Cool URLs

An idea about preserving web content, even though the author acknowledges difficulties in maintaining original URLs.

A great idea

According to the people who think about web standards, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Cool URIs don’t change. It’s a basic idea: once a page on the internet is created, it should – in theory and with enough money – stay at the same address forever. Always there and available for reference. I think the idea is sound. We have all come across links that no longer work; a concept that became known as link rot. I wrote about it in June 2004, in a post entitled Learning from Others.

Harder in practice

I might like and support the idea, but as I enter my 29th year writing on the web, I know I’ve been unable to honour the concept. For example, above is not, strictly, the right link for the ‘Learning from Others’ post. I might argue that the version here, which is on the domain I used to use for blogging, is more accurate. The content is the same, they’re still my words, but was the original home.

That’s still not the original URL, however. Sometime in the mid-2000s I archived the site when I switched blogging platform. I imported posts into the new tool without much thought. I wasn’t sure I was going to keep the old site around. I also copied some of the posts into so that I would keep a copy even if I killed off the other site. The closest to the original URL is now at the wonderful Internet Archive (or Wayback Machine), and is a snapshot from July 2004: Archived: Learning from Others.

If you didn’t know about the archived version and tried to go to the original post it would generate a ‘page not found’ type of error; 404, in internet speak. Even worse, there would be almost no clue that it’s still possible to read the original words. I could do something clever on the server to rewrite the links. Maybe I’ll get to that when I have time to write some code.

Correcting link rot

Those original posts were not updated when I mothballed the site into the new platform. As a result, had quite a bit of internal link rot. Occasionally, I look back and read something old and decide to correct the internal links. Eventually, I will finish that task and everything will be properly linked.

While I am in ‘correction mode’, I also check other outbound links on those old posts. If they no longer work I decided I’d update them. If I can find an online version of the original text at a different URL then I correct it. If I don’t, I try the Internet Archive. If I can find neither, I leave the broken link.

Last summer, James Cridland wrote about Fixing 404 errors and link rot, while maintaining authenticity. He took a different approach to updating dead links. I think his path is more inline with the ‘cool URL’ concept, but I’m happy with my compromise.

My weeknotes

When I started my weeknotes, I decided to prepare for future link rot and preemptively included a reference to the Internet Archive version of all the things I’d linked to in that week’s note. That way, I knew there would be a snapshot taken around the time I wrote a note and, in the future, it would be easier to navigate to the archive if link was broken.

I have been reviewing my 2023 weeknotes. It’s an interesting exercise to understand my year. But, I think the ‘Archive’ section that includes the Wayback Machine links makes reading a series of notes harder than it need be.

So, while I’m going to make sure all the links are added to the Internet Archive whenever I post a new weeknote, I’m dropping that section.

My URLs, however, will stay cool (perhaps the only thing I do that is).

Annual Report 2018

The annual shareholder’s meeting is taking place now.

Last FM Stats 2018

My name is Jon and I will be your conference operator today. At this time I would like to welcome everyone to the full year 2018 annual report to shareholders*. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers’ remarks, there won’t be a question and answer session. If you would like to ask a question during that time, please press star then the number 1 on your telephone keypad and I will ignore it. This call will be recorded. Thank you very much.

Are you sitting comfortably …

You might say this report is a lot like Jeff Bezos’ annual Amazon letter only I can’t announce that we’re top of anybody’s customer satisfaction list like he can. It’s also not like Bill Gates’ annual letter where he speaks of the wonderful ways in which the world is getting better, “The world is healthier and safer than ever. The number of children who die every year has been cut in half since 1990 and keeps going down.” And I am most certainly not in Warren Buffett’s league making you richer by the second, “Berkshire’s gain in net worth during 2017 was $65.3 billion”. Sorry.

No, this year, if we were to assemble the Board of Directors in a wood panelled room around a large, polished oak table and serve them coffee from a silver jug in delicate china cups, we would have to begin with the company’s trading performance. And there would be some uncomfortable shuffling in those over-priced antique chairs we put in the conference room.

Although last year’s review gave the company a ‘Failed’ report we spun the positive out of it to deflect from the underlying health of the blog. I said that would, “go for a full house: an entry every month this year” and urged readers (sorry, shareholders) to “Stick with me”. Those that did ‘stick’ would have been very disappointed. 7 blog posts in 2018 was quite away from that full house (here’s a tip: follow me on Instagram where a full house is guaranteed in 2019).

But, of course, like all the best investor briefings I can distract from the grim reality by discussing lots of random numbers that are nothing to do with the underlying health of the business.

There were 3,238 Swarm/Foursquare check-ins, which is an increase of 245 additional check-ins over last year’s performance. I think that’s what the management committee should be paying out any bonus on, don’t you? However, it all becomes less glamorous when you realise that there were 931 check-ins at railways stations. Clearly, Britain’s railway stations need to find better ways to occupy my time.

According to the statisticians at Last.FM, there were 5,804 music tracks played in 2018 which equates to 14 days, 3 hours of listening. It’s down on previous years. Kylie Minogue’s Golden appears to have been my top album of year which may, or may not, be related to watching Miss Minogue in concert back in September. Perhaps it’s time to buy a nice little sound system for the board room, huh? Something that would fit with the wood panels.

According to my Starwood Preferred Guest profile I stayed with them on three occasions in 2018. I think my travelling is way down although Jet Lovers has recorded 18 flights across the year (US, Spain, Hungary, Norway and Canada). I’m not sure what the shareholders think about our travel expenses at this point.

My Goodreads reading challenge was completed (15/15) which, I’d suggest to shareholders, is proof of the growing value of the underlying business and the fact that the community and business continues to grow (where have I seen the words recently?). I’m guessing that there will be a later post about the books but, as with 2018, don’t hold your breath.

I’m sorry, I am unable to take questions about Twitter at this time.

Thank you for joining us today. We appreciate your time and we look forward to speaking with you again.

* Financial disclaimer if you’re reading this sat in a tax office somewhere in the UK: this is blog; there’s no money, it’a not a business and there are no shareholders. It’s a metaphor for something (although I am not entirely sure what).

Better In Just 14 Days

Is Bifidus Digestivum a made up term or is it real? Scientific proof that fewer blog comments makes you less gassy. So, I turned them off.

Today must be like a good dose of Bifidus Digestivum for my database. You know the tellybox ad that tells us that digestive discomfort affects 56% of women, or some such statistic, and then tells us to eat a pro-something yoghurt type thing and in two weeks we won’t feel like we want to fart so much?

Think of junk comments (15,481 of them) and junk trackbacks (3,598 of them) as well as the undetected junk comments & trackbacks (about 7,000 in total) as that bloated feeling and the delete button as a daily helping of tasty Activia from Danone (this blog accepts freebies if you want to contact me). In fact, to help my database get over the discomfort I thought about buying it a blanket and some cushions but it said another Rhubarb Fruit Yoghurt or a tasty Prune Fruit Layer would be better.

So there we go, scientific proof that fewer comments makes you less gassy. So, I turned them off.

Another Day Gone

Where did today go?

So I had the day off work today and had planned on doing lots of things. I did, in fact, do quite a lot but not the things I wanted to do. I wanted to work on some web site projects and other stuff that I usually don’t get time to do. Still, I upgrade this Movable Type instance to 3.11 so I can see the new features. I did – also – move it to a MySQL database rather than leaving it on the static files that it used to be on. I hope this has made it better but there will be – no doubt – be some oddities that need ironing out.

Comments now need approval unless you have a TypeKey id. This is designed to reduce the amount of spam but if I find spammers have keys I will just turn all comments to require approval.<

Listen To Musak August 2004

August 2004 was a popular month here at Listen To Musak. No idea why.

Just back from a great weekend away – which I will mention later. However, on my return I quickly read my stats for August (not sure what prompted it) and I am confused. August 2004 has had the most number of pages visited (although not the most number of actual requests) but is, nonetheless, counted as the busiest month by my log analysis tool. I have no idea why as not much really happened in August. Ah well, maybe all those spiders are reading my site! I see Movable Type has now released 3.1 which I think I will look to upgrade to and then who knows what wonders I might add. One of the new features is the ability to schedule posts for the future which will – I hope – allow me to develop another idea I have had for a site.

Comment Template Problem

Oops, I ought to fix the site.

Eric posted a comment about my entry Camp and I have just noticed there has been a problem with the template that displays the comments. It should be fixed now – although I guess the spam comments will now show alongside the the real comments.

I too rushed out and bought the Camp CD soundtrack which I got in the mail yesterday and it will be my soundtrack home in a few minutes! I got it from a cheap place in Canada – which was cool (although I guess it’s only cheap to me used to paying overpriced UK CD prices.

Administrative Apologies

Spam from one of my mailing addresess. wasn’t me, honestly.

Well it would appear that some malicious spammer is using a mailing address to mail people. I know I’m not the only one affected at the moment but there’s very little I can do about it.

New Entries Or Broken Images?

Some site maintenance notes regarding broken images in some feed readers and entries reported as new when they are not.

Just in case you are reading this via a feed/rss reader of some kind – like bloglines – then you might be seeing you reader marking a whole stack of entries new when they are, clearly, not. I’ve made some minor code changes to the site to have the feeds validate with the Feed Validator as well as link to the comments from the feed. Additionally, I’ve added a couple of Movable Type plug-ins that will help me keep the rest of the site validated. Nothing major but it does mean some of the entries have been marked as updated when it’s just the background code that has been amended.

If you happen to use an web-based feed reader or aggregator you may see that images are broken. I’ve prevented images being called if the referrer is not this site because some of the images from the Man of the Moment section were being called by external sites and I don’t want to end up paying for that bandwidth. It’s not intended to stop people reading the site from seeing anything so let me know what reader you use and I will try and open images up to the relevant domains.

What Version Control?

I have decided to launch version 5 of Listen to Musak. Why can’t I ever settle on a design that really works for me?

So, I have finally done it and had another re-design of this site. The gray is the new green (sorry Jase) but green may become the flavour of the day again as I am not *sure*. I’ve tried to reduce the amount of effort Movable Type needs to make this site happen and I think I have succeeded in that bit. All the same stuff is here for now but I want to add some new ‘features’ by playing around with Movable Type so now is the right time to do it. Although I have not updated the templates for Justin, Andrew, Dermot etc. in the Man of the Moment section. That will come too.

While working through the final stages I discovered that this wasn’t the third version of Listen to Musak as I had thought but it was about the fifth. If you use Mozilla on the main page of the site go to ‘View’ –> ‘Use Style’ where you can apply the older style sheets. As I have tweaked the templates a little bit they do not render exactly as they used to but it was interesting to see anyway. I have decided that you can not have too many IDs or classes in style sheets and re-using elements where it isn’t the same content is a very, very bad idea.

One downside of this look is that the individual entries really do look better if they are of the lengthier format. Ah well, I really wish I was a designer!

Simplify The Site

Time to take stock – what’s this site all about?

Last night, while pounding the treadmill for thirty minutes and trying to avoid watching about crime and disaster on the news, I got to thinking about a couple of things I have written here over the last few days.

In Tuesday’s Link Dump I noted that I thought I was lacking some passion. I don’t believe that’s true. I am still passionate about many things and, particularly, personal publishing online. I just don’t get to write about it nor discuss it. I do seem to write a great deal here though.

In yesterday’s post about Portion Distortion I mentioned something about re-designing this site and, after some consideration, I have decided to do a little bit of housekeeping here. This site has started to get a little out of control. I need to rationalise: keeping it simple will involve removing pages that I don’t think serve any worth and getting rid of some sections. I will also re-work the design. I suspect for some time there will be things in several layouts but I don’t think anybody will be too upset.

The first casualty will be the gallery section – it’s hard to maintain and it’s not where I store pictures that I want to share with people anyway. Perhaps Movable Type will incorporate some new image controls in a future version which will allow me to bring it back.

Changing Faces

I am trying to change the look of the header bar at the top of the site but I do not seem to be having much success.

You may have noticed that at some point last week a couple of pictures arrived in the top bar of Listen to Musak. For a while I have felt that the front page of my site is a little dull so I have been thinking of ways to add some images. The lovely bodies pictured are intended to be temporary. They will get replaced with images from my gallery or photo selection soon. I have, however, troubled over the layout.

The Mozilla layout engines makes the front look like this

the top bar as mozilla renders the image

I believe this to be incorrect layout but my style sheet knowledge is limited. I think it’s the better look. Internet Explorer and Opera look like this

the top bar as internet explorer renders the image

which I don’t like as much but I think is technically correct.

If you know that I am wrong and have just done some obviously bad coding then please let me know.

Colourful Pages

I’ve slightly changed the design for my site.

You may notice that the colours on the site have changed. I’ve lost the duller beige/brown/gray colouring in favour of something a little more colourful. I am not sure it really works at the moment but I will play with the colour settings over the next few days. As you can probably tell, I do not have an eye for colour so I used quick colour to help me. It’s quite useful to find colours that are supposed to work well together but I wish it could find a greater range of colours. I’ll see if I can get used to it. I am pleased to have lost the harsh, bold red that was used for the links.

January Interest

A quick look at interest in this site in January 2004.

Traffic to this site in January 2004 seems to have taken a little bit of a leap. I see that Justin Timberlake was the most searched term. Unfortunately, dear Andrew Kinlochan hasn’t scored any comments. February is supposed to see the release of the new Phixx single so I’ll wait to see if traffic to the Man of the Moment section follows other trends where the visits raise with some outside public event concerning the individual. It’s not science but it is interesting to watch.

Another Look

This is, Jon Curnow’s personal website. I’ve decided to have a bit of a revamp and move some of the content around. Thus, most of the blog content is no longer here.

Eventually, I will add some more content to

Welcome To Curnow.Org

And now they say go.

My website has been online for a number of years (in fact, my first website was in late 1993 on the backend of the web servers of the company I was working for). Over the years I have kept up various parts of the site, taken others down, and generally tended it like you would a garden that you let go “back to nature”. To be honest, I left it alone. Some of the more cringe-worthy stuff may be moved into this new look (but I doubt it) and my site devoted to pictures of satellite dishes has been, forever, lost (and, honestly, I am sad about that).

So it was time for a revamp. Time to do something different with my site and that’s when I decided that maintaining a site was hard work and there must have been an easier way. I had been experimenting with various blogging tools for a year or so and never settled on anything I felt wholly comfortable with. Then, taking a walk down one of the web’s odder byways, I stumbled across Movable Type and decided that, if I was serious about making it easier to maintain my site more often, then this was the tool I was going to use. And so here we are …

I have now given myself the power to do this stuff quickly and efficiently. At last, I can update my site easily. But when it comes to the moment of truth I expect the next few entries to be pointless links to (vaguely) interesting stuff until such time as I find my voice again.

Update August 2008: You may have noticed that the site is no longer powered by Movable Type. I’ve switched to WordPress which my hosting company, Dreamhost, updates automatically for me.