The Pain of Switching Online File Hosts

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For at least six years now, I’ve stored a large portion of my publicly shared files on my Apple iDisk, which is basically online storage hosted by Apple’s .mac “aka Dot Mac” Service. While there were always a few drawbacks to that service, it was convenient and easy, so I stuck with it a little longer than perhaps I should have. A couple of months ago, I receive notification from Apple that they will be discontinuing the iDisk feature as part of their phasing out of “Dot Mac” and transitioning to their new iCloud service. Unfortunately, they haven’t given me the option of simply having the contents of my iDisk transferred automatically to an iCloud account, so I have until June 2012 to move my files to a new host. While that may sound relatively painless (simply upload my original files to one of the other online storage hosts I already have accounts with), the part that IS a pain in the biscuits is the process for updating the links on all of my blog posts.

Part of what is making this procedure so time-consuming is that Apple (as well as all other online storage hosts, as far as I know) doesn’t allow you to simply use the name of the file you’ve stored on the server as the download link address (the URL). Instead, they assign an encoded name as the URL, which means you cannot tell which file is which by just looking at the URL. For example, if name of file I uploaded was “MY_CAT_IMAGE.png” the url to download that image would look something like this:

http://files.me.com/my_account_name/6802eca119d8716bcaeb7ef68b0e017d

While I can easily figure out what the file named

http://files.me.com/my_account_name/My_CAT_IMAGE.png

contains without having to actually open the file and without having to switch from my blog-editor window to the published version of that particular post to see which image file is supposed to be posted in that location, the same can't be said when the html code to download an image file uses an encrypted name.

To those of you who have never written a blog post using only an html editor, what I've been talking about is probably a bunch of gobbledygook and boring at that. But to my kindred geeksters, if you haven't already experienced the pain of switching your online file host, beware. The process is not one you'll want to procrastinate in doing and I highly recommend you have an organized plan as to how you're going to accomplish the task before you start. I don't know whether the way I'm going about is the most efficient but it should end up being accurate, meaning I replace all the anchor url's and image url's with the correct new addresses and don't miss any of the links that need to be updated. If anyone out there has their own system for doing this that they'd like to recommend - or discourage its' use, use the comment link below and share your story!

LAST MINUTE INFO: I just came across this WordPress.org Support Forum post, Updating Links in Old Posts When Things Change. Don't know whether it's more efficient than my method as it looks like, from a quick glance, that it really is intended for updating many instances of the same URL. It's worth checking out if your blogs are self-hosted (i.e. NOT wordpress.com blogs) because it requires you to be able to access the SQL database for your blog.

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

On the freebie menu tonight are some random icons I've created recently. Let us know how YOU end up using them!"

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