Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Tuesday August 09 2005

Brian’s Education Blog and Brian’s Culture Blog both still exist, in varying states of delapidation.  These disasters were caused by a vile bombardment of link spam at the end of January 2005, and almost certainly also by me pushing the wrong buttons at the wrong time in response. The last posting on either of these blogs was on January 31st 2005 - that being a link to the most recent monthly archive - at Culture.  It only hinted at the problems I was being engulfed by.  Apparently the “database” was buggered beyond restoration.  Repeated attempts to rectify matters have failed, and have now been abandoned.

The good news is that everything I originally wrote is still readable.  The bad news is that they aren’t really blogs any more.

The Education Blog is readable in its entirety, as are the comments.  The Culture Blog is readable, but only the stuff I myself wrote in the postings, not the comments.

I do not delude myself that many people will want to read things that I wrote a minimum of several months ago.  But here is my best shot at explaining how the eccentric minority who do want to can do so.

The logical places to start navigating these relics are: here for Education and here for Culture.  (That last link will take you to a pile of postings defined by its category, “This blog”, with the most recent posting, the one mentioned in paragraph one above, at the top.)

To explore Culture further, your only option is to pick a category archive from the category archives bit on the right hand side.  I think everything is there at least once.  But, sadly, no comments.

For Education, you can choose chronologically by month or categorically by category, and if you see any individual posting mentioned, on the right, or above or below the post you are looking at, click on that posting title and you will get to that individual posting, and in that case also to all the comments attached to it.  In neither Education nor Culture can you can reach comments by clicking on the comments rectangle at the bottom of each posting.  But if you click the permalink rectangle for Education postings, you get just that individual posting plus the comments on it.  (Clicking on the permalink rectangle on a Culture posting gets you nowhere.)

Which means that all the Culture comments are gone.  That is, they may still be buried somewhere in the ruins, but I can’t find them and you certainly can’t.  In neither case may comments be added.

The Education situation is actually even odder, because a little googling got me to a weekly archive, not mentioned at the sidebar, but secretly compiled by my blog software before it went pear-shaped, and those archives too are accessible, but only by sifting your way through them week by week.  The earliest such archive is reachable here.  I have done some sifting through of my own for you, which enables me to tell you that 2003 starts here, and that 2004 starts here.  The most recent weekly archive is here.

Pictures embedded in the text seem all to be present and correct.  But larger pictures, of the sort that you have to click on smaller ones to get to, mostly seem not to work, although again, I believe that they are still all there, buried.

So far as I know, all links from other blogs to individual postings at the Education Blog are still working.  And, you can still now link back to posts in new stuff that you write now, by copying the line of www stuff at the top of the window.  (Here, for instance, is a link to a Brian’s Education Blog posting that has some contemporary resonance.) Clicking on the permalink rectangle no longer works.

Links to individual postings in the Culture Blog have all now expired.  As the young people say: bummer.  If you want now to link to something in Culture, you can only do so by linking to a particular monthly archive and by asking your readers to scroll down. I don’t think suppose that will be many takers for that.

As to the future of these two blogs, I have not yet abandoned the idea of cranking them up again and resuming.  So, instead of just having one personal blog, I will then have one personal blog and two semi-personal blogs.  Bizarre, yes.  But the thing is, lots of people want only education, and lots of others want only culture (as in: what is generally meant by culture, rather than what I have been meaning by it), and a lot of both categories of readers do not want to wade past my random non-cultural, non-educational, personal thoughts and opinions.  Three blogs may well be too much for me, but maybe not, if I set myself less ambitious schedules. Minimum-of-one-posting-every-week might prove to be a rule that would be both sustainable and worth sustaining.

But that’s for later.  Meanwhile, I hope that this posting has answered some of the questions that e-mailers and personal enquirers have mostly now given up asking, but did once seem interested in.

If some people are so taxed by having to ignore the non-culture or non-education blogs, then maybe the answer is to have RSS feeds for each category. (But if they can’t be bothered to skip those posts which don’t interest them - I mean, God forbid they are enlightened unintentionally - then they probably can’t be bothered to set up an RSS reader.

Posted by Jackie Danicki on 09 August 2005

Thanks Jackie.

However, I do sympathise with people who just want to focus in on one issue or area and screen out the rest.  We all do this, surely.  And mostly by just ignoring entire blogs where the (subjectively defined) pearls-to-pigswill ratio seems to be too low.  My worry is that RSS feeds are still a little bit beyond your average blog reader, e.g. me.  And ANY complication, however “easy” more savvy people may loudly insist that it is, is a big deal when it comes to blog reading.  (Personally I often find even the most “easy” email registration infuriatingly easy to get wrong ... and ... to hell with it, I won’t read the bloody thing.)

Forgive me, but I only very rarely look at your beauty blog.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 09 August 2005

I’d be surprised if you DID read my beauty blog very often! It’s an incredibly niche blog, as is the food blog. I do cross-post when I’m making broader points about marketing or politics or something else that I think may be of interest to the readers of my main rant/rave blog, though.

And I wasn’t suggesting that you ditch the idea of separate blogs - but just that a short-term fix might be the addition of RSS feeds for categories. (BTW, Microsoft is adding an RSS button - to sit alongside the stop, refresh, and home buttons - to the next release of Internet Explorer, which will light up as soon as a user hits a page that has an RSS feed available. They then just click the button and the feed is automatically added to their subscriptions. I think that this, more than the integration of RSS into the personalised portals offered by Yahoo, MSN, and Google, will make RSS mainstream. And maybe then we wont’t talk about RSS, but about subscriptions - just as we don’t talk much about HTML, but instead talk about websites.)

Posted by Jackie Danicki on 09 August 2005

Hi Brian,
I tried to send you an email but it was returned. I was so happy to come across your writings on Late Menuhin. I was in fact his pianist for the last ten years of his playing career. We played practically the whole sonata repertoire together. I wanted to say hello, share some thoughts, and ask your advice on a project I have concerning Menuhin. Hope this reaches you! Paul.

Posted by Paul Coker on 13 August 2005

Hello Brian,

I’ve been an erratic reader of your culture blog for the past couple of years and since it’s been about 9 months since I last had a look, I’m only just finding out about the meltdown now.

Best of luck with the new blog and perhaps I’ll visit a little more frequently this year.

Marcia

Posted by Marcia Adair on 15 August 2005
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