Home / Misc / MacGyver?

Who the heck is MacGyver? Television program you say? Hang on. I need to visit

Oh, the late eighties… Yeah, I wasn’t watching TV in the late eighties. Actually I didn’t own a TV in the late eighties. But reading a few of the plot lines (you guys watched this?) I get the idea.

Nuts. I don’t think I’m MacGyver. Can’t we just buy something to fix the problem?

Honestly, the only thing that comes to mind was the time when I needed to get alerts when jobs failed, but I couldn’t install DBMail on the server because our admin types didn’t want mail clients on our machines. What to do? Use event forwarding. Instead of setting up the mail client on a server, I got it installed on a different machine, then forwarded events to it and let it take care of sending emails. Yeah, I know, almost as exciting as a MacGyver episode (based on reading a couple of synopsis’, synopsi, whatever).

So, I don’t have a good MacGyver story. But, what I do have is a ready set of skills, just in case I need to be MacGyver. What skills you may ask? Let me ask you, do you run backups from TSQL or from Management Studio. I don’t mean every time, but most of the time. For that matter, how much do you run CREATE or ALTER or DROP through the TSQL window and how much do you know the right-click pop-up menu of most of the database objects by heart? If you’re only using the SSMS window to administer your databases, then your MacGyver skills are going to be missing when the time comes to put them to work. I came into the database world through programming. My skills are rusty, almost to the point of immobility, but I can actually write functional (mostly) C# code and I’m working on my PowerShell skills. Is the only language you know T-SQL? Best get started on, at least, PowerShell so when your MacGyver moment comes along, you’ll be ready. Slightly harder to measure, but are you open to new ideas, especially if they seem a bit crazy or weird or MacGyverish? Assuming we’re not putting our production data at risk, I’ll try any scheme or methodology you want to take a swing at. I’ve done Agile, SCRUM, Feature-Driven Development, Test Driven Development, all on the database. I’m willing to try things. I call it being a bit of a cowboy, but you could call it being a little bit MacGyver (and I will in this case, just to keep with the theme). In addition to all this, I read, a lot, and study, a lot, to try to learn new things and keep my brain facile (as much as possible). Do you have twenty years of experience or one year of experience repeated twenty times?

There’s a self-help saying, control the mind and the body will follow (in Kenpo, we say control the head and the body will follow, same thing, just outwardly directed). You can’t be MacGyver if you don’t have that MacGyver mind-set and the skills it takes to use it. So, while I’m waiting for my great MacGyver story, I’ll keep practicing my skills.

Tagging… I’m going with the one person that I suspect may have never seen the show before, Gail Shaw.


  • scarydba

    Thinking about it further, I actually do have a good MacGyver story, but it’s so far in the past… let’s just say it involved screen scraping, the windows API and a slide generation program from the dark ages before everythin had a scripting language. Oh, and we were running on Windows 3.1

OK, fine, but what do you think?