Chat Logs

Chat Logging #

I’ve always been a nostalgic person, and one that tends to live in the past.

That, combined with my data hoarder tendencies created this side-project-kind-of-hobby sort of thing where I try to keep chat logs with people I talk to.

And that’s not an exaggeration: I attempt to keep ALL chat logs.

I have chat logs going as far back as when I created my Skype account in 2012; at the time of writing well over NINE years ago now.

From these chat logs stemmed yet another sub-project: chat data.

Chat Data #


A relatively publicized project of mines (and probably one of my most successful ones)— this was a project that ran from late 2014 until early 2019.

Using chat logs saved up over time, I extracted data from the logs using various different methods (and some rather archaic) and compiled them into human-readable graphs and spreadsheets.

It was a very time-consuming project, especially at the beginning, due to the methods employed to not only pull the logs (typically by hand), but also gathering the data (also done by hand.)

It was a personal feat, and sometimes celebrated by some of my friends as well, when I completed a compilation. Typically it would be months between compilations. If I was particularly lazy, and/or more obstacles were in my way, sometimes it could take nearly a year or more.

But when it happened, it happened. And I was proud of my work.

2019 Hiatus #

Unfortunately, however, the project came to a crashing halt. Because of this project’s reliance on me keeping my chat logs consistently up-to-date (duh), it was imperative that I keep my logs persistently updated and saved in some form or way to ensure it would not get lost. This was fortunately ensured by my monthly phone backups. However, this relied on me actually doing the backup as it was not automatic.

This came back to bite me in August 2019—when I suffered two coincidental catastrophic data failures back-to-back. It began with the loss of functionality to my Windows boot loader. In an attempt to prevent having to re-install Windows and restart from scratch, a panicked me ran to a tech support Discord to attempt to see if there was ANYTHING I could do to repair my Windows install (and this was after pulling an all-nighter doing ANYTHING I possibly could to fix my boot loader). Unfortunately, the news there was grim, and after another day and a half of struggling to find a fix, I cut my losses and went with the final resort of re-installing Windows 10. Fortunately, it was just my Windows install (and settings) that was lost in the failure. However, not even a day after my Windows failure occurred, my iOS install began to shit the bed as well.

Me being lazy and a data hoarder, 64 GBs on an iPhone was not enough for my image-saving habits. It came to a point where I ran out of storage space on my phone several times. Unfortunately, this eventually caused my poor outdated iPhone 6s (bless its soul) running iOS 9.2.1 to finally give out, and caused the loss of YEARS of messages (from 2014). Fortunately, I had backups of my phone, but also unfortunately for me, the last one done was in April.

Four months. I lost my iMessage and SMS texts between April to August 2019.

Alongside the loss of my coveted chat logs, I also lost the ability to continue the chat data project. Without those four months, it would stick out like a sore thumb—and albeit not being a definite END to the project, it definitely discourages me from continuing the project knowing that there are four months worth of messages that would be missing from the data.

So that’s where the project lies today. As of July 2021, almost two years since the loss occurred, I have not been able to pick up the project.

Continuation? #

However, there is hope for me and those who care about this project (which is not very many, if any at all.)

Earlier last year, I managed to jailbreak the iPhone 6s after buying a brand new iPhone SE 2020. Unafraid of the potential loss of data, and the recent release of the checkm8 bootROM exploit and the subsequent release of checkra1n based on the same exploit, I was able to do a complete root file system backup (different from the typical Apple backup), which could potentially still have some of my lost messages.

I just need to find a way to find them, if they exist at all.

Not very confident, but the potential is very much there.

And that’s where this project lies.