More thoughts on data immortality

Ok… I’ve finally cracked – and have gone over to Linux, because Windows is just too slow, and too frustrating… and too fuckin ugly and evil. The new salvo of Windows advertising where they try to get you to host “Windows 7” parties was just too much. I never want to have anything to do with these people ever again. Charlie Brooker summed it up best “it induces an entirely new emotion: a blend of vertigo, disgust, anger and embarrassment which I like to call “shitasmia”. It not only creates this emotion: it defines it. It’s the most shitasmic cultural artefact in history”

Away, away…

To Linux/Ubuntu : you can boot into linux from a usb memory stick now. It’s really easy – and a different world. Everything is nice… and free and easy. Everything is there to help you, rather than confining you and containing you with… fine-print and THREATS. I also installed vBulletin recently – a paid package… honestly, it’s was like being a sheep in a cattle-run, being barked at on all sides by mad dogs with mad, frightening faces made of buzzing white-noise of legal-speak.

So anyway, what it has meant is that I have finally gotten round to backing up EVERYTHING. Several decades of photos. All of it, all uploading to the cloud as we speak. It’s going to take days.

90s 014

And out of this, a couple of things have become apparent.

1) “losing photos” is less of a problem than forgetting you ever had them.

2) most of it’s shit. You wouldn’t think twice if you never saw it again

3) some of it though, takes you back. Some of it is pricelessly valuable… which raises this other Big Problem…

4) The biggest problem. Not of losing photos, not of not being able to find them… or forgetting you had them. The biggest loss is not taking them in the first place.

One of the jobs of the transition generations – the early 21st century isn’t just to create data – to bear witness to their lives, but to digitise that of the 20th… and previous generations. I think last year, there was more photographs uploaded to Flickr than had actually been taken in the entire history of photography previous to this.

This is normal – it’s how it should be. It does my head in how much has been lost. Sometime soon I’m going to try to connect with other people to restore as much of our own digitised lives as possible… but… it’s like finding scraps of photos after a fire.

ps: That photo is my mate Adi, backstage at The Riverside in Newcastle sometime in the early 90s.

It’s worthy of note because the walls had years and years of graffiti from touring bands – and had become something of a national treasure. Nirvanna had tagged it for example. A lot of people played there.

Anyway, eventually this band called the Teenage Fanclub went all art-rock on it, and instead of adding their graffiti, turned up with paint and rollers and completely redecorated it. All those moments were lost like tears in rain.