12 Dec 2019, 12:32

feedback on Permanent.org

Hi Robert

I can imagine my comment may have come as a surprise; I have a sense that you guys are working very hard on this product and making it the best you can.

I have my digital stuff scattered over a smattering of web properties, and despite you guys having a cool domain name and being from Austin, it’s hard for me to understand why I want to upload to “one more place” online.

and, truth be told, there are a few concerns I have about your service in particular.

As best I can tell, nothing is encrypted on permanent.org.  That’s fine for photos, I guess, especially if the target audience is to allow the photos to be seen by others.  With the news of NSA and privacy, etc, I don’t relish the idea of putting my things out in the proverbial open for government to see.

I know that’s a weird concern for me to send via plain text email (and post on my journal smh), but it just reminds me that your service is similar to Dropbox in that regard.

I have loads of space on Dropbox, having racked up tens of gigs when they had a free-for-all on storing photos several years ago.

How many times have I gone back to see those photos?  Not many.  I have ended up using that space for source code and images for some mobile games I’m making, and for storing archived worlds from Minecraft.

I have a free pro account on SmugMug, which I scored by writing an API script for them. In my mind, they definitely have a nicer user interface than Dropbox or Permanent. If you could get your user interface up to par with SmugMug user interface, I’d be more likely to refer friends to your service.  (One problem with SmugMug is they mangle filenames e.g. https://thunderrabbit.smugmug.com/Art/Art-show-at-ELF-14-15-March/i-34h4hPd/A)

When I see your user interface, I get a bit overwhelmed with different options that are there.  I personally suck at creating user interfaces, so I don’t really know what to suggest about it.  (I’m an engineer, not a designer.). It’s hard for me to put the time in to learn your user interface.  

It’s easy enough to have a big upload button and slap all the photos onto Permanent, but then it’s like they went down a black hole, and I don’t really know how to show anybody what’s there in any kind of nice way.

Also, Permanent mangles the names of the files that I upload.  I can see how that would be critical for your maintenance of tens of bajillions of files.. but if you could keep the filenames in the URL, it would be easier for me to use it happily.  Dropbox keeps file names intact, which I appreciate.  ((bad example here with spaces in filename  https://www.dropbox.com/personal/ConSwi%20Animal%20Games%20With%20music/hud_buttons/back%403x.png but the filename is intact.))

Also, I have unlimited storage on my web provider, and loads of time spent on crafting nice URLs that are permanent and human-readable.

Finally, as far as I understand, your source code is closed source.

I am using MediaWiki to deal with URLs, including redirects and file versions and such for my online images.

If you’re still reading, click the following URL and I’ll tell you my User Story:


(despite saying I’m not a UI designer, I do like to draw)

  1. I am a user who has drawn an image that I want to put online for all the world to see.
  2. I upload the image, including its name, description, and any other metadata.
  3. the resulting URL is permanent. (but it is pretty long, so I adapted a URL shortener service to create a short URL.)
  4. I write the (short) URL on the back of the art.  It is the canonical permalink for this art piece. e.g. URL: https://art.robnugen.com/mh19
  5. The file history is created automagically as I upload new versions of the art.  (Versions of Magnetic Highway are visible at the bottom of this page https://wiki.robnugen.com/wiki/File:Magnetic_Highway_-_29_Nov_2019.jpg)
  6. mediawiki takes care of creating an index of all of the art pieces.  The index is visible at https://art.robnugen.com/art
  7. There is one feature that I might have to write myself.  I want the category listing https://art.robnugen.com/art to show the art pieces in reverse DATE order instead of alphabetical order.
  • - end of my user story

if you’re still still reading, good luck with Permanent, and I am open to answering any questions that may have come up for you from reading the above.


Rob Nugen, older wiser brother of Fred Nugen, who is friends with Robert Ristroph.  I think y’all know one or both of them??