I always forget that there are a lot of photos still on Matt’s iPhone because he didn’t take them off. I’ve looked at them before, but just a few at a time. Yesterday, I was looking for a particular photo when I saw this one, one of the last iPhone photos that Matt took. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then adding a little context balloons the story to a short novel.

I don’t know how consciously or unconsciously he did it, but Matt was able to capture that natural lighting haze that photographers love so much. And it is shining on me. It makes me think of one evening not long before Matt died. He had come home from work and was standing in the kitchen next to the stove talking to me while I cooked as he always did. It was winter so it was dark outside already and all of the light was yellow from the kitchen lights. He was still wearing his coat and he was talking to me about work and Live Mosaic and not being able to get traction to move forward. He was so discouraged and at some point he said, “I think I’m ready to try someone else’s idea.” In retrospect, I’m sure that his health was largely what was wearing him down, but at the time, these words and his dejection as he said them struck my heart very deeply.

Since Matt died I have remembered this evening often. I know that Matt didn’t mean to try someone else’s idea by dying or the die for someone else’s idea. Still, I can’t help feeling a strong connection between his words and his death. Part of it is my own feelings of discouragement and part of it is that new found sense of treasuring life that people who have lost a loved one often gain. I wonder what idea Matt saw in me.


This photo is of the kids of course, but it also strikes me how completely my face is turned from the camera.

In writing this post, I have discovered how I can create the experience of Matt speaking to me from the beyond. I emailed these photos to myself from his phone using his email address. Then I can open up an email from him and see photos that he took. It turns out that the internet and technology in general allow us to receive messages from our loved ones, even from beyond this time.


Tonight I finished up archiving Matt’s original WordPress site. It was using a really old version of WordPress and last week I discovered that Google and OpenDNS had blocked the site completely (and this one) after finding malware. It didn’t take too much effort to back up the databases, remove all of the files, upgrade the software and start new with fresh php, css, and html. I did not want to spend the time to recover the old site exactly as I had it, so I used the theme Misty Lake which is the updated version of Mistylook. Once I got everything back up I took some screenshots of the original classic WordPress theme from way back who knows when, as well as some shots of the administrative pages from WordPress 2.2, the version current to the time I set up the blog for Matt in 2007-2008. (Images to come.) Take a screenshot of a website for posterity before changing it? It’s like taking a photograph and I find myself similarly emotionally attached and thus embroiled in the art of web archiving. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any screenshots before everything went down.

These days, apps and the iPhone camera have turned old camera imperfections and mistakes into filters and effects that are considered retro. I wonder if website designs from yesteryears like Web 2.0 will at some point become retro. Not just what we record but how we record it has become food for nostalgia. I certainly found it difficult to kill the WordPress 3.5 installation on tonight. All the while knowing that it is all practice, practice to set about a project to web archive LiveMosaic if I can and to still shut it down if I can’t, practice to do it with minimal effort on my part and to be open to what that archive may or may not look like, practice to continue on.




I don’t know that Matt was afraid of death; I would say more that he was offended by the fact that we have to die. As an engineer, death was a problem that should have a solution. Matt’s solution was a hope that at some point in the future (preferably before his own death) we would be able to download a person’s brain to a computer so that he could live forever. My experience, and maybe Matt’s too after his parents died, has been that his brain was “downloaded.” It’s just that the computer happens to be my own brain, the brains of his children and the brains of everyone who knew him, a distributed network.

I also can’t help but feel like LiveMosaic is about as close as it comes to Matt’s brain being downloaded into a digital computer. It is the code that he wrote to build the system, the corporate site,, that promoted his vision as well as all of the stories, photos and videos of him and that he created on our own family website,