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October 29, 2010 1:49 PM   Subscribe

"[W]ebsites and hosting services should not be “fads” any more than forests and cities should be fads – they represent countless hours of writing, of editing, of thinking, of creating. They represent their time, and they represent the thoughts and dreams of people now much older, or gone completely. There’s history here. Real, honest, true history. So Archive Team did what it could, as well as other independent teams around the world, and some amount of Geocities was saved." Now, one year later, they have announced that nearly a terabyte of web history will soon be made available to the public as a 900GB torrent file. (Previously. / Previously.)

Don't have 900gb of free hard drive space handy? Some limited online archives of Geocities content already exist, saved by folks looking to preserve its unique, blink-tag and animated gif-filled slice of internet history:

Archive.org's Special Geocities Collection

Reocities: "Here lies what we could salvage from the ashes of GeoCities."

OoCities.com: "Our aim is to save those pages which are worthy and unique scientific sources or are of great public interest as well as those, which are historically interesting or just representing the 90s website culture and style."

Geocities.ws
posted by zarq (57 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Will the tag still work?
posted by de void at 1:52 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Err, that was supposed to be

"Will the BLINK tag still work?"
posted by de void at 1:53 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hope someone saved the Website Under Construction signs! I miss those. How else are we to distinguish the pages that are complete, and therefore safe and reliable?
posted by catlet at 1:54 PM on October 29, 2010


/!\ THIS COMMENT UNDER CONSTRUCTION /!\
posted by theodolite at 1:54 PM on October 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Imagine the entire contents of the planetary datalinks, the sum total of human knowledge, blasted into the Planetmind's fragile neural network with the full power of every reactor on the planet. Thousands of years of civilization compressed into a single searing burst of revelation. That is our last-ditch attempt to win humanity a reprieve from extinction at the hands of an awakening alien god.
posted by The Whelk at 1:56 PM on October 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Some people are still rocking the classic Geocities look (warning: flashing lights, possible seizure risk).
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:57 PM on October 29, 2010


I hope someone thought to back up Archie and Gopher.
posted by crunchland at 1:59 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Value-added bonus: the world's largest collection of Hanson fanfic.
posted by griphus at 1:59 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm going to download the whole thing just to see how long it takes.
posted by reductiondesign at 2:00 PM on October 29, 2010


Man, people who can't let things go annoy me. IT'S THE PAST, FOLKS. That's it. Get over it, move on.
posted by dagny at 2:09 PM on October 29, 2010


There's something really cool about a 900 GB torrent of all of Geocities. I'd download it but it would just result in me being disappointed in how awful Geocities is again all over again.
posted by graventy at 2:19 PM on October 29, 2010


Man, people who can't let things go annoy me. IT'S THE PAST, FOLKS. That's it. Get over it, move on.

I know, whenever I see a collection of carefully preserved historical documents at the Library of Congress or whatever I'm always like "SOMEONE SHOULD THROW ALL OF THIS OLD SHIT OUT"
posted by burnmp3s at 2:21 PM on October 29, 2010 [38 favorites]


Oh boy. 1 Terabyte of blinking HTML. I can't wait.
posted by hwestiii at 2:21 PM on October 29, 2010


Man, people who can't let things go annoy me. IT'S THE PAST, FOLKS. That's it. Get over it, move on.

We're poised to demolish all the libraries in the world on your say-so, exalted leader. Just sign here. And here. Also ... here.
posted by user92371 at 2:22 PM on October 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Man, people who can't let things go annoy me. IT'S THE PAST, FOLKS. That's it. Get over it, move on.

So, to you, historians are just people with a weird fetish for the past?
posted by Edison Carter at 2:23 PM on October 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


How is this legal?
posted by entropicamericana at 2:23 PM on October 29, 2010


I would have stopped my post after seeing burnmp3s but I forgot about it. I got over it. I "moved on."
posted by user92371 at 2:23 PM on October 29, 2010


Man, people who can't let things go annoy me. IT'S THE PAST, FOLKS. That's it. Get over it, move on.

I have never wanted a hamburger as badly as I do right now.
posted by reductiondesign at 2:26 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


How is this legal?

it's not.

Also, the law is stupid.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:30 PM on October 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Like it or not... this realm is now incredibly significant. Damn right it's the past... this comment will soon be part of it.

I preserved every god damned bit I could recover from my brothers computer after he died. I saved the disk image as a snapshot. It keeps me connected to him... years afterward.

I will meet my own end before those bits disappear.

I don't know who will preserve mine... if anyone at all.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 2:31 PM on October 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


How is this legal?

Well, the copyright holders put all of this up for public consumption. There's an argument to be made that there's an implied license to download intact copies while still forbidding derivative works.

In some sense it's not so different from archive.org or the Google Cache. I wonder, did The Archive Team respect robots.txt? Did Geocities even support per-site robots.txt?
posted by jedicus at 2:33 PM on October 29, 2010


Whelk: Where would you like your node today?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:35 PM on October 29, 2010


I hung out in the Archive Team IRC channel for a few months - I didn't do any actual work (I was still on 56k until a few months ago, unfortunately), but god damn, they're brilliant. They're a little (okay, maybe a lot) hard to get along with sometimes, Jason Scott is notoriously opinionated, but they're all wonderful, wonderful people who put a lot of work into this. Despite what a lot of people would believe, the preservation of digital history is an important issue, and I'm glad we have people like Jason Scott and Archive Team doing this sort of work.
posted by JimBennett at 2:40 PM on October 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some people are still rocking the classic Geocities look

Indeed, I was somewhat gently rocked by this revelation.
posted by mintcake! at 2:40 PM on October 29, 2010


Don't have 900gb of free hard drive space handy?

Heck, it's not the space, 1TB drive are going for $60.

Even a torrent would 222 hours on a 10Mb connection.
posted by mmrtnt at 2:46 PM on October 29, 2010


Er, meant, "It's the download time, even a torrent..."
posted by mmrtnt at 2:46 PM on October 29, 2010


Man, people who can't let things go annoy me. IT'S THE PAST, FOLKS. That's it. Get over it, move on.

That's the difference between records managers and archivists in a nutshell :-)
posted by Calzephyr at 2:48 PM on October 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


While we're talking about huge quantities of old information in one place, I'll just drop a half terabyte of public domain video here. It's hosted by Bulk.Resouce.org, home of Building Codes for the US by state, amongst other wonderfully useful things. For more context, here's an old BoingBoing post.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:53 PM on October 29, 2010


[blink] <blink>

feh...
posted by mmrtnt at 2:57 PM on October 29, 2010


feh...

It didn't render properly when I put it in the title. Hence the wrong brackets.
posted by zarq at 2:59 PM on October 29, 2010


To get the left bracket to show you have to type & lt ; without spaces.

It's probably good form to use & gt ; for the right bracket, but most browsers don't care.

HTML ASCII

On postview, I didn't mean to sound so critical, either. Sometimes I write things without realizing how they'll look.
posted by mmrtnt at 3:15 PM on October 29, 2010


Oh cool! Thanks! That'll come in handy in the future.

Now worries. I didn't take it as a criticism. It made me smile.
posted by zarq at 3:26 PM on October 29, 2010


This makes me wonder - what is the largest publicly available torrent? I assume some Rainbow table downloads are up there, and I think the MAME library is in triple digit gigabytes now, but pushing close to a terabyte is more than I've ever seen before.
posted by ymgve at 3:31 PM on October 29, 2010


Does HTML ASCII work in titles? I've seen some ASCII-like text in MetaFilter titles, and assumed it was something to do with the limitations of the Title tag.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:33 PM on October 29, 2010


I just remembered, the raw video torrent for this 7-hour train trip is a whopping 246 gigabytes.
posted by ymgve at 3:35 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've seen some ASCII-like text in MetaFilter titles
You mean the letters and numbers and punctuation?
posted by Wolfdog at 4:07 PM on October 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


For the recursive, you need to type &amp;&lt; to get &lt; to get <.

If there is any bit of internet history I would throw out, geocities would probably top my list.
posted by chairface at 4:08 PM on October 29, 2010


Ha! I screwed that up. &amp;lt; gets you &lt; Oh well.
posted by chairface at 4:10 PM on October 29, 2010


For the recursive, you need to type &< to get < to get <.

If there is any bit of internet history I would throw out, geocities would probably top my list.
posted by ersatz at 4:47 PM on October 29, 2010


Ha! I screwed that up. &lt; gets you < Oh well.
posted by ersatz at 4:47 PM on October 29, 2010


&lt

Thanks!
posted by mmrtnt at 4:50 PM on October 29, 2010


I hope someone saved the Website Under Construction signs!

I know you're joking, but Archive Team actually did save the Under Construction signs. (linked to in the main link in this post)
posted by zsazsa at 4:52 PM on October 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Actually, I wasn't. The rest of the comment was snark, but...I'm a historian who likes ephemera.
posted by catlet at 5:11 PM on October 29, 2010


zsazsa, that link just made me a very happy girl. That's, like, my high school years, right there.

I am terribly curious as to what they've saved, if anything, of my GeoCities pages. I had something up on GeoCities from 1995 or 96 till the day it was turned off. And yeah, some of it blinked.
posted by SMPA at 6:21 PM on October 29, 2010


And yeah, some of it blinked.

My fingers are crossed that my auto-play MIDI music survived.
posted by soma lkzx at 6:42 PM on October 29, 2010


I guess it goes without saying, but the first link, to ascii.textfiles.com, is Metafilter's own jscott.
posted by Rumple at 7:02 PM on October 29, 2010


Athens/1499 BABY! (I made a backup when they said they were going down)

Ah, "Ralph Nader 'that statist idiot...' VOTE HARRY BROWNE 96!" (On black background and bright colors!)

"LIBERTARIAN PARTY"

"WHY CHRISTIANS SHOULD SMOKE POT!"

Oh christ young me... what were you smoki.... oh.
posted by symbioid at 7:26 PM on October 29, 2010


In this age of Facebook searches that turn of drunken frat photos that torpedo people's chances of getting through the job interview process, some stuff is just better left forgotten.
posted by crunchland at 7:35 PM on October 29, 2010


I could have been part of history! Sadly, I hosted my first webpage in Fortunecity.
posted by Memo at 10:27 PM on October 29, 2010


seed plz ppl
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:34 AM on October 30, 2010


mmrtnt: "Heck, it's not the space, 1TB drive are going for $60."

Holy shit. Let that one sync in: what was once basically the whole of personal expression on the Internet can now be archived locally for under 75 bucks.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:19 PM on October 30, 2010


Years and years ago, I designed a new network for my company. We were switching from dumb terminals and a centralized processor (AS/400) to a modern, distributed network. The workstations would all be running Windows 95 as the OS, so that tells you how long ago it was. We spec'ed out the fileserver's main data storage device. It was going to be a RAID array drive, with 5 different drive units that were hot-swappable, so we could, in theory, pull out any disk drive and the system wouldn't even hiccup, and if we replaced the drive with a blank one, within 24 hours, the new drive would have all of the data, rebuilt, of the one we replaced.

This drive had a storage capacity of 5 gigs and cost $40,000.
posted by crunchland at 2:48 PM on October 30, 2010


Before that, my friend wanted to add a hard drive to his IBM suitcase PC. He settled on a Plus Hardcard, which was a hard disk drive and IO interface device all built into a card that slipped into a single expansion slot. I want to say that it cost him $200+ and he got 20 megs storage.

And before that, I was pining away for a hard disk drive for my Commodore 64. I just didn't have the cash to spend ($150, I think, which is what every peripheral for the C64 cost -- printer, monitor, floppy disk drive), but it would have let me have a whole megabyte of storage for my BBS, which I was running of dual floppy disks.
posted by crunchland at 2:55 PM on October 30, 2010


what was once basically the whole of personal expression on the Internet

Hardly.
posted by entropicamericana at 6:51 PM on October 30, 2010


I love freelance archiving. And a terabyte isn't really all that bad if you're on a fast connection, like fiber. I'm not, but a couple of people seeding the Mefi Music torrent are, & wow, they can kick some ass. As in a casual "oh hey I uploaded 100 gig today, & I would've done more, but that was basically everybody."
posted by Pronoiac at 12:25 PM on October 31, 2010


It's out.
posted by ymgve at 8:27 AM on November 2, 2010


ymgve: This makes me wonder - what is the largest publicly available torrent?

From 5 Record-breaking Torrents: there's "a 746.70 GB collection of all 2010 World Cup soccer matches (~ 6GB per half)," though the comments there note a collection of Touhou-game-inspired music (lossless compression) that's currently 790 GB & receiving regular updates.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:47 PM on November 8, 2010


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