diamond geezer

 Monday, March 01, 2010

Half of my blog has vanished.

No, really, completely vanished.
Unreadable. Un-findable. Invisble. Gone.

You probably haven't noticed, because the only bit of the blog you read is fine. There's been no effect on my front page, on my most recent posts, the ones you actually read. But try to delve into my archives and you'll discover that they're not all there. I have 90 monthly archive pages, each of which used to show a complete list of posts published in that month. Now each stops short, cutting off everything after the middle of the month, with no way to access the remainder. Half of everything I've written over the last 7½ years has disappeared. As you might imagine, I'm not best pleased.

Here's an example for you. All of the posts I wrote last month should appear on my February archive page. But they don't. My February archive page cuts out below Valentine's Day, which means that every post between the 1st and the 13th has disappeared. It's no good hunting, you won't find them anywhere. Even if you try jumping to the precise permalink where something used to be (like, for instance, my Winter Olympics quiz), that link goes nowhere. Rest assured that no posts have actually been deleted from my dashboard, but half of February 2010 is no longer accessible by my readers. At all.

This annihilation of my blog's archive is thanks to a new 'feature' which Blogger rolled out quietly last week. It's called Auto-Pagination, and it's been introduced to help to make everyone's blog load more quickly.
A few months ago, we took a look at ways to improve the performance of Blogger blogs, and noticed that many pages — particularly search results pages, label pages and archive pages — were taking longer to load than they should.

Starting today, we’re rolling out a change that affects how we paginate webpages on Blogger. We will dynamically adjust how much content to send to the browser depending on (a) the amount of HTML on the page being requested (in kilobytes) and (b) the number of images on the page. Users can continue to use “older posts” and “newer posts” navigation elements to see additional posts.
There are a lot of bloated blogs out there, and Blogger aren't happy. They want to stop readers hanging around waiting for pages to load, especially pages that are full of big bandwidth-hungry images, because "faster page loads mean more satisfied users". So they've introduced Auto-Pagination, which automatically truncates longer pages once Blogger deems they've got "too big". We bloggers have no control over this cut-off, it's Blogger that decides. Write too much (or, more precisely, include too many pictures), and Blogger chops you off.

And that's why my monthly archive pages have semi-disappeared. Not because I've written too much, but because I've included too many images. Most of these are small, many of them only a few kilobytes, so they download in a flash. But Blogger doesn't care how minimal these pictures are, it merely counts them, and once it's counted about 30 it stops. For example, my March 2005 archive cuts out below March 10th, March 2006 cuts out below March 16th and March 2009 cuts out below March 18th. The most hidden month I've found so far is August 2009, where every single post beneath the 25th has been removed. But you can still read all of November 2002, because I hadn't really discovered pictures back then, so Blogger doesn't automatically curtail anything.

Yes, I know that my monthly archives were a bit huge. Yes, I know that long chains of posts aren't ideal when you're trying to pinpoint an individual post lurking within. Yes, I know that pages of that length aren't in any way Google-friendly. But monthly archives is what I want, and over the last 7½ years I've optimised my blog for this form of legacy storage. Alas, as of this week, monthly archiving no longer seems to be a viable option.

There's a very simple solution to this truncation problem, which is to include a link to "Older posts" at the bottom of every page. Users would read the first half of the monthly archive, click on the link, and then read the rest. Unfortunately Blogger only provides this option for bloggers using modern "Layout templates", which means that those of us still using the older "Classic templates" are stuffed. Indeed it looks like Blogger is about to abandon all support for Classic templates, like they just did with FTP publishing, and so this is a nudge to get people moving over to more modular, more generic Layouts. I hate being nudged. But I fear I'm going to have to jump, somewhere, because this current "half-blog" situation is completely untenable.

Possible solutions:
i)
I could go back and delete most of the pictures from my previous blogposts. That would work, but it's not really on, is it?
ii) I could switch to weekly archives. That would work, except I'd then have nearly 400 archives pages, with various monthly features split across several pages, and nobody would ever find anything any more.
iii) I could "upgrade" from my current Classic template to a new Layout template. Blogger offers "over 30 gorgeous, professionally-designed templates", apparently, none of which look anything like my blog's current silvery retro feel. None are quite as tweakable as I'd like, preventing me from fiddling with the HTML under the surface, and they'd all force me to narrowblog inside a fixed-width column. Plus this still wouldn't allow me to have all my monthly archives on one page - it'd just allow people to find Page 2 rather than it being hidden.
iv) I could include "Jump Breaks" in all my posts. You know the sort of thing. "To read the rest of this post, click here". But I hate those. They conceal content beneath the surface where nobody ever looks, and I don't write stuff simply to hide it away.
v) I could tag all of my posts so that they still linked together appropriately. Except I've written more than 4000 different posts altogether, so do you realise how long that would take? And nobody ever clicks on tags anyway, not without being prompted, so I'd be wasting my time.
vi) I could abandon Blogger for being cheap and generic, and upgrade to something more professional like Wordpress or TypePad. Except they're complicated, aren't they? And 'modern'. And expensive, if you want something customisable. And they probably wouldn't let me transfer all my Blogger-hosted images. And all the internal links in previous posts would stop working. And diamondgeezer.wordpress.com has already been taken. And I still wouldn't be able to show a full complete monthly archive, not like Blogger used to do until last week.

It's not only me who's been affected by this decision. Any blogspot blogger with more than 30-ish images on a page is affected, and there are a lot of archive pages that suddenly don't include as much as they used to. Blogger's help forums are full of angry comments from the afflicted, along with much patronising advice from the admins on why it's important to put up and shut up. But it's only we few old-school bloggers with Classic templates who have no workaround, no alternative "older posts" link, just a whole load of missing content. We're stuffed.

If you want to read about my Mum's funeral, that's gone. If you want to read about how London won the Olympics, or the river-free tube map, or my visit to the sea forts at Shivering Sands, or that "single life" post everybody likes, you can't. If you have a favourite Random Borough report, it's probably missing. If you want to read my A-Z of London museums, it's now an A-L. And if you want to read my posts about the River Fleet, sorry, nothing further upstream than Farringdon is still visible. Sucks, doesn't it?

This mess brings home how fragile the world of online content is. All it takes is one hosting decision, one hard-drive failure or one corporate takeover, and everything you thought you owned can disappear. It's a sobering thought that if I'd died three months ago, my entire online legacy would now be half a blog (thank you Blogger) with no comments (thank you JS-Kit). We're all only one upgrade away from obsolescence.

So, as things stand, this blog is truly shafted. Unless Blogger reverses this latest rollout, either I'm going to have to upgrade something or else half of my posts are permanently lost. I fear I'm going to have to compromise and move to a format I don't like, simply to allow this blog to continue. Any helpful thoughts you might have would be welcomed. And hurry, because in a fortnight's time this post disappears too...


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Sun 4 December (8am-10pm)
Tower Bridge fully closed
For one day only, cross the river by free passenger ferry!

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv