ZA2005 blog comes back to life


Over the December 2023 holiday, I set a project for myself: resurrect four old blogs.

I was once responsible for each of these blogs, and they represent important, fun, and formative experiences with family and students. Each of these blogs had been lost to the internet, due to server changes, cessation of IT support, software that no longer works, etc.

The first blog I brought back to life is from the South Africa interim in January 2005, which Tracy and I led for several students. We gave students the assignment to write daily blog posts to both (a) provide a record of the class and (b) inform family and friends of our experiences. Blogging was still relatively new at the time. (In my opinion, the first real blog was Scripting News, begun in 1997.) I always wondered how many friends and family were introduced to blogging by our efforts.

To bring the blog back to life, I relied on

  • the Internet Archive for site source code and 400-pixel wide images,
  • my photo library for full-resolution images, and
  • my “know enough to be dangerous” knowledge of html, javascript, and css.

Over the course of several weeks, I was able to piece things back together in nearly original form. Some things, like comments, have been irretrievably lost. But all student writing and photos have been preserved. And nearly all photos have been upscaled from 400 pixels wide to 1200 pixels wide, providing excellent detail even on today’s retina screens.

Reading the entries 19 years later brings back memories and a flood of thoughts and emotions I had long forgotten. Maybe the same will happen for you, if you were one of the lucky few who joined us on the adventure.

I’m pleased that this writing now lives again on the internet. I hope readers enjoy it, too!