Monthly Archives: December 2015

About work-related online chats

Recently I’ve heard people at my workplace talking a lot about disliking the OpenSpace floor plans, and how they are distracting people from work, and how the productivity is going down, and why somebody won’t measure it.
To be honest – I disagree. I love OpenSpace; at least at my company people rarely talk loud in the open areas, and I do not have any problem concentrating on what I am doing while people are walking around. I love the convenience of visibility – I can always find a person I need, even if somebody is at the meeting, I can see through the glass door; I can always walk to anybody, and have an impromptu conversation. OpenSpace allows to solve problems as they appear, and really reduces the time spent on the not-so-productive meetings.
But there is another thing, which I think is a real time-killer: the online work-related chats. Here is why.

We are always being told, that we are expected to watch all the chat rooms where our assistance or opinion may be needed.  For many people it means watching up to ten chat rooms (if not more!). You know – I’ve honestly tried , and I can tell you:  if you closely follow the conversations in five different chat rooms, you literally can’t do anything else!  If I want to allocate a couple of hours to debug some code, I need to stop following the chat rooms completely.

Yes, you can set up notifications from the chat rooms. But one – it’s not always you, who’s being addressed directly; and until you really read the request, you won’t know whether you are a right person to respond. Two – that implies, you should read your e-mails every “small” number of minutes.

I know that people often expect you to react on emails more or less immediately. So here we are – if you come back to check you emails every 15 min, how much of actual work will you have done?  Another thing surprises me: I’ve heard from some people, that I should not just walk by other co-workers and ask the question, instead I should e-mail my question and/or hipChat it, and wait for 15 min for a person to respond. I’ve being told, that walk-ins are disruptive. My question is: why a necessity to check you email notifications every 15 min is less disrupting than replying to a question in person – and only at the time when somebody actually does something, not all the time.

… This being said, working in almost empty office between Christmas and New Year can be extremely productive:)

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Our ICDE 2016 paper got accepted!

I was actually in the process of writing about something else, when these news came – our paper submitted for the Industrial track of the  ICDE 2015 got accepted! I still can’t believe it, and the reason my co-authors actually do believe and ask me whether Enova will send us – it’s just because they do not realize, what a competition it was :).

I am really happy with this early Christmas present!

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I haven’t being posting anything forever, but now I am going to fix this, and planning to write about all the interesting things in the World of Data on a more regular basis. And I am going to start (or rather resume) by writing about the book I read recently – the book which totally blew my mind!

The book is called Managing Time in Relational Databases: How to Design, Update and Query Temporal Data, and it presents the most complete bi-temporal data model. Actually, you may call it “tri-temporal”, because in the “classic” bi-temporal model you have an “effective” time and a “system time”, and the system time just indicates, when the record was added or updated.

However, in the model which is described in this book – Asserted Versioning – an additional concept , assert time , is introduced. That is, “the time we believe(d) it was true”.

Let me tell you, that I was a biggest fan of Richard Snodgrass temporal database concepts probably since the time they were first published (or something close to that :)). I really “felt” them, and since I can’t remember when, I really wanted to implement them – in the real life, in some real project.

I can’t even say that nobody ever needed the temporal data. It’s just for some reason people strongly believe that storing changes is very resource consuming. Which is not exactly true. As the authors of this book point out, it’s way easier to convince your manager to store one year worth of transactional log than to store the objects versions for the same period of time, although the latter requires way less space and is way easier to use. I was constantly have a hard time convincing people that 1) versioning is not so space -consuming, 2) you need to have both start and end date, not just the start date 3) the “current” state is not the one which has end date IS NULL, but the one having end date=INFINITY, and the list can go on and on….

This being said, the book feels extremely refreshing. It just so clear what the authors are trying to achieve, I understand each and single statement completely, I do not need to go through all the examples to understand the concepts…

Now more than ever I really-really – really wish… I could implement it somewhere in the real life 🙂

 

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December 4, 2015 · 6:19 pm