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Inventor's Notes on Paradigm Shock
No easy path

Lets start with, "Who is Randall Nelson, the creator of MPbase?" I am a computer speed freak. I am someone who has made a career out of making systems run faster. Someone who at one time or another has been a DBA (database administrator) for most commercial DBMSs: M204, IMS, DB2, Oracle, Sybase, IDMS… Someone who has both worked on and administrated a wide number of different systems. Everything from IBM mainframes to standalone imbedded systems code on a 4.77MHz XT. Operating systems including: MVS, DOS/VSE, VM/CMS, UNIX, CPM, DOS, Windows…

Many years ago I had an eye-opening experience that started me down a different road. At the time I was the DBA for an IMS database. We had just converted an AR ledger from punch cards to an IMS database. It took several hours to run the AR ledger total. I took this total to the head filing clerk to verify.

I assumed it would take days to duplicate what the computer had done in hours. So, I started to walk away. As I turned she said "Wait a minute and I will check this for you." I almost fell off my feet. I watched as she used some files, a set of 3x5 cards and an adding machine to produce the same number in minutes not hours, much less days!?!?!?

Up until this point, I had been convinced that the computer was the fastest way to handle information. There was no way to do this kind of work using files and paper. I realized just how little I knew about working smart, not hard. It took over 20 years to fully develop the computerized form of that "minutes not hours" information handling system. This resulted in MPbase a "seconds not hours" information handling system.

What you are about to read (or just read), sounds like overstuffed marketing hype. This is the result of a paradigm shift "catch 22." If you explain a new paradigm using the old rules and assumptions you will prove yourself wrong. If you explain using the new rules and assumptions you sound like a babbling idiot. Having said that, let's try an example.

Let's try to explain a gang (linked set) of six diesel locomotives to someone who thinks only in terms of steam engines. Under the old rules this is simply six engines used together to pull a single train. For someone working in the old paradigm there are several issues why this will not work. Issue #1, you could never balance the steam pressure. Issue #2, there is no possible way to keep several sets of controls in sink. Therefore this can not work. Two engines maybe, but six no way.

Under the new rules the old issues do not make sense. With the new rules, several engines provide power to lots of little motors. This means that whether the engines and motors are in one physical locomotive or several is not relevant. From the steam point of view this is utter nonsense.

The more knowledge one has the harder it is to cross the bridge to a new paradigm. I was no exception to this rule. During the years this paradigm was being developed and polished there were several times I had to stop and re-convince myself of its validity. There were times during testing when I would look at what I had running and decide that what I was seeing just could not be. Each time I had to devise some way to prove to myself that I was not nuts. Here is one example:

At one point during an early test, I just stopped believing what the system could do. The only solution was to spend over 4 hours single-stepping the code to convince myself that it was really looking at every single row it claimed to. This was logically a waste of time, as counts and extracts precisely matched the results derived from the flat files used to load the system. Adds, deletes, and changes were correctly reflected in the output.

In short, I knew what it was doing. I would not believe what it was doing. I had all the needed proof, but I still could not except the results. This was my personal version of "I will see it, when I believe it."

I would ask you to suspend your disbelief long enough to allow yourself to get past the proof and on to the belief. I do have a running demo that I will show to anyone. If you are shown the demo, I would like you to be able to see it.

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