Learning to Search

I’ve had my own domain for about 17 years now, and about 6 or 7 years I decided to move my email from GoDaddy to Google. There were a variety of reasons, but the bottom line was I got more accounts, more space, for less money. I’ve been happy there, and I even set up accounts for my kids to have their own email.

About a year after I gave my son an email, I went to ask him if he’d seen a particular note from our Scout troop. He opened email and I saw that he had quite a full inbox. He had various newsletters and kid related emails (most unread) as well as a bunch of different messages. As he looked for the email, I asked him why he didn’t delete the old messages that he was ignoring or had already read. His reply surprised me.

He pointed to the left side of the screen, below the list of folders, at a small graph. “See that,” he said, pointing at the percentage of space he’d used. “When that goes above 10%, I’ll worry about deleting things.” It was at 1% at that time, after a year of email.

Not long after that, I read a note from Mark Cuban on email, where he said he didn’t bother to delete emails or move them into folders or anything else. It’s inefficient to worry about this. Instead, he buys space as needed and uses search. I started doing that as well, rarely deleting emails, and counting on search to help me find things. I’m at 5% of my Google allocation after 6 years and if something isn’t on the first page of email, I always use search to find it.

I’ve started to do that elsewhere. Even in databases. I was reminded a few months ago that Redgate Software (my employer) makes SQL Search. Ike Ellis made a short video that shows how he uses SQL Search to find objects in databases rather than wandering through the Object Explorer. Ike is a consultant and runs into lots of databases and can’t remember where every object is in all of them.

I like that, and I find myself starting to use SQL Search because it’s quicker than opening a database, then opening Programmability, then opening Stored Procedures, and scrolling. Search is a couple of clicks and keystrokes, and way faster.

I use search more and more, on my local disks, inside particular websites (you should all know about site: searches on search engines), in Books Online, and in code. Most IDEs make this easy, and trust me, once you start to do this, you’ll never go scrolling around again.

At least not if you want to be efficient.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

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About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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One Response to Learning to Search

  1. rsterbal says:

    I have a philosophical problem with google rather than a technical one. They don’t make a compelling argument about the privacy of a user’s account.

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