So, this is my first attempt at keeping a public online journal, also known in the ‘Net industry as a web log or “blog”. I’ll take the opportunity, in the next few weeks, to fill you in on who I am and why I’m doing this. Part of my reasoning here is that commitments made publicly are far more embarrassing to break than private ones. Another part of this is to hone my writing skills some more. I once wrote for a living, but computer reviews don’t really stretch one’s grammar or vocabulary that much, and my present job doesn’t offer much scope beyond the occasional report or presentation.
I was introduced to the blog concept by Discipline Global Mobile, a small independent record label ran by Robert Fripp (of King Crimson fame) and colleagues. The DGM Website held blogs written by many DGM artists, and related friends such as Sid Smith, author of the (to date) definitive biography of KC and their music. That facility is being shut down at midnight, 31 March, and the site will then essentially become a static salesroom for DGM’s products. This is a drastic step that will probably have a severe impact on DGM sales, so I have to conclude that the website was costing more to run than it was generating in sales. The administrators were definitely aware of the need to keep their site alive and present new content on a regular basis, to keep people coming back for more. Nevertheless, many of the diaries will continue on different sites ran by the individual artists, or on Krimson News.
This latest closure fits in with the overwhelming theme adopted on the Internet in the past 6 months: the free lunch is over, and web site administrators need to make money to keep things going. My web-mail service, email.com, has started charging for some of the free services they used to run, such as the mail forwarding I used to use. Yahoo Groups has started inserting “interstitial” ad pages between a message index and each message posting. Even SlashDot are inserting ads in their pages now – WTF?. This site’s web hosting service, 0catch, hasn’t (yet) changed their conditions – web hosting seems to have escaped the dash for cash, I hope. Then again, I used to pay for this host’s optional banner-free service, and might do so again if this blog becomes more serious or regular enough to warrant it.
Another favourite blog is The View from Chaos Manor, written by Jerry Pournelle, SF author and PC raconteur. I’ve been reading Jerry’s columns in the now defunct Byte Magazine since the mid 80’s. The magazine has gone virtual, like so much else, but Jerry still writes for byte.com and keeps his Weekly View, which is where I got the idea to use a weekly format. This is the first in the series, but I will add links to previous blogs at the bottom of each page.
As I write this, Britain is in mourning for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who died on Saturday at 101 years of age. It’s big news here in Dublin as well. Though I am British (well, Scots), I’ve never been much of a Monarchist. My interest in them is in how they relate to the people who look to them for a sense of direction. HRH-QM was always considered to be outside much of the scandal that has surrounded the Royal Family in the last century, although she certainly got her hands dirty when Edward VIII abdicated in 1936, to marry Wallace Simpson. The abdication meant that her husband, Prince Albert, became King as George VI, and she gained the title of Queen and took practical control of the Family. It’s turning out to be another annus horribilis for HRH QE2, whose sister, Princess Margaret, died less than a month ago, so this casts another shadow over the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Bummer.
Great news on the music front: Rush are back, and sounding better than ever!
That’s all from me now, more later this week… check out my Links page for an idea of my current interests, although there’s a lot more where that came from..!