Personal data is difficult even when baking Christmas cookies

When talking about personal data, usually it all sounds very noble and sophisticated. The use cases are advanced and complex. But the problem definitely is real and difficult to solve for even the most mundane situations. Case in point: baking Christmas cookies.

We have a new recipe we found on-line for Lemon Cookies. Let’s say we like it and would like to make it again for next Christmas. How should we “store” it so we can make the exact same recipe again next year, and not some other Lemon Cookie recipe that we might not like as well?

Here are some choices:

  • Bookmark it in the browser. In this case, it’s Safari on the iPad (the iPad can be used in the kitchen, unlike other computers). But: will we still have the same iPad next year? What about 20 years from now, when we still might want to make the same cookies? We would have to rely on Apple to continue migrating bookmarks from device to device over that many years. And of course the URL might go away. Sounds unreliable.
  • Import it into some cooking app. This would help with baking, because the app presumably would “understand” the structure of the recipe and help create a shopping list etc. But the likelihood that the same app will still be around in 20 years with all data we have imported into it is, well, not large.
  • Save the recipe (HTML?) on a hard drive somewhere, and assume that we will continue to manage the data on that hard drive. That is likely, because we do have other data that we want to keep for the long term. Digital pictures for example. But will it still open in 20 years, and how can we even find it on that drive?

I think we will print to paper. Paper will be around for a long time.

Sad, isn’t it?

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