Revolut, Monzo, and Incident Transparency

I bank with Barclays. But I also in the recent years have opened up accounts with @monzo and @revolutapp.

While neither of these two accounts are my primary bank account, I do use them extensively, especially Monzo, where I’m both an investor, and took out the Plus option.

What I absolutely *LOVE* about both of these two banks, is how much you can do over the app on your phone. You can see money in an out, AS IT HAPPENS, pay for things and immediately get notified that the money has left your account and even approve online transactions from the app.

But the one thing I really like about these two companies, is how transparent they are as a company and admit “yes, we fucked up, we are sorry. Here’s what happened and here’s how we are stopping it happening again.”

No company, no architect, no developer, no engineer is perfect. We will all miss certain things. There’ll always be edge cases. There’ll always be split brain situations where you don’t expect them.

In this case Revolut’s app had trouble after an update — their full update is here in case you want to read it.

In short, there was an unused database column. Someone presumably thought “hey, no-one uses that, let’s remove it and tidy up the database table”.

As you might expect, something was using it, and that caused problems with the Revolut app. The engineers rolled back the change, but that caused more problems as the old code no longer found the column that was removed as part of the update.

Even at my workplace, we have encountered almost this exact same problem. I had a colleague from another department ask me why they were able to add new entries to a database, but whenever they wanted to edit a record, the system would error.

Turned out a column was _missing_ from the database, and had been for 2 YEARS. The change to the code was supposed to be accompanied by a schema update, but that didn’t happen, for whatever reason.

Since the insert command to the database didn’t specify the column, the default was used, but since the update wanted to modify that field, and didn’t find it, the command failed.

Monzo are not perfect either, they also have messed up, and have been just as transparent. They also had a database mess-up, this time in Cassandra.

Rather than hiding behind jargon or spin, these two companies are so open about their mistakes it’s refreshing. Sure there’s some people out there who are mad at these banks for closing their account, but there’s normally a reason behind it, and Monzo explains why they block accounts in their blog.

Google’s Catch-22

Not often I post on problems at Google, but this is actually an interesting situation.

https://arstechnica.com/?p=1518703

Google had an outage the other week, and it knocked out several websites GitLab, Shopify and impacted others. Gsuite, Gmail, YouTube were affected, but not down.

There are some interesting lines in this article:

for an entire afternoon and into the night, the Internet was stuck in a crippling ouroboros: Google couldn’t fix its cloud, because Google’s cloud was broken.

Google says its engineers were aware of the problem within two minutes. And yet! “Debugging the problem was significantly hampered by failure of tools competing over use of the now-congested network,”

In short, Google Cloud broke due to congestion, Google couldn’t fix the problem because their tools required using the network that was now congested

LPIC-1 Expiry and Google+

Well, it was due to happen eventually, but I got an email saying my LPIC-1 certification is going to expire in 9 months, and I never got to finish LPIC-2.

Well, maybe I’ll redo it after I got my Kubernetes certifications

Finally while writing this post, I notice that WordPress is now removing Google+ support because Google are shutting it down. A pity really, since I did like Google+ and while it didn’t take off, a lot of the features were in G+ because general use, like Hangouts.

WordPress and Twitter

I wondered why I didn’t enable auto-sharing to Twitter from WordPress,

Then I remembered, that method only puts the title of your blog entry, plus an embedded link. Unless you have a really informative blog title, I don’t think it works.

Instead, I use IFTTT, but have to remember to either add a picture somewhere in the post or manually shre it through force checking the IFTTT applets.

General Updates

So I haven’t been posting here much recently so here are some updates.

Been slowing trying to get back into running, have been slacking off WAAAAY too much lately. Tried using Aaptiv (@aaptiv) which is a training fitness app that has trainers talking you through the stuff, there are a few problems with it.

  1. When you use a stretch/strength training routine or yoga routine, you’re reliant on them telling you what to do, there’s no video guide to show you the correct form, and that’s bad. Other apps like FitBit Coach has videos where you can copy the coach to make sure you have the right form.
  2. On Treadmill/Running routines, they talk in mph, but treadmills here in the UK go in km/h, which requires conversion (1.0 mph = 1.6 kph)

On a separate note, I have bought another attempt at the CKA exam, but this time bought the bundle with the Kubernetes Fundamentals Training from Linux Foundation. Let’s see how different that is to Linux Academy’s training….

 

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