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Prison Pete

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Monday, August 23, 2004
  My database reports.
I am having lots of fun with my "database" and am burning through the one-use ribbons with a vengeance.

Do you realize how slow daisywheel printers are for printing database reports? It takes about six minutes to type a page! Good thing the master list is only 1 3/4 pages.

Then I do a set of craft reports for Art, Leather, and Ceramics, the three subgroups. The master report is alphabetic on last name, and then I re-sort the eighty records by the locker number, for example L-01 or C-01 for Leather and Ceramics, and run a report selecting where craft is equal to Ceramics, Leather, or Art.

So, each week it takes about an hour to print the four reports, but at least I can do it without waiting for a staff member to update them on his computer! Actually, technically the typewriter is more functional, since the only "office" application they have on the computers here is WordPerfect.

Each department must buy a license for a spreadsheet or database program, and the computer services department turned down the Rec department’s request for a spreadsheet program. They do have a main database called "Sentry". It is mainframe in format, and the report generation is cryptic to say the least. They bring up the report access via windows, but it is just a text window through to the main database, I think.

We just need to verify name and ID number for inmates who sign up for various programs. Anyhow, they print a roster that has the names of over 2,000 inmates, more than forty pages.

It is obsolete in two weeks!

So I suggested, why not print an "update list" of those that arrived here after the date the last master list was printed?

Well, it took over a week to get the report, and then the first one was sorted by arrival date. Not very useful for looking up names!

Anyhow, my direct boss reran it, figured out how to get the time period right, and even sorted it alphabetically on last name.

But this time he forgot to print the first name field! Hopefully next week it will run OK.

The other staff solution was to just run another roster. Kill more trees.

We could really use a truly gifted application programmer, but instead we have him sitting around playing with a Displaywriter!

Well, anyhow, 11:00 PM and I must get this in the mail.
 
Comments:
So what is it you exactly do? From what I gather from reading your post you work with ancient technology.
 
Hey .. whats up ? so how is prison.? I bet not good.... But Hey could u check out. my blogger and pass it on... and please post. somethin...
 
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