I love the record of thinking and linking that now stretches back 12 years, 5 months, 4 days on this blog.

I don’t like the breakages.

A lot of the links on this blog are to the blogs of the school I used to work in in Glasgow, Sandaig Primary. The site is now gone. A lot of it is in the internet archive. I had hoped that the Amber plugin would sort that, but since the domain is now up for sale, the links lead to the sale page.

I could go through the posts and fix all the links. I guess someone with more understanding than me could do it in the database. I’ve opted for a cruder solution. I’ve added a bit of JavaScript to the blog which changes all links to Sandaig to the archive.

jQuery(document).ready(function() {
// Stuff to do as soon as the DOM is ready;

jQuery( "a[href^='http://www.sandaigprimary.co.uk']" )
this.href = this.href.replace(/^http:\/\/www.sandaigprimary.co.uk/, "https://web.archive.org/web/http://www.sandaigprimary.co.uk/");


This has probably broken something else and certainly is adding to the pile of oddities that I’ve added to the blog. But hopefully It means that links on posts like this: Impermanence and Comments will work.

I quite often read above my understanding age, which is why Hapgood is in my RSS feeds. The other day I read: Connected Copies where I read this:

the future of the web involves moving away from the idea of centralized, authoritative locations and into something I call “connected copies”.

This lead me to AMBER where it says:

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society wants to keep linked content accessible.

Whether links fail because of DDoS attacks, censorship, or just plain old link rot, reliably accessing linked content is a problem for Internet users everywhere.

Having blogged for a while I am very aware of this problem, links I’ve made have fallen away. My bookmarks are full of holes.

Just the other day I linked to a couple of posts here that were made this month. They have already gone.1

Preserve Links Now. The plugin added this to my post editor.
Preserve Links Now. The plugin added this to my post editor.

I’ve installed the Amber WordPress Plugin here and set it to use the Internet Archive to ‘save links’ when I make them. I could have chosen to save them here, but I wonder if that could get messy?

The other thing that crosses my mind is what if people want to rub out something they have published. When a post is taken down deliberately, should I be archiving it?  The posts I mentioned above were deleted by the author (I presume). Should I then make public copies available?  That is what would have happened if I’d had the amber plugin working at the time.

I don’t know the answer to these questions or how the plugin works, but I’ll keep it running here for a while and look out for broken links.

After hitting the button
After hitting the button I get a list of links preserved. Presumably on the Internet Archive.


Featured image Flickr photo Public Domain: Image from page 28 of “The effect of black rot on turnips, a series of photomicrographs, accompanied by an explanatory text” (1903) | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

1. These links were to posts Dean Groom made about Microsoft acquiring Minecraft EDU. Strangely they have persisted in my RSS reader. I’d recommend a more recent one that is still there: Media Literacy: 5 key concepts to teach this year | Playable
Also on:

Bonus link the CC0 image at the top of this post is from FindA.Photo which looks like a useful service that searches across a few other sites. Fré Sonneveld

From my Pinboard

Featured image, public domain: Minimalist Chain | Flickr – Photo Sharing!


From Pinboard: bookmarks for johnjohnston for the most part.

Some links I’ve Pinboarded this week:

Some recent links from my Pinboard. Mostly related to open resources.


Some things I’ve added to Pinboard recently.

I woke up the other morning morning to a bit of serendipity in my RSS reader that cheered me up.
First I read Alan’s great post Don’t Be a Platform Pawn. Next up was Marco Arment Linking and quoting Waffle on Social Media which quoted in turn Community Services which pointed to What’s a Twitter Timeline?. On the back of these posts and more Doug Belshaw posted Twitter, algorithms, and digital dystopias (I got the last link via twitter, but it arrived in my rss reader too).

At the heart of all this the current worries about what you see and who curates your reading. It is also linked in my mind at least, to worries about who owns the space you publish in and the idea around being the product if you are not the customer. It cheers me to see so much pushback against the commercial monoliths.

I’ve read and even posted about this before, as have many others, but it bears rethink or more mulling, it is pertinent again with the redefinition of the twitter timeline and various facebook problems that are popping up.

Doug points out:

they need to provide shareholder value which, given the web’s current dominant revenue model, is predicated on raising advertising dollars. Raising the kind of money they need depends upon user growth, not necessarily upon serving existing users. After all, if they’ve provided the space where all your friends and contacts hang out, you’re kind of locked in.

And we are ‘kind of’, we can also use a mix of tools and spaces and give them up when the discomfort is to great or the utility is poor. Doug has given up RSS in favour of twitter, G+ and facebook. I’ve stuck with it along with scanning twitter (and harvesting links to my RSS reader) and a smidgen of G+. I lack Doug’s guilt at a pile of unread links in my feedreader and I am more than happy to mark all as read now and then.

I think both Alan and Doug would agree that it is ok to use and be used by the silos as long as you are aware and the positives outweigh the negatives?

What is great about Alan’s post is he gives you recipes for how he gains the benefit of flickr, twitter and the like by having control over them, there are a lot of different recipes and links to follow. This presumes that you will use the tools with care, though and a willingness to learn. I’d argue that it is also good fun. here are a few tips of my own.

Know RSS from your elbow

RSS is still useful, an old trailing edge technology I still find my RSS reader better that twitter for finding interesting things to read. Perhaps because things pile up rather than steam by, perhaps because I follow around 2000 folk but have only a couple of hundred feeds or so in my reader.

One of the things I look forward to each week is Doug’s newsletter, Things I We Learned This Week. It is an email list, but I subscribe in my RSS reader, I’ll leave any readers to work out how this is done:-) I’ve also got siftlinks hooked up to my twitter account, this give me a feed of tweets with links from my timeline, it also gives me a feed for my favourites with links. This is great, I use the favourite button in twitter to give feedback to folk (I liked this) and to ‘save’ interesting things. IFTT has several recipies that will convert stuff to RSS so you may find something useful there.

The nice thing about RSS is you can move from laptop to desktop to mobile and keep reading the content. The other major factor for me is how inoreader (web) and FeeddlerPro (iOS) allow me to post links to twitter, tumblr and more importantly to pinboard.

Email is still interesting

I go out of my way to get Doug’s mail in my feed reader because it is content I want to hold onto for a while, but there are an increasing number of email services that provide reading, link or a mix, katexic clippings being a favourite example at the moment. Email lists are also a great way to get information pushed to you from a group.

Play with new things

Along with the old trailing edge technology.

As twitter and facebook and flickr evolve watch out for the new things that are popping up all over the place, I am currently kicking the tyres of Fargo, known and keeping half a eye on Little Facebook Editor. Both known and Little Facebook Editor can post to silos and other spaces, WordPress for LFE and known published to itself and optionally twitter, flickr and Facebook. I am pretty sure that I’ll not adopt these tools for major stuff anytime soon, but it is good to keep up with some different ways of doing thing.

Update, I didn’t post this yesterday because I got distracted by MDwiki, and ended up building a quick test wiki in my dropbox.