Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Microsoft Access: I serve the beats

I had a massive data-recombobulating project at work. It sucked and sucked. I spent about 3 minutes gingerly poking at 200+ megabyte Access database, then spent over half an hour brainstorming with one of my esteemed colleagues. Access is one of the things he does better than me.

After adjusting fields, we gave up and called in our senior Access guru. When I had originally gotten the giant file, I was assured that this was going to be easy! He spent more than an hour tinkering with it, while I watched and helped a little.

That produced some hefty text files, which is what I was trying to get in the first place. Again, this is after the better part of two hours of brain-burning on all our parts.

Later on, it turned out that there was even more data in the file that needed to be re-extracted a separate way. Grr-rraaagh! Plus, of course, our initial conversion work on the first big text file turned out to be garbage.

I was able to figure it out from what I had watched earlier in the day; still spent about 45 minutes on it.

It's hard not to see this whole incident as a test of my abilities, to see whether or not I could do it in the first place (I couldn't), whether I knew when to call for help (I could), and whether I could apply what I had seen (I could).

My eyes are all red from staring into monitors all day long.

During all this, I was also frequently interrupted by another guy who has been using the first draft of some instructions I wrote. He's asking really good questions, and I'm glad that my draft has turned out to be helpful.


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