a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: I'm A Data Wonk And Proud Of It

Saturday, February 13, 2021

I'm A Data Wonk And Proud Of It

SUMMARY: Do databases save me time or take more?! Hard to tell--
Backfill: Started with a Messenger chat Feb 12, 2021, with a friend who just got in touch after 20ish years. Apparently we're both of that persuasion...but he uses spreadsheets...

Yes, I track all kinds of things in my life using FrameMaker databases! I don’t use spreadsheets because they’re so limited. This discussion aroused my curiosity, so I went to my system and checked how many FileMaker files I have-- Heh, OK, I have 165 FileMaker documents! 😱

Ya know, this is crazy! I should have a database of how many databases I have!🤣 

Oh--wait--not so bad after all: Many are templates and examples that came with Filemaker! Whew!

And, to be fair, some things are basically the same thing but I decided to do a separate file for each year for various reasons. Like, these 2 make up 56 of them: Xmas Gifts given, every year 1992-2018.  And my own timecard tracking and analysis for work-- every year 1994 thru now.

Some are because some databases consist of more than one file -- like Books and Authors.  Gawd, I have a lot of weird ones in here, some of which I had forgotten about!

So, here are most of 'em:

Xmas gifts given, multiple files (see above)

Timecard details, multiple files (see above)

CDs and records

Songs that are on my Classical CDs and records, because sometimes you want to know where the song is. 

Songs on my Christmas CDs and records 

Video media

Books (actually 2 connected files, one for books, one for authors)

All other household inventory, which is over 10,000 items now (you know, each pair of socks is one item…)

Where did each dragon come from? Was it a gift?
When did I get it? Is it worth anything now?
Plus--I have another 5 cabinets like this (not all dragons).
All is revealed in the inventory database.

Oh, plus I have a separate deleted-inventory-items one because how often do you think, “did I get rid of that?! why can’t I find it?”

Dog agility competition scores – – almost 20 years, 4 dogs, something like 300 different competitions, 20 to 40 events per competition…  consists of 3 interconnected files (because I wanted to track points towards titles (sometimes the official systems make mistakes) and what kind of improvements we were making and so on)

Budgeting system, prints a monthly sheet to use to track my expenses,  or a yearly analysis etc. 

Assets and liabilities

T-shirts (yes, really) (helpful when doing TShirt Tales blog posts)

Here are some of them...

Christmas cards sendees (and from whom have received them so I don’t lose track)

Contacts (people/addresses/phone numbers)

Special Dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)

Work contracts that I did for different companies over the last 24 years—started, anyway, but I just found that boring and tedious and so never updated it much

Trips taken/places I’ve been, very limited, but again, I didn’t start it until fairly late, so I there are gaps and ? ‘s. I was able to work with my dad a little bit on filling in some of the gaps for when I was with them, the first 18 to 20 years of my life, but of course nothing since then from him. (When he was still around.) 

My trips/travels/places website page header 

Disaster supplies, like, what food should I have, what other gear should I have, when was the last time it was replaced, when is it due,…And it is due to be updated is what it is.

Short fiction that I sent out to various markets, and whether it sold or not (spoiler: only three things sold) But I pretty much stopped writing when I started doing dog agility.

Electricity and gas usage and how much I was paying per kilowatt hour or whatever, and how many hours in different tiers are used each month, but I ended up stopping that, too, after many years Way way way too much information that wasn’t really useful for me.

Rent payments from renters.

Xmas lights, All of the hundreds of strings, where they go (went) on the house, how long they are, etc.

Where bills are paid (e.g., online banking etc.)

Dog agility club inventory (wayyyyy out of date, I should just dump it)

House expenses since I bought this house; mostly for long-term tax use but also handy for remembering what brand of faucet or drapes or how old the broken thing is or where I got the items…

Trying SO hard not to expand
beyond 2 file cabinets

File cabinet contents — I try to label drawers and folders intuitively, but have been thinking more about my heirs lately

Grocery shopping list with checkboxes (all stuff that I commonly buy, so I can just check them off, and they’re organized by type of food or aisle, but I can sort it in different ways, too)

Travel supplies: With flags for whether I’m taking dogs, whether staying in hotels or camping, and so on, so I can generate a report just for what I’m doing. Every little bitty thing because one *always* forgets something obvious—

Savings accounts transactions - cross-posted with purposes (e.g., how much money is set aside for property taxes vs where is money actually located)

And random others

Things I do NOT have databases for:

My photos, but the organization and file naming conventions are sort of like that… They are organized In a folder structure, one folder for each month of each year, folders in each of those for each day or event that I took photos, and sometimes subfolders within those, like when I went on a 16-day multistate trip in 2018, I have different subfolders for each day or place. And I name each file with useful keywords.

movies I’ve seen! I should’ve started that years and years ago. I didn’t start tracking until about 20 years ago, but it’s all a manual list still. Great idea! Just what I need, more databases to maintain! (not even going to try, there's no way...)

Computers: making our lives easier every day in every way!🤯

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