…and how I fixed it.
I was just about to go out and have a coffee with a friend. I had the computer on and took a quick look at my mentions and noticed this.
I clicked the link and sure enough, WordPress returned
Maybe there is something to do with this after all.
I clicked on the Archives link above and, sure enough, there was a gap where that post should be. Now I’m starting to freak. That was one of my more popular recent posts. No problem, I thought, I’ll have a backup of it on a computer somewhere.
1) I went looking – Qumana, LiveWriter, ScribeFire, WordPress for iPad, … no luck. I can’t remember what tool that I used to create the post. Rats.
2) In the process, I learned that the ScribeFire backup appears to be the index from the WordPress blog.
OK, now I’m starting to feel a little more than freaked – I’m on the verge of panic. I don’t have a local backup and poking around on WordPress was fruitless.
3) I know…I’ll try the Wayback Machine.
Crap. If I wanted something from 2008, I would be in luck.
What to do? What to do? Then, I thought…what would Google do? Heck, they’d cache it.
So, I take a guess at what the URL would have been (fortunately, the original Twitter message made reference to it). So, I do a Google Search for the post. As I wade my way through the results that a lot of others had retweeted and were similarly broken, I found a link that would have gone to the original site. Hover over the chevrons to the right and a preview of the page pops up. Bingo!
4) There’s a link to the cached version. I click on the link, Google provides a warning that this may not be perfect, but I know it is. I never post anything until it’s written and proofread locally.
5) I open a new tab in my browser, go back to the cached version of the post, highlight it, and copy it. I flip to the new tab and paste the contents. It’s like this never happened! I figure that I should give thanks to Google for saving my bacon, post it, and let @stevestoneky know that it’s there.
If I hurry, I can still get into Windsor and have my coffee.
As I’m sitting in stalled traffic on Howard Avenue feeling pretty smug about what I’d done, I realize that I actually hadn’t solved the entire problem. With the original post, some folks had favourited it and others had retweeted and services like Zite had made reference to the original URL.
How do I fix that? It was posted on August 6. It’s now August 17.
6) It turns out that’s just a hiccup. I don’t normally get up and blog at 5 in the morning but that’s when my posts appear. There is a feature in WordPress that lets you schedule a post to appear at that time. I’ve never tried to post to the past though! With crossed fingers (and it’s difficult to type that way), I set the time and date. In effect, I’m rolling back the clock.
And, it works. I check the link in the Twitter message identifying the problem and sure enough, it links directly to the post. I check the archives and it’s all in place.
I’m no longer freaking or panicking. I’m happy that I restored the damage. In the process, I learned a great deal as numbered throughout this post. I hope that I never have to do this again. I’m telling the story just in case it helps anyone else out who has the same thing happen to them.
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