a local copy, part I

In recent months I’ve heard an increase in the number of friends and friends-of-friends who have lost some part of electronic/internet-based data that was important to them. It might be the failure of a hard drive, a usb key that suddenly stopped responding, or a blog from one of the free-hosted services.

Today’s post will be the first in a multi-part series to start to help you begin to understand how to — at the least — make another copy of the information and keep that copy in a different place than the original. Eventually I’ll get to the importance of backing up and migrating old files to other places and lots of complex stuff. I’m a fan of keeping extra copies of stuff, to a degree. I’ll probably also begin to migrate this sort of post to another place. I have a small readership here so I’ll use it.

Today I’m only going to provide some basic instruction on how to export your information from several popular free-hosted blogs. It’s a nice list of links to the instructions written by these companies.

Next week I hope to have finalized a nice easy-to-use step-by-step worksheet for you to take and use, but for this week I will provide other links I’ve found of people who have written the documentation before I have.

These instructions focus more on the text, images are a finicky animal depending on how you did them. I will treat images separate and discuss them in later posts.

You will see that most of these links discuss exporting your blog. What does that mean? We are taking it from the blogging software format (most likely it’s a database) and converting it into one big long file that might not mean much to you, but means something to others. For today that’s all we want to do. We want to export it out of the web and save it elsewhere. In future posts I’ll talk about how often I think you should do this and my suggestions for how to do this if you don’t have a computer of your own.

I’ll add to this list and try my best to keep the links updated and current. All links worked as of Thursday 21 May 2009.

In any case, when you save these files, you may need to rename them, I suggest keeping the file name something meaningful and somewhat short. While we aren’t as limited in length anymore, I am frustrated when I’m emailed a document named “This is my awesome paper that i wrote in october ’07 and I hope you like it.rtf“. I’ll discuss my personal preferences for file names sometime in the future, I’m pretty picky.

In this case I personally would use something that includes the date and a short description, perhaps blogtext. I like to write my dates YYYYMMDD but you could do YYYY-MM-DD so the filename might end up 2009-05-22-blogtext.xml. Just choose something and try to be consistent.

Right now you don’t need to care what an xml is or means. We’re just making a copy. Store it somewhere on your computer where it won’t get in the way and where you won’t delete it too quickly.

That’s it! That wasn’t too painful was it?

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Upcoming topics: what can I delete?, what if I don’t have a computer of my own? keeping a copy of your Ravelry information, naming files, photos… and other items still to be determined.

Finally, I offer all posts in this series with the following disclaimer:
1) I cannot guarantee that prior results will predict similar performance.
2) At this point I am unable to offer free extensive support for you. If you would like me to help you out and make sure that you have a good system in place to manage your blog and other documents, please contact me and we can talk rates and time-frame. I’m reasonable and while I would love to be able to offer all my advice for free and help everyone who needs it, there is only so much of me to go around and I need to be compensated — as everyone should be — for my work and in offering advice and assistance. That said, you’ll probably find I’m pretty giving if you just ask.

Reader interactions

One Reply to “a local copy, part I”

  1. Nice post, Penny. As a blog-backup-fanatic, brava to you for posting this. And, I, too, use the same date naming convention, too. This way, if I have to retrieve a backup, it’s easy to locate IF all the files are named the same with just different dates.

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