Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kicking Up Dust...For Reals This Time

Real quick-like
I don't know if you remember, but a little more than a year ago I indicated that AYBABTU was going to be undergoing a major facelift/overhaul/refocusing of direction; an 'AJ 2.0' treatment, as it were.

Well, I got close, but it never happened. Once 2009 got underway, I started seeing the handwriting on the wall with regard to my job security, and had no choice but to pour everything I had into trying to save my job, but to no avail; the choice had already been made — In Minneapolis, not in Nashville.

At any rate I set the blog upgrade on the shelf. Now, a year later and four months since the axe fell on my neck at The Company, I'm re-evaluating the potential role my blog might take for me professionally as well as personally, and I'm highly motivated to get it going again for a number of reasons.

I'll be switching to a similar, but more effective 3-column Blogger template here very soon, with a few (if not all) of the upgraded elements to be incorporated soon thereafter.

A Tarnished Halo
However, my first priority will be to save perhaps the most precious of elements from being lost forever: my comments.

I'll have a LOT more to say about this in a future post, but I know I'm not alone in my frustration over the demise of HaloScan, the erstwhile commenting system that was the first 3rd party service of its kind to gain a strong following among early Blogspot bloggers.

A few years ago, HaloScan was rather quietly acquired by applications developer JS-Kit. Not much was made of it until the past year or so, as the new owner prepared to roll out their own commenting product to replace the sun-setted HaloScan (a fact that while not completely secretive, was far from well-announced to HaloScan users).

Bottom line is, HaloScan is now dead and gone, and anyone who was using it has been being forced to 'upgrade' to the new JS-Kit product, called 'Echo' on a free one month trial. Well, my 30 days are up, and I have no intention of paying for Echo, so I'm in scramble mode, not entirely of JS-Kit's making. I shoulda done this a month ago.

Now for those who chose to always use the free version of HaloScan, this may not have been a huge deal; all they really have to lose is their comments from the past year, as HaloScan 'free' version comments disappear after one year anyway. So chances are, those folks weren't all that concerned about it.

However, if you're like me, and paid the $25 to become a premium HaloScan user to supposedly retain your comments 'forever,' you're kinda scrambling right now — like me — to figure out how to keep from losing the links to all those wonderful conversations you had with your readers over the years. And in my case, we're talkin' nearly SIX YEARS worth.

Therefore I am now in the process of porting my blog's comment system over to DISQUS, which is a supplemental system I've had an account with for years as well. It's a very good system, and has grown exponentially in popularity in recent years as the default commenting tool for Tumbl'r micro-blogs.

All that to say, if you see some weirdness going on over here, or some sidebar elements missing, or u-gigaly fonts on dispaly as you visit over the next day or two, it's just me tinkering and re-installing stuff. Hopefully by this weekend it'll all be in place (for the most part, anyway).

And most hopefully, I will have found a way to reintegrate my old HaloScan comments back into DISQUS, and the conversations we've enjoyed since May 22, 2004 can indeed live on.

Thank you for your indulgence...and don't forget your surgical mask...


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