27 September 2013

So long and thanks for all the fish...

I always think it’s sad when blogs that I have been following just fade away. New posts become less and less frequent, there are longer and longer hiatia between posts until we are left hanging from a second rate entry that was posted as the blog owner declared that they knew the blog had been neglected but they had lots of good intentions of breathing life back into it.  Being guilty of exactly that, I thought I had a duty to lay this one to rest properly.

I started this blog in 2008 when I was living in Norway. Over the next 5 years I posted 657 posts on all sorts of topics, from being an expat in Norway, to outdoor adventures, holidays, the birth of our first daughter and a variety of jokes, rants and other assorted nonsense.  There are another two hundred posts that never made the light of day because, they were not good enough.  The blog has been read over 100,000 times and despite the fact I havn’t posted anything for almost 6 months still continues to get 20-50 hits per day.

But life moves on and the blog has become sadly neglected. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, I no longer live in Norway and the blog was largely about my experiences in that beautiful country. Even the name is a play on the small island which was my happy home for 10 years. Secondly, life gets busier, two small children, new house, new job, new life back in the UK means I don’t seem to have much time to sit down and write. Over the last couple of years I focused my minimal writing time on my other blog which documented the building of our house.  Thirdly, I am running out of stupid stories about my antics. There are only so many dumb things a person can do in their life that warrant passing sharing with the World.

Finally, I would be lying to deny that I have been affected by the NSA/Prism/ GCHQ revelations of the past six months. I am truly shocked and dismayed to see how little people seem to care about this. To me it's abhorrent that the government are storing all the online posts, status updates, tweets etc of people who have done nothing wrong. I am familiar enough with the processes behind "data mining" to know that it can produce all sorts of unexpected results and when (not if) the government decides to sell this information to help subsidise the coffers of the country (recession, austerity, we are all in this together etc etc) you may suddenly find yourself refused life insurance or turned down for a job because “you liked techno when you were 20 and people who like dance music are statistically more likely to have taken drugs. We are not saying you did lots of drugs but you are in a higher risk group and therefore we can’t help you…” That is a real possibility. 

Furthermore there is already enough material on here in the form of crap jokes, rants and anecdotes to label me a racist (I am not),  a misogynist (nor am I) , a lefty liberal (more possible), a radical vegetarian, a speed freak, or any number of unpleasant or subversive titles if the material was sampled and quoted out of context. That could impact life in the future and it is too late to recall because it’s already stored somewhere in a foreign governments server silos waiting to be mined, sold or hacked.

If you believe that online privacy is not important because you have nothing to hide then you are dangerously naive.   If you think it's ok for anyone to peer into your online life without your permission then leave the curtains in your house open for the next month because you should feel equally as uncomfortable about the government or private contractors watching you online as you clearly would about passers-by peering into your bedroom.

But Karmasotra is a blog and it was meant to be public (although you will never find my full name on here, my friends obviously know who I am). I was happy to share the material and while I feel uncomfortable about it being indiscriminately mined I doubt whether it will affect my life in the future. Still I feel suitably uncomfortable enough to stop feeding the monster.  

So to close on a more positive note. Thank you to everyone who has read and commented (online and off). Thank you for listening, thanks for allowing me the outlet and thanks for your friendship online and in the real world.

John 

(in a motel somewhere in the western USA, waiting for it to stop raining so he can go and look at rocks)  

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