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Backing Up FTO Reports

Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:43 pm

The demise of the EpicSki Forum on first 3 days, then 2 weeks notice prompted a frenzy of activity to download and save content. viewtopic.php?f=10&t=12408#p77562

I have now tested the software on FTO. It was successful and far less time consuming than for Epic. Part of this is that I already have a list of URL's for all TR's I have posted on FTO. It would/will be more time consuming to chase down other threads I might want to save, a similar process as I did with Epic before May 12.

The first screen of WinHTTRack prompts a project name and a directory where you want the files stored

In the left frame you can see my FTO Backup directory and the seven backup projects I ran

The next screen has a space for you to copy in the URL's you want to save in the current project, shown in blue here.

It looks like there's room for only a few URL's, but that box will take as many as you want.

Then click the "set options" button. Under the "Limits" tab I raoised the max transfer rate from the default 25,000 to 250,000.

At this point with Epic I hit "Next" then "Finish" and the program ran its course. FTO proved to be more problematic, as the program failed within 30 seconds and downloaded nothing. I grazed online to see if anyone else had a similar problem. Under "set options" you need to go to the "Browser ID" tab. FTO rejects the default, so you must choose the first one on the drop screen, referring to MSIE 6.0, shown in blue here:

WinHTTrack scrapes a huge amount of data, enough for your download to appear exactly as it does online. This means it will include frames, banners, ads, graphics, pictures, and linked URL's. The Epic downloads would run for 4=8 hours. The FTO downloads never stopped, so after 8 hours I interrupted, hit the tab to "finish current downloads" and the program would run for just a few minutes more.

Re: Backing Up FTO Reports

Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:46 pm

And uses a metric crap ton of our bandwidth.

Re: Backing Up FTO Reports

Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:12 pm

To no surprise there is a morass of directories and subdirectories within each project. But if you open the index file you get a list of your downloaded reports that you requested.

Click on one and you will see, stored on your C drive, the report exactly as it appears on FTO. Click on any picture, view image info, and you SHOULD see that the image has also been downloaded and stored to your C drive.

On the Epic download, HTTracks had some problems with threads in excess of 9 pages. Extra pages LOOKED LIKE they were downloaded but in reality were linked back to the online version. You COULD get those threads by downloading them just a handful at a time but it lenghtened the process quite a bit. Thankfully FTO has very few threads where length is excessive, and none on my TR's as far as I know.

On Epic, the URL's on the index contained the title name, so it was relatively easy to find something as long as you know which download project to check. FTO's URL's are opaque. In my case I have an enumerated list on a spreadsheet with the date and topic in other columns, so this is less of a hindrance to me than it might be to other people.

At this point I'm generally declaring victory. All of my FTO TR's including pictures are now on my C drive and not at the mercy of software platform changes, administrator error or indifference, etc. Patrick took this step nearly a decade ago, and the recent Epic debacle demonstrates that he was prescient in that regard.

Patrick told me at Mammoth that he has not reloaded all of his saved TR's to his blog. This can be a very tedious job, though obviously there is no deadline or time pressure to complete it. But given the morass of files that HTTrack scrapes, I was curious to run a test case of cleaning up one TR. I am pleased to report that the task is fairly efficient. Under the project name directory, there is a http://www.firstracksonline subdirectory. The core html file for each report is there. I open that file in Notepad++ and strip out the extraneous code used for frames, ads, banners, etc. Nearly all of this is separate from the text I'm trying to save.

The tedium of this process is usually involved in making the pictures display. If you download an FTO file manually, the picture links will all be back to the website and not to your C drive. This forces you to edit the html code manually for each picture. With HTTrack, the pictures are all in a download subdirectory of the http://www.firstracksonline subdirectory. So I created a download subdirectory under the directory I was using elsewhere in my C drive, then copied all the pictures from HTTracks' download subdirectory into it. Reloading my scrubbed version of the TR html file now displayed all the pics just fine. You don't even need to hunt down the specific pics for each TR. If they are in the proper "download " subdirectory, they will display.

Re: Backing Up FTO Reports

Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:17 pm

Admin wrote:And uses a metric crap ton of our bandwidth.

:-({|= :-({|= :-({|=
Compared to the thousands of hours of work that would be lost if FTO went the way of Epic, I have zero sympathy. The entire download process for all of my FTO TR's dating back to 2001 was completed between July 5 and this morning. At some point I will download enumerated threads of some other FTO topics, but that's likely to be fairly minor compared to the past three days.

And I am still reminded of upcoming platform changes to FTO every time I have to strip out this crap
" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;
when editing a post.

Re: Backing Up FTO Reports

Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:30 pm

Send your donations for bandwidth fees to:

PO Box 71171
Cottonwood Heights, UT 84171-1171

Re: Backing Up FTO Reports

Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:54 pm

It's just possible that Tony and Patrick are the only ones who care about this.

Re: Backing Up FTO Reports

Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:22 pm

Marc_C wrote:It's just possible that Tony and Patrick are the only ones who care about this.

The archives are clearly the most important feature of FTO during the 7-8 months the News is silent because we have, what, maybe 10 active users left?

At any rate, Patrick is 100% correct that if you want your own content preserved, don't depend on someone else's server/platform for that.

Re: Backing Up FTO Reports

Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:23 pm

Over the past 6 weeks I have expanded the reports uploaded to my own website:

Before I discovered the HTTrack program during the Epic shutdown, I had tediously uploaded just a few reports from Antarctica/Patagonia in 2011, Iceland 2015 and varied locations in the American Southwest. In 2017 I uploaded my Solar Eclipse TR's, including scanning pics and writing a TR for the only one that was not online already:

As far as ski reports were concerned, there are hundreds and I wanted some time to think about their organization and priority. So over the last six weeks I've rounded up ~50 by highlight category and uploaded them. For any TR saved by HTTrack this is a 10-20 minute job depending upon how pictures are labeled and organized. There is no recoding for pictures but HTTrack download directories are huge and it's best to narrow them down to the required pictures as much as possible before uploading.

During this process there were some highlight days that predated FTO and the digital camera era. A few had film pictures that could be scanned as with the 2002 eclipse report. These are probably of greatest interest:
Tuckerman Ravine, April 1990:
First remote lodge snowcat trip, Island Lake, February 1997:
First remote lodge heliski trip, TLH, March 1998:

If you wanted to addict a skier to cat/heli those first two trips in 1997 and 1998 were a good way to do it.

Re: Backing Up FTO Reports

Sat May 04, 2019 4:54 am

Thanks for posting step-by-step instructions a couple years ago. That said -- while I understand going through this laborious HTTrack process if you're planning to repost reports to your own site, doing an old-fashioned copy/paste into a Word doc, followed by a couple minutes of easy reformatting works fine for me.

Re: Backing Up FTO Reports

Sun May 05, 2019 3:57 pm

Copy/paste is one TR at a time. I use HTTrack at the end of the season by copying all the URL's into that web address box, let the computer run a few hours and get all of my TR's in one directory. At that point any TR is viewable on your own computer and will appear exactly as it did here on FTO. Setting up an HTTrack run takes just a few minutes of time once you figure out how to do it properly. I attempted to document that here in 2017.

So the only real work comes when you upload to another web site. This job seems manageable in bits and pieces based upon the 50+ reports I reloaded last fall.

My next step will be to have a linked list of selected TR's by region at the bottom of my regional list of areas skied, like this one for Europe:

Re: Backing Up FTO Reports

Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:54 pm

Over the past month I have reorganized the directory of reports uploaded to my own website and added a few:

There is a new section linking to ski TR's by region. Those pages already existed with tables of days, vertical and seasons skied in each region. Most of the effort over the past month has been selecting TR's to link below the tables. The vast majority of linked reports are to FTO. Some SoCal and Mammoth reports from 1997-2003 are what I saved from the now defunct Southland Ski Server. I have written a handful of new TR's from significant ski days before the era of online reports.

Some new reports:
Highlight of my formative 1978-79 ski season:
January 1982 at Heavenly with map of old Nevada terrain:
May/June 1982 at Mammoth with pond skim pictures:
First open-to-close powder day at Kirkwood in March 1987:
Selkirk Tangiers Heli, February 1999:
RK Heli, March 1999:
Pictures added to Yellowstone Club, March 2001: ... php?t=4249

Re: Backing Up FTO Reports

Fri Nov 15, 2019 6:30 am

I ultimately decided to "back up" my favorite pre-2012 FTO reports on the NY Ski Blog forum and am currently gathering the content. Per this thread, Harv implicitly swears not to pull the plug on the forum as long as he's alive and I believe him.

Re: Backing Up FTO Reports

Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:34 pm

Harvey may be 100% sincere, but you never know. I strongly recommend that James back up EVERY TR from both FTO and NYSkiBlog to his home computer via HTTrack. Then there's no time pressure to reload somewhere else, NYSkiBlog, one's own website, etc.

I like the moniker "Fakebook" in Harvey's thread. FYI Yahoo User Groups are winding down, so the Solar Eclipse Mailing List needed to find a new home over the past month. The administrator resisted forming a Facebook group to the applause of many of us. The new e-mail group at seems to be operating the same as the old one at Yahoo.

I probably wrote or uploaded to my own site only 10-15 TR's this fall. I thought the next step in the process was to organize by region the most useful TR's. The references are still nearly all to FTO, but I have backups on the home computer that I can take my time loading to my own website.

jamesdeluxe wrote:doing an old-fashioned copy/paste into a Word doc, followed by a couple minutes of easy reformatting works fine for me.
Yes that's easy for strictly narrative reports like the ones I wrote for some of those pre-2001 milestone ski days. But if you have pictures in FTO reports, trust me it's a PITA to download, format and upload one at a time. It's much better to use HTTrack and get the TR's and pics all in one fell swoop, then decide what to do with them at your leisure.

I'm done with this project for perhaps 9 months. There's a new ski season to be tracking, even though it hasn't really arrived in California yet.
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