Friday, February 03, 2012

Archrival storage.

So I'm nosing about the blog's control panel this morning and notice that VFTP has 8,393 posts stretching back over the last six-and-a-half years. That's a lot of writing. And add to that the 116,458 comments... Well, there's a lot there I don't want to lose.

So I need to back it up, which Blogger will do as an .xml file, but that's not permanent enough. I want to find a way to print this thing for archival purposes, at least the posts. (And before you give me any of that multiple redundant backups to the cloud thing, I mean archival, like the Domesday Book, not "archival" like that box of Iomega Zip discs I have upstairs, with Steve Jobs only knows what backed up on them, at least until I consolidate a couple of old Macs into a functioning unit to find out.)


jed said...

Well, when I saw the 'archrival' storage in the post title, I thought maybe carbonite. Which is sort of funny, because there's a product called Carbonite Backup.

Thing about XML is that while it's entirely possible to convert it to some print-friendly format, such as HTML, I think you'll need to apply a stylesheet to it, so the converter program knows what tags to use for which content. I haven't looked at stuff like this for a while, so maybe there's a canned program to make is easy, but there's this stuff called XSLT which is there specifically for that purpose.

There's always wget, which you could use to mirror your site, but that would be quite tedious too, and the result wouldn't be exactly print friendly in terms of whitespace and paper usage, but do-able.

TJIC said...

The XML should be pretty easy to convert into text via any of a dozen tools.

Then send the whole thing over to

They printed up a rough draft of my 170,000 word novel for something like $15, which INCLUDED shipping.

This turned out to be 1/4 the price of having Kinkos print it out.

By default Lulu gives you "publisher grade" paper, but they have other choices. Premium might be acid free.

Gay_Cynic said...

Given the quality of your writing, once you push the main body (and select comments, perhaps?) to text...

Have you considered you may already have a rather large and marketable body of writing on your hands? :)

Bubblehead Les. said...

And once you get it printed on acid-free paper, then you want to go to one of the Comic Book Suppliers and get some Mylar Archival Storage bags, with the Acid-Free Backing Boards. I'd recommend getting the "Golden Age Size." Then store them in a cool dry place w/o sunlight expose.

That way, 300 years from now, people can go to the Smithsonian and say, "Look at all this Snark! Who knew she was such a Prophet!" ; )

Borepatch said...

For a while I was dumping each month's posts into Word (well, OpenOffice). That did decently well on the pictures, formatting and even links but didn't get any of the comments.

Nt a problem when I'd get one comment a day, but not so great now.

I'll be moving off of Blogger in the next couple months, and see what the process washes up that might be useful.

But my gut tells me that there would be rather a lot of editing to make it printable.

Borepatch said...

Convert your blog posts to eBook may or may not be useful. I haven't looked into it, but it might work more easily than XML as long as it gets comments.

Duke said...

What??? you don't write all your post's in a notebook before posting?
Just kidding, I have started copy and pasting to a word file and put it on a thumb drive. Maybe too simple but it works for me. You have to keep up with it though.

Hobie said... but if is as inexpensive as indicated it would be a better deal.

Anonymous said...

Get it transcribed by monks.

They work for wine and bread, keep a bunch of them in the cottage basement.

Upside: they can add some cute lettering to each new entry.

Downside: They are slow and tend to chant.


Anonymous said...

Microfiche? That way you can carry the whole thing in your purse when you get out of Dodge.

That is why you're wanting hardcopy, right? :-)

I've never Tam met in person, so maybe this is weird, but I have a hard time picturing her carrying a purse for some reason. She just seems too bad-ass to be carrying anything but a tactical bag or something molle-ish.


Steve C said...

For long term storage, it's hard to beat stone tablets. They've been tested to over 5000 years. But before you start hauling mud out of the canal and practicing your cuniform, there is an outfit making a stone dvd. They say it will last 1000 years, but I'm not sure how that warrantie would work.

Borepatch said...

I checked out Hobie's suggestion of I've been meaning to print out the posts I wrote when Dad was sick, as a present for Mom.

First impression: it's very easy, and grabs not only the posts but the comments.

Second impression: It needs some editing. Some is formatting (the [del] tag doesn't get imported it seems, and there are other things like that), but some is that the nature of the post sometimes changes when an embedded Youtube doesn't get imported.

But interesting.

azmountaintroll said...

"A Canticle For Tamara"?

TheMinuteman said...

Since it's XML it is "portable" in the fact that you should easily be able to recreate the content in any format you want.

I have no clue what the Blogger XML output looks like, but if it's standard XML, which it should be, one of us enterprising bloggers with technical ability could build you a tool to make you're doomsday book.

!@#$ I just volunteered myself didn't I. I'll see what I can figure out over the weekend.

elmo iscariot said...

"A Canticle For Tamara"?

It's not nice to post things that lolworthy during a workday. ;)

I've been meaning to print out the posts I wrote when Dad was sick, as a present for Mom.

Over the course of his adult life, my dad was privately writing me a letter, telling me some things he thought I should know. He went back every few years and added a paragraph. When he was losing his fight against brain cancer, he finally pulled it together into a final copy, and left it where he knew I'd find it.

...On a Zip disk.

We had an emotionally interesting time rustling up a drive and getting it to work on our Ubuntu box, lemmetellya. What I leave for my survivors will be on paper.

Sport Pilot said...

Are you worried about the Mayan Calendar and massive Corona Mass Ejections here Tam or what? I suggest you purchase a shock proofed external hard drive and copy as much of your records and writings as possible. FWIW your writing is excellent and putting together a book for publication should be on your “thing’s to do soon” list.

global village idiot said...

Mayan Calendars and CMEs be hanged.

I'm a land surveyor by profession. One of the more delightful aspects of my job (there are many) include doing research on old parcels. It is often the case that I have to pore over railroad records, old auditor's books or archived surveyor's field notes that are more than a century old.

There's something approaching the mystery of a seance in doing so. Holding the field notes of a surveyor who's been dead since Roosevelt (the first one) was President; then going and finding a corner marker he set based on said notes is priceless.

The problem with modern technology isn't that the storage lasts forever - the devices to read them don't. Try finding something to play a recording made on magnetic wire, for example. Or read a computer database stored on punch-card.

But so long as people have eyes, paper will always work.


Sigivald said...

Print? That's not much of a backup, practically - since finding content will be basically impossible.

Just throw the XML onto a few archive sites, throw a copy on a cheap spare hard drive that you never touch, and burn a disc for an off-site.

(All data is grass, to mangle Ecclesiastes...)

Drang said...

"Print is Dead"

I, too, was sucked in by "ArchRival Storage." As much by the wondering who that archrival might be, as by speculation as to the method.

North said...

I hope this doesn't come across as offending you, but: Why?

Why paper? It is a media that can be read by humans, but if you are reduced to that... Will you want to read your blog?

Kevin said...

I'm still pissed off that the 40,000+ comments from Echo didn't transfer to Disqus. There was a LOT of good stuff in there.

I've backed up a lot of my Blogger posts on my computer, but not all of them. A hard copy would be nice, but where the hell would I keep it?

jed said...

@North: Why Paper? Because you can still read paper without any reliance on technology. For example, I have some cool stuff on 9-track tape. Uh, yeah, be nice if I could read it.

@Kevin: You print it out on acid-free paper, and store it in 20mm ammo cans (along with some mothballs). You can rent a small excavator and bury it in your back yard. :)

@Duke: Wasn't there a blogger a while back who wrote posts out in longhand, and then scanned the page and posted the image?

North said...

Yeah, jed, I get that. In fact I said that. Print it off on your printer and read it again.

If I have a .pdf titled "How to Survive if you have no Power" - it is best to print that, than to have it stored on a DVD. Makes perfect sense to have a paper archive of that.

My question for Tam is if you are reduced to not having a Mac so that you can read your electronically stored copy - let's say the country is plunged into the equivalent of the middle ages - why have a copy of VFTP on paper?

The value of VFTP on paper is questionable. What is the ROI for spending money to print it?

(Not that I don't like VFTP.)

DirtCrashr said...

Print is better than handwritten. When Mom was going through the old Swedish ancestor Parish registers and records, she got back as far as she could before the handwriting simply became illegible. She had to stop at 1655 - you couldn't tell a Bengt from a Britta after that...

Tam said...


Because I may want to read it at my leisure at some indeterminate point in the future, that's all.

Right now, Google (on whose servers my blog is stored) is at the top of the world, but then Compuserve had a long and healthy run, too... :o

North said...

If you save the xml file, you might be able to get someone skilled in the art to programmatically remove the things from the file superfluous to your needs (such as the sidebar) for each and every page and parse the remainder into a readable format.

mikelaforge said...

Nice discussion. If anyone has need of a USB Iomega Zip drive to borrow to transfer volumes, I could lend one out from the "great box of computer related crap" in the cave, back next to the stone carving tool cabinet.
But not afore I back up that old pile of Zip disks to.... something.

P.S the captcha is "dinge"
I countered with "honky",
things went to hell from there. Have a great weekend

Drang said...

This post and comments have made me wonder of there still exists anywhere an article I saw in the old Computer Shopper--when it was 2 inches thick, weekly--discussing storage techniques through the ages. Kids nowadays, they wouldn't get the bit about how the papyrus kept blowing away, so they built chests, maintained by "Wind Chesters..."

Shermlock Shomes said...

I'm still pissed that my pr0n collection was on Betamax. :p

Earl said...

I think we are doomed to repeat our mistakes, and saving anything in this world means taking time and space away from all the great drivel of the future. I am finding a bit more happiness in carbon based copies of some of my grandparents' better works. They too will wear out and need replaced but their is a little understood function of family and friends that will assure continuance.

Orphan said...

If you can send me a sample of what kind of data format you want out, I can send you some XSLT that will get you 90% of the way there, or 100% if it's an XML format you want out. (If you don't mind sending me the XML, I can get you all the way there, pretty much regardless of the output format.)

Justthisguy said...

Yah, there is no telling when or why Google will decide to delete yer Blogspot blog, all at once and nothing first, for any reason or no reason.

You may recall they deleted mine a while back (pitiable little thing that it is) and I wrongly blamed Miss X for that. I screamed at them a bit, and they put it back up.

Harold Covington has a Blogspot blog which has been going strong for years and is still up, and he's proud to be an actual Nazi.

Sometimes I think there is no rhyme nor reason about the way Google makes some peoples' blogs disappear.

I don't think there is any way for an ordinary Blogspot blogger to actually get through to a responsible person at Google.

So, yeah, back it up any which way you can, Ma'am! There are so many posts here which I have not yet read!