Reply to post: Re: Time to be pedantic

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Time to be pedantic

"[...] I KNOW what it will do and not screw up my data."

I THINK I KNOW what it will do and not screw up my data.


Ah - the computer is always right.

There once was a database which was apparently losing track of important records on terminal searches. The symptom was only spotted when an astute operator was asked if they wanted to add a very common family name to the indexing eg "Smith".

An investigation showed that several names had been re-entered as "new" when they already existed - and this had happened several times for the same names. The result was that any previous records linked to that name became orphans. The records were still accessible as serial data - so were not actually lost.

The fault lay in the disk controller. When the logic rack voltage was in spec - but not spot on - it would very occasionally fail to recognise a data match. The relevant data key was for unique names - on which the system could request searches***.

***The database was serially archived and reloaded for efficiency every so often - by tidying up the additions and deletions. This changed which names' keys were potentially affected by their position on the disk.. Only the last record on a track would be potentially missed.

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