I used to order servo controller boards from picobotics.com. They had
some really nice 16 bit resolution boards with optional A/D channels
as well as configuration of a servo port as digital I/O. Their stuff
was nice and reasonably priced and the guys were very responsive
regarding a firmware bug I once found in one of their boards. But, the
picobotics.com domain seems to be under the control of a domain
parking company, and I get a generic message from their phone number.
Anyone know if these guys are history, and if not, how to get a hold
You can't use that site for anything more than a guess (and I lock them
out, since they have no reason to make permanent copies of my pages;
fortunately their bot respects the robots.txt file). There's always
about a six-month delay in adding pages to their archive.
In any case, the owner retired a little while ago. I don't know what
happened to his product line.
Of course it's a guess - but it's an educated guess.
There are perfectly good reasons to archive web pages. I welcome them
with open arms - if my site is temporarily knocked out - people can
just look at the archived version.
Sorry to disagree, but no one has the right to copy someone else's Web
page in its entirety without the owner's explicit permission. IA never
asks permission, and has a very weak opt-out mechanism that is
non-existent if the Web site is transferred or abandonded. The content
of Web pages belong to the people who created that content. At least
Google and other search engines cache just the last copy of a page, the
cache is at least somewhat recent, and they respect no-cache directives
far better than IA.
As I said -- and as the IA pages itself indicates -- their cache is
usually 6 months out. How is that useful if a Web site is temporarily
down? Unless you like to go by really old news. So, again, why is it
useful to keep a running cache of old and outdated information of
someone else's site?
Indeed. An interesting side effect of this is that downloading
most web pages is technically illegal since most web pages are
implicitly copyrighted (via the Berne convention) and most web
sites neglect to provide explicit download permission. Your web
site at <http://www.budgetrobotics.com/copyrite.html> and my
web site at <http://gramlich.net/copyright.html provide this
explicit permission, but the vast majority of web sites do not
bother; for the vast majority web sites, download permission is
implicit rather than explicit.
>> IA never
>> The content of Web pages belong to the people who created
>> that content.
Indeed. It is up to the copyright holder to decide the conditions
of content distribution. This right is for the duration of the
copyright which is currently extremely long (typically over a
century in duration.) After the copyright expires, the work
reverts to the public domain.
>> At least
The ultimate purpose of the IA is to provide future historians
with a resource to see how the web evolved from its infancy into
whatever it evolves into. The wikipedia article:
explains the rationale behind the project. It makes sense to me.
I don't buy it. It's a rationale made to fit what someone already
created. You don't save all your garbage. You make a time-capsule with
representative items, not everything everyone has ever owned and maybe
What IA *claims* to do (it ends up benefiting lawyers the most, as you
probably know) could be far better done by an all-voluntary explicit
inclusion that could still consist of tens of millions of Web pages, and
would still provide all the historial benefits that IA claims for its
mission. In fact, a more careful selection of included Web sites would
be far more useful to historians. It's hard to imagine historians of the
future being interested in the 1,771,561 Web sites dedicated to
someone's Siamese cat.
My brother is a field archaeologist, and he spends most of his time
looking for people's garbage heaps - they are the real treasure troves
Edited history would end up being just that - history edited by
governments to reflect the particular view of their time they wanted us
to see. It's actually more interesting to have the whole lot...
(I personally use the Internet Archive so I don't have to keep track of
past versions of things like our website...)
rich walker | Shadow Robot Company | firstname.lastname@example.org
technical director 251 Liverpool Road |
Who said anything about governments editing history? I'm talking about
people agreeing or not agreeing that things they created and intended
for a given purpose are not used beyond that purpose.
The fact that you like IA to keep track of your old sites is great. I
prefer my own CD-Rs which cost like 9 cents each, but to each his own.
That's what we're talking about. It's more formally called Internet
Archive, or IA. Here are my problems with it:
1. According to the site, if you block the IA crawler, "It will remove
all documents from your domain from the Wayback Machine." THIS IS NOT
TRUE. It never has been true. It is a flat-out lie, in fact. The
documents remain in their index. Nothing is ever "removed." If you
change your robot.txt file to re-allow inclusion everything comes back.
When I pointed out to their staff that the exclusion directions were
found on a page labelled "Removing Documents From the Wayback Machine,"
and that following the directions didn't actually remove anything, the
guy couldn't comprehend what "removing" meant. I pointed him to a
definition of the term on a well-respected Internet dictionary. He still
2. According to the site, if you block the IA crawler, "It will tell us
not to crawl your site in the future." This is also not true, though
this is up to interpretation. The exclude directive only turns the
crawler away *at that moment*. The crawler keeps coming back to check.
3. Their crawler is a really stupid bot, especially compared to other
search engines. It's all or nothing. Apparently you cannot tell it to
exclude media by type, as most every other search will do. Frankly, I'd
be fine if it could be made to archive only static pages and not
downloadable content, and only those pages not in directories I don't
want crawled. I am in business on the Internet, and there is a liability
involved. I can't have 10 year old example programs and files floating
around that someone may find, try to use, then blame ME because they
don't work with modern PCs and OSs. You don't even have to be in
business to be exposed to libaility. It's there even if you have
personal, non-commercial pages.
I could go on, but it boils down to this: Web sites that want to archive
of their content will do so. They'll archive the material they think is
worthy, and not the material that is old, useless, or carries an
unnecessary liability. IA could make their tool far more useful, if
they wanted to. I don't think they really care.
have you ever heard of a robots.txt file?! This stuff isn't rocket
science. Furthermore, your argument simply doesn't make sense. By
publicly posting information on a publicly available website, you have
put your content that you are so protective of in full public view.
It's like putting up a billboard in times square and then getting
pissed off when people take photos of it.
To me - you just sound one of those people that loves to get pissed
off at anything that they can possibly get pissed off at, and then
make a public stink about it.
Hmm - most of the websites I've checked have a month or so old cached
version. Maybe they just don't care about your website. Regardless -
even if it still only backs up every 6 months - that's still good
enough for many purposes.
Either way - it's a fantastic way of looking back at the history of
I'm not going to post on this issue any further, as it is, in my
opinion, a non issue. Feel free to get in the last word - you know you
Of course I have and you haven't been reading my posts. IA's public
disclosure of how they use their robots.txt file is absolutely not what
they actually do. They make false claims regarding the disposition of
already-cached content. IF (and a big IF) you were aware of their
service when you started a site, you can lock out the ia_archiver bot
from the beginning and you won't be in their index. But if they have
indexed your pages, even once, even if you now use a robots.txt file,
YOUR CONTENT WILL NOT BE REMOVED, despite their claims otherwise.
The truth, most site owners don't even know about IA, and because IA
never bothers to contact Website owners for permission to copy their
pages, most people are unware of the infringement going on. And if they
do learn of it, they read some bogus explanation of how to have their
content removed. Only it's not removed at all. IA in fact keeps the
pages (after you've asked them to be removed) and just doesn't display
them. Sorry, but this is called LYING.
I'm not posting what I don't want to be archived, and I'm assuming it
will be (unless I mark it as not archived, which I don't). I'm fully
aware that a Usenet posting is basically forever, and I'm surprised you
would confuse a text posting with a Web site that I take days, weeks,
and months to create and maintain, and which may contain considerable
intellectual property I may wish to exercise more control over.
Furthermore, when I want to remove something, I can remove it. For some
reason IA thinks they should be the decider. Who the f*$k nominated them
for the job?
I'm not arguing IA doesn't have its uses. It can be fun and educational.
I simply would prefer them to be honest - what a concept! - about their
retention and caching policies, and actually do what they say they will
do. I happen to think this isn't too much to ask.
As a result of stumbling across the deeper levels of this post, I just searched for BudgetRobotics on the IA site, and it looks like access from thier side is indeed blocked, now. Maybe they finally took the desired action as a result of this discussion ? Or is it still on there ? ( I didn't do an exhaustive search ... )
On a more useful note, this post pointed out to me something that I wanted to include in *my* robots.txt since I don't want archived copies of my site while under fine tuning.
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