Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lost and found in cyberspace.

I had a bit of a techno-nightmare last night. After spending several hours writing the previous post, I hit "Publish". Then, with an idea in my head, I set about starting another post - who knows whether it will materialise now. The previous post had been open in more than one tab in Firefox, in draft form. I closed the one in which I'd completed it and switched to the other tab, which was presumably no longer necessary. I cut the text from the input box leaving it apparently a pristine input page and started putting down some ideas. It was time for bed by this time, so with a few notes written, I hit save and returned to the front page to admire my work. The post that I'd seen only minutes previously had gone, replaced by my new notes. I was fairly pleased with my post and it had taken several hours over three days to write, it couldn't be repeated.

Frantically, I searched for some kind of archive on Blogger but found that my post had been erased from history. Not quite panicking yet, I thought "Google caches everything". There's no getting away from it, when you put something online it's there forever. My post had only been online for a couple of minutes though, so this would test that hypothesis.

I could remember the title and certain snippets of the text so I googled on or other of them. I must admit, I felt pretty pleased with myself when Google graciously threw up a hit. Great. Follow the link and I'll get a nice copy of the page from which to rebuild the original.

"The page you requested no longer exists"


But it existed somewhere even though Google didn't seem to be offering me the option of a cached version. So I copied and pasted the end of the excerpt presented by the search engine into the search pane to see what I'd get. I got slightly more of the same sentence. I was encouraged. It must all be out there, but it was going to take time.

Slowly, bit by bit, I added different search terms and keywords, and bolted sentences and paragraphs together like a jigsaw puzzle. By running directly from one sentence to the next, within quotes, I could be sure that I'd got the order right and eventually I had what I think is the whole original text, possibly with one sentence missing. I'm sorry, you'll have to put up with that.

All in, it took me about two and a half hours to recover the 800 word document. Frustrating since it must all be out there somewhere in one piece, but my priority was to get it back quickly in case it could somehow disappear entirely, not to investigate further ways of working the web.

So, I worked for that post and didn't get to bed until 2.30am. But I exercised my problem solving brain to get it back which I have to admit I quite enjoyed. So read it, and hopefully appreciate it.


  1. Hard to update a blog using pencil and paper but thanks for the suggestion Ms Ann Grewe Randy

  2. Give me more! I demand to know how things are working out for you, good sir.

  3. I live in Taiwan and have done since 2005. I love the place as Im sure you do too. Just wondering why did you choose to go back? I cant see myself ever doing so.


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