Monthly Archive for December, 2008

Backing up your DreamHost data

Recent DreamHost problems that at one point suggested data loss got me thinking about backing up my data. Though I was not affected by the outage, some of my friends were and as they listed the data they would have lost for good I realized I would be in much the same boat if DreamHost lost my web site. Here I will outline my backup plan, including scripts, so you can get up and running quickly with your own backup strategy. The information should apply reasonably well to any web host, but will be slanted toward DreamHost because that’s the host I use.
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Blip Unembed 0.1 released

Here is the first version of Blip Unembed, a script I created to convert embed URLs into the original URLs and to download FLV files from given the original URL or the embed URL:

The script should work on any system with a POSIX shell (such as Ubuntu, Mac OS X, or Windows with MSYS) and curl (curl is in the Ubuntu repositories and also available for Windows; curl is in Mac OS X by default). To use it, simply run with the original URL (ie. or the embed URL (ie. of the video you want to see. The original URL and FLV URL will be printed and the FLV file will be downloaded. If you have any questions, please leave a comment on this post or contact me directly.

This script is the latest in my attempts to help people depend less on Flash (previous projects include Vimeo Downloader). For more details, see Why I haven’t installed a Flash player. For viewing YouTube or Vimeo videos without Flash, use Free Youtube! by Stephen Paul Weber. I suspect Free Youtube! will support very soon.

Update: Free Youtube! now supports, thanks to this script. Just install Greasemonkey, then Free Youtube! and you will have Flash-free

OLPC Give One, Get One on now

The One Laptop per Child project has recently restarted their Give One, Get One (G1G1) program. The last G1G1 program ran from November to December last year. This one is expected to be ongoing, with no end date specified. So you don’t have to worry about missing an ordering deadline.

When I wrote about the last G1G1, they were only shipping to Canada and the USA. This time around, they have added Europe and Australia to the list of shipping destinations. Interestingly, they have chosen to charge in GBP for all non-US shipping destinations. The cost is £275 plus £50 shipping, which works out to CAD$621.63 using today’s buying rate from Citizens Bank. I paid about CAD$450 when I bought two XO-1s in November 2007 so it’s a bit more expensive this time around, but that’s to be expected with the Canadian dollar being lower than it was then. If you live in Canada but have relatives or friends in the USA, I would recommend shipping it to one of them. At USD$399 (CAD$510), buying through the G1G1 program in the US is much less expensive than buying through the G1G1 program to ship to Canada.

To purchase XOs through the G1G1 program, go to If purchasing within the US, you will be able to get your XO before Christmas if you order today or tomorrow. If purchasing outside the US, the deadline for Christmas shipping has passed, but you can still order an XO for later shipping.

I have enjoyed using my XO since I got it this past January. I would recommend it particularly for those with children, as the interface is really designed for them. If you have any specific questions about the XO for someone who has used it for a few months, please reply in a comment to this post and I’ll get back to you.