Archive for February, 2008

Databases are crap

 

Well, this is my first post in this blog. This blog is suppose to be about day to day stuff that happens to me that isn’t video game related, on account of having my video game related stuff in my Blogspot blog (leeram.blogspot.com). Confused?

Since university I have had a complete hatred of databases. But then, a year or so ago, I came across PHP and used it to start re-designing my Eckychap web site (which still is no-where near finished). I quickly realised that PHP would enable me to automate my web site, assuming I used a database and stored my data in it.

So off I went and designed a database for Eckychap. I had no idea of what to do, and you can tell! It’s taken me a while to get to grips with PHP, but I’m relatively ok with it now, so my next challenge is to set up a proper database.

I know that databases should have relations and that data should be unique but I don’t know what a relation is or how to make one. I assumed that if you made 3 tables all have a column with the same name and then somehow "relate" them together, then changing the data in one table will mean that data changes in all the others automatically. It turns out that this isn’t the case and that is the reason why I struggled so hard to understand the damned things.

It turns out that a database is no more than a load of tables and nothing else. If you normalize your data so that multiple tables include the same column names (to relate them) then you have to individually know which tables contain what data and change it all manually. The database doesn’t do it for you.

For instance let’s say TABLE1 contains CAR_ID and CAR_OWNER,  TABLE2 contains CAR_ID and CAR_MANUFACTURER and TABLE3 contains CAR_ID and AVAILABLE_COLOURS. Then I would have expected that if I change a value in TABLE1’s CAR_ID (maybe from Countach to Enzo) that the database would automatically change the same value in the other two tables.

But noooooo, does it shite. I personally have to remember every single table in the database that has a CAR_ID and then change them myself. OK there are probably little routines you can run to automatically find every table with CAR_ID in it, but, I mean, come on… it’s ridiculous.

So how, I wonder, does something like MS Access actually update everything for you if databases don’t? Access is supposed to be a database, so why does it do what mySQL can’t? Well, from what I can tell, it turns out that MS Access is not just a database. It is a database and a management system – a DBMS if you will. Maybe I am wrong with the terminology but if I understand it right it means that MS Access will remember what you’ve got in what table and update it all automatically for you. Unfortunately Access is so difficult to understand that I just gave up with it, and it’s no good for Internet access (in my opinion).

So I maintain that databases are crap. Useful – yes. Essential – yes. A god send when it comes to automating web sites – yes. But crap all the same.

The end of my first post… and it turned out to be a whinge. Sorry!

Lee

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My First Entry

I just added this to see what happens!

Vista Shmista!

It’s February 2008 and we aren’t yet living on the moon and all wearing silver suits, which is disappointing. But on the bright side we have video games which just get better and better, which is brilliant!

Everything seems to be amazing these days, but I think that COD4 takes the crown so far. It’s a stunning game and has basically chipped away at any time I have to “live” in and turned it into a dazed out clicking fest. Once again with a COD game I haven’t played it in single player mode, I’ve only played it online. There’s just no point playing the one player.

I have a major problem though and it’s really infuriating. For some reason it crashes every time I play it anywhere beteen 5 and 20 minutes into the game. After many many hours of troubleshooting I found out that the problem is with Punkbuster and my sound card. I got no help from Punkbuster tech support at all and the sound card drivers are non existant. It works fine if I play on a non-Punkbuster server.

The infuriating thing though is that the sound card “soundmax” is built into my motherboard, which I paid a lot of money for, basically it was a top-of-the-range ASUS. Yet despite that there is a flaw in it that isn’t getting fixed. It’s just a complete rip off, I pay my money and don’t get what I paid for and there’s nothing I can do. I got this board because it is specifically designed for Vista and at the time I bought it there were very few things specifically designed to work with Vista, hence the outlay of stupid amounts of money.

So now I find myself in the crap position where I have to buy myself a new sound card. I only wish COD4 was crap so I didn’t care. it’s the only game I get the problem in.

Actually the problem is to do with using two processors, rather than Vista, but who runs Vista on one processor these days? If I switch my machine to use one processor for COD4 then it all works fine, unfortunately though the thing then struggles to run it at top settings.

Anyway, lot’s of gaming goodness out of COD4 has been had. I also got Contra on the DS. It’s great but proper old school hard, beware if you buy this, it really isn’t for the faint hearted.

I still haven’t finished Ouendan 2 with S on the last level, mainly because I just haven’t been away with my DS so much. i’m still ploughing on though.

The new Forged Alliance expansion to Supcom sucks up what bits of time COD4 leaves behind.

I started to long for another one player game after completing GOW and have plumped for Ninja Gaiden on the original Xbox. I’ve payed it to the first boss and I have to admit that I’m finding it dull. it got race reviews but I cannot, as yet, see why. I’ll give it another hour and see what happens.

I managed, against all odds, to get the kids a Wii for Christmas. It’s great, at last I have something I can play videos games with them with. My 5 yr old daughter regularly beats me at bowling, she just has this automatic way of doing it and getting a strike, I’ve seen her get 5 in a row! I also got them MySims, obviously I had to give it a go, you know, just to errrmmmm, make sure that…… errrmmmm it’s suitable for an 8 and 5 yr old, yes that’s it. I had to check for violence etc. Clearly I’m going to have to get a 5 star city for that purpose and I’m currently at about 2.5, so many more hours of ….. checking the game for my kids… to go {I really must sort out the floral decoration in the flower shop, it isn’t quite to my taste.. errmmm my daughter’s taste}

And not quite on the game front but awesome anyway, I got an 18 inch tall, voice controlled, Dalek for Christmas! What more could a man want?

Have fun!

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