Blogs, Backups, and Screaming Villagers

by A.D Paterson on 13/06/2010

Over the past few months I decided to do a little bit of experimentation with my blogs, but it didn’t quite go as expected.

Generally experiments will go one of two ways, they’ll either be a roaring success, or, they’ll turn out to be the type of hideous abomination that gets the local villagers – in old black and white movies – out with their pitch forks calling for blood. This experiment was enough to get the villagers sharpening their farming equipment.

I decided that I was going to try autoblogging to see if I could have the blog updating on a regular basis, and I’d just chip in with a few articles when necessary, sort of ‘hands free’ you might say. It didn’t quite go as planned.

The first problem was that you need to (if you’re planning of have any sort of SEO on the site) make sure that you have the autoblog post just stay as a draft copy until you can get in and add your titles, tags, and any description that you want to go along with it. This all works well if you can get a few minutes at the end of the day to do it, but, if you put it off for a bit, you end up with a whole heap of work to do.

I picked out a few RSS feeds on topics that interested me and let it run. For the first few weeks I kept on top of it all and everything was fine. The only real ‘problem’ at that time was how short the actual posts were due to the restricted size from the RSS feed. Apart from that it was all going well. I was up to over 400 indexed pages and wondering what all the Google indexing fuss was about. Then it happened.

One night (just a few days before Christmas 2009) the computer decided that it didn’t want to work anymore. I had been doing backups of the hard drive, but, the last one I’d done was three months earlier – oops.

Not only that, the external hard drive I had been using for the backups decided that it didn’t want to work too – double oops.

Eventually, after several months of trying (and not just throwing the drive through the nearest open window as some people had suggested) I got it working. The relief was unbelievable.

In the meantime the blogs became neglected. This was partly down to the fact that I thought it was updating (even if it wasn’t with the SEO I was hoping for) and I’d forgot the passwords that were stored on the backup of the system. The monster was rising and the villagers were getting nervous.

The other day I went into the admin section of one of my blogs to see how things were going, and was faced by the rampaging monster created by my experiment. What I had forgotten was this: the posts were still sitting there as drafts. 2457 of the creatures, just waiting for my approval.

The experiment had ended. I was a little wiser for the experience, and the monster had been slain… or at least deleted beyond all recognition.

What have I learnt from all that?

1) I take backups of my system every night.
2) Keep my passwords somewhere else.
3) Make sure you know what an automated system might do if it becomes an out of control monster.

Oh, and don’t live in a small village with medieval peasants… especially if you have blogs.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

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