Saturday, June 20, 2009

Export to Hard Drive

I spent a few minutes doing a backup of this blog a little while ago, based on Dominique's revelation that Blogger now has an Export feature. That's not to say that I'm paranoid and constantly afraid that Big Brother is going to delete all my records one day, but I have had a lot of words posted here for the past four or five years.

To be honest, the Multiply site that I set up some months ago already acts as a backup — that is, whenever it's picking up my posts properly. However, I feel more comfortable knowing that there's a method that allows me to be responsible for making my own archives, as opposed to worrying about a point in time when I might lose everything.

That, and I've just realized that all of my posts since 2004, all of the code and comments and image links, comes to a mere 7.1mb on my hard drive. I feel so inadequate.

Then I mused on the fact that I have a lot of words posted here, so I opened up the XML file in a browser window, then took advantage of the clipboard in order to copy and paste the resulting mishmash into a Word document. The whole operation took me ten whole minutes at my current level of memory (and thirty more minutes because MS Word insists on annotating every single spelling and grammatical error in its documents), but I eventually got the numbers: The backup file contained about 3.6 million characters in 640,000 words. Given a conservative estimate that I wrote about 70% of those words, that puts my total so far at about 450,000 words scattered throughout this blog. I'm no slouch there, at least.

That also implies that I write an average of five or six letters per word. This is a surprise, considering my habit at wordiness.

I'm now working on exactly what kind of backup schedule and procedure I should use. I mean, I'm not sure if it's a smart move to produce archives only when I feel like doing so, not in an age where our government is debating legal standards for open reporting. Pushing a seven-megabyte file each time I post something new, however, will just eat my time in front of the modern boob tube.

Or I could just forget about my budding paranoia and just post more often. But then that would discourage me from playing with all the lovely numbers.

Ah well.

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