Manual? What manual?

We have all had our own personal "learning experiences." I experienced one back in 1991 when I was the second-shift computer operator responsible for backing up our Novell servers, including payroll. My job was to run the backups and any other little jobs that I could do, such as run reports, change printer ribbons, and the like. It was a great job for a college student learning about computers and IT. I'd been

read the manual
We have all had our own personal "learning experiences." I experienced one back in 1991 when I was the second-shift computer operator responsible for backing up our Novell servers, including payroll. My job was to run the backups and any other little jobs that I could do, such as run reports, change printer ribbons, and the like. It was a great job for a college student learning about computers and IT. I'd been doing it for 6 months when we got a new version of backup software. Upgrades seemed easy enough and I was looking for more to do, so I offered to do it after hours. The install went fine, so fine in fact, that I didn't even need to read the manual. That night the backups worked perfectly. I was proud of the way I handled it and pretty excited that my first real IT project went so smoothly. All was good for three months or so, when I got a call from the first shift admin, Al. "Hey, did backups finish OK last night?" Al asked. I knew they had worked since I had watched them, so I replied, "Yup sure did." I looked at the log files from the night before and said "In fact, they took 4 hours and 32 minutes, completed successfully at 12:37 a.m." "Thanks. The payroll server crashed and I was trying to restore from last night. Weird. I can't read the tape. I'll go back another day." Al hung up and I went to class, still completely oblivious to the train coming at me. After classes, I called Al back to see how he made out. He read the previous night, and the one before that, and back one more. In fact after going back through the whole 30-day set and not being able to recover anything, we were both a little worried. Because it was Wednesday and checks needed to go out on Thursday, we got the HR staff, the new head of IT, and some of the other administrators and started manually entering the paychecks, printing and stuffing the envelopes by hand. We finally finished around midnight. That was when I read the manual and found this little nugget: "When the upgrade is complete, the software will be set to run in demo mode. This allows you to get used to the software before fully enabling it. Demo mode looks and acts like normal mode, and will even take the same amount of time, but no data will be written to the tape." Now I'm older and wiser and any time we touch backups, we do a few things. First, we read the manual before doing anything, and next, we test a restore before we call the upgrade complete. For any software developers out there reading this, take a tip from Windows safe mode, and put something on the screen, like demo mode only.
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