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    Honestly, who in their right mind works in any business creating purely digital works and doesn’t keep a personal copy?

    I mean, one of the primary benefits of working with digital content is the extreme ease with which you can make copies. If you’re a writer, either of prose or code, why wouldn’t you keep copies of things you made and are proud of?

    For example, I keep copies of my code in a personal repository, so I can look through it and see how I solved a particular issue in the past. It’s also a convenient way of keeping track of what you’ve done in the past, in case you want to summarize your experience. It’s so easy to forget things without having some catalog to go through.

    The temporary nature of online hosting or publishing is not a new thing. This story has been told many times before. People in industries exposed to this problem should be aware of the issue by now, and act accordingly.

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      I’m starting to think I want a browser that stores my complete history (without videos or the like). I’m already downloading every page I visit, and the storage requirements for text are tiny by modern standards. All too often I want to cite or link to some page, months or years later, only to discover that it’s gone.

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        This is one of the great things about the Pinboard bookmarking service; if you pay for the $25/year (IIRC) premium service, it will crawl and store every page you bookmark.

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          Is there a way to export those saved crawls and keep a copy locally? I’d feel a bit more comfortable with ultimate control over my archive, even if I currently have faith that pinboard will stick around.

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          You could make your browser cache $LARGE_MB so it hopefully doesn’t clear too often or at all and then make a backup of it every week. Unfortunately it would not have an index, but you could grep it or sort by size to find your largest image/audio/video files. I used to do more cache diving when I had dial up.

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            The Perma.cc site provides this sort of service - it’s aimed at maintaining information about online sources that are cited.

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              I wanted this and tried to write a Chrome extension to do it but got stuck on https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=104058 (fetching the response body)

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                I’ve always thought that URL shortening services should give an option to serve a cached copy instead.

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                I’d love to keep copies of code I wrote for former employers, but in the current legal environment, I’m afraid to. If I go back to some of that code to remind myself of how I solved a particular problem once, and then I solve a similar problem in a similar way for my current employer, am I opening myself (or even my current employer) up to a lawsuit? Or, worse, a criminal charge of some kind? Sergey Aleynikov went to jail for doing pretty much exactly this on some bullshit trade secrets charge.

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                  Yes. I’m aware of this issue. I just chose to ignore it. I never take large or recognizable parts of my previous commercial work, and I never copy code to a new project verbatim (if the source is not owned by me).

                  I think this is fair, and I’m fairly convinced this is not provable by any previous employer to be infringing on any of their copyright.

                  I also make sure I don’t copy the work in a way they can legally intercept (where I live, an employer cannot easily & legally eavesdrop on your personal communications, not even on your company email).

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                  What you say makes sense, but it also ignores the larger issue — so, you do save all your work locally, but how exactly do you save (and present) the proof that it’s been published? Being published online also means that the work has generated some comments; if you’re doing work-for-hire as in the original article, you can’t exactly own the comments and all the jazz, too, right?

                  This is also one of the issues with the closed-source software — outside of the org it’s written in, you most likely have no proof that you ever wrote any of that (well, outside of the being familiar with it, and making some seemingly intelligent discussions about it, with a future interviewer etc). Sadly, since most people take close-source for granted, in my experience I’ve found that it seems like having the actual proof and source-code being available online is actually the outlier, and is deemed kind of weird, without getting much extra points. (Although, to their credit, some progressive open-source-related companies do require published source code right in their job descriptions nowadays.)

                  BTW, I found this link on DragonFly digest, but a couple of days ago I have also witnessed another shutdown by AOL, noticed through DMOZ’s OpenBSD/Companieswww.aolserver.com/, which started redirecting directly to aol.com now. It has been marked as a redirect automatically, and now has been removed by an editor. (Which is kinda funny, because AOL actually owns DMOZ!)

                  Frankly, I don’t understand why companies shut these things down — don’t they realise that people will shortly remove links to these shutdown properties (e.g. aolserver.com is gone from dmoz now), it’ll expire from the search engines etc. No matter how stale the content is, it’s likely still generating at least some revenue, and hosting being as cheap as it is, I find it hard to believe that they’re loosing money on simply keeping stuff like that online, all at the same time that we hear the stories about cybersquatters being able to afford to register random domains just for the sake of showing ads to the misplaced users, having their whole business model made just around showing ads on random domains with no real content whatsoever!

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                    This is also one of the issues with the closed-source software — outside of the org it’s written in, you most likely have no proof that you ever wrote any of that

                    I don’t think that is really an issue with closed source software, and I don’t think it’s really that big of a deal. In fact, it’s a “problem” that has existed in almost all professions, for a very long time, and employers solved it by doing background checks and contacting references.

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                  When I first started on the web, I kept meticulous bookmarks. Then Delicious, followed by Instapaper, and then back to bookmarks, but only half hazardly.

                  Today I use the web page save feature in Scrivener under different related subjects: coding, finance, statistics, etc. By having an actual copy of the website, it helps trigger my memory to provide context to what I was thinking at the time.

                  I wonder what will still exist in 200 years, or even if anything will exist?