It’s a little like the old time warp, having said which I confess I never really bothered to get my head around those puzzles about meeting yourself in another time. Anyway, a little more than a year ago, and inspired by one day at a time. That anniversary passed on 18 July, but I couldn’t easily celebrate it with a blog post because in a sense it hasn’t passed yet., I set out to restore my previous online self,
That is because while on holiday during June and July, I made a conscious decision not to harsh my mellow by even attempting to keep up to date. I resumed when we got back home, on the day in question a month ago, as it were. So I am still a week or so away from closing the circle. As I said when I began, though, “I would revisit the past 18 years of my life, which might be a bonus”. And it was. For one thing, I realised quite how inane many early blog posts were, no more than self-indulgent navel-gazing about the problems with keeping my site spiffy and performant. Like, who cares? But I also surfaced some things that I had quite forgotten about and that I remain quite pleased with.
Some are trivial remembrances, like the fact that it was Aaron Swartz who first prompted me actually to embark on Shangri-La as food control. I also failed to note my IndieWeb anniversary on the day itself.1
But there are also more substantive things that could do with a fresh airing. Sometimes I have indeed recognised them in the here and now, or linked to them from a monthly round-up, but usually I just put them back into their correct place in the timeline secure in the knowledge that someone may, just possibly, stumble on them there.
I was reminded forcefully of this by a post I brought in yesterday (from July 2008) in which I mused that:
[I]t would be really neat to have a random language generator that would take the topic at hand and, using what had already been written on the subject, would spew out some random text that was close enough to what I wanted to say that I would be able to edit it into shape.
And here we are today, with machine learning engines capable of delivering rather good prose based on a prompt. The key, of course, is that these are not random. They have been trained, whereas 14 years ago most of the chatterbots were randomly sampling from a finite corpus of utterings. I have not played with any of these engines myself, but I would bet that my musings could now be real.
There are some themes that run through my more extended posts, and along the way I thought of adding a new kind of sorting principle, maybe something like a topic. I could set myself the task of reviewing all posts above a certain length and trying to decide on a limited set of topics, which I could then aggregate and offer as a collection.
There is also another website I created that deserves to see the light of day once more. I could do that one day at a time, and with ClassicPress in existence it might not even be that difficult.
In other words, no lack of things to keep me busy.
In a sense, of course, given that this site has always existed on my own domain, my IndieWeb anniversary is actually the date of my first published blog post, which is irretrievable and dates to early 2003. ↩
Webmentions allow conversations across the web, based on a web standard. They are a powerful building block for the decentralized social web.