In light of some of the recent headlines surrounding a Tumblr acquisition, I’ve just hastily written and released an update to tumblr-rb — my command line utility and library for the Tumblr API.
I’ve added a new command in this version: tumblr backup
This will download and write all of your tumblr posts, serialized into a simple plain text format, into a directory you list, or your current working directory.
Downloaded the new version with homebrew1 or rubygems, run tumblr authorize to authenticate, and then back up all of your posts in one easy command. You’ll want to give it your tumblr hostname or else you’ll be asked for it repeatedly:
Allison Fass reporting on Peter Thiel’s talk at SXSW this year where he recounted the time in 2006 that Mark Zuckerberg turned down Yahoo’s $1 billion offer to buy Facebook:
His only partial rationalization at the time was that in the history of Yahoo, it had made two $1 billion offers that were also turned down. And those were to eBay and Google. “At least I could actually make a pseudo-scientific argument that in every case Yahoo offered $1 billion and it was rejected, it was the correct thing to do,” said Thiel.
I should say that I know absolutely nothing about any sort of talks/deals between Tumblr and Yahoo. And I’m not sharing this to suggest that Tumblr should turn down such a supposed offer (my initial gut feeling is actually that such a partnership would make a lot of sense). I just found it fascinating given how closely the reported number is to the key number repeated in Thiel’s story.
“A traditional aural-only conversation — utilizing a hand- held phone whose earpiece contained only 6 little pinholes but whose mouthpiece (rather significantly, it later seemed) contained (62) or 36 little pinholes — let you enter a kind of highway-hypnotic semi-attentive fugue: while conversing, you could look around the room, doodle, fine-groom, peel tiny bits of dead skin away from your cuticles, compose phone-pad haiku, stir things on the stove; you could even carry on a whole separate additional sign-language-and-exaggerated-facial-expression type of conversation with people right there in the room with you, all while seeming to be right there attending closely to the voice on the phone. And yet — and this was the retrospectively marvelous part — even as you were dividing your attention between the phone call and all sorts of other idle little fuguelike activities, you were somehow never haunted by the suspicion that the person on the other end’s attention might be similarly divided. During a traditional call, e.g., as you let’s say performed a close tactile blemish- scan of your chin, you were in no way oppressed by the thought that your phonemate was perhaps also devoting a good percentage of her attention to a close tactile blemish-scan. It was an illusion and the illusion was aural and aurally supported: the phone-line’s other end’s voice was dense, tightly compressed, and vectored right into your ear, enabling you to imagine that the voice’s owner’s attention was similarly compressed and focused … even though your own attention was not, was the thing. This bilateral illusion of unilateral attention was almost infantilely gratifying from an emotional standpoint: you got to believe you were receiving somebody’s complete attention without having to return it. Regarded with the objectivity of hindsight, the illusion appears arational, almost literally fantastic: it would be like being able both to lie and to trust other people at the same time.
Video telephony rendered the fantasy insupportable. Callers now found they had to compose the same sort of earnest, slightly overintense listener’s expression they had to compose for in-person exchanges. Those callers who out of unconscious habit succumbed to fuguelike doodling or pants-crease-adjustment now came off looking rude, absentminded, or childishly self- absorbed. Callers who even more unconsciously blemish-scanned or nostril-explored looked up to find horrified expressions on the video-faces at the other end. All of which resulted in videophonic stress.”
David Foster Wallace, from Infinite Jest (1996). Remember when we were supposed to buy 3G phones with front- and back-facing cameras because they supported video telephony?