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Databases for Change Expand / Collapse
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Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 9:07 AM
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Very good editorial, Bill. I particularly liked your "employed somewhere that satisfies the need for cosmic purpose". I've worked in government for about 15 years now, and though the pay and bonuses are much (MUCH!) better in private industry, there is definitely a satisfaction knowing that what you're doing helps to make a difference in people's lives.

As I'm fond of saying, I love what I do for a living, though I don't always like my job. :D
Post #571074
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 9:24 AM
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Such a well-written editorial with a great message. I was impressed with how you dealt with a potentially difficult subject (bringing in the presidential election) in such a neutral way that I have a hard time imagining that anyone could be offended.
Post #571093
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 9:25 AM


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When I wrote this editorial, I was hoping that people would share some ideas and I'm glad to see some ideas rolling in already.

If one was willing to do a little looking around for volunteer work locally, one might try looking at some of the essential service providers that always seem to have tight budget constraints like police offices, schools, parks and recreation - and perhaps help them automate some tasks, collect lists, etc.

On the national level, perhaps our senators and congressmen need to hear from the database community more often - hear ideas about how to tackle difficult issues from the perspective of reducing information costs and making critical information more available. On these forums I've seen some very smart, capable people with in-depth experience that no doubt could help things along.

There's an interesting book by Daniel Bell called The Coming of Post-industrial Society where Bell suggests that one of the major societal shifts is from a one that relies more on the "economics of information" rather than the "economics of goods." There seems to be a more central role to be played by the technocrat - people driven as Wikipedia suggests, by their "problem-solution mindsets."

I don't want to get carried away into a fictional future controlled by database professionals who silence their foes by deleting their identities from the central database - but just offer some food for thought.

Thanks for sharing,

Bill


Bill Nicolich: www.SQLFave.com.
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Post #571097
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 9:35 AM
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Bill Nicolich (9/17/2008)
... If one was willing to do a little looking around for volunteer work locally, one might try looking at some of the essential service providers that always seem to have tight budget constraints like police offices, schools, parks and recreation - and perhaps help them automate some tasks, collect lists, etc. ...

Police departments sometimes have an easier time getting money than the rest of the city because of the availability of Federal funding and grants. Also, if the police department is properly diligant, even volunteers have to go through the same screening process as civilian employees: background investigation and polygraph. (I worked for a big PD for nine years as a database developer/DBA/network admin).

That being said, there are always piddly little databases that they need. You might need to approach it not from the "what databases can I develop for you" so much as "what administrative tasks can I help you automate". They may not recognize that something could be put in a database that would help them. You can also approach them from the "do you have any databases that could use a tune-up or more features added" angle. Just expect to see some REALLY horrible designs! You don't want to know the horror stories that I could tell you.

And also be prepared to see some old equipment and really weird database systems (DataFlex, anyone?!) *shudders*

Post #571112
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 9:46 AM
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As another "old hand" put it "The idea of the federal government putting databases together gives me pause". Instead of putting the bright light on contractors, the simple expedient of requiring all elected officials to make their contributors real names and amounts public within 24 hours of accepting the contribution would go a very long way to cleaning up the current situation.

If we want real reform, we should demand that all bills be made public 5 to 7 days before any vote can be taken. Congress critters don't read what they vote on, but some citizens might if given the opportunity. At least it would make harder for staffers to sneak in changes and then take nice jobs with whoever the changes benefit.

Bill J
Post #571124
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 10:03 AM


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Bill Nicolich (9/17/2008)
...If one was willing to do a little looking around for volunteer work locally, one might try looking at some of the essential service providers that always seem to have tight budget constraints like police offices, schools, parks and recreation - and perhaps help them automate some tasks, collect lists, etc. ...


I would also suggest mental health, foster child agencies, and programs for the homeless. These are areas where funding is limited and often gets cut first in a budget crunch.
Post #571138
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 10:43 AM
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Alan Vogan (9/17/2008)
Bill Nicolich (9/17/2008)
...If one was willing to do a little looking around for volunteer work locally, one might try looking at some of the essential service providers that always seem to have tight budget constraints like police offices, schools, parks and recreation - and perhaps help them automate some tasks, collect lists, etc. ...


I would also suggest mental health, foster child agencies, and programs for the homeless. These are areas where funding is limited and often gets cut first in a budget crunch.

Developing some MySQL/PHP/Apache skills to work with such under-funded agencies could be a good thing...
Post #571176
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 10:46 AM
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essential service providers that always seem to have tight budget constraints like police offices,


Hmmm...
CREATE TRIGGER INSERT_TICKET ON TICKET
INSTEAD OF INSERT
AS
IF LNAME = 'Massi'
--Do nothing
ELSE
INSERT INTO TICKET
...

Post #571181
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 11:40 AM


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that's the kind of stuff i'm hoping doesn't happen...
Post #571211
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 11:46 AM
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Yes, the market and the voters need good information and facts, such as that 9/11 was an inside job (!!!) Anyone who can think for themselfs can understand that the softening of pillar 79 in building 7 absolutely can not bring the whole (47-story) building down in free fall speed.

I am referring to the recent NIST report that says just this. Can an officefire on a single floor bring down a whole 47 -story steel building in free fall speed or is it more likely that explosives did? This is just one of hundreds of other facts that points at that 9/11 was an inside job.

... so who was behind 9/11? Why is not Usama bin Laden charged? Go and look at the FBI most wanted list and look for yourself (!!!) Among the many who wants the answers (and dont believe in the official story) are Jesse Ventura, and Willie Nelson.
Post #571215
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