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.


Backing up other Google Apps Items

2009/01/24 11:55:00
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Currently, I’ve found no other app that promises to back up my Blogger, and Google Docs information using the server-side schedule method I described in my last post.

But, alas, Google has provided hope. There is a Python client library for available to access data on Google’s servers. Check it out; I’m gonna grab the files and see what I can whip up to back up my items.

Palm has been busy

2009/01/13 15:36:00
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So, it looks like Palm has been busy since I thought it had abandoned it’s users.

The Palm Pre debuted this week to happy audiences. According to PC Magazine, the phone comes with a QWERTY keyboard just like the Treo of old, but also comes with a 3.1 touch screen. The slide out keyboard design has been done before, but I like the Palm chiclet keyboard better than the Blackberry one.

I would love to make use of the 8GB of internal user storage, which seems a bit much for what I use my Treo for. This makes me wonder how well it plays music.

Just like the iPhone, the system will rotate the perspective of web pages based on the angle you hold the phone.

The new Palm webOS is Linux based and offers and interface that has intrigued reviewers. From the screen captures it doesn’t appear to be that spectacular, but is evidently far more responsive than PalmOS or the Treo’s Garnet OS ever was. The gestures that one can use to control the interface could take some getting used to, but I learned the Palm alphabet long ago, so I’m thinking I can tackle the gestures if they’re worth the time.

The web browser is quoted as “desktop class” by Palm. Reviewers have noted that it is far, far better than the existing Treo Blazer web browser. Having suffered at using the Blazer browser, I have to agree that anything would have been an improvement, so it’s almost like comparing something to nothing.

The Pre can charge via USB, or though an induction device called the Palm Touchstone. I’m cooled out that I don’t need to plug it in. The only other device that I have that charges this way is my electric toothbrush. I just question how long it takes to charge via this method.

My personal question comes to: how well will Google Calendar and Google Contacts sync with this device? I realize that webOS should let me look them up online any time, but what about when I can’t get online? I still need access to the information. Blackberry and Android are still the only device types that Google Apps supports. Unless someone writes a third-party application, this leaves the Palm Pre out of the running for my next smartphone.

I’ve asked Sprint to let me know the instant this phone comes out.


Everything Google?

2009/01/07 11:48:00
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So, now that I’ve got everything on Google (and I mean everything), and have embraced cloud computing wholeheartedly, my Palm Treo 755p is no longer a sufficiently capable smartphone for my needs.

I’ve been getting frustrated with Palm over the past year.

Because the included web browser (Blazer) was so feature poor, I wanted to use Opera mini, but can’t. Palm no longer distributes IBM’s Java Virtual Machine for Palm OS, required to run Opera.

Because Palm offers no native way of synching calendar, tasks, and contacts with the Internet, I wanted to use Funambol, but can’t. Support for the Sync4j client on PalmOS is nonexistent, probably because the j in Sync4j stands for Java (see above note about the discontinued IBM JVM on Palm OS).

Palm, the once proud leader in mobile personal information managers has fallen far from grace.

So, of course, I’m looking for a replacement, and now Google Apps has put new requirements into my hands.

A year or more ago, I remember reading somewhere that Google was working on an environment for cell phones. So, I started checking up on Android, Google’s cell phone environment. T-Mobile offers the G1, but I hear it doesn’t have all of the kinks worked out and
I’m also a Sprint user.

A look at the Google Apps web site reveals an application called Sync which is designed to work with Blackberry smart phones. That indicates that Blackberry is also an option.

Switching to Verizon for an Android phone doesn’t seem to be an option, as Ars Technica reports they’ve ditched Android for LiMO.

So, I appear to have the following options so far:

  1. Wait for Sprint to have a decent Android phone, which looks to be available from HTC sometime in the summer of 2009.
  2. Get a nice existing Blackberry from Sprint.
  3. Change to Verizon and get my hands on the Blackberry Storm, which I hear is the first touchscreen Blackberry and hence has bugs that RIM hasn’t worked out yet.

I’m attempting to make an informed decision and don’t want my impatience to get the best of me. Any suggestions?

More information:

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.