Signs of Triviality

Opinions, mostly my own, on the importance of being and other things.
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Becoming Untumbled

I'm afraid I just don't get tumblr. And I tried! I guess I'm just not capable of focusing my social networking energy on more than twitter. Anyway, so I guess I've been doing it wrong: Look at the various lists of best tumblr blogs -- they include such wonderful gems as Kitties'n'Titties, Selleck Waterfall Sandwich and Kim Jong-Il Looking At Things, but what those really are not is... blogs. Call me old-fashioned, but back in my time, when we had to walk up-hill both ways through 3-meter high snowdrifts to carry our 6-bit codes from one computer to another, a blog contained actual content, written words, even. And that is what I had intended to use Tumblr for.

Well, no problem with that, really. I still can do that. Only, I've realized that since I don't use any of the "reblog", "like", or even "comment" features, I might as well just put content into simple static HTML pages -- yes, those still do work on the internets of 2012! -- and be done with it. And besides fitting in much more nicely with my curmudgeonly image of poopooing all this modern nonsense, this gets me something that I think is actually of some importance to me: persistence and control.

Harry Block / Woody
AllenI've had this website for almost 12 years now, with access to all content I ever put on there (or chose to delete). I see no reason to believe that I won't be running it in another ten years. But will Tumblr still be around in ten years? Will it still be a suitable platform for my content? Will I be able to access really old entries? Will links still work?

Consider Twitter: it is, apparently, impossible to retrieve messages older than 3,200 tweets ago, either via the API ("This method can only return up to 3,200 of a user's most recent statuses.") or even by painstakingly scrolling back down a user's timeline. While Twitter does, of course, still keep them, this means that in just a few months I won't be able to refer back to any of the brilliant twitticisms that I so regularly spout - inconceivable!

Now with Twitter this bothers me, but I trade ephemerality for the social network effects the service provides (and which I actually do "get"). And being a geek, I of course have a tool to fetch my twistory on a nightly basis via cron(8):

LAST=$(tail -1 ${FILE} | cut -f1 -d' ')
twistory -l -a ${LAST} -u jschauma | sort -n >> ${FILE}

So I'd like to actually be in charge of the content I create. And while I can see a certain irony in having friends follow me to Tumblr when I'm becoming untumbled, I've migrated all my Tumblr content to a much simpler "blog". It seems to just make more sense for me. Goodbye, Tumblr.

P.S.: Life imitates art dot tumblr dot com would be a good name for a band. (Yes, yes.)

March 17, 2012

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