Retcon

A poster for Stonehenge in a computer magazine style

Little could be seen in the gloom. His flam­ing torch threw shad­ows of for­got­ten cab­in­ets and aban­doned serv­ers around the room. At one desk sat a ter­minal shrouded in the cob­webs of long-dead spiders. Beneath the desk sat a ter­minal of eldritch, or at least oblong, dimen­sions. A twinge of doubt passed through his heart. Could this be restar­ted? Archimedes had once said that given a lever and firm place to stand he could move the world. He would have been a handy per­son to have around. The on but­ton looked so fixed in place that he ser­i­ously con­sidered leav­ing it where it was and mov­ing the rest of the server frac­tion­ally for­ward to turn the machine on.. Eventually with enough applic­a­tion of oil the but­ton shif­ted, com­plain­ing with a grind­ing sound that vibrated down into his bones.

The screen flickered into life. Early notes of a thesis crackled onto the screen, fol­lowed a by a brief note on Tribble was that really five years ago? At the time blog­ging was seen as a fad. Images flashed across the screen. Some con­nec­tions flashed and flailed wildly. Where other serv­ers were act­ive they grew, Others reached out to lost sites like Copernicus Sashimi before withering.

Posts tumbled over each other on the screen some veered off in odd dir­ec­tion, oth­ers ran into dead ends. A dis­tress­ingly large num­ber of posts seemed to have Britney Spears.

Was he doing the right thing? Would reboot­ing the blog mean that more Britney would have to be added to replace what had been lost? Could a blog have too much Britney? Too late, the server whirred on.

It’s hard to put a fin­ger on a moment when some­thing is lost, but there were brief signs. He went to the big red lever marked ‘Blog’ and tensed his muscles. The posts con­tin­ued to briefly appear and van­ish across the screen. Then the fate­ful words appeared: FriendFee… He pulled the lever.

The server screamed in protest, but the deed was done. The dir­ec­tion of the flow reversed. Once again FriendFeed was the aggreg­ator and the blog was the engine. Random sparks leapt as he plugged in the vari­ous cables back to dlvr​.it and Google. Gusts whirled around the room leav­ing it shiny faintly pine-scented. Lights winked and then flour­ished in the ceil­ing as the power for the server began to be dir­ec­ted out­wards again rather than internalised.

A new theme wrapped itself around the con­tent. The reboot was almost com­plete. A few sub­routines reached out across the net for the final touches. He packed his tools and pre­pared to leave. As he turned he noticed the big lever was miss­ing. In ret­ro­spect it did seem a gra­tu­it­ously phal­lic sym­bol. Was this a Battlestar Galactica style re-imagining? Discreetly he checked the con­tents of his trousers. No, the shini­ness was clue. It was clearly more like a dis­ap­point­ing Star Trek style ret­con. He made a men­tal note to get a plot to replace the one that had been lost, and left the room.

Image cre­ated with a Clementine mosaic and the stars from Hubblesite.

This entry may make slightly more sense read with today’s later entry and now the blog redesign in English.

Alun

When he's not tired, ill or caught in train delays, Alun Salt works part-time for the Annals of Botany weblog. His PhD was in ancient science at the University of Leicester, but he doesn't know Richard III.