Monday, May 22, 2017

Dropbox Screwup - Destroyed Every Link On Site

Sorry Guys....

I have been advised by several readers that none of the links to map assets work any more on the entire site. I eventually found out that it is due to Dropbox. The company decided that it would change the way they do business without prior notification and alter every single URL link to every map I've created.

They claim it had to do with "security" but they've also decided that us little guys are just not worth their effort to create any workarounds or even talk to us about doing it ourselves. What that means is that I must now go back over ten years worth of blog posts and edit every single page and every single link on those pages.

I just don't know if I have either the time or heart to go backwards and do it all over again.... or, if I did, that I would choose to continue with Dropbox who has now shown its true colors and attitude.

You will notice that there are a few files that do link to the correct file - which were those that I was experimenting with while trying to troubleshoot the problem. For now, I'm just trying to work through this in the midst of everything else that I've got to do. If I can figure it out and work through it I'll be back up. Until then... sorry.


Unknown said...

either fix or remove site! waste of resources and people's time coming to a useless site!

D J said...

Interesting comment Mr. John Claiborne II (hiding behind the "unknown" heading above) - fortunately, the nearly thousand or so visitors a day to the blog don't act like such a pretentious ass as you and still find a great amount of use in the thousands of hours worth of work. Many have communicated like they had even a sliver of common decency and I've made special effort to accommodate them. If I had the wherewithal to readily fix it, it would have been done long ago (and then I'd go merrily on my way without even knowing the world had such self-centered trolls such as you in it). Have a nice day.

trialnerror said...

Love it, thanks for all you do!

Unknown said...

I also appreciate all the hard work you have put into this, and I am saddened about what happened.
I can't see how to 'Comment as me' in the dropdown box. I am Brent Christensen from Salem, Utah.
I frequent the St George area, and have been wanting to explore your area. Without your guidance, I'm not sure it's worth going blind.
Your hard work would have given me specific destinations, without just roaming around!

Arch Stanton said...


I was trying to reload your Nevada mines overlay when I found the files were down. Lost my Google Earth and when I reloaded it as Google Earth Pro your map was gone as were probably 150 pins I'd dropped over the years from my own research and work..really frustrated with that, and then saw this information...and sorry for what you have gone through.
I cruise through every now and then, and will continue to do so.
Now that my grandchildren are interested in getting out and exploring I really want to recreate my database to use to show them our history, and teach them to appreciate it, while I am still able healthwise to get out and do it.
Hope things improve for you, and thank you for the work you did, while it lasted it was very helpful.


D J said...

Here's an update, such as it is.

This "blogspot" site run by Google (who has apparently abandoned it's upkeep as it has done Google Earth) requires that you be registered with Google in order to comment.

I appreciate the kind words. I'm happy (so far) to keep this site alive and field comments even though family circumstances (caring for 90 + year old parents) prevents me from doing any riding any more and the rigs are simply gathering dust and taking up space in the garage. There is a massive amount of information in these maps - I hope Google gets its head out of its **** and decides to keep supporting Google Earth. There is more to being an internationally renowned and respected company than making a killing on every transaction. There is such a thing as being a good neighbor and a part of society that produces and not just leeches money.

At the time dropbox pulled its crap I had a backlog of hundreds of maps in production from all around the country and a few from Australia and new zeland (a favorite life-list place of mine). I know that there are other CMSs out there besides dropbox. I tried with fervor to get dropbox to assist with information in the transfer to no avail. They just are NOT interested. (If any of you have an inside track to them it might help). And, I just don't have enough time in the day to finish all the 'caregiving' needed in the day along with other things to fuss much with this site. (I can't even figure out how to re-order these comments so the latest is at top)

It's not completely dead, the maps are still there just not with the URL that I've painstakingly coded into the post - The information (lots of it) is still good on the post. Thanks for your kinds sentiments.

Andrew Kaye said...

Hello, this is a great resource you've built and I'd love to help get it back online if possible. I'm a software engineer and I think I'd be able to get your site back together so the resources can be available. I'm happy to do this free of charge since this is something I'd love to use for myself. Please reach out if you'd like some help getting your site back in working order.
- Andrew

D J said...

@Andrew... "Software engineer" I know, "free" I know and "reach out" my generation can translate into "email me." Unfortunately, when I used the link that Google gives me to respond to posters I see that "email" is greyed out on your page, leaving only "hang out" and "follow," neither of which seem to fit what we're trying to do. Last I looked, the email links on my site still work if you'd like to try one of those.

You need to know that the whole reason I started the Offroading Home site was because I was pissed that every other map site I found wanted to charge you and me for the things they got from the government or the public for free. And it seems to have gotten worse. I watermarked the maps in a way that's impossible to ferret out and refuse the skimming of my maps for use by others to sell or repost. Other than that I don't require fees or demand personal data in payment for my maps and there are no hidden ads, phishing or opt out offers inflicted on visitors.

It would be great to collaborate with someone who had the same ethic to get the site back up and running. However, just thinking about the work it's going to be sends me running for the Tramadol, even though it distresses me to have literally thousands of hours of work languishing because of something out of my control. Everything I've done on the web has been avocationally and all I've learned has been self taught. I'm sure I could get it up and running again if I just had the time, unfortunately for the site I've been given different priorities at present.

The issue(s) as I understand them to be:
1- Every map I've made uses header assets that were placed in Dropbox - I could have included them inside the KMZ file except that developing a KML file (without assets) is tremendously easier and I wanted to be able to change them from time to time without having to go back to every file individually;
2- All the maps use a single CSS file for the description boxes and other styling which is href'd inside each file to a dropbox file- to reduce redundancy, give consistency and to ease the update process.
3- AND, Every post I've made over 6 years of blogging references a map, which is itself published on Dropbox, using a link that Dropbox gave it individually.
4- Now, Dropbox has now completely switched to https and no longer even supports http or any prior link they've used- they could have but chose not to.
5- In addition, even the file name is no longer the same so there is no way that I can see to "find and replace" or "auto-change" merely to the new URL.

It would be great to find that somewhere (which they didn't disclose to me) there was an API that enabled some code to pull the new URL; but, I'm afraid that they haven't provided for that.

The task I have, again as far as I can see it, is to: 1) remake every one of the hundreds of maps I've done into a KMZ file which includes all the styling and assets redundantly in every file; 2) reupload every one to some asset manager (no-cost) either Dropbox or something else; 3) edit every file I've saved on dropbox so it allows sharing; and, 4) edit every blog posting I've ever done everywhere for the past 7 years so that all links direct to the new location.

I'd willingly hear advice to the alternative if it could save me the hundreds of hours I don't have right now.

Thanks for your comment/offer - I hope this better explains the dilemma.

D J said...

No matter what I do or where I go - The issue is that every single frikin' map that I've made has to be re-edited and re-compiled and re-uploaded. Just doing the 4 files of maps for Nevada took me 10 hours of straight editing (and swearing). The full state maps can have up to 40 o5 50 trail in them. Unless I can find some automated way to deal with them I'm afraid they'll just never get done.

As soon as I can get out from under Dropbox I intend to. In fact I'm so angry at the way they chose to roll this out that I've considered just taking the site completely down and being done with it. Not that anyone else is going to be any better but just not to be dealing with toe rags - it just takes too much energy to even think about it.

For now, Nevada is the only state whose map files "should" be working; but, I haven't even had any feedback on them yet.

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