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  1. #16
    Registered user. Britannicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: Tom McIntyre)

    Tom.... Nice DB website clearly had some thought put into it. I really like the idea of an on-line resource. I'd love to see it running on a public server as it looks like a great research tool. Currently I'm running my Access DB locally but would love to have it run on a server so i could access from multiple tools.

    My Schema is particularly orientated around the individual collection, so the base unit is the watch. Associated with that is a series of Many to One relationships - so for instance a single watch has multiple pictures. I also have a list of all test instances carried out, so a Watch can have many records for instance from my Scope tool as I fix it.

    having gathered the data in relation to a watch, I'm building a series of queries - and of course it comes with an ad-hoc tool so for instance I can get it to list me Gold Hunters based on material and case type, or even the ones that run more than a set number of second fast (can't figure why i did that one!). I started with one that listed all the watches I'd sold and what I'd paid for them and just a complete description of all the research etc I'd done on that watch, so if someone buys it off me I can provide a print out of everything I know on the watch.

  2. #17
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: Britannicus)

    One of the difficulty with tools like these is that mature collections have lots of objects. Entering all that information into a database is a bit of a challenge.

    In my application, when you create a new collection category, it gets added to an array that is displayed on the artifact edit page and you can just click on as many of them as apply to the particular artifact. One of the major goals was to never duplicate a piece of information in the database, but just include more linkages similar to what you have done.

    The associated business records for purchases, parts and repairs are also linked to the artifacts.

    I started this project before I did the new Waltham Database project and the search facilities were developed for that database application. I need to figure out how to combine all the concepts into one collection management tool.

    The Past Perfect tool that is used by many museums, including ours, seems a bit limited in what I have been able to see.

    Another aspect of this sort of thing is to provide good aids for description so that people do not need to create the words and concepts unless they specifically want to do so. I think this will consist of lots of ebauche style pictures that represent a design aspect that the user can click on to say "looks like that." As a concrete example, I have a friend with probably 300 line drawings of regulators, that I would like him to share for the description drop down menus.
    Tom McIntyre Click me.
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  3. #18
    Registered user. Britannicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: Tom McIntyre)

    Hi Tom,

    No way would I suggest that what I have here is anything but a glorified card index for my personal collection (and because I do what I do probably a bit over-engineered)

    I'd never look at anything access based for a full blown museum collection - that's starting to get in the realms of professional development tools like Oracle as a DB with some sort of specific front end - volumes of data, speed of searching indexing and so-on rule out itty-bitty options for anything other than prototyping. I'm not familiar with past perfect - sounds like a commercial COTS specific to the purpose.

    I work in IT so I can say with certainty that this is not a professionally developed tool - for anyone with over around 5000 watches this will really struggle. I dare not show it to my developer's they'd only laugh at the boss trying his hand :-)

  4. #19
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use

    That is interesting. I was a development manager at Digital Equipment for desktop systems. I was also the small/personal systems architect for a while. I generally wrote the first demo application of tools while the developers were putting the stuff together. My main job was explaining to management why they should keep funding what we were doing.

    For a personal development environment, MySQL/PHP/Apache makes a good combination and Microsoft offers a nice editor/environment called Code. I do a bit of volunteer work for the association also which is mostly Microsoft SQL Server based. The laptop I am typing on is more powerful than all the systems being used at the UCLA space lab to support the "chimps in space" program when I was in graduate school back in the mid 60's.
    Tom McIntyre Click me.
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  5. #20
    Registered user. Britannicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: Tom McIntyre)

    Cool - I work for HP in Europe - 25 years in project and program management - I've spent the last 7 years in High performance computing clusters and running them as a service for Oil, Engineering and Finance. Before that I did a series of projects in the Database world around the UK Government and Payroll systems. I'm not a techie, but I have to run a bunch of them :-)

    So My laptop isn't the most powerful, and my skills rather limited and specialized, We are developing systems in the 3-5 PetaFLOP range, and burning megawatts of power in the process - I love the big machines, but I'm not an expert. That's why I like my watches, because to be honest it's about as sophisticated engineering that I can actually understand!

    How My Aerospace clients manage to design engines which run at 400 degrees C above their melting point, fills me with respect, and always goes through my mind when I'm sat on a plane :-)

  6. #21

    Default Re: Databases - what do you use

    I believe that a good watch in the 1850's was the most complicated computing machine in common use at the time.
    Last edited by Firegriff; 03-22-2017 at 09:14 PM.

  7. #22
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: Firegriff)

    I have always thought it was the Jacquard Loom. The loom used programmable punch cards that could be read in sequence to produce essentially any pattern wanted including realistic natural images.

    The loom was invented in 1804 and some remarkable software was available for it by the late 19th century. It provided the model for the census machine which was the forerunner of the International Business Machines tabulator engine.
    Tom McIntyre Click me.
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  8. #23

    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: Tom McIntyre)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom McIntyre View Post
    I have always thought it was the Jacquard Loom. The loom used programmable punch cards that could be read in sequence to produce essentially any pattern wanted including realistic natural images.

    The loom was invented in 1804 and some remarkable software was available for it by the late 19th century. It provided the model for the census machine which was the forerunner of the International Business Machines tabulator engine.
    Yes, the Jacquard loom punched card system was the basis of Babbage's analytical engine and Ada Lovelace's initial work on computer programming.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  9. #24

    Default Re: Databases - what do you use

    Quote Originally Posted by Firegriff View Post
    I believe that a good watch in the 1850's was the most complicated computing machine in common use at the time.
    I don't understand that, Griff In what sense was a 19th century watch a "computing" machine at all?

    A computing machine has to compute, in other words it has to perform calculations. A 19th century watch simply had to measure time through movement of the balance wheel, and then display the result. An Egyptian clock did exactly the same through movement of water, but that wasn't a computer.

    Unless I'm completely missing something ... which would not be unusual
    Martin Rosen

  10. #25
    Registered user. David Mac Farlane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: MartyR)

    Compute - Oxford dictionary = reckon or calculate
    Computer - same source = 1. electronic device for storing and processing data 2. person who computes or makes calculations.
    Being a modern word and definition, I think watches could safely be said to process and compute time.
    You old timers, huh.
    I remember a norbit - beat that.
    I was in software before the PC - when we got our first assembler for the 6800 processor, it was like magic - but at least I knew machine code.
    My first pc had a hard drive of 2Mb!
    What a long way we've come in such a short time - I've really enjoyed this thread.
    Personally, I came from Radio & TV, in a shop where watches were repaired, then went to a periscope maker (yeah, for Submarines) and have wandered from tools to desk more times than I care to mention.
    I'm home.

  11. #26
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use

    I doubt that I will lose the longevity contest. I wrote my first programs using a paper tape punch in 1963. Prior to that I had been entering programs through the console switches. Prior to that it was analog computers and cutting out cardboard curve followers that used an oscilloscope display and a photosensor as a function generator.

    I am now in my 54th year of programming. I am not counting our tour of the Kansas City Pipeline Computer which was literally an analog computer with 2,000 amplifiers that modeled the KC Mo. sewer system (or any other pipeline system). That visit was in 1954 when I was a college freshman.
    Tom McIntyre Click me.
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  12. #27
    Registered user. Britannicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: Tom McIntyre)

    I used to live where the last commercially operated Jaquard loom was still used for Silk manufacture up until just a few years ago. The equipment was identical to that installed 100 years earlier (in fact it was the same equipment if you don' t count the replacements due to woodworm!). They did tours and they are amazing looking things, all strings and wooden slats. It's usually upheld as the first example of programmable hardware, though the purists might not call it a computer as such. Programmable input but no real "compute" as such.

    In terms of mechanical complexity - Jacquard wins hands down on moving parts, but I'd still probably say that for sophistication in an engineering sense, the watch would have my vote - so many important developments, precision work, ultra fine tolerances, continuous development, materials technology, etc. etc.

    As for a watch - probably fits a 19th C definition as to compute. Both marvelous products of the industrial revolution and stimuli for a whole bunch of other technologies. I have an engineering colleague at Rolls-Royce jet engines, who makes a reasonable claim that just about every engineering technology in the 17th and 18th Century emerged from the watchmaker's workshop. I'm not sure I understand how the steam engine fits in there, but there you go :-)

  13. #28

    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: Britannicus)

    change hat to clockmaker and he would be right as the original clockmakers were blacksmiths. Clocks beat watches by centuries, well millennia I suppose.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  14. #29

    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: MrRoundel)

    Hi All, I think that computers go back a long way further than the ones mentioned so far? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism As a matter of interest my main Computer failed a few days ago; the little fingers that make contact with the CPU some of them corroded away and Motherboard Kaput. I put it down to the steamy Tropical Weather. I thought that the little fingers were gold; maybe just Gold Plated. Regards Ray

  15. #30

    Default Re: Databases - what do you use

    Quote Originally Posted by David Mac Farlane View Post
    Compute - Oxford dictionary = reckon or calculate
    Computer - same source = 1. electronic device for storing and processing data 2. person who computes or makes calculations.
    Being a modern word and definition, I think watches could safely be said to process and compute time.
    I still don't see it, David.

    A watch doesn't process time at all - it comprises a means of "reckoning it" (as does a water clock or an hourglass or a sun dial) but then it simply displays its reckoning by means of a purely mechanical device. Are you claiming that an hourglass is a computer? Or a sun dial?

    I mean, I don't mind if you do want to call an hourglass a computer, but then I would want to argue that a flower is also a computer, and a worm, and of course the sun itself

    I can't remember a norbit, but I only lose to Tom by a couple of years. I first wrote programs on punched cards for an IBM 1401 ... and I remember writing program amendments on a hand punch. Oh happy days
    Martin Rosen

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