Not a good idea

This morning I was investigating a problem at a customer site where their Manager (a program I wrote most of) is hanging. Thanks to “kill -3 pid” I discovered it was building a tool tip. Thanks to a database query, I found that the tool tip it was building was trying to display 430,000+ identical date ranges. Hmmm, looks like we’re going to be a while, and probably a little short of screen real estate at the same time.

I did a few database commands to remove the 430,000+ records and put back one copy of it. (I’m sure somebody has a command that will do both in one step – I did a “delete” followed by an “insert” because I’m lame.)

The Field Engineer at the customer site wrote to ask if I could tell him the database commands in case this happens again. I politely declined. I told my boss that this would be somewhat like giving handguns and tequila to a bunch of 9 year old boys. Repeat after me:

I’m sorry, you appear to have totally hosed the database. You’re going to have to wipe the database and re-injest all your content. You’ll probably be up and running again in two days or so.

This looks incredibly promising

Thanks to a post by Skud, I’ve discovered Freebase, which is, as Skud described it, “crack for information nerds”. It appears to be exactly what I was hoping to develop or find for my aviation navigation data project – a flexible structured information agregator, almost like a wiki with user definable fields.

You probably can’t see much of it, because right now it’s in alpha and by invitation only, but so far they’ve imported all of Wikipedia and added some links between then, and people have written some demo applications.

Like many AJAX applications, it has a tendency to get the dreaded “a script on this page is running slowly”, but otherwise it’s pretty nifty.