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I am interested in preserving my own history.

One of the reasons Aquarionics is hosted on my own server is because when I started this up – and the site in one form or other would be qualified to drive next year – things like WordPress.com and other blog hosting platforms didn’t exist. No Medium, no Livejournal, even. Later, as these things existed, didn’t move over because I like the idea of always owning where my words are.

This is bollocks, of course. I’ve poured hundreds of thousands of words into Usenet, OpenDiary, Livejournal, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr… A lot of it I couldn’t recover without a fuckton of scraping. Some of it I’d even want to. One of the useful things about Social Networks, as opposed to websites, is that you can generally restrict the people who can easily see what your posting (and when you’re posting it) without requiring every friend to have an account on every other friend’s site, so over the last ten years or so a lot of my less public  words went into friends-locked or custom-grouped posts. Last year I went as far as moving Aquarionics over to be hosted by tumblr, on the basis that I was going to be able to update it more often. After six months where I didn’t, it moved back.

But my digital footprint is part of my memory. It forms an external resource for “When was it exactly when I went to the Nottingham AFP meet and ate cinnamon pancakes” as well as “How long ago did I buy my first smartphone?”

I built Lifestream a while ago based on a similar concept on Jeremy Keith’s site, swallowing my media consumption and output – lastfm, twitter etc. – with an “ajax” interface to view it all. Over the last few years the concept of the code has expanded to attempt to consume every site I use that has an API, and display some of them on a website.  And when I say everything, I mean from my twitter stream to my Steam badges, though my last known location and my email volume. Upcoming modules include whenever I boil the kettle. Obviously not all of this is put publicly on the site. Locations are only given to 100m, not given for the last X hours, and displayed as rough “heat maps” of places I’ve been recently. I’m oversharing, but I’m not entirely crazy.

But for all the things I’ve got, I’m missing loads. Most of it’s bullshit, and the effort of reclaiming it’s more than it is worth (Usenet, primarily). But the two big blocks of things I’m missing are a few years of Opendiary archives before it shut down, and the blog entries on what I’m working on, what tech I’m using, what I’m thinking about for the last four years or so. And those I’m missing because I simply didn’t write any of them.

1 comment
  1. Holy crap! I’ve been thinking of doing something like this as well! I wrote something of the sort ages ago, but it was limited to aggregating text/image content only (twitter, wordpress, flickr, etc). And lately, with more and more interesting APIs being available I’d been thinking of revisiting the idea. I shall have a gander at your code… 😀

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