Hi David (Ringer),
Thank you for your very well presented response to some of the knee-jerk
reactions to Duncan Fraser's considerate and thoughtful (as usual) advice as
to the availability of Birdstack.
I think you have answered in a most diplomatic and considered way most, if
not all, of the concerns that some people had expressed even before they had
taken the time to have a look at the product and, indeed, even before they
had apparently found out what it actually is.
The style and poise inherent in your words belie the fact of your youth. Or
perhaps you have not yet had time to encounter enough of the naysayers of
this world to engender in your psyche the bitterness towards some of our
fellow human beings which many of us old codgers have?!
I must admit that I am not a great fan of electronic bird-record data bases
due to the problems I had some years ago with a well known Australian
application. The total failure of that program and its inability to cope
with an upgrade of my PC meant the complete loss of all of the records I had
entered over a reasonable period of time. I still had the hard copies but I
was (and continue to be) reluctant to "waste" endless hours re-entering
those records into a data-base which, based on previous experience, was
likely to fail again. Also, as I had experienced a lot of trouble actually
working out how to use the program, and it did not appear to allow me to do
what I wanted to do (to simply record, associate and recall) I had no desire
to go to an upgraded version of that program.
Along with the feeling that those personal records are of little real
scientific value because I was simply noting what I had seen and where (no
specific details of numbers, ages, sexes, plumages, breeding, geography,
weather, time etc) I did not bother to investigate other data-bases to see
if there was anything better than the one I had been using. Nowadays, I
don't even record what birds I see as I am only really interested in taking
photos and I can usually work out where they were taken when I review them
Thus I have not since that fateful day felt the need for a data-base to
record my sightings.
Time goes on, as my age-ravaged body tells me many times a day (uh! there it
goes again!), and it may be time for me to think again.
I will have a good look at Birdstack.
David, it seems to me that you and your colleagues are open to suggestions
(and are capable of handling un-thoughtful criticism with aplomb) and may
just be able to produce something which will, in time, be definitive.
There may be a number of other data-bases around the ridges but that surely
means that none is perfect. Probably none will ever be perfect but adding
another to the melting pot surely provides birdwatchers with the chance of
finding something which suits THEM!
Good luck with the venture.
Obviously your team has put a lot of thought and time into this project and,
even if only for that, you deserve praise and support rather than invective
and thoughtless dismissal.
Incidentally, if you do visit Australia again (and why wouldn't you?) I am
sure you will receive a much warmer and more genuinely friendly and helpful
reception than you have so far received on Birding-Aus.
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