Techman Texts: Internet Archive needs your help after blaze last week

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I have written often about the Internet Archive (, Brewster Kahle's noble experiment begun in 1996 that aims at "universal access to all knowledge."

It provides permanent storage of and free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images and nearly 3 million public domain books, according to Wikipedia. It is probably best known for the Wayback Machine, which allows you to view websites as they looked in the past.

Now, the Archive needs your help.

Last week, a fire started at the Archive's San Francisco scanning center. Of the physical materials lost, about half had already been digitized.

"This episode has reminded us that digitizing and making copies are good strategies for both access and preservation. We have copies of the data in the Internet Archive in multiple locations, so even if our main building had been involved in the fire, we still would not have lost the amazing content we have all worked so hard to collect," the website said.

But about $600,000 worth of high-end digitization equipment was destroyed and the Archive is asking for contributions to replace the equipment.

You can help by going to and clicking the "donate" button.


Rant: Best Buy is the latest retailer to open up earlier on Thanksgiving Day -- 6 p.m. Last year the stores opened at midnight. This is getting a little ridiculous. First stores started opening at 6 a.m. Black Friday, then 4 a.m, then midnight, now 6 p.m. Thanksgiving. So clear the table, kick out the family and go shopping.


Some holiday gift ideas: A Canadian tailor shop is offering a stylish bulletproof suit. Carbon nanotubes in a layer under the exterior fabric harden on impact to stop both bullets and knife blades, according to the shop, Garrison Bespoke. This is a gift for a very special person because it costs $20,000.

A Russian company has announced plans for a space hotel, called the Commercial Space Station, to open by 2016 that will be able to accommodate seven guests in four cabins. Again it's a little pricey -- a million dollars for a five-day stay.

The CBC reports that a Saskatchewan man who has developed an affordable 3-D printer has attracted more than $700,000 in crowdsourcing. The printers will sell for $100.


They were doing research: surveyed 200 security professionals, asking them what kind of problems they've had to deal with.

Forty percent said they've had to clean their senior leadership team member's device because it was infected by going to a porn site.

Leading security woes were malicious email links and family members using corporate devices.


Website of the week: A crew of techies did what the government could not. At, you can easily find out the cost of health plans you can sign up for under the Affordable Care Act. You can't subscribe right on the site, but there are links to the insurance companies' sites. The site was built in a weekend.


Science history fact of the week: Nobel prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr, who laid out the modern idea of an atom as a nucleus with electrons revolving around it, was given a house with a pipeline connected to the Carlsberg brewery next door, providing him with free beer for life.


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