Last week was an interesting on in blogging terms! I went to two forums, and managed to write 5 blog posts from each - mainly in note form, but I hope it gave people who weren't there a flavour for what was being discussed. And as someone pointed out at the meeting, it meant that no-one who was there had to take notes!
On Thursday I noticed difficulty posting, and thought at first I'd broken something, but it soon became apparent that Blogger had gone into read-only mode so although blogs were still available to read, no new posts could be made. Apparently some routine maintenance on Wednesday had caused some data corruption (wonder what their change management procedures are like :-) ). Then, all posts made on Thursday suddenly disappeared, as Blogger rolled back to a pre-maintenance state. Quite annoying, as you don't tend to keep copies of posts, but we were assured by Blogger that they'd all been backed up and would be restored. Eventually, Blogger came back, and posts began being restored, although as of today, not all of my posts are back, and I'm not on my own as the many comments in various forums are demonstrating. Luckily I've been able to retrieve my lost one from an RSS feed and have re-posted it.
It was an interesting episode, and made many of us realise how vunerable we are with our content - we don't keep backups once stuff has been published. It also created problems for people who use it for academic purposes, as this report from The Chronicle for Higher Education shows. The University of Maryland at College Park was one of many who use Blogger as a way of students submitting work to be assessed, and last week was the deadline for students to hand in their projects. They quickly started using another free site for students to use (YouTube, also owned by Google). Should we be using and encouraging the use of these tools for academic purposes, as many are suggesting they will eventually replace the need for a VLE? As is pointed out in the article, and many of us know to our cost, all services can suffer outages at some point. And these tools are free after all.