Shop Talk: 2021-10-11

The Recording

The Panelists

  • Kevin Feasel
  • Mala Mahadevan
  • Mike Chrestensen

Notes: Questions and Topics

Pre-Cons at PASS Summit

Registration is open for PASS Data Community Summit. This includes two days of pre-cons as well as three days of conference sessions. The pre-cons are priced at $200 apiece and the main conference is free, so check it out.

ORMs and Stored Procedures

Our first topic of the night related to Object-Relational Mappers (ORMs) and specifically, this post from Erik Darling about when to write a stored procedure to perform some activity versus trying to do it strictly from the ORM. Erik has some interesting thoughts on the topic that are worth your time.

At this point, I agree with something Anders mentioned in chat: ORMs are fine for simple CRUD operations: if I need something which inserts a row into a table and don’t have to worry about things like high concurrency, likelihood of failure on insertion, or multi-table insertions, then the ORM is fine. As the operation becomes more complex, however, ORMs tend to fall apart and that’s where it’s time to have a specialist working on the issue.

Speaking of specialists, I spent a bit of time criticizing full-stack generalists who don’t know the first thing about databases. I don’t expect a generalist to know a deep amount about all topics, but data is important enough that you should take it upon yourself to know enough not to make horrible mistakes.

Right to Repair

The other topic we spent a lot of time on came from the story that Microsoft is embracing right to repair for their hardware. Additional versions of the story from Ars Technica and Paul Thurrott, as well as Louis Rossmann’s take on the matter.

I’m strongly in favor of right to repair, which boils down to a simple concept: make the schematics available, preferably to the general public but at least to independent repair shops. People end up throwing away so many things because some component broke—sometimes, it could be a component as simple as a capacitor on a circuit board. Fixing this may be a $50-100 job, but without having detailed repair documents available, it severely limits the ability of people to make the economical choice, leaving them to purchase something anew.

Definitely check out this segment, as there was a lot of great feedback and discussion from chat. I do want to reiterate one thing that I mentioned along the way: the importance of right to repair is not that it’s a way to make people retain things longer, but rather that it provides more opportunity for people to make the best decisions based on their circumstances. One person may choose to repair an item, another may choose to have a repair shop fix it, and a third person may choose to scrap the item and buy a new one. All three choices are the right choice, but in a world without right to repair, we’re limited in our ability to make them.

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