Electron Dance
1Sep/1815

Discussion: Next, Please

From this month's newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

First collect blue di-hydrogen crystals and craft them into jelly. Next, gather a ton of ferrite dust and set down your portable refiner which will turn them into pure ferrite after a short wait. Now don’t forget to fuel up your refiner with carbon - oh, you don’t have enough? Right, so off you go and kill some trees. Ohhhh, your mining laser is out of juice? You’ll need to collect carbon for that too… er, by punching trees.

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  1. Right, that’s enough. I’m off to bed.

  2. I bounced off of NMS Next after numerous crashes, and not being able to progress with my original save. I was also put off by the prospect of having to grind out technology modules before I could even build anything useful for my base.

    That indie post apocalypse article is terrifying, but I’m sure there’s still a lot of people that think it didn’t happen for some strange reason.

    Sorry to hear about that hard drive loss, I hope the recovery centre can at least find something.

  3. “You’ll need to collect carbon for that too… er, by punching trees.”

    Are there any crafting games that don’t involve punching trees? Poor trees. And Subnautica doesn’t count. Actually, NMS sounds like it takes the most annoying aspects of Subnautica (mat lists and resource trafficking) and makes it more annoying. The urge to fire up Subnautica has been building recently, I think your article started it!

    Never heard of Mastodon. De-centralised social media sounds interesting!

    And your hard drive nightmare has prompted me to do some fresh backups. I wish you well with the data recovery.

  4. Jono!

    I’m perservering with NMS because there’s a lot in the game to see. I suppose I could just switch to Creative, but I’m interesting in letting the “normal” mode play out to see how it transforms with progress like the original version did. The early hours are ridiculously frustrating though.

    On the post-apocalypse article: yes, I’m not sure it can get much worse than collapsing from near-zero to zero. That’s pretty much rock bottom.

    I’m sure something will be recovered from the HDD – but the question is how much. If it was a head crash, there’s a good chance continued attempts to use the drive caused damage. (Last time I sent a HDD for recovery was over ten years ago and that was 100% recovered as it was just electronic failure.)

    In a slight twist on HDD story, it turns out the drive – which I bought as part as of a new PC build in Jan 2016 – was a recertified drive originally manufactured in 2012. That is, it was returned to the manufacturer due to a fault and after repair sent back out into the world. I’m surprised this was put in my new build PC so I’ll be taking this up with the company I bought it from. (The drive I received was one of he notorious 3TB Seagate drives for which it was alleged the early failure rate on this drive was excessively high. There was a class action lawsuit filed in the US but it failed.)

    And I hope your own recovery is going well.

    Gregg

    I think that’s fair. Subnautica is much more satisfying as a “game” and more interesting. It’s difficult to compare on the exploration/visual factor because the game is holding me back right now.

    I’m not sure Mastodon will stand the test of time because I think the messaging model is the problem and the tweaks to the Twitter will help but they will not eliminate the dark pattern of behaviour they encourage. I think we’re heading back to the age of moderated newsgroups where people realised a free for all just wasn’t that fun half the time. Heavily moderated Mastodon instances will survive but open-access, shoot from the hip ones are likely to go bad in the same way like Twitter did.

  5. Uhh, hard drive failures are the worst. One of mine failed at the start of the year, taking with it a few video recordings and thousands of screenshots—nothing I really needed though, luckily. Hope you get some good news from the recovery folks.

    I do have a NAS that I back up onto, with some HDD redundancy, but I’m still always concerned about failures, cause everything always seems to report drives functioning 100% okay right up until they can’t be read anymore. “SMART” not so much.

  6. Hi Andy. If I remember correctly, Google used their server population to show that SMART instrumentation isn’t very useful.

    Pure RAID consumer enclosures seem to be dying out and I think this is because NAS is considered the way forward. I considered NAS but it seemed to be overdoing it for what I needed. Plus I worry about other vectors of destruction: if your backup drives are always online, they are vulnerable if a connected PC is infected and does harm (e.g. NotPetya!) Second, if you keep backup drives near your PC it means any “local disaster” will take both priamry and backup out.

    Anyway, I should get a diagnosis on Tuesday and, well, who knows after that?

  7. Joel, just wanted to stop by to commiserate the hard drive failure. That’s awful, man! I hope the data recovery peeps are able to retrieve the lost material.

    I used CrashPlan for backups – now I use BackBlaze as the former dropped out of the home market – but I’ve not yet had cause to try and retrieve said backups. I suspect these solutions are extremely unsuitable for backing up large amounts of video, however, as the upload speed is very slow. I’m also not keen on BackBlaze’s approach, which IIRC is “back up every file (with some exclusions) on every drive” whereas CrashPlan allowed you to manually configure which directories you wished to upload.

    To be honest, I use these services for peace of mind, and am really not convinced by how practical they actually are. The most important stuff I have is DropBox synced anyway…

  8. Thanks Shaun. The drive got to the recovery lab today and an evaluation will be conducted tomorrow. I’ll drop more info in the comments as the situation develops.

    I’ve got the book backed up via Dropbox but, generally, I don’t like relying on third-parties for backups simply because there’s always the possibility they get hacked or have a disgruntled employee who does bad things with client data. Also synching to Dropbox and similar services give me pause because if you delete your files by accident, Dropbox is very efficient and will delete the server copy STRAIGHT AWAY.

    Yet the trouble with offline backups is that (a) they’re vulnerable to some sort of local disaster (burglary, fire, car crashing through your front wall) and (b) it’s a right pain to get them out and hook them up which often involves climbing under a desk to plug things in. I’m always nervous that my backups are spaced too far apart to minimise this hassle. I’ve conceded this RAID array is going to sit on my desk and I’ll only connect it when running a backup – it will make it easier to kick off an overnight backup once a week for all of my drives. (I have six drives in my PC, with one split into three partitions. Previously I used two external hard drives to manage this.)

    You hit the nail on the head with the “big file” problem. I think most people just use YouTube or similar as a permanent store for their home video but for someone who works with video, I think only a local backup solution works.

  9. Drive update. The recovery lab have told me:

    * Physical damage to the read/write head assembly.
    * Severe media damage located throughout the platter surface.
    * Recertified drive will need donor parts

    They don’t seem to think the data is unrecoverable, although will have to see how it goes.

  10. Hey Joel, fingers crossed that the data is retrievable. That’s quite a catastrophic failure on the drive itself!

    Yes, very good point with synchronisation functioning agnostic of whether someone fucked up or not. Dropbox themselves stress that they are not a backup service for this kind of reason. In the past my bulwark against that has been my personal account syncing to home, portable and work machines, providing a sort of lo-fi triple redundancy against PEBCAK.

    IIRC CrashPlan Home included a service that allowed you to upload your backups to a remote machine of your own alongside their service, provided you had your account signed into the CrashPlan client. I thought it was quite a good idea as it would let me set up a PC at my parents’ house and use that as an additional remote backup. In practice I realised it wouldn’t be terribly practical, for various banal and domestic reasons. Nice idea though.

    Yes, fire and burglary and the like are the big concerns locally… there really are no good solutions here except perhaps to use a combination of different backup mechanisms in anticipation of different disaster scenarios. But even then it’s usually a case of applying multiple least worst solutions.

    Anyway, most importantly, I’m very glad the book is safely backup up, and I will keep on hoping that the A Field of Flowers material is recoverable! All the best mate. :)

  11. Yeah it’s the synching with Dropbox that scares me. That is, if Dropbox glitches and loses your files on their end, Dropbox at home will delete them too! I actually really use it because I work on the book from multiple locations, although the differences between Scrivener on Mac and Windows is a real bind.

    I had a chat with the recovery centre yesterday but, at this early stage, couldn’t promise anything especially as they hadn’t examined all the platters yet. In fact, they asked me which files am I most interested in retrieving in the event of a worst case scenario… eh, I’ll admit that took the wind out of my sails.

    Ah, well. Maybe God is telling me I should be writing more words instead of producing videos :S

  12. I am hearing that they are down to just 16 problem files. The rest of the HDD has been recovered. Even if all these files are lost only one of them is “critical” and would have to be refilmed. This is a big win, although my wallet will disagree. This is not cheap.

  13. I now have the recovered drive. Everything seems to be intact except for the six files that I was advised on. In fact, these files are still usable but the video contains a glitch. Will try to figure out whether I should work around it or refilm. Played through Field of Flowers on the editor and it plays as expected.

    All files being backed up now!

    I am now substantially poorer.

  14. Turns out there is a small mistake in the newsletter. You don’t need to refine the Di-hydrogen into jelly for starship launch fuel. I’m not sure where that confusion but we were convinced this was the case (UI issues!)


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