I did it! I partially restored the dead disk, and I did the necessary doctoring on the old WordPress database dump. Sadly, my OffTopic blog wasn’t in the backup tarball, so that’s gone forever. It only had a handful of posts anyway, so no big loss.
Anyway, brbcoffee.com/archive/ has everything dating back to february 2009. I was 18 when I wrote that stuff. Don’t judge. Some of the images are gone, as is the nature of the internet. Sorry about that.
I found a tool called TestDisk, which can scan every individual cylinder of my hard drive for partition information. It takes forever, but it seems to work. Here’s hoping I remember my partition layout well enough to turn this into something workable.
Here follows an account of how almost a decade of blogging got lost in the æther:
The power supply for my old netbook broke.
I moved from Amazon AWS to DigitalOcean.
I moved from Ubuntu to Fedora (DigitalOcean used to support Arch, but doesn’t anymore. This annoys me).
I didn’t update the blog for a long time.
I retrieved all the data from my netbook hard drive’s ext4 partition that looked interesting.
I turned the old hard drive into a backup disk.
I wrote a new partition table to my backup disk.
I added an NTFS partition to my backup disk’s partition table.
I discovered that my website was down.
I discovered that I had failed to retrieve the backup of the blog from the old hard drive.
I discovered that I only had that one backup.
Now, I’ve tried to run some basic data recovery. It’s easy enough to retrieve data from a deleted ext4 partition, but getting data from a partition that has been deleted, whose partition table no longer exists, and that has been overwritten by a non-compatible partition type, that’s a completely different story. There are very few vectors left to me at this point. They are:
Find a backup disk that has my blog on it.
Number of possible disks: 1.
Probability that any of them have my blog: 0.2.
Download everything web.archive.org has on me. Write a program to retrieve all the blog posts, in order, with metadata.
Things I’ve learned from this:
Your offsite backup is only as reliable as your offsite hardware.
Your offsite hardware is only as reliable as your offsite hardware maintainer.
Don’t be your own offsite hardware maintainer.
I don’t really care what I blogged about in high school.
So, that’s where I’m at. As soon as I have a few minutes to spare I’ll decide whether or not it’s worth it to mine through the internet wayback machine for my teenage musings. I’m guessing I’ll end up doing it for the challenge, and hey, I could even write a blog series about how I did it! But even if I do this thing, and succeed, I won’t import the old blog into this one. BRBcoffee is reborn today, free of the past. Brace for impact.