A new dimension through blogging?

Someone asked today whether blogging has opened up a dimension which I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Moored outside the NIA in Birmingham before moving to 14 day moorings
Moored outside the NIA in Birmingham earlier this month before moving to 14 day moorings

Here is the perfect example.  I am sitting in the south in glorious sunshine.  Zulu is sitting in Birmingham (I hope!!) and this weekend I hope to be able to continue our journey through to Hatton on the Grand Union.  Until now I was oblivious to the difference in weather between here and there.

How topical to discover that the most recent two bloggers to update their blogs, at the time of writing, are both relevant to my journey.

First of all Gypsy Rover who have moored  a couple of spaces behind Zulu.  Their post at 9:01am this morning confirms that it snowed quite heavily in Birmingham last night, so I must make sure the path is clear before setting off to the Grand Union tomorrow morning.

Secondly Matilda Rose who moored near me in Birmingham a couple of weekends ago. Today at 8:23am they have posted a description of their journey from Birmingham to Hatton via the Lapworth flight on the Stratford Canal.  Wow – I hadn’t known for sure that this route was open, after having seen the extent of maintenance works a couple of weeks ago when I called in by car.  Now I will almost certainly head that way instead of going down Farmers Bridge and joining the Grand Union in Birmingham.

Also a double mention to John on Epiphany who has published the most comprehensive list of moorings and facilities on the BCN.  Thanks for this after my annoyance last week that BW publishes a load of out of date information on Waterscape.com which doesn’t even include the 14 day moorings on which we are moored right now, despite them having been there, almost outside their West Midlands Office, for at least the last 5 years.  I believe John has also recently taken responsibility for the new NABO website which was launched last night.  I took an interest in this from a technical point of view last year, as this site has long been barred from access to T-Mobile mobile broadband users.  T-Mobile interfere with web pages by keeping  a snapshot copy on their own proxy server, as well as delivering low resolution images in place of those supplied on the original website.  It would not surprise me if they also block access to some sites, though they deny this and why this would have been the case with NABO I have no idea.  Whatever the reason, T-Mobile blamed the hosting company, and the hosting company blamed T-Mobile.  Neither could be swayed to sort it out.  I was able to establish it was the whole web server and not just this website, but the obvious answer was to move to a new hosting company, which NABO have now done.  Therefore all those on T-Mobile who couldn’t access this website in the past – you will have no problems now.

Finally it seems appropriate to also mention that the IWA have also just updated their website – very professional and well laid out it looks too.

It often seems to me that the more corporate the website the flashier it will look, but the content will be duller, more likely to be out of date and even downright incorrect (as per my complaint about Waterscape.com’s listing of moorings on the BCN which bears no resemblance to reality).  There seem to be more and more good canal blogs, and almost every single one has something positive to contribute to other boaters – it is obvious how frequently they get updated, unlike most corporate sites, and so I know I can rely on Epiphany’s mooring list more than any produced by BW at present because the people behind it have an interest in making it right. Personal blogs are a tough act for Waterscape, IWA and organisations like NABO to follow although to me the clue to success is staring us in the face.  Write it like it is, put quality of content before quality of presentation, review what you have written and update it when its wrong, and do it often and when appropriate.  Or in one word – “blog”.

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