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When things disappear from the internet (and: The Jun Togawa archive!)

by kbrecordzz November 10, 2023 Jun Togawa, general thoughts, Internet

Let me present a new website that I DON'T promise to maintain or update in any way (even if it would be good if I did): The Jun Togawa archive! It's a list of links to a bunch of Jun Togawa stuff, where the goal (that I ABSOLUTELY DON'T promise to fulfill) is to keep track of when the links die so I can fix them, so people can have a place to find Jun Togawa's stuff at. The reason behind this is that the links in My 40 favorite Jun Togawa moments keep breaking, and how are you supposed to have a top 40 list if only 38,5 of the links work? Now, you may think: "Hey, kbrecz, only 2-3 links are dead in that list, that's not too much!" Yes, that's because I constantly fix the links that die. If I left the post untouched for 5 years half of the links would be dead.

Links are the internet. You just don't break them. But the fact is that the internet constantly breaks, slowly, but you may not notice it because your web browser violently forces you to update it so it can adapt to the changes ("updates" and "new features" are synonyms for "breaking features that previously worked"). If you start up a 13 years old computer with Windows XP on it, almost nothing on the internet will work. Except Paul Graham's website and kbrecordzz.com (at least at the time of writing this paragraph). The trick is kind of simple: Turn on HTTP (you may have noticed that most websites today use "https://" instead of "http://", that's because the "s" at the end makes the connection to the website secure and encrypted, kind of) so people can visit your website insecurely. That's what I had to do to make my website work on a 13 years old Windows XP computer. Plus some small additional tweaks like ending certain links with a "/" (for example: "https://kbrecordzz.com/about/" instead of "https://kbrecordzz.com/about"). The site even works in Internet Explorer, but the font becomes Comic Sans and the layout becomes incomprehensible.

I don't like the current standard mindset of "Are you using a 10 year old computer? Fuck you! Now nothing works for you anymore". Here I wrote about the lack of caring in the music industry, and the same can be said about many other situations. People just don't care to look any further than at what's right in front of them (especially if what's right in front of them is money). What people see in front of their eyes is the present times, so most decisions are made based on the present times, and no one really criticizes it in the moment, because everything looks correct in the moment. But to make something work in the future, you may have to do things that look weird now. Not creating your websites in a way so they will work in future web browsers, and not making the effort to make your website work in older web browsers, are the same problem in two different ways: You only care about NOW. And that will not be a good look in the future, which we all, in the end, will arrive to.

My current advice for avoiding dead links is: Don't link to newspapers, science paper sites, or other sites that occasionally charge users for visiting (paywall). Safest bet right now seems to be to archive the webpage at web.archive.org and link to that archived page, but who knows what happens if the Internet Archive disappears and we've been putting all our eggs in the same basket... Maybe the ultimate strategy is to only link to your own material, or not link at all. When it comes to music and music videos, both official label and artist accounts, and random people uploading things, tend to remove their stuff pretty often for different reasons. Small artists that never make it big may remove their stuff in a manner of "I hope no one saw us fail, let's remove all trace". So if you find a new obscure musician you like, be sure to get your hands on their stuff before it disappears.

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