Saturday, February 4, 2023

Grace Notes - Restoring A Lost Website

 So far, these updates have been more 'talk' than 'update'.  I write them for people to read if they want, but mainly to help me not lose the memories.  Eventually I'll start building the "real" pages, with the music.  For now,  just documenting the process so the memory won't be lost.  Between getting older, and losing a great deal of cognition and memory from Covid, forgetting everything important is a huge fear of mine.  So this is something of a journal for me, as well as a record of progress on the blog.

Even back in 2011, when "Grace Notes" was still just wishful thinking, one of it's main purposes was to exercise my memory.  Playing an instrument, learning new songs to play, are supposed to be good for memory.  Making a blog about it felt like a natural extension of the plan.  

After about 10 years, I let the project drop.  It was taking drastically more effort and more time, to learn new songs and arrangements.  Meanwhile, the hosting cost kept shamelessly rising year by year, until I got discouraged and quit.  Eventually funding the hosting company became money I couldn't afford to spend, on a project that never really earned it's keep.  The backup copy made before shutting the site down... disappeared.  The website was gone, all the research and writing was gone.  Recreating the site without the writing, or even my notes, felt like too much of a time sink.

In the middle of all that, my digital grand, the Yamaha DG-640, bit the dust.  Not all at once, but key by key, until it was unusable.  Talked to a repair tech, who told me that the control boards on Yamaha digital grands went brittle after a few years.  Repairs are pointless, because they won't stay repaired.  He convinced me it was cheaper to replace the keyboard.  That's still a lot of money, and it took a while, but now I'm using an M-Audio Hammer 88.  Not really a digital piano, it's more accurately a Midi controller.  It came with Ableton Live 10 Lite.

There were a lot of road blocks along the way, but everything is finally converging.  It took, among other things, getting a dedicated laptop computer to run Ableton.  It also took a lot of time learning a bare minimum to use Ableton.  It was too much complexity for my needs.  Finally everything is working right, and I know exactly how to get my playing from keyboard to Youtube.

Additionally, Monique recently discovered a partial backup of Grace Notes, on the Wayback Machine. It's not complete, but at least I have access to a huge amount of the original site.  I'm nearly done backing all of those pages up onto a hard drive.  Once that's done, there's only one major hurdle left... Adsense.

As best I can tell, my Adsense account is still active.  I'd like to eventually use it on this blog, but google hates plagiarism.  Even when I'm re-creating my own website, with my own original writing.  There doesn't seem to be a sure-fire safe way to put my old pages on this new blog, without being penalized.  The only option is to re-write everything, with enough changes to count as completely original work.

At least now, I have the original text.  Still time-consuming but better than re-writing it blindly, not knowing if it's different enough.  When I've backed up all the pages that WayBack archived, I'll start bringing back the old(new) pages.

Additionally, I'd like to create and record new arrangements, moving forward with brand new content.  That's the part I'm excited about.  Having fewer "progress reports", and more focus on real content.  Fingers crossed, it won't be long now!!

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