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long-now posts

PDFs and the Permanent Web

I remember reading this article Deurbanising the web from January 2021. It argued that the web had gotten so bad that they wanted to do something drastic, so they converted the web pages on their site to PDF. The badness they were complaining about was familiar, too many ads, too much surveillance. Link rot, infinite scrolls, paywalls, GDPR cookie consent buttons, etc. The reason they chose PDFs? Reasons why Lab6 argued PDFs were a good format for web pages it’s a file standard format still has media and links easy to copy and backup (avoids link rot and lost pages) freedom At first I was skeptical.

CWEB LaTeX Experiment

I have written about literate programming a few times before. The big idea is to elevate documentation above the actual running source code. Source code is meant for humans to read, that’s why it has higher-level abstractions and comments. Literate programming flips the roles of comments and source code. The comments come first, and the source code is stripped out and tangled into a compilable form. I am still not totally sure what to think about it.


I have a fascination with time. Two years ago, our family planted a tree in our back yard. A few months prior, my dad and I built an overhang that provides shade. I used a pillar supporting the overhang to point this timelapse camera at the tree. I bought that camera because of it’s low battery usage, and how it uses standard JPEGs on a standard SD card. That gives me raw material to compress a large amount of time into a nice video.

The Long Now Foundation

The world is changing fast, the last 100 years saw the creation of a global network of airplanes, computers, the internet, nuclear energy, and the discovery, sequencing and editing of the genome. The tendency of politics is to focus on the next election (at least in democracies). The tendency of business is to focus on the next quarter. The engines of our fast-changing modern world tend to focus our attention on the narrow world of right now.