Douwe Osinga's Blog: On stupid programs and stupid humans

Saturday, November 6, 2004

On stupid programs and stupid humans

The multimedia side of our new appartment is shaping up. What previously was our main computer will from now on just serve mp3's and movies. I added an extra hard drive and it sits monitorless next to the stereo. For now you'll need VNC to select music, but at some point a smallish lcd touch screen or a XBox controler should take over. I also switched to iTunes as the main mode of playing songs (from WinAmp). This almost cost me my entire mp3 collection.

I like WinAmp a lot because it has a nice compact mode. It's ideal for playing music while doing something else. However, for a multimedia only PC a more full screen approach would be better, so I decided to try iTunes. Download and install went perfect and I could import my music by just dragging the folder to the library. iTunes doesn't copy the files to its own folder, except when it does conversions.

I realized I had reorganized my music collection in California and added some recent purchases to it, but this was all on an external harddisk, so the stuff I had on the MM PC was old. So, I deleted the MP3s there and copied them over from the external drive. Started up iTunes, but unfortunately it didn't recognize that the files on disk had changed. In order to make iTunes understand, I dragged the collection again to the library icon and iTunes started reimporting all.

Ah, but it still didn't recognize that some of the files had gone. Worse, mp3's I had moved now showed up twice in the list, once playable (from their new location) and once unplayable (from their old location where iTunes no longer could find them). Clearly I had to start from scratch, so I cleared the library of iTunes. That took a surprisingly long time. As it turns out, delete doesn't mean delete it from the library, it means delete it from disk. Grrr. Luckily they had only be moved to the recycle bin.

So I went there and clicked restore all. Strangely enough that operation was almost instantly. Even more strange was that  it didn't help. It had restored some of the files, but not quite all of them, maybe 60%. Well, I didn't make up back ups for nothing, so I deleted the freshly restored files again, this time pressing Shift-Del so that Windows would delete them for real, and not just move them to the recycle bin (and not free up the space).

After the delete I clicked the songs directory again and to my surprise it was filled with directories. Then I realized that the restore from the recycle bin had been instaneous only because it had launched a background restore process; I had deleted the first bunch of 'm, and now the rest had reappeared from the recycle bin. Too bad I had deleted the first bunch, now I had to delete the second bunch too. I did.

Nice theory about the asynchronous file restore, but completely false. What had happened is that I selected the wrong directory. Instead of cleaning the target directory I had deleted all songs from the external drive. Everything gone, no songs on the external drive nor on my music pc. Good thing I keep backups.