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“Would you like to hang yourself? (Y/N)”

Friday was the 13th! I didn’t notice this until quite late. Knowing what day it is isn’t a high priority for me.

Anyway, work exploded again. This time it wasn’t my fault; somebody deleted something. It wasn’t a bug, or a glitch; they pressed “delete” and then clicked “yes”, and the code worked perfectly; but it meant quite a bit of digging through backups to find out when they’d done it.
When I designed the database backup system, I made sure they’d always be as recent as possible; it backs up every two hours, over-writing the previous day’s backup as it does so. I’d not considered that people would want old ones. Unfortunately, it had been deleted over a day before anybody noticed and told me, so I couldn’t get it back. Happily the IT guy still had the previous day’s to hand, and it turned out that it had only been deleted on Wednesday morning, so digging around in the long-term backup system wasn’t necessary (for him. I’ve no idea what or where it is!).

Once it was found, it turned out to be rather easy to copy it back as if it had never left. I was worried it wouldn’t let me insert specific IDs in the automatically-incrementing identity fields, but there’s a flag that lets you, so once I’d discovered that it only required some fairly trivial SQL. Phew! That should’ve banked me some brownie points to make up for Tuesday.

Safe to say that delete button was soon put on the hit list. A useful feature in the database would be some kind of “only pretend to delete records” option. I could do it in the software, of course, but it would make writing SQL a bit more of a pain in the arse to take it into account manually (I do this for a few tables, where fields can’t really be deleted for whatever reason), wheras adding it into the database manager itself seems like it would be considerably more straightforward.
Maybe not, and maybe that’s why they don’t. Maybe it’s there and I just don’t know about it. Perhaps they just think… careless end users are somebody else’s problem.

I think it’s the first time I’ve had to restore anything from a backup, though. Usually I just use them to copy the live database to a test database for debugging.

In the evening I went to the gym again. I was running late, again. They let me off the £1 wristband deposit (my pound had been eaten on Wednesday) and, once I’d finished, the (non-)pound-returning contraption didn’t return my pound, again. One of the staff did, though; I thought I’d better ask, as using the “it ate my quid last time” excuse every day would probably wear thin (no matter how true).

It wasn’t the most calorie-burning work-out; I’m still doing more of the weight-lifty things than the aerobic things; I’m still scoffing lots so should probably encourage muscles; but managed a hundred and fifty or so calories on the uphill cross-trainer. And then I jogged home, without any great suffering. So not a bad go, really.

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Posted 19 January 2012 by Colthor in Diary

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