How not to write software

Edit: I got everything worked out. The people over at Jungle Disk helped me out.

I lost my laptop a few weeks ago. Okay, I actually left it on a train on accident. I had hope because it was the JFK AirTrain and the people on the AirTrain generally seem more trustworthy than those on the subway in NYC*.

I also wasn’t too worried because I’m a nerd. My hard drive was completely encrypted with an insane password. There was no way anyone would ever get anything off of it.

Lost data wasn’t a worry, either, as I’ve been backing up my hard drive for years. I used to backup manually on an external hard drive and then I installed Jungle Disk which lets you store files on Amazon’s S3 service. Infinity storage! You only pay for what you use, and it’s cheap! I configured Jungle Disk to automatically backup all the stuff I cared about.

So with an encrypted hard drive and backups on the intertubes, I wasn’t too worried. All it really was was a big inconvenience. I’d eventually get a new computer and get my stuff back.

Well today my new computer arrived: a brand new 24” iMac. I’ve been a Windows user forever and people usually assume–because I’ve argued against Apple fanboys and defended Windows–that I am anti-mac. I’m not. I just preferred Windows. I still do, actually. But I figured on a Mac I can run Windows in a VM. Now I have access to both operating systems and can do what I please on either.

Anyway, so I was all excited to get my stuff back today! I installed Jungle Disk and was very happy! I knew my stuff was safe! But! I was a bit stupid. I should have immediately initiated a manual restore of all my data. Instead, I kept installing software I needed so I could get back to work (since it is the middle of a work day).

Do you see where this is going? I should have. I noticed that Jungle Disk was doing some sort of “archive clean up”, but I couldn’t tell what that meant. I let myself get distracted away, probably installing some software or something. 30 minutes later I look again and notice IT’S DELETING STUFF. I immediately cancel it, but it’s too late. The “archive cleanup” meant “all your backups were old and so we deleted them.”

Yeah. All my stuff. Gone.

The default Jungle Disk settings were to “Remove previous versions [of files] after 30 days” and “Keep at most 10 previous versions of each file”. Actually, I’m not sure if those were default settings or just my settings. I don’t know if Jungle Disk syncs settings with its servers. Either way, I don’t see why it would have deleted my stuff. My backups were NOT 30 days old. But it did delete stuff. Almost all of it (it would have had I not stopped it, but everything I wanted is gone). All my photos. Journal entries. Everything that actually mattered. Gone.

How not to write software: don’t delete my freaking stuff.

* I was wrong. Or it’s just that the people at the AirTrain lost and found are useless. I know a ton of stuff gets lost, but all I ever got on the phone was incredibly rude people who told me entertaining things like this: “we, like everyone else, use technology. call back and leave a message.”

Laptop, Software