Wayback machine

We’ve had some LOOONNNGGGG newsletters this week, so how about we keep this one a bit shorter?

A while back, I shared a simple hack that I use every day, and that I’d assumed everyone else already knew about—basically, how to increase the speed at which you watch almost any video on the Internet.

I must have had 50 people email me to say thank you, that they hadn’t known about it, and that it was immensely helpful.

That got met thinking—and let’s use this as a comment thread—what are some other simple Internet sites or digital hacks that you use every day, and that you never mention because you think they’re commonplace—but that might be a game-changer for people who somehow never heard about them?

I’ll go first. For me, it’s the Wayback Machine, which is a project of a 501(c) called The Internet Archive, which has for 25 years now been taking snapshots of the Internet, so that even after a webpage has been updated or even deleted, you can still find an archive.

I use this nearly every day, given that I’m writing every day. Basically, just navigate to https://archive.org/web/, enter the url of the site for which you’d like to find an archive, and you’ll very often find dozens or even hundreds of snapshots, dating back years or even decades.

The coverage isn’t 100 percent, but it’s surprisingly thorough. And, not all the images have always been archived, and sometimes it’s pretty slow. But then again, given that the goal is basically mirroring the entire Internet, it’s hard to be critical.

Not-random example: Here’s the front page of WashingtonPost.com on the day in 2005 that Mark Felt was revealed as Bob Woodward’s “Deep Throat” source. (I had something to do with this; hence the example.)

Or else, oh, I don’t know: Here’s what Pets.com looked like in early 2000, when they were still selling 50-pound bags of dog food with free shipping, but couldn’t figure out why they weren’t profitable.

So, call for comments. I have a feeling we will get some great examples. What are the digital tools, apps, and websites that you use constantly — but that maybe other people don’t even know about? Let’s see if we can’t get a good and helpful list going in the comments.

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7 other things worth your time


Thanks for reading, as always. Photo: Internet Archive. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.

And—final reminder—let us know if you have a digital tool or website to share as part of today’s comment thread.

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