I want my sites to be focused and simple. Just a bunch of plain text files, some images. I want to turn those files into a site and update them without having to deal with a server, or apis, or build processes. I want it to be a calm thing. I want to share my site peer-to-peer and not depend on a centralized hosting platform. I want it to be easily archivable.
Earlier this year I began working on Enoki, inspired by a few of my favorite tools. It creates static sites with js, using files and folders instead of a database.
I made a simple single page site as an archive for Peer-to-Peer Web / Los Angeles. The total size of the directory is around 550mb; large for such a simple page as it contains several long video files. Considering the spirit of the project, the videos wanted to be hosted outside of centralized platforms, like Youtube or Vimeo.
Self-hosting video on a shared server is expensive, both in storage and accrued bandwidth fees. CDNs make this cheaper1, but continue placing money in the pockets of monolithic tech companies. The question was how to circumnavigate these platforms in an economic way. I found the answer in recontextualizing a tactic increasingly used by failing media corporations; the pay-wall.
I’ve been on the internet since I was seven or eight. Got my own machine when I was around ten, a hand-me-down. That’s also around when I stopped going to school. We lived in a small town of around 2500. With a connection the browser was truly my window to the world.
The internet felt really big then.
The other week there were rumors about Soundcloud shutting down. They cut 40 percent of their staff, and word was that they’d run out of money within 100 days.
I was going to write something at that time about the trend of platforms dying, not because they lack vibrant communities, but because those communities fail to hit current astronomical revenue expectations (e.g. Vine).
There was supposed to be a big push yesterday for Net Neutrality. In practice, Google posted a modest blog entry, and a few sites displayed lo-res images. It’s impossible to know how long the open web will last, but clearly the situation as we have known it is not improving.
There are a few projects pointing towards possible futures that have me very excited despite this.