According to Suzanne over at Big Blue Wave, the Haloscan commenting system will be discontinued on Boxing Day.
Haloscan has powered the comments on this blog almost since its inception: the Crusty Curmudgeon is 6 years old, and as I recall Blogger didn't introduce their own built-in commenting system until a year or two later.
Although I haven't received one yet, apparently emails are going out announcing the cancellation of the service and the impending loss of all comments unless you either a) download them for posterity; or b) upgrade to Echo, Haloscan's subscription-based successor. Gee, thanks for letting us all know in a prompt and timely manner.
Well, that won't be happening. I get just enough comments to have some sort of system running to collect them, but not enough to justify what a pay service demands, which would be something like charging me 50 cents a comment. Mail me a letter, it's cheaper. And even though Haloscan was the only game in town back in 2003, that's not the case anymore: in addition to Blogger's native comment system, there's also Intense Debate, Disqus, and I'm sure plenty of other free services that will work just fine.
So, at some point in the future, commenting on this blog will change. I'm looking into the alternatives now, but since comments are pretty low-volume here, I will likely just stick with Blogger itself. Meanwhile, Haloscan lets users export comments in something called CAIF (Common Announcement Interchange Format), but whether this will be any use in the future (i.e. after the switchover, can I import them back?) remains to be seen.
Well, I'm long overdue for an overhaul anyway.