Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Lousy ISP
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Yesterday started out pretty badly. A bunch of my online game customers found some problems with the game. All their ships, planes, subs, etc. had disappeared. When the messages start pouring in and they're all the same problem it does not make a happy start for the day.

It gets worse when you find out the reason. The company hosting my game upgraded the database it uses from version 4.0 to 4.1.21. That's a HUGE jump to make all at once - years' worth of changes. That's what caused the problem. Looking back through the version change logs for the database itself, I found the problem in version 4.1.2, made a couple years ago by the developers.

Specifically, they changed the way a field call FLOAT works. They switched it so that specifying 4,2 does not mean four digits in the integer and two in the decimal, but rather four total, with two in the decimal. Thus, all numbers above 99 and below -99 got changed to those boundaries. This totally screwed just about every unit in every game that each of my customers had, because most units need three digits to record their position.

Fortunately the ISP did have a recent backup of my entire database. However, because the format of the field had changed, trying to load the backup file directly into the database didn't help: all the numbers rounded to 99. So, I had to ask them to dump the database to a file then run a few regex commands to change all the field formats, then delete all the database tables, then load them back in.

This is just what I wanted to spend yesterday and today doing.

I'm now looking for an alternative ISP. The problem is that most do not allow the running of one's own scripts. I do have a lead however, from a guy who plays the game and apparently runs an ISP, so if he can host the other sites as well, and move is likely in the near future.

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