Christmas, Microscopes, & New Year With
Microscopy-UK & Micscape Magazine
(A peek behind the scenes).

by Mol Smith Dec. 2013


A Brief History
November 13th 1995. A  day to remember. That was when David Walker and I launched the first edition of Micscape Magazine - eighteen years and one month ago. I can't remember how many visitors we first got back then, can you Dave? (David: "No. Not many, but more than we thought"). We weren't exactly alone. We had support from a few good people who wrote articles for us to publish. Since the start, upwards of over 300 people from 30 different countries have contributed articles. Today, we have a handful of loyal contributors, plus other international  contributors, each with a different view and perspective on life, but we share a common goal here, and other people around the world continue to send in fantastic work for us to share with others.


 Image is wiki commons licence.


In eighteen years, the world of the Internet has become very commercialised with billions of dollars flying around as gigantic corporate entities vie to win visitor attention, their personal information, and their hard-earned cash. I am pleased to say both David and I resisted the magnet of big money, fame, and fortune in favour of maintaining a cosy place more-or-less free of marketing ploys, cookies, and browser sniffing.

When we started out, YouTube would be a phrase more apt for describing a London Underground network, or possibly the disappearing valves in early radios. Mobile phones were first appearing as commonly seen objects - again in large companies - who wanted to reach their workers and managers wherever they were.

The world wide web was still in its infancy with only a one or two browsers available and connection to it was via an analogue phone line, a modem, through a telephone-based packet switching network. It was as slow and prone to sluggish delivery of content. But in many ways, it might be judged by many, (I'm one) as a friendlier and more social environment than the Internet we connect to today. Images and movies had to be tiny in file size to deliver at all to the visitor's computer unless they wanted to cook dinner during the transfer period. I wonder how many of you reading this remember those days?

There it is over on the right, our first issue, courtesy of David Walker who has faithfully maintained Editorial Leadership over all the years, and all the hard work by us and others. Well done Dave.

I think it would be easy for the casual visitor to think we were some old fashioned business which doesn't have a clue about marketing and flogging all kinds of stuff including dating, services suspicious in nature, cold calling with unwanted emails, and harvesting  visitor details to sell to the highest bidder. Eh... just so its clear - there isn't anything technically difficult to do to accomplish that, but we want a better world - so we refuse.

Surprisingly, in a modern age, many other people seem to share our view. About 4 million people popped in and looked at one or more of our pages this year. No mean number that for a niche subject.

 A real graph extracted from our logs.


Micscape Magazine Issue 1 1995
Blood and Blood diseases Part 1 of mini-series
The Wasp Sting A light account of the wasp stinging mechanism.

Review of the Baker Series IV BQ

Two Rare British desmids

A Nightmare on Mic Street Part 1 of mini-series (Root Fillings)

Take a walk on the wildside

David kept the stats for our first few months. In our month of starting, we receive just 1805 hits.

And here's an extract from our stats today for just a few of our pages. Don't worry too much about numbers just the scale of them :)  And we have several thousand pages. These are just hits and visits to a tiny number of them!

Page Hits Visitors
1 index_menuA.html 710,277 631,948
2 mag/indexmag.html 723,865 587,229
3 317,770 178,115
4 index_body.html 45,730 38,101
5 mag/x_indexmag.html 89,710 37,199
6 pond/ 46,521 34,231
7 ponddip/ 62,403 32,945
8 mag/artmay07/cd-hoverflies.html 22,759 21,986
10 mag/artnov04macro/jronionroot.html 21,986 20,430
11 theliceprogram/theprogram.html 19,065 18,371
12 mag/wimsmall/flagdr.html 28,318 17,818
13 theliceprogram/ 18,561 17,678
14 schools/school_forum/ msg/1.html 26,092 17,539
15 mag/wimsmall/bacdr.html 20,610 17,312
17 theliceprogram/intro.html 16,851 16,377
18 theliceprogram/index2.html 16,312 15,994
19 intro/ 19,388 15,812
20 mag/artdec03/volvox.html 18,108 15,747
21 mag/artmay00/demodex.html 15,654 14,872
22 pond/protozoa.html 18,538 14,155
23 mag/artsep01/amoeba.html 14,651 13,180
24 micropolitan/ 16,251 12,689
25 mag/wimsmall/green.html 14,920 12,684
26 mag/wimsmall/diadr.html 19,553 12,558
27 mag/wimsmall/cilidr.html 21,201 12,220
28 mag/wimsmall/sundr.html 22,368 12,022
29 mag/artmay98/classif.html 13,689 11,188
30 mag/wimsmall/smal1.html 14,340 10,584
32 ponddip/daphnia.html 20,309 10,094
33 mag/artjan99/gyra.html 12,207 10,068
34 ponddip/hydra.html 20,722 9,980
35 mag/wimsmall/rotidr.html 11,531 9,396
36 mag/artmar00/hooke1.html 10,668 9,301
37 mag/artjun00/mmbearp.html 9,827 9,223
38 pond/algae.html 11,959 8,978
39 ponddip/euglena.html 19,180 8,630
40 mag/articles/param1.html 12,185 8,541
41 ponddip/amoeba.html 18,262 8,420
42 mag/libindex.html 9,444 8,343
43 ponddip/rotifers.html 15,740 7,882
44 mag/wimsmall/smal3.html 13,309 7,651
45 mag/artmar00/watermvt.html 8,436 7,648
46 mag/artsep07/bj-willow.html 8,910 7,641
47 ponddip/volvox.html 15,188 7,428
48 mag/wimsmall/algdr.html 13,707 7,385
49 mag/artfeb04/cdclean.html 7,830 7,333
50 ponddip/x_index.html 16,513 7,304
Subtotal 2,798,575 N/A
Total 4,575,319 N/A

How to Improve Life

Well, improving your life, or your family's life, depends on what everyone else is doing out there right now. In a highly competitive world, where it appears we move ever deeper into motivation of a society into global slavery of working harder, faster, for less and less, you can either enter that and most of us have to in some way as that's the way it is, or you can not get so fully immersed, that only makes the  years go past until you realise it doesn't lead to a richer life in non-money terms.

While kids think the way to a successful life is becoming the next celebrity, or the next singer, actor, we live in a world where all our children are going to be very disappointed.

I can't change the world and nor can you, but you can adjust your own local piece of it to enjoy the journey more, and to relax a bit with something quite different and engage your children, or grand-children, pupils and friends or yourself in a unique way.

The study of anything under a microscope is not about biology lessons at school. It's about stepping away from the electronic mist, the Internet, Nintendos, iPads, Xboxes, TV, DVDs and YouTube and finding out there's a real interesting world out there. There are things going on all around us which most people are no longer looking at and when they, our kids, move through life, their memories of the smell of cut grass, the excitement of exploring a world and what else lives alongside us, just won't be there. You can do something about that.


Pippa comes over every weekend and she is like my adopted Grand Daughter. I wished I had done our adventures together with my daughter too, but I was too busy... too busy trying to make money to look after my family. But to be honest, I could have found more time.

What about you?

Now And The Future

 2014 What's in store?

Continued Microscopy Magazine
Micscape monthly.

Development of 2D Online Microscope to bring in cross fertilisation of Biology and Botany on a Macro and Micro level.

Expansion of 3D microscope and cross fertilisation of 3d Computer modeling perspectives.

Pippa's Progress. An online monthly video series with downloads of tutorials to teach study and slide-making for 6 to 15 year olds.

Better integration between serious enthusiasts who visit here to build a microscopists society who are willing to engage and help new people young and old to have some joy with this 'hobby'.

Your Ideas? We wish to know how we can help. Let us know. We don't bite and your emails are private between you and us.

Well, that's what we plan if we get the time, the money and the support. And we  do have support and I have the time - just.

So new year, new things, good things.
It begins right now.


So, here we are Christmas 2013, two guys and a handful of intelligent and loyal people trying to keep a passion alive to fire the imagination of others, some of us (not me, of course) getting a bit older :) Where do we go from here? Should we give it up? Have we not now done enough?


We're gonna do more! When we started, we had to compete against one or two very established presences to get a look in - Internet-wise. It's no different today. The Internet world mimics the real world: a lot of noise and destructive activity when you hear the noise, but within it - if you listen - there are places of extraordinary, valued effort which strive to keep alive the idea of gracious learning and positive philosophies.

With imagination, skill, and energetic intent, so much more can be done by exploiting the Internet technologies and digital devices to bump the study of life and our world (other worlds) through Microscopic research and early interest in it up a ramp to engage more interest.

We need a Hubble for small worlds. We need to connect with  people more inclined to reach for their Nintendos and we need to support people who have purchased a microscope and want to do more with it. And that I what I aim to do of behalf of us all here.

And I am reaching out across the net to gather people who have fantastic skills and asking them, nay - encouraging them to become involved here too. Of course, we can't pay them, but we can help promote the fact that they rely on their passions for their weekly wage. We can promote them a little bit. We have already launched first representations of 2 online Microscopes and I'm exploring those facilities  more to turn them into more powerful tools.

2D Online Microscope - click on the image. Give it a whirl!

And through the extraordinary work of Dennis Kunkel, a 3D online Microscope.

3D Online Microscope. Click on the image. Give it a spin.

 So, This Is Christmas, What Have We Done...

...another year over. A new one begun.

I'm sure you know the words too. And I'm also sure if you are wise, you did your best to live a good constructive year against an ever-increasingly confusing world where the idea of a society seems to be taking a back seat against the overwhelming zest to 'corporate-tise' every nation and the people in it.  We are a bit like a society here. Remote people, or should that be - people who are distant in miles from each other, but not so distant in the truths of the world.

So, this is Christmas. A time where in the west we get off the tread mill and get back to families or sit alone when we are older or without our loved ones still with us. A sad time and a happy time. A difficult time also. A time to remember the people we met on our journey through life, to contemplate new people we may meet or just encounter.

I leave you with one thought: 18 years ago, in the tread mill of corporate life - I woke up. I think you did too David, didn't you? (David: "madness, all that one dimensional thinking and no time to think"). My life has been so much more interesting since. A richer experience. I looked down a microscope and I didn't just see what was on the slide, I realised I just saw my own life too.

What else would inspire people to work hard for little reward to be here and doing this for 18 years?

Have a warm Christmas and if you are on your own, drop me a line using the form below and let's talk eggs or swap life stories.

Warmth mol

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