* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

GitLab.com melts down after wrong directory deleted, backups fail

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: They at least have a backup backup strategy

"In that all the GitHub users will probably have local copies of their content they can helpfully send back to GitHub."

This was GitLab.

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Re: Pray tell, how else would you have us delete a directory?

"Quite apart from that I've written my own 'del' command using 'mv' instead of 'rm' for use at the command line."

I've had an accident with mv and managed to move /bin further down the hierarchy. It should have been possible to recover by booting from the distribution disks but the vendor had omitted the driver disk for the SCSI controller. It was the following afternoon when the controller vendor finally emailed us a driver.

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Re: Babkup Audit

Upvoted but...


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Re: Backup is hard. Doesn't mean it should be ignored.

"t turned out that referential integrity is important. Who knew? Backing up files while they were in use, then trying to use the restored backup caused all sorts of problems. This was before the days of journalling file systems and snapshots."

Don't roll your own encryption and don't roll your own database.

This was a solved problem years ago without depending on journalling file systems and snapshots. Use a proper database engine that does this for you.

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Re: And this is why...

"I actually check my backups on a regular basis, even when I don't need them."

That's the thing about backups. You hope you never need them.

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"The one who knows the hard questions, and will ask them."

You can get fired for asking questions like that. Not a team player.

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Re: So I'm having....

"Really? You're deriving pleasure out of seeing this failure? How very cold-hearted of you."

Maybe he works for Github?

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Re: So I'm having....

"In fact, you better have a complete spare system to test you can make everything working with the backup."

As per another post, a DR contract can give you rights to run practice drills. That's your test opportunity.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"That said, the first ever from-the-metal-upwards restore test I did was the single most nerve-wracking thing I've done in my career"

I've worked in two places where we had DR contracts including rights to run practice restores. They can be learning experiences, especially the first one. /etc was the last directory on the last dump tape. We had to sit twiddling thumbs waiting to get a system we could log into & then ran out of time before we had a restored system. It ensured the dumps were better organised for the next pass.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"How many of you could suffer multiple failures and still be able to do a same day recovery?"

Wrong question.

How many of you could have five non-functioning backup mechanisms and not be aware that none of them worked because you hadn't tested them?

Let's replace Ethernet with infrared light bouncing off mirrors!

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Problem diagnosis simplified

"You're going to try it when you get home, or you might be searching for a remote control right now."

Not really. I've been using that trick for years.

Twinkle, twinkle, little LED/How I wonder if you're dead.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: History repeating itself

"So if your PHB reads about this you can truthfully tell him that you already have the gear to test the idea!"

But maybe not the Centronics ports (younger readers will be puzzling already).

Parliamentary Trump-off? Pro-Donald petition passes 100k signatures

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Re: Naivety... cute, perhaps even endearing from a preteen.

"Who puts '.' in abbreviations such as UK these days? More an older person or an American thing?"

More likely a younger person - or auto-correct.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: When the resistance tunrs out to be the Empire...

"These guys are so funny lol! The Queen "embarrassed" What a joke. The queen does not embarrass - that is the point of the Queen."

This guy seems to disagree with you: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38805196

Of course he's only an expert so doesn't know as much as you.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: nice!

"Teresa Dismay has already invited Trumplethinskin to come and see what he's buying."

I think the prime purpose is actually to embarrass her for her naivety rather than preventing Trump embarrassing the Queen.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"We should have a third petition asking for Brian Blessed to be invited to the event."

And recite Ozymandias; that's what that wall puts me in mind of.


My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away."

That should be read at the ceremony appointing any political leader.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"It also could be somebody sitting on their bed in the White House that weighs 400 pounds, OK"

I thought the White House would have weighed more than that.

NHS reply-all meltdown swamped system with half a billion emails

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Re: why the witch-hunt?

"The real solution is to educate users that when they get a message that is not for them, they either delete it or they reply directly."

It was pointed out in an earlier comment that the users only saw a single email address to which they replied directly. It wasn't their fault, however well educated, that that one address was expanded by the system into a list of everybody.

Trump hits control-Z on cybersecurity order: No reason given for delay

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Re: Is it possible...

"Ready, Fire, Aim"

That seems over elaborate. Wasn't it just "Fire" - and then "Fire again" for the AG?

'Grey technology' should be the new black

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Re: Twice rejected.... What's so wrong with this post reg team?????

Were you trying to wrap those URLs as full-on HTML links? I don't think you're allowed HTML A/C.

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"Some products such as full screen readers are very complex products which are expensive develop and keep up to date with every change to the underlying operating system"

So have the OS provide a consistent interface for it.

Consistency: that's what interfaces are for, as per my previous comment.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Android vs age

I have heard that an auto manufacturer (Ford?) had an "Old Suit". Young, svelte designers were made to ware it during development.


Various specs to blur and restrict vision

I'd like to borrow that as punishment for whatever eejits specify the horrible plastic bags supermarkets provide for self-service veg. etc.

BTW, add thick gloves to the spec.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Thank you for a thoughtful article

"Some of us have been writing Fortran for over 50 years!"

In all sorts of languages.

Mines the one with box of cards in the pocket.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Current pet peeves:

"Remember the GUI paradigm was developed by some very wise people in the 60's and 70's."

Remember also that the concept of separation between interface and implementation was also developed by some very wise people at that time.

The thinking was that if needed the implementation could change whilst the interface remained consistent so that users didn't have to adapt to a new implementation. The whole concept was functional.

Consistency is a functional requirement of an interface.

Unfortunately it seems we have software put together by numpties who still wouldn't recognise a functional requirement if it reared up and bit them in the arse - as it's quite likely to do eventually if ignored.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Current pet peeves:

Just a single comment on Javascript: use a lot less less of it!

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Re: It's not all about the buttons...

"Stupid GUI and scroll bars on Firefox needing two plugins to nearly fix. Stupid GUI changes on Thunderbird"

Kill two birds with one stone. Install Seamonkey.

Human memory, or the lack of it, is the biggest security bug on the 'net

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

with the aid of a very nice bottle of Ardbeg scotch.

“Passhword reushe, it’s the worsh proble on the inter in thing”

'Treat your developers like creative workers – or watch them leave'

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"I just want a job that:"

You want freelancing.

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Re: Managed Creativity

"They said that it was only possible because they had already spent many years in previous developments"

Yup. And then the advice that comes from those many years gets ignored.

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Re: A pain for sysadmin

"Don't let me get started on letting dev's become sys-devs."

Back in the day we were the (very small) Unix/DB team. Design, develop and manage. That way you didn't develop what you couldn't run and you understood the application level consequences of what you did as an administrator.

Yes, it harks back to the idea that if you were a Unix user you were a C programmer. It might have its downside but has the situation where you had to write a stack of documents to have the system guys release a slab of storage space for the DBAs to add as a chunk to the database engine, a process that seemed to occupy most of the 4 weeks I spent as holiday cover there.

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Maybe it's time to revive an old job title, analyst/programmer, and the accompanying methodology, JDI.

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Re: Managed Creativity

"only coding for what is currently required"

Not necessarily a good idea. I've been effectively instructed to code myself into a corner with that approach.

I then watched them having to hack database and code every time a new requirement was added. In the meantime I'd set up the next project which started off by chucking out all the "currently required" code of the first project and replacing it with an open-ended approach that took new requirements in its stride - including being re-used in the project after that.

However, have an upvote for the rest of the post.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Agile makes us cogs

"A recent Computing survey"

There's your problem, right there.

Free smart fridges! App stores in fountains! Plus more from Canonical man

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Re: It worked for phones.

"It just turned out that a hand-held portable device like a phone is a good candidate for a general-purpose handheld computing platform. ... Somebody has to see stars or else we're all just looking down at the sidewalk."

Too many people are doing neither, they're just looking at their general-purpose handheld computing platforms.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Wishfull thinking

"Otherwise we are going to end up in the 18th C. tech wise, without any working white goods."

It'll be OK. There'll be a thriving cottage industry doing up old, dumb kit to run another 20 years and reselling it.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Can we have a strait jacket for this guy?"

I suppose that if you're appointed as IoT VP you've got to believe stuff like this, otherwise you're heading for a nervous breakdown. Corollary: never believe anything a bloke with a job title like that says.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

All your pizzas are ours

Here's one I made earlier, it seems appropriate to repeat it here:

"Your freezer has just been switched to defrost and all the controls disabled for 24 hours.

Normal operation will be restored on payment of {$CURRENCY UNITS}25. We think you'll find this represents good value for money as our estimate of the value of the freezer's current contents is at least 4 times this.

You can use the following link to make your payment."

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Re: Welcome to our new Fridge Overlords

"Naturally that fridge will be made in America and require servicing at twice the frequency of similar models built in Korea and Germany."

Servicing? I can't remember how long ago we bought our fridge except it's >15 years ago and probably much older. It's never heeded servicing. But it's dumb.

Nevertheless it's a Unix fridge: do one thing and do it well. Buying food and keeping it cool are two different things. My fridge does the latter.

Trump's visa plan leaks: American techies first

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Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

Thus the "we need more scientists" waffle we hear in the press every year.

That actually translates to "we want more scientists". The more who are trained the easer it is to keep the pay rates down. It was just as true 50+ years ago.

We don't want to alarm you, but PostScript makes your printer an attack vector

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"if you've made your printer internet-facing, the whole purpose of that is to allow cross-site printing"

or you simply didn't know any better.

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"some of the older models you had to do special key presses to actually turn the wifi off"

Owner of old HP printer here. What's this wifi of which you write?

God save the Queen... from Donald Trump. So say 1 million Britons

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"He shows signs of being a tin that actually contains what it said on the outside before it got elected.

Something very rare and wonderful in politics."

Rare, yes. Maybe not wonderful. Once they get elected most politicians realise they have to start acting rationally and responsibly. It's just that that seems to have gone out of fashion in the last year or so.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Still climbing

"Tony Blair and Parliament didn't take any notice of them either."

Maybe they'd have been wiser to have done so.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Why can't we have a prime minister, just as we have now, without the Royal barnacles clinging to the hull weighing us down?"

There are two distinct roles, head of government and head of state. We keep them separate. The US doesn't. I'm surprised at that. At the time of the revolting colonials we'd already separated them. I find it odd that the US should, in the name of democracy, have devised a system that doesn't. They have checks and balances in that the legislative body can counter the head of govt & state. However, as far as I've seen, the most they can do is impose paralysis in most circumstances with impeachment as the only option. We have a situation whereby Parliament can, by a vote of confidence, provoke a general election and, less drastically, the cabinet (senior members of the majority party, which largely amounts to the same thing) can effectively remove the head of government.

We certainly don't have, as May has discovered, an equivalent of the Executive Order.

And having removed the monarch from active politics we have a non-political head of state which I think is a good thing although it's certainly cruel and unusual punishment to put anyone in the position of having to soldier on with no chance of retirement.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Signing Internet petitions is the 21st century equivalent of shouting at the telly."

One is a public action and the other is private. If you can't tell the difference you need to be very careful about what you do where.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

Re: Special relationship? My ass.

"Remember, she was an avid Remainer under Cameron till June last year."

Avid? As far as I could see she was the least amount of of Remainer she could be consistent with her retaining her job after the expected result. The EU was nothing more to her than a stone in her kitten heels as a Home Sec.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"not that I see the royals as anything other than bloodsuckers"

So what sort of head of state would you prefer? The sort of product of the sort of process we've see in the US?

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"What about the rest of the population? Where is THEIR petition?"

There isn't one supporting the invitation. What does that tell you?

Has President Trump’s executive order on 'Public Safety' killed off Privacy Shield?

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"it was Obama's administration that came up with the list"

It's been pointed out that the list is of the predominantly Muslim countries in which Trump doesn't do business. Are you suggesting that this was a carefully laid ethics trap & they fell into it?

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

I doubt that the Redress Act was ever anything more than a figleaf. However if the Exec Order focuses attention on the whole sorry mess so much the better.

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