Before I start on this entry, did I mention that Mad Mex has the best Margaritas ever… probably only about 20 times over. But any how, now that that is out of the way, on to the substance du jour.
I’ve now been on the web from about the time that it came around. I still remember the first day a friend of mine told me about this thing called Mosaic (this was back in 1994-95). he said that it combined text and images and you go to an address and it pulls the information each time. My first thought at the time (honestly) was what a utterly stupid concept, because each you have to get the information you have to go and get it. Seemed like a waste of bandwidth to me! What I was missing at the time and learn’t very quickly thereafter was the fact about the dynamic nature of information. Information changes. Every day, every hour, every minute. The tagline for the BBC News says it best: “Updated every minute of every day.” That in itself is a gargantuan task. I learnt about the dynamic nature of information and it became a passion. A blog is a form of dynamic information.
So of course when things are constantly changing we need a way to track that change. Well, earlier today my good old Q (who I’ve reference multiple times) shows me a site which is both a boon and a curse all in one. It’s called The Internet Archive Now, when I initially got introduced to the web, I created myself a vanity web-site like every other geek on the face of the earth. What initially started at sneaker.pc.cs.cmu.edu turned into www.sneaker.org.
I took down sneaker.org a while ago because I was ambivalent about posting personal information online (of course now I am at the other extreme where I post some of my inner most thoughts for public consumption — with the caveat that sometimes they are covered in a shroud such that only people really close to me or sometimes just I will know what I am talking about. To figure out the real meaning of it all it left as an exercise to the reader … damn I always wanted to say that! )
But there is a new peoblem emerging on the Net. And that problem is not of seeking, sorting or classifying information, but it is a problem of getting rid of information. The Net has a life of it’s own. And as Q put it earlier today, it is it’s own time machine. The Net captures all, the Net knows all. The Net is not a a network of wires, the Net is all the people connected to it. It is alive. Because the people are alive. I took down the old sneaker.org and led myself to believe that I had successfully eradicated it. But no. That doesn’t happen. because once something is posted on the Net, its traces are there to stay. The Internet Archive project is simply one such example which is a lot of fun and at the same time a scary experience. If you go there and put in any old URL, it will give you a historical snapshot of that site going back to sometime in 1996.
History is being made on the web. And it’s here to stay.
One of the “problems” that emerges from this of course is how do you eradicate certain information. There was a case recently that I heard on NPR where some California government agency posted all the birth, death and marriage records for all Californians on a website. And even though they may try and revoke that information now, it’s too damn late. Because if it’s posted on the web once, it will always be there. There is a huge opportunity in figureing out the solution to this problem… alas, I don’t any any ideas on where to start just yet.
Think about it… this blog entry is going to exist forever… because as soon as I hit the post and publish button, it will be cast into the books of web history….