Sunday, November 16, 2008

Internet Archive

I have been collecting a list of useful programs for another post. One of my favorite sites for finding the newest and coolest free useful programs was Software for Starving Students (I believe some students from BYU, my alma mater, started the project). However, those of you who click on that site will notice that the project is no longer maintained. Although OpenDisc is also a great project, I find it does not have the breadth that the SSS discs did. I found the most useful part of the web site to be the list of applications in their FAQ, and I really wanted to see what used to be on that list now that it was no longer there.

Enter the Internet Archive. I first heard about the Internet Archive on TWiT 144. Little did I know how useful I would find it to be. The Internet Archive is a pretty straightforward idea: archiving the internet. So they just make copies of all the tubes and put them in filing cabinets somewhere. . . . Obviously the process is a little different, but the idea is to archive the internet so when a page goes away, the information does not get lost.

The Archive has a search engine called the "Wayback Machine." I simply typed in the URL for the Software for Starving Students site and then clicked on "Take Me Back." Up came a listing of all the times the site had been archived. I clicked on the most recent archive, Jan 27, 2008, and discovered (to my delight) that the website was still up at that time. I clicked on the FAQ link and went to that page in the archive. It was a bit slow, but it was there!

What does this mean? If some web page has changed and you need info on the old page, you may still be able to find it. This also means that the pictures of you and your ex-boyfriend you thought you took down may still live on. . . and on. . . and on!

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