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Old 10 May 2020, 12:26 PM   #1
elvey
The "e" in e-mail
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 2,446
Unhappy Updated Title: 2 BUGS! iOS cut & paste bug ; restore BUG ⤷ DATA LOSS!⤵

For fellow users of the fastmail iOS app (on iPhone or iPad or iTouch/iPod) who also have a Mac:

Have you seen this bug I've been encountering? Several times, I've been editing an email, cut some text to the clipboard, and when I try to paste, there's nothing in the clipboard; if I bring up the menu, it's got Select and Select All, but not Paste.

As a result. I'm losing parts of email drafts.

I'm not sure if it's an app or iOS bug; if it's the latter, I suspect could be related to Continuity (the inter-device cut-n'-paste feature) which has also been flaky lately.

For the second time, I just used a great, but massively overpowered tool to get back a paragraph or so.:
https://www.fastmail.com/settings/restore - given the load it presumably puts on servers.
I'm thankful for the restore feature... and perhaps is should have options/a mini version to restore 1 folder, or restore back just 1 hour?

(FYI: Repeated undo's haven't worked to get the content back.)

PS Hi, everyone. Hope you're managing OK during the pandemic.

[Edit several months later: Wow, no replies??? EEK! Restore isn't working any more! Details in msgs below.]

Last edited by elvey : 1 Sep 2020 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 29 Aug 2020, 11:58 AM   #2
elvey
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Nothing? Just bit me. Again.

Using my workaround. Again.

[Edit: Holy moly! My suggestion has been implemented! Coincidence?

BUT it doesn't work! Screenshot: http://bayimg.com/iAojdaaga ]


Well, maybe it's a matter of interpretation. Technically, they're not deleted drafts; they're autodeleted drafts?

No. OH NO!: http://bayimg.com/iAojeaaga = http://bayimg.com/iAojeaaga (Not allowed?)

NOTHING FOUND TO RESTORE???

Last edited by elvey : 29 Aug 2020 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 29 Aug 2020, 04:33 PM   #3
BritTim
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I am in no position to test this, but an obvious circumvention is to get into the habit of using copy and paste rather than cut and past. Yes, this implies slightly decreased efficiency, but that is better than losing major edits.
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Old 30 Aug 2020, 03:48 AM   #4
elvey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BritTim View Post
I am in no position to test this, but an obvious circumvention is to get into the habit of using copy and paste rather than cut and past. Yes, this implies slightly decreased efficiency, but that is better than losing major edits.
Thanks. Good point. I am trying to change my habits.
At least when it comes to moving around large amounts of text.
I lost some carefully worded legal argument.

I haven’t heard back on my ticket and since it’s now the weekend I probably won’t hear back soon (response time standard is 72 hours on weekends and this will likely require level two support) I wasn’t able to send a timely response which was quite unfortunate. And we likely will have to/end up redrafting it.

Anyway, the new bug that the existing bug made worse should be easy for anybody to verify: I’m guessing that the same thing happens in the web app: If you’re working on a draft and autosave happens and then you cut a paragraph and then try and do a restore operation you won’t be able to restore the autosaved version of the draft that still contains the paragraph. So I’d appreciate a test of that part. Especially if you’re still feeling helpful, BritTim.

I’m guessing or at least would hope that there was a message sent out & blog post when this anti-feature was rolled out...?
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Old 30 Aug 2020, 05:14 AM   #5
BritTim
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I did some playing around, and was unable to recreate the problem using the web interface with Google Chrome under Windows 10. I suspect the issue involves some kind of nasty interaction with the iOS clipboard.
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Old 30 Aug 2020, 05:41 AM   #6
elvey
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BritTim,
Did your playing around include doing a successful restore operation of an autosaved version of a draft? That's what I was asking you to try. The (latter) bug doesn't involve pasting from the clipboard. (I can only see the former bug involving some kind of nasty interaction with the iOS clipboard.)

Last edited by elvey : 30 Aug 2020 at 05:57 AM.
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Old 30 Aug 2020, 05:51 AM   #7
BritTim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elvey View Post
BritTim,
Did your playing around doing a successful restore operation of an autosaved version of a draft? That's what I was asking you to try. The (latter) bug doesn't involve pasting from the clipboard. (I can only see the former bug involving some kind of nasty interaction with the iOS clipboard.)
I did not try this. I am unsure what the correct behaviour should be in restoring messages in Draft. Are you expecting a separate copy to be retained by FastMail every time an autosave occurs? Are you expecting it to save the copy of the message as it exists at midnight each day? I must admit my own expectation is that the results of restoring messages in draft folders would be rather unpredictable, except that if a draft is deleted, I would expect you to be able to recover the final version before the deletion.
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Old 30 Aug 2020, 07:00 AM   #8
elvey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BritTim View Post
I did not try this. I am unsure what the correct behaviour should be in restoring messages in Draft. Are you expecting a separate copy to be retained by FastMail every time an autosave occurs?
Yes. That it what used to happen:
Quote:
Originally Posted by elvey View Post
For the second time, I just used a great, but massively overpowered tool to get back a paragraph or so.:
https://www.fastmail.com/settings/restore - given the load it presumably puts on servers.
I'm thankful for the restore feature... and perhaps is should have options/a mini version to restore 1 folder, or restore back just 1 hour?
It was also documented here 10 years ago : https://fastmail.blog/2010/02/02/restore-from-backup/
it worked great in May, but now there's a new UI AND it's not working. :-(

... I must admit my own expectation is that the results of restoring messages in draft folders would be rather unpredictable, except that if a draft is deleted, I would expect you to be able to recover the final version before the deletion.[/quote]
I wasn't certain it would work when I first tried it, but I would have though that FastMail would notify users if backup systems became less comprehensive than they had been. Maybe no one realized this had happened.

Anyway, I'm hoping that
A)it's the restore feature that has lost functionality, not that fewer backups are being kept, and a manual restore works. Still 6 days left.

And longer term:
B) the backup & restore functionality can be restored.

C) the clipboard issue can be looked into.

The clipboard bug isn't consistently reproducible, but it's hit me several times. Possibly useful details:
Sometimes (as this last time) I'm just moving something, so I try to paste immediately after performing the cut and moving the cursor. IIRC, I signed(put my name) at the bottom of the draft, cut the last section to move to the top, moved the cursor, and was unable to paste. When I tried "undo", the material cut didn't come back; instead, my signature disappeared.
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Old 30 Aug 2020, 12:24 PM   #9
BritTim
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by BritTim
I did not try this. I am unsure what the correct behaviour should be in restoring messages in Draft. Are you expecting a separate copy to be retained by FastMail every time an autosave occurs?
Yes. That it what used to happen:
I must say that the need to sort through potentially hundreds of autosaved drafts for a single message does not seem ideal either. I am surprised that this was the old behaviour.
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Old 30 Aug 2020, 02:34 PM   #10
elvey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BritTim View Post
I must say that the need to sort through potentially hundreds of autosaved drafts for a single message does not seem ideal either. I am surprised that this was the old behaviour.
Actually, it's been great - the version needed has been and should be right there after a restore. Easy. There was no sorting needed last time, as I recall. The next-to-newest autosaved draft would likely be the right one, and it also would likely be the largest draft, or the next in line. So essentially no extra sorting or searching needed. Note that I said in May that a restore had already worked in this situation, for me, on two separate occasions.

Haven't heard from staff yet.

Last edited by elvey : 30 Aug 2020 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 1 Sep 2020, 02:59 AM   #11
ellentk
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There are a number of clipboard apps that can be helpful. I use one called copied and it works well for me. I especially like clicking in my saved email and phone, etc. But I digress. Copied costs money but there are some free clipboard apps too.
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Old 1 Sep 2020, 07:42 AM   #12
elvey
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Angry

Arrgh!

Current ticket:

x Mon Aug 31st 2020 11:49 AM PDT
Hello y,

Thank you for writing to us! I am happy to assist you
with this issue.

Unfortunately, we do not have an option to restore just
the Drafts folder. However, we can restore all the
emails that were deleted in the last 7 days.

The backup restore utility is under the
"Settings->Restore from Backup" screen. Just follow the
instructions there to complete the restoration process.

When the restoration is completed, you should get an
email about it. Please make sure you go through the
email carefully as it involves instructions to help you
copy the restored content and also mentions about the
automatic deletion of the restored folders.

Note: During a restore, any message flags that you had
applied to the messages will be lost. This means that
the restored messages will lose their "Seen" status and
appear as unread mails in the folder.

Please also refer to our help page about email
restoration here:

https://www.fastmail.com/help/receiv...redeleted.html



Cheers,

x
y Mon Aug 31st 2020 3:38 PM PDT
I'm not feeling heard. At all.

I wrote: "it doesn't work! Screenshot:
http://bayimg.com/iAojdaaga ]"

Did you read the whole emaildiscussions.com(FastMail
board) thread I cited? Did you look at the screenshots?
(Notice how many times I've posted there, helping out
other fastmail users?)

Time is running out.

Will you please escalate this ASAP?

I'm looking for something that the new version of
https://www.fastmail.com/settings/restore?u=zzzz
doesn't work on. Again, I've already performed a restore
using the functionality currently available there. But
it's not restoring the autosave drafts the older version
could and has.

Search showing it hasn't restored any autosaved drafts:
https://www.fastmail.com/mail/search...%3A-7d/?u=zzzz
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Old 1 Sep 2020, 07:50 AM   #13
elvey
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No longer true? :From https://www.fastmail.com/help/ourser...liability.html

Replication
When anything changes in your mailbox, such as receiving new mail, that change is immediately copied (or replicated) onto two separate servers. That way if a server fails, your mail is still accessible and secure.

These servers also write to redundant disk drives. If a disk fails, the system still runs, we get an alert, and the disk is swapped with a spare, with no downtime or loss of service at all.

If you want to know more, we've written a detailed description of our storage and replication architecure.*** <sic> <=Note spelling typo.

Backups, just in case
Beyond the protection of our redundant live servers, we also maintain a backup system which takes nightly backups of all your email and mailbox activity. If any emails are deleted, the backup will keep a copy for up to 7 days.

This backup system is designed to function separately, and entirely differently, than the live system. It does not share any common traits in configuration or coding. Basically, if catastrophe strikes the live system, whether that be an advanced virus or a targeted attack, that attack will not affect your backed up data.

This is all highly unlikely, but we've planned for the worst to ensure that your data remains intact and undamaged.

_________________________
The log files, among other places, must have the autosaved drafts in 'em.

From the architecture.html file:
Replication
The Cyrus replication system doesn't record the actual changes to mailboxes: it just writes "something changed in mailbox X" to a log file (or in our multi-replica configuration, to a separate log file per replica).

Last edited by elvey : 1 Sep 2020 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 1 Sep 2020, 10:44 AM   #14
n5bb
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Location: Irving, Texas
Posts: 8,611
Arrow Current restore compared to old restore feature

The current recovery feature is quite different from the old recovery feature from a few years ago.
  • The old version restored all temporary draft versions after they had been deleted (such as when the draft was finally sent as a message or it was deleted).
    • When you moved messages between folders the messages were copied then the original was permanently deleted. So many many messages were typically recovered if you moved messages between folders.
    • The retrieved messages (and drafts) were placed in a newly created folder tree which was only available for one week.
    • If you had saved (or auto-saved) 15 versions of a draft message, all 15 would be recovered.
    • That's how I remember it. My memory isn't perfect, but this is pretty close to how it worked.
  • The current version restores drafts and messages to the folders they were in when they were permanently deleted.
    • Only permanently deleted messages are recovered, so moving messages no longer causes a backup copy to be available. Messages deleted from the Trash folder are "permanently discarded" and can be recovered.
    • The only draft messages which can be recovered are those which were "permanently discarded" by a purposeful Discard Draft action. The discarded draft is not placed in Trash (since it is permanently discarded), so it can be recovered.
    • Only the draft versions you purposely discarded can be recovered. For example, after you send a message the saved drafts are automatically discarded and can't be recovered.
    • New features allow you to restore contacts, calendar events, and notes. You have a choice to undo all changes or recover discarded items.
  • The new system allows you to choose how far back to recover, with selections in steps from 10 minutes to 1 week. The old system always recovered all available items, which recovered at least one week and in some cases up to 2 weeks of items, which produced a huge set of temporarily available messages you had to look through to find the messages you wanted to recover.
So you should copy (not cut) important sections from a draft to a destination. After the copy has been pasted, you can then delete that portion of the draft.

Bill
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Old 1 Sep 2020, 11:46 AM   #15
elvey
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Thanks and hello!

That's how I remember the old version and (having just been made rudely aware of it on Friday) have come to understand the new version too.

Except:

1)What are you talking about "a few years ago"? As my OP notes, I used the old version on 9 May 2020 to restore an auto-saved draft message! That was under 4 months ago.

2)I think the replication architecture means the auto-saved draft messages should be restorable (unless the detailed description of our storage and replication architecture is now wildly inaccurate). It may be a PITA. Update: The damage (delay) is done and I had to (attempt to) recreate the lost content today, so at this point a restore isn't of much value any more. But I am still very much hoping for A,B and C. I only have come across this paste-fails bug in the fastmail app, not in notes, which I use a lot, or other iOS apps.

I caught myself cutting and pasting in an email draft twice today. Habit, as I mentioned earlier. The first time pasting worked and the second time, more data loss (just a phrase though).

Updates:
1. I heard from support and expecting to hear from second level / developer support anon.

2. Also, I have been largely relying on a link to this thread to serve as a description of the issue.

3. [moved below Bill's response below, to maintain the conversation flow]

-elvey

Last edited by elvey : 2 Sep 2020 at 05:54 AM.
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