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bird poops on plum branch


Buster Benson

No advice column.

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just cause it's saved doesn't mean it has value
bird poops on plum branch
I've been archiving my Internet activity on my own server for a while now. I think I was one of the first blogs that aggregated data from all over the internet into one spot, but now it's all over the place. Today, the server that was collecting and storing all this information seemed to have disappeared due to a forgotten username, password, and a long expired credit card. Through some magic, I got it back, but I think I'm gonna take the sign as a reason to move it all to a bigger better happier server that will be up more often than not.

In the process, I've moved the database and cron script with all of my entries from the last almost 10 years (1st entry is from December 3rd, 1999). I lost my first year of activity from Diaryland because I got kicked off and it was all deleted. But, in hindsight, I think that's okay. Cause my early activity on the Internet was pretty angry and mean.

In any case, here's a breakdown of everything I've got saved so far:
| title                       | count |
| Flickr                      |  3809 | 
| Twitter                     |  1312 | 
| People Who've Found Me      |  1304 | 
| Typepad                     |  1288 | 
| Flickr Faves                |   576 | 
| 43 Things                   |   575 | 
| Live Journal                |   494 | 
| 43 Places                   |   426 | 
| All Consuming               |   372 | 
| Dodgeball                   |   314 | 
| The Robot Co-op             |   234 | 
| Del.icio.us                 |   195 | 
| Netflix                     |   183 | 
| Morale-O-Meter              |   167 | 
| Brightkite                  |   148 | 
| 43 People                   |   116 | 
| McLeod Residence Blog       |   115 | 
| Mutual Improvement          |    91 | 
| Upcoming                    |    67 | 
| Enjoymentland               |    65 | 
| Vox                         |    55 | 
| Should Do This              |    53 | 
| Vimeo Likes                 |    52 | 
| Tada List                   |    40 | 
| Facebook                    |    38 | 
| Space Tag                   |    34 | 
| Lists of Bests (incomplete) |    33 | 
| Vimeo                       |    21 | 
| Tumblr                      |    21 | 
| Good Ideas                  |    20 | 
| Odeo                        |    20 | 
| Tumblr                      |    15 | 
| Lists of Bests (complete)   |    15 | 
| One Offs                    |    15 | 
| Seattle Public Library      |    11 | 
| 30 Boxes                    |     8 | 
| Yahoo Answers               |     7 | 
| Yelp                        |     6 | 
| iLike                       |     5 | 
| Myspace                     |     1 | 
Now I gotta think about what I want to do with all this information.  People don't even really read this stuff anymore.  A lot of it is so old that there's no reason to really keep it around.  What should I do?  What's the future of all of our digitally stored ramblings?

Whatever the fate of my own crap, it's gonna go here:

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I say save it, though not necessarily in a publicly accessible place. One of my Pet Fears is the idea that in the distant future, there will be almost no record of us and our ordinary lives because we create so few tangible, physical artifacts. No one writes letters, all of our photos live on our computers. And of course, we're moving farther away from the tangible (analog?) all the time.

Admittedly, this is a knee jerk reaction and I haven't really thought it through. And you keeping your old Internet Ephemera doesn't really address what I'm saying.

I guess all I'm really saying is that my first reaction is to conserve rather than delete.

Oh, I wouldn't delete it. Yesterday, when I thought it was deleted, though, I didn't really mourn it a whole lot. So I'm somewhere in the middle. I will find something interesting to do with it...

And, regarding your pet fear. We have plenty of tangible artifacts. Those photos and letters from the past are a tiny fraction of the artifacts left by the past, especially since they're all only a couple hundred years old at the least.

Our plastic bags and batteries will be our legacy.

I'm planning on etching the contents of my LJ onto stone tablets just in case.

I'm expecting a religion to spring up around them in about a thousand years.

A thousand years? Heck, I'm ready to join your religion today! Especially if you tell me more about this New Regime stuff.

In the short term it's mostly about managing anxiety and hypomania, as well as getting a better handle on rather basic Activities of Daily Living stuff (laundry, cooking, cleaning, getting to work on time, getting enough sleep, etc). Exercise. Making lists, lists are very helpful. I should probably pay more attention to the 43 Things account I set up months ago and promptly ignored, in fact.

The best thing about my job right now is starting the day with a concrete set of tasks to accomplish, and methodically taking care of them.

In the long term, I want the things that most people want. Happiness, security, intellectual stimulation, strong connections to the community at large and individuals in particular. This is all pretty nebulous and undefined. An actual, solid, mature romantic relationship with a woman would be nice. I've never really had that.

Basically, I've been kind of a mess since leaving early childhood (more details can be provided offline if you're curious), and I'm only just starting to get going with the business of actually living.

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I'll definitely save it. But what will I DO with it?

revitalizing microfilm

print it out into a set of volumes with very small type?

this makes me realize that none of my internet is on my own space/disks/cloud/whatever. you could make this into a little piece of software for incompetent wannabe internet packrats like me.

Re: revitalizing microfilm

I did make such a tool. I was archiving entries for a bunch of people for a while, but nobody really knew what to do with the archives, so they weren't upset when I stopped archiving.

The problem, though, is that it's a lot easier to harvest online content when it's fresh, and accessible via RSS feeds (that only have the 20 or so most recent entries), and much more difficult to go back and get the full catalog. I wrote specific tools to do it for Flickr and Typepad, and had previously done it for other online blogging tools I had made, but it's not fun.

The best we could do is begin archiving your stuff as of today.

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I'd be pretty sure you'd want it for your own archival purposes, no? From a useful perspective: to have a searchable history of your life. Electronic memory instead of brain memory. From an emotional perspective: to go back and look through at some point in your life. I mean, do tangible photo albums serve some purpose other than that? No, but we keep them around anyway to page through and show people down the road.

Beside, what's the actual cost/space requirement to keep this stuff around? Pretty small, right? I mean, you don't have to make it all user-friendly and publicly viewable, but it'd be pretty easy to keep it around somewhere in a Buster-readable format, wouldn't it?

I'll definitely keep it. While I'm no packrat, I like to store things that take no space.

What I'm sort of interested in exploring though is ways to bubble up interesting trends from this. Maybe explore Markov chains and the ability to pre-write entries. Or pass them all through a word analysis filter to see when certain words started being used. Or just put a really interesting search engine on top of it. With lots of graphs and things. A living time machine.

I don't really know. But I am interested in thinking about it for a bit!

Do an "on this day"?

Photojojo has a service where every month they'll send you some of your flickr photos from last year. It's every two weeks, which seems to be a pretty good frequency so that I am pleasantly surprised every time I get one.

One of my coworkers used to have an "on this day" on her public personal blog (her blog is actually not public anymore) that would show posts from the same day from the past few years.

Or to imitate the associative and random nature of memory, have some script that will look at your current output and send you something related from your past.

Re: Do an "on this day"?

I've got that on bustermcleod.com already. :) I do check it pretty often. But it seems more like a way to read random old entries more than a correlation to the day...

Re: Do an "on this day"?

ha, of course you already do it :)

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I'm new here, just wanted to say hello and introduce myself.

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