Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Overcoming Cyberspace Obstacles

If you’ve tried recently to access the British crime-fiction site Shots, only to encounter a message declaring, “the Web page you are trying to reach is unavailable” … rest assured, you are not alone in your bewilderment. I sent a query to Shots editor Mike Stotter, asking him what’s going on. Here’s his response:
Some hacker put in a malicious bug. The owner of the server informed me last week (Monday, I think) and took down the site until it is repaired. The original webmaster is working on it and will probably take another 3-4 weeks to get it fixed. It needs a new patch to resolve it. In the meantime, reviews and features are being uploaded to the [Shots] blog. I really don’t know why people do this kind of thing. What do they get out of it?
Let’s hope things will get back to normal at Shots soon.

* * *

At the same time, Kevin Burton Smith, creator and editor of the excellent Thrilling Detective Web Site, has taken down his original site and is steadily relocating all of its many pages to a new cyberspace location. “As it stands now, depending on how you squint, I’m somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 of the site having been transferred,” he tells me, “and I’ve tried to focus mostly on the primary pages.”

This sounds great, but part of what it means in practice is that most of the hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of links from this blog to original Thrilling Detective Web pages are suddenly inoperable. I shall do my utmost to replace all of those obsolete connections with new ones, and Smith has agreed to help me in that enterprise; but as is the case with my continuing efforts to restore a decade-and-a-half’s worth of videos embedded in this blog, this will take time.

In the interim, the best I can do is recommend that whenever you encounter a broken link from this page, try accessing an archived version of that material through the Wayback Machine, an invaluable resource provided by the free digital library Internet Archive. All you have to do is copy-and-paste the original URL into the Wayback Machine’s search engine, and hit Enter. More often than not, there’s an archived version available to be enjoyed. I have installed a “Finding Broken Links?” notice in The Rap Sheet’s right-hand column, from which you can always go directly to the Wayback Machine.

“I know, I know,” says Smith, when I question his decision to switch servers. “It’s a giant pain in the ass (all the search engines are now wrong, too), but continuing the site as it was was no longer feasible, either timewise or financially.” And at least there’s been one benefit to these moves, he adds: “Now that the domain has finally been officially transferred, traffic has increased substantially—in some cases, tenfold from the same date a year ago. Part of it may be my new Dick of the Day feature, where I highlight a different private eye each day on Twitter and Facebook, but it seems to be working.”

The lesson in all of this is simple: Nothing on the Web is permanent, no matter how much we might wish it to be so.

1 comment:

TracyK said...

Thanks for this information. I often look for information on The Thrilling Detective, although clearly not since they changed over. I am sure that there are links on my blog that won't be correct, but I can check that out over time. I am more interested in getting to it when I need it and I did see that Anna Lee by Liza Cody had been included on The Dick of the Day, so that's nice. And Max Latin by Norbert Davis, and I went and refreshed my memory of that detective.