Thoughts on Blogger

2009/04/02 08:39:00
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Well, it looks like the slow connections I’ve been experiencing with Blogger may be enough to push me back onto my own server. B2Evolution was good to me when I ran it, so I’ll use that software for blog entries. The photos I’ll probably keep on Picasa, but I haven’t given them much thought.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to run my own server for web hosting. It is in the small challenge of doing so that I find some joy. Funny to think that the systems administration that I do could be considered a “hobby”?

There are other things I want to do with the server as well, like limited file sharing, that I have a hard time doing with Google Docs.

So, thanks to a tip from a friend, I’m looking at ServerADay for a discount server that will meet my hosting needs. I’m waiting for one in the $20 range if I can get it. This is a far cry from the almost $100 prices at Serverbeach or the $79 servers at Layered Tech.

Once I get a server, the next issue will be moving the blog over to whatever software I end up using. I’m planning on keeping my Calendar and Email on Google Apps for now, as, with slight annoyances, they’ve been serving me well.

I’m thinking that moving to Blogger was a good experiment, but it did not garner the benefits I had hoped for.

Automatically Backing up Blogger

2009/02/14 00:26:00
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In my continuing quest to use Google Apps as best I can, I’ve been reading up on the Google Blogger API.

I thought that automatically backing up a blog on Blogger would be easy, but it turned out to be a more complex script that I had originally thought.

Authentication was the part that I was missing. Using curl, I can acquire the authentication information like so:

curl -s -d -d Passwd=mypassword -d accountType=GOOGLE -d source=blog-backup -d service=blogger

From this line, you get output like so:


The line we’re interested in is the one starting with “Auth=”. This is what we will use to authenticate to blogger so that we can grab our blog backup.

Part two consists of downloading the XML backup of all of your posts.

I knew that I could go to the following URL to get a backup of my blog posts:

where I fill in blogid with the blogID supplied by your URL on Blogger. For example, as I type this, the URL in the address bar is

which tells me that my blogID is 6964696676319111700.

So, to download the blog backup, I use the following URL:

With the use of the tool curl and some Bourne Shell scripting, the following script can be used to automatically download my XML file containing a backup of my blog from Blogger.

# Authentication and authorization
export Auth=`curl -s -d -d Passwd=mypassword -d accountType=GOOGLE -d source=blog-backup -d service=blogger | grep "Auth="`
# Get the xml file and store it into blog-backup.xml
curl -H "Authorization: GoogleLogin ${Auth}" "" &gt; blog-backup.xml<span style="font-size: 85%;">

Now I set cron to run this script once a week and I will have a backup of my blog entries should something horrible befall blogger; or I choose another blogging service.


Little Projects on Blogger

2009/01/05 21:52:00
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In my effort to deal with the economic crisis, I’ve began looking at lower cost alternatives to renting my own server. I would like to affirm that eSecureData is an excellent hosting service that has given me far more than I could have expected. Their prices and hardware offerings definitely eclipsed those of Layered Tech.

At this point, though, with the availability of services like flickr and Picasa, I no longer need the disc space for my photos that pushed me to begin renting a server. Also, with the services and amount of space available on Gmail, I no longer need a server for my mail either.

So, I’ve gotten myself a Google Apps Account and am moving items over to Blogger as you read this. I’ve been running Gmail, as part of Google Apps For Your Domain, for more than two weeks now and am quite happy with the results.

This will save me roughly $65 per month on server rentals and free my time up a bit. If you need a simple web hosting service with email, I heavily suggest Google Apps.