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Re: Any Excel Experts

From: Rich Shepard <rshepard(at)appl-ecosys(dot)com>
To: PDX PostgreSQL Users <pdxpug(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: Any Excel Experts
Date: 2011-05-06 13:02:44
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pdxpug
On Thu, 5 May 2011, David E. Wheeler wrote:

>>  I won't do it because you'd not have the budget for the hours required and
>> I have other project priorities that are more fun and satisfying.
> You words fill me with joy. :-(


   I wasn't being flippant. I spent many days with this effort. It involved
moving blocks of data around on a single page so everything was in one
contiguous block, exporting each tab as a separate file, writing a python
script or figuring out whether grep, sed, or awk could reformat the data,
then trying to copy it into the postgres table and fixing the errors the
dbms found.

   Many organizations have SOPs on written documents: format, style, word
usage and so on. I don't know of any such organization that has defined
standards for spreadsheet usage. People become familiar with spreadsheets
when they become familiar with word processors (or shortly thereafter), but
databases are not taught in schools or colleges. A dbms is an engine that
needs to be used in specific applications, it's not an icon on the Windows
desktop that opens a screen for immediate use. It takes thought and
understanding, and these are not sufficiently common.

   From your description the work will be very labor intensive and require
someone who deeply understands the need and what has to be done with the
displayed data to fulfill that need. That's why I suggested an overseas
organization like those that used to be used for digitizing paper maps
accurately and inexpensively.

   Years ago I had some map data conversion done at the medium-security
prison in Salem. Getting that project going was in interesting experience
since I'd never before been in a prison. But the guys did an excellent job
and it was part of their rehabilitative training. Perhaps they have people
who can do your data conversion. And, the people doing the work have nothing
else to do with their days and they're a higher class of prisoner in these
programs than at the maximum security prisons.


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