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The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest

No Opening Day

For the second year in a row I didn’t purchase opening day Rockies tickets. I had a nice streak of 6 or 7 years, including a couple with my son, of watching the opening day game of each season. This year, for a few reasons, I won’t be going, but it did make me think about why I didn’t get tickets for any games.

A Random Chance

It used to be that I would see the ticket order form each February in the sports page of the local paper. That would trigger me to order 10-12 pairs of tickets to go see a variety of games with my kids or friends. With the local paper gone for me, that’s no longer something that could happen.

I don’t get the paper anymore, partially because it’s 1/2 mile to my mailbox/delivery point, and partially I’ve gone to the Internet. With a laptop in the bedroom most of the time and a desktop I look over while having coffee on the weekends, I don’t really get much out of the paper.

The delivery of information has changed in my life, and while I still like the information, I don’t miss the paper.

However I wonder how much I’m missing out on. I target certain sites, missing others, I don’t get the off-topic local article that I used to see. Perhaps I just get others, but I wonder if I have a slightly less “random chance” of finding something new that might interest me.

Or inspire me.

Or teach me.

In the data world we get so focused on things, we have filters, we have RSS feeds, we look to limit out those extraneous, distracting elements, that I wonder if we’re missing something in our lives by not just taking in more of what’s presented to us.

Of course, I didn’t have control over that. The Denver Post (and the Virginian  Pilot before that) chose what to show me, often with no regard for the importance as much as the chance it would interest the greatest number of people and keep them as subscribers.

I worry sometimes that Business Intelligence systems fall into this trap. They look for patterns, models, and present information in an organized, structured way. That means that they also influence thinking, and perhaps, retard the ideas that might occur to analysts if they had to slog through more things on their own.

There were other reasons, some of which I won’t go into in this blog, but I’m skipping opening day again, and it’s a little sad, but not enough to get me down there.

Comments

Posted by Andy Warren on 10 April 2009

I get the newspaper on Sun only, too much of a lifetime habit to give it up entirely, but I've otherwise given it up for the last few months and I still miss it. Visiting the local newspaper site is not the same experience, nor is watching the morning news over breakfast, nor is just visiting major news site of choice.

Newspapers - or anything with an editor - has value precisely because of the editor and the semi-randomness of the content, lets me discover things I might not otherwise. But unless newspapers learn some new tricks, in a couple years we'll be down to just a few national papers and that isn't good for us at all.

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