Feb. 13th 2004
An Anniversary!

100 Months of MICSCAPE Magazine


by Mol (Maurice) Smith.
Co-founder and Mic-UK Co-ordinator






8 years from now

120 years from now


From a starting point of receiving just a few tens of visitors a month, the articles and pages of Micscape are now read by over 1 million people each year!

In Jan 04 (normally a quietish month), the stats for one month's access were:

Visitors: 149 320
Pages accessed: 671 750
Total files accessed (includes images): 3 901 530
Total data transferred: 44.8 gigabytes

And how is it all funded?

A few people each month donate money (yes, I said money!) towards the costs of running the servers and software required to keep 2 massive server sites running. We keep every single contribution online as far as possible, live and accessible freely, all the time. This means our server space and bandwidth continually expands at an unprecedented rate - involving us with increasing costs and difficult issues to cope with owing to the magazine's continuing success.

A few people have now started to subscribe voluntarily to ensure we have the funds to continue. In the past, I have funded the entire project but the costs have become increasingly more difficult to cover alone. More importantly, because we have organized our site and magazine to be non-profit-making, we have failed also to put in the right kind of infrastructure and funding to develop it to where I as a founder wanted to see it go.

I know it cannot continue the way it is currently run forever. Should Dave Walker or I unfortunately need to step down, I fear our magazine will perish too! We have no funds to employ anyone to continue in our absence. It is not about microscopy but about technology. The internet as a medium is constantly changing, and as it does, so are the skills changing which are required to organize and present our information coherently across this platform. I have been on a learning curve for 8 years just to stay with it. I am 54 years old this year. What will the internet finally become? How skilled or multi-skilled will I have to be ten years from now? Who will have those skills and be interested when I fade away into the abyss?

These are questions which constantly plague me. I have solutions but they can only be applied through the abundant use of large sums of money. One idea is to make Micscape Magazine a shareholder magazine. Every person contributing has a share of its future life, and voting rights in its management. With the right income we could employ technically advanced people to manage the techie stuff of improving it and its delivery. If Dave and I step down, the shareholders (that is - the contributors) simply employ someone to take either or both of our places.

I believe the internet will ultimately combine with television. A million channels, each one delivering film and information on its own narrow subject matter. I envisage a microscopy channel or a merger with a broad science channel where Micscape Magazine will deliver content through the internet to a million TV screens throughout the world.

A big dream? Can't be done? I heard all this before when Micscape Magazine was just a little gem of an idea. Imagine if 8 years ago, you and I had met at a club meeting or in a shop buying bits for microscopy and I told you I was going to publish a microscopy magazine which will be distributed to a million people internationally each year, without charge, in full colour, with over 130 people from 24 countries writing for it, and nobody getting paid.

Wouldn't you have called the guys in white coats to come and take me away?

Well, what I promised to deliver, is now done!

I want to deliver more. Much more. Much, much, more! Ideas you would not believe could possibly be!

Wouldn't you like to see what can be achieved?

continue... into the tomorrow of Micscape Magazine

 by Mol Smith