Firefly in Japan, Part 10a: I could see the “Horrible IT Mistake Feeling” gripping his body, as he turned pale white, and his throat constricted.
I logged into the server. I bounced around the hundreds of directories, while simultaneously doing 3 different searches. These files must be somewhere on this damn server. It doesn’t make sense that only some of the files are missing. I absentmindedly shook my head, as search after search came up blank. No directories called Sales, or Finance, or Accounting – not a trace. The server was a dead-end.
I suddenly felt an ice cold shiver shoot up my spine. I turn around to see the Office Manager looking at me from across the office. I smiled weakly, and tilted my head, showing that I was aware of the problem, and working on it. She stood frozen to the spot, filling me with dread with her cold, accusing eyes. I mechanically swivelled my chair back to the desk. I fumbled for the phone, and dialed Bills mobile.
*ring ring*…..*ring ring*…..
It rang out.
I called Shane.
*ring ring*…..*ring ring*…..
I called the office.
“Hey listen, I’m having a bit of an emergency right now – where are Bill and Shane?” I asked quickly.
“Oh they’re in a meeting this morning I think. They won’t be out until 11:30am.”
“Until 11:30am?! But it’s 9:20am!! I need to speak with Bill right now, I need to know what he did on the weekend to the server.”
“Sorry, I can’t help.”
I threw my arms up in frustration and hung up the call. I sat there for 10 seconds, and called Bill and Shane again. They both rang out.
I quietly rose to my feet. I grabbed my jacket, and mentally mapped the fastest path to the door. I scooped up my mobile phone, and began powerwalking to the door. Office workers noticed my dash, and called out to me for help.
“chotto…. itte kimasu (I’ll be back in a second)”, I breathed as I walked past them.
Breathing heavily, I finally reached the elevator, and pressed down 10 times in succession. The elevator sang out it’s relaxed *diiiiing*. I stood, tapping my feet, staring at my phone. No calls. The elevator doors opened, and I walked in quickly and pressed closed doors, before another worker saw me and began asking me the same questions again. The elevator hit the ground floor and the doors slid open, and I burst out of the elevator**, rushing outside.
I began calling Bill again, but as my finger went to press “Dial”, the phone sprang to life and began vibrating. Bills name popped up on the screen. I quickly answered the call.
“BILL! I’m having some trouble here, I’ve been trying to reach you all morning. Some really important folders are missing on the server, and everyone is coming down on me. I’ve searched through the whole server, but I can’t find them. Do you know where they are?”
“Hold on, slow down a second, bloody hell. I just have a 5 minute break from the meeting – you called me 10 times! My phone was going apeshit in my pocket. Don’t do that again. 10 bloody missed calls!”
“What? Uh, look I’m in a real rush right now, I really need your help. Everyone is coming to me, and I don’t have the answers.”
Halfway through my sentence, I heard a muffling sound, like someone was putting their hand over the phone.
“Listen can you talk to him? He’s going crazy right now, I don’t want to deal with that shit.” I heard Bill’s muffled voice say impatiently.
“Uhhhhhh, hello?” Shanes monotone voice.
“What the hell, I’m not going crazy, I’m completely rational. I have every user in this company chasing me, and I don’t have any answers for them. I need to speak to Bill, dammit. Put Bill on.”
“Uhhhhh, hang on.” Shane said. The muffled hand noise again.
“He’s having a problem at the client site. Something about missing files.” Shanes voice said quietly through the tiny speaker on my mobile.
I imagined Bill throwing his arms up in the air in semi-mock frustration and annoyance.
“FINE.” I heard Bill breathe. “Tell him I’ll go after lunch.”
“AFTER LUNCH!” I almost shouted. “I need some answers in the next 5 minutes. It’s 9:40, I can’t wait another 3 hours!”
“Bill said he’ll go after lunch.” Shane said.
“But wait, I really need..” I began.
“Cut him off, the client is coming back in a minute.” I heard Bill hiss.
“Just tell me what Bill did on the server so I can start to troubleshoot!” I pleaded. The next thing I heard was a *pop*, as Shane cut the call.
I stood on the streets of Ginza, surrounded by expensive clothing shops, and quaked with furious indignation. I formed a fist so hard my fingerhands cut deep into my palms. I spun on my heels and walked back into the client site.
The next 3 hours, I sat at the desk, lamely trying to troubleshoot without the information I needed. People got more and more frustrated with my lack of ability to provide answers about their problem. The Office Manager shouted at me for 5 minutes straight. I took a long lunch to try to avoid dealing with people. Finally, nearly 4 hours later Bill turned up, visibly irritated.
“Alright then, wheres the friggin problem,” he pushed past me, not even bothering to say hello. He sat down at the desk and began looking through the server.
“I don’t know where the problem is, because I don’t know what you did on Sunday. What did you do on Sunday?” I asked, angrily.
“I did what I said. I updated the permissions, rebuilt the server, and copied the files back.” Bill mumbled flatly, putting almost no thought into his conversation with me.
Something suddenly struck me.
“You updated the permissions?” I said slowly.
Bill mumbled an affirmative, not bothering to open his mouth.
“With the old domain account?” I continued.
“Did you update permissions on all of the files?” I asked, slowly and deliberately.
“No, just the ones protected by security groups.” Bill said distractedly.
“…… Like Sales, Finance, and Accounting…?” I said.
There was a sudden silence. Bill froze. The mouse dropped from his hand, as he looked up at me. Our eyes met, and I saw his mouth drop open as he figured out what happened about 10 seconds after I did. I could see the “Horrible IT Mistake Feeling” gripping his body, as he turned pale white, and his throat constricted.
“I tried to copy files onto the new server, but I didn’t have the permissions… they didn’t copy… then I formatted the server… I formated the Sales, Finance and Accounting folders…………………. HOLY FUCK,” Bill gasped.
I oddly felt a bit better, since I had someone to share the Horrible IT Mistake Feeling with. I didn’t spare any sympathy for Bill however.
“I might be able to undelete it. It might be recoverable.” Bill said.
“Alright… why don’t I run to the shop and buy some special undelete software, I know a good package.” I offered.
Bill looked around the office, and saw about 15 people looking in the direction of the server room, waiting to pounce on him, demanding answers for their lost files and lost productivity.
“Uhhh, you know what? I’ll go and get the software package.” Bill said.
“Are you sure? I don’t mind going for a run.” I said, knowing he would turn me down.
“No, I’ll go. I’ll be back soon.” Bill said over his shoulder as he grabbed his jacket and split the angry office worker crowd down the middle and headed to the escalator.
He rushed back in the door 40 min
utes late. I realise he must have taken a taxi both ways to get back from the local Big Camera so quickly.
He sat down at the computer and began installing the software.
“Go tell the users we’re looking into it now.” Bill ordered.
I raised my eyebrow.
“I’ve been telling them that for 5 bloody hours.” I said.
Bill paused and looked up at me, as if considering to blast me and tell me to go and “do it anyway”. After a couple of seconds, a dialogue box popped up on the screen, and his attention again returned to the software installation.
Bill installed the software, and managed to recover about 70% of the deleted files. He updated the permissions, and tested them(this time), and copied them into the appropriate folders.
“Alright… go and tell them there was a server crash, but we’re lucky because we were able to recover 70% of the files.” Bill told me.
“What? You want me to lie?”
“Just tell them that.”
“I don’t feel comfortable lying.”
“I don’t care, thats the story.”
“No. I’ll tell them the files are unrecoverable.” I said firmly.
Bill shook his head, grabbed his bag, and left the building, leaving me alone again with a bunch of angry office workers.
I deeply sighed, and began the long, painful and ardous task of information each user that 30% of their vital documents were missing and completely unrecoverable.
It was one of the longest days of my IT career.
The next thing that Bill did to me made me decide to quit, despite the fact I had only a few months left on my VISA, and had no prospects or places to go. Updates soon.
**I thought it appropriate to put this note down here, otherwise it interferes with the pace of the story. On an interesting side note, elevators in Japan don’t have a “Ground” floor. The floor at ground level is 1, the next level up is 2. In Australia (and I presume, English as well), the ground floor is labeled “G”, and the next floor up is 1.