Thursday, August 30, 2007

Blogger Blog's Backup

Given the recent debacle on Highlander's blog, I thought now would be the appropriate time to make a post on how to backup your Blogger Blog ........... I mean I don't want any of the blogs I frequent to be lost or taken offline :P .

Even though there are many tools out there that allow you to save/backup your blog or any webpage for that matter, there aren't many that allow the restoring of your blog automatically ( if even partially ), i.e. , without having to restore the whole blog on a post per post basis. As an example of such software, that only allow backup, we have WinHTTrack ( which doesn't work with the new version of blogger but is totally free ) or WebsitePacker which isn't free but you can download a shareware version of the product that is good enough .

There is on the other hand a number of good solutions that allow backup and recovery of blogger posts even though blogger doesn't support them, which makes them more cumbersome . The program I preferred the most is called 'Blogger Backup' and can be downloaded here.


Below is an image of the main dialog page of Blogger Backup and I've summarized its advantages and disadvantages below it :



Advantages :

  • - It's free and open source, for those among us who might want to customize it :P.
  • - Given that it backs up the blog to a local Hard drive there is no limit on the blogs size, except the free space on the Hard Drive
  • - It backs up the blog on a per post basis and it also allows you to recover them on a per blog basis. This actually allows you to restore your posts to blogs other than your own ( as long as its on blogger ) if you want to move to another blog or share a post with another blog you're a co-editor of .
  • - It preserves the timestamps of the original posts.

Disadvantages :

  • - It doesn't back up images uploaded to blogger, even though any saved images that are hosted on external servers would be preserved in the posts, as the links are preserved. This also allows videos embedded in posts to be preserved.
  • - Comments can't be restored; this is due to an inherit limitation within blogger ( so that commentators can't be impersonated ), but there are other programs/web solutions that restore the comments as part of the original post. An automatic solution to this isn't provided in this program.
  • - There is a limit on the maximum number of posts you can restore each day, which is imposed by Google, at most you can restore 50 posts on a given day and the program keeps count of that.

Now to get to how the backup/restore process of your blog using this program. I have broken up the process into two sections in the first I demonstrate the backing-up and restoring of posts while in the second section I demonstrate the backing up of the images.



A- The steps required to backup your Blog posts :

  • - After downloading the software and installing it which is fairly simple and straightforward, or at least it should be, you have to add your blog to the list of blogs you wish to backup or restore. To do that you simply click the drop down list adjacent to the "Available blogs" label, which will allow you to add, remove or edit a blog simply by clicking the "[Add/Update/Remove Blogs]" option in the list.
  • - To Add you blog(s) you can either simply log into blogger through the programs interface, by entering your blogger user ID and password then pressing the 'Log into Blogger and Get Blogs' button. There is also another manual method for adding blogs which you can access by pressing the 'OR Manually add a Blogger blog' and enter the link to your blog and your blog feed in the appropriate boxes and your blogs name and press 'Add Blog' and hey presto there it is.
  • - Now to actually start the backup press the 'OK' button at the bottom of the dialog box so you return to the main program interface. Then you simply have to press 'Backup Posts' button; but before doing that you should configure the setting for backing up to suit your needs. My personal preferences are to get all posts, set no limits on the maximum number of posts per file and to use one file per post and tick save comments ( even though a method to restore them hasn't been added to the program yet, but its work in progress ).


B- The steps required to restore your Blog posts :


  • - To restore your blog all you have to do is pick it from the list of blogs you frequently backup/restore ( from the drop down list adjacent to the "Available blogs" label on the Main Dialog box ).
  • - Then press the 'Restore Posts' button, which will open a dialog box asking you to choose the posts you want to restore from the backed up posts ( you can choose multiple posts using the shift or control key ), press OK and its done. You should note however if you restore an already existing post you will get two duplicate posts :P.
C- Backing Up Blog Images :

  • - To backup the images saved on your blog insert the following URL into your browsers address bar, where 'blogname' is your blog's name in the URL to your blog :P :


http://blogname.blogspot.com/search?max-results=1000


  • - Then simply save the resulting page. The page will most likely be saved as an htm/html file with the name search and will be accompanied with a folder called search_files. In that folder you'll find all the images on your blog. You should note that the number 1000 in the above link refers to the number of posts to display so if you have more than 1000 posts on your blog you'll have to increase that number to accommodate it .

So everybody should start backing up their posts :P

Friday, August 24, 2007

Uploading personal video's to Blogger

Well given that today is Bloggers 8th anniversary, Blogger has enabled a number of new features ( while messing up some of the old - like RSS - for some bloggers ) among them the ability to browse the profiles of other bloggers who share your interests. By clicking one of the links on your profile, that highlight any of your interests or your profession, you will be directly taken to a page that lists all the bloggers that share that interest or profession with you, kind of like Googling ( well its Google so its to be expected :P ).

But For me the most important feature that they added was the ability to upload a video from your personal computer directly to your post, which you can do by pressing the new video icon on the top of your post editor that is located beside the image upload button. There is a 100 MB limit on the video size so if your video is bigger you would have to split it into 100 MB sized pieces.


Even though the uploaded video would be technically saved to Google video; but no public access would be allowed to it ( at least thats what they say :P ). Below is an example of a video I uploaded to make sure it really works ( hattip to Trabilsia for previously sharing it with us ) :P.



video

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dick Cheney '94: Invading Baghdad Would Create Quagmire - Updated



Update :

This is an interview by Jon Stewart with Stephen F. Hayes, author of Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President, in which they discuss the reasons behind the change of views and why this opinion of his was hidden by the Bush administration during the run-up to war, given that he was among the staunchest supporters of the war.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

2007's Recommended Movie Viewing's - Updated

A friend recently asked me to recommend some movies to him as he wasn't as familiar with the movie scene as I am:P. So I thought while I'm at it I could make a post out of it and add my commentary to the movies . The movies below are the best of all the movies I've seen this year and I'll make a similar post for 2006; but of course I haven't seen all the movies that come out in the cinema's so I may have missed one or two good ones.
I've also added a short list of the movies I hope to watch in the upcoming two months. So if you haven't seen any of these movies you should :P and feel free to recommend any other movies from 2007, I may have missed, or to comment on my commentary.
btw the movies are ordered according to their box office revenues, based on this site.



Shrek the Third
This is a continuation of the series which is really funny and with better visual and audio effects than its predecessors.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Another excellent movie from Johnny Depp, even though its the third part it's still not boring :P.

Transformers
I liked it ( many didn't ); but I'm an old fan of Transformers and the movie presented a comical twist that is completely new and that made it fun.

Ratatouille
Grade A cartoon really really funny totally unexpected and so far the best cartoon this year.

Wild Hogs
You have John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and Tim Allen in one comedy ... need I say more ?

Live Free or Die Hard
Again a great movie even though there are many hard to swallow feats; but the visual effects were great and they've got a hacker helping him this time :D.



Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Being a Marvel Fan I've never hated a movie based on its comics other than Spiderman 3 and this one is better than the first Fantastic Four Movie.

Ocean's Thirteen
As good as the first one ( Ocean's Eleven ) and better than the second one plus there are too many good actors to miss an Ocean's movie.

Meet the Robinsons
This is a great Cartoon really funny and the digital effects and storyline are really good. Its set in the future so there are a lot of twists and unexpected events.

Evan Almighty
A family comedy with a subtle advocacy of nature preservation; but in this one Steve Carell is really funny. The story is based on the Story of Noah's( PBUH ) Ark.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Another Hilarious comedy in which two firefighters fake a same sex marriage in order to guarantee that the children of one of them don't loose out on the life insurance.

Norbit
Similar to Nutty Professor and just as funny, Eddie Murphy taking on more than one role again; but with a romantic twist.

The Bourne Ultimatum
The final episode of this trilogy ( or so I'm guessing , if you've seen the first two parts a must see you get to see the ending and the action scenes in it are quite good filmed in numerous locations ( Moscow, London, Rome and Newyork ).

License to Wed
Ok, I'm a fan of Robin Williams so this might be biased but this movie is really funny and Josh Flitter makes it funnier.

Because I Said So
This is a dramatical romantic comedy; but again it is really funny and it has Mandy Moore in it ...... ( she is also in Licence to Wed ).

Fracture
A great thriller with Anthony Hopkins playing a sadistic role similar to that of Hannibal in The Silence of the Lambs ..... but again with a great twist at the end ... shhh .

Smokin' Aces
A shoot 'em up with a lot of action, a lot of good actors and many intertwined plots ...

The Number 23
I never wanted to watch this movie; but a friend convinced me to see it. I mean Jim Carrey in a thriller ..... but it completely took me by surprise totally thrilling movie.

Zodiac
If you're familiar with the original crimes of the alleged Zodiac killer there is nothing new for you here; but if not ( like I wasn't ) its a great movie even if it is a bit too long :p.

Breach
Great spy thriller, very tense, I can't say more than that otherwise I would ruin the plot :p.

Mr Brooks
Here Kevin Costner is a sadistic killer with dual personality syndrome and he is fighting his own urges to kill .... I mean he is trying to .....

Hannibal Rising
The only thing that got me angry at this movie is why it wasn't shown before the other parts they would have made more sense, had it been shown earlier. Not for the faint of heart though a bit gruesome .

Hot Fuzz
English police comedy I guess maybe the english accent cracked me up more than anything else :)))).

Next
Nicolas Cage in a Sci-Fi which is really good and has a lot of weird action in it.

Catch and Release
Jennifer Garner in a Dramatic Comedy try to overcome the death of her fiance ( who died on their wedding day ) which exposes her to a lot of his secrets.

The Namesake
Now this is a special movie for all those living in diaspora, I think everyone living abroad can associate with this film. Its actually address's Brave Hearts post on Second Generation Issues ( you should find the solution to your question there Brave Heart :)) ).

I Think I Love My Wife
Really funny comedy with Chris Rock on how the hardships of life can ruin a marriage .....

The Wind That Shakes The Barley
This is a political movie. It shows how the British manipulated the Irish, in an attempt to block their independence, after the Anglo-Irish treaty signed on December the 6th 1921, causing/resulting in a civil war. There is a really tragic ending to it as well; which I can't tell as it spoil the movie . It reminds me of another civil war going on ...........

Anticipated Movies

Illegal Tender

War

Death Sentence

The Brave One




Update :

My discussion with Ibeebaribie in the comment section reminded me of a 2007 movie I had forgotten, which wasn't listed in the site I relied on, so in this section I'll add any more good movies that come to mind or any movies I haven't seen and are recommended by anyone else :).


Music and Lyrics
Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore in a comedy that relies on a lot of 80's style singing......



Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Libyan Bloggregator

For the past week I have been secretly working on my own equivalent of a Libyan Blogroll that some other Libyan bloggers have, which I've called the Libyan Bloggregator ( Blog + Aggregator ) :p. Except I've added a twist to mine, which is that not only do I list all the blogs; but you can also see the last three or two posts (depending on the activity of the blogowner ) made on that blog. I managed to do that using RSS and by playing around with the template it looks like a website that presents links to the latest posts on the Libyan Blogosphere . I also tried to add summaries of the posts under each post link; but it seems blogger widgets still don't support that feature so we will have to wait for that :(.




Of course to be honest it wasn't originally my idea, you see my sister frequents the Blogosphere now and then and she got tired of having to go through the blogs to see who has made a new post and who hasn't and she was thinking of something that would summarize all the new posts in one page, which led me to this solution; so she gets part of the credit :P . I would also like to thank Misratia for providing the link to the cool website I used to generate the website logo and Highlander, Anglo-Libyan and Libyano for providing me with the links from their Blogrolls .

In ending, any recommendations, ideas or feedback would be more than welcome so feel free to criticize ( not too much though :P ).

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Engineers and Engineering redefined :))

It seems we were fooled during the days of undergrad at University into believing that Engineers are good, articulate, honorable people and a major part of that academic brainwashing program was the following definition of Engineering :

" The profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by study, experience, and practice is applied with judgement to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind [online source]".

Well I've recently discovered that we were being indoctrinated and fooled into believing we are the good guys :P. This definition of Engineers I found online ( to which I am grateful ) was my truth serum, so to speak, and I would like to share it with you so none of you are fooled by us :)))).

" Engineer (en je 'nir) n. An individual who is able to produce, with prolific abandon, streams of incomprehensible formulae based upon extremely vague assumptions and theories based on debatable figures acquired from inconclusive tests and incomplete experiments, carried out with instruments of problematic accuracy by persons of doubtful reliability and rather dubious mentality with the particular anticipation of disconcerting and annoying everyone outside of their own profession. [source unknown]".

Disclaimer : It's a joke :):):):)