Saturday, 14 May 2011

Well, That Was Weird

Blogger went down on Thursday night and didn't come back until late yesterday.  All posts and comments from Thursday night onwards were deleted and, despite Google / Blogger's claim to the contrary, mine are still missing.  A shame, as I had spent time on Wednesday writing "El Tiburon, Part 2", and posted it on Thursday evening.  Friday 13th.  Hmm.  I'm not going there.

Luckily, one of my Australian readers was able to rescue the text from his RSS feed and mail it to me -- many thanks, Leigh! I'll re-post it later on.

Anyone else lost posts?  I hope it's not just me... Maybe it's time to consider a change of host?  I  hear Typepad is OK.  Mind you, have you noticed how the blogging action has cooled off lately in favour of Twitter, or whatever it is the cool kids are doing now?  Many of the blogs I used to follow seem to be defunct, posting once in a blue moon.  Blogging is so 2006 ...


Martin H. said...

I've lost one or two comments, but the rest of the blog seems as it was.

Don't know about Typepad. I actually started with Wordpress, but eventually exported to Blogger.

I'm also tweeting now, as a 'belt and braces' exercise.

john krill said...

My post are e-mailed to me so I have a complete history of posts to my sites.

I was able to go back and get the two posts I lost and repost them.

One I changed the title and Goggle posted the original so I had to delete one of those.

The second one I used the same title and it's still there all by itself.

Don't know about comments.

Mike C. said...

Thanks, john krill, that's a useful tip, and I've just changed my settings.


David Brookes said...

I hope you are not thinking of moving to Twitter, Mike. Your beautifully written fascinating posts would not be the same if condensed!

Steve said...

Regarding this:

"Many of the blogs I used to follow seem to be defunct, posting once in a blue moon. Blogging is so 2006"

There was actually something in the Guardian yesterday about many political blogs running out of steam. The energy isn't there so they say and it's no longer the 'new thing'.

Mike C. said...


No hope of that, as many people are reputed to have said, "Sorry to write you such a long letter, but I didn't have time for a short one..." I don't have enough spare time for 140 characters.


This is an interesting subject, and worth a post in its own right. Having been around hi-tech for 25 years or more, I've seen this phenomenon often -- I expect someone has written a book about it. The curve seems to go from discovery by enthusiasts to boredom in about 5 years.

I can remember being told by wild-eyed enthusiasts about gophers (remember them?), only to be told by the same enthusiasts about Mosaic and the WWW a few years later -- those guys will be past Twitter and out the other side now, if they haven't already died of enthusiasm.

The problem is "legacy" -- a lot of good and interesting work gets lost because its vehicle has become obsolete. There's a current revival of interest in the BBC "Domesday Project" from the 1980s -- we used to have a set of those "laser disks" in our library, attached to a BBC microcomputer (remember those?). When the BBC micro broke back in the early 1990s the disks became obsolete, and I discovered this week that no-one knows what has happened to them!

The other factor is money -- if you're under 40 and in any way ambitious, you must surely eventually ask yourself why you're not being paid for all this work you're doing. "Only a fool writes for anything other than money", as Dr. Johnson said.


Kent Wiley said...

I'm sure I posted a comment some time around when Blogger choked. Couldn't be bothered to recreate it.

I don't know about Typepad, but I've tried Wordpress a little, and it seemed rather arcane a couple of years ago. But being the tech guru that you are Mike, I'm sure you could conquer it. From my point of view, I'd love to see you jettison Blogger.

Mike C. said...


"From my point of view, I'd love to see you jettison Blogger."

Interesting, why's that?


Kent Wiley said...

I guess mostly it's the apparent instability. Your setup seems to operate fairly smoothly, but periodically there are glitches to posting comments. It's been worse with other Blogger sites.

The one-size-fits-all aesthetic admittedly enters a snob domain. But it contradicts my search for alternatives to established monopolies.

Wow, is that annoyingly self satisfied. But I'm trying to be truthful, nonetheless.

Mike C. said...


In the end, free software is free software (no to mention free data hosting, etc.). I'm amazed Blogger is as good as it is!

The recent blip was annoying, though, and I may get around to investigating alternatives.


Dave Leeke said...

As a dyed-in-the-wool technophobe, it's taken me years to get around to blogging - I don't know if I've got time to learn yet another way of communicating. Now I know how to do it I'd like to use it for a while longer.

Still, nothing lasts forever, least of all anything to do with the internet.

By the way - your comments about the "Domesday Project" is interesting. On Radio 4 yesterday they interviewed a teacher who is now 30, so was 5 when it happened. She said she'd love it if a student ever said to her in twenty five year's time that they remembered everything she taught them. However, what was REALLY interesting were the comments afterwards about what Britain was like twenty five years ago: no internet, no mobile phones etc.

Was it only a mere 25 years ago?

Anyway, let us know how we should go forward from here. I'm quite happy with blogging in this way. But then I've got shelves full of vinyl albums, cds, books and even found a mini disc player/recorder earlier today.

Perhaps I should open a museum.

Mike C. said...


I'm content with blogging with a free setup like Blogger, so long as it lasts and people still drop by. It seems a good model to me.

Mind, I don't understand the business model of so many "free" services on the Web, and I suspect nobody does -- there seems to be general bafflement why Microsoft would pay 8.5 BILLION dollars for Skype, other than as some sort of spoiler tactic vs. Google.

Yes, 25 years ago was when I moved to Southampton -- it was all electric typewriters, telephones, and "Take a memo, please, Mrs. Jones". We had a team of professional typists for data input, and organising a meeting of any significant size could take all day.

We were WAY ahead of the game, having had an automated system since the 1970s -- the original version used punched cards to issue books, and paper tape to record the transactions.

Email was the real game-changer for most people. I've just had a look, and the oldest mail in my *current* inbox is dated 1998, but this is about the third or fourth setup we've used. I think we started using email on the academic network in the late 80s.


Steve. said...

I thought the Archive on 4 show about the Doomsday Project was really interesting. Afterwards I went to the website and typed in a few postcodes.

When I first started using email I used to visit the public library once per week for a 30 minute session. Seems incredible now that I could wait one week between log-ins, I now normally check every half hour.

Mike C. said...


Every half hour?? My life is ruled by email... If I sit still in front of a computer for more than 10 secs a new message pops up.

I have 800 -- EIGHT HUNDRED -- unread work-related emails dating back over the last two months in just one of my folders. Obviously, I can't read them all, but it's a chore just choosing the ones I have to read.

Every month I dump a thousand or so mails, unread, NONE of which is spam. Most of them are idiotic and pointless "Me, too" and "Way to go" responses to someone's post -- it's the price we pay for being linked to thousands of people worldwide with similar concerns. Everyone wants their "two cents worth".


Tony_C said...

Hmmm.. maybe your mate in Oz can get my lost post from the Smoking Room back.. assuming it was the emperor's doing, not the satrap's, as the evidence suggests?

Checkword: "redde" - when youare.

Mike C. said...


No, an RSS feed just gives a text-only view of the most recent main posts but, as it happens, this view is cached on the local PC, so that text-only version survived the Blogger server crash. Leigh happened to mention he'd read the post on RSS but that it wasn't there when he clicked through to see it -- I put two and two together and, voila.

It's yet another warning of why it's a bad idea to rely on "the cloud" for data preservation.