Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lessons from the Cloud: Nobody loves your data like you do

There's a lesson here worth sharing  in this personal story (revised from original post to correct and clarify) ...
I now have about 5000 posts without paragraphs - Blogger Help
... I have about 8,000 posts in 2-3 "blogger" managed blogs going back to 2001.
As of today thousands of them no longer have paragraphs. Google did something that changed the way their software recognizes paragraphs. Perhaps it was a side-effect of using one of Google's newer templates. (For example.)
These posts are rather difficult to read. There are far too many for me to repair.
This is the most impressive episode of content destruction I have ever encountered. I've lost many hard drives over the years, but I was always able to restore from backup.
I can't fix this...
Coincidentally, Apple did something similar to their loyal customers this week. An update to iPhoto destroyed many customers entire photo libraries.

Although Apple's sin is even greater than Google's, there's an important difference that we all need to remember.

I can manage Apple. I don't use their software until months after a release; Apple uses early adopters as beta testers. I also use a very robust (but still imperfect) backup strategy. If Apple trashes my data I can restore it.

I can't manage Google. I don't have control over my Cloud data.

Sure, there's probably somebody at the increasingly troubled land of Google who feels badly about trashing my posts. I can guarantee though, that they don't feel as badly about as I do.

That's the problem with Cloud data, and it was a problem with the "ASP" market too (application service provider, which is what we used to call "Cloud services" before that market went pear shaped).

Nobody cares about my data as much as I do.

The problem with the Cloud isn't a technical problem, it's a social problem. If Google had to pay a billion dollars every time they mangled data, they'd really care. As it is now, they only sort of care.

My blogs are the my only serious investment in the "Cloud" data -- and that investment has gone sour.

Don't trust your data to people who don't care for it the way you do.


chrismealy said...

I was just sending you some css to fix it and as I was testing it Blogger seems to have fixed it!

Anyway, here's was the css:

<style type="text/css">
.post-body { white-space: pre-line }

John Gordon said...

Hi Chris,

I learned i'd made a change that I thought applied to only future posts, but it broke all past posts too. I undid it to reverse the problem.

Blogger is in a bad way. The use of br and div tags instead of p tags is very hard to understand.

What does that CSS fragment you sent do?

chrismealy said...

It makes linefeeds start new lines the way that the pre tag does. The .post-body part is the div class blogger uses for blog posts, so it would only apply to the post content, not the whole page.

chrismealy said...

I agree with you about Blogger. It's embarrassing for Google. Don't they realize how important Blogger is? At least Reader is in good shape.