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This 34 message thread spans 2 pages: 34 ( [1] 2 > >     
Screw ups you've done
in the spirit of Google's recent blunder

 10:22 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

In the spirit of Google defining 100% all sites on the internet as having been infected with malware, let's hear your biggest screw ups.

I've done a few, but one that sticks in my mind was trying to turn off my computer. I had a console open at a command prompt (I run a linux desktop) and issued the shutdown command. Threw on my coat and went home.

Turns out that I was logged in to my webserver at the time and had shut it down instead of my desktop. IIRC I had to call the datacenter to get it turned back on again.



 10:24 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've also occassionally worked on the guts of a computer with it still plugged in. That one's always good for 'hilarity ensued'. You hear that poof and think "I hope that wasn't the hard drive I just ran 120V through". Except sometimes, it was.


 10:34 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've had a collection of 10k items with a lot of them being very similar. I've built an interface to deactivate those who aren't needed and someone from the company I was consulting at at the time spent hours and hours going through that list and throwing out all those that were already covered by another item.
days after she finished, I've just been out for the happy hour with a friend, so when I came back to the office, let's just say I wasn't at 100%. I don't remember why and how, but I dropped the database all her changes were made in and, after that, reimported an old sql-dump. I didn't realize that for about a week. Didn't have the heart to tell her I wasted all the time she put into that, so I kept my mouth shut ... luckily, before I had to confess, the whole project got canceled and I was without sin ;)


 11:06 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Copying the contents of a database to a new partition and deleting the old one, only to find out that the "copy" command had created links to each object in the old database instead of a fresh copy.

Tape backups are a "Good Thing" TM

@wheel: moved from US to Europe at one point, plugged in my printer in a 220V outlet hoping for the best since I didn't know for sure whether its voltage was auto-switching...

It went "Poof" and the room filled up with a cloud of white smoke! Oops!


 5:34 pm on Feb 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Work related: Last summer I was gathering evidence for a court case involving drugs amongst everything else, processed the court paperwork and submitted to a (civil) court.

Files comeback from the court and I noticed that id enclosed a confidential police memo giving dates for a drugs raid on said property, in error.

Lost a lot sleep on that one, thought I was about to be fired as a result, however the raid went ahead and drugs were found.

Luckly for me the defendants hadnt taken the time to read through the court papers and statements, about 50 pages long.


 6:26 pm on Feb 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Here's one of my favorites. I had been writing a project in C on the Unix server at work. I did rm * in the wrong directory. The thing is, the server was running sooo slow that I actually had time to say "oh my God no" with my hands up in the air, and then I hit Ctrl-C. Only the object files had been deleted, and the code was safe.


 6:30 pm on Feb 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Worst I can remember:

Intended: delete from database_table where id=12345;

Typo entered: delete from database_table where id-12345;

So it deleted all entries with id less than 12345 in a table of a few million records . . .

Always maintain backups. (whew)


 1:38 am on Feb 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

rm -Rf *. Done that one at least once myself. Doesn't count as a screw up anymore though since I maintain nightly offsite backup. Now a complete directory delete is about a 3 minute restore.


 2:02 am on Feb 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Screwed up some rules in .htaccess and blocked every user of any and every Norton Security product from ever reaching any page of the site.


 2:17 am on Feb 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well I have had a few but here are to that spring to mind...

How all of you will be familuar with a linux system. it has a folder structure a lot like a Windows OS. On Windoows you have c\program files\microsoft office and so on.. on linux you have something line var/lib/.. and so on..

I wanted to remove one file...

In Linux the remove comand can be done using RM [path to file] return..

I typed rm usr/local went to put the next slash and hit return. This was a live server and I was controling it from my laptop using putty. As soon as I had done it I just closed my laptop and sat in silence for abut 10 mins.

My second "bad thing" was fairly recently. I lost a disk and got it replaced and windows re-installed etc. Most of my stuff was backed up so I was ok. I did however have one live sie that was fairly new and I had no backup. It was on my hosts server so I thought, no problem, just download and I will have an up to date copy.

Fired up my ftp client, went to site right clicked public_html and intended to click download, turns out I presed delete all gone, live site and no bacckup, thankfuly I was able to get the data recovered from the "fried" disk thanks to some recovery software.

I now have solid backups in place for everything!



 7:32 am on Feb 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Should not have posted my mishaps... Jinxed it!

I'm now running recoverdisk /dev/geom/mirror/gm0s1f to make a working copy of the partition that used to store my inbox. Hopefully, I can still find some of its contents.

My lovely gf 1,000 miles away insisted today that I'd try to reinstall my webcam, known for its crappy drivers. Thunderbird was minimized and connected to a SMB share on the FreeBSD fileserver.

At some point in the process of installing/reinstalling, struggling with 100% CPU loads and a few BSOD's, my inbox got emptied... Lesson learned: close all programs when installing new software!

As of tomorrow, we'll have the incremental backups I was supposed to set up 12 months ago.

Her comment as I explained what had happened: "at least I was able to see you for a few minutes!" Hmmm.


 7:38 am on Feb 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Heck, my most recent screwup ain't that serious, but did shut down some of my site goodies... I don't know jack about .htaccess and inadvertently deleted Includes from the appropriate line and all my SSI disappeared. The screwup was I didn't check the site for three weeks after the change and a loyal user sent me an email asking why "this" wasn't there anymore.



 2:14 pm on Feb 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Changed DNS settings a few years back. New nameservers. I didn't get the confirmation until late Friday and was in a hurry to get out of here. Made one small (read HUGE) typo and knocked all my sites, as well a dozen customer's sites, offline for the entire weekend.



 2:30 pm on Feb 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

hmmm, accidentally put the wrong URL in a new adwords adgroup, spent 7000 on 2 days (on just 2 keywords) while the adwords went to a 404 page. Thankfully that's the only one I can think of at the moment


 4:20 pm on Feb 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Some of these make me cringe just to read them! <wince>

Having read all the other stories, I guess it's only fair that I share one on myself...

Once upon a time I ran a small email newsletter. I switched the software we were using, and they guy who set it up did it as an email *group* instead of the newsletter format I'd had before. You can probably guess what happened...one person replied to one of my mailings and her message went to everybody on the list. The attitude of the list members degenerated rapidly, as they all seemed to assume that their email addresses were made public by default whether they participated in the discussion or not. Amazingly, I believe I retained about 75% of the list through that fiasco.


 5:26 pm on Feb 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think that shutting down an AS/400 was my, er.. 'greatest' achievement. It shut itself off about 3:30am, trying to process a malformed query. It was up and running by 10:30am, and by noon, I was pegged as the culprit. Heck, I could have told them that at 8 when I got there... but I didn't.


 8:14 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

accidentally put the wrong URL in a new adwords adgroup, spent 7000 on 2 days

Although it doesn't qualify, I accidentally put $10.00 instead of .10 on a $35/day budget. Fortunately caught it before it got any clicks. LOL . . .


 9:25 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ive done that too rocknbill


 1:23 pm on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Finding a long running batch query was running into a peak business period I killed it. (Tandem NonStop SQL)
What I hadn't realised was that a temporary table had had logging set on so rather than just stopping each transaction on that table was rolled back. The other thing that I didn't know was that despite the original job's low priority setting the roll back would take precidence over everything else.

The call centre gradually slowed down and finally came to a complete halt.

If I had left the batch job running the priority setting would have left it ticking over without anybody noticing until the on-line day started to wind down.


 5:56 pm on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

I had a shell account at my ISP, in the old days when ISP's gave out shell accounts. They had converted to SuSE Linux, which I think had some serious bugs. Anyway, it could be a coincidence, but I think I crashed it three times in a row.

All I was doing was using Pine to connect to an Imap server, or something like that (I don't recall exactly). But each time, Pine's activity indicator would start swirling, then slow to a halt, and a few minutes later I found that the machine had been rebooted.


 6:07 pm on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

According to Mobile Marketer Daily: Google's SMS search feature went haywire in the middle of the night on Feb.2, sending dozens of unwanted text messages to users of the service.


 6:52 am on Feb 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

I once screwed up a pile of PPC links. Looked to me like it was working because the link resolved to the right URL, so tra la la. It didn't get noticed for several days.
we figured out that my blunder cost the company about $70,000

And then there was the time when I accidentally dragged an entire network directory into the Recycle Bin, and it locked everything up for hours. That was Windows 95 for ya.

Accidental db table dropping is always upsetting

So is sending affectionate greetings to your stuffy old boss, because you got your IM windows confused. xoxo <3 <3


 10:13 am on Feb 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

we figured out that my blunder cost the company about $70,000 - You refunded them of course ? :0


 4:21 pm on Feb 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

working on a clients pc once and found out where the hidden magic box of smoke was located...

i didnt know they were shipped with gateways..

i really only swapped memory, and poof.... it was a great day.

ohhh i love the heart pounding feeling and the swift smell of burning electronic components....


 4:38 pm on Feb 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Great personal one today. I discovered a leak under the kitchen sink last night.

First thing today I went to the hardware store and bought replacement fittings. Once I had taken the old fittings apart I then realised that the problem was simply that the screw securing the waste flange (the bit in the sink) to the waste body (the bit underneath) had sheared.

With a bit of forethought I could have fixed it for a tenth of the price, or less if I had a suitable screw in the toolbox, and not had my hands covered with rancid grease from the trap in the process.


 9:20 pm on Feb 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I had two major screw ups only today. I had caught the flu and had been lying in bed since last wednesday. This morning i was lying in bed watching a video on youtube (about some little boy that got high at the dentist - hillarious). I reached for a bottle of water standing next to my bed, opened the bottle without looking and took a deep mouthful of 100% ethyl alcohol that had been standing there for disinfection purposes.

I was lucky I noticed before swallowing - since my mouth was burning like fire.

Then I decided to get up, showered and wanted to shave. I took the shaving gel and applied it equally on my face. The smell of pepermint, and the burning sensation on my skin let me take another look at the bottle. Congratulations to GlaxoSmithKline for the bottle design of the new ODOL Med 3 Whitening Active Gel Foam tooth paste. And yes it works for shaving, too. If you could get rid of the burn it would be a great dual use product.

I think I will stay at home for another one or two days - before I blow up any computers or use toner in the office coffee machine.

brotherhood of LAN

 10:28 pm on Feb 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'd been running Ubuntu for six months and hadn't backed up my work in that time. After performing a memory intensive MySQL task, the OS froze, so I had to hard reboot.

Problem was the boot files and partitions were somehow now...gone.

After two weeks of thinking about turning to alcoholism, I managed to retrieve 99% of what I wanted. 2 external hard drives later the same mistake won't happen :-)


 10:31 pm on Feb 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I seldom click on "user profile," but I did check jecase's. Says he's in Germany. We're safe in the US. Probably.


 10:44 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

LOL@ jecasc hahaha!

Sorry, probably not funny . . . but still!

I had a friend that once told me it's a very good idea not to put your toothpaste in the same shelf/drawer as your Preparation H. You can figure out why.


 10:48 am on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

jecasc - Well at least you smell nice and minty !

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