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Posted on Sunday, April 9th, 2006

Dave!Tomorrow begins five days of "lost-blogging" for Kevin's "grassroots campaign" to promote Pauly's new The Lost Blogs book. Even though I've known about it for around two-and-a-half months now, I just haven't decided on which historical figure I was going to blog as. No matter who I thought might make a good choice for a "mystery game", I had no idea how to make it go on for five days. There's just too much to figure out and, if somebody guesses your pick on the first day, you're screwed. I had toyed with the idea of picking a new person for each day, but I don't think that's allowed by the rules.

I finally just wrote all nine of my candidates on slips of paper, put them in a cup, then picked one.

Who I ended up with doesn't surprise me as much as how I've decided to write for them.

This is either going to end up being a lot of fun (in which case I'll give myself a pat on the back for my ingenuity), or it's going to be a disaster of biblical proportions (in which case I'll blame Kevin). In any event, I'm very interested in seeing how everybody else is going to handle this challenge. Knowing how hard it is, I don't know that I can bring myself to post guesses on other "lost-blogger" sites in case I'm right.

Dave's Lost Blogs

Back to the blogging front...

After almost two full days of trying to fix links that Movable Type has broken, I'm giving up. The problem is just too extensive to be repaired. Any entry that had its name changed, or whose name was duplicated... even YEARS APART... is now named something entirely different. This is really devastating to me, because I pride myself on not breaking links. I would go on another rant about how stupid it is that Movable Type makes no effort to warn you about such a serious KNOWN bug, but I'm too tired. So let me once again thank Six Apart for taking three years of hard work maintaining my links and flushing it down the toilet... I appreciate that.

The up-side is that I am in good company.

I was utterly shocked at how many outgoing links I have that are broken. Not only to other blogs, but to major companies like Sony, BMW, OreIda, and many others. At first I thought that these companies were stupid for not comprehending the importance of maintaining link history, but then I thought perhaps they run their sites on Movable Type and it's not their fault.

Links are what MAKE the internet. Doesn't anybody understand that?

I am almost to the point where I don't want to create another outbound link ever again. But what fun is that?

Categories: Blogging 2006, BooksClick To It: Permalink


  1. ©madbull says:

    So who you gonna be?!?! 😛

  2. Dave2 says:

    Uhhh… you’re supposed to guess. At least I think that’s how it works?

  3. ssp says:

    At first I thought that these companies were stupid for not comprehending the importance of maintaining link history, but then I thought perhaps they run their sites on Movable Type and it’s not their fault.

    Of course it’d be it’d be their fault because if they weren’t stupid the web ‘professionals’ at those companies would have figured that using MT is a bad option. And even without MT they suck. Just look at Apple’s site: you just can’t link to any of their main pages as the content on those changes all the time.

    Thanks to my own ingenuity and being very careful I have managed to maintain my link structure so far (and to be honest that link structure is one of my main reasons to stay with MT as it seems that none of the other tools could recreate it without a lot of manual effort).

    If you really can’t kick the software to maintain your file names, perhaps you could make your old install or some backup generate a list of the old names and then make the new install generate a list of new names in the same order. Finally you may be lucky enough to turn those lists into a bit of mod_rewrite magic to automatically forward visitors to the old files to their new counterparts. Certainly not effortless but perhaps better than loads of broken links.

  4. RW says:

    I will allow myself to be pleasantly surprised, and I’m sure you’ll do fine.

    Re: broken links. Well… at least the link to my blog isn’t broken.



  5. Dave2 says:

    At first, I was parsing a database dump of my old blog to create an .htaccess file that has all the basenames in it. I would then check each name against the 1600 new names to find out which had changed. But I quickly realized that my .htaccess file was going to be massively huge, and really kill the performance of my site.

    My new solution is to take that same database dump and parse it into recreating the old files with an auto-link to the new file that replaced it. Unfortunately, it is not as automated as it could be, and is taking a huge manual effort yo make sure everything is going to turn out right. Needless to say, this sucks ass.

    The good news is that I can take one chunk at a time when I have a free minute, and will have no broken links again in a week or so.

    I simply don’t understand why more people don’t “get” that breaking links is a BAD thing.

    RW: I really hope so. I would hate to let Kevin and Pauly down! 🙂

  6. Mooselet says:

    I know nothing about MT or all this technobabble, but keep plugging away at it! If I can’t help the least I can do is be supportive.

    Looking forward to tomorrow and guessing as to who you are and trying to figure you out… wait… oh you know what I’m getting at.

  7. Pauly D says:

    I’ve always imagined the cartoon version of you holding my book at an angle like that.

    As for Moveable Type – don’t you think it’s time to switch over to WordPress? I mean, really. Isn’t it about time?

  8. Bec says:

    I am in love with the whole idea of The Lost Blogs promo thing and can’t wait to read everyone’s entries. This month is just going to be so cool. This and Blogiversary III! Wow! I must stop with the sugar!

  9. Dave2 says:

    Mooselet: Hah! Figure me out? Figure ME out? Good luck with that, I can’t even figure me out! 🙂

    Pauly: I actually drew the cartoon twice. The first time, the book was considerably smaller. Then, just as I was about to post it, I realized that you made such a big deal over the size of your -ahem- book, that I’d better up-size it! I would like very much to switch to something else but, even though I can import the entries, maintaining my links would be even hard than it is now.

    Bec: Oh no… DOUBLE the sugar intake… don’t stop! You’ll need the energy to keep up with all the stuff going on here this month!

  10. Bre says:

    Yay! I’m so very excited to read what you’ve come up with!

  11. “Biblical” proportions?

    The redirecting link file is probably a decent idea. It’d probably work better if you knew the problems were going to occur (you could probably get the original site to help create the translation pages). My site just has the numbered entries, so if/when I migrate I’ll probably go to a naming system so that might help with the translation (especially if I can create the translation file before I start), I’ll need to keep that in mind. Good Luck.

  12. Karen Rani says:

    How fun! I can’t wait till you start!

  13. Wejn says:

    Re broken links:

    Dave, I have no clue how MT works. But you can always point ErrorDocument directive for 404 to some .php page and redirect from there using:

    Header("Location: newurl");

    It falls into the quick-hack category, but it’s FAR better than using .htaccess for this kind of rewriting.

    And, if you maintain the oldurl-newurl association in a hash (eh, it’s called associative array in PHP), it would be fairly efficient.

    Drop me a mail should you need details/guidance.

  14. Kevin says:

    Great, as per usual, I’ll bear the burden of blame. Just friggin’ spectacular! Oh, lookin’ forward to it!


  15. apryl says:


  16. Dave2 says:

    Bre: I’m kind of interested in seeing what I come up with too!

    Gary: Yes. Biblical proportions. As in plagues and rivers turning to blood. Not pretty.

    Karen: I’m scared to start. 🙂

    Wejn: Ya know, after “Lost Blogs” and “Blogiversary III” are over, I may take you up on that. I am shocked at how many search engines are STILL pointing to my old numbering scheme DESPITE the fact that I had permanent redirects on them for TWO YEARS! Does Google and Yahoo! ignore PERMANENT redirects?!? Crazy.

    Kevin: Oh good. Blameless again.

    Apryl: Geez. That’s TWO spelling errors in two entries! I wonder what’s wrong with me?

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