Not much gaming, data recovery failure, and a lot of trashy true crime docudramas.

Based On A True Story - June 2023

2,241 words.

Based On A True Story - June 2023

Not much gaming, data recovery failure, and a lot of trashy true crime docudramas.

I keep thinking I’m going to make new AI-generated header pictures, but then publication day arrives and I don’t.


Haven’t played much lately. A little Diablo IV, which is such a boring idle clicker game there’s very little to write about. The story is boring, the gameplay is boring, but it’s well-made and exactly what it’s supposed to be. That’s it. That’s the review. I successfully clicked the left mouse button and occasionally the right mouse button and sometimes I tapped a key now and then. I think stuff happens on the screen when I do those things but it hardly matters.

Played a little Phoenix Point. Played a little Solasta and Wasteland 2.

I think Final Fantasy XVI launched, but I was sufficiently annoyed by the ending of Final Fantasy XV that I can easily wait for a sale.

Video Production

I resumed uploading my long-lost incomplete Solasta: Crown of the Magister video series now that I’ve finished the first campaign.

Haven’t been in the mood to record any videos, which, as previously mentioned, basically means I stop playing games altogether. The free time I would have spent playing games went into watching Netflix instead.

Data Recovery

So the worst has happened: The data recovery place could not recover my 4-drive RAID (two of the drives suffered head crashes) and I lost some 15 TB of data that was on my NAS, quite literally overnight. (The only good news is that it only cost me shipping fees; they don’t charge anything if they aren’t successful.)

Plan B is … well, there is no Plan B. Anything that I can’t find in a backup or alternate location is just gone forever. Theoretically I could try to send the drives to a different data recovery place but the odds of success are almost nil.

The good news is that 95% of what was on there I don’t care about. I either have copies elsewhere or it wasn’t important. But it’s the 5% that hurts.

Lost Videos

I lost most every game video I recorded from c. 2020-2022. Most of the good ones were uploaded to YouTube, so there is a backup there, but the original recordings are all gone.

There were some things I didn’t upload to YouTube though. A complete playthrough of A Plague Tale: Innocence, for example. I think most of my complete playthrough of The Witcher 2 is gone, wrecking my plans to record all three games. (Coincidentally I lost all my Mass Effect videos in a 2017 hard drive crash too, which wrecked my plans for a complete playthrough of that series.) Hellpoint and Nioh, which were unfinished, so I can finally absolve myself fully of ever trying to finish them.

The videos weren’t a huge loss, though. I can always play the games again.

I was mainly worried about pictures and music.

Lost Pictures

I had an archive of all my digital camera pictures on the NAS from around 1999 to today (and anything I might have scanned from before then). I had a big Pictures directory with a directory for every year from 1999 to 2023 (actually a directory for every month, starting at a certain point).

Before I got the NAS, I kept copying the picture archive to each new PC as I got one. But I had not copied it to my newest PC in 2021. (Why would I? It was on the NAS.) But I had most of them still on my previous PC. I say “most” of them, because I had deleted everything prior to 2017 to make room for OBS videos.

I thought I’d be able to retrieve all pictures up through 2016 from a previous PC (the gaming PC before the last gaming PC), but it looks like I reformated and repurposed that PC in 2020. It looks like I saved most everything that was previously on there in a different directory … except the Pictures folder, which is nowhere to be found.

I tried various file recovery tools to get files from error-prone and formatted hard drives without much luck. For a while, I thought I might lose all my pictures before 2017.

But the tale of the missing pictures has a happy ending.

I found an archive of pictures up to the beginning of 2013 on another old USB drive. So that meant I was only missing pictures from the beginning of 2013 through the end of 2016. Not great, but not as catastrophic.

Then I found another directory on my previous PC where I had copies of pictures from my DSLR from 2013 through 2016, and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

And to gather the rest of the missing pictures from that time period, I plugged in all my old smart phones (a chore in itself) and copied those pictures to the PC again. That recovered almost all of the missing pictures, or at least enough that I wouldn’t notice any others were missing.

Lost Music

But I fear I won’t have much luck in the music department, because I’m pretty sure I’ve lost basically every music project I’ve done after 2017. The NAS was my “working directory” for anything I did in REAPER or FL Studio. It wasn’t a lot of material, but it was some cool stuff, and represented a ton of work.

At one point I spent a lot of time meticulously finding and cataloging old recorded tracks from the 90s so I could use them in new projects, and that’s all gone now. I can do the same work again on those same old tracks, but it was a lot of work.

I had done a pretty cool instrumental remix of a song I recorded in 1994 with FL Studio last year and every piece of it is gone now. All the source tracks, all the loops I made, everything. I have the FL Studio project but none of the samples it references exist anymore. Bleh. I put so much work into that.

Not only don’t I have the source music projects, but I don’t even have any of the rendered MP3s either, because I put them all on the NAS and didn’t make any copies. That was a major oversight.

Anyway, it’s a bummer. It’s tedious and nobody likes doing it, but check your backups periodically anyway. And especially check that you can restore from the backups periodically. It’s one thing to lose a few weeks of work, but it really sucks to lose years of work.

To reiterate, I had received an external USB drive in order to start making copies of 2021 data the day before the NAS died. (It probably wouldn’t have helped, though, because I was only going to make copies of videos, and did not think at all about backing up pictures or music projects.)

I’m going to try to be a bit more proactive about uploading stuff to YouTube, even if I set it to private, and maybe finding somewhere to upload music and pictures privately as well.

I’ve also been making a lot of copies of data lately. I have external USB drives for 2015-2022 videos and I’ve been copying pictures and other things to them, too, and making sure there’s some overlap so there are multiple copies on different devices in case one of them dies.

In the future, I need to be very careful not to use the new NAS as a working directory, without finding a way to back it up, or at least check the status of the drives periodically. I made the mistake of assuming NAS drives would live forever, but two of them died after 7 years, and there were warning signs that I ignored.

Day Job

The thread running through my work this sprint was Java Spring Data. I had a fairly straightforward task to read a YAML file and put the contents into a database using Spring Data entities. All stuff I had never done before in my life (in a Java Spring context, that is–I’ve done it many times in many other ways). So I had a crash course in Spring Data, JPA, Hibernate, Liquibase, JUnit, and Mockito.

One of my favorite aspects of software development is starting out a task not knowing how to do it, but then at the end of it, knowing how to do it. That makes me one of them so-called “lifelong learners,” I guess.

Media Consumption

After watching that Waco documentary I mentioned last time, I suddenly became addicted to crime docudramas of the kind you find all over Netflix now.

  • MH370: The Plane That Disappeared (Netflix). Thought there would be more new information, but there wasn’t. I definitely remember this being a major story and wondering along with everyone else what happened. Still wondering, which is why I watched it.
  • Web of Make Believe (Netflix). Spooky stuff. Heard of most of this but it went into a lot more detail in that super-dramatic way that these shows have. If only fiction writers and Marvel Studios could make shows as dramatic as these real-life docudramas.
  • Don’t Pick Up The Phone (Netflix). Yeesh. Don’t think I’d ever heard of this one.
  • The Curious Case of Natalia Green (Max). “Curious case” is a slight understatement. I remember seeing some headlines about this, but this goes into a lot more details, mainly from the perspective of one of the parents. Most every character in this particular drama was portrayed as a manipulative sociopath.
  • Disappearance at the Cecil Hotel (Netflix). I think I remember hearing about this and even watching that video once. As I recall I didn’t think it was nearly as creepy and mysterious as everyone else thought it was at the time. Anyway this series dragged a LOT and could have been cut in half, because there isn’t much information to tell. Just a lot of interviews of people saying “well golly gee this is weird, what happened here?” Then a lot of interviews and clips from the “web sleuth” community, who are pretty much always the real villians in any story that takes place after 2010.
  • Sins of Our Mother (Netflix). I think I vaguely remember seeing a headline or two about this but yeesh. The ones where they have a lot of secretly-recorded video and audio are pretty creepy, beyond even the subject matter, which was also pretty creepy.
  • The Puppet Master: The Ultimate Conman (Netflix). Hey there are manipulative sociopaths in the UK too.
  • Don’t F**k With Cats: Chasing an Internet Killer. I have vague memories of this story. The docudrama is mostly about a bunch of “web sleuths” patting themselves on the back about their basic Googling skills and yelling at authorities for not letting them take over and ruin the real investigation.
  • The Staircase (Netflix). This one is older so it’s more documentary than trashy docudrama, but nevertheless it’s a really interesting look behind the scenes of a murder trial. It’s almost all footage passively observing the subject as it happens, and not much of the after-the-fact sit-in-the-chair-in-the-middle-of-the-room interview, so it feels a lot more authentic.
  • The Most Hated Man on the Internet (Netflix). I can see why.
  • Trial by Media (Netflix). A series of media-circus trials. I remembered about half of these.
  • Our Father (Netflix). Yikes. I mean, like, you know, yikes.
  • Into the Deep: The Submarine Murder Case (Netflix). Not only were the Danes in some weird amateur Space Race, but one of them was a sociopathic murderer. By a filmmaker who just happened to be there.
  • Murder Among the Mormons (Netflix). That’s two series about killer Mormons now. This one is about a counterfeiter in debt.
  • Abducted in Plain Sight (Netflix). Creepy.
  • Capturing the Killer Nurse (Netflix). I vaugely remember this case. Creepy.
  • Catching Killers (Netflix). Lots of gruesome serial murderers for fun and profit. I distinctly remember the DC Sniper as it was a big story where I live.
  • Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (Netflix). Didn’t remember any of this.
  • The Confession Killer (Netflix). This one was really interesting; I hadn’t heard about this case. I like the ones where there’s lots of blame to go around and you can’t tell who the criminals are and who the victims are.

There are tons of these shows on Netflix and I lost track of all the ones I watched. Netflix doesn’t recommend anything but crime docudramas to me anymore.

Oh, somewhere in there I watched the new season of Black Mirror, too. It was pretty good, if not amazing. But I will always commend the lost art of succinct storytelling.

World Context

Just a couple of noteworthy things.

  • A submersible giving tours of the Titanic wreckage went missing, causing much media attention because of the “running out of oxygen” narrative. The story ended exactly how everyone expected it would.
  • News of Hunter Biden tax evasion charges provided more red meat for “Biden is just as much of a criminal as Trump” Republicans.
  • There was a brief rebellion by the Russian mercenary Wagner Group, which caused a lot of media speculation about overthrowing Putin, but it ultimately fizzled.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court overturned affirmative action for college admissions. Controversy ensued. (The Supreme Court seemed to be on a tear of controversial conservative opinions in the last days of June, causing a dramatic rise in Twitter drama.)

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