^ temporary-containers owner died:

links to "successor"

deceased user policy: mention of paperwork here: is basically SSSS but he wrote his own thing.

maintainer deaths

alternative to SSSS

The bitcoin people wrote, a while ago, a way to generate a secret key from a mnemonic (or is it the reverse?):

This was later deprecated into something that explicitly supports the Shamir scheme in the sense that the secret is distributed:

there's a python implementation that generates physical paper cards with the secrets:

that is all very cryptocurrency-wallet-oriented, but maybe there's something good that could come out of it?


a procedure ...

... from a friend, cf, name redacted at their request:

I recently decided to setup a backup situation in case I have significant memory loss. My memory isn't best at times.

The classic use case for Samir Secret Sharing. I'd like to share with you how I implemented it:

Generating the key parts:




Up keep

Number examples

Additional ideas

This system has the added benefits that (a) instructions until needed are very minimal, keeping the effort for others low (b) includes instructions for operations and who to trust (c) before needed, nobody knows who else is in the network and if you pick your numbers well, even leaking one or two envelopes will not provide enough information about the trust network.

One project, where I truly hope I'll never need it :)


Nov 14, 2022, 19:25

So in one of 's (also podcast ("Jason Scott Talks His Way Out of It") episodes, Jason reflected briefly on what it means to have a server he's maintained for years go down.

I have been reflecting on that too. I've been running my own web server for some number of decades. It isn't nearly as well-known as Jason's. I reflect on occasion about what would happen to it should I become incapacitated or die. 1/ It is an odd feeling, that this sort of thing which I put so much time into over many years, is unlikely to outlast me by more than a few months max (when the hosting bill would come due). Yes, copies exist at, but they aren't really discoverable unless a person knows where to look.

Unlike old-fashioned journals and diaries, this thing needs active attention to keep it alive. And active money, and electricity. 2/ Every archive, from Internet Archive to Google Groups, does, too. The energy and money are coming from somewhere. As we have seen all too often, with everything from Geocities to Flickr, the moment the money goes out, the archive is gone. 3/ On the one hand, backing up to something like Google Photos or even Facebook gives a "this is likely to outlast me" factor, simply because you rely on those corporations to fund it. Facebook even has a culture of "memorial pages" for people that have passed away.

In some ways, it beats the photos my grandma had in a cardboard box, but threw away when she could no longer remember who was in them. Those are forever lost. 4/ But it would be foolish to believe that Google Photos or Facebook are "forever". I do back up my photos to USB hard drives, and am hoping to soon use #gitannex to back them up to BD-Rs as well.

For photos, that is fine. But websites are another beast. Although mine is entirely static because I enjoy the #SmallWeb, many are more dynamic. The server-side bits won't last forever.

5/ Jason commented coming to the realization that it was fine if his sites were down for a few weeks. They'd be back eventually, and mirrors existed.

Indeed, true. It is a very positive attitude.

And yet, it strikes me, if Jason hadn't been able to help in its resurrection, the world would undeniably feel its loss.

6/ Us authors, programmers, artists, tinkerers -- what we create is ephemeral. Either we self-host it and it relies on our continuing money and attention, or a corporation hosts it, and it relies on their continuing money and attention.

Both can be fickle.

But then, how many paper libraries have been destroyed by flood, fire, neglect, or war? Buildings, too, need maintenance. 7/ I am reminded of Willa #Cather's observation nearly a century ago: Some cultures value being remembered and leaving their mark, and leave their names on buildings.

Others value leaving no mark, carefully smoothing out even the sand on which their tent was pitched, taking as little as possible from the #earth.

8/ The archivist in me tends to the former. I wonder if my descendents will ever want to know about my life a century hence, as I want to know about my ancestors'. Will they know to look up in the Internet Archive (and will IA even exist)? Who knows.

And yet, my life has been shaped by innumerable people whose names are not on buildings, whose earthly material effects by this date are few to none. 9/ My old boss at university was a mentor and a friend. He died suddenly. knew about some webpages on an abandoned domain. Webpages his family wouldn't have known about had I not happened to receive a contact from them and remembered those old URLs from years ago to share.

But more than webpages, what I treasure the most from Tom is his uproarious laugh - most especially when describing a #DEC TK50 tape drive being smashed to bits on-stage. 10/ So ultimately, I believe, the best memory I can have is:


As #RobertJordan writes: "Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again."


my response

In some ways, it beats the photos my grandma had in a cardboard box, but threw away when she could no longer remember who was in them. Those are forever lost. 4/

@jgoerzen this is something i've been thinking about quite a bit. there's an interesting property to that photo shoe box: it exists in the material world. it's not as abstract as an (encrypted!) hard drive in some weird linux server, it's made of paper and ink and acid and you can just look at it.

@jgoerzen typically, when someone dies, their relatives go through the painful but necessary process of going through their stuff and throwing away a large chunks of it, quite deliberately

@jgoerzen the same thing happens in public libraries all over the world. part of a librarian work is not only taking care of books but also destroying some of them to make room for new ones

@jgoerzen we have this obsession with keeping everything, but i think it's at least partly misplaced in some sense, as it dodges the hard work of figuring out what's actually worth keeping

@jgoerzen our seemingly infinite capacity at storage is, in other words, at odds with our capacity at telling what really matters, and what should really be kept around forever

curl plans


a million ways to die on the web

vim death

"death book":

"sealed notary":

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