What makes us what we are? Is it what we do? Is it what we know? Maybe it is what we remember we've done. Whatever it is that makes us "us", we lose some of it when we can't recall it. Perhaps it is one of the reasons why we spend so much effort organizing, compiling, and categorizing our things, our experiences, and our to-do lists.
Some people are lucky in that they can remember things they see, read, and/or hear. Others can train themselves to do these things. Some collect massive databases and "mine" them for information, for an advantage, or for insight. When personal computers first came on to the scene, one of oft-touted uses was that it would help us organize recipes. We personally don't know anyone who uses it for that purpose, but databases did turn out to be enormously useful for organizing contacts, music, and digital photos.
For readers who want to have a better understanding of what a database is and how database management systems (DBMS) work, we would recommend a fun, easy to digest intro guide from the No Starch Press Manga series. For those who want to get their feet "wet" in making useful databases, we would suggest giving Filemaker's Bento2 a look. The Bento2 approach and mental model for creating databases will be familiar to anyone who has put together an iTunes music library.
With software like Filemaker's Bento2, one does not have to be an expert in the mechanics of good database design to build personal and powerful databases. Now that Bento2 is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, we can create and use databases in ways not possible before. We will be exploring the power of Bento2 on the Mac and the iPod Touch all Summer. We'll report back in the Fall on what we were able to do with Bento2. Readers interested in trying Bento2 now can go to the Filemaker site and download a trial version for free. If you discover an "out-of-the-box" use for Bento2, drop us a line. If we like it, we will be happy to share it with other RainyDayMagazine readers, give you credit, and send you something fun for sharing. [Permalink] - Personal Databases