Paul Strauss

Information Management Applications

MS AccessMS ExcelWeb SitesMySQL

SPECIALIZATIONS

• MS Access

I've been a software professional for about 40 years — that is, I have been writing computer programs (software) that long. My career has been focused solely on the creation of software applications. I consider myself to be an expert at database/information management systems using MS Access to implement those systems. I have been writing software applications in MS Access for about 20 years. This includes using VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), the language that is used in every significant MS Access application and that gives MS Access so much robustness, reliability, and power. (Read more about MS Access and VBA here)

• MS Excel

I have been able to leverage my knowledge of VBA used in MS Access into MS Excel programming. I can therefore create spreadsheets that have features and capabilities that go far beyond what most people think is possible to do in a spreadsheet. (Read more about Excel here)

• MySQL

I have been using MySQL for well over 10 years. MySQL is that part of a database or information management system that handles the storage and retrieval of all of the data. MySQL is a very capable, industrial-strength product. It can be used with MS Access when the amount of data or the number of simultaneous users is too large for the native data storage and retrieval capabilities of MS Access. While you may not have heard of MySQL, you have probably used it — many of the world's web sites use MySQL for things like shopping carts, product catalogs, and any other data storage and retrieval needs that a web site might have. In situations where you need to have several persons simultaneously running your application, from possibly different physical locations, my innovative solution to this problem is to store your data in a MySQL database running on a web site. By placing your data out on the Web, or "in the cloud" , anyone with the application installed on their computer and an Internet connection can run your application. Furthermore, applications where the data is in the cloud run nearly as fast as if the data was residing on your desktop. (Read more about MySQL here)

• Web Sites

I have been writing web sites for about 10 years. This site is an example of my work. My strengths with respect to web sites are those areas that employ my programming skills. When you fill out a form and then click on the "Submit" button, the button click causes one or two programs to be run. Often, the first program is run in your browser (e.g. Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, etc. are some common browser programs). The language used for these browser-based programs are written in JavaScript. I consider myself to be an expert in JavaScript. The second program that is always run when you click the "Submit" button is located and runs on the web server. That program is often written in PHP or Perl, and other languages may also be used. I am also skilled in PHP and Perl.
The state-of-the-art for web sites has advanced considerably over the last few years. You may not be aware of just how sophisticated, capable, and full-featured a web site can be but you probably have taken advantage of this sophistication. For example, think about your Internet e-mail. You may use GMail, or Yahoo, or some other Internet e-mail service. It takes quite a bit of sophistication to create such a site. However, such sophistication and features are not the exclusive domain of those big-name services. I can create a web site for you with a similar level of sophistication and a full set of features. In fact, I use the same tools that Yahoo uses to create its own sites.
Just about any program that can be written as a desktop program can be done as a web site. Some advantages to doing an application as a web site rather than a desktop application are 1) you can immediately run the application on any computer connected to the Internet; 2) you don't have to buy any software (no license fee of any kind) or install any software (as long as you have a modern browser); 3) you don't have to worry about updating the software on each desktop; 4) you can run the application on as many computers as you want and from any physical location; 5) your data is immediately accessible and sharable for every user. The biggest disadvantage of writing an application as web site rather than an MS Access desktop application is cost. MS Access is designed to be a rapid-development environment and since there are no comparable tools or platforms for web development, the application may cost more as a web site.

OTHER EXPERIENCE and QUALIFICATIONS

Over my 40-year career, I've had a chance to do many kinds of programming. A great deal of my experience has been very atypical. For about the first 20 years, I was a "Scientific Programmer" which simply means that I did other things besides financial and accounting systems. During the later half of my career, I have done financial and accounting programming, so I have a very unique and wide range of experience. The work noted below was done sometimes as a direct employee and sometimes as a contractor for whom I worked.
My first job in 1975 was at the Naval Research Laboratories in Washington, D.C. where I worked on a computer program that emulated other computers. This program could be used, fro example, to make a Windows PC run any program written for a MAC, including the MAC OS. We worked closely with professors at several universities and with researchers at other Navy sites. We communicated with each other on computers connected to a communications network called the ARPANET. The ARPANET eventually grew into something we are all very familiar with — the Internet! Neither I or anyone else had any idea at the time that we were there at the beginning of an era.
Another famous project I worked on early in my career was the Hubble Space Telescope located on the campus of Johns Hopkins University. I did some analysis in order to determine how much computing power and time it would take to find suitable stars, throughout the entire sky, that could be used to point the telescope.
When at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Columbia, MD I wrote a program to unscramble data from test firings of missiles from Trident submarines. The data had to be scrambled to keep the Russians (there was still a Cold War going on in those days) from understanding the missile telemetry data.
I also worked on the instructor's station software for a C-141 pilot trainer and some of the emulation software for a B-52 gunner station.
I spent about 18 months designing and leading the implementation of a program that would display data streaming down from scientific satellites in real-time at NASA in Greenbelt, MD. One interesting thing about this project is that one of its main goals was to display the data using the (then) state-of-the-art color displays.
I did some specialized operating system software for the Indian Point and the Houston Lighting and Power Nuclear Power Plant Simulators which are used to train the plant operators.
I worked at Unites States Postal System (USPS) on two different occasions. The first time, I worked on software to sort bags of mail destined for a different cities and to find the next commercial airline flight that could take the mail to those city. Another time, I worked on project whose aim was to study the volume of mail a carrier could deliver in a day, taking into account anything that could conceivably effect how long it would take to walk a route.