Want to create a system to manipulate data - need suggestions

I have a project where I am collecting stock prices and other related data.  The goal is to create a system which will :
 - determine the number of new lows and new highs each day.
 - tell me how many stocks in a certain sector / industry / Exchange Traded Fund have risen above or declined below a certain moving average.

There are other things I want the system to do but the above tasks are the most important.

I have been working with vbscript and SQL Server 2000 using a Windows 2000 server.  Windows 2000 server is obsolete.  The system I will build is not going to be for sale.   I don't want to spend money buying a server, buying Windows server 2008 and buying licenses for SQL Server 2008 or whatever the new version is.

I understand PostgreSQL is a reasonably powerful database.  It is also free.  

SQL Server 2000 has tools in it to help create tables, create packages of code which will import from an Excel spreadsheet and perform many functions.  Vbscript can call Access databases.  The code in an Access database can invoke functions which can write and read data from a SQL Server 2000 database.  Access can also create forms which can display data.  It also has a report writer.

I want to stay in the Windows environment.  The operating system of the pc on which my system will run is Windows 7 pro.

q1.)  Where can I find tools which can help me manage a postgreSQL database?

q2.) I need some program to substitute for Access - something which can create screens, allow interaction (click a button and have a data entry screen appear, etc)    What tool would you select for this?  For example, for a casual programmer like me, what features of say Python might be attractive?    Or may be Java is better?  What would you use?

q3.) What software would you use to create reports?
Who is Participating?
oheilConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I would go the following track:

1) windows is fine
2) postgresql for windows also fine (free, mature and powerfull)
3) pgAdmin to manage DB: http://www.pgadmin.org/download/
4) R (http://www.r-project.org/) for data processing
5) Connecting R with postgresql with RPostgreSQL (http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/RPostgreSQL/index.html)

- This is flexible and most powerfull.
- Even huge data sets are feasable easily with R.
- Your solutions will be good for long time in future.
- You are platform independent (everything should be easily portable to Unix/Linux and others.
- Easy reports and graphical visualizations.

- Not well suited for other people, like costumers. For this you need a User interface which is not part of this sketch.
- Some new things to learn (but may be a benefit too)


donpickAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your detailed answer.  

>> For this you need a User interface which is not part of this sketch.<<

I need to be able to enter parameters so I can change the contents of certain fields in some tables. Currently I use Access for this task.  

What would you suggest using as a user interface?
Yes this part is pgAdmin.
With user interface I was referring to real users and not to the developer. The developer, you, uses pgAdmin as GUI to the Database. But, if you have people, which are the users of your system, they do not have a GUI to create a special report or ask the system for summaries and things like that.

But, R has possibilities to create user interfaces too. I say that just for the completeness.

donpickAuthor Commented:
OK, thank you for the info.
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