February 2, 2011 AT 8:35 am

Wayback!

About a month ago news Website Ars Technica had a post about a copyright suit against the Wayback Machine. A few people asked what use does this type of data have and I wanted to share some information.

First off , The Wayback Machine is a kind of digital time capsule, hosted by the non-profit Internet Archive, and provides us with a glimpse into the webs past.

We all know good search skills are a must when trying to locate information on old or obsolete electronics. But what happens when that data is no longer hosted?

This is an example of the use of Wayback to help find information on a pair of surplus motor controllers.

We had no idea at the time the truth table, specs and etc.  So armed with model number and a quick Google search, I was able to locate the name of the company that had produced the board. The original site had sadly fallen into the ether, but the ghostly remains  could be found in the Wayback. Here is a link to what I found for the D100-B25 controller board.

Now your results may very, because not all data is captured by this system. But it never hurts to add another tool to your digital tool belt.

I suggest reading the Wayback FAQ for information on how to get your site added.

I hope that the current copyright law does not stamp out this valuable resource.  The Wayback has proven to be a great way to keep support for devices alive and the freedom of information flowing.

Want to see what Adafruit looked like back in 2005? Link!

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5 Comments

  1. Typo in the link to the FAQ,

    http://www.archive.org/about/faqs.php

  2. Michael,

    Fixed! Thanks for the heads up.

  3. For this Bike With 2 Brains project, I had what I believed to be a reed relay in a DIP package that I wanted to use. It was in my parts bin for a long time and I never bothered to research it.

    Well, the Internet let me down as there was no record of the part number. There was, however, a poorly silkscreened patent number. As luck would have it, the relay was patented in 1971 and the documentation (online) included an engineering drawing of the inner workings. From there I was able to confirm the correct pinouts.

    As such, the USPTO can actually be an excellent resource for the hobbyist, as its supposed to be!

  4. Jason,

    The USPTO has helped me in a few fun projects myself. Thanks for the comment and another excellent resource.

    Kevin

  5. Here is some history that archive.org can be for good…
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/02/09/133628393/fifty-years-later-28-men-lost-when-old-shaky-collapsed-are-honored?sc=fb&cc=fp

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