I am less than a month from the ten-year anniversary of my blogging career. I haven’t really said anything about it much yet, but a recent Louis Gray post has caused me to start thinking about it.
Gray’s post is entitled “Our Fragile Web of Dead Domains and Lapsing Links.” Anyone who has been blogging for a while has encountered this – and if you haven’t, Gray explains the problem:
[I]t’s not too uncommon for entire sites and bookmarks to vanish from the Web, with only Archive.org and other clever cachers left to tell the tale.
For additional thoughts and some examples, read Gray’s post.
With very few exceptions (this tymshft blog being one of them), all of the blogs that I have created have been on the Blogger platform – originally an independent platform, later hosted by Google. But what happens if, someday, Google goes away? Don’t laugh – it could happen. No one thought Montgomery Ward would disappear, so it’s quite possible that my grandchildren will have never heard of Google.
Well, if Google were to disappear, then my very first blog post, written on Tuesday, October 14, 2003, could be lost forever. Since WordPress is not part of Google – yet – I’m going to employ a little bit of redundancy by reposting my first blog post, in its entirety, right here.
Why did synthetica start with fake bluegrass sounds? Why not? This is the Ontario Empoblog, or the blog for Ontario Emperor, which has nothing and everything to do with Canada, New Mexico, and Texas, but also California, which is a location in California. It exists in cyberspace, which is also synthetic.
The Ontario Empoblog may or may not touch on a variety of subjects, including music, poetry, poker, the supposed familial relationship between Brian Eno and Slim Whitman, the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop (1,121 – I checked), various comments about frogs, and the nature of nature.
Imagine the tragedy if this cultural artifact were to disappear forever. Luckily, I’ve preserved it. Unfortunately, I haven’t preserved the significance about comments about frogs.
For the record, my second post (written ten days later, on October 24) was better:
When Patti Smith married Fred Smith, did she take her husband’s last name, or keep her maiden name?
Which brings me to the topic of something else salted away in Google’s servers – something much older.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I was an early participant in Usenet back in the early 1980s. Back then, you’d get onto Usenet by typing such in a terminal that was attached to a minicomputer (in my case, a DEC PDP/11-70). Over a decade later, people would access Usenet via a service called Dejanews. Google eventually bought Dejanews and its data, and merged it all into Google Groups.
On January 3, 2012, I wrote a post in my Empoprise-BI business blog called (empo-tymshft) A little more on Usenet. As you can probably tell from the title, this was a “tymshft” post that was written before the tymshft blog came into existence. That post quoted from something that I wrote back on Noember 14, 1982 – almost thirty-one years ago. I accessed this text from going to the link https://groups.google.com/group/net.records/msg/f726733bb7eea278?dmode=source&output=gplain&noredirect – a Google Groups link to something from the old Dejanews archive that came from archives of Usenet postings. Again, if Google goes away, perhaps my 2012 blog post AND the Google Groups archive of the 1982 Usenet post may go away. So again, I’m going to preserve this important historical artifact here on WordPress:
Date: Thu Nov 18 10:19:00 1982
Subject: Wall of Voodoo album
Posted: Sun Nov 14 23:46:25 1982
Received: Thu Nov 18 10:19:00 1982
Just bought Wall of Voodoo’s latest album “Call of the West”
(I.R.S.) a few weeks ago. The group uses synthesizers, etc.
while still maintaining a western American feel both in music and
lyrics (such as the lyrics in “Lost Weekend”, about a couple who
just lost their life savings in Las Vegas, and “Factory”, about a
factory worker). I’m not sure whether the album’s being played
on many radio stations, having only heard it on Reed College’s
(Portland OR) radio station KRRC. Wall of Voodoo has recorded at
least one other album, “Dark Continent”, but I haven’t listened
to it yet.
Questions: has anyone else heard this album or the previous one?
Opinions? How long has Wall of Voodoo been around?
John Bredehoft (…!teklabs!reed!bred)
P.S. At least one other person likes this album; the KRRC copy
has mysteriously disappeared…
This isn’t the first time that I discussed this particular 1982 post. Several years ago, I gave a presentation in which I talked about the changes between 1982 and 2007. In the space of a quarter century, we went from talking about Wall of Voodoo on Usenet to talking about Wall of Voodoo on MySpace (they had a MySpace page at the time). In fact, I talked about it on my MySpace blog. Today, if you go to https://myspace.com/oemperor/blog/317516134, you can see…well, you can see this.
This is only part of the image. The entire image uses artist pictures to spell out the number “404.”
P.S. Just in case the story about Google’s acquisition of Dejanews becomes a dead link, here is the meat of the story:
February 12, 2001 11:30 AM PST
Google buys remaining Deja.com business
By Paul Festa
Staff Writer, CNET News
Internet veteran Deja.com sold off the last of its parts to relative newcomer Google, ending a long and troubled run as an advertising-supported also-ran….
Despite closing out the final chapter in a six-year saga, Deja.com executives sounded upbeat about the acquisition.
“We think Google is a great home for this service,” said Richard Gorelick, chief strategy officer. “Our service and their service work very well together.”
Deja.com originated as Dejanews, a site for searching and participating in discussion groups carried on the Internet’s Usenet network. It changed its name to Deja.com when it decided to focus on product reviews by consumers. The company subsequently added information on consumer products, making it a competitor to sites such as mySimon, which is owned by CNET Networks, publisher of News.com.
Yes, CNET and news.com – the people who brought you the com.com that Louis Gray was talking about in his post.