A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


S.O.S. Help!
Friday, March 26, 2010

Doug Jasinski and his other smart co-workers at the design firm Skunkworks designed (a web page that even if I am unable to be completely objective I must say is just right!)my web page in the waning days of 2005. It was up in January and by January 20 my web page had an attached (ancillary) blog. You can see what that first, and rather inauspicious looking posting looked like above!

I had no idea what a blog was or its purpose. My first reaction to Doug Jasinski was to enquire why my blog had no provision for comments. Within minutes the feature was installed and within hours I quickly found out why Jasinski had not given me that feature in the first place. There were all sorts of nasty comments which I could not handle emotionally nor did I have the time to remove. In short order I decided that besides not allowing comments I would refrain from rants were possible and I would never carry ads or do quid-pro-quo linking to other blogs or websites unless it was my personal choice. I never installed any device to tell me how many people click on my blog. When I press on the “Publish” spot in Blogger I have no idea of where my blog is going to.

The original purpose of this blog (and one that I now know with certainty) is to satisfy myself. Not only does it do that but it has stifled (eased) the frustration that I have suffered in the last few years in being unable (as magazines and papers have gone into decline and no longer maintain or have the willingness of having a healthy relationship with freelancers). My blog has become my de facto and personal magazine in which I “publish” the pictures I want and write what I want.

That my blog has also satisfied members of my family was unintended by I am happy for them. They were curious about my past and were reluctant to ask me about it. The blog has answered many of their questions.

This blog has made me realize the depth of my photographic archives and there is no doubt in my mind that I will be rich and famous (when I am dead).

The folks at Skunkworks gave me what I wanted and I am not sure they knew what I wanted nor did they know what they were giving me. What they gave me (perfection!) was a custom URL domain blog that is driven by FTP. At the time (2005) FTP was cutting edge but not anymore. This means (I am not all that sure so my explanation will be hazy) that my pictures (in my computer's hard drive) and the copy I write all get transferred to a server. The server in question is by the company that hosts my web page. They are called Net Nation. From Net Nation the pictures and copy then are transferred to Blogger. In Blogger I have learned to use what I thought were limited formatting tools so that I am able to place pictures here and there and have copy wrap around them very much like a magazine. My friend Tim Bray, the Guru of Sun Microsystems and now a resident Guru at Google Android suggested back in January 2006 that my blog have an RSS feed and an individual URL address for every blog posting of the day. Skunkworks installed them and the rest is my blog history.

If any of you readers out there would ask me, “Are you happy as you blog is right now?” I would assert that I am indeed happy and that I would not want to change any of it. Unfortunately I recently received this letter (but I must point out that the deadline mentioned was extended to May 1):

Dear FTP user:

You are receiving this e-mail because one or more of your blogs at Blogger.com are set up to publish via FTP. We recently announced a planned shut-down of FTP support on Blogger Buzz (the official Blogger blog), and wanted to make sure you saw the announcement. We will be following up with more information via e-mail in the weeks ahead, and regularly updating a blog dedicated to this service shut-down here: http://blogger-ftp.blogspot.com/.

The full text of the announcement at Blogger Buzz follows.

Last May, we discussed a number of challenges facing[1] Blogger users who relied on FTP to publish their blogs. FTP remains a significant drain on our ability to improve Blogger: only .5% of active blogs are published via FTP — yet the percentage of our engineering resources devoted to supporting FTP vastly exceeds that. On top of this, critical infrastructure that our FTP support relies on at Google will soon become unavailable, which would require that we completely rewrite the code that handles our FTP processing.

Three years ago we launched Custom Domains[2] to give users the simplicity of Blogger, the scalability of Google hosting, and the flexibility of hosting your blog at your own URL. Last year's post discussed the advantages of custom domains over FTP[3] and addressed a number of reasons users have continued to use FTP publishing. (If you're interested in reading more about Custom Domains, our Help Center has a good overview[4] of how to use them on your blog.) In evaluating the investment needed to continue supporting FTP, we have decided that we could not justify diverting further engineering resources away from building new features for all users.

For that reason, we are announcing today that we will no longer support FTP publishing in Blogger after March 26, 2010. We realize that this will not necessarily be welcome news for some users, and we are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible. To that end:

o We are building a migration tool that will walk users through a migration from their current URL to a Blogger-managed URL (either a Custom Domain or a Blogspot URL) that will be available to all users the week of February 22. This tool will handle redirecting traffic from the old URL to the new URL, and will handle the vast majority of situations.
o We will be providing a dedicated blog[5] and help documentation
o Blogger team members will also be available to answer questions on the forum, comments on the blog, and in a few scheduled conference calls once the tool is released .

We have a number of big releases planned in 2010. While we recognize that this decision will frustrate some users, we look forward to showing you the many great things on the way. Thanks for using Blogger.


Rick Klau
Blogger Product Manager
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

[1] http://buzz.blogger.com/2009/05/ftp-vs-custom-domains.html
[2] http://buzz.blogger.com/2007/01/blogger-custom-domains.html
[3] http://buzz.blogger.com/2009/05/ftp-vs-custom-domains.html
[4] http://www.google.com/support/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55373
[5] http://blogger-ftp.blogspot.com/

This e-mail is being sent to notify you of important changes to your Blogger account.

I have a May 1 deadline to migrate my blog to a Blogger supported custom domain but I have no idea what my blog will look like. Blogger asserts that my blog (FTP driven) represents less than 5% of the blogs they maintain. I have no idea if my blog address will change. I have no idea of what would happen should the migration abort. I suspect that the folks at Net Nation would have the blog all backed up. I don’t even know that. I have been unable to get an answer from the several computer gurus I know. The answers to my questions are not there because my questions are much too specialized even if the questioner knows absolutely nothing about it!

I make an appeal to any reader out there with a similar problem who just might have some answers. Blogger which is committed to supporting this blog until May 1 has been disrupting it for the last three weeks as I am unable to publish pictures or copy without repeated efforts that in some cases take hours.

And I almost don't have to point out that my return email to Mr. Rick Klau never received an answer. For anybody who might want to help I can be reached by the Contact Submission section of my web page.


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