When good software saves you...

I enjoyed reading Phil Haack’s recent post where he basically describes how to avoid the mistakes he has (and more than likely most of us have) made in presentations. I chortled along and ‘tutted at the appropriate points with a sort of smug disconnect. Just a couple of days later I gave a short demo!

It was a fairly informal product walk through, showing a prototype to a potential customer to help draw out some more ideas for the product – the sort of thing you don’t prepare too much for… I fired up the laptop, and helpfully Windows had automatically restarted following update (note to self when you get a new laptop remember to enable the “No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic update installations” in gpedit.msc). Ok, not too much hassle, just some small talk whilst getting rebooted and getting everything running.

The real squeaky bum moment came when starting up mongod to run the mongoDB database and it failed to start – this was a first – it has been rock solid for me so far. So panic is starting to set in now, people watching my every button press, no backup plan, and my db isn’t starting. Funnily enough no matter how many times I try to type “mongod”, or how hard I hit return it always fails. Deep breath and read the error message:

Thu Apr 28 19:21:13 [initandlisten] db version v1.8.1, pdfile version 4.5
Thu Apr 28 19:21:13 [initandlisten] git version: a429cd4f535b2499cc4130b06ff7c26f41c00f04
Thu Apr 28 19:21:13 [initandlisten] build sys info: windows (5, 1, 2600, 2, 'Service Pack 3') BOOST_
old lock file: \data\db\mongod.lock. probably means unclean shutdown
recommend removing file and running --repair
see: http://dochub.mongodb.org/core/repair for more information
Thu Apr 28 19:21:13 [initandlisten] exception in initAndListen std::exception: old lock file, termin
Thu Apr 28 19:21:13 dbexit:
Thu Apr 28 19:21:13 [initandlisten] shutdown: going to close listening sockets...
Thu Apr 28 19:21:13 [initandlisten] shutdown: going to flush diaglog...
Thu Apr 28 19:21:13 [initandlisten] shutdown: going to close sockets...
Thu Apr 28 19:21:13 [initandlisten] shutdown: waiting for fs preallocator...
Thu Apr 28 19:21:13 [initandlisten] shutdown: closing all files...
Thu Apr 28 19:21:13 closeAllFiles() finished
Thu Apr 28 19:21:13 dbexit: really exiting now

Now its at these times more than any other where you really appreciate good feedback in your software – I do exactly what it says and I’m back up and running. Just wipe that bead of sweat from my brow and I think I’ve got away with it, demo on. Awesome. Not laughing so hard at Phil’s expense now.