yeah… ever since the cloud came out I’ve been ringing the bells about just this problem. AOL forums: 20 years? gone over night. Geocities? Gone. [a lot backed up by others at the end thankfully]. Someday Facebook will be gone. And free blog hosting sites? They’ll be the first to be canned.
Even if you pay, there’s no guarantee. Cloud is great while you’re working on stuff but for long term storage, you can’t depend on too many places.
I trust Internet Archive. It’s their mission. So that’s one place.
I ABHOR lost data, whether my own or somebody else’s.
I’ve been backing up everything I can find from myself to http://icopiedyou.com – as a consequence, interestingly, my google results have radically changed, as it’s a low scoring site yet it has all the same information properly dated.
But, I don’t care. I download a backup of the SQL database and the lastest conversion to CSV (my favorite old-school format) was about a month ago.
It’s not that anything I’ve done has much historical significance over 27 years online, but it’s _mine_ and nobody else’s.
I’ve lost a lot of information from the 90s and early 00s that I just can’t find. Old mailing lists whose archives were long ago deleted and such. A few I’ve gotten back with appeals to sysadmins with connections. But it’s really maddening how the Internet is disappearing before our eyes and we don’t see it.
I made this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqw9RAeoGkk to capture my feelings about the Internet disappearing a few weeks ago. It’s a map of the whole Internet, and knowing how sites come and go… this universe will change. Information will be lost and gone. Structural changes, corporate takeovers, so much will no longer be. Now that we’ve moved so much to apps, it’s even more difficult, as information is held in proprietary databases without the benefit of the transparency of web, so when those companies fold, yet more information will be gone.
Thankfully there are ongoing efforts to save data before it is gone but they won’t be able to do it all. What we’re left with is whatever is in vogue at the time.
Hardest hit was a HD I babied as it had most my stuff from the 90s in it including a carefully prepared 2.1G (max file size) Outlook PST that contained EVERYTHING from my workplace. It was my portfolio, and also as I used it for mailing lists and much of my engaging online, the Sent folder was my main focus.
2002. Even in 2002 I was concerned about data loss.
One day, around 2004, the motherboard refused to work anymore. So, I carefully took it out, set it aside for “someday”. Someday I’d get a case.
2014, 10 years later, I got an external HD case. I used it to restore older HDs, newer HDs and it was great. But this one special one would not cooperate. It’s still a dead duck. I suspect it wasn’t the motherboard that fried but the HD circuitry. I know it’s possible to restore it even still with some surgery. But it just bothers me that it sits there, untouchable at the moment. Yet, it’s not as bad as wiped servers that are far away. AOLs forum archives probably bothers me the most. 2007, they wiped them overnight with no warning. to put it bluntly, it was a dick move. I know it’s impossible to “save it all” but i care about data the way a Christian may care about lost soul, or an animal activist cares about a lost puppy.
Oh well, at least it was cathartic talking about it. I feel the guy’s pain that is going through this: that feeling of banging your head against a wall when there’s something that’s YOURS and you can’t get near it… or know if it even exists anymore.