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Thread: Whoops! Computer technician accidentally wipes out info on Alaska's $38 billion fund

  1. #1
    popopot's Avatar To Me, To You BT Rep: +5
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    Story below. Source: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/...-Lost-Data.php


    JUNEAU, Alaska: Perhaps you know that sinking feeling when a single keystroke accidentally destroys hours of work. Now imagine wiping out a disk drive containing information for an account worth $38 billion (29 billion).

    That is what happened to a computer technician reformatting a disk drive at the Alaska Department of Revenue. While doing routine maintenance work, the technician accidentally deleted applicant information for an oil-funded account one of Alaska residents' biggest perks and mistakenly reformatted the backup drive, as well.

    There was still hope, until the department discovered its third line of defense, backup tapes, were unreadable.

    "Nobody panicked, but we instantly went into planning for the worst-case scenario," said Permanent Fund Dividend Division Director Amy Skow. The July computer foul-up, which wiped out dividend distribution information for the fund, would end up costing the department more than $200,000 (150,000).

    Over the next few days, as the department, the division and consultants from Microsoft Corp. and Dell Inc. labored to retrieve the data, it became obvious the worst-case scenario was at hand.

    Nine months worth of applicant information for the yearly payout from the Alaska Permanent Fund was gone: some 800,000 electronic images that had been painstakingly scanned into the system months earlier, the 2006 paper applications that people had either mailed in or filed over the counter, and supporting documentation such as birth certificates and proof of residence.

    And the only backup was the paperwork itself stored in more than 300 cardboard boxes.

    "We had to bring that paper back to the scanning room, and send it through again, and quality control it, and then you have to have a way to link that paper to that person's file," Skow said.

    Half a dozen seasonal workers came back to assist the regular division staff, and about 70 people working overtime and weekends re-entered all the lost data by the end of August.

    Last October and November, the department met its obligation to the public. A majority of the estimated 600,000 payments for last year's $1,106.96 (832.11) individual dividends went out on schedule, including those for 28,000 applicants who were still under review when the computer disaster struck.

    Former Revenue Commissioner Bill Corbus said no one was ever blamed for the incident.

    "Everybody felt very bad about it and we all learned a lesson. There was no witch hunt," Corbus said.

    According to department staff, they now have a proven and regularly tested backup and restore procedure.

    The department is asking lawmakers to approve a supplemental budget request for $220,700 (165,900) to cover the excess costs incurred during the six-week recovery effort, including about $128,400 (96,500) in overtime and $71,800 (54,000) for computer consultants.

    The money would come from the permanent fund earnings, the money earmarked for the dividends. That means recipients could find their next check docked by about 37 cents.

  2. Lounge   -   #2
    Barbarossa's Avatar mostly harmless
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    It's amazing how many companies that we deal with who aren't aware if their data is being backed-up or not, or even if they are aware that it is, whether the backups they are taking would be viable in an emergency.

    I'm talking about big companies as well as small ones...

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    MediaSlayer's Avatar slowly going deaf
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    they've been trying to do away with that for a while now, every greedy lawmaker there seeing dollar signs and wishes that money would go in their pockets instead of to who it belongs(the alaskan residents). it's a great perk and you don't have to do anything but live there long term to get it.


    sending fiery missiles in manker's japan's general direction.

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    Mr. Mulder's Avatar pepper your angus BT Rep: +10BT Rep +10
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    our clients (who are hairdressers) seem to think its ok to back-up all their client info to their c drives

  5. Lounge   -   #5
    MediaSlayer's Avatar slowly going deaf
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    do they give u a free go(free hairstyling)


    sending fiery missiles in manker's japan's general direction.

  6. Lounge   -   #6
    Mr. Mulder's Avatar pepper your angus BT Rep: +10BT Rep +10
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    no only girls and manker would use these hairdressers

  7. Lounge   -   #7
    Snee's Avatar Error xɐʇuʎs BT Rep: +1
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    A lesbian once shaved all my hair off. 'twas evil.


    True story.
    ---
    Stories like the one in this thread are good in a sense, 'cos they show that any old idiot can get somewhere in the world.

    Highly paid scientists, or whatever, and none of them have the wherewithal to back up their data properly (ie, in another location (well, they thought they had, but ffs, don't they check stuff?)so what happened can't happen).

    On the other hand, it's a miracle that someone hasn't blown up the planet, yet.

  8. Lounge   -   #8
    SnnY's Avatar Error Syntax
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snee View Post
    On the other hand, it's a miracle that someone hasn't blown up the planet, yet.
    No it isn't. It's just logistically impossible.

    Probably not actually impossible, I just can't make improbable read with any effect in that sentence.
    You and every other nub on the internets.

  9. Lounge   -   #9
    Snee's Avatar Error xɐʇuʎs BT Rep: +1
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    Not really.

    Modern nukes have a yield many times Hiroshima, set off a chain reaction with several of them at once going off, in the right place, and there you go.

    The miracle bit may have been a slight exaggeration tho', but it could happen.

  10. Lounge   -   #10
    SnnY's Avatar Error Syntax
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    Hoi, you completely ignored my disclaimer there

    Anyways, I think you could probably cause a nuclear winter with about half of America's nuclear arsenal. But still improbable because there's far too many safeguards and redundancies, if you ignore that time a flock of geese set off the early warning system thingie or something.
    You and every other nub on the internets.

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