Thursday, 28 April 2016

Getting the record straight

At the St German's midweek Eucharist yesterday morning, I told the children about St Mark and how he collected stories from St Peter and others about their time with Jesus and made them into the first of the Gospels to be written. Mark probably grew up speaking Aramaic, and learning to read and write in Hebrew and Greek, I told them, and how fortunate they were to be learning Welsh as well as English in school, and for many of them to be hearing other languages spoken at home - some will learn basic Arabic to read the Qu'ran outside school hours, as well. Whether they find it a chore or not, this is a special thing about good education, that we can learn to communicate and say good things to people in their different languages. I'd so like children to appreciate the diverse environment they are part of, and learn from.

I went into the office in the afternoon and worked on an equipment inventory database format to record our newest acquisition of handsets prior to issue. It's important to get as much as possible of the recording done ahead of time, to keep track of the complex exchange and upgrade process step by step.

Thursday afternoon I started the laborious task of entering data. Just doing the first few entries reveals the limitations in design, and calls for discussion and modifications to the framework. Even before the number of data entries grows, the framework itself has to grow, as we understand more clearly our own need to record different kinds of information to help the project to progress. 

It wouldn't be all that difficult to scan this information from bar-codes on each piece of equipment, and I did some tentative experimenting with this some months ago. It's even possible to scan data into a spreadsheet of sorts, but the challenge is to configure the data received so it can easily be imported into our database. Sure you can buy scanning equipment and software packages that will do this, and deliver an inventory database, but you still have to take time learn how to use the kit, and take the risk that the database is in a proprietary format that isn't all that flexible about exporting data, or else you pay extra to do so. We simply don't have to time to invest on this, nor are we running on the volume or turnover of equipment or have numbers of staff that would make this seem a sensible worthwhile option. So the old fashioned slow steady plod of manual data acquisition will continue, so long as we are not going to be overwhelmed by the task.

Clare and I both completed our postal ballot sheets for the Welsh Assembly and Police Crime Commissioner elections, taking place next week. While we're in Spain in June there's the EU referendum. I hope the postal ballot papers arrive before we leave. For this election they were issued two weeks ahead of the date, and if this happens again they may arrive after we leave. Clare will return in time to vote, but I'll still be in Spain and unable to use mine. Such a shame if this happens, as to my mind it's one of the most important voting issues of my lifetime.

I watched the final episode of 'Line of Duty' tonight, tense and demanding watching to the end, with a fairly satisfactory conclusion in which right and justice prevail, but only after much suffering and struggle. Almost everyone involved seems at some time or another to have compromised their own integrity or told lies to cover their tracks, but in the end the truth comes out, and the courageous prevail.

There was ome impressive acting from the leading characters in the Police anti-corruption squad which gave it all a very convincing and realistic feel. To think that a twenty minute interrogation scene in one room, crammed with references to investigative detail could be so dramatically gripping, is a credit both the writers and actors. For this to be shown in the same week that the inquest into the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy revealed police corruption in the fabrication of a cover-up, blaming fans for non-existent misbehaviour, is perhaps co-incidental, but most remarkable in the way that dramatic art can sometimes reflect authentically the unhappy realities of life.


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