When setting up this blog, I used the supplied "Feedburner" subscription widget provided by Google.
This is a simple HMTL form component that allows a subscriber to get blog postings automatically in an email.
As it turns out, Google bought up Feedburner, and got rid of the staff and support. So the product as it stands, while it appears to work, has no support available. I attempted to find analytics about who subscribers were -- to no avail.
Finally, after scouring email list groups that had offered support in the past, it became apparent that another solution had to be found. So, as a previous blog posting noted, subscribers will no longer be getting any further email. The Feedburner was torn out and replaced by MailChimp.
I can't say enough good about MailChimp. But first, I will note that it's got at least one deficiency in comparison to Feedburner. Feedburner went out automatically. With MailChimp, TheHackerCIO has to send out a notice each time he posts.
But integrating all Social Media in a coordinated fashion is a much bigger nut to crack than mere blogging, so I put this down as a minor issue.
Mail Chimp is a Freemium model product that allows you to easily and simply create subscription lists, generate the "sign up" widget to plop in your HTML, then create a campaign, and finally track the response and analyze it. It's amazing. I'll post more when I see how it works.
For now, if you want to learn, you should sign up on the new and improved blog widget. Because by signing up there, I might send out a campaign to you which will not even hit this blog!!! Only the insiders, those luck few will get the inside scoop!
For instance, when I write some more extended essays ... which are already in the works ... these will be available to subscribers.
But on to higher level abstractions. The Cost of Costlessness.
Feedburner was costless. But that cost me support, didn't it? Costlessness isn't always cost-effective. I might even pay for premium services, but at least the potential to pay brings about some level of support.
It reminds me of some of the stories the old-timers tell. I always listen carefully to the old timers tell of their mainframe days and tape drives. I quiz them all I can. I even once used an emulator called Hercules, and did a full SysGen of an IBM Mainframe MVS operating system, emulated, naturally, on my ThinkPad laptop. Even though I'm generally a CTO, I love running with CIOs because of these stories. They are invaluable data points. They are a historical perspective on computer technology.
And one tale they always dwell on is that of the CA (Computer Associates), who gobbled up all the cool new products and fired off the support staff. They rendered them support-less commodity items. You could use them only so far, and then if you get stuck, you have to ditch it and build your own.
At least in the open source world, it seems much easier to rectify these problems. But Feedburner is a salutatory reminder that
"if you ain't payin',
there ain't no number to call"