I had not realized until this morning how much crap I store in my lab. I found pH meters that were at least 20 years old, and a few microscopes with spidernests in them. And i mean, IN them, as in, inside the objective holder. Not being afraid of spiders, i found it quite neat how they managed to make a home out of a metal casing.

I did an inventory a few months back, of all the main equipment that the department has. It's a small department and it's all on the same floor, scattered in 4 labs, piece of cake. It took me about a month to complete as I was doing it little by little. Since there were separate lists of every type of equiment, i didn't notice how much equipment there actually is.

And then the worst came.

This week the IT department came into action and set up an MS Access databse for all of the school's equipment. They did their part and put in all the IT goods into the inventory. Everybody else is supposed to eventually put in all their equipment as well. So now i'm faced with the challenge... no wait, cross that, the time consuming pond scum task... of putting all the lists i made into this school inventory. This has never been done before, so it's a bit of a pain to do. It just too time consuming.

So I started on monday and I'm almost done. I'm saving the best for last though. I have between 120 and 150 vernier labpro probes to put in there.

Now, the time consuming nature of the task is that I have to create a code for each item, and each item needs to be labeled. Most items have a serial number created by the manufacturer, and i have to create a serial for the rest. As I assign codes to the items, i have to look for them by serial number, and then label them with avery labels according to their code and serial number. It has to match, otherwise the whole thing is a waste of time, and given the amount of time it consumes, it's a big fucking waste of time.

Other than that, the database is far from perfect. It's a bitch to enter data and everything has to be pre-sorted and predetermined.

There's one thing that really burns my balls, though. There's an input screen with 6 fields to fill out.

1- code
2- model
3- serial #
4- date of purchase
5- date entered
6- replacement year

I have little problem with the first 2. The code I create myself and the model is a pull down list, but i make that list on my own as every new type of equiment comes up, so that's no problem.

The first thing that burns me is the purchase date. I don't know when most of these things were purchased, so i don't know what to fill out in 90% of the cases. So i leave it blank, ok, no problem. Still, it'd be nice of them if they had given me access to the purchase records so i can find the invoices for the stuff in the lab. Then again, maybe not because that means craploads of files and i hate filing, so i've decided right now that this particular thing no longer burns my balls.

Second thing that really burns my balls... date entered. In this field i have to set the date of the day i'm putting it in. As in, today i've typed the combination 29062006 about 400 times. Yesterday about 300, tuesday 200 and monday 50. (Yes, i'm cataloguing even beakers and test tubes, what do you want me to do, it's equipment, they'll have my ass on a platter if i don't). What bugs me is that these computer geniouses have the brain power to tame Access and make a functional database (trust me, it's hard), but they didn't have the intelligence to just have the date entered field automatically fill itself with today's date. Flocking hell.

And here's the kicker.

Once i create a new record, i click this save and create new button on the bottom left of the input form, which saves and brings up a new input page for the next item. The previous record is saved and it cannot be modified, so if i make a mistake like duplicate codes or screw up the serial number, i can't fix it. The icing on that cake is that, if i even press space on the new upcoming form and i for some reason feel like going back to check on the code or model or serial or date etc, i can't go back forward to the new form to keep entering. Apparently, whether you go back or forward, if you did as much as press space, that record is saved. So there's a ton of blank records on the database. But this is really bad because at that moment, i can no longer go back or forth, this stupid message telling me essentially that the record has been created and cannot be modified comes up if i click anything other than the little quit X on the top right. Fun eh?

So that stupid little glitch not only forces me to close and reopen the database, it saves a bunch of blank entries and incomplete entries and really irritates me because i have to constantly recheck what was created and assigned and what wasn't, because often the glitch comes with a hefty serving of data loss.

Imagine my frustration.

And i'm a nervous guy with stress issues, i yell at machines. My voice is a bit faded now, after a solid day of data entry.

There's no world cup today. And there wasnt any yesterday. I'm bored out of my mind, but i guess this is a taste of what it will be like to not have 5 hours a day wasted away on the tv.

The next game will be germany vs argentina on friday morning (pooradise's timezone), a game i don't expect germany to win, but who knows eh? It'll be the final of italy 90 all over. In any case, i'll be watching it at work, while doing some more data entry.

Drink 1.5L of water every day, it'll keep your juices flowing.