Who I Am

The traditional ‘About Me’ post!  Well, I’m 6’3″, I love romantic walks on beaches at sunset and nice champagne.  For movies, a good comedy or science fiction, or just about anything with Jackie Chan or Simon Pegg is good for me.  And my name is Wayne.

Oh, database!  RIGHT!

Well, I’m not 6’3″, but romantic walks on beaches at sunset with my wife does sound pretty good to me, even if the closest beach is over 800 miles away.  And a good sparkling Asti from Trader Joe’s is fine by me.

I started in database in the early ’80s and started with SQL Server with the 4.21a version in the mid ’90s.  I’d already worked with what could loosely be called relational databases in the form of dBase III/Foxbase and later the infamous DataFlex, and then I did some work in Wang PACE.  PACE stood for Program Application Creation Environment and did an excellent job of enforcing relationships between tables, it had a lot going for it.  I loved their data dictionary, and their forms and reports compiled to COBOL in the background.  While I studied a lot of COBOL back in the day and have tremendous respect for it, I only wrote one program in it after I started working full-time, a report for our help desk ticketing system that did a pivot of the data.  Pretty trivial considering today’s software, but it was cool in its day.  The thing that I thought was most awesome was that the moment you hit the Execute key on the report, the printer started printing.

Then along came Access.  Access 1.0 on Windows 3.1 (or was it Windows for Workgroups?  I don’t remember.) was a bit of a dog, crashing constantly, probably from bad memory management.  Still, it was leaps and bounds beyond DataFlex.  Not long after it came out we started running Windows NT 3, and Access stopped crashing!  Mirabile dictu!

I left that job in 2001 after nine years there, I still went back occasionally to have lunch with former co-workers, and one visit I had an interesting encounter in the lobby while I was waiting for a friend to claw his way up from the basement.  A guy whom I vaguely recognized was walking by, he stopped and shouted “Wayne!”  For the life of me I couldn’t remember his name.  He started talking, conveniently saving my embarrassment.  “Remember that block watch grant database that you wrote for us in Access?  We’re still using it!  With no changes!”

I wrote that database over 15 years ago.  Wow.  You don’t always think that things you wrote will live that long.  But they might.  Presumably they’ve updated the version as newer editions of Access have come along.

Anyway, that’s enough of an intro.  I’ll get in to some more interesting stuff tomorrow.


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