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stop me if you've heard this one

where's that "My Most Catastrophic Error" thread?

4:18 am on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Oh, oh, how glad I am that I am not in e-commerce. If I were, I would now be standing on a street corner rattling a tin cup.

I was looking for something in my site's control panel. (Not CPanel. My host is so huge they've got their own, in the same way that some forums are so huge, they roll their own instead of using php/bb.) Didn't find it, of course. See thread title. But along the way I noticed that one of my site's mailboxes was unnaturally fat. In fact it should weigh in at zero, like all the others, since I don't use my domain name for e-mail; everything auto-forwards to a "real" address somewhere else. (On account of I am not an ISP and my name is not amazon dot com.)

After much clicking I arrived at webmail. I must have been there at least once in the past, because the Keychain very kindly offered to give me its password.

Gulp. Turns out I had one e-mail address that I'd never set to forward anywhere. This should not have been an issue, because the address is never used anywhere (it's lucy24 at example dot com). But apparently nobody told the 20-odd people who have sent mail to this address since early 2011. Some were spam. This not good. It is bad, because it tells me I'm not dealing with type-ins who had transitory brain ###s resulting in "one from column A, one from column B" addressing errors. Some were from people I know, encouraging them to think I am flaky and irresponsible. Insert formulaic wisecrack ad lib. One was from a person I would have very much liked to know*. One was from someone who wanted to send me money. In mid-2012, unfortunately. Not now.

In the fine tradition of locking the barn door et cetera, this address has now been set to auto-forward just like all the others. As far as I can figure out, the last time it can have appeared on any page anywhere is in August 2012 (when my include footer took on its final form and was added to all pages).

There's a thread for this kind of thing, isn't there?

* For two reasons. One of them is that she came across a page that has sentimental value** to me-- and she understood it :)

** Not to be confused with the recently added page that has two separate in-jokes. Due to extreme obscurity of content, I'm giving that one five years before I start sulking.
3:56 pm on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I recently reconfigured the ticket system of my online shop. It took five days until I relized that I had accidently disabled the sending of the emails. For nearly a week all emails were answered - but not one anwer sent out...
4:11 pm on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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One was from someone who wanted to send me money.

If it's from that deposed price in Nigeria, don't worry- I'm sure he found some else to work with. ;)
4:27 pm on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Oh man! I apparently did something similar recently.

Yesterday while changing email passwords I noticed one account that had a larger usage listed in the accounts usage list.

Turns out that I had forgotten to set this account up on my new local machine a bit ago.

So no one got a response, kind of a "cringe" moment. [I'm chalking it up to a "senior moment" :) )
4:39 pm on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I can add similar ( I keep my email program on a key ) and mislaid it for a while, couple of weeks ( found it yesterday ) ..Currently sending out late replies..fortunately it is the key that has only the personal email addys on it..

The business stuff is on another key..which was plugged in and functioning during that time ..
6:21 pm on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Lucy24 you can cry on my shoulder if I can cry on yours.

You have the most perfect timing I've seen in a thread popping up related to what I'm experiencing right now at this moment. "My Most Catastrophic Error" fits well for me right now.

For anyone following along in any of my posts recently you're probably aware that I've been on an adventure of experimenting with dual-booting Windows and Linux. During that process I've reformatted, reinstalled, and mixed and matched so many variations of both OSs on my desktop and laptop.

Prior to setting out I made sure I had duplicate backup copies of all my critical data on separate drives. I had copies on an external HDD and a USB stick -- like a good techie should. By now some of you are probably aware of where this is going.

Day before yesterday things went from bad to worst with Windows 8 on my laptop and I knew a meltdown was imminent. My very first thought was to double check my backups to ensure I had everything. When I looked at my external backup drive I saw that all my critical data was there and up-to-date. That was important because the day before my USB stick became corrupt because I had been also using it for the Windows/Linux experimentation, neither OS will read the data on it. So, I only had my external backup copy left.

While browsing the external drive I saw that it had become quite cluttered with backups so I decided to wipe it clean and perform one last backup of data to it prior to getting nasty with my laptop again -- I backed up my User Profile which contained everything, critical data, Thunderbird email, settings, etc. Done. Double checked, yep all there. Proceed with complete reformat of laptop again this time only installing Linux on it. All is well. Runs like a charm and I got a good night's sleep.

This morning I get on my laptop here to check into some of my website development data for about a dozen websites. Ekkkkkkkkk! where are my websites?!?!?! -- gone forever like yesterday's weather :(

Oh man. Oh man. Oh you dumb stupid man what have you done I ask myself. A bit of panic, then searching all drives confirms my main WAMP development folder is nowhere to be found.

The realization -- my previous backups had the WAMP folder backed up separately because it was on the root of each drive each time I moved it. My full Windows profile that I backed up -- the one where I saw the WAMP folders included, yep it's there too. No it wasn't -- it was only the shortcut. Whaaaaaaaaaaa.

I quickly fired up SFTP and downloaded all websites from the live production server to my local drive. However, one site's files were not all on the live production server because I was waiting on the owner to send me one last bit of writing (his 'about' page info) before I put the site fully live. All that was on the server was a splash home page. Fortunately the images folder and full CSS was there too. Unfortunately the other 15+ completed pages of writing isn't. Gone. Also one of the other sites had a live English version but I had a Spanish version of he same site being prepped locally with nothing on the live server. Gone. Soooooo many long hours of translation work is now drifting free as a bird in the ether. I wrote all the original English content and the owner (an Argentinian), she translated it into Spanish. 20+ pages.

I only have one chance left now. I have to try to recover my USB drive using Spinrite and/or GetDataBack otherwise I have lots of writing and splainin' to do. I feel sick.

Here's some more irony. Yesterday I was communicating with incrediBILL via private message. We were rambling. I made mention of never having bricked a PC or loosing any data or settings in many years of migrations and right then at that mention I wasn't yet aware of what I just described above. I feel sick. Don't laugh Bill, it's not funny :(

Okay yes it is funny, otherwise I would not be posting this here right now. What can I do except laugh at my momentary lapse of attention and learn from it.

I'm going out to cry in a few cups of java right now. I don't want to see a PC for a week. I hate these things. No I don't. I'll be back sometime later. Wow I have lotsa writing to do from scratch again. The worst of it for an accounting website that took me so long to research :( At least the Spanish site has an English copy.

<cube clicks on the submit button, pushes his chair back, jumps to his feet, looks over his shoulder -- Lucy, wanna join me for a cuppa java and we can talk about it?>
6:34 pm on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Eureka! I got all my lost data back.

It wasn't without more grief but it's safe and sound again. Once again backed up across multiple drives.

Got up early this morning, ate some curly fries while assessing the task at hand, and got to work.

Windows wasn't on my laptop nor desktop so I had to dig out my Windows XP Pro CD and wipe Linux Mint off desktop. This was necessary because my GetDataBack program runs on Windows.

Install was no problem but on boot the ethernet card wasn't recognized. That was par for the course considering to find the drivers for it I would need internet access. Worked back and forth between Linux laptop and Windows desktop to find the drivers and get it installed. Probably about an hour process.

I wasn't able to recover off the USB stick but got everything back off the external 80GB HDD even though the drive had been reformatted prior to the last backup pushed to it.

I only want to acknowledge the company who provided me with a new key to the GetDataBack software I had purchased about 8 years ago (Mods if you must delete this paragraph my apologies, but in this day and age of greed it's so refreshing to work with good people and I cannot pass up the chance to thank them publicly). My key was lost and I had an older version. Not only did they provide me with a new key without grief but they gave me one for the most recent version. All I was able to provide them with was full name and previous address where I lived when I had purchased their product. I no longer had the invoice not could I even remember which email address I had used at the time let alone it still being valid and in use. With that minimal info they must have been able to track down original purchase details. And the whole process from time I submitted request until I had the program running was less than half an hour. By the way this was about a year ago when I had to use it for some else's data recovery but now I needed it myself this morning and all was well.

Weeks of work averted and whittled down to only about 6 hours. Also realized I had a few other critical files in that folder too other than websites. Life is good.
2:30 pm on Mar 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

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My worst error was was when I created a new sub forum, I had a bunch of forums I was using for classifieds that were not being used much and recycled one of them for the new sub forum. I moved a bunch of old posts into it... It was set to auto prune and before I had realized what happened I also backed up and deleted my old backup. <poof> went a few thousand posts.

I have comprehensive backups now so that couldn't happen again.
10:23 pm on Mar 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Yesterday I spent a solid ten minutes trying to figure out why the line

if ($_COOKIE["silence"] || $newval != "index.html" !! strpos($_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'],":"))

didn't work. Where "didn't work" meant not only "didn't evaluate as true" but "caused php to go off and sulk" :( I do my coding in Courier, so it is not as glaringly obvious as it is here. (Keep in mind that, as noted elsewhere, I only speak about three words of php, so any "Why on earth would you do it that way?" questions are tangential to the main gripe.)

Backtrack to
if (1+1 == 2)

to verify that the overall structure was valid.

Re-confirm that
if (strpos($_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'],":"))

by itself works. (I was adding a condition so the page would look the same locally and "live". I swiped the ":" idea from a slightly analogous post in Apache.)

This came after ::cough-cough:: a preliminary five minutes figuring out that

was not the correct syntax. Oops

And then slowly add in
if ($newval != "index.html")

... check

if ($_COOKIE["silence"] == true || $newval != "index.html")

if ($_COOKIE["silence"] || $newval != "index.html")

... both check.

if ($_COOKIE["silence"] || $newval != "index.html" || strpos($_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'],":"))

... check

At this point I pasted the two offending lines-- Before and After-- into a separate text-editor document and established that Find All gave me one hit where it ought to give two. From there it only took another two minutes of staring and swearing.

Mutter, grumble.