A friend suggested recently that I use Google Maps to get the directions from New York to London; amusingly, Step 24 read “Swim across the Atlantic”. It’s a good thing that I haven’t yet tried anything quite as silly with my car’s GPS or my car would have been in the Atlantic months ago. It seems that whenever I engage a GPS I disengage my brain. Last year a couple of my Actian colleagues and I were taking a journalist to dinner during the Red Hat Summit and I followed the car’s NeverLost the wrong way onto a freeway ramp almost killing the four of us and frightening the Actian PR team to death. The reason I’m recounting this story is that we’re currently working with a University on a research project to automate Actian administration and maintenance. My fear is that by providing the tools to administer Actian automatically, or to guide a DBA through a recommended set of administration tasks, could result in similar absurd behavior with folks relying on the tools and not using their common sense. There are certain maintenance tasks that fall into the “no brainer” category and these are easily automated, but the automation of more complex tasks, which would pay big dividends, will give me no end of sleepless nights. It’s still a research project and I’m quite looking forward to discussions around this project, and if you’ve got any thoughts or want to provide input then drop me a line.