On Blogging

Blogging. What is it? Why do people do it? Why am I a wee bit fascinated by the whole notion?

All those thoughts have run through my head and I have struggled to come with a response to any one of them that a rational person could be satisfied with.

I have technically had a Blog on the go for a while now, posting to Blogger from time to time. I have found the experience broadly unsatisfying. Mostly, that seems to be because I seldom feel that I really have anything of sufficient import that it deserves entry to the public domain. With no disrespect to those who publish "stream of consciousness" type Blogs, I can't see the point in entry after entry full of "today I fed the cat - the cat was happy". For many years I wrote a diary as a personal exercise but I never felt the need to publish it. Looking back over it, I have no idea why anyone would want to read it. The ability to publish to the Internet places in our hands the potential to each be a publisher

The ease of the process can be variable but fundamentally, if you have a computer, a phone, or anything at all with an Internet connection, you now essentially own your own printing press. That's the sort of thing we couldn't have dreamt of twenty years ago. As with so many technological advances, the power or ability to do something, doesn't mean that we should all necessarily do it. Just because a vanity publisher might agree to print a book of mine doesn't mean that I should gleefully hand over my manuscript - "Three Hundred Types of Fluff and how to Identify Them". The world is almost certainly not ready for that page-turner. Essentially, some thoughts are perhaps best kept to oneself.

At this point, the irony in my posting this is not escaping me. Take your mouse away from the "Comment" box.

After thinking about all this for a while, I decided that the best thing to do was not to over analyse. Again, I recognise the irony

I have looked at some of my favourite Blogs like NewtownLass and Bloggin fae the 'Burn and have been massively intimidated by the content. Mark and Fiona both manage to lay their hands on sizeable quantities of information which they selflessly post and share. They provide a great resource and the worthiness of their posting is enough to put you off. It makes me want to slink into the corner and keep my digital head down. I'm never going to have the time, apart from anything else, to post stuff of that quality or worth.

So, what to do? Give up? Shut down the Blog and say that game's not for me? Could do. But I'm too stubborn for that.

Coincidentally, I discovered Posterous last year. For those unfamiliar with it, it is a Blogging service which sits somewhere between Blogger and Wordpress on the one hand and the microblogs on the other. Posting can be web based or by email and they have a nifty way of organising photos and video, including a really easy to use iPhone application. I started to upload a few bits and pieces to Posterous, created a couple of galleries and started to really like it. You can also link other sites and services for autoposting, so Blogger, Wordpress, Twitter and the rest can all be hooked up and kept updated. All very easy. Recently, they have been suffering a nasty DDoS attack, but once that is resolved it will hopefully return to the easy to use platform that it has been developing into

So, in Posterous lies the answer. I'm going to try to worry less about the absolute quality of the content. That doesn't mean that I'm going to switch off the spell checker. It doesn't mean that I'm going to start telling everyone about the feeding habits of the cat I don't have. What it does mean is that I am going to worry a little less about the "theme" of the Blog. I am an Ulster-Scot, but that doesn't mean that the only thing I care about is Ulster-Scots

Therefore, the Blog will hopefully be a rounder effort, reflecting me and not only a part of me.

Coincidentally, I have also been able to create additional Blogs through Posterous specifically to cover some of my interests and I'll post more about them once I start to populate them with content. So, there you are. I have thought about Blogging and these are the thoughts. If you are one of the very few people who will ever read this, and you happen to be reading it other than on aiblins.com, then you are looking at one of the cross-postings.

The .com address is probably the best place to read it, mostly due to the image handling, but enjoy it wherever you are.

SFU and FMMPB Live in Concert in Belfast!

Despite still feeling pretty poorly, I simply couldn't stay away from the piping and drumming event of the year - particularly when it was right in the centre of Belfast!

To have the chance to see either Field Marshal or SFU on the stage is always a treat - but to combine the two is probably a once in a lifetime experience. In their remarks during the concert, both Pipe Majors seemed aware of the historic nature of the event and it appeared that the capacity crowd was excited from the off.

The evening kicked off wiith a combination of the two bands and then the first half was essentially handed over to FM with SFU taking over in part two. It was rounded off by another "two-hander", at the conclusion of which the bands walked off stage, still playing.

The quality of the music was uniformly high, although it is probably fair to say that SFU had the better "back end" by quite a way and also had provided a more overtly entertaining list of tunes.

The usual nagging of the Waterfront staff about the taking of photos and video was much in evidence. I know that intellectual property rights should be jealously guarded but I had the impression that a lot of the audience were irked by the constantly whinging. Most people just wanted a snippet of video or a quick picture to remind them of a great night out.

The night was scheduled to start at 7.30pm but probably ran about half an hour behind that. It didn't conclude until well after 10pm!

On this evidence, Belfast (and Northern Ireland in general) is certainly able to support the big concert events and it would be nice to see a regular pre-Worlds show to rival the fixture of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall night - which features SLOT this year. Rumours are already abroad that the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA is planning for future events - they should be encouraged by last night!

Moving Day

In a bold (some would say foolish) step, Aiblins will now be based at aiblins.com.

It will be a permanent home for the Blog and for the associated sites which are in the course of planning and pondering.

Whether that is a good idea or not remains to be seen. On a related point, Aiblins is being cross-posted to Wordpress, Blogger and elsewhere by the lovely folks at Posterous who have created a Blogging platform which is so straightforward that even I can use it. That is no mean feat. Thus, the .com site will direct you there. I feel a post about posting and Posterous is in the offing but will have to hold station at this point.

On BPPV

The blog, the proposed Podcasting, just about everything. All have been put firmly on hold while I try to deal with the fact that I can't reliably stay upright.

That's not strictly right. I can stay upright. I just would prefer to lie down.

It all started about seven weeks ago in the retail Mecca that is Victoria Square. I was heading back to the car and had sat down to footer with the iPhone. As I finished and looked up, the whole world started to spin. I don't mean that I felt a bit lightheaded. I mean that everything started to go round and round. Vertical spinning and lots of it. It probably lasted for about sixty seconds but the after effects lingered. I was left sitting there for a good forty minutes before I was fit to struggle up to Starbucks where my good lady was summoned to take me home.

The car was left in the carpark for the next couple of days and I was pretty much confined to bed. Three trips to GPs of variable quality and one consultant of considerable quality and a diagnosis of BPPV was confirmed about three times over. For those unfamiliar, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is basically a problem with the inner ear which may well have been caused by a comedy whacking of the head off an office doorframe at substantial velocity. Until it is resolved - in a seemingly unspecified timeframe - I am left feeling constantly slightly off balance and even more grumpy than usual. The result is half days at work, headaches, crushing tiredness and no clue as what to do to speed the process of recovery up. The only really useful thing I have been told is that movement seems to help. Thus I am pounding the streets at every opportunity.

The resultant tiredness promptly bites me on the behind and throws me off balance again. Most worryingly, the annual pilgrimage to the Tattoo in Edinburgh and the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow is almost upon us. I was able to manage a pathetic ninety minutes at the European Championships at Stormont last weekend, which bodes less than well for the normal eight hours at the Worlds.

In summary. WANTED: New inner ear. Will pay up to ten pounds.