Diary of a Free Speaker
Remembrance of Things Present. Dara's founder reflects on the last few days in Dara
Dara is a platform geared towards archiving, sharing and publishing your data immutably. It distinguishes itself from its competitors in three key ways: Dara is platform agnostic; Dara is freemium; and Dara is personal.
The works of Homer, Cicero and other ancient luminaries do not owe their survival to any single technology. They survive because they’ve been preserved across many different technologies: wax tablets, papyrus, printed pages, magnetic tape, hard drives.
It is the people that carry the knowledge from one technology to the next, not the technologies themselves, that make the works of Homer immutable.
Dara V2 introduces iOS/Android support, direct file uploads, a new UI/UX, a new codebase, compatibility with Google Manifest V3, and the first social features. It will be released over the next few weeks.
Remembrance of Things Present
To be perfectly honest, it’s been a rather astonishing few days for Project Dara, in terms of both development and publicity.
Much of the attention we’ve received this last week stemmed from our public interest in re-archiving WikiSpooks articles after the site went offline for over a week.
Happily, WikiSpooks has since come back online, but for several days its 30,000 original articles were only available on the Internet Archive (Wayback Machine).
Since The Wayback delete information routinely, often at requests, it seemed logical to make another, better archive. Doing so raised a few eyebrows and a good deal of curiosity.
Anne-Laure Bonnel, a French war reporter and free speech advocate, and Ashley M. Gjøvik, a self-proclaimed whistleblower and American human rights lawyer, brought Project Dara to the attention of their 100,000 followers on Twitter.
Another new follower from France, Log_Yves tagged over 50 free speech activists, and that's when our new energy from France came out of the blue!
Thanks to Log, another Frenchman (alainseb) started using and promoting Dara, and I thank them both.
In other news, Adrian Monck, the CEO of the World Economic Forum (WEF), sent me a DM on Twitter a few days ago. He wondered whether I might have followed him in error since some of the posts I’d recently retweeted were perhaps a bit loony. What followed was at first a confused, but ultimately an affable exchange.
He was certainly right about the first part, I had followed him without realising who he was.
I admitted my faux-pas and Adrian confessed his love of Norwich City football club.
Our brief chat concluded with the WEF CEO saying he’s a “huge fan” of Project Gutenberg (which I had mentioned in our chat) and he wished Dara “good luck”.
Coincidentally, a couple days later it was brought to my attention that Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales had been made one of the WEF’s Young Global Leaders (YGL) in 2007.
WikiSpooks is one of the few sites to document this kind of information, and perhaps the only website to have a near complete list of the WEF and YGL memberships.
Wikipedia’s other co-founder, Larry Sanger, knew about Jimmy and the YGL, and in response to my tweet mentioning he’d confirmed the information, the Internet pioneer promptly responded:
Since Jimmy’s Wikipedia entry also mentions the YGL, Larry’s right. Nevertheless, I couldn’t resist quipping “until it’s deleted”.
I should mention that Larry embarked on a new project called Encycloshpere, a Universal Network of Encyclopedias, run by the Knowledge Standards Foundation (KSF). He is now an outspoken critic of Wikipedia.
Basically KSF are gathering up as much encyclopaedic information as possible, and standardising it all in an appealing manner.
Project Dara and KSF have much synergy, although our process and specific goals may differ. They automate as they must to harvest all those articles, while we simply allow people to save what they want or what’s most important to them personally.
Having said that, there are exceptions. Like our commitment to Project Gutenberg to make a complete archive of their entire collection, an Immutable Gutenberg.
Hanging out in KSF Slack and watching their project develop has been fascinating, and all its talented members tremendously open and welcoming all the while.
It’s humbling yet exhilarating that Dara is getting this kind of attention.
I guess it speaks to how much products like Dara are needed, and how few people are actually making them.
All we’re trying to do is give people the chance to reclaim what’s rightfully theirs; to save it for and share it with present and future generations. And in that process it turns out we’ve stumbled into a totally new kind of social network.
Sometimes I get this eerie feeling, as if we had no competition, as if we're the only ones crazy enough (or perhaps stupid enough) to try this on.
Where are they all?
All links, tweets, and article content (including the article itself) have been archived on Dara.