Aardvark Daily aardvark (ard'-vark) a controversial animal with a long probing nose used for sniffing out the facts and stimulating thought and discussion.

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Note: This column represents the opinions of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact
The Online Time Machine 30 October 2001 Edition
Previous Edition

Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
Click To See
Note: I'm still researching the story I promised you yesterday. It looks as if there might be several emails such as the one I mentioned -- each with a different story. Check tomorrow's Aardvark for more info

Most people will agree that one of the best things about the Google search engine is its cache.

By keeping copies of the pages it spiders you can still check out a site that been taken down, is excessively slow, or temporarily unavailable by viewing the cached copy instead.

Most cached copies in the Google database are reasonably fresh though and represent a relatively contemporary view of the Net and its content.

Need Cutting-Edge Copy?
As NZ's longest-running online commentator, I'm looking for extra syndication opportunities for this daily publication -- or I'm happy to write casual or regular material specifically to order for print or Net-based publications. If you're interested, drop me a line

However, what do you do if you want to see the Net as it used to be?

Have you ever wanted to take a step back in time and look at a website the way it was a year or two ago?

Well for those who haven't already seen it, take a look at something that can only be described as an online time machine.

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Now this is pretty cool -- it's like Google's cache but it stretches back several years in time to provide you with snapshots of how the web used to look. Note: the site is very slow so you'll have to be patient.

There are plenty of NZ sites in there too!

Now I'm the first to say that this is a great service and I think there are plenty of people who will now find themselves spending hours just checking the evolution of various websites over the years -- but there is a problem...

What about copyright?

Set aside the fact that this is a site of huge value to those studying the history or evolution of the web, and consider for a moment that there are literally billions of copyrighted works in this database.

I have no problem with any of my pages being archived by this service -- but I'm sure there are those who will bitch and moan. Certainly I don't recall being asked to give license to reproduce *and* republish my pages in this fashion (although *I* don't care).

What if I were to set up a database of music history in the same way -- collecting recordings of millions of different published music recordings and making them available for public listening -- do you think the recording industry would be at all happy?

So why should a web page be any different to a music recording in respect to the way that anyone wishing to copy or republish that work should be bound by the copyright laws?

Once again, let me make it clear -- I'm all in favour of this archive, I think it's great. I just hope that they don't get scuttled by some dorky publisher who might decide to sue the stuffing out of them for copyright infringement.

Save The Aardvark Fund
Yes, I have had several donations to the Aardvark fund and I thank those who put their money where their mouse is :-)

If guilt is gnawing away inside you then there's still time to donate.

Just drop by and hand over your loot.


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New vulnerability exposes Excel and PowerPoint macros ZDNet - 29/10/2001)

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