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Woefully lax - Journal of Omnifarious

Nov. 17th, 2004

04:08 pm - Woefully lax

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I've been feeling woefully lax in my LiveJournalling recently. I've hardly read anything. This is partly because I've been really busy at work and stuff, but it's also partly because I think I need to slice down the list of people I read regularly.

I have filters to do this with, so I won't be dropping anybody from my friends list. There are reasons you all are there. But, I may be commenting in some of your journals even less frequently than my rather infrequent commenting right now. :-)

Current Mood: [mood icon] accomplished


Date:November 19th, 2004 11:55 am (UTC)
You do what you gotta do.
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Date:November 23rd, 2004 01:07 pm (UTC)

Sorry just to breeze in like this, but you may be able to solve a problem that I'm facing - and what friendly geek doesn't like to solve people's problems?

Courtesy of Google, I discovered that about a year and a half ago you said you were working on a journal downloader, and this may be what I need.

The problem's this: I need to download, preferably with comments, and more preferably with a proper hierarchy of comments, a bunch of LJ journals and communities. I know that there are already tools to do this, but they pretty much universally require that one supply the journal password. Fine if one's the journal owner; not so fine otherwise. I've no objection (with the usual caveats) to supplying my LJ name and password to say that I'm who I am, but obviously I can't do that for arbitrary journals. So I'm in the bizarre situation that while I can use manual methods to read (and theoretically cut, paste, etc information from) the target journal, subject to my access rights, there's no automagic way to do it.

I actually do have a sensible and practical use for this functionality; I'm not just being awkward and whiny. I also can't see anything intrinsically dangerous about it, since I'm simply asking for automation of an existing manual process. However.

The archive-tool developers with whom I've discussed this have got very twitchy and very quiet when I've asked them why what I want to do is so bad that they won't enable it, but I've never had a good reason - damn it, any reason - from them. Not even "I can't be bothered to" or "Nobody wants it".

The exception to the 'need a password' rule seems to be Alexf's 'LJ Downloader', but that is such a pain to use (and seems to be subtly broken, too) that it's almost not worth the attempt to use that.

Have you finished your tool yet? Would it do what I need? And is it available? I did look on your website, but there didn't seem to be anything about it there, so I thought I might ask.

Thanks in advance, apologies also if needed.
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Date:November 23rd, 2004 01:19 pm (UTC)

I got it done, but it requires a password, and isn't very friendly to use. Also, there's a better way to download comments then the one I used (screen scraping the 'read comments' page). Especially since my method doesn't get all the comments in a post that's been highly commented on.

I don't have a problem with trying to make one that doesn't require a password because, as you pointed out, it just automates a manual process. Heck google probably does it weekly.

But, the time I have for such a thing is very limited. And, I'm not sure if there are any nice programmer oriented interfaces for getting all that stuff for a user other than the logged in user. I made use of a couple of such for my journal downloader.

I could probably be persuaded to post the code for mine up someplace. Right now, the username and password are embedded in the code, so I could either fix it to take them as command line parameters, or just blank them out. It's written in Python.

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Date:November 24th, 2004 04:49 am (UTC)
At the least it sounds like the basis for something that I could develop into the tool that I need. Well, I'd have to learn Python, but what's another new language?

I could probably be persuaded to post the code for mine up someplace.

I'd really appreciate it if you would - but no urgency, right? Thank you!
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