50 Fun Ways to Use the Wayback Machine

Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 7:55pm by Site Administrator

Even in its short history, the Internet has gone through serious growth, often shedding old content for new developments. The Wayback Machine offers an archive of what used to be, and the results of searches on the machine are often quite fun. Here are our suggestions for amusing and useful ways to use the machine for yourself.

  1. Find old friends: Reconnect with old chat buddies from your early days online.
  2. Find a manual for your obsolete product: Have you bought a discontinued item on eBay? Get the manual from the manufacturer’s old website.
  3. Take a look at your own site’s growth: Enjoy a trip down memory lane as you track how your site has grown over time.
  4. Create a scavenger hunt: Design a fun hunting game that uses the Wayback Machine to find quirky bits from yesterday’s Internet.
  5. Track the commercialization of the Internet: Marvel at how the Internet has become a great tool for marketing and sales.
  6. Check out your site’s history: If you bought your domain name from someone, see what it looked like before you got your hands on it.
  7. Research a website you’d like to buy: The Wayback Machine is an excellent domainer research tool. Find out if a seller is yanking your chain about any statistics and history by plugging it into the archive.
  8. Find old school photos: Check out your old school’s online newsletter to find dorky photos of yourself.
  9. Save a lost site: If your hosting company dropped off the face of the earth, use the Wayback Machine to recover some of your work.
  10. Reminisce about your old resume: Find your old online resume and enjoy a look back at old jobs.
  11. Create an Internet timeline: Track the Internet’s history, or your own, complete with screenshots.
  12. Review the history of Internet porn: Take a look at how online porn has evolved over the years.
  13. Research conspiracy theories: Sites may be taken down, but with the archive, you can still see what others may not have wanted you to find.
  14. Clear your name: If someone accuses you of stealing information, prove to them you had it online first.
  15. Find old crappy GIFs: Remember when the Internet was full of stupid smiley animations? Check out the Wayback Machine to snag a few and harass people with them.
  16. View a suspended site: Did you go to check out a cool site, only to find out the owner didn’t pay their bill, or overloaded the server? Use the Wayback Machine to pull it up.
  17. Show punk kids how cool you used to be: Know a kid who thinks MySpace is about the coolest thing the Internet has ever done? Let them take a look at some of your old favorite sites.
  18. Settle a bet about who’s been online longer: Show your buddy that you found the Internet 4 months before he did by finding old forum posts.
  19. Create a PDF copy of an old ezine: Retrieve old issues, and preserve them for later reading.
  20. Learn from bad design: Take a look at sites from the early Internet to learn about what not to do.
  21. Reminisce about your old dotcom job: Visit your dot-com’s defunct site and think about the way things used to be.
  22. Compare historical prices: Find out how much a seller paid for the item you’re buying today.
  23. Compare page versions: Analyze how a page has changed by comparing two versions side by side.
  24. Retrive lost content: Find your old resume, papers, and more.
  25. Check out stock prices: See how stock prices have risen and fallen in the past decade or so.
  26. Nail a content thief: Prove that you published content before a thief did, and you’ve got a rock solid case against them.
  27. Make fun of old predictions that never came true: Find sites that predicted the sky would fall on a certain day, and laugh when you realize that day was 5 years ago.
  28. Enjoy pre-coverage of Y2K: Read press releases and worried postings about how Y2K was supposed to screw everything up.
  29. Figure out why you dropped in search engine rankings: Take a look at old stuff that used to work to your advantage, and figure out what you need to bring back.
  30. Take a look at past elections: Revisit the hype of now-forgotten candidates of elections past.
  31. Marvel at the early years of the Internet: In the Web Pioneers collection, you can see some of the sites that shaped the Internet.
  32. Blackmail: This one’s easy. Just find something embarassing on your friend, and screenshot it for future blackmailing.
  33. Check out old promotional sites: See how sites like McDonald’s and Pepsi jumped on the Internet in the early years.
  34. See how generic domain names have evolved: Take a look at the way sites like Porn.com and Milk.com have changed over the years.
  35. Find embarassing old photos: Get photos that have been long taken down, and use them to torture friends and family.
  36. See ads for old cars: Remember what your car looked like when it was brand new.
  37. Research historical prices: See how the cost of software and more has gone up through the years.
  38. Research potential employees: Before you hire someone, see if you can dig up any dirt on them with the machine.
  39. Find deleted LiveJournal entries: Did someone delete a particularly juicy entry? Find it with the Wayback Machine.
  40. Check out pre-"404" pages: Satisfy your curiosity and find out what existed before a page went bad.
  41. Laugh at failed business plans: Check out past business plans of corporations that failed.
  42. Find the goofy website your boss built: Discover your boss’ old crappy website devoted to cats.
  43. Research the past of political candidates: See what political candidates were saying a few years ago.
  44. Check out wedding websites of divorced couples: See the calm before the storm, and look for signs of impending doom.
  45. Research religious wackos: Find out what crazy ideas cults and other strange religious groups have published in the past.
  46. Find out how long your competitor has been established: Figure out whether or not your "first on the web" claim stands up.
  47. Preserve old sites for nostalgia’s sake: If you miss old communities, save your own copy of them with the machine.
  48. Find old news stories: Check out breaking news coverage now that it’s not so "breaking" anymore.
  49. See how big name web sites used to look amateur: Check out sites that have become large, but started out very small.
  50. Check out dot-com casualties in their heyday: See what failed sites like Pets.com used to look like.

Encrypt Anything: 50 Ways to Secure ALL Your Data, Regardless of Medium

Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 4:15pm by Site Administrator

New communication and data storage technologies like VoIP and USB drives allow us to easily manage, share and transport large amounts of information without being tied down to a single location or clunky desktop. The ability to connect with friends, family, and business associates has made remote access a necessity in today’s world, but with that demand comes increased vulnerability to hackers, theft and privacy breaches. To make sure all of your data remains safe and secure, from private (and possibly incriminating) photos, e-mails and conversations to standard files on your computer’s hardware, we encourage you to research the following software programs, downloads and articles to better understand how data encryption can benefit your lifestyle. Open Source Computer Software Feel free to tool around with the encryption software in this list: if the version you download doesn’t work just right for your computer, add some new features and then post your version online for others to share.

  1. TrueCrypt: This open source disk encryption software works with Windows Vista and XP, as well as Mac OS X and Linux operating systems. The software can encrypt USB drives as well as files and features a hidden volume security solution, which "cannot be distinguished from random data."
  2. AxCrypt: AxCrypt is a file encryption program for Windows operating systems that can be modified and redistributed by any developer.
  3. GnuPG: This software is currently undergoing some revisions, but advanced developers may want to contribute to the updating process. Visit this site to learn about the latest news, controversy and installation guides surrounding GnuPG.
  4. SWF Encrypt 4.0: Amayeta’s encryption tool SWF Encrypt 4.0 gives open source developers the protection they need to for Adobe Flash SWF files. The program works on PCs, Macs and C++ systems.
  5. FreeOTFE: FreOTFE works on PCs by creating virtual disks that encrypt your files before copying them to the hard drive.
  6. CrossCrypt 0.4.3: This "on the fly and offline encryption" solution works with Linux systems, Windows 2000, and Windows XP.
  7. Cypherix: Cypherix uses the open source program Blowfish to carry out its commitment to "strong encryption." The program works on all Windows operating systems.

Portable Storage Encryption Portable storage devices like USB drives make it easy to move information from one computer to another; however, these little tools are also way too easy to lose. Make sure your data is protected even if your portable storage device is lost or stolen.

  1. Thumbdrive Encryption: Watch this video from CNET TV to set up a thumbdrive encryption system.
  2. CMG External Media Shield: This program, issued by CREDANT Technologies, aims to secure the data stored on devices like USB drives, iPods and external hard drives. Features include user-transparent encryption, policy-based intelligent encryption and more.
  3. Pointsec Device Protector: Designed by Pointsec Mobile Technologies, the Pointsec Device Protector "can separately control the two-way flow of data between a PC or laptop and" portable devices like USB drives. The tool is highly customizable, allowing owners to list which storage devices and programs can be opened and which cannot.
  4. Portable Storage Device Security: This article from ITtoolbox Blogs lists different ways to amp up security on portable storage devices.
  5. ID Vault: GuardID’s ID Vault "provides multi factor authentication in the form of a USB security token with an embedded smart card chip," according to About.com reporter Ryan Groom. This means that users can securely store password and sign-on information on the device and protect themselves from identity theft.
  6. The Pros and Cons of Portable Storage: Before loading up your USB drive with confidential information read this article from SearchStorage.com to evaluate the risks associated with portable storage. The article also reviews different encryption software programs.
  7. CruzerLock 2: This application can encrypt and decrypt folders and files on PCs and flash drives. Users can also share files via e-mail, copy-to-hard-drive-capabilities, on CDs and DVDs, and through network drives.
  8. Thumb Drives are Too Often the Victims of Convenience: Read this article to find reviews of encryption software and to learn about the different ways USB encryption operates.
  9. GuardianEdge Removable Storage Encryption: By supporting USB, FireWire, Floppy, CD and DVDs, the GuardianEdge Removable Storage Encryption features either 256- or 128-bit AES encryption of stored data and helps businesses avoid property loss and theft and other security threats.
  10. SecurFlash: Issued by Encrypt, a BeCompliant Company, SecurFlash encrypts all types of files being stored on USB flash drives and removable hard drives.
  11. KanguruMicro Drive AES: This device "is the only USB flash drive that meets federal requirements for insuring the confidentiality of sensitive dta and information accessed by portable flash drives." The tool comes with an encrypted virtual disk that is password protected.
  12. DeviceWall: This tool provides USB encryption, "simple and secure administration," and access to a free data leakage prevention guide. The website also has information about portable storage security, USB lockdown and more.

Phone/VoIP Encryption Whether you’re on your cell phone, landline or VoIP connection, your phone line probably isn’t as secure as you think it is. Try out these encryption devices and applications to tie up the loose ends and give eavesdroppers the boot.

  1. Zfone: This popular product lets users encrypt their VoIP phone calls for private discussions.
  2. Fast Guide: VoIP Encryption: New VoIP users can check out this beginner’s guide to understanding VoIP security issues.
  3. How to Encrypt Your VoIP: Lifehacker provides this tutorial for VoIP users who want to make their calls more secure.
  4. CryptoPhone 200/G10: Individuals and companies requiring ultimate wiretapping protection can benefit from this phone from Navastream. The phone features AES256 protection, an encryption key that is destroyed after each call and secure talk time for up to 3 1/2 hours.
  5. Videoconference Encryption Service: Also a Navastream product, this service ensures secure, private videoconferencing communications.
  6. PhoneCrypt: This product claims to provide "military grade encryption" capabilities. The product works on Windows-based Smartphones and encrypts conversations in real time.
  7. Nokia E61 Encrypted Cell Phone: This phone comes with a hefty price tag, but individuals wanting serious security will want the 256 bits random key feature and BlackBerry Connect compatibility.
  8. Babylon nG: Babylon nG is an application that "runs on a switch network which allows private communication to take place between users." It also features a 256-bit algorithm for solid encryption.

Images Whether you want to use an image to hide certain information or just keep others from accessing personal photos, check out this list to see how images can be used for encryption purposes.

  1. FreeCrypt: This software program encrypts all kinds of files, including personal photos and digital archives.
  2. EyeMage IIE: This free software encrypts files in bitmap images. Users can even "hide photos in photos" and share secure files.
  3. HIP Hide in Picture 2.1: Hide files in bitmaps and GIF formats to keep them safe.
  4. Androsa File Protector: Androsa File Protector is a free-to-use program that encrypts all kinds of files, including images and file videos.

Computer Encryption Keep your personal and professional files safe by implementing these security solutions into your computer. You still be able to share files with clients and friends, but outside parties won’t be able to spy on your documents.

  1. Advanced File Lock 5: Encrypt all of your files, including images and movie files, with the Advanced File Lock.
  2. Kryptos 2: This user-friendly system encrypts and decrypts files on PCs and portable storage devices. It also comes with a file shredding feature for ultimate security.
  3. RoboForm 6.9: Secure your password information with this program, which automatically remembers and fills in password forms for you on Web sites.
  4. AutoKrypt: Use AutoKrypt to perform encryption and decryption tasks on all of your files. The system also features a key store to help you manage keys, as well as zipping, unzipping, synchronizing and file monitoring capabilities.
  5. Folder Lock 5.8.2: Quickly "password-protect, lock, hide and encrypt any number of files, folders, drives, pictures and documents" with this version of Folder Lock. You can use the program on USB drives, CD-RWs, disks, hard disks and more.
  6. WinXAR 1.1: This encryption software also lets users share folders and files. The program works on Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP and 2003.
  7. Crypt4Free 4.6.16: This download relies on Blowfish, DESX and "Quick Wipe" to protect all kinds of files and medium, including zip drives.
  8. Cryptmage: Download Cryptmage here to access simple file encryption capabilities and a "proprietary algorithm to secure your files from preying eyes."
  9. HandyBits EasyCrypto Deluxe: This software’s Version 5.5 is free to download, and users will be able to encrypt files and folders, as well as self-extracting zip archives.
  10. Kryptel: Version 5.45 of Kryptel is compatible with Windows 95,98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000, XP and Vista. Users can encrypt files and entire folders, including their Documents folder.
  11. Omziff: Encrypt textual data using Omziff by splitting files, creating random passwords, and utilizing algorithms like Blowfish and Twofish.
  12. NOYBcription (1): Mac OS X users will benefit from this software program, which stands for None Of Your Business. The program encrypts individual files as well as entire folders, which can be sent securely over e-mail or saved on a flash drive.

Wi-Fi and E-mail Close up open Wi-Fi and e-mail connections by downloading one of these software programs. You’ll be able to securely send e-mail attachments and log on to censored sites without anyone spying on you.

  1. Hotspot Shield 1.01: Hotspot Shield "ensures anonymous and censor-free internet usage" by encrypting information that goes in and out of your computer. This version is currently free of charge.
  2. SecureZIP: This product makes your e-mail messages and attachments secure against hackers. SecureZIP is compatible with Microsoft Outlook.
  3. Iron Key: Send encrypted files over the Internet when you use Iron Key. Version 1.3 works with Windows operating systems and can delete files after they’ve been encrypted.
  4. CryptoHeaven: This software program allows Mac users to "send and receive secure and anonymous email," instant messages, information on message boards, document folders and more.
  5. Email Encryption for the Lazy: Follow this guide to safely encrypt your email messages and attachments according to PGP.
  6. MessageGuard: This app works with Outlook, Outlook Express and Network Solutions email accounts. Users only have to click on the "Send Secure" button to have their messages sent as encrypted emails.
  7. PGP: Find different versions of the infamous PGP freeware here.