Lost Digital History

Many people setup their WordPress blogs a long time ago, including mine in 2006. Since they have all been setup, many of them have had deferred maintenance and are broken. It’s unfortunate, a lot of great content has been lost. However, humanity currently produces so much digital content every day now that I guess it doesn’t really matter.

Almost every time I’ve wanted to blog on wesmahler.com, something has been wrong with the blog.  My servers have been slow, they’re constantly being brute forced attacked & in the past they actually were compromised so there were many malicious executanle files saved on my web server.

One of my first websites that show me the potential of online advertising was, rotaryengineillustrated.com, which I bought for $3,000 during high school.  The site ran on Joomla, but it wS so out of date I decided to pretty much leave it broken because updating it to the current versions of jooma would have been way to much work.  The site still has some old static .html files that render content correct and it still makes, even today around $100/month from Adsense from it. I’ve had it since 2004. Its kind of sad that I put so many hours of work into that as a kid in high school just to have let it decay past a feasible point of returning it to normal.

Rebuildingrotaryengines.com, a site that we used to show videos on how to rebuild a rotary engine no longer has it’s videos any more because they were all hosted on Google Videos at the time but that’s been shut down.  I did recover a few here and there.

I thought about just paying $5/month and starting a new blog, but I didn’t want to start all over again so I just spent another day during my last day in London and I believe I fixed it all for good.  I’ve lost a few images from my blog because I hosted many of my images and videos from several sources.  Had I just hosted them all through the WordPress Media application I would been able to save them all easier.   At one point I switched over to using Facebook’s commenting system because I had so many spam comments. I thought it might be the best platform to collect comments. It’s had a lot of limitations though so I’ve switched over to Disqus now which I think will be much better. I was able to import all of my old comments however I wasn’t able to import all of my latest Facebook comments.   More history lost! Last year I also unfortunately lost 30,000 of my personal photos due to a OS X Time Machine bug that does not back up your iPhotos library when the iPhotos app is open. I’ve lost all of this digital data as someone who knows how to program and administrate servers, I can only imagine all of the digital data everyone else has lost.

That’s finally all being solved now.  For my blog, I’m moved it to a new set up Amazon EC2 & RDS instances using ElasticBeanstalk.  The code is backed up in Github, CloudFlare is used to serve the site quicker, put extra security on my WordPress logins that still continued to get attacked daily, and all of the future WordPress media images that I upload are stored and hosted via S3. It’s kind of expensive to pay $30/month to AWS to host my blog and a few personal sites, but it feels nice having control over my public digital journal, my blog.

For my photos, I’m now using Google Photos. It automatically backs up all of your images, across all devices for free for 1080p quality photos. That’s ok for me because I just use my iPhone to take photos. iCloud photos currently sucks because it doesn’t allow you to store photos remotely without having a local backup.  Google Photos allows you to store all of your images remotely without taking up any local space on any of your devices.

Now that’s all clear, I can start writing again without having my blog be unresponsive & broken every time I visit it.  That’s great because I have a lot to write about.  As I continue my journey to becoming a missionary whose set out to positive impact the world, I’ll need to be good at sharing the ideas that will inspire others to do the same.