Recently, I went to check up on my personal website to find a link for my father for a story I wrote about virtualized desktops in education. I ended up redirecting the domain name to this blog, which holds much of the archives of my personal musings over more than a decade, and sending him the Word file of the story instead.
That’s because I found that in the month or two since I had bothered to look at it (what with a certain other site demanding more of my attention), someone had hacked the thing and turned it into a virus farm. These are the risks you run when you trust your digital namesake to a $7-a-month hosting provider. I also found that the site I had written the story for had been shut down, and over a year of work consigned to /dev/null.
I was amused, ironically, more than upset. I’ve been writing about website hacks for a while, and it was pretty clear what had happened once visiting my home page resulted in a file download starting. Obviously, I had missed the last WordPress security patch, or someone had found another SQL-injection attack point to go after. That’s okay. It gave me an excuse to delete it and consolidate.
Though I am still recovering my clip file from the bowels of a hosed MySQL database, perhaps those clips are best left w here they were—after all, half of them point to dead websites, or to sites that have changed their structure, or sites that have been sold five or six times and their archives have been purged. If you write for the web, you are writing ephemera. Few stories written for the web stand the test of time; they are written in the moment, and then the moment changes.
Looking at some of my posts on this blog from long ago, it’s hard to say anything but the personal ones have any value anymore. There’s a lot that’s happened in the last few years that has not made it to these pages, because it’s been shared instead in person, over the phone, on Facebook, over SMS or IRC or IM. I’m ok with that. Some of it may find its way here eventually, or into other things I write, but my words have been shared where they have counted, for friendship, family, karma and commerce.