Archive for November 2006

Kiss – Because I’m a girl

Update anomaly

Sometimes, I feel so helpless at work. Didn’t we all learnt database normalization back in school? Why is it that we can’t apply the things we learn in school in our daily work?

I’m not refering to normalizing our actual database. That part is already cooked rice. The actual database design is already a flaw. Back in school, I can never really visualize the real impact of having duplicated data in 2 database. That was, until I start working in my current company. Nothing can be don’t to save it already. The initial fountation is already a flaw. Too late to do anything now.

Anyway, I’m not refering to the database design. I’m refering to other part that we are currently doing.

Again and again, we see requester asking us to put the value of the component onto the description. For example, the value of component ABC is 250. Instead of naming the component ‘ABC’, they wanted us to name it ‘ABC – 250’. Unless you have more than 1 component ‘ABC’ with different values, I do not see the need for you to name it ‘ABC – 250’.

This is where update anomaly comes about.

A non-normalized database may store data representing a particular referent in multiple locations. An update to such data in some but not all of those locations results in an update anomaly, yielding inconsistent data. A normalized database prevents such an anomaly by storing such data (i.e. data other than primary keys) in only one location.

Imagine 1 fine day, someone decided to change the value 250 to 200. Instead of just changing the value, they also need to change the description of the component. Isn’t that a bit redundant? It is not that user can’t see the value of the component. They can click on the component and see the value. Perhaps they just need some double assurance. When they see the value is 250 and the description is also 250, they feel safer.

But this extra step is giving us lots of trouble.

As a System Analyst, our duty is to advice the users the best approch to get things done from the IS perspective. Some approch may not be the same as what the user has been doing, then it is the SA’s job to get the user to change. I still remember 1 thing we learnt in Software Development Life Cycle is that users are always resistant to changes. Why are we allowing users to make the whole system look so complicated? There are times where system need to change abit for the users. But there are also times where users have to change abit for the system. It cannot be always system change for the users. Users cannot see the implications of doing some things the old way. We need to let them know and advice them to change some of the methods that they are using. And not give in to their “Last time the old system can do this, why now change new system we must change?”

If the old system is good, then the new system wouldn’t be taking over the old system’s job now.

Next time, don’t ask

Note to myself, next time, if I see dad drinking soft drink in the middle of the night, don’t bother asking him what is he doing.

Got an angry reply from him. “I drink soft drink got wrong meh?”

Next time, don’t ask….

Its already 2:30am. You don’t usually drink soft drink. And all I see is you gulping the cold soft drink down quickly, pausing for a while because its too cold.

Seriously, if nothing is wrong, then what is this all about?

The Banker and the Fisherman

An investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.”

The banker then asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”

The fisherman said, “With this I have more than enough to support my family’s needs.”

The banker then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, go for walks with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my friends. As you can see, I have a full and busy life.”

The banker scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat! With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to the capital city. After that, who knows, maybe you could take on the world!”

The fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the banker replied, “I’d say about 15 to 20 years.”

“But what then?” asked the fisherman.

The Banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”

“Millions?…Then what?” the fisherman continued prodding.

The banker said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, go for romantic walks with your wife, and in the evenings you could sip wine, play guitar and sing songs with your friends!”

To which the fisherman mused, “Now isn’t that strange? Isn’t that what I’m doing now?”

Junk mails 3

The junkmail admin strikes yet again.

At 8:29AM:

Hi everyone,

For your kind attention.
There is some electrical fault in the water dispenser in the pantry area
Matter reported to mtn

Thank you

Shortly, at 8:54AM:

Hi again,

Mtn staff checked and feedback that it is safe to take the water.
They will monitor the situation.

Thank you

Then at 4.02PM:

Hi everyone,

Due to electrical fault the water dispenser has been switched off so no cold or hot water.
The water is still safe for drinking.

Mtn is getting vendor to rectify it tomorrow.

Thank you

Can someone please tell the junkmail admin that the water from the water dispenser comes from the tap and the tap water in Singapore is 1 of the safest in the world.

Heard that she had resigned recently and will be leaving soon. Wonder if we will miss her junkmails or not. Will there be a part 4?