Thursday, November 24, 2005

I Exist Only on the Web

Lately, I've been taking advantage of more web based utilities (almost all free). I use for my bookmarks, Flickr for my photos, Bloglines for RSS feed management, HotPop and GMail for email, Dreamhost for web page hosting and IMAP email, and even Blogger for this little journal.

If all of these companies got together, they could build quite a profile on me. As it is now, Yahoo can see my picture tags and the TV shows I'm interested in. could use my RSS feeds to help narrow searches I perform. Google most likely looks at any email that passes through to help them with searches as well, although they haven't yet linked my Blogger accounts to my main Google account. They all seem to use that information to serve up ads. I don't see yet how makes any money, since there are no ads on their pages.

Here's the bad part: I can't really backup much of this stuff. My email is stored on servers around the country. My photos, tags, feeds, and links are all offsite, too. (I do have backups of my websites, as well as my local photos and documents.) I really have no idea what kind of procedures these guys have in place to restore my information in case it is lost. Also, if a company goes out of business or decides to pull a service, I'm screwed.

One random lightning bolt, or a hostile takeover, and I could cease to exist in this form.

BTW, in case you're wondering, I'm not going to link to my specific pages on these services, since I try to run this more or less anonymously. It's not impossible to figure out who I am (Josette found me in Flickr, although she may have not made the connection), but I'm not going to give any hints. Maybe I should setup a Tippecanoe version of my bookmarks or feeds that could be shared though this blog. I'll think about it. (Is that something any of you would care about?)