Skip to main content

Pack Rat or Prudent Record Keeping?

I've kept paper copies of all financial transactions that I've had with banks, credit card companies, utilities and the like ever since I opened up my first checking account 30+ years ago, and to this day I maintain a paper trail of all electronic statements, electronic bill payments, canceled checks and pay stubs, filed away in boxes stuffed into attics and basements. I've always assumed that someday I'd need those records, but I never knew why.

Now I know why. The victims of Madoffs ponzi scheme are being asked to provide records:
They are asked to provide their most recent account statements, and proof of wire transfers or canceled checks showing deposits "from as far back as you have documentation."   (Emphasis added)
The form also asks for all information regarding any withdrawals or payments received from Madoff.
Supplying such records could be nearly impossible for many longstanding clients, said Harry Susman, a partner at law firm Susman Godfrey LLP. "You've got people who were investing with Madoff for 20 years and didn't keep records," he said. 

I'll bet that the people with good records come out better than the ones with poor or no records.

In an age of electronic-everything, where is the 20 year record trail that a person needs in a case like this?

By the way - if anybody wants to track dollars, therms, kilowatt-hours or BTU per square foot per heating degree day for a couple houses in Minnesota over a 25 year period of time, I've got the data. I just need to get it all out of the attic and into a spreadsheet so I can play with it.


Popular posts from this blog

Cargo Cult System Administration

Cargo Cult: …imitate the superficial exterior of a process or system without having any understanding of the underlying substance --Wikipedia During and after WWII, some native south pacific islanders erroneously associated the presence of war related technology with the delivery of highly desirable cargo. When the war ended and the cargo stopped showing up, they built crude facsimiles of runways, control towers, and airplanes in the belief that the presence of war technology caused the delivery of desirable cargo. From our point of view, it looks pretty amusing to see people build fake airplanes, runways and control towers  and wait for cargo to fall from the sky.
The question is, how amusing are we?We have cargo cult science[1], cargo cult management[2], cargo cult programming[3], how about cargo cult system management?Here’s some common system administration failures that might be ‘cargo cult’:
Failing to understand the difference between necessary and sufficient. A daily backup …

Ad-Hoc Versus Structured System Management

Structured system management is a concept that covers the fundamentals of building, securing, deploying, monitoring, logging, alerting, and documenting networks, servers and applications. Structured system management implies that you have those fundamentals in place, you execute them consistently, and you know all cases where you are inconsistent. The converse of structured system management is what I call ad hoc system management, where every system has it own plan, undocumented and inconsistent, and you don't know how inconsistent they are, because you've never looked.

In previous posts (here and here) I implied that structured system management was an integral part of improving system availability. Having inherited several platforms that had, at best, ad hoc system management, and having moved the platforms to something resembling structured system management, I've concluded that implementing basic structure around system management will be the best and fastest path to…

The Cloud – Provider Failure Modes

In The Cloud - Outsourcing Moved up the Stack[1] I compared the outsourcing that we do routinely (wide area networks) with the outsourcing of the higher layers of the application stack (processor, memory, storage). Conceptually they are similar:In both cases you’ve entrusted your bits to someone else, you’ve shared physical and logical resources with others, you’ve disassociated physical devices (circuits or servers) from logical devices (virtual circuits, virtual severs), and in exchange for what is hopefully better, faster, cheaper service, you give up visibility, manageability and control to a provider. There are differences though. In the case of networking, your cloud provider is only entrusted with your bits for the time it takes for those bits to cross the providers network, and the loss of a few bits is not catastrophic. For providers of higher layer services, the bits are entrusted to the provider for the life of the bits, and the loss of a few bits is a major problem. These …