So the following represents an email that recently arrived in my inbox:
To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Facebook <email@example.com> Subject: Please reset your email notification settings.
Unfortunately, the settings that control which email notifications get sent to you were lost. We're sorry for the inconvenience.
To reset your email notification settings, go to:
The Facebook Team
At first I thought this /had/ to be a hoax. But in fact, after logging into my Facebook account, lo-and-behold right there at the top of my home page was:
Facebook? Are you serious?! How exactly do you "lose" the email notifications settings? In a day and age where system backup has become a basic and ongoing operation that in many cases is an integrated part of each application process (e.g. someone uploads a file, it gets saved to a local disk cache, that then invokes a background process that stores the file on an archive "disk" which then replicates itself in multiple locations across the globe automagically), how do you "lose" the settings for /anything/?
Disks get fried all the time**, that's understandable. DB files get corrupted often enough to provide justifiable reasons to find "We are currently undergoing [scheduled] maintenance. Please come back later"-type messages when attempting to visit any given site. Hell, systems get hacked often enough to recognize there are more than just system software upgrades and corrupted DB's that sit as the root cause/reason for these same messages.
But lost data? /LOST/?! If your system is designed in such a way that there's reasonable possibility the phrase "lost data" can be used for reasons /other/ than than /massive/, global wide natural disasters or nuclear holocaust (neither of which I've heard anything about, though I guess if everyone else is dead, that would be a good reason why I haven't heard anything about it. ;-)) it's not only time to redesign the system:
It's time to fire the entire engineering staff.
And then go out and find software engineers who understand what the phrases "data redundancy", "system and data backup", and "system failover" actually mean. Because any systems engineer whose worth even close to what you pay him/her understands that while system failure is an expected occurrence, its an occurrence in which the word "lost" only applies to things like "lost power" or "lost network connections". Not "lost the whole damn data center and every single backup file we've made and stored in nuclear proof storage containers across the globe just in case we /do/ lose the whole damn data center."
Anyone at Facebook care to step up to the plate and tell us what happened? Is this an isolated incident or is this a system wide thing? Maybe I'm the only one who got the above email and home page notification? If yes, while it's still unacceptable to lose /anyone's/ data, maybe who ever sent the message and notification did so with the idea:
"It will be easier just to send him a message and notification telling him to reset his settings than it will be to get off my lazy a$$ and restore his settings from backup."
If this is an isolated incident or simply a case of laziness on the part of some engineer, then maybe firing the entire engineering staff is a bit hasty.
But if not? It's not.
** Something I've painfully learned /twice/ in the past three weeks (though I only have pics from one***, I have plenty of witnesses from last weeks MSFT WebDev Summit for the other ;-)). Yes, I wish I was kidding. And no, I'm not, though fortunately there was very little overall loss due to a little somethin' somethin' I like to call /BACKUPS/ (Oh, and to give MSFT some /HUGE/ props, it was because of Windows Live Mesh and the Mac OS X client application that saved my a$$. Otherwise I would have been re-writing a whole hell of a lot more than a few code files that hadn't been synched up yet.)
*** Yes, I too noticed the recursive irony in the fact that I am linking to Facebook-hosted pics of "your hard drive is dead, sucka!" messages on the screen of my MacBook Pro while bemoaning Facebook for "losing" my email notifications settings data.
If irony wasn't bad enough, we have to throw recursion into the mix?
Damn recursion. ;-)