in no particular order:

  • About a week ago, I gave another try to enabling anonymous posting with screening. So far there have been about 20 anonymous posts here, and I think I've only bothered to unscreen 1. An amazing number of them were of the "G1BB0R M3 WAR3Z" variety. (To be fair, without the 'l33tspeak, but still.)
  • What's with all the people who suddenly seem to be thinking that light gray text on a white background is a good idea? Contrast, people. Look it up.

  • Several times recently I've gone to an old URL, found a 404, then gone to the Wayback Machine to be denied again with "blocked by the site owner via robots.txt". Damn you all to hell! It makes me want to modify my browser to save a local copy of every page I've ever viewed.

    I really hope archive.org is ignoring robots.txt and saving everything anyway (and just not letting people view blocked documents.) It's a moral imperative: copyright laws change, but oblivion is forever.

  • Corollary: Flash equals oblivion.

  • I like this song. That is all.

Tags: , , , ,

52 Responses:

  1. m4dh4tt3r says:

    Damn you all to hell! It makes me want to modify my browser to save a local copy of every page I've ever viewed.

    I've been kicking around an idea for a webapp that is essentially a toolbar. The basic functionality would be for bookmarking and caching pages. I don't use bookmarks in a browser because I just don't want to hassle with moving bookmarks between browsers, and frequently, I want to have access to my bookmarks away from my computer.

  2. icis_machine says:

    sadly it's not on their best of.

    oh my gog, i just admitted to being goth.

  3. harryh says:

    Looks like they probably aren't saving everything.

    • jwz says:

      I'm gonna go ahead and continue to hope that they're lying.

      • harryh says:

        I'll continue to hope that to, but unfortunately the realistic part of my brain just mumbled something about log files and lawsuits and then started chuckling.

        I sometimes really hate that part of my brain.

  4. christowang says:

    I would suggest printing out everything you ever view on the Internet. That way you have a local copy just in case. You could probably make a pretty penny on ebay selling the Internet in print too.

    • jwz says:

      It's all about the stone tablets.

      • christowang says:

        Considering my hand writing is about as legible as a 5 year old, my stone tablet skills would need some work before I could be a successful at such tasks.

        Though, how about etched stone version of your web page, with pictures and all? Now that's a nice holiday gift.

      • anonymous says:

        Nickel is where the action is. I seem to vaguely remember these guys making a disk that started with eye-readable information on the rim which quickly shrunk down to nanonscale, in the hopes of guiding future users towards the rest of the information.

        Assuming that future-humans have access to electron microscopes. I figure it's about 50-50 between "of course, every home has a scanning tunneling electron microscope" and "the chief knows how to make fire", at this point.

        - Mike Hoye

  5. mcfnord says:

    The real solution is to build a proxy that captures and stores every bit, essentially duplicating the web you view in a local cache.

  6. anonymous says:

    Archiving everything I've ever viewed - snap. Add a full text search engine and I think we've got something useful. The technologies are all already in place - web proxy like squid (or better still modify something like tinyproxy), full text search engines are all available too. If you worked in a web-based interface to the proxy/archiver to allow you to search as simply as google then you've got a winner.

    Furthr enhancments would be to allow the proxy to spider links from the pages you've viewed on the theory that there may be useful content a click away from what you've already viewed.

    This could be all done without browser support, but having a single "ignore" button in your browser to decide to not archive a web page/sites content would just about finish it off. Except for the sexy marketing name. Ummm, "Personal Data Mining"?

    I remember once when I was an admin at a University and the central network group charged departments on their net traffic based on volume (number of bytes transferred) and they'd signed an amazingly overprice contract a couple of years before with the local telco - we did that maths and worked out, based on our proxy hit rate, that it would be cheaper to simply keep adding disks to the proxy machine, rather than ever delete anything from the cache... Although in the end we decided to get our own outside net link Against University Policy.

    --Edouard

  7. cypherpunks says:

    anonymous posting has always worked for me...

    joe cypherpunk

  8. dingodonkey says:

    I've reduced myself to routinely wget'ing every useful site I find. It's awful, but has proven worth it time and again.

    Browser modding is sounding better and better...

  9. Ah, but flash + xscreensaver + Weebl and Bob equals hilarity!

  10. I agree with how archive.org should be saving anything.

    if anything, the people who go to the trouble to block the damn robot probably have the most interesting stuff.

  11. anonymous says:

    I'm pro-screened-anonymous comments. It's not like I'm actually caring about my anonymity; in fact, I'd love to leave signin information. Except that I'm some combination of too cool and too lame to have a LiveJournal, so I'm stuck with anonymous commentary.

    I like your idea. In the past, I've either used wget (or similar tools) or just coppied-and-pasted the relevant text. It works great to copy from IE to Word, if you are a Micros~1 fan.

    The problem with the wayback machine and similar things is that it brings the old nostalga mode into overdrive. Things like wondering what happened to Kurt Harland and Information Society, where the story ends somewhere out here in the bay area sometime in the year, to give a random example. And things like that can just absolutely kill you.

    • ciphergoth says:

      I switched off screening after I forgot to unscreen a comment in my journal from Carl Ellison, who is a security guy with interesting ideas about PKI. I'll start screening again if I get abuse, which it sounds like <lj user="jwz"> does.

    • omni_ferret says:

      I see the Wayback Machine as tracking the history of the web, and I prefer nostalgia to amnesia.

      Are you wondering about Kurt, or are you deploring people nostalgically wondering whatever happened to Information Society?

      -james

      • anonymous says:

        Mostly just curious about what happened to the dude. I *liked* Don't Be Afraid and driving by the funky antenna in SF that's featured on the cover always makes me think about that album.

      • cetan says:

        I want to know, what you're thinking. There are some things you can't hide.

        Odd that the song just came up in my playlist as I was reading your reply.

        • omni_ferret says:

          That's gratifying, actually; too many of my acquaintances here don't remember the band, which frustrated me when trying to brag "I met him!"

      • omni_ferret says:

        There's a (currently) screened post above this one. I can't unscreen it or reply to it directly, so, here's an indirect reply:

        Kurt's working on video game music & sampling co-workers into new music. He's part of the scenery here in San Francisco: not in hiding, but not trying to attract attention, either.

  12. mackys says:

    Look at the sites that depend on Flash. Do we want them around in 50 years? (With the possible exception of Weebel and Bob.) It's like digitizing your "Charles In Charge" VHS tapes - we're all better off without it!

    -Ben

    • anonymous says:

      Actually, I think that http://www.campchaos.com/cartoons/napsterbad/ would be the sort of thing that would be a valuable contribution to people studying early 21st century history.

      Because, on a larger scale, how we handle DRM, IP, and all that other stuff is about as important as how we reacted in prior centuries to mechinization.

      • jwz says:

        More to the point, we're too close to the subject matter to decide what is important. How do we know that those downstream from us won't find something interesting in Charles in Charge that we don't? For example, maybe, if you had a record of every sitcom, a statistical analysis of them would show you something we can't even imagine.

        Have you ever come across an ancient video tape of a TV show and been more fascinated by the commercials than the show itself? I have. But you never would have expected that at the time.

        Another good example is the early Usenet talk.* newsgroups: apparently there isn't a very good record of those, because they were perceived as an almost-total waste of bandwidth at the time, and many sites (if they carried them at all) sure didn't bother writing tapes. But today, and more so in another 50 years, I'm sure there are people who would be very interested indeed in seeing the contents of, say, talk.abortion as a window into early 80s attitudes on the topic.

        Save it all. You might need it some day.

        • beavix says:

          So you're not worried about what happened with bad-attitude and really-bad-attitude happening again? Just curious, is all..

          • jwz says:

            Well first of all, that wasn't a search-engine situation: I was subpoenaed for stuff that was sitting on my private disk that had never hit the public internet.

            But second, it wouldn't have mattered a bit if that stuff had gotten revealed today, since as you may have heard, Netscape is no more. There was a very short time period where that stuff was of interest to lawyers and other vermin.

            The point isn't what happens to this stuff tomorrow or next year or in five years, the point is what happens to it in 20 or 50 years? Some things that people are paranoid about protecting today are the things that will be really interesting to historians in the future. As will a lot of things that people today think are completely trivial and not worth saving at all.

            We can't know which is which. But if we guess wrong today, it's gone forever. So the only safe thing to do is for someone like archive.org to save it all, without telling anyone.

    • jwz says:

      Well here's a perfect example: I have a page that lists all of the club's audio gear. In a recent check for broken links, I found that the manufacturer link for one of our CD players had gone dead. And there is currently no URL for that product on the manufacturer's site, because it's been "redesigned" into oblivion.

      Fortunately, back when their site was still written in HTML, they did not have a robots.txt, so I was able to just point my link at the archive.org version. But that trick seems to work less and less frequently these days.

      Flash is great as an animation tool for cartoons. It's complete shit for web site construction, for innumerable reasons.

    • king_mob says:


      Look at the sites that depend on Flash.


      Someone(well, someone in addition to myself) is going to figure out sometime soon that the proliferation of stupid little Flash cartoons is one of the greatest explosions of creativity in America in years, and they're going to wish to Christ that someone had saved it all.

      No one used to think movies were Art either, so nobody took special care in preserving them. As a result, many negatives deteriorated to unusability. Kubrick had to spend two years re-photographing a print of Paths of Glory when he found out all the negatives were dust. Now, that's Kubrick saving one of his most successful movies. How much shit do you reckon is just gone?

  13. toastednut says:

    when many people think of flash, they think of this.

    flash 6 handles dynamic content loading, streaming, and http support. it is ideal for multimedia applications requiring a small memory footprint. the latest nokia interface is based on a lite version of flash 4.

    i'm working on my desecration of design still.

    • jerronimo says:

      Why do you need flash when you can have animated gifs!

      ;)

    • But it's not searchable. And it's not printable. And it's not deep-linkable. (And if you consider that a benefit, you aren't playing nice with the rest of the web.) And you lock out anybody with a disability. And you're wholly dependent on Macromedia for the toolchain and platform support. And if you try to use Flash as a serious applications platform, the world will laugh mercilessly at your scroll bars that sorta-work, your text boxes that don't work with accepted conventions and the lame text rendering that defeats any intelligent font handling your OS might try to perform.

      My favorite example of Flash that is evil is http://www.zombo.com/ . It's not that far away from reality!

      This is why all my installations of Moz get Flash Click-to-play installed as an extension. Every time I see the gray box with "click to play" inside, I laugh maniacally and find a different source for information unless I have no other choice. It's my own personal protest - rather shortsighted and useless, making me seem like a pathetic software partisan - but I feel special, anyway.

      -Eb

  14. mitch will be happy to hear that, although i'm not entirely unsure we shouldn't all "tough love" him into getting that LJ we sooooo all need him to have.

  15. substitute says:

    I didn't like that band much, and they were especially bad live, but you did pick their one real kick-ass song there. Fine tune.

    • j0ni says:

      Lies! They were awesome live! When I saw them at Leeds Warehouse (a venue so crap I played there myself) they blew me away. Wolfie spinning so the head of his guitar was blurry...howling feedback...

      My mad friend Andrew became tour spliff roller later on...they were always a transit van kind of band though, never really made any money. You do it for the patchouli and hairspray though really.

  16. flim_flam says:

    While we're picking on layouts, d'you think you might either stop using align=left, start using br clear=both, or start writing a whole lot more to go with the image? My friends page goes crazy around your posts, especially of the following one is a cartoon or similar...

  17. anonymous says:

    A Squid proxy with a long enough timespan, or the Internet Archive's own
    FreeCache might work, though I don't know if they have a simple way to look back on your own cache.

    Interested as always,
    Nick at gully dawt org

  18. anonymous says:

    I had a similar frustration, looking for a page that I couldn't remember wtf it was. Pissed at it happening for the umptythree-millionth time, I glued up wget to grab _everything_ in my squid logs, and had htdig index them, so I could search on crap like "monkey enchiladas" and come close to finding the recipe, rather than the forty-bazillion monkey enchilada porn sites out there that Google would pimp up. If I had manly disk space, I could have kept the wget source, too, but that was beyond my needs.

    The nasty part is that doing this takes fuck-all long, but good god it's nice to be able to query my history.

  19. anonymous says:

    >I really hope archive.org is ignoring robots.txt and saving everything
    >anyway (and just not letting people view blocked documents.) It's a
    >moral imperative: copyright laws change, but oblivion is forever.

    While you're about it, could you let me know where I could get a copy of the original http://www.jwz.org/gruntle/fanboy.html ?