One of the really interesting uses for BitTorrent is archiving content. If a few people think a thing is important enough to keep seeding it, it will always be available to anyone who wants it. The people who are seeding can come and go. As long as there’s one person who’s holding a copy, it will be both preserved and made available. Thanks to nonprofits like ibiblio and the Internet Archive, we have the beginnings of serious perma-seeding infrastructure.
Webhosts come and webhosts go, but BitTorrent can be forever. A great example of that is the Archive Team’s torrent of all of Geocities (650GB compressed!). When Yahoo announced they were shutting down Geocities, Archive Team kicked into gear and saved the site for posterity. Geocities is a photo album of the web’s growth, starting when it was a toddler just learning to walk and going through to its awkward early teenage years. It’s a crucial part of the heritage of early “Digital Natives” (myself included), and an invaluable resource for people studying the way people and cultures acclimatized to the new model of the world we all live in.
It’s also a great resource for art. A favorite project of mine was “The Deleted City,” which took viewers on a little tour of the Geocities archive on a video monitor. The artist behind it has released a follow-up piece, making it an interactive tour.
“The Deleted City” is an artifact of the enabling power of BitTorrent as a decentralized storage/dissemination tool. It’s also really neat, and rather nostalgic for those of us who remember those very MIDIs. (This is from a world before MP3s were ubiquitous, if you can imagine that.)
BitTorrent CEO Eric Klinker discusses the impact of distributed computing on Internet sustainability. Originally published in Harvard Business Review, March 22, 2013.
An open, neutral Internet has been a force for sweeping social change: democratizing information, commerce, and access to jobs, triggering GDP growth and a rising standard of living. Our collective ability to equally access and innovate on Internet platforms, from search and social networks, to content and commerce sites, is fundamental to continued growth.
In today’s Friday Download: all things animal, with live shows from Animal Collective, Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad, and White Rabbits, antiquarian Bird-lore from the Audubon Society, and an audiobook version of Jack London’s White Fang. All courtesy of Internet Archive.
Ready to reconnect with your spirit animal? Read on for the download links.
One year ago today, we won a victory for Internet freedom. One week ago, we lost a hero of the open world. Foundational human rights – equality, expression – are more fragile than they should be. And it’s in this light, and with this knowledge, that we remember and honor the work of civil rights leaders. On Monday, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His landmark speeches are preserved and protected by the Internet Archive. And you can download them here.
Space. All those planets and stars, son. This week, we rummaged through the codes and stacks of the Internet Archive with the universe on our mind. We watched Buckminster Fuller explain it all. We went Around the World in 80 days. We got extraterrestrial with the Grateful Dead. We traveled with Dr. Doolittle. And we found out about a band with basically the best name ever: Flux Capacitor.
Thanks to everyone who’s tried BitTorrent Surf Alpha for all the early input and great feedback. We’re already hard at work addressing some of your questions. First up: Windows 8. Windows 8 restricts NPA APIs from being installed. However, BitTorrent Surf will work with Windows 8. Here’s what you need to do:
Certain things we take for granted. Certain things we can’t, anymore. Our world; our world wide web, remains challenged by issues of fragmentation and censorship. Our challenge, the one facing each and every one of us, as people of the Internet, remains: how do we hardcode these certain things, these certain freedoms, into our shared society?