All of the member-contributed material on the Great North RoadSM website will be back. It is not available right now because the old server had to be shut down, but everything is backed up and will be put back online, probably in an automatically-generated "static" format.
The one exception that remains available, because it is already an easily-transferable "static" website on its own sub-domain, is Dave's copy of The British South Africa Company Historical Catalogue & Souvenir of Rhodesia from the Empire Exhibition in Johannesburg, South Africa, 1936-37.
The best estimate that I can give, given other commitments at this time, is to have everything back by 31 January 2018. I know that this is far off, but I am committed to my long-time promise to keep this information online. I have every hope of getting it back before Christmas, but I'd rather give a realistic estimate than a hopeful one that I will likely miss.
I may add updates here as circumstances dictate.
30 August 2017
In response to a friend who asked about a date by which I might reinstate the old GNR, I sent him this:
To answer your question, I don't have a specific date in mind, unfortunately, as it's a fair bit of work to do it. It's no more work today than it was back in 2017 (when I took the website down for purely technical reasons), if you ignore the possible legalities of including the Names Directory. If I knew I could have a couple of weeks to focus on nothing else I would take it on, but that's as likely as a snowball in hell. However, I do (very) often think about it and turn over in my mind what I need to do; simply put, it weighs very heavily on my mind.
You can browse the old website courtesy of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine if you look at the 13 August 2017 version at this URL:
That's what I hope to put back one of these days, just without the interactivity of parts, like the message board and Names Directory. I do know that between now and the first quarter of 2021 I am going to be busy doing some significant technical reorganisation of NinerNet, so I can't see it happening before then. But perhaps sooner rather than later I'll drag the old machine out of my storage locker and take a first run at it to see what problems arise, so that I have a better idea in my mind what's ahead of me. Thanks for inspiring me.
11 November 2020
Unsurprisingly, I am behind. However, this is not for technical reasons.
A major new privacy protection law comes into effect in the EU in May. Despite it being law only in the EU, it has far-reaching implications that affect just about any company doing business on the Internet, probably including a hobby site the like GNR if it collects (or did collect in this case) personal information. For this reason I am considering excising one of the three hearts of the GNR -- the Names Directory -- when I put the site back online. Unfortunately the Names Directory is also very closely intertwined with the Message Board, which contains thousands of messages that mention the names of people that have not asked the GNR to publish their names -- e.g., Bob Jones posts a message asking if anyone knows how he can contact Sue Smith who used to live at such-and-such an address in such-and-such a town in such-and-such a year. Do I want to subject myself to legal requests to remove all references to Sue Smith (or even Bob Jones) one at a time? More importantly, do I want to risk being subjected to a €10 or €20 million fine?!
At this point I am not yet sure how to deal with this. I may remove the Names Directory and take a chance on putting up the archived Message Board, and at the first hint of a problem with the Message Board take it down immediately.
Also on my to-do list before I put the site back up is to remove the Google ads. Besides the fact that they generated hardly any revenue, a couple of years ago I went from admiring Google to believing they violate their own motto, which is "Don't be evil". Anyone who doesn't see this is either willfully blind or brainwashed. Fortunately I never tied the GNR too closely to Google, or (for that matter) to Facebook. And by the way, anyone on Facebook claiming to represent or replace the GNR (as quite a number have done over the years) is a fake and a charlatan.
2 April 2018
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