Tags: digital

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My Decade of Blogging

Heartfelt congratulations to Remy on ten years of blogging.

More importantly, every single URL on my blog that’s ever been published still works, and even better than that (for me) is my archive showing off the decade of writing I’ve been producing over all this time 💪

Passing Away In Pixels – The Interconnected

Justin has been thinking about how we ensure our digital legacy survives our passing.

The Blog That Disappeared - The New York Times

Fortunately there’s a back-up on the Internet Archive, but this tale of Google’s overnight destruction of fourteen years of writing is truly infuriating.

When we use their services, we trust that companies like Google will preserve some of the most personal things we have to share. They trust that we will not read the fine print.

When you pitch your tent in someone else’s walled garden, they can tear down your home whenever they want.

Persistent Domains by Tim Berners-Lee

This sixteen year old cool URI has not changed. I think this idea of domains entering an archive state is worth pursuing.

Also, I love the science fictional footnote “Note for readers after 2100”.

.generation on Vimeo

A cautionary tale of digital preservation.

.generation is a short film that intimately documents three millennials in the year 2054 - uncovering their relationships with technology in the aftermath of the information age.

The internet does forget | hiddedevries.nl

Hidde’s write-up of the talk I gave to Vasilis’s students in Amsterdam last week, all about digital preservation and long-term thinking.

PURL: A Portable Content Store - Not Enough Neon

I need to wrap my head around the details of this approach, but it sounds like it might be something I could do here on my site (where I feel nervous about my current dependency on a database).

adactio - Upcoming.org Archive

My old Upcoming.org profile is back online, along with everyone else’s:

This is a static historical archive more than 7 million events saved from Upcoming’s first ten years.

I’m enjoying this trip down memory lane, recalling fun times from the last decade.

ICONS #9: Jeremy Keith Tickets, Wed, 15 Jun 2016 at 16:00

I’ll be speaking to students in Vasilis’s class for Communication and Multimedia Design in Amsterdam right before CSS Day. There are (free) tickets available if you’re around. I’ll be talking about digital preservation and long-term thinking on the web.

This meetup is, like all other Icons Meetups, free to attend for everyone. For students and lecturers of CMD Amsterdam, of course. But also for all professional (digital) designers who want to be inspired.

Not OK, Computer — Track Changes

Ah, how I wish that this were published at a long-lived URL:

The one part of the web that I believe is truly genius, and that keeps standing the test of time, is the URI. The Web gave us a way to point to anything, forever. Everything else about the web has changed and grown to encyclopedic lengths, but URIs have been killing it for decades.

And yet the numbers show we’re hell-bent on screwing all that up with link-shorteners, moving URIs without redirection, and so forth. As always happens in technology we’ve taken a simple idea and found expedient ways to add fragility and complexity to it.

Archiving a Website for Ten Thousand Years - The Atlantic

Prompted by the way Craig is handling the shutdown of hi.co, Glenn Fleishman takes a look at other digital preservation efforts and talk to Laura Welcher at the Long Now Foundation.

A time capsule is bottled optimism. It makes material the belief that human beings will survive long enough to retrieve and decode artifacts of the distant past.

Archiving Our Online Communities — Medium

Now this is how you shut down a service:

  • Maintain read-only URLs for at least ten years.
  • Create physical copies etched in metal held by cultural institutions for ten thousand years.
  • Allow users to export their data (of course).

Web projects often lack hard edges. They begin with clarity but end without. We want to close Hi.co with clarity. To properly bookend the website.

And nary a trace of “We are excited to announce…” or “Thank you for joining us on our incredible journey…”

(Such a shame that the actual shut-down notice is only on Ev’s blog, but hopefully Craig will write something on his own site too.)

The Internet Archive—Bricks and Mortar Version - Scientific American Blog Network

A profile of the Internet Archive, but this time focusing on its physical space.

The Archive is a third place unlike any other.

Messages to the Future, by Heather Ryan · The Manual

History, as the future will know it, is happening today on the web. And so it is the web that we must capture, package, and preserve for future generations to see who we are today.

Digital archivists run up against mismatched expectations:

But did you know that a large majority of web users think that when sharing their thoughts, images, and videos online they are going to be preserved in perpetuity? No matter how many licenses the general population clicks “Agree” to, or however many governing policies are developed that state the contrary, the millions of people sharing their content on websites still believe that there is an implicit accountability that should be upheld by the site owners.

Jon Aizlewood | Is marketing being reborn as CX?

Aaaaand, once again, the Acheulean hand ax makes an appearance, this time in Jon’s rant about marketing.

A decade or more ago, digital marketing was more of a blunt instrument. It was like the first stone axe - crude, but it got the job done.

That’s three links in one day that reference the same prehistoric technology. What coincidental synchronicity!

Connected Copies, Part Two | Hapgood

A really good explanation of how a peer-to-peer model for the web would differ from the current location-centric approach.

What really interests me is the idea of having both models co-exist.

You just have to think about the ways in which our location-centrism is contributing to the problems we are hitting, from the rise of Facebook, to the lack of findability of OER, to the Wikipedia Edit Wars.

All our imagined futures | A Working Library

Science fiction as a means of energising climatic and economic change:

Fiction, and science fiction in particular, can help us imagine many futures, and in particular can help us to direct our imaginations towards the futures we want. Imagining a particular kind of future isn’t just day dreaming: it’s an important and active framing that makes it possible for us to construct a future that approaches that imagined vision. In other words, imagining the future is one way of making that future happen.

But it’s important that these visions are preserved:

It’s very likely that our next Octavia Butler is today writing on WattPad or Tumblr or Facebook. When those servers cease to respond, what will we lose? More than the past is at stake—all our imagined futures are at risk, too.

Eternal 5D data storage could record the history of humankind

360 terabytes of data stored for over 13 billion years:

Coined as the ‘Superman memory crystal’, as the glass memory has been compared to the “memory crystals” used in the Superman films, the data is recorded via self-assembled nanostructures created in fused quartz. The information encoding is realised in five dimensions: the size and orientation in addition to the three dimensional position of these nanostructures.

#nodigitaldarkage? — Blog of the Long Now

A note of optimism for digital preservation:

Where a lack of action may have been more of the case in the 01990s, it is certainly less so today. In the early days, there were just a handful of pioneers talking about and working on digital preservation, but today there are hundreds of tremendously intelligent and skilled people focused on preserving access to the yottabytes of digital cultural heritage and science data we have and will create.

AMBER

This is intriguing—a Pinboard-like service that will create local copies of pages you link to from your site. There are plug-ins for WordPress and Drupal, and modules for Apache and Nginx.

Amber is an open source tool for websites to provide their visitors persistent routes to information. It automatically preserves a snapshot of every page linked to on a website, giving visitors a fallback option if links become inaccessible.

oldweb.today

Such a vividly nostalgic project. Choose an obsolete browser. Enter a URL. Select which slice of the past you want to see.

Digital archives in action. Access drives preservation.

What Happens to Grantland’s Archives? - The Atlantic

Had anyone from the archive been in touch with ESPN? Was there any hope that the treasured collection of Grantland stories might remain accessible?

“We don’t ‘get in touch,’” Jason Scott, a digital historian at the Internet Archive, told me in an email. “We act.”

The Utopia Of Records: Why Sound Archiving Is Important

The significant challenges in archiving audio.

The Internet’s Dark Ages - The Atlantic

The promise of the web is that Alexandria’s library might be resurrected for the modern world. But today’s great library is being destroyed even as it is being built.

A fascinating account of one story’s linkrot that mirrors the woeful state of our attitude to cultural preservation on the web.

Historians and digital preservationists agree on this fact: The early web, today’s web, will be mostly lost to time.

adactio’s jams | This Is My Jam

I absolutely love the way that my archive is presented here. Matt and Hannah have set the bar in how to shut down a service in an honest, dignified way.

The InterPlanetary File System Wants to Create a Permanent Web | Motherboard

I’m getting increasingly intrigued by the IPFS protocol and its potential for long-term digital preservation.

The Ethos of the Web | degrading disgracefully

This is a wonderful, wonderful description of what it feels like to publish on your own site.

When my writing is on my own server, it will always be there. I may forget about it for a while, but eventually I’ll run into it again. I can torch those posts or save them, rewrite them or repost them. But they’re mine to rediscover.

HTTP is obsolete. It’s time for the distributed, permanent web

The title is hyperbolic, and while I certainly think that the criticisms of HTTP here are justified, I don’t think it will be swept aside by IPFS—I imagine more of a peaceful coexistence. Still, there’s some really good thinking in here and this is well worth paying attention to.

How future-safe are your ideas?

Will the Big Think piece you just posted to Medium be there in 2035? That may sound like it’s very far off in the future, and who could possibly care, but if there’s any value to your writing, you should care. Having good records is how knowledge builds.

Jam Preserves - The Jam Journal

It’s a real shame that Hannah and Matt are shutting down This Is My Jam—it’s such a lovely little service—but their reliance on ever-changing third-party APIs sounds like no fun, and the way they’re handling the shutdown is exemplary: the site is going into read-only mode, and of course all of your data is exportable.

Yahoo, Google, and other destroyers could learn a thing or two from this—things like “dignity” and “respect”.

(Xrisk 101): Existential Risk for Interstellar Advocates | Heath Rezabek - Academia.edu

Exemplars proposing various solutions for the resilience of digital data and computation over long timeframes include the Internet Archive; redundantly distributed storage platforms such GlusterFS, LOCKSS, and BitTorrent Sync; and the Lunar supercomputer proposal of Ouliang Chang.

Each of these differs in its approach and its focus; yet each shares with Vessel and with one another a key understanding: The prospects of Earth-originating life in the future, whether vast or diminishing, depend upon our actions and our foresight in this current cultural moment of opportunity, agency, awareness, ability, capability, and willpower.

The ethics of digital design | Design Council

This piece by Cennydd on ethics in digital design reminded me of something Jonathan Harris wrote a while back.

I like that he cautions against hiding the seams:

Designers should also strive to give digital products a healthy balance of seamlessness and interrogability. While it’s appealing to create technology that needs little human intervention, this sort of black box can be a breeding ground for dishonest behaviour.

Keep The Web Healthy

I really like this impassioned love letter to the web. This resonates:

The web is a worthy monument for society. It cannot be taken away by apps in the app store or link bait on Facebook, but it can be lost if we don’t continue to steward this creation of ours. The web is a garden that needs constant tending to thrive. And in the true fashion of the world wide web, this is no task for one person or entity. It will require vigilance and work from us all.

‘That pig was a good influence’ with Jeremy Keith and Jeffrey Zeldman on Unfinished Business on Huffduffer

I had a lot of fun recording this episode with Andrew and Jeffrey. It is occasionally surreal.

Stick around for the sizzling hot discussion of advertising at the end in which we compare and contrast Mad Men and Triumph Of The Will.

Mutant Materials and Video Spaces: 20 years of MoMA on the web

Much of the web’s early cultural and design history is at risk, despite efforts by the Internet Archive and renegade archivists. One of our realizations after 20 years on the web is that our responsibility isn’t just to the new; we also need to preserve what’s been built in the past.

MoMA’s Digital Art Vault

Ben Fino-Radin describes how the MoMA’s archivematica “analyzes all digital collections materials as they arrive, and records the results in an obsolescence-proof text format that is packaged and stored with the materials themselves.”

Archives in the Digital Age

I’m going to be taking part in a discussion upstairs in The Eagle in Brighton on May 14th, all about digital preservation. I think it’s going to be really fun. It’s free—you should come along.

[this is aaronland] did I mention it vibrates?

history is time breaking up with itself

A great piece of hypertext from Aaron on the purpose of museums, the Copper Hewitt Pen, and matter battles.

Jeremy Keith @ The Digital Pond - Responsive Design - YouTube

Here’s a talk give at a community event in London last summer.

JavaScript and Archives | inkdroid

Thoughts on the long-term viability of sites that use JavaScript to render their content.

js;dr = JavaScript required; Didn’t Read.

Because in 10 years nothing you built today that depends on JS for the content will be available, visible, or archived anywhere on the web.

INTERNETARCHIVE.BAK - Archiveteam

The most ambitious project from Archive Team yet: backing up the Internet Archive.

We can do this, people! Moore’s Law and all that.

SpringForward - A celebration of women in digital and technology - March 2015, Brighton

There’s a whole bunch of great events happening in Brighton this March: Codebar, Curiosity Hub, She Codes Brighton, 300 Seconds, She Says Brighton, and Ladies that UX. Lots of these will be downstairs from Clearleft in Middle Street—very handy!

The Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt: Finally, the Museum of the Future Is Here - The Atlantic

Remember Aaron’s dConstruct talk? Well, the Atlantic has more details of his work at the Cooper Hewitt museum in this wide-ranging piece that investigates the role of museums, the value of APIs, and the importance of permanent URLs.

As I was leaving, Cope recounted how, early on, a curator had asked him why the collections website and API existed. Why are you doing this?

His retrospective answer wasn’t about scholarship or data-mining or huge interactive exhibits. It was about the web.

I find this incredibly inspiring.

What the Web Said Yesterday

A profile of the wonderful Internet Archive.

No one believes any longer, if anyone ever did, that “if it’s on the Web it must be true,” but a lot of people do believe that if it’s on the Web it will stay on the Web. Chances are, though, that it actually won’t.

Brewster Kahle is my hero.

Kahle is a digital utopian attempting to stave off a digital dystopia. He views the Web as a giant library, and doesn’t think it ought to belong to a corporation, or that anyone should have to go through a portal owned by a corporation in order to read it. “We are building a library that is us,” he says, “and it is ours.”

The Perils of an All-Digital Movie Future

Dropping our films down the memory hole. Welcome to the digital dark age.

Egyptology can help us future-proof our culture – Grayson Clary – Aeon

A look at long-term cultural and linguistic preservation through the lens of Egyptology.

Did Google Shutdown ___________ Yet?

A deathwatch for Google products.

See also Charles Arthur’s historical data on Google shutdowns.

What Do We Own?, From the Notebook of Aaron Gustafson

Aaron raises a point that I’ve discussed before in regards to the indie web (and indeed, the web in general): we don’t buy domain names; we rent them.

It strikes me that all the good things about the web are decentralised (one-way linking, no central authority required to add a node), but all the sticking points are centralised: ICANN, DNS.

Aaron also points out that we are beholden to our hosting companies, although—having moved hosts a number of times myself—that’s an issue that DNS (and URLs in general) helps alleviate. And there’s now some interesting work going on in literally owning your own website: a web server in the home.

The Web Is Read/Write

The transcript of Owen’s talk at The Web Is. It’s a wonderful, thoughtful meditation on writing, web design, and long-term thinking.

One of the promises of the web is to act as a record, a repository for everything we put there. Yet the web forgets constantly, despite that somewhat empty promise of digital preservation: articles and data are sacrificed to expediency, profit and apathy; online attention, acknowledgement and interest wax and wane in days, hours even.

The Online Memory

This fracturing of context is, I suspect, peculiar to these early decades of online writing. It’s possible that, in the future, webmentions and the like may heal that up to some extent. But everything from the 90s to today is going to remain mostly broken in that respect. Most of what we said and did had ephemerality long before apps started selling us ephemeral nature as a positive advertising point. Possibly no other generation threw so many words at such velocity into a deep dark well of ghosts.

What is still on the web after 10 years of archiving? - UK Web Archive blog

The short answer: not much.

The UK Web Archive at The British Library outlines its process for determining just how bad the linkrot is after just one decade.

15 Lessons from 15 Years of Blogging - Anil Dash

I’d go along with pretty much everything Anil says here. Wise words from someone who’s been writing on their own website for fifteen years (congratulations!).

Link to everything you create elsewhere on the web. And if possible, save a copy of it on your own blog. Things disappear so quickly, and even important work can slip your mind months or years later when you want to recall it. If it’s in one, definitive place, you’ll be glad for it.

Perennial Design, by Wilson Miner · Issue 4 · The Manual

A deeply thoughtful piece (as always) by Wilson, on the mindset needed for a sustainable way of working.

When we start with the assumption that optimizing for rapid, unbounded growth is a goal, we immediately narrow the possibility space. There are only so many choices we can make that will get us there. The same choices that made annual monoculture and the shopping mall the most efficient engines for short-term growth and profit are the same qualities that made them unsustainable in the long term.

There are more ways to scale than growth. There are more ways to deepen our impact than just reaching more people. What if we put just as much effort into scaling the impact of our work over time? Can we build digital products around sustainable systems that survive long enough to outlive us, that are purpose-built to thrive without our constant cultivation?

Digital Amnesia - YouTube

A documentary on our digital dark age. Remember this the next time someone trots out the tired old lie that “the internet never forgets.”

If we lose the past, we will live in an Orwellian world of the perpetual present, where anybody that controls what’s currently being put out there will be able to say what is true and what is not. This is a dreadful world. We don’t want to live in this world. —Brewster Kahle

It’s a terrible indictment of where our priorities were for the last 20 years that we depend essentially on children and maniacs to save our history of this sort. —Jason Scott

The shoebox - a manifesto for transmat.io

Glenn eloquently gives his reasons for building Transmat:

When I was a child, my brothers and I all had a shoebox each. In these we kept our mementoes. A seashell from a summer holiday where I played for hours in the rock pools, the marble from the schoolyard victory against a bully and a lot of other objects that told a story.

Web Archeology - daverupert.com

A bit of web history reacted by Paravel: the Microsoft homepage from 1994. View source to see some ooooold-school markup.

Ah, memories!

Events « Brighton Digital Festival

There are 90 events happening in September during the Brighton Digital Festival (including dConstruct, of course). From Maker Faire to an evening of slash fiction, there’s something for everyone.

ZX Spectrum Screenshotter Example - an album on Flickr

Over 700 screenshots of ZX Spectrum games, captured by Jason Scott. Some of these bring back memories.

Software, It’s a Thing — Medium

The first Lunar Orbiter, Andy Warhol’s Amiga, and George R.R. Martin’s WordStar …the opening address to the Digital Preservation 2014 conference July 22 in Washington, DC.

Just as early filmmakers couldn’t have predicted the level of ongoing interest in their work over a hundred years later, who can say what future generations will find important to know and preserve about the early history of software?

(Mind you, I can’t help but feel that the chances of this particular text have a long life at a Medium URL are pretty slim.)

“The Internet Never Forgets” — sixtwothree.org

The Internet forgets every single day.

I’m with Jason.

I encourage you all to take a moment and consider the importance of preserving your online creations for yourself, your family, and for future generations.

Pinboard Turns Five (Pinboard Blog)

On the fifth anniversary of Pinboard, Maciej reflects on working on long-term projects:

Avoiding burnout is difficult to write about, because the basic premise is obnoxious. Burnout is a rich man’s game. Rice farmers don’t get burned out and spend long afternoons thinking about whether to switch to sorghum.

The good news is, as you get older, you gain perspective. Perspective helps alleviate burnout.

The bad news is, you gain perspective by having incredibly shitty things happen to you and the people you love. Nature has made it so that perspective is only delivered in bulk quantities. A railcar of perspective arrives and dumps itself on your lawn when all you needed was a microgram.

Permanence - Matt Gemmell

Some good ideas from Matt on the importance of striving to maintain digital works. I find it very encouraging to see other people writing about this, especially when it’s this thoughtful.

Index cards | A Working Library

A truly wonderful piece by Mandy detailing why and how she writes, edits, and publishes on her own website:

No one owns this domain but me, and no one but me can take it down. I will not wake up one morning to discover that my service has been “sunsetted” and I have some days or weeks to export my data (if I have that at all). These URLs will never break.

Mediating Music by Rudiger Meyer

A thoughtful in-depth piece that pulls together my hobby horses of independent publishing, responsive design, and digital preservation, all seen through the lens of music:

Music, Publishing, Art and Memory in the Age of the Internet

Designing in the Borderlands by Frank Chimero

This is a wonderful piece of writing and thinking from Frank. A wonderful piece of design, then.

A personal view on generalists and trans-media design

Airbag Intl. / Archives

Greg says:

We need a web design museum.

I am, unsurprisingly, in complete agreement. And let’s make lots of copies while we’re at it.

Meet the Geniuses on a Quixotic Quest to Archive the Entire Internet | TIME.com

A short video featuring Jason Scott and Brewster Kahle. The accompanying text has a shout-out to the line-mode browser hack event at CERN.

The Avangelist | What happens to my data when I die?

Having experienced the death of a friend, I wonder how many have considered the ghosts in the machine.

The Console Living Room : Free Software : Download

Here’s a nice Christmas gift from Jason and the archinauts at the Internet Archive: tons of games for living room consoles of the early ’80s, all playable in your browser, thanks to emulation in JavaScript.

Time - YouTube

The video of my closing talk at this year’s Full Frontal conference, right here in Brighton.

I had a lot of fun with this, although I was surprisingly nervous before I started: I think it was because I didn’t want to let Remy down.

Chloe Weil — Our Ragged History

In describing her approach to building the wonderful Julius Cards project, Chloe touches on history, digital preservation, and the future of the web. There are uncomfortable questions here, but they are questions we should all be asking ourselves.

PixelPyros - Free digital fireworks in Brighton

Brightonians, get yourselves along to the Corn Exchange on Monday evening for some fun with Seb’s digital fireworks.

Perma: Scoping and addressing the problem of “link rot” :: Future of the Internet – And how to stop it.

Lawrence Lessig and Jonathan Zittrain are uncovering disturbing data on link rot in Supreme Court documents: 50% of the the links cited no longer work.

It Takes a Village to Save a Hard Drive

An epic tale of data recovery.

Of course Jason Scott was involved.

Kill All Your Darlings - Learning - Source: An OpenNews project

Some good advice on how to mothball (rather than destroy) a project when it reaches the end of its useful life. In short, build a switch so that, when the worst comes to the worst, you can output static files and walk away.

In all your excitement starting a new project, spend a little time thinking about the end.

LMB hack days: Jeremy Keith

I took a little time out of the hacking here at CERN to answer a few questions about the line-mode browser project.

Good Content Is Too Valuable To Die

A heartfelt response from Vitaly to .net magazine’s digital destruction.

Dream team of web developers to recreate line-mode browser at CERN

This is what I’m working on today (where by “working on”, I mean “watching other far more talented people work on”).

Planetary: collecting and preserving code as a living object | Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York

Aaron Straup-Cope and Seb Chan on the challenges of adding (and keeping) code to the Cooper-Hewitt collection:

The distinction between preservation and access is increasingly blurred. This is especially true for digital objects.

Blogging Ourselves to Live

The internet never forgets? Bollocks!

We were told — warned, even — that what we put on the internet would be forever; that we should think very carefully about what we commit to the digital page. And a lot of us did. We put thought into it, we put heart into, we wrote our truths. We let our real lives bleed onto the page, onto the internet, onto the blog. We were told, “Once you put this here, it will remain forever.” And we acted accordingly.

This is a beautiful love-letter to the archival web, and a horrifying description of its betrayal:

When they’re erased by a company abruptly and without warning, it’s something of a new-age arson.

When politicians get the internet wrong, the internet can be ruthless by Caroline Criado-Perez

Oh, dear. An otherwise perfectly well-reasoned article makes this claim:

But the internet is peculiarly adapted to deftly pricking pomposity. This is partly because nothing dies online, meaning your past indiscretions are never yesterday’s news, wrapped round the proverbial fish and chips.

Bollocks. Show me the data to back up this claim.

The insidious truism that “the internet never forgets” is extremely harmful. The true problem is the opposite: the internet forgets all the time.

Geocities, Pownce, Posterous, Vox, and thousands more sites are very much yesterday’s news, wrapped round the proverbial fish and chips.

Life Inside Brewster’s Magnificent Contraption « ASCII by Jason Scott

A beauty of a post by Jason giving you even more reasons to donate to Archive.org.

Seriously. Do it now. It would mean a lot to me.

Related: I’m going to be in San Francisco next week and by hook or by crook, I plan to visit the Internet Archive’s HQ.

The House Of Lockwood

The Internet, day one. A sad tale of data loss.

RIP, Change.gov

This is why the Internet Archive matters. It is now the public record of Obama’s broken promise to protect whistleblowers.

I feel very bad for the smart, passionate, talented people who worked their asses off on change.gov, only to see their ideals betrayed.

The Problem With Medium

A good article on Medium on Medium.

The spread of link rot by Felix Salmon

What I fear is that the entire web is basically becoming a slow-motion Snapchat, where content lives for some unknowable amount of time before it dies, lost forever.

Why the Web Doesn’t Need Another CSS Zen Garden - YouTube

A great history lesson from Dave.

Ah, I remember when the CSS Zen Garden was all fields. Now get off my CSS lawn.

Jeremy Keith – Beyond Tellerrand – beyond tellerrand 2013 on Vimeo

I gave the opening keynote at the Beyond Tellerand conference a few weeks back. I’m talked about the web from my own perspective, so expect excitement and anger in equal measure.

This was a new talk but it went down well, and I’m quite happy with it.

Building the Great Libraries of the Internet with a DNS time machine by Ben Ward

Ben proposes an alternative to archive.org: changing the fundamental nature of DNS.

Regarding the boo-hooing of how hard companies have it maintaining unprofitable URLs, I think Ben hasn’t considered the possibility of a handover to a cooperative of users—something that might yet happen with MySpace (at least there’s a campaign to that effect; it will probably come to naught). As Ben rightly points on, domain names are leased, not bought, so the idea of handing them over to better caretakers isn’t that crazy.

Posthaven is the safe place for all your posts forever

This is a breath of fresh air: a blogging platform that promises to keep its URLs online in perpetuity.

On Thingpunk

Perhaps we are fetishising physical things because our digital creations are social media junk food:

It’s easy to fetishize Brutalist buildings when you don’t have to live in them. On the other hand, when the same Brutalist style is translated into the digital spaces we daily inhabit, it becomes a source of endless whinging. Facebook, for example, is Brutalist social media. It reproduces much the same relationship with its users as the Riis Houses and their ilk do with their residents: focusing on control and integration into the high-level planning scheme rather than individual life and the “ballet of a good blog comment thread”, to paraphrase Jane Jacobs.

The First Website by Mark Boulton

Mark writes about his work with CERN to help restore the first website to its original URL.

I have two young children and I want them to experience the early web and understand how it came to be. To understand that the early web wasn’t that rudimentary but incredibly advanced in many ways.

Internet Archive on Vimeo

A beautiful short film on the amazing work being done at the Internet Archive, produced on the occasion of their 10 petabyte celebration.

Truly awe-inspiring.

Brewster’s trillions: Internet Archive strives to keep web history alive

A profile in The Guardian of the Internet Archive and my hero, Brewster Kahle (who also pops up in the comments).

The Death of Upcoming.org - Waxy.org

Heartbreaking and angry-making.

Fictive Kin, The Joke’s On Us?

The story of one site’s disgraceful handling of acquisition and shutdown (Punchfork, acquired by Pinterest) and how its owner actively tried to block efforts to preserve user’s data.

Our Incredible Journey

A collection of those appalling doublespeek announcements that sites and services give when they get acquired. You know the ones: they begin with “We’re excited to announce…” and end with people’s data being flushed down the toilet.

Ideas of March — All in the head

A wonderful rallying cry from Drew.

The problem:

Ever since the halcyon days of Web 2.0, we’ve been netting our butterflies and pinning them to someone else’s board.

The solution:

Hope that what you’ve created never has to die. Make sure that if something has to die, it’s you that makes that decision. Own your own data, friends, and keep it safe.

Dark Archives in Contents Magazine

A really lovely piece on the repositories of information that aren’t catalogued—a fourth quadrant in the Rumsfeldian taxonomy, these dark archives are the unknown knowns.

Control your own content

Honestly, if you value the content you create and put online, then you need to be in control of your own stuff.

Focusing on our future — some changes to our product line-up

What an Orwellian title for a blog post announcing the wholesale destruction of user’s content. Oh, Yahoo, you sound so proud of your cavalier attitude towards the collective culture that you have harvested.

Vile fuckwits.

Owning your own words – is it important?

A fascinating discussion on sharecropping vs. homesteading. Josh Miller from Branch freely admits that he’s only ever known a web where your content is held by somone else. Gina Trapani’s response is spot-on:

For me, publishing on a platform I have some ownership and control over is a matter of future-proofing my work. If I’m going to spend time making something I really care about on the web—even if it’s a tweet, brevity doesn’t mean it’s not meaningful—I don’t want to do it somewhere that will make it inaccessible after a certain amount of time, or somewhere that might go away, get acquired, or change unrecognizably.

When you get old and your memory is long and you lose parents and start having kids, you value your own and others’ personal archive much more.

Song blogging: Files That Last

I hereby declare that this song is my official anthem.

I want some files that last, data that will not stray.

Files just as fresh tomorrow as they were yesterday.

Interstellar Hard Drive - The Morning News

Investigating the options for off-world backups.

Data is only as safe as the planet it sits on. It only takes one rock, not too big, not moving that fast, to hit the Earth at a certain angle and: WHAM! Most living species are done for.

How the hell is your Twitter archive supposed to survive that?

www-talk

Here’s a treasure trove of web history: an archive of the www-talk list dating back to 1991. Watch as HTML gets hammered out by a small group of early implementors: Tim Berners-Lee, Dave Raggett, Marc Andreessen, Dan Connolly…

The Subcompact Publishing Reader - Readlists

A nice Readlist based on that excellent article by Craig on digital publishing:

This reader is made up of Craigmod’s essay “Subcompact Publishing” and essays linked to in the footnotes.

Subcompact Publishing — by Craig Mod

Very smart thinking from Craig about digital publishing.

Just Solve the Problem Month 2012: Nitty Gritty « ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason goes into detail describing the File Format problem that he and others are going to tackle in the effort known as Just Solve The Problem.

Migrating from Kindle to iBooks - zacwe.st

A step-by-step guide to unDRMing your Kindle books—a prudent course of action given Amazon’s recent unilateral wiping of Kindles.

The Charge of the Scan Brigade « ASCII by Jason Scott

Live in or near San Francisco? Interested in preserving computer history? Then you should meet up with Jason this Friday:

This Friday, October 5th, the Internet Archive has an open lunch where there’s tours of the place, including the scanning room, and people get up and talk about what they’re up to. The Internet Archive is at 300 Funston Street. I’m here all week and into next.

Eric’s Archived Thoughts: The Web Behind

This ticks all my boxes: a podcast by Eric and Jen about the history of the web. I can’t wait for this to start!

Brighton: South by South East?

Honor compares next week in Brighton to Austin in March.

Special Report #1: Data Protection — Contents Magazine

This is an important subject (and one very close to my heart) so I’m very glad to see these data protection guidelines nailed to the wall of the web over at Contents Magazine.

  1. Treat our data like it matters.
  2. No upload without download.
  3. If you close a system, support data rescue.

Scripting News: How future-safe was the first Harvard blogging site?

A cautionary tale from Dave Winer of not considering digital preservation from the outside. We must learn the past. We must.

oldtweets - Laughing Meme

Kellan explains the tech behind Old Tweets …and also the thinking behind it:

I think our history is what makes us human, and the push to ephemerality and disposability “as a feature” is misguided. And a key piece of our personal histories is becoming “the story we want to remember”, aka what we’ve shared.

The Publication Standards Project

Like the Web Standards Project but for ePub. I approve of this message.

Digital archivists: technological custodians of human history | Ars Technica

An introduction to the important work of digital archivists:

Much like the family member that collects, organizes, and identifies old family photos to preserve one’s heritage, digital archivists seek to do the same for all mankind.

Form letter template for acquired startups — Gist

Just copy and paste.

Dear soon-to-be-former user…

» Long Bets Bet – How Durable Are URLs? - Blog of the Long Now

The Long Now blog is featuring the bet between myself and Matt on URL longevity. Just being mentioned on that site gives me a warm glow.

ARCHIVE TEAM: A Distributed Preservation of Service Attack - YouTube

Jason’s rip-roaring presentation from Defcon last year.

Why I’m building Nilai by Colin Devroe

Now this is some prioritisation I can admire:

I’m going to build valuable, reliable, sustainable web services that will last forever.

What Goes Up, Doesn’t Have To Come Down

A thoughtful—and beautifully illustrated—piece by Geri on memory and digital preservation, prompted by the shut-down of Gowalla.

Webstock ‘12: Jeremy Keith - Of Time and the Network on Vimeo

The video of my talk from Webstock, all about wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff like networks and memory.

Jeremy Keith - All Our Yesterdays on Vimeo

The video of my presentation on digital preservation at last year’s Build conference.

Our communication methods have improved over time, from stone tablets, papyrus, and vellum through to the printing press and the World Wide Web. But while the web has democratised publishing, allowing anyone to share ideas with a global audience, it doesn’t appear to be the best medium for preserving our cultural resources: websites and documents disappear down the digital memory hole every day. This presentation will look at the scale of the problem and propose methods for tackling our collective data loss.

Where do Websites go to Die? « dpr-barcelona

Burying physical copies of dead websites in a Croatian cave.

Simon Collison | Colly | Journal | My digital preservation utopia

Colly’s thoughts on digital preservation are written in a lighthearted tongue-in-cheek way but at least he’s thinking about it. That alone gives me comfort.

We Are Historians | 1sixty

A beautiful reminder that by publishing on the web, we are all historians.

Every color you choose and line of code you write is a reflection of you; not just as a human being in this world, but as a human being in this time and place in human history. Inside each project is a record of the styles and fashions you value, the technological advancements being made in the industry, the tone of your voice, and even the social and economic trends around you.

Little Printer | BERG Cloud

This evolution of Tom Taylor’s microprinter looks like it’s going to be absolutely wonderful (and packed full of personality). Watch this space.

russell davies: again with the post digital

In a single post, Russell Davies manages to rehabilitate the term “post digital.” And he paints a vivid picture of where our “Geocities of things” is heading.

The Ruins of Dead Social Networks - Alexis Madrigal - Technology - The Atlantic

Reminiscences of the BBSs of yesteryear that could in time be applied to the social networking sites of today.

Events - The Future of the Past of the Web | Digital Preservation Coalition

I’m going to try to make it along to this event in London next month.

Times Higher Education - Memory failure detected

A worrying report on the state of digital preservation and the web, specifically in the UK. Welcome to the memory hole.

History, our future - Preoccupations

A superb post by David that ties together multiple strands of personal digital preservation through homesteading instead of sharecropping.

Escaping the Digital Dark Age

Stewart Brand wrote this twelve years ago: it’s more relevant than ever in today’s cloud-worshipping climate.

I’d like to think that it’s ironic that I’m linking to The Wayback Machine because the original URL for this essay is dead. But it isn’t ironic, it’s horrific.

The Digital Storage of Analog Memories | Caseorganic Blog

Amber documents her attempt to turn physical objects imbued with meaning into digital artefacts.

Archives & Museum Informatics: Museums and the Web 2010: Papers: Cope, A.S., Buckets and Vessels

Here’s one to add to Instapaper or Readability to savour at your leisure: Aaron Straup Cope’s talk at Museums and the Web 2010:

This paper examines the act of association, the art of framing and the participatory nature of robots in creating artifacts and story-telling in projects like Flickr Galleries, the API-based Suggestify project (which provides the ability to suggest locations for other people’s photos) and the increasing number of bespoke (and often paper-based) curatorial productions.

Brighton Digital Festival

September in Brighton is going to be ker-razy! Here’s a nice responsive holding page listing just some of the events that will be going on …dConstruct, Maker Faire, Flash On The Beach and more.

LukeW | An Event Apart: All Our Yesterdays

Luke’s notes from my talk about long-term thinking and online preservation at An Event Apart in Boston.

FamilySearch Shares Plans to Digitize Billions of Records Stored at Granite Mountain Records Vault - LDS Newsroom

How the Mormon Church are storing and preserving genealogical data inside a mountain.

Digital legacy: The fate of your online soul - tech - 02 May 2011 - New Scientist

The editor of New Scientist writes about deletionists and preservationists while adding his own personal poignant perspective.

One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age | Digging through the Geocities Torrent

A blog devoted to sifting through the gems in the Geocities torrent. This is digital archeology.

Google can’t be trusted with our books | Simon Barron | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

The threat to Google Videos shows businesses are not suitable cultural custodians — they can’t be held accountable to the public.

Story Matters

Magazine creators share their experiences of going digital.

Geek Ninja Battle Night | Stuff and Nonsense

Andy hammers home the benefit of a long-term format like HTML compared to the brittle, fleeting shininess of an ephemeral platform-specific app.

A Memory of Webs Past - IEEE Spectrum

A detailed look at how French archivists go about preserving websites.

Digitale data in gevaar! - Datanews.be

If you speak Flemish, you might enjoy this article based on a chat I had with a Belgium journalist.

If you don’t speak Flemish, well, just move along.

James Bridle on Phare Conference on Vimeo

Everything is worth preserving and protecting.

Jeremy Keith on Phare Conference on Vimeo

I answered a few questions right after giving my talk at the Phare conference in Ghent.

Long Bets - The original URL for this prediction (www.longbets.org/601) will no longer be available in eleven years.

This is my prediction. If you think it’s wrong, challenge it. We shall then partake in a wager.

Safe-keeping - Preoccupations

I wish I had a teacher like David when I was in school.

URLs, permalinks, archives … preservation. It all matters so very much.

Swiss Fort Knox

This is the stuff James Bond stories are made of. Except in this case, the fortress exists to store data rather than criminal masterminds.

TIME CAPSULE ..::HOME::..

On 18 May 2010, the Planets (Preservation and Long-term Access through Networked Services) Project deposited a time capsule in the vaults of datacenter, Swiss Fort Knox, in Saanen, Switzerland. It contained the decoding information for five digital file formats on media ranging from paper, microfilm and floppy discs to CDs, DVDs and USB sticks.

Open Planets Foundation | digital, forever

This consortium of institutions and universities came together “to provide practical solutions and expertise in digital preservation.”

PLANETS stands for Preservation and Long-term Access through Networked Services.

Main Articles: ‘Domesday Redux: The rescue of the BBC Domesday Project videodiscs’, Ariadne Issue 36

The fascinating story of the BBC Domesday Project and its subsequent fate.

The purpose of the CAMiLEON project was to demonstrate the value of emulation in preserving not only the data stored in obsolete systems but the behaviour of the systems themselves - in this case one of the very first interactive multi-media systems. The aim was to reproduce the original user experience as accurately as possible, and the CAMiLEON team argued that the slight faults in images as displayed from the analogue discs were a part of that experience, and should not be cleaned up as Andy proposed to do. Our aim was different - we wanted to preserve the data with the highest quality available consistent with longevity.

Link Rot « The Bygone Bureau

Brilliant; just brilliant. Connor O’Brien remains skeptical about the abstract permanence of “the cloud.” The observations are sharp and the tone is spot-on.

If your only photo album is Facebook, ask yourself: since when did a gratis web service ever demonstrate giving a flying fuck about holding onto the past?

Pulling the plug on the BBC’s internet history « 853

The BBC’s decision to actively delete old content (rather than simply allowing it to take up some space on a server) really gets my blood boiling.

The BBC asked the public to contribute their memories of World War Two to a website between June 2003 and January 2006…” and five years later some suit decided to bin them.

Bletchley Park and History Hackday Request | Amplified

Let’s make the Bletchley Park data machine-readable so we can start mining the stories they contain (like Old Weather).

Bletchley Park need help to catalogue and create a proper archive of these decrypts.

I want in!

Outline of a Digital Preservation System (Aaron Swartz’s Raw Thought)

Aaron Swartz gets technical about online digital preservation.

We Didn’t Stop The Fire. – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report

Jeffrey points out another point of failure in our online storage: the willingness of site owners to sell their product (and your data) to a big company for a quick payout.

Forever / from a working library

Mandy writes about digital preservation:

The technological means to produce an archive are not beyond our skills; sadly, right now at least, the will to do so is insufficient.

Home - LOCKSS

Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe — a digital preservation initiative based at Stanford.

Cyberspace When You’re Dead - NYTimes.com

An accurately-downbeat look at digital preservation.

ASCII by Jason Scott / Yahoo!locaust

A viciously accurate assessment of Yahoo’s scorched earth policy towards our online collective culture:

All I can say, looking back, is that when history takes a look at the lives of Jerry Yang and David Filo, this is what it will probably say: Two graduate students, intrigued by a growing wealth of material on the Internet, built a huge fucking lobster trap, absorbed as much of human history and creativity as they could, and destroyed all of it.

..about validating

An oldie but a goodie. This is why we have standards.

The Do Lectures | Craig Mod

A fantastic talk by Craig Mod on publishing, from this year's Do Lectures. I wish that the audio was available for huffduffing.

On Digital History- - Georgian London

Lucy Inglis, curator of Georgian London, on the role she and other bloggers play.

Does the Web remember too much — or too little? — Scott Rosenberg

Yes! Yes! Yes! An excellent fisking of that ridiculous New York Times article that confused problems in the present with data longevity.

Saving our digital heritage - Dan Gillmor - Salon.com

Dan Gilmore, reporting from a conference on digital preservation. I should pay attention to this

Digital Death Day

This is my kind of event. Where does your data go when you die?

Raiding Eternity - Myspace - Gizmodo

This is wonderful: sad, beautiful, and wonderful ...it's what I've been trying so hard to clumsily articulate. Read it. And smile. And weep.

droidMAKER: DROIDMAKER book now downloadable, FREE!

A free PDF of the inside story of George Lucas, his intensely private company, and their work to revolutionize filmmaking. Discover the birth of Pixar, digital video editing, videogame avatars, THX sound, and a host of other icons of the media age.

UXBri

The UX Brighton website is sporting a new lick of paint and looking rather lovely.

HOT SHOTS photography course with lomokev | Garage Studios

Lomokev is teaching photography in Brighton. Learn from the best.

Digital Web Magazine

With heavy heart, Nick announces the end of Digital Web magazine. It will be missed.

Brighton Girl Geeks

Geek girls of Brighton: don't miss Natalie's CSS talk in The Eagle on March 4th. Nat is the best front-end developer I know.

Jacob Nadal

The blog of the preservation officer at the University of California.

Giving back to the web community - Our Customers - Campaign Monitor

Organisers of BarCamps — and other geek gatherings — take note: Campaign Monitor will provide sponsorship in the shape of pizza and drink.

The Skiff - An intrepid little office in the heart of Brighton

Brighton has a new co-working space right 'round the corner from the Clearleft office: The Skiff.

Brighton Wifi Hotspots (and WEP/WPA passwords)

WiFi hotspots in Brighton (including passwords where required) courtesy of Josh.

cafe scientifique brighton

Philip Ball (author of the excellent Critical Mass) is coming to Brighton to speak at the Café Scientifique on the third Thursday of November. Excellent!

Brighton geek cafe

Trying to find the perfect geek venue for meetups, coworking, networking and boozing in Brighton. I love the smell of scenius in the morning.

BBC World Service - Find A Programme - Digital Planet

The BBC were at dConstruct. This podcast episode includes interviews with Steven Johnson, Aleks and the the Dopplr Matts.

10^0, 10^1, 10^2 predictions

Brian and Josh are organising a Long Bet style gathering for the day before dConstruct. To participate, choose a timescale and enter your prediction. What an excellent way to kick-start some discussion.

Hide and Seek Sandpit » Events

There will be an evening games in the foyer of the Clearleft office building on Thursday, August 21st.

Digital Web Magazine - Portable Social Networks, The Building Blocks Of A Social Web

Ben has written a superb article outlining the hows and whys of distributed social networks with hCard and XFN, finishing with an inspiring call to arms.

Web Use Project: Papers

A wonderful source of data on user behaviour and perceived skill levels online.

Olinda (Schulze & Webb)

The Olinda has arrived. I love the physical API.

The day the music died [dive into mark]

Excellent explanation of DRM by Mark Pilgrim, prompted by MSN Music's gunshot to the head.

Brighton Girl Geek: Competition - girl geek logo and slogan

Want tickets to dConstruct? If you're a girl geek, here's your chance.

BarCamp Brighton Blog » Blog Archive » BarCamp Brighton Logo

Here's the logo for BarCamp Brighton, taking place the day after dConstruct. Looking good.

£5 app

This has become a regular event here in Brighton. Developers get up and talk about cheaply-made apps. I want to try and get a slot sometime.

Digital Web Magazine - Five Pertinent Questions for John Allsopp

John answers some questions about microformats.

Digital Web Magazine - Redesigning the ExpressionEngine Site

A really nice article by Jesse Bennett-Chamberlain detailing the process behind a site design.

Digital Web Magazine - The Big Picture on Microformats

A great article by John Allsopp that serves as an excellent introduction to microformats.

The Man Who Shot Sin City

It sounds like Robert Rodriguez is capable of bringing Frank Miller's graphic novels to life.