marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

OK, so spare copies of anything just don't work - or happen, rather - around me, thanks to my dislike of duplication and all the time I can waste just making duplicates - but still, there's no excuse for not keeping a copy of my userscript somewhere. I've got hundreds of GBs of empty space on my computer, an external drive with another hundred GBs of empty space, two formatted 8GB flash sticks, my laptop (which for some reason was not running the script when I checked for it tonight), stacks of blank CDs and DVDs lying around because I never back anything up, and so on.

So (thinking the cloud must have my back(up) as usual) I clicked that little link in my sidebar tonight after downgrading from Firefox 29 to 27 (that's another story, OMG) to reinstall my script only to find that even Userscripts on Port 8080? No longer exists. I mean, it's there. Rails is merely crashing from lack of drive space or something...OK. Bottom line: I lost my only fully updated (if you count last winter as "fully updated") copy of my script. Bummer.

In which I love the little lost things...

But the one thing I usually am pretty good at, if only I put my head to it, is finding what gets lost. Maybe being someone who blatantly refuses to keep more than one copy of anything - no archives, no backups, no spares - brings out the huntress in me by sheer necessity. I mean, I don't even back up my bookmarks and I can't tell you how many of those I've lost over the years (nor how many I want back because it was all such good reading). So when something goes missing I'm usually right on the beat.

This isn't the prettiest story but in the end I got my script back. First I checked Greasyfork.org, the main contender to Userscripts.org...and, you know, I like that site. I think it's a good site that will replace USO completely once it comes into a little more funding or some talented devs or whatever ingredient it doesn't have yet for total, complete success. It will do just fine. I noticed they had a copy of Google Black Bar Returns that someone besides its author, James, had posted so I checked for a mirror of my script but I don't think anyone knew I'd re-posted it on USO under a slightly different name, so of course it wasn't there.

Next I hit Google, read through a couple of forum posts about USO biting the dust, then in one such post saw someone had dropped a link to Userscripts-mirror.org in response to someone else who, like me, needed the most current copy of a script (oops, that makes two of us).

USO Mirror is a complete mirror of Userscripts.org with a few caveats...

When you land on the USO Mirror home page you'll see a complete copy of Userscripts.org but the search functionality is disabled (coming soon!) and clicking on tags won't work; you'll only get 404s. Looking at page links for the 5k+ pages USO Mirror's apparently indexed, I decided to just start working my way backwards. This was a mistake.

The real USO was getting hit with hundreds, if not thousands of duplicate/spam/malware scripts each day, so page after page just showed more of the same. I tried re-writing URLs by changing the page numbers to speed up the process, but USO Mirror changes URLs dynamically with each new link you click on, and I couldn't detect a pattern that would allow me to guess what the next dynamic generation of letters and numbers might work out to (there is definitely a certain fuzzy pattern; I just can't say if it repeats at random or sequentially enough to copy it).

At this point I weighed my options: a) stop searching and take the only script I have stored locally (there is one! but it's nearly unusable) and rewrite it (to do that I'd have to knock out James' borrowed CSS and rewrite my own for some of Google's more recent code changes; it was that old) or b) keep searching. *sigh* I must've taken thirteen breaks: bathroom breaks, snack breaks, drink-refill breaks, pet-the-cat breaks and so on. It was so tedious. And it was almost all spam, duplicates and malware! But after 15 minutes or so I managed to crawl back in time to the end of May (I know, just last week).

I realized I'd need to know when I last uploaded my script to USO or I'd be going back in time forever, so I did a Google search on my script's current name, "Google Redone", and checked G's cache. After it tried to connect to USO for about five minutes before timing out, I finally saw my script landed on April 2nd on USO so I made note of that and started jumping back about four pages at a time (I think that's the maximum page jump amount without skipping 5k+ ahead or back, unless it increases many hundreds of pages in) on USO Mirror until April 2nd finally pulled up. I went two more pages back and there it was. The whole process took a half an hour and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

[tl;dr] How to use USO Mirror in a nutshell:

Update: see ETA at end of page before you even read this.

  1. Go to this page of Userscripts-mirror.org. Whee, there you are. As of this writing search is disabled and tags don't work, so forget using those to find what you want.
  2. If you haven't already done so, make a note of the name of the script you want and the date it was last uploaded to USO. If you don't know when it was last uploaded, Google it like so: ["exact script name goes here with the quotes around it"]. Click on the Google cache link for the correct search result. Wait five minutes for Google's cache to finally realize it's not going to connect to USO, then make a note of the last upload date on the text-only page that you'll see.
  3. USO Mirror has links near the bottom of each page like so: [1], [2], [3], [5,932] and so on. Using those links, start skipping as many pages at a time as you can to get to the script you want. This could conceivably take you hours and I pity you, if that makes you feel any better.

Alternatively, you could try finding the script you want on Archive.org; they don't have a mirror of my script's page but they do have others. I didn't check those pages but chances are they're read-only so you'll have to manually copy the code you want from there.

Happy hunting! :(

ETA: hours after going through all of the above, I found an URL re-writing script on a random browse of Greasyfork.org (uso-mirror) that will take you directly to most pages that were once hosted on USO.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

So I go and immerse myself in surveys and re-writing my CSS for the last few months, respectively, and not always exactly in that order, and sometimes both at once, only to pull my head out of my ass this morning long enough to learn that Opera blogs were all deleted (May 3rd) and Userscripts.org no longer works (May 9th) unless you put the number "8080" after the TLD in the URL like so: http://userscripts.org:8080/ (ETA: more info). Those two events combined just make me want to go gggrrrrr, seriously wtf. It's getting to be too much lately with all the online bullshit. If someone had been an avid Internet user before losing online access - perhaps from falling into a coma - from say December until now they'd awake to a rapidly-changing online world: Target hacked, Michael's hacked, the Heartbleed bug, end of support/new updates for XP, eBay hacked, Opera blogs gone, and USO gone 8080...hee-hee, is "8080" a thing USO can "go" to? Like a 404? Because if not, it totally should be. Combine all that with the rigidly broken nature of the Internet that's only now being revealed to the masses in excruciating detail and yeah...it all proves my mom was right. She thought the Intertubes were one big fucking joke - a complete waste of time - and refused to use, or have me use, any of her debit or credit cards on it because she had heard things about "hacking" so she didn't want her numbers "on the computer". Now I know my mom was right! *sigh* As always...

Which reminds me...might be going 8080 here soon, myself... :)

marahmarie: Remember these? (typewriter)

I was, uh, looking in the wrong folders for it, which is why they were showing up as empty (they were empty!) and yeah, duh, bad rookie mistake from someone who's far from a rookie. It's been a rookie-mistake week or two in general, in which I merely muddle through most things I know I can do with my eyes closed, then start over when I realize even my umpteenth attempt at Mundane/Routine task has gotten me nowhere or has turned out worse than if I didn't try at all. I will make a terribly senile person when I get old if I'm this bad now.

In other news...

I do NOT feel like doing surveys
I do NOT feel like doing surveys
I do NOT feel like doing surveys

I do not feel like doing surveys. Or did I mention that? A few minutes ago I logged into OO for the first time since Sunday afternoon, found the first survey they offered was already closed and got so bored on the second survey I let it time-bomb, which bounced me out without any credit for time served, just a prize draw. Maybe [profile] pulcritude is finally rubbing off on me. Like I said, good help's so hard to find. Right now, I'm pretty lousy help myself.

In other-other news...

The way my life's going right now I'm unlikely to learn enough JavaScript to write my own Google navbar anytime soon so I'm trying to pay off James to do it for me. Only just sent him an email on that; hoping he'll respond in the affirmative but if not, oh, well...I've got two options if he doesn't want to help (which I can hardly blame him for if he's not so into the idea): learn enough JS to write it myself (but really, I'd rather not) or publish the existing script without it.

Don't get me wrong, it looks great even without a navbar, so the second option is not quite as ridiculous as it sounds - but only if you can imagine someone's head chopped off and the rest of their body left intact looking "great". 0_o... But I don't use the navbar now that I've restored the borrowed sidebar to its former Image-link-containing glory, so running the script without it for others is not entirely out of the question.

In other-other-other news:

Meh. I'm getting kind of seriously disgusted with blogging because it's a medium meant to be dynamic and update-able through which you can tell a constantly evolving story, as I think Marissa Mayer once put it while she still worked at Google. Yet in real life that's not how it works.

In real life, no one comes back for your edits, updates, nor to watch your story evolve nor unfold. If your story doesn't happen to be worded perfectly and isn't somehow capable of updating itself before further news on your topic even breaks or prior unknown research is uncovered, then fuck you: everyone's moved on and no one cares. You snooze you lose, sweets!

Or so I tell myself. Bitterly, every day, all the time. I've come to regret the very act of creation to the point that I think it's bizarre how I still engage in it. I don't know why I bother because if I think I'm being heard, I'm not, and whether I think I'm worth hearing doesn't matter because if anyone's worth hearing they're already on BuzzFeed, where I unmistakably am not and would certainly rather not be. I have zero respect for BuzzFeed writers, just zero.

The Internet's become a place where information washes you out like a tidal wave, then recedes just long enough to wash you out again, and in that element people like me can't get heard. I speak into the wind - or the sound of each new tidal wave washing over me - while I try to prove a point that's already been proven or point out something others have already seen or discuss something no one dares discuss openly or honestly anymore for fear of the PC issues behind discussing anything openly or honestly. I mean, where's a good cat video when you need one (which is about every three seconds on this blog)? I'm just no fucking fun.

The entire Internet's moved on before I finish writing each post; all my topics, no matter how fresh, current, on the money, or else completely obscure and therefore hard to find good resources on, are old news by the time I hit "Publish", and my voice will predictably get completely drowned out before it gets heard. It's...unnerving, really, how much the ether that hosts this blog has changed in just a few short years.

*sigh* Guess I'll go take some surveys now.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

OK: I'm speechless. Aaaaand I almost went into full-on hyperventilation a minute ago (disclosure: author can and will have panic attacks and/or simply faint for next to no reason at all). This happens only once every ten years or so (when I fall speechless, can't breathe, and almost faint in one step) so y'all might want to check for a full moon or some other cosmological event.

OK. Nine-tenths of you can stop reading now since nothing from here on in will excite you as it has me. For the other four of you still reading (and yes, I know who you are!): you know how Google changed shit one fine November day so that suddenly there was no more navbar? You know how I deleted my script over it in perfect November-Scorpian vengeance and how to this day poor James writes 2,458 lines of code each hour (or so it seems) to make up for that one freaking missing part of the design? Do you know all that?

Do you see this, folks? Look at it. Closely. There is one line of code on that page. Just one. One! And it works. So with that, the navbar's back. The navbar's not just back, but to judge by what that one line of code says, it never left. *tries not to punch self in face*

I can't tell you how many metaphorical walls I've metaphorically beat my head on since that navbar disappeared, nor how many unmetamorphical new lines of code I've written, erased, rewritten, binned, or just given up on, all for nothing because apparently the world's easiest answer - the one that, from what I can tell, allows me to run my old, already-navbar-enabled script as usual, with no edits at all - has been there all along. How 'bout that?

Don't know for sure, but I think the "noj=1" in that one line of code simply means no JavaScript. It's the callback for the navbar you see when JS has been disabled client-side, an option I discussed at length here some time back. Just take me out in the yard and...*OK self, breathe slowly*

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

It all started with this...after those comment exchanges I just kept...looking at shit? And going, Wait. Wait! Wait! I have not touched a line of code since the day I deleted my script from USO (long story short, then I lost my copy when I lost the hard drive it was on but lo and behold, it soon turned up on another computer or hard drive or something...yes, holidays, so there's been plenty of wine to lose these memories with rather quickly) but after looking at shit I wanted to code again, or at least remember what that felt like. So...

It felt...good. Really good. Like it did before I got too worn down from all my complicated updates toward the end to go on (I was so emotionally exhausted, and my brain had so completely flatlined from all the recoding, that many first world problems quickly ensued).

Tonight's fixes were easy and killed no brain cells; it took maybe less than 20 minutes to get my script playing nicely with James' and his playing nicely with mine, but I have permission to do that for my own use, and permission to do that for everyone else's as long as I give fair warning, soooo...

I make pretty-pretty. You like?

The love child that has ensued

But I don't think I'll go ahead with releasing a combined version of our scripts on USO anytime soon. I feel bad that I can't code well enough to write my own JS navbar replacement, for one thing. And my script is not ready for prime time because I haven't checked any pages beside search for the usual thirty or so anomalies I almost always need to fix. And I don't want to check because burnout. It makes me cringe to think how tired I was before I gave up.

If I were to combine our scripts (OK, it's a thought...it's always a thought) and unleash the result on USO's masses (oh, poor masses) I would do things differently. Obviously I wouldn't run my own navbar CSS ever again. And any JS version would have no GM GUI so you'd have no options. None. I would pick link colors and backgrounds and decide on all the pretty-pretty and if you don't like, don't use. My script would have a very stripped down version of James's navbar. It would have a navbar, a sidebar, my preferred logos and page flows, and that's it.

Options are fine but I'm like the GM version of Apple: if I'm writing it, you get it exactly one damn way and that's it. If you don't like it use Microsoft's (James's version) and of course I won't say a word. This comes, surely, from my inner and absolute control freak toward design.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

If you don't think Google is actively trying to discourage amateur coders like me from changing the look of their websites, think again; for instance, they've changed the code for their new appbar (another dev and I are using its HTML to run the old-style top navbar) on an almost daily basis since rolling it out in the US, and with their latest change, it becomes pretty obvious that either a) they want to make sure no one can change their code without using JS to overlay and/or re-arrange things in a way that doesn't directly alter their CSS (client-side JS loads and runs much more slowly than client-side CSS, which of course discourages people from using scripts that depend solely on JS to make any design changes) or that b) it's an awfully big coinkidinky that that simply appears to be what they're doing.

Right now, if you install either my script or the userstyle I'm adapting a tiny bit of my code from, you'll see the navbar we've so carefully recreated. But that's all you will see. It appears to be blank and empty (thus, broken and useless) since less than two days ago, no matter which of our scripts you use (note: disabling cookies will actually show you Google's last design; my script will still work and look just fine with it).

James' userstyle, with links newly hidden thanks to Google...

G hides navbar links

My userscript, with links newly hidden thanks to Google...

G hides navbar links

Of course, the really interesting part is if you just click on the navbar while using either script, poof! The links will all show up again! Wowzer, bowser. That could change by the time I hit "publish". It could've changed in the time it took me to write that last sentence. Not to even mention the broken header you see in the screencap for my script? Fixed it twice in the last week, most recently late last night, to accommodate Google's non-stop changes to that portion of the page as well, only to have them break it again while I was, uh, sleeping. Which, you know, I have to do once in a while or else I can't really code for shit. That's how fast they keep changing things.

You could argue it's not a conspiracy against amateur coders, that Google is known to be constantly - yes, just constantly - "improving" and "updating" their sites, and while that's true, if the "updates" and "improvements" result in no visible design changes on their end - and lately they most certainly don't - and if their code is not being optimized but in fact added to until HTML div nesting looks similar to someone feeding the divs into a blender, then publishing the output, it seems one could safely argue that the constant changes are more about protecting their own interests than "improving" or "updating" anything.

So, what interests are Google trying to protect? Here are a handful of amateur coders writing tiny bits of new code and/or using each other's to ever-so-slightly modify small portions of Google's vast array of web pages. Big deal, right? How could they possibly view this as a threat? Perhaps because we offer consumers a choice, our choices tend to be pretty popular, and the fact that Google does not have one unified look as a result leads them to fear that there will be confusion and revolt among end-users when they see other perfectly viable design options that even hacks like me can easily compile and publish for free.

Google wants 100% control over every aspect of the Google experience without coders like us drawing away however many tens of thousands of their users with viable, easy to use alternatives. Thus their endless string of so-called "changes", "updates", and "improvements", which I'm telling you right now are 99.5% bullshit, done merely to keep most coders from easily re-coding Google to look the way we YOU want it to.