Recovering from Disaster
Okay, how many of you actually backup your data? It's one of those things you're expected by society to handle dutifully, like hitting 'save' every few minutes and brushing after every meal. But not many people actually brush after every meal. Fewer still regularly save their work -- a real risk when they decide to print. And if you're like me, you haven't backed up your data since 1986.
Yep, that's the last time I backed anything up. You see, I had a corrupted disk on my first Amiga once, and I ran out and bought this really cool program called "Quarterback Tools." It went in and cleaned up the trouble very nicely. Oh, I made a show after that of backing up everything I worked on, but the next time I had trouble, my hand instinctively reached for QT and I never needed the backups. Over time, as my files migrated from floppies to a small hard drive, then a larger one, then a bigger one, then the one in my current A4000T, I realized that the combination of disk salvage programs and the robust nature of file storage on the Amiga combined to make file loss an unknown experience to me. Damn I love Amigas!
Enter Linux! Not only does it have a bizarre arrangement of config files scattered in what to an untrained eye appears to be myriad, unrelated directories, but it is also extremely intolerant of fools who rush in to upgrade portions of the operating system without reading the docs and coordinating the upgrade carefully. So Tuesday night, as I was upgrading the browser and adding software to my Windows laptop, I decided to make a similar, generous contribution to my Linux server -- the very one that serves this Website and allows my beloved wife to browse the internet. I did this in the lazy hope that it would help clean up some of the minor glitches and error reports that had been accumulating. Odd little problems that I should have paid greater attention to.
Strangely, the upgrade locked up before it was completed. Undeterred, I repeated my demands. Again, the upgrade process froze. Figuring I was dealing with a glitchy GUI, I shut down X Windows and tried to drop back into a command prompt. That's when the enormity of my screw-up struck me. For within a few moments, I realized that I had compounded error with stupidity and managed to not only corrupt my OS, but hose my hard drive and blow away all my partitions. Becky, no longer able to surf the Web and curious about the strange mewling noises I was making, turned to face me and help out, but I was in a panic. When my recovery efforts insisted that I no longer had the filesystems my Website and databases were stored on...well, let's just say I have little recollection of the next few hours.
Fortunately, Linux is a fairly resilient OS, and as you can see, I should have most of the site back up. I'm still tinkering with the settings to restore some lost functions, but those are trivial in comparison to the amount of data I did recover. In another few days, not only will those functions be restored, but so will additional capabilities that I disabled or passed over as I was building my server. In the end, the environment will be better for having weathered this storm.
Even if my nerves are now all shot to Hell and my wife is still looking at me strangely.
Happy New Year, Century, and Millennium!