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Weather only thing that's hot. by Leah Jean
Sorry I haven't had much to say either but the only hot times to be had around here is the weather. And that is finally coming to a temporary end. A lot of us are hoping anyway. It has actually been in the 90s around here a few times with high humidity so I haven't wanted to go outside too much.

But work was rather different. I just recently experienced a "cascade effect" or what could be called a compounded Murphy's Law.

The start: Crash! Bang! Boom!
My computer went belly-up. It got me real worried because I was in the process of cleaning up my hard drive (previous owner had left a bunch of junk files on it). But the computer all of a sudden rebooted and locked up! Well, I was sweating a little because I thought that I had erased something I shouldn't have! I had to put in a request to get my computer checked out. The only problem was that it took about 5 working days for a systems administrator (SA - someone who handles computer problems) to get around to it. And when he finally showed up, he told me that a defective computer card had crashed. Geez, at least it wasn't me. So he replaced the card and everything was fine ... on that end.

Cascade #1 Ooooops!
But ... while my computer was toast, I had to work on another computer. I couldn't access the file I had currently been working on because it was on my own computer's "hard drive". [NOTE: Most business computers are networked together and files and software are kept on centralized "server" computers that can be accessed by a lot of people at one time. SAs rig these servers to do periodic copies or back-ups of files. This is generally safer than storing information on your own computer's hard drive.] So to fill the time until I could get back on my own computer and access that specific file, I copied a work file (stored on a server) and started running some tests. But I accidentally used an original file and partially erased it. Major oooops!

Cascade #2. When a file is not a file.
So then I started looking into getting a back-up file to replace the damaged file. [Remember SAs are supposed to rig servers to backed-up files for just such an emergency.] Well, I came to find out ... after being passed thru several SAs ... that the data files for my work were not retrievable. It wasn't a question of whether the files were backed up or not. Apparently the "file" was on the wrong server and that server did not have the means to retrieve the "file". I came to find out that what appeared to be a "file" was actually a composition from several files linked togeather: a database. In otherwords, my "file" was created from information pulled from several files. So the help desk people couldn't just retrieve a "file" for me without special software to put all the info togeather. Sigh.

Cascade #3. File problem? Hah! We've got a database problem!
But on top of that the SAs finally figured out that my group's database was on the TOTALLY wrong server! Those types of databases should have been moved over to another server several months ago! Our group wasn't even supposed to have any kind of data on that server! Which means that our data could have been erased or corrupted without our knowledge by another group! Yikes! So then the SAs had to go thru quite a rigamaroll to get the data transferred to the proper server. And my boss put me in charge of seeing that the mess got straightened out because most of the data in that database I'd personally created! Ugh.

So some of us were kinda sweatin' for about a week until the SAs finally figured out (and had the time to) transfer the database. I did have to spend some time copying off the data into regular text files in case the database got lost or damaged some how. [That would not have been any fun at all to rebuild all that!] And needless to say, this put more of a crimp in my working ability. But that didn't matter a whole lot because I was busy floating e-mails back and forth and handling telephone calls trying to keep people informed and answering questions from SAs. Not to mention I was also trying to handle getting my own private computer fixed in the meanwhile.

Well, let me summarize:
The start. My computer went belly-up.

Cascade #1. Because I didn't have much to do while my computer was toasted, I started testing something and accidentally damaged a data file.

Cascade #2. Tried to get a back-up file to replace the damaged one. Found out that it wasn't just "a file" and the server that the data was on couldn't provide a back-up.

Cascade #3. In the process of trying to get a back-up "file", the help desk people discovered that the whole database was on the wrong server. So it had to be transferred over to another server.

Have I lost everyone yet?

Anyway, bottom line:
Got my computer fixed. Yahoo!
Had to personally rebuild the "damaged file" which was a pain in the tush.
Got put in charge of overseeing a database transfer. Fortunately it was successful! Sigh.

Morals of the story. ;-)
Sometimes screwing something up ain't your fault. [But that doesn't help your blood pressure.]
Sometimes screwing something up can lead to a good result. [But it still ain't fun!]

There were actually 2 more "cascades" in this series, but they are a little more complicated to explain. And my fingers are already sore from all the recenting extra typing at work.



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