20 Year Anniversary

Today is my Birthday and also the 20 year Anniversary of this blog which was started on 31st July 2000. I believe I was possibly one of the first magic blogs on the internet, given that the term ‘weblog’ was coined in 1997 and the term blog in 1999.

It is fun to look back over 20 years of archives and see what was around back then, I was collecting links not just for magic, but juggling, origami, circus and other allied arts. I also started writing convention reviews, namely two giant FISM reviews in 2003 and 2006 that even got published in Genii magazine and I also started writing for Magic Convention Guide with reviews of Blackpool and IBM conventions.

Then in 2011 I made a huge decision to take one of the biggest leaps of my life and start my own business, which has been running for 9 years now. You can see that this pretty much coincides with this blog dropping off. Turns out running a company is all consuming, who knew?! I have posted somewhat sporadically since then, and I don’t know if that will change, who knows, but I like having this little corner that no one visits, but that I can write things, and they can be linked too etc.

The world has changed from 20 years ago, they said blogging was dead, I’m not quite so sure, I still read a bunch of magic and technology blogs. Another old technology based on RSS, podcasts, have made a huge leap in popularity, with a number of magic podcasts springing up, and of course that little video site known as YouTube has spawned magic content for good and bad.

YouTube wasn’t even a thing 20 years ago, only being started 5 years after this blog, but now you can find anything and everything. It brings with it magic exposure for good or bad, lots of young magicians only consume and learn from YouTube. And also has spawned lots of magic content including review shows and the ability for performers showcase performances and allowing us to see old archive footage of magicians of the past.

It seems fitting then that I am still consuming, watching, reading, learning a huge amount of magic, and the single best thing I have been obsessed with over the last 5 years has been a blog. A big shout out must go to Andy over at The Jerx. Who knew starting a blog these days would get the amount of attention and traction. Andy is an anonymous amateur magician who blogs about amateur and social magic, something that very much fits my circumstance. I have been very happy to pay into his site to support his writing and receive his yearly book. Whoever he may be, he is writing some of the best, most creative, funny, incredible, thought provoking writing in magic at this present time, in the form of a blog. Long live blogging!

Blog Database Issues

You may have noticed we have been down for the past week or so (or you may not!) To cut a long story very short, my database crashed, in particular the table holding all the blog posts! This was marked as in use and I couldn’t repair it. After struggling with my host I have gone back to an old backup and restored all the posts up to the point of the crash.

Hopefully we should be back up and running although if you do notice any strange happenings please let me know!

Time for some new posts that I have been saving up…

Any Suggestions?

If you read this blog via the website (rather than the feed) you’ll notice I have added some widgets to the right hand column, along with the obligatory blogroll and links, I now have my flickr badge, technorati search/profile, twitter updates and the two latest my lifestream widget which uses profilactic and shows you all the other sites I have a presence on, and also builds a mashup of my latest updates. Lastly I have just added a box for Skribit which allows you the reader to leave any suggestions as to what you may want me to blog/write about, so if you want to see something appear on the blog feel free to suggest a topic and I will see what I can do!

Introducing – Watching Magic


WatchingMagic: is my new baby, I registered the watchingmagic domain a while back after seeing the explosion in internet video and how that has crossed into the magic domain. After wondering what to do with it, finally a few days ago I decided to set up what has become known as a Tumblelog also known as a Linklog. I think one of the reasons I don’t post here too often (other than time restraints) is the necessity of having to structure a blog post, around something which may be just a quick link or snippet or video clip. I knew about the Tumblelog concept and recently revisited it, and found that this could be a perfect companion to the main blog. Rest assured The Magician will always be my main site and place for my magic, but I think a companion ‘scrapbook’ type log is perfect for all those bits and pieces I run across that don’t quite make it to a full blog post. So rather than clutter the main blog with these expect to see more things appearing over at WM than have been here, but they will literally be links, scraps of text, video clips etc, no commentary, titles, long reviews/rants or witty comment to go with it!

I realise its another site to check, and I am still wrestling somewhat as to why I couldn’t just use this place for this concept, but I think having a new companion site is the way to go, and you can read it via the WatchingMagic Feed so it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep up! I’m as always interested to have your comments/feedback/ideas etc. Its still very experimental and early days, so it may all change, but for now its my new toy, that I share with you…

FISM 2006 / Blog

As you may have noticed I have been absent from posting for a couple of months, again life is getting in the way and other priorities take over, I have been saving up the magic links I have come across however and basically posted them all today in one fell swoop, so at least that should clear my backlog. Obviously the next big thing is FISM which starts on the 6th anniversary of this blog (and also my 29th birthday… I feel old!) We shall be there and I will be hopefully reporting back like last time not sure yet what form it will take, if it will be as long and detailed (hopefully!) or if I will post from the convention or save my notes till I get back. Really excited and looking forward to it, so will post more soon and hopefully get back to regular postings after that!

Dead? No just pining for the fjords.

Rumours of our death have been slightly exaggerated, but thanks to Tim for the prompt to post at least a holding message.

Once again life has taken over and posting hasn’t happened for a while, I refer the gentle reader to the about page and plead guilty to neglecting my duties. So whats been happening and whats coming up, without boring you too much, I am now a CIW Associate which meant quite a bit of studying culminating in a week long study session down in Wolverhampton, followed by an online exam… so my brain is a bit fried… I now continue on to hopefully become a Master CIW Designer :-/ Then I had to finish up publishing the next issue of The Oracle including extra tribute material to Arthur. So all in all a busy couple of months.

I have still been monitoring magical happenings, and have a list of stuff to post about, as well as what promises to be a great e-book review, so keep checking back, we are still alive!

Update Complete

Its taken a while for the update to manifest itself, due to my lack of time at this busy period! The change over to the new server was very smooth thanks to the guy’s at Xcalibre I now have a sparkly new up-to-date version of PHP and GD, so you should notice that now you have to negotiate a CAPTCHA form for any comments or feedback you send me. Sorry that this has had to be done, but hopefully it will cut down the stupid amount of SPAM I was getting, I have already noticed a difference! Let me know if you have any problems.

Downtime

Just to warn you there might be pending downtime whilst my account is migrated to a new server on my host, one running an up-to-date copy of PHP and GD so hopefully I can get a contact form and a comments form with CAPTCHA ability to stop some of the SPAM that has been coming in that way… will keep you updated.

Flickring

I am trialling Flickr mainly for use over at the HMC site, but I thought I would add the badge to this site, as if it stays I plan to use it to add some of my general magic photos. Anyway you can check out all the latest additions over at My Flickr Page.

Software Update

Just updated to version 3.2 of Nucleus shouldn’t be any major worries, hoping it might let me add a few new things, looking to maybe add TrackBack and possibly Captcha for the comments to finally stop the spam once and for all… Also looking to test Flickr very shortly for the HMC site along with another lot of posts over there, so thats whats keeping me busy atm… Oh and just checked my referrers and looks like we made it into the Guardian NewsBlog linklog, which is amazing! As I’ve always said I don’t push or advertise the blog, its my personal space on the web and if anyone out there happens to stumble on it and enjoys reading it then all for the better

Bad Referrer

Just to let people know that I have hopefully implemented a few of these ideas to stop some of the referrer spam I am getting, hopefully now we have stopped that and any comment spam, its a real shame when it comes down to this, but I won’t let them win damnit! So if you are legit and are seeing some errors or have problems getting to the site, then let me know.

Feed Me!

Just spent a couple of hours being driven loopy trying to get my feeds to work… past the old 0.91 RSS Feed its never worked, now after digging around on the nucleus forum for ages, I find out its the fault of the plugin I use to GZip the page output! Installed the latest version of the plugin, bingo all my feeds start working! Which means you now have the choice of a 0.91 or 2.00 RSS feed or an Atom feed, check the links down on the left. Also spent a few hours today finally doing a long over-due update to the HMC page, new header courtesy of our graphic designer, and lots of new content to reflect the first two issues of a new volume of Oracle.

Apart from that I have some new posts in draft mode at the moment so expect some proper content now I have most of the backstage stuff sorted!

Still Alive!

So we are back, after a slight hiatus… if anyone is still reading and cares! We have a new look, an updated version of nucleus and still some work to do to finish things off. If anyone noticed we suffered a slight hack, so for now the various external scripts (media, guestbook etc) are gone probably won’t return. Also we have comment control installed as I suffered a few thousand comment spams, and they are still coming in now, but get blacklisted automatically I hope! You are still free to post comments, but anything on posts over 30 days old has to be moderated by me. As stated still a bit of work to do, things to add, change and update, but this will be the new look. Also planning to do more writing rather than just post links like in the past… inspired by the really cool magic blogs that are now appearing…

In case anyone was wondering the last year has been weird, got made redundant, got a new job and spent the last six months working really hard, and still am! Only down side to the job is I have to take my holidays in school holiday time, which messes up going to magic conventions Also studying really hard for some industry recognised web qualifications for the longer term plan. So not much time for magic, or the blog, which explains the lack of posting, hope I’m forgiven, and hope to rectify that in some small way.

Let me know what you think to the new look, and if anything is broken/needs changing, bear with me over the next few weeks as I tweak it and add new things, and watch out for some new posts.

MOU 3 Year Anniversary

Well we passed the 3 year anniversary of the blog, and to mark the occasion I managed to get my FISM report plus photos pulled together… don’t want to say too much except I plan to keep posting as regularly as possible, thanks to all my readers, regular or those that come in via search engines.

I finally managed to finish off all the little bits of the site design, although I do have a few new ideas up my sleeve, so keep watching.

Apologies for the lack of posts but its been a bit hectic around here lately, just getting ready to go to FISM 2003 which is going to be unbelievable, I have added a media section to this site, the first thing to go in it will be photos from FISM… the plan if it comes off will be for me to write-up the highlights of each day, if I can find an Internet point I will post from FISM if not it will be when I get back.

Also this week I have my Sister’s graduation, doesn’t seem five minutes since she went. Congrats Jo!

Will try and post a bit more before I go, I plan to actually finish the new design by adding an about page which is the only thing missing, and a proper contact form.

2 Years On…

Wow… it has come around again, today the blog is 2 years old, and I am cough..25..cough..

As you can see the blog has a new template which I have been testing for the past couple of days, and it now runs on the Nucleus Content Management System.

Please let me know if you have any problems with the template or the new system.

I’ve been very happy with Blogger, but I just felt that having a PHP host and not running my own CMS was a bit of a waste, and it also gives me better control, and more flexibilty, and in a months time Nucleus will also run the HMC site.

I can’t honestly believe that this blog has lasted two years, sometimes posting has been sparse (although I don’t think a week has lapsed that I haven’t posted something!?) and as I keep saying I don’t really do this for anyone but myself, to keep track of Magic links, although if anyone else happens to look in you are More than welcome. I don’t think I really want too much attention or publicity for the site, if people happen to stumble across it thats great, and thats how it should be I think with a blog of this nature.

So here is to another year running on this new system, and new look, next is to get the HMC site up and running. Please take your time to look back over the two years of archives, and I will try and blog as much as I can today between the beer and partying!