Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,To the last syllable of recorded time;And all our yesterdays have lighted foolsThe way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!Life's but a walking shadow, a poor playerThat struts and frets his hour upon the stageAnd then is heard no more. It is a taleTold by an idiot, full of sound and furySignifying nothing.
— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 19-28)
“All Our Yesterdays” was what I had originally wanted to call this blog. It was the name of a particularly good episode on the original Star Trek. (Ok, must admit, I’m a Trekkie from way back.) In the end though, I decided on another name.
But an internet search of the title came up with a result that I found very interesting. It was the transcript of a 2011 presentation by Jeremy Keith on his web site at http://adactio.com/ (See articles/5176 - All Our Yesterdays). He raised the concern that “all our yesterdays” may not survive because there is no long term plan in computers or the web. He says that “when it comes to the stuff we put out there on the web, there’s this common perception that it’s written in stone. That once something is on the web, that’s it. It’s going to stay on the web.” But this ain’t necessarily so.
He raises some disturbing issues. What are the chances that your blog provider, or the site where you’ve stored all the photos of your kid, will be in operation in a year? In 5 years? In 10 years? Information on the web is not only impermanent, once there we have no real control over it. Look at the problems caused by the end of Google Reader to Geneabloggers. There are many more examples of websites that have come... and gone ... over the years. Are you going to trust your hopes and dreams, your memories to a third party service? Why would a free service care about your data?
Furthermore, will the format of your files be able to be read in the future? Will there be a program around to read the data? Or maybe the hardware will change. As an example, how many of you can read a 7" floppy disk, a 5.25" floppy disk, or even a 3.5" disk. Are we heading for “a digital Dark Age”.
Sure makes you think.