Kickstarting the oh-seven

3 January 2007

This humble blog is off to a flash-bang start in 2007, thanks to you – the Reader of the Year.

9rules logo

A big ‘hello’ to all my new brothers and sisters at the 9rules Network and to all the people who have already found this blog through the network. Over the last couple of years 9rules has become an excellent place to discover high value blogs, on all sorts of subjects. I’m glad to now be a part of that dynamic community. And yes, there are nine rules behind the name. I identify most closely with #4: Simple is Beautiful.

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A big shout-out also to Harry Smeltzer for his excellent article on Civil War blogs in the current issue of America’s Civil War magazine.

ACW March 2007 Cover top

Although there are dozens of fine ACW blogs out there–most better than mine–Harry made me and this blog look particularly good. Very nice press. Thanks Harry!

So … another big ‘howdy’ to the readers who are joining us as a result of that piece. It’s good to see all the new faces.

To all our readers: I hope you’ll find something you can use and enjoy here, and that you’ll feel free to comment often and let me know what you think.

Thanks again and happy New Year to all of us!

This past week I was reminded of a website maintenance chore I’ve been neglecting. An observant and sympathetic reader noted our link to the Meade Archive was broken because the site had moved. This kind of thing happens all the time, of course.

Cross-linking to other information is the best thing about the Web, but also its Achilles’ heel. Sites move, change, and disappear at an alarming rate. I have, at this point, thousands of links from within AotW to other sites. If there were dozens or even a hundred, I might be able to click on them every three months or so, to check to see that they still work.

Xenu button

Since that’s not practical, I depend on a lovely little automatic tool called the Xenu Link Sleuth (review w/screenshots). It’s a Windows desktop program–written by Tilman Hausherr–that runs through the site checking every link and reporting results. It’s quite fast, and also free. I’ve using it for 4 or 5 years now, and recommend it highly.

Xenu produces a variety of reports to show broken links, redirects, and other link issues. You can control how deeply Xenu spiders your site, include or exclude directories, and configure the reports to meet your needs. Very easy.

Word to the wise for our new digital historians: check those links, prevent link rot. ‘Course, now that I’ve done my first check in about a year, I have a huge pile of issues to chase down and resolve.

It’s not all glamor and glitz, you know.

Horn, tooting one’s own

21 October 2006

Public thanks are overdue to Bill Turkel for the flattering profile on his blog, Digital History Hacks. He makes me and AotW look really good, and finds the things of which I’m most proud from the last ten years online — in two paragraphs. Hail Turkel.

Of course, now the pressure is on me to step it up …