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Confessions of a Disk Cracker: the secrets of 4am.
"As of February 2018, 4am has deprotected 1673 Apple II software titles, and that number is still climbing."
apple  cracking  history  piracy  preservation 
4 days ago by grahams
How Long Can Our Content Last? • Robin Rendle
But the biggest flaw with all this digital preservation stuff isn’t HTML or CSS in my opinion. It’s the concept of a domain that we rent. Today we borrow spaces on the web and put up our flimsy little flags on top. And then the links get lost in a shuffle between apartments or jobs, between marriages or administrations. Or when someone accidentally unplugs something. Or, tragically, if someone dies.
web  archives  preservation 
8 days ago by madamim
Historic preservation in DC needs reform – Greater Greater Washington
DC is undoubtedly a historic place, and it is essential that we use the tools we have to protect that history. However, DC is also a growing place, and a number of historic preservation cases and debates have revealed a preservation system in need of reform.
housing  preservation 
11 days ago by nelag
Twitter’s Archive (by Adam Hodgkin) | Medium
I've been curious about the Library of Congress' Twitter archive for some time. This piece by Adam Hodgkin (following the Library's decision to limit its scope rather than collect all public posts indiscriminately) discusses a few points of ethical and academic interest.

One point that interests me is the matter of deleted and private tweets, the changing status of which is controlled by the user in the Twitter portal – but is, for now, immutable in the Library's archive before it has the resources to deal with the data. Hodgkin quotes from a white paper published by the Library:
Three priorities have guided the Library’s work to provide access to the Twitter collection: respect the intent of the producers of the content; honor donor (Twitter) access requirements; and manage taxpayer-provided resources wisely.

Hodgkin aptly points to an event occurring at the time he was writing, when Toby Young was deleting thousands of old tweets that were damaging his political career and reputation. (I've seen a number of these tweets as screenshots online; I think Young was attempting damage control when all hope for hiding this shameful corpus was already lost.) Whether or not one thinks throwaway comments he expressed informally (albeit publicly by a public figure) are relevant to his suitability for a political appointment, I think that we can consider these tweets within the bounds of public interest – yet more so are the tweets of Donald Trump, which Hodgkin notes are being archived by a programmer called Brendan Brown.

Hodgkin writes that "we should welcome the fact that a very substantial corpus of social media data has been preserved. Nothing comparable will emerge from Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or Pinterest." It might be said that lots of this information is the modern equivalent of personal letters and snapshots, which have always been the responsibility of individuals to keep or discard privately, but we have seen cases when this information was unexpectedly torn from our hands, such as when the 'new' MySpace emerged with the bulk of its old personal communication removed in 2013. On MySpace, I have found that most old photos were migrated, but videos and audio are no longer playable; archives of blogs can be requested in spreadsheet format, but most regrettably, all private messages have been deleted. (I remember saving a few messages many years ago, perhaps retained on an old disc or drive somewhere, but was certainly not comprehensive in doing so.) One article ( rather hyperbolically compared this to the destruction of Penn Station, but quite rightly criticised MySpace's irresponsibility in, without warning, destroying "critical records of events of a decade or so ago", information of future historical interest; the article's author, Ian Milligan, called for us all to "demand better stewardship of our collective works."

I'm making an effort to privately (and ethically) retain an archive of online materials that might be lost due to the changes or closures of portals, or the whims of their users. I do fear the loss of my own and others' digital works, however trivial – I'm even sad to have lost crappy juvenilia that only existed on now-corrupt discs. (I also lament forgetting the sources of interesting information, which is one reason for maintaining this Pinboard account, however sporadically.) For my creative works, I'm looking into durable long-term archival formats: MDISC DVDs and BDs seem to have potential.

Yet, whilst not overly concerned by my online privacy and security, I have been trying to be more careful about what information I share. This also concerns the accessibility of historical material: old blogs, forum and social media posts, even teenage personal websites. I've not got much to worry about – certainly nothing nearly so damaging that it would require the help of 'reputation manager'. I can delete some old accounts, posts and media, make my old Livejournal private, and exclude embarrassing pages from the WayBack Machine. Some things are probably buried forever in crawls and caches, potentially retrievable now or in the future. I sympathise with 'the right to be forgotten', concomitant with my belief in reform and forgiveness; a simple statement from a Time article ( resonated with me:
You were a different person when you joined Twitter. If you were below the age of 20, it’s possible that you said so many cruel, vapid and ignorant things that there is simply no salvaging your younger digital self. You can wipe this person from Twitter’s record with a few clicks.

This is tricky: the balance between the desires for transparency and accountability alongside privacy and freedom to reform. What does a person have a right to delete? What do other people (individuals with stakes in the data, as well as the public, and posterity) have a right to retain?

If the Library of Congress makes accessible tweets that are now private or have been deleted, even in a limited fashion for academics, it is not honouring the privacy policies that Twitter provide for users: that is, personal control of, and responsibility for, one's own public data. Sometimes the public interest might outweigh the gravity of this breach, but I think that many users (myself included) might, quite justifiably, feel that their ability to make reasoned choices based upon the information provided to them – their personal autonomy – has been violated.
twitter  privacy  media  preservation  data  freedom  myspace 
14 days ago by killjoy
Working with the Whitney’s Replication Committee | The New Yorker
Ben Lerner on the new challenges presented to museum conservators by works of art made with technologies like 3D printing, and more generally the difficulty of drawing a line between repair or restoration and re-creation.
science  art  preservation  museums  technology 
26 days ago by johnmfrench

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