Echo update: It's been a busy few days in the world of no-longer-Haloscan commenting. The "switch over or get out" countdown for Haloscan-enabled blogs has begun, one batch at a time. Some received their upgrade email on Saturday, whereas my announcement didn't arrive until Monday evening. My Haloscan dashboard now presents me with three options - 1) Pay $10 and upgrade to Echo; 2) export all my comments to another commenting system, or 3) "ask me later". I keep choosing the latter, but I can't hold off the future for more than a fortnight. I have until December 29th to select either option 1 or option 2, else 41000 comments disappear. Meanwhile JS-Kit, the company who swallowed Haloscan, has just relaunched itself under the "Echo" brand umbrella. There's a buzzword-heavy media announcement here, should you feel like reading some drum-banging gobbledyspeak. Echo now has a new core mission statement - "to enable publishers to create and curate ‘real-time streams’ for their content." In other words, whereas Haloscan was static text in a box, Echo's killer feature is that it updates while you're watching. On certain global megablogs and political soapboxes this could be quite exciting. On most other blogs however, mine included, expect nothing to happen for hours. Echo comments run backwards rather than forwards, which is great for seeing the most recent reaction but rubbish for following a conversation. Haloscan's simple "Email" and "Homepage" boxes have been discontinued. Instead commenters are encouraged (or forced) to log in and create a profile, in which they might choose to share further contact details. These contact details are then hidden, unless you click through and have a look. One additional side-effect of this profiling system appears to be that people can read every comment you've ever written on any Echo site anywhere, all conveniently accumulated for easy stalking. If you'd like to see the new comments system in action, and maybe try it out, Ham has installed Echo over at the London Daily Photo blog. See what you think (and maybe say something nice about a photo at the same time). Sigh, some things are never simple.