Friday, January 05, 2007


So I am sitting here waiting for a corrupt database to decide if it wants to fix itself, when it occurs to me that it is pretty amazing that it is even trying. Then it occurs to me that maybe having it not become corrupt in the first place is a better answer. Now the very first thing you think is that there is really no way to do that and I would agree, at first. Then I would think for a minute and realize that the second someone says it can't be done, there arises the opportunity for greatness.

Now I have to confess that I have never built a database engine or a disk drive (the two most common factors in data corruption). But that really isn't the point. The point is that at some juncture in database engine design it was decided to build tools into the engine that attempt to fix the corruption, rather than not allowing the database to become corrupt in the first place. How does that become OK? I am not saying it isn't OK, I'm just wondering how it becomes that way. When we write software, how do we decide when it is OK to fix the results caused by a problem rather than fixing the problem. I find this question even more ironic when related to database discussions because the first thing you learn in DBA 101 is the "garbage in, garbage out" rule. What that means is, when someone comes to me and says, "I want to put in this stored procedure to check for the wrong data in a table", I say "don't let wrong data in the table in the first place and then we don't have to check for it." So for the designers of the database to supply a command to fix corrupt data rather than to not allow to become corrupt in the first place strikes me as ironic.

Think about it for a while and see if you can find a place in your job or life where there isn't some area that you or someone else have provided a tool to fix the results of a problem rather than fixing the problem. In that examination of myself, I find many areas in both my life and job where I have done or witnessed this very thing. Again, it isn't always bad, but I do think we have some responsibility to continually attempt to solve the problem itself. And most important are the ones people insist can't be done.

Have fun!

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life's realities.

-Dr. Seuss

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