Archive for the ‘News’ Category
The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, launched in 2001, was named after Mr. Peabody’s WABAC machine from the 1960s cartoon Rocky and Bullwinkle. This Friday we are going to celebrate our own time travel machine by going to see a movie about the original.
“Using his most ingenious invention, the WABAC machine, Mr. Peabody and his adopted boy Sherman hurtle back in time to experience world-changing events first-hand and interact with some of the greatest characters of all time.” (see imdb page)
While tracking down your old Geocities page may not have world-changing consequences, we still think it’s pretty cool.
Please join us for dinner and a movie!
March 7, 2014
Dinner at 5pm
300 Funston Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121
Depart for movie around 6:15 for a 7pm show time at AMC Van Ness.
The Internet Archive continues its goal of bringing the same experience of older software that we have with movies, books and audio. This newest collection, just in time for Valentine’s Day (?), is called The Business Case, and is a continually-growing exhibit of business-related software.
Unlike the previous announced collection of entertainment software (the Console Living Room), these programs are all aimed at the early days of home computer ownership, when the reason for spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on these systems wasn’t always very clear cut. Why drop a significant amount of money for something that beeped and made pretty pictures (or not even pretty pictures)? Well, one reason might be to write, calculate and track financial and business information, as well as utilize word processors for faster correspondence.
Some important facts about browsing and using this collection.
Unlike the Console Living Room, a lot of these programs are not self-evident. They had complicated instructions, and often utilized massive manuals and accompanying documentation, which is not available for many of the items. Others required the use of a modem or printer, which the emulator at archive.org does not currently provide – they will fail out or give errors if you try and use them.
Additionally, some of these programs are “cracks”, cases where the original floppy disks of the programs have been modified to allow for easier booting, or copying. We included them to bring into sharp focus a real problem: software preservation for the computer programs not lucky enough to be games or famous is spotty at best and non-existent at worst. While the world has thousands of pages dedicated to the history of Pac-Man and Doom (many of them archived in the Wayback Machine), in some cases, the only evidence online that a program ever existed is the modified-for-copying version of a spreadsheet application. In an ideal world, the academic researcher or curious onlooker could experience and understand the context of every program released, or at least get an analogue of the experience. In many cases, this just isn’t possible.
Where we can, we will expand and grow this collection, as well as improve and update the entries already in the collection to reflect the part they played in history. If you are familiar with a given program, or can provide more information, contact Jason Scott at the archive.
The Internet Archive is headquartered in a building that used to be a Christian Science church. The great room includes a gorgeous stained glass dome, a pipe organ, and graceful wooden pews. We seat 400+ people in this space to show movies and to host conferences on a regular basis.
The room is beautiful, but those pews are hard on the posterior if you plan to sit there for more than 15 minutes at a time.
So we came up with a plan – let’s make some cushions! That sounds simple enough, but we are thrifty people.
We are taking old T-shirts and recycling them into cushion covers. We are looking for T-shirts from non-profits or from tech companies in particular, but we’ll take whatever you’ve got. Any size, any color, just as long as there aren’t holes in the fabric or big stains that may discourage people from sitting on that cushion.
This is where you come in! Which one of us doesn’t have a bunch of old corporate swag T-shirts sitting in the back of our closet taking up space? If you’re willing to part with those useless shirts, we’re willing to put them to use.
Drop off your shirts in person, or send your shirts to:
300 Funston Ave
San Francisco, CA 94118
Have questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers needed: We have a fabulous TV collection, and the US is going into an election period. We would like to pull out the TV Commercials, including the political ads, and match them with the other occurrences, and then put names on them. Then we and others can datamine and surface this information.
We hope we could find all ads so we can know when and were they ran. We would like to not just limit this to political ads because sometimes the ads are the best parts of shows, and many ads are stealthy-political.
To help in this process, we have closed caption transcripts of what is said in US TV as well as full resolution TV recordings. We also often have a rebroadcast of the same program which would likely then have different commercials. We do have to be careful with this data so, we would like to run this locally in our virtual machine “virtual reading room“.
We tried the open source commercial detector included in MythTV, but it seemed to leave all the commercials in a commercial break in a block. Also it was not that reliable. It needs more work.
This is not an easy project, and do not have a budget (yet) to pay for it, unfortunately, so maybe fame and helping the open world. If you can help in this project, we would appreciate it.
Please leave a comment on this post or send a note to Roger Macdonald, the leader of the TV News project.
Last year a group of inspired digital residents created fantastic tumblr’s using the things they found interesting in the Internet Archive. We’re proud to unveil these projects, one per week, throughout the year. They’ll each be posted at the Internet Archive tumblr and then be accessible at their own URL once posted. Follow the IA tumblr to see them as the project rolls onward!
So far, we’ve seen two projects posted.
This week’s project, A History of Linux Websites, by Steven Ovadia, traces the history of Linux through the screenshots of the web sites of Linux distributions and projects. Looking at the screenshots gives viewers insights not just into the various histories of the various distributions, but also provides insight into the web design aesthetics that guide these distributions. In many cases, the design aesthetic of the web site does not match up against the philosophy of the distribution, making for an interesting tension.
The first, Most Frequent Word Search by Jeff Thompson, is an algorithmic-curatorial project which uses the 250 most-frequent unique words in the oldest text with a date listed in Project Gutenberg – “Old Mortality, Volume 2″ by Sir Walter Scott. Each word is used as a seed for a new search into the Archive. The most common word in the resulting text is used as a new search term. The process is repeated until the search returns no results. The project features a unique original theme with click and drag functionality, allowing users to aesthetically arrange the computationally generated and randomly displayed results, if they wish to attempt to seek their own patterns.
We hope you’re as excited as we are to see each project completed and unveiled after months of hard work by our digital residents. We’ll see you at internetarchive.tumblr.com!
Thank you to Ian Aleksander Adams for making this happen.
It’s Copyright Week, and many organizations are highlighting the need to make works in the public domain readily accessible. One of the many challenges we face sounds almost paradoxical: works in the public domain are often not publicly available. The Internet Archive hosts several projects to address that concern.
RECAP: Created by Aaron Swartz and automated by a group at Princeton University, RECAP brings free access to some two million court documents from a million cases.
Google Books: Aaron Swartz collected 900,000 public domain books on Google’s site; we’re currently adding more.
Digitization of Public Domain Books: The Internet Archive works with over 500 libraries to digitize public domain books to offer them to the world for free with no restrictions at all. We’re grateful to the libraries that are funding this amazing resource.
Fedflix: This joint venture between the National Technical Information Service and Public.Resource.Org provides free access to 8,700 U.S. government training and historical films such as the film below, Blast Measurement Group in Operation Sandstone.
Year-end donations went past our goal of $1 million (almost $1.3m !) – thank you all for donating. With this money we can buy the ten racks (10 petabytes, 10,000,000,000,000,000bytes) of server space to store the upcoming books music video and webpages we expect for this year. (Since we serve from a duplicate as well, we have space for about 5PB of data). We were greatly helped by a generous 3-to-1 match for the contributions made.
A few stats: We received thousands of individual donations, the vast majority were under $100, and we received 20 that were $1000 or more. We received 16 bitcoins which translates to $48k including the match.
The notes you left with their donations were heart warming and motivating. It is wonderful to see how many people want the full breadth of information available to everyone in the world and are willing to put their effort and money behind it. Still lots to do, and glad there is such a strong community to make it actually happen.
Universal Access to All Knowledge.
Thank you, and lets rock in 2014!
The announcements of the Console Living Room and the Historical Software Collection have brought a large amount of attention to the JSMESS emulator that archive.org uses. Naturally, being a relatively new method of playing software in a browser, there are number of technical questions and explanations that people are seeking answers for. This entry is meant to cover the most frequently asked questions and will be updated as new information becomes available.
What exactly is the JSMESS emulator?
Where possible, the JSMESS team are adding code changes to the original MESS source code or even to Emscripten itself, so that advances in support and function are available to other projects, benefitting all.
I’m having trouble with…
It is helpful to keep in mind that a full speed running JSMESS only went online at the end of August 2013. Because this is all brand-new in terms of interacting with the families of browsers out there, there are going to be incompatibilities, hiccups, speed issues and other situations.
Here are some common solutions:
I can’t hear anything!
I’m not sure which keys to use!
We are continually updating instructions with accurate information about which keys activate which selections on a given platform and for a specific program. In general, the arrow keys, and control keys tend to work best, and the number keys sometimes trigger off other options. A team of volunteers has been working on documentation and linking and will continue to.
How can I help?
If you are a developer and care about the state of ambulation, consider getting involved with a contributing fixes and improvements to the MESS emulator. Whatever changes are reflected in that project with regards to platform support and accuracy will come down the line automatically to JSMESS.
If programming is not your thing, we can always use help with improved metadata, better linking to history, and better context as to the various items are collection. Please contact the software curator at Internet Archive, Jason Scott. He’s at email@example.com.
I wish that you….
We do too. Our commitment is to make JSMESS as good as it can be, and able to run more platforms, with accurate and smooth sound and performance in the browser. We invite people who want to contribute code or other efforts to reach Jason Scott, or to contibute to the linked code repositories in this FAQ.
For a generation of children, the most exciting part of a Christmas morning was discovering a large box under the tree, ripping it apart, and looking at an exciting, colorful box promising endless video games. At home! Right in your living room!
The expansion of videogames from arcades, boardwalks and carnivals into the home was a vanguard mounted by companies with names like Coleco, Atari, Magnavox and Odyssey. For hundreds of dollars, you could play as many games as you wanted, for as long as you wanted, on the same TV you watched shows on. The change from the fireplace to television as center of home and hearth began in the 1950s and the home video game sped this process up considerably.
Naturally, these home video games, running on underpowered hardware and not-made-for-the-purpose video screens, were scant competition in the graphics and experience department compared to arcade games. But as they improved, consoles and computer gaming dented and some would argue destroyed arcades as a nationwide phenomenon. Only a small percentage of arcades now exist compared to their peak.
Sadly, the days of the home videogame console being a present under a tree followed by days of indulgent game-playing are not the same, replaced with massive launch events and overnight big-box store stays.
In an expansion of the Historical Software Collection, the Internet Archive has opened the Console Living Room, a collection of console video games from the 1970s and 1980s.
Like the Historical Software collection, the Console Living Room is in beta – the ability to interact with software in near-instantaneous real-time comes with the occasional bumps and bruises. An army of volunteer elves are updating information about each of the hundreds of game cartridges now available, and will be improving them across the next few days. Sound is still not enabled, but is coming soon. Faster, more modern machines and up-to-date browsers work best with the JSMESS emulator.
On this day, we bring forward five vintage game consoles:
|The Atari 2600 is a video game console released in September 1977 by Atari, Inc. It is credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor-based hardware and ROM cartridges containing game code, a format first used with the Fairchild Channel F, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in.|
|The Atari 7800 ProSystem, or simply the Atari 7800, is a video game console officially released by Atari Corporation in January 1986. The 1986 launch is sometimes referred to as a “re-release” or “relaunch” because the Atari 7800 had originally been announced in May 1984, to replace Atari Inc.’s Atari 5200, but a general release was shelved due to the sale of the company. In January 1986, the 7800 was relaunched and would compete that year with the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Master System. It had simple digital joysticks and was almost fully backward-compatible with the Atari 2600, the first console to have backward compatibility without the use of additional modules. It was considered affordable at a price of US$140.|
|The ColecoVision is Coleco Industries’ second generation home video game console, which was released in August 1982. The ColecoVision offered near-arcade-quality graphics and gaming style along with the means to expand the system’s basic hardware. Released with a catalog of 12 launch titles, with an additional 10 games announced for 1982, approximately 145 titles in total were published as ROM cartridges for the system between 1982 and 1984.|
|The Magnavox Odyssey², known in Europe as the Philips Videopac G7000, in Brazil as the Philips Odyssey, in the United States as the Magnavox Odyssey² and the Philips Odyssey², and also by many other names, is a video game console released in 1978.
In the early 1970s, Magnavox was an innovator in the home video game industry. They succeeded in bringing the first home video game system to market, the Odyssey, which was quickly followed by a number of later models, each with a few technological improvements (Magnavox Odyssey Series). In 1978, Magnavox, now a subsidiary of North American Philips, released the Odyssey², its new second-generation video game console.
|The Astrocade is a second generation video game console and simple computer system designed by a team at Midway, the videogame division of Bally. It was marketed only for a limited time before Bally decided to exit the market. The rights were later picked up by a third-party company, who re-released it and sold it until around 1983. The Astrocade is particularly notable for its very powerful graphics capabilities for the time of release, and for the difficulty in accessing those capabilities.|
Access drives preservation – making these vintage games available to the world, instantly, allows for commentary, education, enjoyment and memory for the history they are a part of. In coming months, the playable software collection will expand greatly. Until then, game on!