SHCC WYSIWYG Article from November 2007

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This article was written by Don VanSyckel, the club president, as a part of "The President's Pen".  This article appeared in the November 2007 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Doc's, Spreadsheets, and Databases

by Don VanSyckel

Something I've been observing for a while is that people generally start using a word processor when they are introduced to computers. As people become more comfortable with the word processor they start to use it for more things like short lists that often include numbers.

After doing this for a while people finally break into spread sheets which are more appropriate for these lists with numbers. Again as time goes on people become more comfortable with spread sheets and use them for more and more. Many of these new uses are more sophisticated lists of various data. Many people get stalled out here, unfortunately.

Some people finally break into databases, fortunately for them. If you're one of these people, good for you. The issue is the leap from word processors to spread sheets is not very large but the leap from spread sheets to data bases is more significant. If you make the leap you'll find it well worth it. How much benefit you get depends on how much you use it. It's like everything else, the right tool for the job makes a big difference in how long it takes to do something and how well you get it done.

Most people know about the data base offering from Microsoft. There are several other offerings that do a good job also. In addition to general purpose data bases there are a number of specialty applications. These range from family tree programs to aids to help collectors to tracking for of expenses. For many things the general purpose data base is the tool I reach for. I just can't learn a different application for every different thing I do.

Of course, after you collect all your data and get it into a data base you are ready for BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP! (Sorry couldn't resist.)

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