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January 28, 2016

Keep the Web unbroken, with Amber

When sites go down, they don’t take the links to them with them. So, your posts now point to 404s. That’s not just an inconvenience. It’s Web entropy and over time it will render the Web less and less useful and even less intelligible.

Amber fights Web entropy. It’s a plugin for WordPress or Drupal that automatically takes a snapshot of whatever you’re linking to. If the linked site goes down — or is taken down by a government that doesn’t like what it’s saying — your readers will still be able to read what was there when you linked to it.

For example, this is a page that I posted and then took down. It was here: http://toobigtoknow.com/amberSample.html. It’s not there now. But if you hover over the link, Amber shows you what you’d otherwise be missing.

Amber’s pedigree literally could not be better. It’s a project from the Berkman Center, from an idea cooked up by Jonathan Zittrain and Tim Berners-Lee. It is a fully distributed system, thus helping to re-decentralize the Web, although you can opt to store the page images at sites like the Internet Archive, Perma.cc, and Amazon AWS.

What are you waiting for?

 


 

If you install Amber and it’s not working, make sure that you’ve created a folder called “amber” in your WordPress “uploads” directory: /wp-content/uploads/amber.

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January 29, 2014

San Francisco and London

Here are two old films of city streets. (Thank you, Andrew Weinberger! And, yes, he is my brother.)

San Francisco, 1906:

London, 1927, in color, thanks to Claude Friese-Greene :

(Wikipedia explains that Friese-Greene exposed each alternate frame through two different color lenses.)

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