Friday, January 21, 2011

Looks like part 2 of the Zombie's report on the October computer crash is up and at 'em at Humid Beings, this time on the woman who was City Hall's CTO at the time of the crash...and, of course, much more about what else went wrong:
Tynia served the IT department of Orleans Parish Civil Court since 1998, over a decade of service in a position which required her and a single assistant to oversee and address the technology needs of more than 300 employees, an estimated 300 computers, 9 servers, multiple printers, Blackberries and any electronic issue which arose in Civil District Court or any of the offices under the Orleans Parish Clerk of Court’s dominion. As her emails reflect, she often turned to prayer and faith in moments when she felt overwhelmed by the responsibilities of her job.
Running a grossly understaffed and underfunded IT department is hard enough under any circumstance but when said department is responsible for many of New Orleans’ most valuable public records, the burden becomes that much greater. Tynia was fully aware of the enormous responsibility she held and particularly aware the servers she administered were the alpha and omega of not just the city’s property records, but the civil court records as well.
Suffice to say, Tynia has offered up a lot of prayers in her tenure.
In reference to Landry’s workload, Chicago-based IT consultant and Microsoft server specialist Michael Dumas said, “If that poor girl was getting 40 to 60 help notices daily, it’s outrageous to think she could run that office properly with a single assistant. It’s not unheard of for a single server administrator to run 9 servers with SQL and Exchange databases but combined with the number of employees she was responsible for, it’s just a recipe for disaster.”
As Landry described it, she spent most of her time “putting out fires”. Up until the October crash, her biggest fire was Hurricane Katrina. In fact, the flood waters of Katrina nearly wiped out the mortgage and conveyance records for good.
An email timeline and some video clips are included as well.

All of this drives home that, as far as the city's public records go, we'd been absurdly lucky 'til this past October that nothing major had happened.  Go read.

And speaking of the whole anonymous commenter thing that was raised a tad at the tail end of yesterday's post, Terri Troncale finds Sports Illustrated's Jeff Pearlman confronting anonymous tweeters about their hate speech online:
This time, I aspired to know why Matt, cloaked in the anonymity provided by the internet, felt the need to respond in such a way to, of all things, a Jeff Bagwell post.
So, going deep, deep, deep undercover, I tracked him down and, shortly after our exchange, gave him a call.
Quite frankly, I wanted to hate him. I wanted to bash him. I wanted to plaster his name, address and personal information atop a column on, so that when someone Googled his name for future employment, they'd find the words "Sent me a link to pornographic material."
Then we spoke. And I (dammit) liked him. Without invisibility or the support of his 54 Twitter followers or the superhuman powers supplied by a warm keyboard, Matt was meek and apologetic. "I was just trying to get a rise out of you," he said. "You're a known sports writer, and I thought it was cool. That's all. I never meant for it to reach this point."
Sadly, Matt's online behavior is far from an anomaly. Anyone who writes or is written about is now a potential target for abuse. Online civility -- it if ever existed -- has withered up and died. And it's only getting worse.

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