Monday, January 21, 2013

The Gates of Vienna Hijra

In The Garden of Forking Paths, I am alone in this space now.

Where the other and more essential blog used to be on the dashboard it shared with this one there is simply a notice telling me that GoV is "locked" and only authors may access it. So what am I, chopped liver?

The reality is that no one can enter the Gates anymore. That little fabrication about "the authors" being allowed to see our blog is merely a convenience for Blogger. What expediency the lie actually serves is beyond mere mortals to understand, and as we all know, Blogger lies in the land beyond Mere Mortals.

Well, at least the Baron and the team had the foresight to back up all those years of work. Had they not done so, the twelve thousand or so essays would now be stuffed into some black hole in cyberspace.

But. Always the Big, Crucial BUT...They did indeed keep the archive current all the time, figuring Blogger would be pressured by someone or other to take us down. So now, instead of gnashing our teeth in the outer darkness the crew has been busy hauling everything to the new, improved Gates of Vienna.

Let me correct that: the new and soon-to-be improved Gates of Vienna. At the moment it's looking a bit skeletal - as it should since that's eight years or so of work they're moving. However, it's progressing surprisingly well: every time I open the link I see something else they've added. I thought this would take at least a fortnight - and in the end, it may take that long for the new place to feel like home. And eventually newcomers to GoV can listen to the war stories of the old-timers.

The Baron never wanted to move. Despite the almost total lack of customer service, Blogger had two advantages: it was free and it was very secure. Besides, he's always lived in the safe lane, i.e., 'the-devil-you-know-etc.' I dread to think what it would be like were his character different, if he were indifferent to novelty. Why, he could easily trade in old things for wives, for example. Ugh. It doesn't bear thinking on too mcuh.

Another factor was the complaints he'd heard from the users of other platforms. Their moaning made it easier for him to stay with Daddy Bloog than to wrestle with the "features" of strange new creatures. Easier to stay even as ol' Daddums got more and more abusive and less easy to work with.

The abusive part? The last major dust-up was when we wanted to stay with the "old" Blogger template, the one without all the Java junk. But if we did, then our archives became unavailable. In other words, the offer we couldn't refuse was simple: stay with what we had and bid our archives adieu. Or get with their new template and keep our history. We considered the former, but not for long.

Our readers were not happy with that atall, atall. It turned out that they frequently go back to look at old essays, favorite authors, etc. So, not having time to wrestle with it, Da B asked a student if she'd be willing to do it for him - set up the new templates, etc. She'd done it with her own blogspot site and she was a very bright young woman. So the two of them figured it would be easy. She set aside a weekend to get it done and he paid her - student wages, of course; we couldn't afford anything more given that our own rate is about the same.

If I remember correctly, it took much longer than a weekend. She wrestled with that template, trying to get it to do what we needed. In the end, she and the Baron had to let some things go - the improved version couldn't entirely handle what the old version had done with relative ease.

In the meantime, other platforms were becoming easier to use and other bloggers assured the Baron that a move would be messy but not impossible. Some of them even had -gasp! - real customer service. So by the time Blooger slammed the door on our hands - and yes it damn well did hurt! The bloody bastids. But time heals all wounds and wounds all heels, so in the end it's Blooger's karma to deal with. Given all of us "little people" they've stepped on, the cosmic payback must be appreciating faster than our natinal debt.

I'm glad it's over. I wish it could have been more civil and courteous, though. For example, we have no idea why they shut us down. Not really. Supposedly our blog contained "malicious code"??? Our template was their Blogger code, so maybe this tissue-thin covering for their abrupt move is more true than they will ever admit...

It will be interesting to see if they notice I'm still here. I seriously doubt they care. However. When all the huffing and puffing of the Big Move is done, I'll ask The Righteous Crew to archive the Neighborhood. Just for posterity.

Onwards and upwards, Junior Birdsmen!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


If anyone sees this, please help us find out why Gates of Vienna has been removed. When I got on the dashboard only Neighborhood of God was still here. It is as though Gates of Vienna never existed. Oh my God.