Writing my “10 years after Reboot” post yesterday afforded me a good opportunity to discover how much of the web gets broken after a decade of being left fallow. Here’s what I learned:
- While this weblog has been humming along since 1999, during the conversion from a homebrew blogging system to Drupal in 2009 I didn’t migrate the “enclosures” field I had in the old system, which meant that the audio attachments to posts like this were missing. Fortunately the filesystem they were saved to is still under my control, so I tracked them all down and moved them into Soundcloud and updated the posts. As there are others posts that are similarly-affected, I should really write a script to do a wholesale migration of attachments.
- While I’ve been posting photos to Flickr since that same month, June 2005, that I went to Reboot for the first time, it wasn’t until after I returned from Europe that I started in earnest. Before then I was using Gallery, running on my own server, and when I shut Gallery off later, I didn’t migrate the photos. And somehow that part of the filesystem went missing in the intervening years. Fortunately, deep inside the iPhoto library on my MacBook Air I found the 309 photos I took from June 7 to 13, 2005 with my Canon Powershot S100, and I uploaded them to Flickr for posterity.
- The Reboot website got rebuilt for every succeeding conference, while there’s an “archive” page for Reboot 7, there’s no other trace of that year’s conference on the contemporary site. Fortunately, by following a pointer to the URL of the main Reboot 7 page on Jason Calacanis’s website, I was able to find an October 2005 snapshot at the Internet Archive. Alas almost all of the links on that snapshot are broken. Perhaps another archive exists elsewhere?
- A good example of why putting digital assets inside The Internet Archive is a good idea is that audio recordings of many of the Reboot 7 session are still there: here and here.
- YouTube went online, in beta, only a few months earlier, and the notion of “web video” at the time was almost completely out of the realm of the possible for regular everyday people. But there is an archive of the chat with Doug Engelbart in The Internet Archive. Which is a fantastic artifact and something everyone should watch. (There’s an audio-only version as well).
- Because I started using Plazes during the conference, I have a much more detailed log of my comings and goings over the week I was in Copenhagen than I would have had otherwise.
The greatest asset to my archival research was that time of my life, the spring and summer of 2005, being the high-point of my blogging volume: I wrote 850 posts that year, and was experimenting with with personal podcasting (after recording the first episode of Live from the Formosa Tea House the September before). I was also relatively disciplined with categorizing the posts I wrote here, so I found a rich Reboot7 tag when I went looking yesterday.
In retrospect I wish I’d taken more photographs of people rather than of Danish buildings. I wish I’d kept up my early-trip habit of reflection-through-podcasting, as I would like to hear myself ruminating on the conference after it happened in the same style as I did before. But, when all is said and done, there’s was a healthy enough collection of writing, audio, video and photographs to recall enough of the details of the event to memorialize it.