Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Bad, the Good

The first thing on my list this morning was, not surprisingly, food. When one leaves town for a month, the refrigerator will not be very welcoming. And from this standpoint, I don't recommend returning to the Czech Republic on a weekend. Groceries are harder to come by.
On the other hand, I knew that the big grocery store at Nový Smíchov (formerly Carrefour, now Tesco... I had meant to note this rather undesirable change back in September) would be open. I don't know its hours, but they are open as early on Sundays as I have ever been able to drag myself there. I also knew that Káva Káva Káva would be open pretty early, although it turns out that 9:00 is the Sunday opening hour. This merely meant I bought the groceries first.
Once ensconced at Káva Káva Káva, I discovered that what I had imagined to be a mere indexing glitch in my sacred bibliographic database was a serious data problem. It had clearly come into existence a few days ago when I opened up the database file in Nota Bene in order to remove an errant code.
How I had managed to corrupt the file may remain a mystery. One always does need to exercise great care in opening database files via the word processor, but I had done this sort of thing before without causing any damage. This time, a long string of records subsequent to the edited record appeared to have been chewed up by electronic wolves. Or perhaps some young electronic rabbits had nibbled them selectively, preferring the tender young record numbers and book titles.
For some reason I had not done a backup just prior to wreaking my havoc. And, for some reason, when I had checked to see that the record I had edited had turned out all right, I failed to notice that those after it were all messed up.
I was already feeling unhappy at leaving behind the Spotted Pair and other mammals of whom I am fond, and this discovery did not improve my breakfast mood. I could see that a serious amount of labor might be involved in fixing this problem, and that it could not really be done in a café.
Instead, I went home and went back to bed, where I proceeded to sleep all afternoon despite having slept all night.
After agonizing a good deal and spending a lot of time examining the files, I managed to download uncorrupted versions from the online backup service I have been testing out lately. Some work will still be necessary to update the older files, but at least there is nothing visibly wrong with them.
I can now recommend for both ease of use and reliability. You can back up 2GB free, or pay to back up more. Referrals will also get you (or me) additional free gigs. So far I've only been backing up relatively small files like the dissertation and my email, not images. Basically, you choose which files or folders you wish to back up on the service.
The first upload does take ages, but subsequent ones (being much smaller) are pretty fast. I was mildly skeptical that I could really just restore what I wanted and not everything, but Mozy allowed me to restore precisely the files I wanted, quickly and easily.
Give it a try!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad that all ended well. I will confess that my stomach seized up when I read the words data and corruption so close together. AYIEEEE!!!

January 22, 2007 3:33 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Well, one should always have backups. Not being technically obsessive-compulsive, I don't ever have quite ideal backups, but there have been few data losses in my life that were truly appalling.

And now it's time to plug in that external hard drive I brought back from California and back up all those photos!

January 22, 2007 8:24 AM  

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