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I just learned via Twitter that an update is coming to Windows Live Essentials 2011.  That impacts me the most with Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Writer

I’m not sure that I am going to like it.  I won’t know unless I try.  What will it fix?  What will it break.  Can I roll back if it doesn’t work for me. Ah, yes, the real question: CAN I ROLL BACK IF IT DOESN’T WORK FOR ME?

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I authored Orcmid’s Live Hideout pages using Windows Live Writer.  Windows Live Writer will retrieve previous posts from blogs it is configured for.  Because any retrieved post can be saved as a Windows Live Writer local draft, this is a way to preserve the content of posts in local files.  At any future time, those drafts can be opened and repurposed.  It is a way to migrate to another blog that is also authored via Windows Live Writer.  It works amazingly well.

Although one can recover blog posts by scraping pages from a browser window into Live Writer, retrieving posts as drafts is more reliable and more complete with regard to formatting and other features.

Retrieving the Live Hideout Posts

The Open Dialog in Windows Live Writer allows retrieval of previous posts from any blog for which Live Writer is configured

Using the Windows Live Writer that I had configured for authoring Live Hideout (among other blogs), I could obtain a directory of all existing posts via the Open from: Orcmid’s Live Hideout dialog.  I opened each one, individually, bringing it back into Windows Live Writer for editing.

[Note: This is the Open dialog for Windows LiveWriter 14.0, the last version usable with Windows XP.  The preservation was accomplished using Scampo, my Media Center PC, before it was retired.]

 

Retaining Local Drafts

The retrieved post has all of the original formatting and inserts, including images and tags (but no comments).  It is saved as a draft with a single click.

I transferred all of the posts in the list one by one.  Once opened in Windows Live Writer, the posts can be saved into the folder of local drafts with a single click of the “Save draft” button.  As long as that folder (under [My] Documents\My Weblog Posts) is preserved, there is a source of the Live Hideout (or any other) posts for repurposing, including migration onto a different blog.

An easy way to have a chronological list of only those drafts from Orcmid’s Live Hideout is by using the index page that is provided when the blog is downloaded.  Alternatively, one can use screen captures of the monthly archives on the blog:

For Orcmid's Live Hideout, screen shots of the monthly-archive listings provided an alternative catalog.

Opening the Drafts Later

There are two ways to open one of the local drafts for repurposing or simply reposting to a different blog.  The first method is to use the Open dialog of Windows Live Writer:

The Windows Live Writer Open dialog can be used to select a locally-saved draft.

This dialog will offer an abbreviated selection.  There are many drafts as a result of the preservation of all of the Orcmid’s Live Hideout posts as well as drafts from other activities.

The other way to re-open a draft is to go to the full collection of them in the My Weblog Posts folder:

All accumulated local drafts are under the My Weblogs Post folder of [My] Documents.  Double-click will open one in Windows Live Writer.

Double-clicking on one of these drafts will open it in a new Windows Live Writer window.

[Note: The collection of drafts was performed using a now-retired Windows XP PC.  The folder was backed-up and transferred to a new Windows 7 PC and drafts opened with the newer Windows Live Writer 15.4 version.  The unavailability of new versions on Windows XP was one of the “inducements” to upgrade to a Windows 7 PC.  Fortunately, the draft format has not changed in any important way.]

 

Reposting a Preserved Draft

The draft opens up in Windows Live Writer, ready for any repurposing/reposting. By selecting a destination blog account, the styling will be adjusted automatically.  Here I provided a category related to the new location on nfoCentrale Status.   I also specified the original 2007-11-12T21:30 date and time so that the location in time would also be preserved in relationship to other posts on the same destination blog. 

I could have made further changes, as I did for the 2007-08-25 post that was preserved by browser scraping,  In this case I limited myself to addition of a simple entry in the note on updates at the end of the post.

The reposted version is here on nfoCentrale Status.


Related Posts:

Another way to convert a blog is by scraping posts and reposting them elsewhere.  I was curious about that as yet-another approach for preserving Orcmid’s Live Hideout before Windows Live Spaces disappear.  It is not appealing, but something I wanted to confirm just in case I needed it.  It worked far better than expected.

Scraping Live Spaces Blog Posts

I chose to scrape my first Orcmid’s Live Hideout post because I wasn’t certain that I could use my Live Writer republishing technique to preserve one that old.   Since this was a post that made sense to preserve here on nfoCentrale Status, I could demonstrate the preservation before I have restored any of my other blogs. 

I used the Live Hideout archive to go to August 2007, open the first post there, and copy the body text to the clipboard:

Scraping the browser view of the post by selecting the page body and copying it to the Windows clip-board

This was done using Windows XP SP3 with Internet Explorer 8.  Fortunately, the formatting of the blog was such that I could select the body of the post without dragging along other material from the page.

I had no idea whether there’d be anything on the clipboard at all and whether it preserved formatting of the post.

Creating the Derivative Post

To recreate the post elsewhere, I pasted the clipboard into the body for a new post opened-up in Windows Live Writer.  I was delighted to see that all of the formatting of the original text was preserved. 

I used Windows Live Writer to set the new post to the same date as the original Live Hideout post.  I also added the new title and additional explanation to the reposting:

Pasting the clipboard into Windows Live Writer preserved the text to which I added updates, a title, and set the date to the original 2007-08-25 date.

The version of Windows Live Writer used for this was version 14.0, that latest one usable on Windows XP SP3.  All of the formatting, including numbered lists, came across just fine.  I added supplemental information about where this post came from and how it managed to end up on nfoCentrale Status under the Orcmid’s Live Hideout category.

Successful Posting

Although I had no idea why it would not work, I published the scraped post with a certain amount of anticipation. 

The post did not appear on my blog’s front page because it was too old.  But it appeared in the archive in a freshly-created August 2007 folder and it appeared under the Orcmid’s Live Hideout category archive as the first historical entry.  The post is fully available here.

Delayed Reposting

I scraped this particular post because I was somewhat concerned that I might have to use that technique.  I also had a place to repost the article here as historical status of Orcmid’s Live Hideout.  If I simply wanted to preserve the material and figure out what to do with it later, I could simply have saved the pasted-up Windows Live Writer post as a local draft. 

Which leads to my preferred way of cross-posting from one blog to another. …


Previous Posts

When I catalogued the next steps for restoring my now-dormant blogs, I failed to include the importance of migrating Orcmid’s Live Hideout off of Windows Live Spaces.

My intention is to exercise all of the migration choices that are being offered:

Current migration reminder text that appears on my way into Orcmid's Live Hideout

The page with these options is only present when I visit the blog and am signed-in as its owner. 

My approach is to work through this in stages:

  1. Download my Blog
    I want to preserve the blog.  I downloaded all of my Blogger blogs and I wonder how much the download from Windows Live Space preserves the material of the blog.  Although essentially a safety-measure, it may provide useful material to use in preserving the posts I want to retain somewhere under my own web hosting arrangement.
      
  2. Transfer Posts via Windows Live Writer
    I know I can retrieve previous posts into Windows Live Writer and then repost them to a different blog from there.  Before I can do that, I need have a place to park them, although they could remain on my local machine as Windows Live Writer drafts, I suppose.
       I considered moving the blog to WordPress.com and then using Windows Live Writer to fish posts from there.   But it dawned on me that if the upgrade to WordPress has breakage of any kind, that will be an irreversible act.
       
  3. Upgrade the Blog to WordPress.com
    I will do this simply because I want to see it work and to know that I could continue the blog there if I was so inclined.  This has to be the last possible step, because of the prospect of incomplete or unsuccessful upgrade.
       
  4. Retire Orcmid’s Live Hideout
    I don’t expect to continue the blog in any form, so it will be abandoned or shut down once I have preserved what I want from it in some useful form.  I do want it in static pages on a server under my control and backup procedures.  That’s a serious consideration for me.

I’ll be making progress on this in little steps along with the other activities around a systematic restoration of my now-dormant blogs.

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Now that's a greeting that tells me I'm wired into Zemanta properly (so far) I don’t know what happened between yesterday and today, but now the Zemanta plug-in for Windows Live Writer knows my handle on my Movable Type implementation of this blog.

It appears that plug-in version 0.660 has cured the problem of associating the plug-in with the Movable Type configuration and the blog that was not working with my installation of version 0.650.

I must let them know on the support site.

So now, life is good.  I can see that my own Flickr pictures are being recommended to me as well as others.  I can forgive them that “plug-in” is leading to many photographs about electric vehicles

The only change from yesterday was that I shut down overnight and then booted-up in the morning.  This may have completed some things for the plug-in update.  Also, the fresh start today may have led Windows Live Writer to refresh some connections as well.  It’s a mystery.

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The Zemanta LiveWriter Plugin 0.660 Salutation on Startup Zemanta has released an update of the Windows Live Writer plug-in.  Version 0.660 does not address me as Marko the way that version 0.650 did.  On the other hand, it doesn’t address me by name at all.

Consequently, I don’t know if it was only the message that is changed or is there a change that has Zemanta now properly connect to my Zemanta account and preferences.  It is difficult to tell from the offered Media Gallery and Related Articles suggestions.  My Golden Geekhood has taught me that sometimes problems are “fixed” by hiding the symptoms.

I will play along and see what differences I notice after more usage.  If I can find release notes, I’ll check those too.  For now, I am skeptical that my profile is being relied upon.  Except when I changed my preference for the Zemified symbol, the new version is showing up.  Hmm …

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[Cross-posted from Spanner Wingnut]

For those wondering if the now-dormant blogs will every see the light of day anew, here are the dreary steps that will be confirmed before going farther:

  1. The procedure for configuring and maintaining images uploaded via Windows Live Writer will be fully documented on nfoCentrale Status.  The accuracy and completeness of that procedure will be verified by adding the support to Spanner Wingnut and also maintaining it there..
      
  2. The next visible changes will involve learning to adjust the sidebars on the blogs, including customization of plugins, templates, and styles for individualization of the different blogs operated under the single MovableType engine.  This will also be seen on both nfoCentrale Status and Spanner Wingnut.
      
  3. There will be some invisible work to support how a blogs features are adjusted over time but a record of changes and the progression can be maintained.   This will be accompanied by infrastructure adjustment as part of the deployment model for the various blogs, starting with nfoCentrale Status and Spanner Wingnut, with the big test being restoration of an existing, now-dormant blog.  The prime candidates for first restoration are Orcmid’s Lair, Pursuing Harmony, and Kiln Sitter’s Diary.
     
  4. There is also more work to complete and stabilize the nfoCentrale site as the repository of all of the procedures and template-development work that is promulgated across all of the blogs and sites.
      

My current thinking is to have this completed enough by the end of the year that additional blogs start waking up and there are useful developments on those blogs and their related sites.

For a short time, I held the lease on orcmid.tv.  I rented the domain on 2007-06-01.  I cancelled on 2008-06-02 after deciding that $49.95 per year was not worth the ego-foo of possessing my own TV domain for hosting videos, especially since I never created a site for the domain.  I gave the money to the International Red Cross instead and went back to holding onto domains having $12.95 annual rents.

Now orcmid.tv/ is simply a shared folder of webcam-produced videos on Scampo.  The videos themselves have appeared on the Microsoft-abandoned Soapbox and also on Orcmid’s Flying Kyte.  I simply stopped making videos after conducting initial experiments.

My goal was to learn how to do tutorials and screencasts.  I also acquired a light-weight video camera in that period, but it is currently in a box somewhere with the first cassette not filled.

Based on that slow rate of progress, and my turning away from creating regular webcasts, it seemed inappropriate to hold onto orcmid.tv.

Robert Scoble, Technology Hyper-EnthusiastMy initial enthusiasm for video was triggered by Scobleizer’s adventures with Kyte and his rapidly moving from webcams to videos captured from smart phones.  I had already obtained a (no-longer offered) Microsoft VX-6000 LifeCam to use with Skype and be able to assist Vicki in making video calls with friends.  I was satisfied enough with the device and Windows Movie Maker to attempt my own webcasts.  The technology has advanced dramatically and Scobleizer has also moved his attention to other video approaches.

Although it would be like starting over, I wonder if it is worth looking into video again.  First, the technology has improved considerably in two years, especially in terms of video quality and the low lighting levels at which webcams now work.  Also, while I slowly learn how to re-animate my dormant blogs using Movable Type, I could direct some of my pent-up desire to write posts toward making more webcasts.

One deterrent, at least as far as Microsoft support for video goes, is the abandonment of support for Windows XP in new Windows Live releases.  I always lean toward adopting the fully-workable accessory software that Microsoft releases, but the pull to upgrade on a schedule that is not of my making is troublesome.  Now I must either upgrade to Windows 7 or else go to third-party producers that are not so foolish to abandon what remains the most-prevalently-deployed Windows version.  I’ll think about that a little longer.


This post has led me to re-examine my interest in videos, screencasts, and webcasts.  The purpose of the post is to seed the orcmid.tv category on nfoCentrale Status.  I also want to confirm that I can embed videos using Windows Live Writer.  I also will use the category for experimental confirmation of a category-retirement technique.  There is also an interaction with Zemanta that seems to be a problem.  And I need to confirm that the video object will appear the way I want it to in the blog post even though it does not show properly in the Windows Live Writer UI.  So I am trouble-shooting all of that.

     

    As I was setting up Windows Live Writer and the nfoCentrale Status blog site for uploading images, I realized that there were some useful adjustments I could make.

    Previously, I had simply set up a single images/ directory per blog and allowed images posted through Windows Live Writer to accumulate there.  

    A SLIGHT PROBLEM

    Windows Live Writer creates a subfolder, with a name chosen by WLW, to hold the images uploaded for a particular post.  In looking for straightforward ways to back up these folders and images, I realized that it is cumbersome to have these images-per-post sets accumulate in an ever-growing, potentially gigantic single folder. 

    ANTICIPATING BACKUP ARRANGEMENTS

    To provide separate backups, I want to save compressed archives of the image sets.  The single archives will not reduce the space requirements by much, but they are easier to manage.  I can also include them in my source-control more easily than treating the individual folder sets as projects.  (This is a convenience for the continued use of Visual Source Safe; with other version-control systems, this part is easier.) 

    The use of the source-control system is primarily a way to achieve versioned backup.  It is easy to expand a Zip archive back to the original folders.  And archiving the Zips as checked-in revisions provides a means for recovery in the event that older materials on the site are corrupted or lost in some way.

    SUBDIVIDING BY YEAR

    My initial solution is to annualize the images/ folder.  I will initiate that with images/2010/ and continue with images/2011/, etc. 

    If even annualizing becomes ungainly, I am thinking that I will not drop down to a monthly level.  Instead, I will segment the year as needed.  For example, I might end up with the progression images/2010/, images/2010a/, images/2010b, …, images/2011/, etc.

    ADJUSTING WINDOWS LIVE WRITER

    For Windows Live Writer, I don’t need to change the FTP permissions I have already provided.  Those permissions already start at the images/ subfolder of the blog.  Any additional subfolders, such as images/2010/ are already accessible.

    First, I prepare subfolder images/2010/ the same way I prepared images/ originally.  I will do this each time I need a new annualized folder.

    Changing Windows Live Writer to use the new annualized image folder Secondly, I instruct Windows Live Writer to use the new location for all future image uploads. 

    When I edit the blog settings for uploading pictures, I will need to provide FTP account credentials again.  Then I can browse to the new location on the server and confirm that new location.

    At the time I did this, there was already an uploaded-image folder at the images/ location the FTP account starts at (and where ftp.nfocentrale.com is pointed in this case).  That folder is allowed to remain, since there is a blog post that uses images from there.

    Once I selected the folder, Windows Live Writer confirms the settings it will be using.

    There is no further action to take until a new annualized folder is to be started.  Every January 1, if not sooner, I will repeat this process to start the next annualized group.  I can also adjust the backup procedures to begin preserving the new folder at that time.

     

    WLW Confirmation of the FTP Configuration for Uploading to the Annualized Folder

    The way I learned that the Twitter API has stopped accepting basic authentication is that my Twinbox stopped working.  After using my browser to confirm that Twitter is actually running and my account is seeing tweets, I requested that Twinbox perform an immediate refresh in Outlook, That’s when I observed the Twitter-originated message that said basic authentication is no longer supported.

    I was able to remedy the situation by downloading the latest version of Twinbox.  Twinbox simply started working again the next time I opened Outlook.  I assume that whatever connection for OAuth access was needed was handled automatically based on my already having authorized Twinbox as a Twitter connection.

    Since that seemed almost too easy, I noticed, in my re-animated Twitter stream, that Windows Live Writer has a plug-in that will generate Twitter notifications when I make a blog post.  The Twitter Notify plug-in is reported to be updated to connect to Twitter via OAuth and we will see how that works out.

    I am still frustrated in having the Windows Live Writer Zemanta plug-in recognize my personal Zemanta profile, so I wonder if there is going to be a similar issue with the Twitter Notify plug-in.  We’ll soon see.

     

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