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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata just had a near death experience

As you might have noticed, the Samizdata server crapped out in a major way… and just to make it menthol, we also lost all our back-ups after 24th September (quite how that happened is still a bit unclear).

Well at least I had a separate set of back-ups also made by someone else, so no problem, thinks I… so imagine my happiness when I discover that the back-up back-up server crapped out some time ago and we were not in fact being backed up. That would have been nice to know.

I will be manually reconstructing the posts as best I can from the full RSS feeds.

Oh joy.

Needless to say I shall be setting up some sort of full site backup myself now.

27 comments to Samizdata just had a near death experience

  • Phew.

    I notice that after I did my posting this morning about France, the one immediately below this posting, there was a comment, just before everything vanished, but now that comment is gone. Is commenting now back to normal?

  • Eric Blair

    Disaster recovery is one of those typically neglected, ultimately tedious subjects that nobody wants to fuck with.

    Until it’s needed.

    Glad to see your situation wasn’t fatal.

  • We had the same thing happen on Silent Running a couple of years ago. Everything was gone, including my Alisa In Wonderland, that was sub-hosted. Turned me off blogging, among other things. BTW, could be another good reason to RSS the comments, Perry:-) Anyway, speedy recovery.

  • Brian: we have basically lost 1 month of comments. “Fuck” was all I could find to say when I discovered that. At least we can salvage the articles, though it will take a while to get them all back as I have to do it manually.

    Eric: I thought I had a back-up back-up in place. Seems I was wrong. Oh well. I will be establishing something under my direct control in the near future.

  • BTW, Perry: I have the complete set of comments for the last 13 posts or so. Let me know if you want them.

  • Alisa, they would have to be entered manually so I am not sure that will be viable… but I will let you know once I get all the articles re-entered :-/

  • countingcats


    I deal with this all the time. My own stuff is held as at least three copies in three different places.

    Paranoia is just a rational reaction to the world as it is.

  • Perry: actually, I have the entire pages, the post and the comments. They have the FF extension header, but that’s easy to get rid of. Seeing as you have to restore the posts anyway, it is worth considering. And, as it turns out, I have much more than 13 in the recycling bin.

  • Damn, hit “post’ too early. I was going to add that it’s up to you, and that it is way past bed time for me. I’ll check in tomorrow.

  • Much as I would *love* to restore everything, I do not think there is any way to…

    1. Put the comments back in via the MT back-end (i.e. they will all have to be loaded manually into the comments form of the appropriate article)

    2. MT does not have any way to edit the comment times and dates and therefore I cannot get them back into chronological order in batches

  • Perry

    Salutations in your hour of trial, and I know nothing of these things, but …

    How about a posting under each original posting, all of the text of which would be invisible under normal circumstances (as per the second part of a long posting), with all the comments in one great lump of text.

    Please don’t bother explaining why this is silly if it is. A simple no will more than suffice. As will silence.

  • Midwesterner

    Well, I have 19 suckitspammers pages and 8 permalink pages (different ones) with all of the comments up to within minutes of the crash. They are all in a folder as “web page, complete”. Let me know if you find a way. I think they can be sent easily with YouSendIt.com. Getting them back into the system sounds like a nightmare to be avoided.

  • Midwesterner

    Here’s a crazy idea. But maybe not so crazy.

    What about just putting them on a server as HTML pages the way Alisa and I have them, and then put a link in the first comment of each post linking to the stored page? It would let people see them all though they wouldn’t be archived. 🙁

  • Unless I can find a way of batch reinstalling the comments into MT’s back-end, I cannot really see it will be practical. Doing it manually is not an option because unlike the articles themselves…

    (1) MT has limited editing options for comments (i.e you cannot edit times and dates)

    (2) Entering them manually via the front end would take forever even if I temporarily disabled the Turing test.

    So, please do not throw away the things you have in case some way manifests itself to put them back in the correct order in a way that will not take a geological age, but as things stand at the moment I am assuming only the articles can be restored.

    I intend to put multiply redundant multi-site back-ups in place which I will know are working so that this will not be allowed to happen again.

  • Perry

    I hope you do not mind that I restored the three (not just one as previously stated) comments that appeared on the previous posting before disaster struck, in the form of one big new first comment.

    I must say I do like the sound of Midwesterner’s “crazy” idea. Far better than my separate posting idea, which was a crude approximation to what he said, it seems to me. But (reprise) what do I know?

  • That is fine, Brian, splendid in fact, but please note that I also have an e-mail address that works just fine 🙂

  • Isaac

    It was the Man trying to keep you down…

  • Nah, just the internet gremlins, Isaac

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    I’d blame it on global warming. After all, that’s being given as the cause of everything else these days…. 😉

  • nick g.

    Did samizdata see a white tunnel? and meet any dead relatives? Awesome!! An actual witness!! Tell us more, please!

  • Damn it, Perry. Now we might never find out what Clarkson’s liver tastes like, and whether smoking squirrels have nice knees.

  • MT does not have any way to edit the comment times and dates and therefore I cannot get them back into chronological order in batches

    MT has an import function where you can feed it text files with all the post information included in it, including comments and trackbacks (with all dates and times intact). I used it a few times back in the day when I was on MT, though the format is still very useful for backing up/restoring ExpressionEngine blogs.

    Even if you don’t include comments it should be a hell of a lot faster for restoring the posts.

    Let me know if you need any assistance.

  • Andrew Duffin

    Sounds like you need a competent sysadmin.

    Now where did I leave my CV? Perhaps I forgot to back it up 😉

  • Permalinks, that’s what iIhave – thanks, Mid.

  • RAB

    All I can say, understanding none of the technicalities
    is welcome back.
    You must be short of a little hair by now Perry!

  • Sunfish

    I kind of like Mid’s idea.

    You can also try turning off the lights, lighting some incense and playing “Dust in the Wind.”

    Now, the real question: How can we blame this on George W. Bush, Da Jooz, or capitalist globalism?

  • Dale Amon

    One could also blame it on the Northern Ireland power company for taking out the backup server while I was (am) on the road for 6 months…