Jul 28, 2023Liked by Justin Ling

I never want to die. I've got to see what's going to happen next forever.

Expand full comment
Jul 29, 2023Liked by Justin Ling

"Weird Little Magpie" is my new term of endearment.

Expand full comment

I'm happy to report that the Archives of the City of Ottawa has an open invitation to community groups who wish to abandon their web sites for Archives to take them over and preserve them. They want to go well beyond the "official papers" and keep a record of the "pulse of the community."

Myself, being of the old school, and a packrat, when moving from a house with a basement to a small apartment, offered dozens of boxes with catalogued content to the Archives, the result of 25+ years of community activism. This was gratefully accepted.

Expand full comment

Modern problems - caused by the staggering cheapness of storage. Without it, you'd be forced to toss stuff out, as with a full basement, and have developed skills for the tossing, by now.

We're all immensely spoiled by the exponential growth of storage matching the exponential growth of the hoarding. (Most of it photos that will never be looked at again.)

Much of the recent growth is not really the technology doubling over and over any more - it made storage cheaper to mass-produce it in 10X-Walmart-sized data centres near cheap hydropower, and also, we just spent more on it. (Society is spending more on computing, you just don't see it because you're paying in ad-views, not cash.)

But the hard-drive improvements are slowing, the value of mass-production of servers is nearing max, the money they can extract is flattening. Soon enough, you will be forced to choose between new material and old material, like all previous storage systems. (The book "Bibliophilia" notes the English gentleman, who purchased seven large houses to store his books. When he died, used prices were depressed for years.)

Expand full comment

Thinking that anything on the internet is permanent is kind of freaky. The whole endeavour, from monetizing data to using the web as a digital scrapbook freaks me out. I am of two minds of this and I am not smart enough to grasp any meaning out of it.

On one hand I do remember back in the early days of BB’s being horrified with the realization that my participation did not evaporate. Though as you talk about here, lots of that data has been lost now. It feels right if you think of all the lives which have been lead since the dawn of time, and that we only have a record of the smallest fraction of them. out side a meta sense, why would anyone care what a bunch of weirdo’s talked about of their specialized forum on 2001.

On the other hand, in my day job I am history and policy nerd, I am always trying to figure out why decisions where made, who made them and what was their rationale. I print documents and save emails in the hopes that one day any of it will be useful...


“Before I spill the things I mean to hide away

Or gouge my eyes with platitudes of sentiment

I'll drown the urge for permanence and certainty

Crouch down and scrawl my name with yours in wet cement”

Expand full comment

I think your thinking pretty well reflects mine. Intellectually, I know that things on the internet should be temporary. Yet in practice, I've always been keen to preserve everything. I think I expected our major platforms to have died away by now, taking everything with them.

Expand full comment