How to archive your Facebook content

Every once in a while I’ll catch Elise complaining about how I post on Facebook too much. She used to go to to catch up with our lives and whatever desperate attempt at witticism I’d convey for all the world to see. She frequently reminds me about how we lost all of those precious documented memories of our trip to New York City in 2009 because I was posting said memories to Facebook from my iPhone (“In Chinatown looking at penis-shaped seafood”). I didn’t much have a leg to stand on, but I knew, in my heart of hearts, that I would, one day, be able to get those documented memories and archive them in some fashion.

On Facebook, I get an immediate audience and I use it for quick posts — something that doesn’t necessary warrant a full blog post; more of a thought or an observation, or more importantly to me, something that might make someone smile or LOL. I like to think that I’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding obscurities (“grrrr, I know she didn’t!'”) or pop culture and/or current event glib (“is watching Jersey Shore”). However, when it’s all said and done, whatever I might share lives on Facebook – to one day be sucked into the distant vacuum not unlike MySpace. I’m a huge advocate of owning your own content. Every once in a while, I’ll go back to the archives of to see what we were doing on Father’s Day Weekend of 2002 or to remind myself of why I loathe the Dell Corporation. I also want to be able to go back and read all of my Facebook posts one day. And on some future date, when my grandchildren are doing their research papers on me, they’ll need to be able to quickly find information about the Chinatown penis-shaped seafood experience of 2009.

Last night I went to Uncle Google and asked, “how can I export and save all of my old Facebook posts?” And he said:

  1. Login to your Facebook account
  2. Click on “Account” in the upper-right side of your screen
  3. Select “Account Settings” from the drop-down menu
  4. Click the “learn more” text link under the ‘Download Your Information’ section
  5. Type in your password and click the ‘Continue‘ button

Facebook will then email you a link that you can click on which will download a zipped folder that contains all of your profile information, photos, videos, notes, messages and wall posts — all in a nifty HTML format so you can read it like a website and click on links, photos, videos, etc.

So with all of that valuable information, I created It contains all of my Facebook posts dating back to December of 2007.

Worth noting is that this Facebook archive information contains Messages. While I don’t regularly check Facebook Messages, it did have email messages from folks that I don’t necessarily want the world to read or to get indexed by search engines. I added an http redirect to the messages.html file, so it will just redirect to my “Wall” page.

While it’s a manual archiving process, it’s still good to be able to have access to my old Facebook posts (online under my own domain and backed-up locally) should Facebook just up and go away one day.

New commute & Google Maps

I’ve been an avid user of Google Maps since its early days, but now that I’ve started riding the bus to and from work, I’ve really become a fan of Google Maps.

I asked the Internet for some help the night before I embarked on my first transit on Austin’s Capital Metro. A golden nugget of advice I quickly received was “Google Maps is your friend.” This person provided me with link to a specific Google Map that had recommended bus routes highlighted. I’d never really paid attention to the Bus, Bike and Walk routes from Google. And now Google Maps really has become my friend…

Here’s my quickest bike path to the Park & Ride:

And here’s the quick and easy “Flyer” bus route from my neighborhood Park & Ride, which drops my off 1.5 blocks away from my office:

And what’s also cool is Capital Metro uses interactive Google Maps that show you the exact bus routes complete with specific pick-up and drop off times, exact schedule data and even Google Street View photos of each bus stop (just in case you’re looking for a landmark or something to find the right bus stop while on foot).

I’ve been riding the bus for a full three days now and haven’t a single complaint. As another person pointed out in my request for help in understanding Austin’s public transit, “we [bus riders] aren’t all window-lickers.” The Flyer route that travels to and from Oak Hill to downtown is just a limited-stop commuter bus, hauling folks to and from their jobs downtown. It’s a busload of approximately 50 professionals — not that I have anything against window-lickers or anything.

And for the price, well, you just can’t beat it if you have to commute to work. This week I’ve spend $6 on getting to and from work by bus (one-way for $1.00). My Jeep gets 14 miles to the gallon and at $3.50 per gallon (or whatever it is today) with a 22-mile round-trip commute, that would’ve cost me nearly $20 already this week.

This evening I went to the grocery store and bought a 31-day Metro Pass for $30, which gets me unlimited trips on any Capital Metro bus. So now my daily commute will cost me approximately $1.36 (that’s my assuming 22 working weekdays a month).

So anywhere between $200-$350 per month to drive myself, contend with rush hour traffic and allow myself to get stressed, or $30 per month to relax, read, meditate or lick windows. Those windows taste mighty good to me!

New commute

Last week my company opened a new Austin office. I made the commute for a week and then over the weekend, I decided to finally try something that I’d been putting off for years: trying Austin’s Capital Metro bus system to travel the 11 miles from our house out in the ‘burbs to the heart of downtown. After doing a little poking around on CapMetro’s website, I plotted my route (which isn’t much of a route considering it’s a 1-way “flyer” route with no transfers and limited stops from my neighborhood to downtown).

I started this week off with my first experience riding the bus to work. I have to say, it was quite a pleasant experience. The ride was smooth, seats were comfortable, no one on board was licking windows and the ride took the same amount of time had I driven it myself, at a fraction of the price.

According to Commute Solutions, my monthly commute costs are ~$350. I’m not sure how accurate that is considering I don’t have a car payment and my downtown parking is paid for by the company, but once you factor in maintenance, gas, insurance, wear & tear, it’s not hard to see how expensive commuting to work actually is.

Bus fare for the Flyer is $1 each way (and I think it’s even less if I buy a 31-day pass, which I’m thinking I’ll do this week). The drive time is the same and I don’t have to contend with the stresses of rush hour. I can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride by just looking out the window, opening my laptop or reading a book.

To me it’s a win-win-win-win. I won’t be incurring the costs of a commute, riding the bus is more environmentally friendly, the difference in commute time is nonexistent to negligible and, most importantly to me is the alleviated stress of the commute. It’s amazing how quickly I realized the commute was putting me on edge. The commute on the bus allows me just the right amount of time for some much-needed downtime.

I’m thirty-five and officially old

Ever since having breached the 30-year mark, I’ve found myself pondering when the days would come in which I would begin to feel “old.” Having been 35-years-old for a few months now, I can confidently say that at 35-years-old is the age at which I have found myself feeling old.

I will begin with the peak of the recent crescendo, which, in my old age, I will refer to as “yesterday.” I set out on a walk alone to get the mail. My 5-year-old daughter was quickly behind me. Half-way to the mailboxes, she decided to run up ahead of me. I decided to chase after her. It was after jogging a couple more than a few paces that I felt a numbing pain along the entire right side of my spine. I’d already expected my body to quickly respond with a, “HEY! What do you think you’re doing here?!” as my knees and hips adjusted to the increase in RPM, but given other recent physically-exerting experiences, I expected my body to quickly acclimate. But, it didn’t. I kept my pace to catch up to my daughter while maintaining some semblance of graceful jogging only to find that I had to constantly adjust and contort my upper body to alleviate the the spasms in my back. I slowed back down to a walk and watched as my daughter carelessly and gracefully kept sprinting along ahead of me. It was at that moment that I thought, “I’m getting old.”

I haven’t tried running or jogging today to test yesterday’s results for fear that I’ll lose complete bowel control or be stricken with spontaneous cataracts.

Speaking of bowels — it wasn’t until I turned 35 that I’ve found myself in the bathroom thinking, “one of these days I’m going to have a really good poop that just cures all of those ailments that I’m too scared to be tested for; Things like early-onset prostate cancer, high cholesterol, low bone density and forgetting where I left my coffee mug.”

It wasn’t until I turned 35-years-old that I feel that I’ve experienced indirect age discrimination. While I was unemployed last year, many of the responses I received after having submitted my resume for a job was that I was “overqualified,” which is a clear indication that I wear my pants too high and don’t understand how to use Twitter. And in recent months I’ve found myself referring to colleagues and coworkers as “the kids.”

When my hair started thinning in my twenties, the cute little girl who was cutting my hair might’ve said with an enthusiastic smile, “you know, we could get you some Rogaine and get this all fixed up for you!” Now she doesn’t even bother, and she trims my ear hair without even asking. And what’s worse is I now have to trim my own ear hair between haircuts.

I’ve always been inherently moody, but now I’m just downright crotchety. I’m always yelling at someone for leaving a door open or the water running, or at squirrels for eating all the damn bird seed. My wife was the one who first called me “crotchety,” and she knows me better than anyone, so I guess that makes me crotchety.

Old and crotchety.