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24 ways to impress your friends

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Douglas Greenshields

An important subject, and one the use of microformats like hAtom will only barely scratch the surface of (though scratch we must!). It’s sobering to realise that next to everything we emanate to the web will be available, before very long, to everyone forever. If you’re really considering the future, and your extremely privileged position being alive at the time of the first few microseconds of the web, every form of “content” (I’m trying to use that word in the best sense possible) should really have some kind of timestamp against it, even if it’s of a more appropriate level of specificity (for example, when’s the last time you read a book that gave its publication date to the nearest second?).

Search engines need to pull their weight too – it must be possible to search the web along the time axis. I regularly search technical issues and find I turn up mostly pages prior to 2004, which are mostly useless – true, I can often tell the age of the page by its lack of adherence to any kind of less-is-more principle – and it’s interesting to note that we will tend to mark the coming decades using web design idioms – but there’s a difference between the sum of human knowledge now and the sum of human knowledge forever to infinity and beyond, and search on the web needs to start explicitly recognising that!