Category Archives: Web

Suggestions Wanted: Alternative Browser Alliance Relaunch

Alternative Browser AllianceYou may have seen my website, the Alternative Browser Alliance. I put it together in 2005, when flame wars between Opera users and Firefox users were at their height, to show that we shared a common goal: opening the web. The most popular page on the site is a list of web browsers, which is linked as a resource from a number of sites and also gets a steady stream of traffic from people searching for alternative browsers.

Of course, things have changed a lot since 2005, so I’m planning an overhaul of the whole site. Continue reading

Web Contest: 11 Years Later

While checking some dead links in the Internet Archive, I decided to see what they had of the website for the Literary Guild at UCI. This was a creative writing club we were both involved in back in college. There’s an abbreviated history of the club still online.

UCI Bookstore WWW page design contestI looked at the earliest archived copy I could find, and noticed down in the corner a badge for a long-forgotten website contest. Every quarter, the UCI Bookstore holds a literary contest, sometimes poetry, sometimes short stories. In spring 1996, they decided to make it a website contest. I had just built a website for the club, and submitted it. Our site was one of the three winners [archive.org].*

Just for kicks, I decided to see which of the sites were still around.

  • Literary Guild at UCI – gone. The club disbanded after the 2000 school year, and the defunct website was removed 2 years later. I still keep an archive of one segment, the collaborative writing projects, but it used to have 10 times as much writing, meeting minutes, club info and news, etc.
  • The Orchid Weblopedia – gone. It appears to have moved around a bit for several years, but the top search result for the title brings up its last web designer, and a note saying that “this page no longer exists.”
  • Ishmael’s Companion – the study guide for the book, Ishmael is still around, but it’s now a tiny part of author Daniel Quinn’s site.

1 out of 3. And even that one’s at a different location.

And so the link rot continues…

* I was hoping to link to an independent announcement, but the UCI Bookstore website only lists the most recent winners (Spring 2007), and while the Anteater Weekly regularly announced the winners, their archives only go back to 1997. I did find the announcement in the May 30, 1996 Zotmail Archive, but it doesn’t return linkable results, so you’ll have to search for it.

Unsyncable

I use Firefox, Opera, and Safari on a regular basis on three computers at home (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and two at work (Windows and Linux). That’s 11 sets of bookmarks that I’d like to pare down to 2.

del.icio.us helps somewhat, especially since I discovered I can add it as a search in both Firefox and Opera, but web apps have a certain amount of delay that doesn’t work for the most frequently-accessed sites. And I don’t want to add yet another web app, I want to sync the bookmarks in each browser.

Most of the solutions I’ve found (.Mac, Google Browser Sync, Opera 9.5, various Firefox extensions) are geared toward syncing two or more copies of the same browser on different computers. What I want is to bookmark a site in Firefox on one computer, and have it show up in Safari on another.

Any suggestions?

Update: I have since discovered XMarks, which does exactly what I need on Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Safari (but not Opera, though I use it a lot less these days).

Vanishing Realm

Every Friday, a script verifies all the links on this website. I usually check the results that evening, or sometimes during the day at work, and see which dead links I can fix.

Strangely enough, this week 3 links on “What the heck is a Hyperborea?” have dropped off the face of the net. I checked the rest of the links manually, and 2 more turned up broken sites with internal errors!

The first was easy. It’s an excerpt from the book, Arctic Dreams: Imagination And Desire In A Northern Landscape by Barry Lopez. I just pulled up the Archive.org copy, picked a sentence to search for… and found the same excerpt at another URL. (A classic college website issue: moving faculty pages from a specific server to a more general site.)

The other two that actually reported errors are both role-playing games. The MUD Darkwind has moved to its own domain. Epiphany: The Legends of Hyperborea is a little trickier. It’s missing from its publisher’s website, but there are references to it online. I figured I could link to the sourcebook at Amazon, or maybe to a review, but the most informative page I could find was on archive.org.

Now to the sites that lied and reported “200 OK” instead of an error code. One was a page describing Clark Ashton Smith’s book, Hyperborea. The site had a search box on the home page, making it easy to find the new location. (It would have been nice if they’d actually removed the old script instead of letting it break. A 404 or even a 500 would have helped me catch this earlier.)

That leaves a Conan reference site, which is shut down, the domain name listed for sale. I went looking and found a site with maps of the world in which Conan takes place, showing Hyperborea near Cimmeria.

It’s just odd that three links would vanish from the same page at more or less the same time.