Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to last week

The Internet has begun to route around the damage caused by the disruption of access to my 1999-2002 columns. I really hope a better solution will be forthcoming. When you are a writer whose entire corpus exists online, woven into a fabric of citation and commentary, it is incredibly painful to see that fabric torn apart. The Wayback Machine is a terrific resource. Serving as the canonical namespace for formerly-free-but-now-restricted content is not, however, its best and highest use. In any case, few users will avail themselves of this option. Most, following Google-supplied links, will just mutter "damn" and move on.

Discontinuity does have an upside. When I was unable to redirect my RSS feed, I learned something interesting about my suscribership. A third of it was robotic, and didn't give a damn that nothing new seemed to have been posted for three months. It's useful to know these things. But on the whole, you'd rather not be forced to learn them the hard way.

I wrote a column for BYTE on the Wayback Machine when it first appeared. Ironically, it was for a planned revival of the print edition of BYTE -- which morphed into a PDF download, so the column never did appear on the web with its own URL. The column speculated that the Wayback Machine would become the resolver of last resort. When Google returned a URL that was blocked or 404'd, the browser would automagically redirect to a Wayback Machine URL. Funny how things turn out.

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