Monday, October 22, 2007

Which brings us to the present

Given the logic of the circumstances, as explained in that preceding post, I can't say that I was very surprised to discover that I had, indeed, been right. A few days ago, Yahoo announced the closing of its 360 profile and blog service. The author of the deservedly unpopular announcement tried to avoid using the word "closing", assuring the reader that the blogs and friends networks would be moved to some nebulously described global profile service that nobody outside of Yahoo had seen any trace of, leaving any reasonably attentive user with the question "exactly what is the functional difference between 'closing down a service' and 'relocating the contents of the accounts on that service to a new service' - isn't that a little like arguing that Yahoo! Photos is still with us because so many of the images from there ended up on Flickr" - which is not to say all of them. The move to Flickr, from what we could see looked far more solidly planned, and still ended up with a sizable number of users complaining about images that were lost in the move. History had left us with no reason to think that our blogs would far any better, and the loss of work would tend to be far greater, so some of us, myself included, decided that a move of this magnitude was a thing best done by hand.

I looked at a number of services, but was stunned by some of the choices I saw system administrators making. Consider, for example,, a popular choice, one offering many tools for the user, but my understanding is that one can't screen comments before they appear on one's multiply profile. That was just asking for trouble, so I moved on - but found that the much-praised Wordpress had its own annoying feature - one couldn't modify the eye straining font size without the letters overlapping each other. At another location - I stopped looking before I even started, because the owner was a fairly well know outsourcer, and you've already seen what I've had to say about that practice, raising the question of just how long my relocated blog would be allowed to stay. So this went, until I finally just decided "to H*** with it", and began relocating my Yahoo 360 blog to a new location here at Blogger.

I still do see the virtue of having more than one active blog on more than one server - this incident should serve as an excellent illustration of why that is - but eventually one does say "I've spent enough time doing this" and takes a few shortcuts. Maybe I'll use the place at Wordpress as a photoblog - visitors seem to enjoy those, and one can keep the eyestraining text to a minimum. You may have noticed that the look and feel of this blog has changed in the course of the move, which is inevitable to a degree since Blogger and Yahoo 360 use different templates, but I've also replaced backgrounds, substituting the wood page background you see for the blue smoke background I used on 360. I hope you'll find the look more restful.

(If for some reason you actually want to know what the old look was, you can see it on this post in the footnotes to this blog. A link at the bottom of that post should bring you back here).

I might put the blog that comes with my account under the new Yahoo service to some use - assuming that there will be such a blog - but I can't very sensibly ignore the fact that Yahoo, for no compellingly good reason, decided to break every single link to every single member's blog, putting the not inconsiderable amount of work many of us put into promoting our blogs to waste. How does one respond to such a position rationally, aside from noting that those who've done an injury once, and done it casually, ought to be expected to be equally casual about doing it again, especially when the logic the injury is done under is so conspicuously lacking in coherence. The Yahoo 360 team is dissatisfied with the level of activity on the current service, so they're going to break every link to it - how can that do anything but reduce the level of activity seen?

The answer is to assume that one is likely to see more of the same, and design one's sites in such a way as to minize the damage done by the expected inconsideration. One might note that my blog at Lycos serves as an annex of sorts for the Urban Backpacker's Quarterly, the articles there being expansions on points made on that other journal of mine here on Blogger. Hardly anybody is going to link to my Lycos blog (Joseph Dunphy's Notebook) because of this; if I resume blogging activity on Yahoo, I will be approaching my blog (at its new location on a new service) in much the same way, as an add-on to this and other blogs of mine. That way, if Yahoo flakes out on me again, all that I have to do is reload the affected posts to a new location, and edit some of my own links.

As for those "return to your post" links on my Googlegroup that will now take you to what will be a defunct Yahoo 360 url - sorry about that, but Google has configured its system in such a way as to thwart any attempt on my part to fix that. The posts are over a month old, so I can no longer reply to them on the group, and so I can't upload good new links to replace the soon to be bad old ones, as much as I wish I could. The best I can do is learn from the experience, and try to route the return links through pages which, unlike Googlegroup posts, can be edited indefinitely far into the future. This might look a little sloppy, but we are left with a choice of annoyances, are we not?

Welcome to the new location. Yes, this did used to be "Joseph Dunphy's Blog to Come". I hope you like the new location, but I should tell you that the Urban Backpacker's Quarterly will be the main site for my blogging for a while for a few reasons, one of which is a simple desire on my part not to think about politics for a while. Yes, I know, we're about to replace Bush, so what a strange time to start ignoring politics, but to be realistic - how likely are we to see him replaced by anything better? Wake me up when the circus is over and all but one of the clowns have left the stage.