Saturday, January 27, 2007


Sometimes you simply have to bite the bullet and admit that projects you've invested a lot of time and effort into just won't work the way they should. I'm at that point with a database I've been toying with for work and have spent many pre-dawn hours and weekends trying to get functional but I have painted myself into a corner and no matter how I twist and turn the bloody thing won't do what I want it to. Time to ball the whole mess up and take it to the dump.

I've started taking on-line tutorials with a company called VTC which offers a wide range of tutorials based on popular software. I don't generally endorse products (except for Laphroaig scotch in the futile wish that they will ship a complimentary bottle my direction every now and then), but I like the way the company divides software topics up into mini-lessons of 4 - 6 minutes each. This way I don't have to do the entire course sequentially but can pick and choose what I want.

Anyhoos, I have been using FileMaker as my database software since about 1989, and have rarely consulted the manual and certainly never taken a lesson. Being typically male, I would rather die than admit I don't know my arse from my elbow and seek professional help: consequently I have spent many hours applying the manly trial and error technique and have developed a number of functional, if completely inelegant, databases over the past decade and a half.

But I sadly realize the technology has now outstripped my meager comprehension of the software, and I have learned that there was a sea change in the software about 7 years ago with the introduction of relational databases other than the flat approach I've used since the beginning. The upshot is that the hideously convoluted and utterly useless database I am sweating over could be streamlined so it simply hums BUT I have to throw out about 95% of what I've done so far.

Actually, I'm looking forward to this. Being a somewhat OCD bear I am really into manipulating and storing information so that it is useful, quickly accessible and actionable. So the need to start afresh is not so tragic.

Along the same theme, February 9th is the first anniversary of The White Bear's Blog. I have been using the same basic template since the inception, and hope to revamp it in honour of this most august occasion. Now I don't want to completely redo it since I like its lack of clutter, but if any of you have some suggestions, I'm all ears.


Blogger DutchBitch said...

So what are you thinking about as far as redo's go?

I'm having enough trouble thinking of a satisfying redo for my own blog... I like the minimal approach too, so I am with you on the lack of clutter thing, but somehow... it keeps cluttering up...

9:43 AM  
Blogger nanuk said...

dutchbitch: I like the white (after all, I am in the arctic) and I find the grey text easier on the eyes than black - maybe I'll lighten it up a notch. I'm thinking more along the lines of a new header, and a couple of technobaubles for the side bar.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Fuff said...

I like the template, same one as mine. Not cos of that, but because I cannot stand bloog layouts that are difficult to read or in obscure fonts or text colours.
I would make one suggestion tho...more photos. You live in such an interesting area and it's always fab when you post pics.

9:09 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

fuff: suggestion noted and I will try to take more photos of sights I encounter in the Arctic. I will be travelling a lot in the territory the next two months and this should yield some interesting pix.

5:37 AM  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

Yes, more photos would be lovely. Have you got a Flickr account? You can link to that in the sidebar and it saves having to fight with Blogger to post photos.

In case I'm not back in time (as if!) Happy Blogiversary! Woo hoo!

7:46 AM  

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