Sunday, October 30, 2005

Restoring deleted blogs (HOWTO)

As I've learned recently1, it's not unusual to lose a blog or webpage to accidental deletion. The first defense against accidental deletion is to read messages and think before you delete, but, failing that, here are some useful ways to get back what you lost, and to make sure that these techniques work.

Good practices

Save your blog posts
This one's easy to think about, but doesn't always get done. Save your CSS (template) and blog posts (from the post editor, not from the screen; that way, you'll get the formatting too!) as files on your computer. Then, you can easily restore your blog by the trusty copy and paste method.
Use RSS/Atom aggregation
RSS and Atom are protocols that are used by aggregators, software that allows you to read blogs in a centralized place on or offline. You can turn on an Atom feed for your blogger blog by logging in, going to your settings, and finding the “site feed” tab. Change the “Publish Site Feed” setting to “Yes”, and change the “Descriptions” setting to “Full”. The Feed URL will tell you where to point your aggregator. Many free aggregators are available, including one in Mozilla Thunderbird, the popular email client. Aggregating your own blog will give you a local copy of the text of all of your posts. It will not include your CSS/template. For Blogger, it will also not include comments. Other comment providers, such as HaloScan will keep a separate copy of your comments.
Allow search engines to crawl your blog
Search engines keep copies of pages. Some search engines (including Google) allow you to see the copies the search engine uses in their indices. To allow a search engines to crawl your page, make sure your CSS does not contain any
tags with
, or
parameters. This site has a lot more information on how to use meta tags to control how search engines deal with your page. Also, make your blog more likely to be crawled by Google. Set up a site feed as shown above, and, in the Blogger settings, under “Publishing”, answer “Yes” to “Notify”. Under “Archiving”, disabling “Archive Pages” will make sure that Google has a full copy of your blog, but may be annoying to your readers. Enabling “Post pages” may make it easier to retrieve your posts from search engines one-by-one.

Restoration methods

The Google cache
Search for your blog URL (not the name) on Google. Click on the “Google's cache” link. If your blog has been indexed, this is a great way to retrieve your lost template, which may require minimal editing, as all of the Blog software markup will have been changed to X/HTML.
The Internet Archive
If your blog's been around for a long time, the Internet Archive may have a copy. Enter the URL into the “Wayback machine”. This is much less likely to work than Google.
If anyone has RSS or Atom-aggregated your blog to their local computer, they might have local copies of your blog entries. The only way to find out is to ask! A blog post on an accidentally deleted blog might do it.

The best defense against accidental deletion is always a backup!

If this helps you, you think it's unclear, or you have any other methods, place a comment on this post.

1But not from personal experience. :-)

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Saturday, October 22, 2005 2.0 released! 2.0 has been released for Windows, GNU/Linux, and Solaris. OO.o 2.0 is a huge improvement over the 1.1 branch. Of potential interest to readers here, it includes better support for complex text layout languages (like Hebrew with vowels). It also has better compatibility with that other™ office suite. The suite is now downloadable as individual components, or as a combined entity. The components are:
Writer: a word processor
Calc: a spreadsheet
Impress: a presentation program
Math: An equation editor
Draw: A diagramming tool
Base: a relational database

The default document format is now the XML-based OASIS OpenDocument standard that is also supported by other free/open source office suites and office applications.

And, of course, it's free software.

A Debian package has also been released. As of now, it's in unstable.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Funny headline

“L.I. Teenager Is Sentenced to Six Months in Turkey Case”
(you think he'll fit?)

-- From the New York Times

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Random, incoherent thoughts from the Yom Kippur liturgy (updated)

There are plenty of other blogs discussing the meaning of Yom Kippur, so, I think I'll focus on the liturgical minutiae. The Yom Kippur liturgy is long and complicated, and, there is a lot on which to comment, but, I'll limit myself to only a few issues.

In general, I like the Yom Kippur liturgy. All of the services are centered around the selichot (penitential prayers) that combine elements meant to invoke an emotional response. They start with confessions of sin and pleas for Divine mercy that inspire fear of retribution, and end in hope (and even assurance!) of forgiveness. Similar themes continue throughout the rest of the service.

If you hadn't figured it out already from my comments elsewhere, I don't particularly like straightforward tit-for-tat reward and punishment theology from a philosophical perspective, and the liturgy is full of it. I would even propose that if the martyrology were written today, its addition to the service would be opposed by many traditional Jews as being too reminiscent of a certain other religion (ten great rabbis were killed by the Romans, and they died for our sins!?). But, I think that if the simplified idea does have any place, it is Yom Kippur, when we are asked to perform as difficult a task as teshuva (literally, return). Perhaps suspended disbelief can take us away from the larger philosophical issues of just what bad effects will result from bad acts (and vice versa) and force us to confront the sins themselves.

And, now back to our regularly scheduled program of liturgical minutiae...

There are a number of textual variants, even within a given nusach (rite). Most of the variation has to do with the choices of piyyutim (liturgical poems) made by both the congregation and the compilers of the machzorim (High holiday prayer books).

Our minyan used the Silverman machzor, a reasonably complete product of the Conservative movement, first published in the late 1930's, and revised through the 1950's.

Anyone who has a Silverman machzor, or any other that uses the Israel Zangwill translation of the poem in Ma'ariv, סלחתי , (Adler also uses the same translation) can be entertained by the deliberate archaism:
Ay, 'tis thus    evil us        hath in bond
By Thy grace guilt efface and respond
Cast scorn o'er and abhor th'informer's word
Dear God, deign this refrain to make heard

and so on...
Strangely enough, it's not a bad translation, and, it has the same meter as the original, so you can sing it. In that way, it's reminiscent of the Sim Shalom translation of An'im Zemirot.
A few of us were wondering whether the Hebrew liturgy sounds like this to native Israeli Hebrew speakers.

I led Yom Kippur mincha for our minyan. We had 2.5 hours scheduled for mincha, a d'var Torah, and ne'ila. At first, I was wondering how long I should take. After all, mincha is short. How could we possibly fill up that amount of time? The haftarah is the key. The Torah service plus the haftarah took a half hour. Ne'ila took about an one hour and five minutes. The remainder of mincha took about 45 minutes. We ended on time. Speaking of mincha, the Silverman (and, I think the Harlow) machzor begins the k'dusha like this:
‏ככתוב על יד נביאיך, וקרא זה אל זה ואמר:‎
“As it is written by Your prophets, 'And one will call to another and say:'”
The obvious question: to what is the "as" referring?
This introduction, is, of course, the end of the standard formula that begins the k'dusha:
‏נעריצך ונקדישך כסוד שיח שרפי קודש המקדישים שמך בקודש.‎
“Let us proclaim Your holiness in the same manner as the holy fire-angels who proclaim the holiness of Your name.” (very loose translation). It's referring to the prophetic vision (or acid trip, depending on your perspective) in Isaiah 6:3. The repetition of the word “קדוש”,“holy”, is probably an aural clue to our forbears (who did not have machzorim) that the upcoming congregational response will be:
‏קדוש קדוש קדוש ה' צבאות מלא כל הארץ כבודו‎
“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts, the whole land fills will His glory”
Other machzorim include a piyyut leading into the k'dusha that includes some variant on the verbs “נעריצך ונקדישך”. Others begin with:
‏ ובכן ולך תעלה קדושה כי אתה אלקינו מלך מוחל וסולח‎
“And so we will raise up the proclamation of holiness to You, because You, God, are our forgiving king.”
That is a variant on the formula that separates between the piyyutim on the High Holidays. But, at least it makes the following line make some sense. I decided to add in the full introduction. I'm in favor of our prayers making sense (more to come on this subject later?).

Just one more set of holidays to go this month. Chag Sameach!

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Why I haven't been blogging...

In case you want to know why I haven't been updating this blog lately, here are some links to recipes that elf put up on Kosher Blog:

Foolproof matzo balls
Tastes like chicken soup (we had the real thing too, but we needed something for the pesky vegetarians. The secret for the real thing is to remove the fake stuff and just add chicken.)
Sweet potato-apple tsimmis
Italian-style pot roast
Indian rice pudding

Nothing can keep you away from the computer like the Tishrei Jewish holidays, fourteen guests(!), and a big hunk of meat.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

New Years' Greetings

K'tiva v'chatimah tova to the entire J-blogosophere!

May you be written and inscribed for a good year.