The last twelve months have shown that we’ve finally run out of collective luck. The global crisis affected health, economy and climate, all at once. At the same time we took for granted the global network upon which we’ve become more dependent than ever. This week’s incident in Strasbourg shows that a disaster was looming for a long time. Over 3 million websites were taken down because of what seems to be the malfunction of a single UPS unit, which turned into an uncontrollable fire, and our server was among these that were completely destroyed.
I’m currently still in the process of setting up and recovering data to a new server in the Polish data center. At first, when I found out what happened, I wasn’t even sure if there was anything to recover, because I didn’t know where the backup storage was located. It turns out that we were lucky, because some backups were apparently located in the same facility, and are either inaccessible or even lost completely, but ours were stored in another location. We only lost the data of our internal timesheet application, because I forgot to enable backup for this particular site, so I certainly learned my lesson too.
But the most terrifying thing is the number of companies which lost all their data because they didn’t even realize they had to make backups. I’m definitely not an expert in server administration; I volunteered to take this role because someone had to. But that server was used mostly for development and research purposes, and only hosted a few customers’ production websites which were not critical for any business operations. However, companies that have thousands of dollars of revenue which depends on a single server, or a cluster of servers in one location, without offsite backups, is something that I thought ended a long time ago, with the first dotcom bubble. The number of people asking on Twitter how they should activate their disaster recovery plan, after the fact, shows that it’s still a thing.
Enough ranting; I haven’t written anything for a while, so I guess it’s a good opportunity for a brief summary. Last year, when the pandemic started, I thought it wouldn’t affect me very much; after all I started working from home about seven years ago. But that’s the easiest part. It’s hard to live normally without going out, seeing friends, going to the movies, concerts, vacation, etc. With the current rate of vaccination in Poland, it’s not going to change anytime soon. My work was also initially affected in a very bad way. My day job salary was significantly decreased for a few months, and the side project that we were just finishing - a service for selling bus tickets online - went down the drain when international borders were closed. Again, we were lucky, because soon we got the opportunity to work as subcontractors on two projects for the Polish government, and 2020 turned out to be another record year, financially, for Bulletcode.
In November I decided to realize one of my long time dreams, and I bought myself an electric guitar. I was always afraid to do that, because I know how hard it is to learn to play, and how much time and dedication it requires. On the other hand, I always managed to work on various open source projects and other personal nonprofit stuff, which also took a huge amount of time. But last year I worked so much on commercial projects alone, that I decided that I finally need another hobby which is not related to programming. So far I wasn’t able to make a significant progress, and I can’t even say when it’s going to change. This year me and my partner decided to move to a new apartment, so I have to keep working two jobs. But after the move, it’s over. Poland is a relatively poor country, and you really have to work your ass off for years just to be able to afford a house, a higher class car etc. I don’t want any of that; it’s simply not worth the sacrifice of not being able to spend time with my family, to care about my physical and mental health, and to finally be able to do things that I love.