As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
The flash drive that I've been using to transport all my webpages between my home and work went bad. I had to download all the files from the various websites I support so I didn't lose much since they were updated recently.
You'd think I'd know better. This was the second time I've had problems with a flash drive. In the past on another flash drive I had some files corrupted. I didn't view those specific files regularly so it was a while before I realized the files were corrupted. I had been carrying that flash drive in my pocket without the cap on it so I figured that it had gotten zapped by static. I'm not so sure now.
I'm not all that keen on the lifespan of flash memories (I don't like CD-RW's much either) because they definitely have a finite number of reads and writes before they'll fail. That's just physics. I probably use mine a lot more than normal people so I'm probably not a fair indicator on the lifespan of those products.
Copying those files to your hard drive once in a while is a temporary solution; however, as in my previous case, if a file gets zapped and you don't know it, you'll end up copying those bad files onto your hard drive. The better thing to do would be to back up your files once in a while onto media that can't be erased like CR-ROM's. One day I needed a file that I hadn't seen in a few years. I had to go back through about 5 years of CD-ROM backups before I could find the file I was looking for. It was worth the hassles of all those backups.
Backing up files is one of those things that you really don't want to do, somewhere after watching paint dry but before scratching your nails on a blackboard. However, you only need to desperately recover one file to appreciate its value.
PS: I backed up my main computer this weekend. 5 CD's worth of data took about an hour or so. So, what's your excuse?
I was 24 hours away from discontinuing the DanceNet newsletter this weekend. I had typed up a long letter in this space saying goodbye to my readers and thanking them for their loyalty for these past 16 years. I had been considering that action for the last few years and losing my flash drive with the newsletter was the last straw. The newsletter was mostly a repeat of whatever I had on the website, albeit a smaller focus (only inside Route 128), and it's been a pain to maintain duplicate calendars in two different places. This website has been much more interesting to work on so the newsletter has been suffering from benign neglect for years.
The newsletter had started out as a series of email messages to my friends after I started dancing in 1991 (16 years of sending out the newsletter now). I was all excited about dancing and wanted my friends to know where all the great dancing activities were so they could come out and join me. I was sending out so many messages that my friend Mara Factor told me to send out the information just once a week and the newsletter was born.
For a long time, the mailing list grew just from word-of-mouth. There was no advertisement, no publicity. People just heard about it and wanted to get on the mailing list.
However, I waited just a day too long to stop doing the newsletter. I went dancing last night and saw one of my long-time dance friends who had taken lessons with me at Rugcutters back in the early 90' and she wanted to get on the mailing list again, just as I was about to kill the newsletter. My friend Barbara Strell noted that the newsletter was a good reminder to go out dancing. That, I realized, should be the goal of the newsletter, not just the repeat of the information from this website.
Therefore, the newsletter will be reborn from the ashes of that broken flash drive. It will no longer be just a long calendar duplicated from the website. (The newsletter used to be longer, about 68,000 bytes, because it was the original model for this website). The new "newsletter" will be a short list of announcements, mostly from this announcements page so my readers will hear only about the new stuff. And I won't be typing out the information. I'll just be announcing new information and providing links to where the reader can get the information. This will also teach the rest of you holdouts that you need a website if you want to be in the dance business.
I'd like thank all my loyal readers who have stuck with me all these 16 years. Dancing has been good to me and it's been a pleasure to provide the service to you all these years.