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Thor's Day 
20th-May-2010 07:31 am
Happy birthday to delerone!

Better sleep last night, which should help. I'd like to do something other than sleep this afternoon.

Moar Knitting
I should mention that the amazing shawl is not distracting totally from saraphina_marie's blanket, which is also in progress and got a few repeats of the lace pattern knocked out last night.

Also? I have apparently gotten to the place in knitting where I look at a huge ball of superchunky yarn and think "I have nowhere to put that," and therefore improvise a pattern and whip out a scarf in two days because that's easier to store. Yes, pics soon.

FreeWill Astrology
Uncle Rob says: "When people are truly dehydrated, the impulse that tells them they're thirsty shuts down. That's why they may not know they're suffering from a lack of water. In a metaphorically similar way, Pisces, you have been deprived so long of a certain kind of emotional sustenance that you don't realize what you're missing. See if you can find out what it is, and then make measured (non-desperate!) plans to get a big, strong influx of it. The cosmic rhythms will be on your side in this effort!"

How I Roll
I did a database yesterday. This impressed Mark.

me: Yes. It took me this long to get this done basically because I had to run through the entire volunteer interest/application/interview/training cycle once and see what I would need.
Mark: ...you designed the database based on how you'd use it? Do you know how valuable a skill that is?
me: ?
Mark: (And, for that matter, _how rare?_)
me: ??? But that is what makes sense.
Mark: Seriously. Most databases I've used have data and queries based on what people thought was important, or what they'd always gathered. Of course it's what makes sense. But "sense" rarely enters the field.
me: *blink*
Mark: It's where computers meet bureaucracy.
me: I guess this is why I'm not an engineer?
Mark: No, it's why you should be.

Link Soup
* BoingBoing is following the situation in Thailand.
* Banksy in Boston! I walk by the Essex Street piece every day; it's a block from BARCC. :)
* Write Your Ass Off Day.
* rintrahroars on gender-neutral play.
* Belated Mother's Day cards from your favorite superheroes.
* Gluten-free cookbook recommendations.

Daily Science
Quantum teleportation has achieved a new milestone or, should we say, a new ten-milestone: scientists have recently had success teleporting information between photons over a free space distance of nearly ten miles, an unprecedented length. The researchers who have accomplished this feat note that this brings us closer to communicating information without needing a traditional signal, and that the ten miles they have reached could span the distance between the surface of the earth and space.

You know, I would really like to get some freakin' writing in today. I really would. Please? Lack of post-work collapse?

I'd been hoping to get to the Socializing for Justice meetup/dance party, but I think I need home more.
20th-May-2010 12:23 pm (UTC)
I second the rarity of people designing databases based upon actual, real-world usage. I'm actually working on a project wrapped around my experiences with a pretty oft-needed software set, mostly because I've found other tools in the space to be extremely frustrating. None of them innovate, much less actually making the job in this field easier for folks.

So, yeah, mark's on the money. Good lookin' out. :)
20th-May-2010 01:25 pm (UTC)
*YES* But this is also why I want to go into UX development.

But it's not just taking your own experiences, it's going out to the cohort of users, working with them, understanding how they interact with their routines, their workflows, their patterns, and then designing not just the interface, but the entire system (database layer on up).

That's what I want to do.
(Deleted comment)
20th-May-2010 01:18 pm (UTC)
The benefits of a small office!
20th-May-2010 01:22 pm (UTC)
Though - to be fair, if more secretaries/admin assistants had more buy in to database design, there actually may be more usable databases - at least as far as the databases that said users actually use :D

to feste_sylvain - do not knock the organizational prowess of the elite office admin. The skills shadesong wields with finesse may be rare in engineering, but not *quite* as uncommon amongst the more highly skilled admins. Other highly skilled admins would look at this and go, "Why yes, of course, this absolutely makes sense"
20th-May-2010 01:35 pm (UTC)
My favorite techies are the ones who still remember how to operate in the real world, who remember that real-world users use things like databases to get things done, and that software should exist to help people, not the other way around. I second the comment about elite admins--y'all totally get that.
20th-May-2010 02:30 pm (UTC)
I make a very good living as a database consultant. In large part this is due to how poorly most databases are designed. I've long observed this is because the end-users are the last to be involved (usually well after the design is finalised) and have the least say in the design and implementation.

The big database success stories I've personally seen have been lead by the business (rather than by IT), and had a powerful champion amongst the end users.

You're absolutely right that it makes sense to have the use (and the users) drive the design, but it's seldom done that way.

The most useful question I can ask in a consulting gig is to find the right end user (they have to be smart, senior enough to not be fearful and to have much experience with the system and its predecessors) and ask "What frustrates you with the current database?"
20th-May-2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
You are totally an informatician.
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