(2022-09-08) I'm Somewhat Of A Data Hoarder Now

For over a year I've been maintaining my singing synthesizer pages, adding new songs frequently for people to listen to. I didn't just make those pages for other people, I also use them myself when I want to listen to some singing robot waifu music.

A few weeks ago I clicked on a song that I really liked and listened to daily (歌唱狂想曲 or "Rhapsody of Singing" by Kotoba), and found out that Kotoba privated the music video on YouTube and NicoVideo, and also deleted their Twitter. I was mildly devastated when I found out that there were no reuploads of that video anywhere, but later thanks to VocaDB I at least managed to find a YouTube Music version that was still up. The original video is gone, but at least I have the audio to listen to, so I immediately downloaded the audio in case Kotoba was planning on wiping that too. If anyone out there knows how to communicate in Japanese persuasively, please consider sending an email to Kotoba to convince them to unprivate their videos so I can see it again.

Surprisingly, this is the only song out of all the 300+ songs on my singing synthesizer pages that's been "lost" so far. So I decided to download them all so that this situation never happens again. I put off doing that for a week or two, but then hat asked me to make a YouTube playlist of all of my Singing Synthesizer pages, which I did. Later I found out that through youtube-dl, a YouTube downloader program, it's possible to download entire playlists easily, and forks of it can download from sites other then YouTube such as NicoNico or Bilibili. Because it's a command line utility, I decided to go find GUI versions of it first, but unfortunately none of them worked, so I had to do it the nerdy way and installed Python, ffmpeg, and yt-dlp, and searched around and read the manual to get it to work. After I figured everything out, this is what downloading my big YouTube playlist looked like:

It took a few hours to download the playlist and I now have a 9GB folder of videos that I can watch/listen to without worrying if they're available on the internet or not. My playlist didn't have all the songs I wanted to download, I also needed to download some NicoVideo songs, but there were only a few and I could do them one-by-one. Anyways, if you click on one of the songs that I have on my singing synthesizer pages and find it deleted and can't find a reupload, you can come to me and I can give you my own copy.

There is this interesting video I recently watched (which I also have a copy of lmao) about ancient books that we know of but can't read because no surviving copies exist anymore. It's kind of long, but I highly highly recommend watching it if you have more than a casual interest in history. But to give a quick rundown, the most common medium for books in ancient times was papyrus scrolls, which were not a reliable long-term medium as they either fell apart or were eaten by bugs if untouched for long enough, that is of course if they weren't destroyed in fires before that. The only way to make sure that books stayed alive was for them to be constantly copied by scribes hired by dedicated libraries, or more often, rich and powerful people who wanted a book added to their private collection. Unfortunately, lots of ancient books were destroyed in wars, purges of pagan culture by Christians, and ultimately the collapse of the Roman Empire with less people maintaining libraries during the dark ages. And now in the present we have ancient books that survived which reference other ancient books that no longer exist that we know would be super helpful in learning about ancient history.

Despite technological advances in recording information from the printing press to affordable modern redundant data storage, we still have the same problem of recorded things decaying or being destroyed and the only way to keep them alive is to copy. We unfortunately still have many "papyrus scrolls" in our modern world that hold information that may or may not be important now, but could be super important to people later on. Thinks like algorithms removing people's accounts, online services shutting down, link rot, or just people randomly deleting things is what makes information so fragile in modern times. There is a group of people who understand all this and make copies of everything: data hoarders.

Data hoarders are people who have copies of scans of obscure magazines from the 60s, copies of obscure TV shows from the 70s, recordings of obscure bands from the 80s, or maybe even something like PDF manuals for industrial machines from the 90s. Basically anything you can or can't imagine, there could be someone out there making sure they have a copy of it in case someone else needs it later on. This Ars Technica article goes more in depth about the data hoarding community (mainly centered around /r/DataHoarder) in case you are curious. Even though there is this large community, there will still always be some obscure things that get lost. And maybe some of these things may be valuable to you, or you think that they may be important for people in the future. Consider downloading and/or reposting that stuff in case someone else may need it whether it's a controversial YouTuber's content or an obscure music video that you like. Maybe your backups will come in handy to you or someone else in the future. Thanks for reading, remember to like, comment, subscribe, and ring that bell.

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