Time Machine



  • Just a few minutes ago...

    Working for a local newspaper, I developed a bunch of software, controlling and navigating through the process of producing a daily newspaper.

    One part of that is a script, that reads in the daily plan of pages to produce by diff'ing old and new version of a logfile.

    Today it happend, thtat every now and then, the complete daily production came in, while five minutes later the same production was removed from my systems. After this happend about three or four times I dug into the eventlogs and found, that the logs were emptied every some minutes.

    I gave the guy at the department of production a call to send me a correct list. He called around his colleges and found the "bug"...

    His system exports everything to produce up to x (say x=2 as default) days in future. Today beeing December 23rd, some stuff for x=5 has to be exported, since noone would be in to export data during chrismas holidays. For cases like this the original programmer (the guy I called, btw...) provided a formfield, that takes a date as the starting point of x.

    This seemes to be too easy, as the one who exports the lists today had a better idea... he simply changed the systemdate to December 26th, started the export and was happy about the results. Except, that data for December 24th was deleted, as this would be in the past of December 26th, leaving me without my daily plan...



  • Why was old stuff being deleted so soon with no way to recover?



  • @dtfinch said:

    Why was old stuff being deleted so soon with no way to recover?

    It was the layout for the newspaper. Once its printed I can't really see any reason why they'd want to keep it.



  •  At the price of disk space, you'd think they could afford to keep the data of the past week around, just in case of a glitch. Or the data of the past month or year. "Because we don't need it anymore" is not usually the reason a company deletes data...



  •  @Arancaytar said:

     At the price of disk space, you'd think they could afford to keep the data of the past week around, just in case of a glitch. Or the data of the past month or year. "Because we don't need it anymore" is not usually the reason a company deletes data...

    I would venture to guess it's because most newspapers are stored in hardcopy at libraries and the like.  That said though, you'd think they would keep a digital one around anyway.  Or it could be there is a backup system of some such that the OP just doesn't know about, maybe they store articles instead of the whole layout.

    Who cares though, the newspapers are on their way out anyway.  The big one around here, Green Bay Press Gazette, just closed down one of its facilities.  They're down to two now I think, if not one.



  • @Master Chief said:

    print newspapers are on their way out anyway
    FTFY, from my experience.  I figure you were only talking about the print ones anyway, but here goes.

    I talked to a guy who worked for the local paper's website (cincinnati.com) and he told me that due to the website, readership was up but advertising revenue was down. I'm not sure how true that is anymore (this was 2006), but there you go.  



  • @Flatline said:

    @dtfinch said:
    Why was old stuff being deleted so soon with no way to recover?

    It was the layout for the newspaper. Once its printed I can't really see any reason why they'd want to keep it.

    Well, we just found one, didn't we?



  • @belgariontheking said:

    FTFY, from my experience.  I figure you were only talking about the print ones anyway,

     

    Yup, I was.  Should've been more specific. 



  • Well, I should bring some light to that point...

    These files represent the relevant part  of production to external systems.The "internal" part is a system that plans the technical details of said newspaper. Details are e.g.: used colors, name of the page, pagenumber...

     External means: not belonging to the original, central part of the system, e.g. the e-paper version, my controlling system and some other, partly extreme old systems. Exporting text is some concession to the fact, that this planing system is somewhat "closed". Not closed as in "locked", but as in "we do not want others to twiddle around with our databases" (the real wtf is here, but you would have to know the head of this department to realize this 😉 )

    A nice guy, very familiar to this system managed to create some scripts that exports this files. These look like this:

    27.12.08 01:20:00    HG         AL    01    101   1003054    BLACK    27.12.2008    0    F3    0    11247
    27.12.08 01:20:00    HG         AL    01    101   1003055    CYAN    27.12.2008    0    F3    0    11247
    27.12.08 01:20:00    HG         AL    01    101   1003056    MAGENTA    27.12.2008    0    F3    0    11247
    27.12.08 01:20:00    HG         AL    01    101   1003057    YELLOW    27.12.2008    0    F3    0    11247
    27.12.08 01:20:00    HG         AL    02    102   1002322    BLACK    27.12.2008    0    F3    0    11247
    27.12.08 01:20:00    HG         AL    03    103   1002331    BLACK    27.12.2008    0    F3    0    11247

    You see the "magic"... 🙂

    The problem with this is: how does it handle updates to the data in textfiles? Simple answer: it doesn't. All it does is to export a new file, overwriting the old one, while leaving out old data from the past. The importing external systems themselve have to decide, whether data is updated or not, whether data was deleted before printing (and thus has to be deleted) or was left out due to the fact, that it is already printed.

    I assume, this is nothing special. Anyone who worked for companies, where old dinosaur-like systems are still in charge knows stories like this.

    The WTF I see here, is that one man with a cheap client xp could f* up the whole system by just changing his systems clock 🙂




  • @eazy said:

    Just a few minutes ago...Working for a local newspaper, I developed a bunch of software,
    Wow, your fast, can we hire you? 🙂



  •  wtf? oops... :-}



  • @eazy said:

     wtf? oops... :-}

     

    Thanks for the insightful, contributing and humorous post 2 days after the last reply.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.