Thursday, January 04, 2007

Friday fun for Jan 5, 2007

Let's start off the new year by looking back into the past.

Today's fun segment is a bit different than the last few.

Rather than just sit back and laugh at a video (not that that isn't a lot of fun, mind you) I thought you might enjoy cruising through The Internet Archive.

Perhaps you've heard of this place. It has the distinction, in my humble view, of having one of the most ambitious mission statements I've ever seen:
The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. Founded in 1996 and located in the Presidio of San Francisco, the Archive has been receiving data donations from Alexa Internet and others. In late 1999, the organization started to grow to include more well-rounded collections. Now the Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages in our collections.

If you've never visited, you should go and take a look around. It's a fascinating journey. The About page, where the above quote is from, is a great place to start, just to get a sense of what the place is all about.

Then scoot on over to the Home page and take a trip on TheWayBack Machine. This is one of the coolest features of the Internet Archives. There are now over 85 billion pages archived on the site, going back to 1996.

All you need to do is type in a URL of a site and you'll be given a list of all the pages they've got. It's a fascinating way to look back at how a site has evolved over the years, in both design and content. It's easy to spend quite a while loo through the history of some of your favourite places.

The site offers other archives besides web pages, including moving images, live music, audio and texts. They work in much the same manner, where you either browse randomly, or use specific search functions. Either way, you can spend a lot of time noodling around, so it's a great feature for a lazy Friday afternoon or a weekend.

And finally, head over to the Forums, for some really groovy action. One of the most lively areas is the Grateful Dead forum, where you can imagine what the action centres on. Plus, you'll find all kinds of other little gems, like one of my favourites, The Conet Project - Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations.

See? There's something for everyone in The Internet Archive.

Have fun.

Oh...just one more thing (since MacWorld is coming next week.) It wouldn't be Friday without a guitar video, would it?

Have a great weekend.

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