Friday, May 28, 2010

I Still Love My Database

Last year I made a database of all manner of things relating to my summer job. While my database is flawed in many, many ways and more awkward to use than many database systems that I mock (like the university's enrollment system), it was my first database, and it will always have a special place in my heart.

Recently MIT has been bombarding me with questions about my summer job. My database can answer their questions. You want a list of everyone with a J-1 visa who will be riding the subway? I can do that. Graph Theorists from the west coast? Yes, my database knows that. Women from China who will be on the eighth floor? Let's check the database!

Since my Day Job will almost certainly need me to be in-person full-time next summer, I probably won't be at MIT in 2011, so I won't need my database. Day Job is cutting me slack this year because they needed to hire someone ASAP and the hard part of my job doesn't start until August. I'll be working for my Day Job from MIT this summer. (Speaking of databases, my most recent pay stub shows progress towards the university bureaucracy moving me over into my new job. While my new salary -- which is 165% of my old salary -- has not yet shown up in my check, the "Cost Center Number" on my pay stub has changed and is no longer the math department's budget number.)

Of course in order to do that I may need to buy myself a wireless broadband USB gizmo, as Networks is telling me things that don't seem to match with their website, so I fear that I will not have internet access through MIT. The past three years the "guest" access to the MIT network has only worked for 14 days (unless you spoof your MAC address), but Networks is telling me that guest access is now unlimited. Let's hope they're telling me the truth.

Let's hope that Minion #2 can get Accounts to generate the MIT ID numbers so that everyone can get Athena usernames. I'd really like for everyone in my database to have meaningful primary keys. It's much easier to make sure things are matched up correctly when they're done by username instead of by arbitrary ID numbers.

There hasn't been much to blog about, as I spend most of my days fighting with computers and other people's quirky software and my evenings updating and querying my quirky database.