Monday, July 19, 2010

Finally! Help for those of us who write screeds on the Internet!

(Updated below)

Oh stop lying. You know you're as bad as me -- if you're not pounding on wingnuts in the forums, you're explaining at length to Donald Douglas why he is an idiot. Or writing a sternly-worded admonition to the guy currently posing as the WaPo's ombudsman. Or whatever. So you know that sick feeling of composing a lengthy masterpiece, only to have the site, or your connection, or your browser, or your computer, choke at exactly the wrong moment. And then where is your deathless prose? Gone, that's where.

But maybe that doesn't have to happen, ever again! (If you're using Firefox.)

Enter this add-on I just happened across, Lazarus: Form Recovery, which proclaims:

Never lose anything you type into a web form again! Lazarus securely auto-saves all forms as you type, so after a crash, server timeout, or whatever, you can go back to the form, right click, "recover form", and breathe a sigh of relief.

And at more length on its home page:

Ever had one of those “oh $*#@” moments when you've finally finished filling out a long form, and hit submit only to see an error message? And when you hit the back button, the form was blank... If so, you know you need Lazarus. And if not, you have a chance to install Lazarus before disaster strikes!

Using Lazarus, you can recover lost forms with a single click. Lazarus automagically encrypts and saves every form as you type. If the submission fails or if you forget to send it or your computer or browser crashes, then you can return to the page and recover the form data you originally entered.

Now works with WYSIWYG editors, Rich text boxes and AJAXified forms.

So far, all I can tell you is it installed from here without drama in the usual add an addon way. Under the principle (corollary to Murphy's Law) that if you bring an umbrella it never rains, I suspect that I will not have a browser crash while I am in the middle of typing away for at least the next six months, by which point I'll have long since forgotten that I installed this thing.

But who knows? Maybe you will give it a shot and it will save you some agita. Please let me know in the Comments or by email if it does. Or if it already has. Thanks! (Or, you're welcome!?)


2010-07-21 09:16

Eponym reports in the Comments that he has done a little testing, and it appears to work as advertised.

2010-07-21 12:03

Just ran a quick test of my own, and it also worked. See Comments.


repsac3 said...

you're explaining at length to Donald Douglas why he is an idiot.

Dude, I so resemble that remark (he says, while taking a break from writing just such a screed about just that wingnut ass professor of PoliSci for his blog dedicated to "taking down," "hammering," and otherwise "keeping an eye on" that very guy via just those kinda screeds--"so you don't have to".)

And I have had just that kinda choke happen to me, besides... I know the feeling... I'm on a Mac, and using Safari, but I'll check it out, anyhow... (They might have a little somethin' for me too... It could happen.)

Thank you, you're welcome, God bless you.

Eponym said...

C'mon Brendan - pull the AC cord, man. I dare ya!

bjkeefe said...

@repsac3: Please do let me know if you come across something similar for Safari.

@Eponym: Y'know, you're right. I could test this by, for example, killing the browser instance from Windows Task Manager. I will do some things like that soon and post an update. Thanks for the suggestion.

Eponym said...

For the record - I tested it myself. (it's too good an idea not to try it out.) It seems to work.

bjkeefe said...

Okay, here's a quick test. I have typed in this comment into the box under "Leave your comment," without clicking Publish or even Preview and I will kill Firefox using "End Process" in Windows Task Manager as soon as I type the coming period.

(Added: Restarted Firefox, and hey, it really, really works! All I had to do was right-click in this window and choose "Recover text."