Inert Detritus The Internet's dust bunnies

Posted
19 September 2007 @ 9am

Indefinite Data Storage

No matter how bright an idea it may seem at the time, setting “days of saved history” to 500 in Camino is a Bad Idea.

It was nifty to have a huge history of autocomplete URLs, and speed didn’t seem to suffer much for it, but the folder organization within the History viewer isn’t conducive to the idea: they have a separate folder for each of the last seven days, and one last folder for “all older than 7 days”.

When that folder has over 20,000 entries, bad things result.

In general, programs, especially those designed for access the net, need to keep data retention in mind. With applications like GMail (or setups like my site’s hosting storage space being available for IMAP-based email storage), users see no reason to limit the data that they retain over time. Even my Twitter feed, as far as I know, will be available for all time, from start to end.

On the surface of things, “save everything I’ve ever accessed, created, or deleted” is a rule that makes sense, and ought be properly supported. Disk is cheap, CPU power is cheap, and so indefinite storage and access/search of all records should be an option. Some users want things deleted, and for good reason, but if I want to save everything, then I should be able to make that choice.