Thursday, June 4, 2009

When the Whole is Less than the Sum of its Parts

I did not know that this scenario is called Reductionism in ancient literature! I only stumbled on it now when I tried to track down why my daily backups started failing recently. Hold your breath:

The other week I installed a new anti virus tool because it better integrates with my software firewall and the rest of that security suite. In fact it found some new potential infections but I did not care too much because detection is heuristics-based. To be safe I kept all those files in the quarantine folder. I even activated the auto-quarantine feature. Anti virus now looked like a good part of my system.

Now my daily backups: For a long time they also were a good part of my system but since last week they did not complete successfully anymore. The same meaningless error message every time. Not cool!

I found out the reason (well, Google helped a lot): The backup by default copies all changed files to a temporary folder. Including my quarantine folder! The new anti virus tool eagerly detects a new infection and moves the file back to the normal qurantine folder, while the backup process is trying to work with it. Bang!

I saw this thing in the computer history museum in Palo Alto ;-)

Amazing how complex and interrelated the problems of modern computer systems can be. My mother used to be kind of a luddite but nowadays she claims to have fun with the computer and the net. I wonder how she would cope with such stuff?

All this reminds me to the recent discussions about technological complexity and simplicity of the real world:

How to explain EMF?

Why is RCP, EMF, p2, databinding... so hard to learn?

If Only it Were That Simple

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