Oct. 4th, 2013 09:45 pm
lookingforoctober: (Default)
[personal profile] lookingforoctober
My computer crashed last night. No big deal, I thought...I didn't realize until today that I actually lost data as a result. The italics are because I'd really and truly thought that all modern applications had failsafes and backups to keep this from happening. Word processors always have that 'in progress' file, so if your computer crashes, the next time it starts up it says 'do you want to recover you files' and all is well. Even stuff written in text fields in firefox gets saved.

Not, however, the note-taking program (Tomboy Notes) I've been using to organize all my notes for my writing projects, along with any other random thing that isn't a big enough undertaking to merit a file that I have to actually decide a name and location for. New Note 453, sure. Easy.

And I checked, it actually writes all the notes to file a few seconds after you edit them, and there is also a folder called 'backup' that I assumed held backups. So it seemed pretty safe. Also, I made backups of the note files every few days -- which is the only reason I'm annoyed instead of absolutely furious.

Because when my computer crashed, all the open note files -- the ones I'd been working on, or the ones I'd wanted to think about so I set them aside somewhere, and there just happened to be a lot of those, because I've been thinking a lot lately -- all the open note files were replaced on the hard disk with files of 0 length. I.e. all my open notes were completely wiped. Not just recent changes, but the entire file. Gone.

And it turns out that the 'backup' folder was not a place where backups of my notes were stored. It was actually the trash folder, so it had all the notes I'd ever deleted instead. What the hell? We have naming conventions for a reason, it's so people don't get confused and think they have backups that they don't have.

Like I said, I did have an actual backup from a couple of days ago, so it could be a lot worse, but...I can't even imagine how this happened. Who designed this notes program, and why were they replacing all the open files with zero length files? All of them? At the same time? Why did they think that was a good idea? I can see one file getting accidentally wiped when the computer crashed. Maybe it was the one that was being saved at just that instant. But all of them?

It makes me suspect 1) that the notes program was part of the reason the computer crashed and 2) the notes program is not competently written. Which is sad, because I actually really like it.

...actually, it looks like this bug has been around for a couple of years. I guess they just don't care that much.

I wonder if this has anything to do with why the program is no longer part of the default install in Ubuntu?

...I can't decide if I should get a new notes program, or write a really good backup script that saves everything every 10 minutes like the program should have been doing. I'm leaning toward really good backup script, since who knows whether any replacement notes program would do any better? It's not like I can easily test crashing the system just to see what might happen.

Date: 2013-10-06 01:58 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] torrilin
It looks like it's fairly straightforward to get the same kind of setup I use on Ubuntu. (makes sense, I'm running a mixed OSX/iOS/Windows/*nix/Android setup for household stuff)

The core is Dropbox and plain text files. I swap around what text editor I'm using depending on the kind of stuff I'm doing (like I have one with an awesome Learn To Use Grep setup). It looks like it would be fairly straightforward to get Tomboy Notes to do that. Doing it without data loss after a kernel panic, not sure. I use a fork of Notational Velocity (nvAlt) for my search-y find-y kind of notes editor and I know there are some Linux ports and forks of that project. Some of the personal wiki things might work too.

I haven't really looked at *nix text editors in detail since my partner is of the cult of emacs, and I'm ridiculously flexible.

Date: 2013-10-07 01:41 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] torrilin
Yeah, I don't actually use a lot of the search stuff for notes. It is disturbingly a pretty good overall text editor, and it does various text slurping and linking and sorting tricks. So it's handy for keeping reference material. And the alt fork is really good at managing a giant stack of notes stuffed in Dropbox.

I partly do the dropbox thing so I have my notes even on my iThing, even if I'm off a network. Same trick would work with an Android thing also. Dunno if you use more than one computer for notes, but Dropbox definitely makes multiple location backups easier.

And yeah, good backup scripts help too.


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