Challenge: Find blogs running longer than APOD

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Challenge: Find blogs running longer than APOD

Postby RJN » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:29 pm

I am wondering if APOD's longevity creates for it any clear place in the history of the web. I understand that many APOD readers do not consider APOD to be a blog. However, if APOD is considered a blog, is it one of the longest running blogs? Is it possibly one of the longest running continually updated blogs? I therefore pose a challenge: please reply to this post with specific links to blogs or APOD-like-entities on the web that have been running longer than APOD.

One interest in doing this is because APOD will need to compete for a new round of NASA funding soon, and clear history-based designations might help APOD's proposal. Also, many blog-ranking sites appear to ignore APOD (as do news sites), and claiming an early place in the development of the web (like "in the first 10 percent of all blogs that appeared on the web") might help APOD get ranked. Thanks to anyone who can help out.

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Re: Challenge: Find blogs running longer than APOD

Postby rstevenson » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:36 am

Have a look at Jerry Pournelle's site, The View From Chaos Manor, in which he (plausibly) lays claim to being the very first blog. He says...

[Original Blog] I can make some claim to this being The Original Blog and Daybook. I certainly started keeping a day book well before most, and long before the term "blog" or Web Log was invented. BIX, the Byte information exchange, preceded the Web by a lot, and I also had a daily journal on GE Genie. Both of those would have been considered blogs if there had been any such term. All that was long before the World Wide Web.

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Re: Challenge: Find blogs running longer than APOD

Postby RJN » Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:18 am

rstevenson wrote:Have a look at Jerry Pournelle's site, The View From Chaos Manor,


Interesting! I have read some of Pournelle's books and have seen his column in BYTE for many years. Good stuff! "Chaos Manor" may indeed be the oldest blog. However, according the first line of his Wikipedia page,

... has since 1998 been maintaining his own website/blog.


Is this right? If so, and if Pournelle had moved his column to the web sooner, he might well have had the first blog. And although APOD has been going for (much) less time than Chaos Manor, APOD has been on the web since 1995. So one might say that APOD is a longer running blog than Chaos Manor.

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Re: Challenge: Find blogs running longer than APOD

Postby erichalsey » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:13 am

Running since 1995, APOD is a little over 16 years old.

The educational blog http://www.WebsitesThatSuck.com is a little younger - it advertises itself as being 15 years old. It's a wonderful site.

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Re: Challenge: Find blogs running longer than APOD

Postby kawewe » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:30 am

As a starting point, Guy Kewney claims in this blog entry from 2007 that the first blogger had been Rupert Goodwins, starting in 1996.

Two thoughts, if I may: First, I do not think of APOD as a blog, but rather a daily scientific new site, mostly because it lacks the subjectivity which - to me - is characteristic for blogs. Second, while APOD is definitely one of the longest running continually updated web services, being the first or oldest or longest running is hardly a merit by itself. I set up my first web server in 1991, one of the first outside CERN, and while the site is still running it is also still pretty meaningless for the general public, The argument for future funding, if I were to decide about it, would be current and future outreach and impact of the site.

That said, if you need a letter of recommendation concerning the latter, feel free to contact me.

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Re: Challenge: Find blogs running longer than APOD

Postby rstevenson » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:47 pm

RJN wrote:... However, according the first line of his Wikipedia page,

... has since 1998 been maintaining his own website/blog.

Is this right? If so, and if Pournelle had moved his column to the web sooner, he might well have had the first blog. And although APOD has been going for (much) less time than Chaos Manor, APOD has been on the web since 1995. So one might say that APOD is a longer running blog than Chaos Manor.

Pournelle was definitely "blogging" before the WWW was invented, though I don't know the date of his first electronic post. I was a reader of his on-line writings back then. 1998 is probably when he moved to what we now call a web site. I recall he agonized over the change and briefly maintained his old BIX location until he was sure that this new web thing would work out.

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Re: Challenge: Find blogs running longer than APOD

Postby tamarshall » Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:46 pm

I agree with Knut that being among the oldest blogs (which I don't think APOD is) is not relevant to future funding (or it should'nt be). Rather, as he says, it seems that future outreach to the general public is a much better argument for funding b/c this site is used by the people's whose tax dollars fund NASA. While I visit the NASA website, I do not visit it every day as I do APOD. Hope all goes well.
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Re: Challenge: Find blogs running longer than APOD

Postby bystander » Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:40 pm

I'm confused about this concentration on blogs. If funding is dependent on identification as the longest running blog, you've already lost. APOD is not a blog, never has been. Why not focus on what it provides, it's popularity, longevity, and the fact that other websites try to emulate it (LPOD, EPOD, NASA IOTD, HEAPOW, etc). Perhaps it's time to search for alternative funding. There are probably any number of organizations willing to host APOD. Perhaps you could even do a KickStarter project.
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Re: Challenge: Find blogs running longer than APOD

Postby TheAlchemist » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:08 pm

If it's outreach, this site (APOD) has wide readership. I just read APOD daily, and occassionally send links to people. My wife works with a person that prints it out and puts it on his door every morning.
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Re: Challenge: Find blogs running longer than APOD

Postby RJN » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:33 pm

Surely APOD's funding is not solely dependent on it being the longest anything. Surely APOD's proposal will be judged most prominently on its outreach merits, which we will do our best to convey. Still, any proposal can be bolstered, and citing objective superlatives might help set APOD apart from "just another web site proposal." To many of APOD's loyal readers, APOD is a good web site and of course should remain funded. To some of APOD's reviewers, however, it might be just another web site. Why should APOD be funded when web site proposal 632 is declined? For example, many sites can list personal and touching testimonials about how they have affected peoples lives. Not to sound jaded, but my guess is that after reading through a bunch of proposals listing multiple testimonials, they all begin to sound the same to the reviewers. I am trying to accumulate unique points that might help distinguish APOD in the blizzard of these worthy outreach web proposals NASA receives. Your help is appreciated.

Also, to be clear: APOD has no current plans to move away from NASA.

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Re: Challenge: Find blogs running longer than APOD

Postby Jim R Feliciano » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:32 am

APOD is the first item in my Daily Weekly category of bookmarks. Before APOD, before pictures on the World Wide Web, back in the day when the Internet was just newsgroups, e-mail, and telenet (where I somehow acquired an account on Princeton's connection, which does not work anymore) there was a thing called Listserv. I have been receiving the digest for the Skeptic Listserv since I had a dial up connection and everything on the Internet was free; this was before CERN (the people behind the LHC) created HTML. It is not a blog, it was not the first Listserv, but it still exists and a daily digest includes around 100 entries. The first thing one could probably call anything close to a blog might be newsgroups, where the argument ends when someone says "You're a Nazi." I hate dating myself, but I used to love those days when the Internet meant asking a computer for permission to find data. And all those simple protocols. APOD is currently my favorite site.
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Re: Challenge: Find blogs running longer than APOD

Postby kawewe » Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:06 am

FWIW, the German Wikipedia entry for APOD claims: "... beginnend mit dem ersten Bild vom 16. Juni 1995. Damit ist Astronomy Picture of the Day eines der ältesten Blogs und wahrscheinlich das älteste Fotoblog ..." (my translation: "... starting with the first image on June 16, 1995. This makes APOD one of the oldest blogs and probably the oldest photoblog ...").

That sentence is not in the English version, and they are not citing sources for that claim, but it might be worth quoting.
I definitely failed to find any other daily updated website continuously running since 1995 or earlier.

Keep up the great work.

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Re: Challenge: Find blogs running longer than APOD

Postby Confused » Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:27 am

What is a blog? It seems to be a vague term. Most posts here are subjective in saying that APOD is not a blog, but does anyone know what the definition of a blog is? I don't. Technorati seems to think it is a blog, but I am not familair with the site and I don't know what the qualifications are for being there. People here seem to be saying that APOD is news and therefore it is not a blog. According to Blog - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia blogs "are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video". That description is not definitive and does not specify much in terms of requirements of what is a blog.
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