The Blog is Dead. Long Live the Blog!

Unfortunately, a few months ago, this blog died and died hard. There were no backups and only a few survivors.

What happened

I have a bad habit (that I'm trying to get over) of paying my bills on the last possible day. As usual, I had put off paying my server bill.

One Friday night, a bar mistakenly gave my debit card to another patron. While they were able to recover the card, I could no longer trust that it had not been compromised and I reported it stolen. Monday was a bank holiday, so the card wasn't even in the mail until Tuesday.

By the time I received my card in the mail, it was too late. My server had been reclaimed by the datacenter. In my disappointment, I did not immediately re-create the blog and did not do much in terms of attempting to retrieve its old content.

What was lost

You'd think a tech guy would have backups. I did not. I hoped that maybe I could retrieve the text of my posts from Archive.org or Google's cache. Unfortunately, while both of those sites did scrape the blog, neither of them stored the actual content.

A few of my posts were originally written without Internet connection on my laptop. Those posts I'll restore when I can. Unfortunately, everything else, including anything I was working on, are lost. This includes my Eternal Weekend report that had reached several thousand words and hadn't even gotten to Saturday. (I could've sworn I wrote it offline but apparently I did not.)

I will be attempting to have the old URLs redirect to this post explaining why they're missing. Things that I can restore will be posted in their original locations. Anything I re-write will be on the original URL but with a note that it had been rewritten.

Moving forward

I'm going to work on some automated offsite backups for this blog and the server as a whole. As best I can find at the moment, backing up automatically will require temporarily taking the blog offline. However, that downtime shouldn't be more than a few seconds for each backup. Fortunately, my home network connection is quite speedy, so a full backup even every day shouldn't be too much of a problem.

This blog is, at least for now, on DigitalOcean, which automatically charges my card, making it near-impossible for me to not pay on time. The server being reclaimed is therefore much less likely. However, this does mean that I have less power and space than I did previously.

I'm going to go back to trying to write most of my posts offline then moving them online. This does get a little annoying with a long post that I want to have formatted as I have to format it once in my word processor than again in Markdown. Perhaps I can come up with some way to automate this process. (I'm guessing export the post to HTML then use an HTML to markdown generator.)

Posts regarding changes I make to Ghost will be duplicated somewhere else. I haven't yet decided how that will work. I'm thinking maybe the code changes will go in GitHub with the post in a README or similar file.

If you're looking for a post that went missing

Feel free to contact me. At the very least, I should be able to point you to some good information sources or give you a short version of what I had posted.

Thanks for reading!