Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Remember Burma and Tibet?

... and the cute Panda bears in China? I hope you do because had you forgotten and tried to go back and look them up again on the blog over the last couple of weeks, you would've certainly found all of my writing, but not any of the pictures... (Thanks, Lott, for catching this!)

Well, the good news is last night, I went through and fixed everything, so the pictures are all back. I even tried to fix my spelling and grammar errors - I do tend to proof-read my posts, usually, but it seems I'm still not all that good at it. There is no bad news - everything is just back. There are some boring technical details, which you are welcome to skip, but I'll type up anyway, just in case you care (and because it gives me a forum to bitch at the governments of Burma and China for their idiotic internet policies): Burma and China aren't the types of countries that particularly encourage free and unfettered expression, such as blogging. They attempt to control it by using a standard, heavy-handed, Communist-style approach: you cannot access blogger.com or blogspot.com from a computer in China or Burma. As with most standard, heavy-handed, Communist-style approaches to solving problems that shouldn't really be problems in the first place, the approach doesn't work. I was obviously able to post from Burma and China - all because there's a million proxy servers out there that computer users of China and Burma utilize to get around their respective governments' idiotic restrictions. In Burma, the proxy would usually be already installed on most of the internet cafe machines... In China, they had wi-fi, so I got it on my laptop. There was, however, an issue - routing all your requests to blogger.com through a server in, say, Holland, made your [already slow] internet connection speeds that much slower, so I gave up on uploading pictures to blogger, putting them on my site instead, then simply referencing them from the blog. It actually took a bit of work to get the process all figured out, but pretty soon, I had it down to a science (which makes it kind of sad that I had to spend three hours undoing all of my cross-site magic last night). And this magical science worked great... all the way until last month, until I had to transfer the site from Arnie's server to one of my own - a process which allowed us to discover that when you cancel your account with 1&1 Hosting (whom I'm reluctant to recommend at this point, btw), they insist on hijacking your domain name for a month and using it to redirect traffic to one of the other sites they are being paid to host (and some nice man in Hyderabad, India will be powerless to do anything about it). This, naturally, means that all the images I had uploaded to my site from Burma and Tibet had now evaporated, so the blog posts that were pointing to them were now picture-less... So, that's the annoying technical reasons - if you are unclear on what the hell I'm talking about (or even if you are), never fear - the photos on the blog are all back now! (Unless you are reading this on Facebook, which imports my blog posts, but doesn't update the imported snapshots when I change them, so if you want to take the time to navigate their ineffective UI to get to some of the posts from last February, you will discover these elusive picture-less posts... But you shouldn't do that! You either don't care at all, in which case you should've stopped reading ten minutes ago, or you'll just use the fairly intuitive navigation tools you get at safety3rd.blogspot.com)

And as a reward for indulging me in my little rant, here's a few of these 'recovered' photographs:

Shwedagon Pagoda - Yangon, Burma

The Golden Rock on Burma's Mount Kyaiktiyo at sunrise

A fisherman on Inle Lake

The plain of Bagan just before sunrise

Snake Temple outside of Mandalay, Burma

Cute pandas in Chengdu, China

Tibet's Potala Palace, flanked by the Himalayas

A terracotta general: Xi'an, China

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