SQLServerCentral Editorial

The Pace of Information


We're data guys, but even so the pace of data flying at us can be dizzying at times. I remember a couple years ago when SQL Server service pack 4 was released and we didn't have an announcement up until the next day. I got a number of emails sent to me asking why we hadn't let them know immediately and maybe we weren't a good source for SQL Server information.

These days I'm not sure you want to know the minute that a new service pack gets released. Even with all the CTP testing, I think many people are happy to wait a few days or weeks before they put it on their servers.

Today we get information from so many sources. As a kid I watched my parents get most of their information from the morning paper, the evening news, or maybe the top of the hour on radio programs. I still remember CNN being a "new" type of news and how amazed we were when we could see information in real time. There was a hotel fire in Puerto Rico and it was the first time I'd seen any major even covered in real time.

We saw the first Gulf War in 1991 live on TV and now we tend to expect to get information as soon as it's released, if not sooner.

But is the rise of new information sources, blogs and other "media" a problem? Are they like restaurants opening without a health inspection? I heard that comparison made the other day on a sports show and I'm not sure how accurate it is, but I don't think it's too far off.

After an American football game a week ago, someone made a comment on a blog that they thought the losing team cheated by pumping in noise. That can be a big deal as the players sometimes cannot hear each other on the field. This grew from blogs into real media, even being suggested on new shows without real checks. Eventually there were some retractions, but for the most part people moved on and it's possible there are still people that believed what they first heard.

As my kids grew older and started learning in school, I noticed something interesting. They tended to believe what they heard first, from teachers, other kids, or even my wife and myself, and they'd tend to argue and disbelieve anything else. The controversy over the "10th planet" was one incident that was very prominent in our house.

However I started to pay attention at work and I realized it's a human trait in that we hear something new and tend to believe that as truth, often regardless of the source. It's not an absolute, but it definitely seems to be a tendency.

So is that a problem for us in today's media rich, video-hyped, less controlled publishing era? With news being released on rumor, guesses, and thoughts, with bloggers being accorded similar rights and even stature as formal reporters, are we often being fed and believing less than accurate journalism?

It's a hard arguement to make either way. Controlled, but careful news production v wild, open, and often just as accurate, blogging. The large companies have some liabilities and that forces them (usually) to confirm and double check their stories. Smaller bloggers and media, often just put the story out, giving us a raw feel to the information.

There's a trade-off with both methods and I'd like to think that both processes work, each fulfills a need, and in either case, the person presenting the information needs to build up a level of trust with their readers.

Something I hope I've done here.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcasts

Dirty Wings

The podcast feeds are now available at sqlservercentral.podshow.com to get better bandwidth and maybe a little more exposure :). Comments are definitely appreciated and wanted, and you can get feeds from there.

Today's podcast features music by Josh Woodward. If you like it, check out his stuff on iTunes or at www.joshwoodward.com.

We welcome comments, ideas, and thoughts about the podcasts. Feel free to send them to me. If you like them, feel free to also tell the boss!


You rated this post out of 5. Change rating




You rated this post out of 5. Change rating