Monday, May 3, 2010

About Google Reader and how to retrieve a deleted blog

I thought I would write something about this, since I have personally experienced the sadness of losing my favourite recipes on another blog. No, it is not my blog but a blog by a popular DJ and food blogger from Singapore called Violet Fenying. Fenying lost her blogs (我的厨房笔记) on 3 Mar 2010. All her recipes dating back from 2006 were all gone. It appeared that she lost all her data during a re-construction of her old blog to a more user friendly blog. It may well have been hacked by someone else because all the recipes were gone and the blog is now taken over by another blogger.

Anyway, back to my topic of how I retrieved Fenying's recipes from her deleted blog. So the first thing I did was to google for Fenying's recipes and search for all the cached pages on google. Unfortunately I only managed to retrieve < 50 cached recipes out of her enormous collection of over 200 recipes. Then I logged into my Google Reader as usual, to read my favourite food blogs and voila, all her old recipes were still there, even though they have been removed from the site. So what does this tell us about Google Reader? It not only helps you to manage multiple subscriptions/feeds from various blogs, it also serves as a backup ! (For those who are new to Google Reader, it is a web-based feed reader that helps you keep up with blogs and news. You need to have a google account to use Google Reader.)

So in my Google Reader, I was able to retrieve all her recipes dating all the way back from 19 Jan 2007. :) But saving the recipes and printing them from Google Reader is another matter, that deserves a technical discussion worth another posting :)

Moral of the story is : 
1) using Google Reader, you can keep yourself up-to-date with new content from your favourite blogs;
2) you can backup your blog (by subcribing to the RSS feed of your own blog);
3) and you can backup other people's blog (by doing the same as above) !!!

If all else fails, there is still the good old Internet Archive Wayback Machine, which archives over 10 billion web pages from 1996 to the present. Using Fenying's recipes as an example, you can search for her old postings by typing in the address and it shows a whopping 522 results, much more than the google cached pages. The Wayback Machine is pretty cool, it offers advanced search criteria which allows you to find a webpage from a range of dates. If you have the link of a page which is no longer cached in Google, take for eg., you can find them in Wayback Machine,  :)

By the way, this is NOT a sponsored post by Google Reader or Wayback Machine. I am just sharing my 2-cents view about backing up your blog and retrieving it if it crashes (God forbid). If you happen to delete your blog accidentally, Blogger also offers some other nifty features on how to import, export and "undelete" your blog. But I will probably write about that in another posting, if I have the time...


  1. This is a very valuable info to me!! Previously I had linked some posts to Fenying's old blog too. Now I know how to get them back. Thanks for your kind sharing. Btw, have you shared this info with Fenying so that she can put back all her old recipes in the blog? I feel so sad when I found out about her deleted blog.

  2. Yes, I did. I sent her an email before writing this. But I have not received any reply so far. Hopefully she will get to read my email or this post. I hope someone can inform her cos I am not located in SG...

    Have u tried google reader yet? It is a wonderful tool. U can retrieve all her recipes dating from Jan 07. In Google Reader, just click on the "Add Subscription" button, and enter the address

  3. Hi, I had tried google reader but it directed me to her new blog.

  4. Hi Food For Tots,

    I have tried google reader using 2 separate google accounts and have no problems in retrieving the old posts. You have to wait for the old posts to download, it takes a while...

  5. I had tried google reader again and it worked! Sorry, it was my mistake! I didn't wait long enough for the old posts to download and quickly jumped to the wrong conclusion. Thanks a lot for your kind sharing. Really appreciate it. ;)

  6. Thanks for your great advice! Really appreciate it.

  7. i cannot manage to retrieve using both method.. kindly pls advise.

  8. i have manage to find it.

    Thanks for the advise.

  9. btw, i can only search up to 2008 recipes. Do you know how i can search 2009 recipes?


  10. Hi anonymous,

    You should be able to retrieve all recipes from her blog, at least I managed to. But then again, my google reader was installed about a year ago, shortly after the blog was deleted. Maybe try waiting a bit longer for all the recipes to download, see if that helps. Btw her last recipe was dated 23 Feb 2010, called Spicy and Sour Fish Maw Soup.

  11. Hi,
    I think I had discovered this blog too late. I tried the methods but cldn't retrieve anything. Please advise if there are other ways as I had saved all her recipes before, but my pc died on me and now I cldn't find back from the web. If you do not mind, could you email the recipes to me please ? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi,
      It is indeed too late. Google reader is already part of history. There is nothing much I can help except for the above that I blogged about.


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