Skynet becomes self aware, eats children’s grades - Macenstein

Skynet becomes self aware, eats children’s grades

Here’s an ad for Leopard’s Time Machine if ever there was…

Upon returning from spring break, students in the Evanville Ind. school district were greeted with some shocking news. Apparently during the break, the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp’s IBM server crashed, erasing the past months worth of grades, as well as a bunch of human resources data. The announcement was made on their website:

The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation recently experienced a hardware malfunction with its AS400 computer server resulting in a loss of student grades.

Following scheduled maintenance on March 27, 2008, disk errors occurred. After working with IBM engineers around the clock to mitigate data loss, the engineers determined that due to an unfortunate and very rare combination of hardware problems and backup configuration settings, all student grade book assignment data for the current grading period is no longer in the system. Harrison, North and Bosse High Schools and Harwood Middle School – all on the six-week grading period – lost four weeks of individual assignment grades that had been posted. Four days of grades immediately prior to Spring Break were lost at all other schools, which are all on a nine-week grading period.

Geez. What happened to paper?

Obviously, this is either good or bad news for students, depending on how stupid they are. For the smart ones, unfortunately, it means a month’s worth of hard work is gone forever. For the the idiots, it means a month’s worth of slacking will go unnoticed.

Unfortunately I see this as one more sign of how screwed we all will be when the computers revolt, and Cyberdyne Systems Skynet becomes self-aware.

6 Responses to “Skynet becomes self aware, eats children’s grades”
  1. TheCos says:

    Looks to me like they got caught with their pants down. How could 1 crash wipe out all that data?
    Is their backup computer is the same as the one that stores the data? Who designed that lame-ass system?

  2. Jonro says:

    Exactly. There is absolutely no excuse for not being able to restore the grades from a backup. Let’s hope that some teachers were keeping their own set of grades in a FileMaker database sitting on a Mac. It’s a good thing students are so honest. They can just ask everyone to write down their grades and then reenter them.

  3. Bdubs says:

    I think its funny how the had to use the model name in there. that made me laugh. they are trying to lay the blame on not having a good backup in case something like that happens.

  4. Guillermo says:

    WTF? A couple of 1TB RAID1 external hard drives with daily disk images would have solved the problem in less than an hour. If only they’d spend $1k… morons.

  5. Operator207 says:

    I cannot imagine grades would need anything near 1TB of backup. Your not backing up everything, just the grade data. (Date, Student_ID, Class_ID, Grade) rinse repeat as needed. Even if its years of data.

    However, they had a backup, the configuration was “bad” and it was not backing up correctly. “…due to an unfortunate and very rare combination of hardware problems and backup configuration settings”

    What we should really be discussing is their lack of IT as a whole, or their IT’s competence.

    There is another thing that really makes me wonder, they only lost 4 weeks of grades. What type of backups were they doing that made them ONLY lose 4 weeks of data, and the cause is hardware failure, and bad backup configuration?

  6. Dave-O says:

    My guess is most of these grades can be reentered (the teachers probably have their own records if not the graded assignments). Otherwise, good students (I try to stay away from judging them as “smart” or “stupid” and am really happy you aren’t a teacher) and bad students alike now face a situation where their grades are based on two weeks of work. The slate has been wiped clean in effect. It’s not so bad for the good ones, not so great for the bad ones because no one can really afford mistakes in the remaining two weeks.

    Consider the situation in Alaska last year (or was it 2006?). Someone fouled up a regular maintenance program, tried to restore from backup only to find he’d reformatted that drive, tried to restore from tape only to find the tapes were bad. Even 2-stage redundant backups aren’t immune to failure (with a pretty good helping of human error, IIRC). Backups are risk mitigation, not some magical field of invulnerability.

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