Monthly Archives: July 2011

Restoring old WebCT backups

Just in case this ever comes up again, a note to remind myself how to do this.

Today I was asked if it would be possible for me to recover some old documents that a lecturer had placed in their unit WebCT site in 2004 or 2005.
While we don’t promise to keep backups of sites for more than two years after the end of a semester, we actually try to keep snapshots for much longer, on consumer grade hard drives (no guarantees!).

WebCT backups at the time (before my time, and obviously before Moodle), were just kept as WebCT backup ZIP files without metadata – it was this important to know the title (or partial) of the site at the time, to be able to find it. Even back then, it was thus common practise to name a site by the unit number.

All I had to do is look through the University handbook to find what the unit number was back before the unit number revolution of 2006, and search the archive for backups with that number.

dir /S /B | find "1395"

The ZIP file that I found was of course a WebCT CE4.1 backup zip, which has a broken header. Using WinRAR or similar one can repair the archive and then extract it.

The backup drive will now be packed up again, and be locked back up until the next time someone needs it. Looking at the ‘stats’, with this being the first request to have anything restored from that long ago, this ‘next time’ should be about 2015.

Dear Ubuntu

Dear Ubuntu,

it’s nice to see you again, it’s been a while. I think the last time we saw each other was when you were only seven. Now you’re eleven, you’ve grown!

You’ve changed a little, but I’m not sure I like everthing about you.

You’ve changed your taskbar, to look a bit more like your cousin Win7’s, which is a nice touch, I think. But why do you want to hide it all the time – be proud of it. Why do I have to argue with you for an hour before you accept that I like seeing it. It’s even worse than your cousin MacOS, and I’ve always disliked how unwilling she was to change for people.

It also seems that while you’re looking really fit and mobile, you’ve become more sedentary – on our first hike you completely exhausted the battery in two hours! (And I did warn you.) Your cousin Win7 was able to pace himself much better, we used to go for near on four hours. And before we even left you kept on complaining about missing the comfort of a full mouse, and refused to use the trackpad and emulate the three buttons. You never used to be like this in the past, you were such an avid hiker back then.

I would also have thought that by now you would have learned to do some of the more grown-up things: managing photos and music is something you’ll really need to learn. And if you continue like you did in the last week, I’ll be worried about your future career. Many workplaces use Exchange, and you don’t seem to want to make an effort with it. Your Evolution is way too slow and buggy. You have that Thunderbird party trick to make up for it (it’s fast), but your trick was only version three, and why did I have to teach you version five?

Thank you for helping me write this, though, Ubuntu. You really are very good at browsing the internet and dealing with file transfers. Without you the recovery of my hosting debacle would have taken even longer (but I’m not done yet, anyway).

what a mess…

I had some hosting trouble and everything is jumbled up…