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.
- 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.
- 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.
- USO Mirror has links near the bottom of each page like so: , , , [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.