So I had the bright idea this morning to add Kay Bailey Hutchison's gubernatorial contributions to the Tribune's state campaign-finance database, which until now only included currently elected state officials.
One problem: I broke an elementary rule to be mindful of data conversion errors.
Database manager programs, you see, assign what are essentially categories to fields, or columns, of records -- text, numbers, dates, etc.
I appended the full database with Hutchison's 2,700 contributions (of $250 or more) between Jan. 1 and June 30, but the amounts were listed as text, not numbers or currency. Problems ensued.
Long story short, that's why the search application was down so long this morning.