Archives of the Blog Return to the Web

I have always been proud to proclaim that I've been blogging since 1999 (regardless of whether that’s ever meant much). But, for the past few years, most evidence of that boast has been unavailable on the Web.

A few years ago, when I moved my Website to Squarespace to save money and spare myself the headache of rolling my own solution, I did so knowing that transferring information from my old sites would be difficult. I'd been using a not-so-common piece of blogging software until that point, and it didn't play nice with Squarespace. Or with any other system that I might have used as an intermediary.

So, I filed “bring old blogs back online” under the Someday heading of my to-do list and moved on. Every once in a while, I’d do the same old Web searches and turn up the same old hacky solutions I'd been turning up for years, but my heart wasn't in it.

Then, earlier this year, I took another look at the methods that hadn’t been working for me. I dusted off my old Web tinkerer’s hat, hacked away at the code of three different blogging engines and two different databases, and I got it done:

I imported all my blogs, back to 1999, into my Squarespace site.

And there they sat, in an inactive folder, waiting to be brought over to the live Website piece by piece. Again, I tinkered, only occasionally making it a priority. I had a grand plan to fix all of the broken images first, then republish entries to the world one by one.

But it was a slog, and I realized that even after I fixed the images and made every entry live, I was going to have to go back through the whole thing again to fix all of the broken links.

So, earlier this week, I republished everything from my old Geek Force Five blog, broken images and links and all, and it felt great. I’m going through everything one time now, and when I’m done then I'll really be done.

I began by fixing the bylines for all of the guest articles written over the years, something that was mucked up in translation. Now, I’m going through from the earliest entry forward, and it’s been great fun to relive 2008 again.

As for what’s happening with the blog I kept from 1999-2008, that one’s coming soon. I had a nasty habit back then of using the full names of some folks I wrote about, and I need to make sure that’s all sanitized a bit before it’s made public.

But, to be able to say that I’m finally making progress on this dream of mine — however dumb a dream you might think it to be — is a great feeling.

In the wake of Gary Allen's ifoAppleStore site shutting down in the months leading up to his death, and having read a fantastic but sobering article about how even Pulitzer Prize-nominated work can and has disappeared from the Web, I feel more inspired than ever to get my nearly 15 years of work back online. It may end up being for no one but my descendants to read, but I think it’s important nevertheless.

I’m not articulating any of this nearly as well as I’d hoped, but that’s my M.O. For nearly 15 years, for better or worse, I’ve been blurting my thoughts onto the Web in drafts ranging in quality from rough to nigh incomprehensible. I’m not going to stop now.

And, who knows? In 2-3 drafts, this might even make total sense.

NewsE. Christopher Clark