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The week in Denver progresses...

The weather is back to Wintry, after being sunny but cold yesterday and most of today. When we emerged from the building after work the snow was coming down at a good clip. No significant accumulation is predicted, though there may be showers all evening. We did get a very cool picture (just wish I'd had a camera, though it might just have been impossible to capture): we were headed towards the mountains, with snow coming down sideways so everything was soft gray. Put a few skeletal deciduous trees in the foreground. The sun was just setting below the first line of hills behind the trees, so that we saw a bright glow in the clouds, cut off along a sharp line underneath by the top of the flat hill, all of this well above the apparent "horizon". It was a study in grays, and beautiful.

Tonight we're having a group dinner for the class at Old Chicago, which has the great advantage of being a short walk from the hotel. Might be a little cold, but then all those who want to drink can do so without concerns about driving home.

Continuing the hotel report: the score came up considerably after I finally called their central Internet support, got very good assistance with some rather arcane network settings for their wired Internet, then as I still wasn't connected had them call the hotel and have the local support person swap out modems and eventually tweak his server to get me online via the wired connection. Prior to that I'd been eking out connectivity via the faint signal from their lobby wireless that spilled over to the room areas. Things are much faster now. <g>

The breakfast is somewhat inferior to the Residence Inn's "enhanced continental" (adds a few hot items)--this Hampton has one hot item each day, compared to 3 or so for the Residence. The quality of the food is similar, though, which is to say "OK, not great", but it's certainly adequate for me. If I change my mind, the mini-fridge, coffeepot, and microwave will let me have my own fruit-and-cereal or whatever in my room. It will do.

On the database administrator's class (what, you thought I was here just to try out the hotel and discuss the weather?): so far, it's been pretty good overall, but with some definite low spots. Let me give a little background: the USGS water databases are semi-separated--there's a single site file that holds the geographical information for all locations, but then each data type has a separate database that has a unique history, and thus somewhat differing conventions, interfaces, and (driven by the data itself) functions. There's the ground-water database, which also historically encompassed the site file so most of those operations are done in GW, the water-quality database, the continuous-data database which started as mostly for surface water, but now has any data that is collected multiple times a day, and then the lightly used water-use database that's my special area. I know the water-use and ground-water databases well. Water quality had always been a complete mystery, and all I have ever done with continuous data is retrieve information and draw graphs. This class covers all areas, and assumes a fairly good knowledge coming in--even though they know that few people really have that. However, you can't teach the basics of 4 databases, not to mention the data analysis procedures underlying many of the functions, in a week.

So anyway, Monday was mostly stuff I was familiar-to-expert in. Tuesday was largely the water quality database, where the lectures did OK, and having a partner for the exercises who was expert with it was the best teaching aid. Today finished up water quality, then did ground-water quickly (it's much less complex in terms of functionality, which is what this class is concerned with). Water use gets only a quick mention the whole week, because there are so few users of the database as yet. (Long story...)

This afternoon, we started on ADAPS, the continuous-data database. And because the real complexities of ADAPS are related to surface-water data processing, that's the focus. I'm not quite lost, but the fog is pretty thick--my partner (a water-quality guy) and I finished the exercise but neither one of us really had much of a clue about what we were doing. And this will continue, as all of tomorrow and the first lecture on Friday are on ADAPS. Luckily, there's very little chance we'll need to actually deal with most of this, as Georgia splits database administrator duties and there's a surface-water guy who deals with it. A little cross-training is good, but I don't think I need to go learn how to process surface-water records, then take this again so I can really understand it.

Time for the group dinner....must go see if the snow has stopped.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Feb. 1st, 2008 06:53 am (UTC)
Really thrilled for y'all that you're getting RAIN at home! Just wish I could sent some of this snow.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Nancy Barber

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