Author Archives: Katie Barrett

Game Not Over! Fireside chat and panel with John Carmack

On Wednesday, June 23rd, please join us for the special virtual event Game Not Over with John Carmack. For decades, gaming has been one of the central driving forces behind technological progress in the digital age—from increased storage and memory needs to advancements in graphic capabilities, and even how we interact with and socialize around media and each other. How has this medium morphed and changed, and more importantly, how do we preserve this reflection of our culture into the future?

The virtual event will include a virtual fireside chat with John Carmack, independent AI researcher and Consulting CTO to Oculus/Facebook. A panel discussion will follow with Garry Kitchen, Industry Consultant and President/CEO of Audacity Games; Kelsey Lewin, Co-Director of the Video Game History Foundation; Kate Willært, Geek Culture Historian and Founder of A Critical Hit!; and Internet Archive’s Free-Range Archivist Jason Scott. Join us as they take a unique look at the past and present of the gaming industry, as well as why the Internet Archive is key to understanding its history.

This event is an Internet Archive fundraiser. Admission will go towards the long-term preservation of our software collection and our mission of providing universal access to all knowledge. Tickets will sell quickly, so reserve your spot today!

GET TICKETS

About the Speakers

John Carmack is an independent AI researcher and Consulting CTO to Oculus / Facebook. As a founder of Id Software in 1991, he built many of the pillars of today’s game industry—the first-person shooter genre, 3D accelerated rendering, network gaming, and user-generated content. In 2000, he founded Armadillo Aerospace, working part-time to design and build reusable rocket ships, both manned and unmanned.  In 2012, the modern era of virtual reality began with his demonstration of Doom 3 running on Palmer Lucky’s Rift prototype at E3.

John Carmack was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame in 2001, awarded two Emmy® awards for his work in graphics technology in 2006 and 2007, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the GDC in 2010, and in 2016 was awarded the prestigious BAFTA Fellowship Award.

Garry Kitchen is a renowned entrepreneur and toy/video game designer. Kitchen’s hit games include Donkey Kong (Atari 2600), Keystone Kapers, Garry Kitchen’s GameMaker (1985), and Bart (Simpson) vs. the Space Mutants. Garry’s awards include Designer of the Year, Video Game of the Year, SPA Excellence in Software, and a Webby Award. His work is addressed in many documentaries, including World 1-1, Atari: Game Over, Batteries Not Included, The Artists, and Unlocked: The World of Games, Revealed. Kitchen serves on the Advisory Board of the National Video Game Museum (nvmusa.org).

Kelsey Lewin is a video game historian and the co-owner of retro game store chain Pink Gorilla Games in Seattle, Washington. She has been with The Video Game History Foundation since 2017, and currently serves as its co-director.

Kate Willært was born on the same day as the Famicom. Today she creates articles, infographics, and videos about geek culture history, with a focus on video games and comic books. She’s written for Polygon, VGHF, and Heidi MacDonald’s The Beat, but most of her work can be found on ACriticalHit.com.

Jason Scott is the Free-Range Archivist at the Internet Archive. Since 2011 he has assisted in the acquisitions of many different items into the Archive’s stacks, as well as being the Software Curator, in charge of the incoming vintage software items being added to the Archive. Besides his archiving work, Jason has also been a documentary filmmaker, interviewing hundreds of people across 15 years for three major documentaries (BBS, GET LAMP, DEFCON) and has also run a podcast of his own, Jason Scott Talks His Way Out of It, since 2018.

Library Holdings from the University of Tokyo Now Available Through the Internet Archive

Written by Professor Tom Gally, University of Tokyo, and Katie Barrett, Internet Archive & JET Program Alum
Translations by Tomoki Sakakibara, University of Tokyo

(日本語はページ下部にあります。 Scroll down for Japanese version.)

As our global society grows ever more connected, it can be easy to assume that all of human history is just one click away. Yet language barriers and physical access still present major obstacles to deeper knowledge and understanding of other cultures, even on the world wide web. That is why the Internet Archive is thrilled to announce a new partnership with the University of Tokyo General Library. Spearheaded by Masaya Nakatake as a member of the UTokyo Academic Archives Project Office, the Internet Archive partnership provides expanded access and a digital backup for some of the library’s most precious artifacts. 

Since June 2020, our Collections team has worked in tandem with library staff to ingest thousands of digital files from the General Library’s servers, mapping the metadata for over 4,000 priceless scrolls, texts, and papers. The collection, representing meticulous digitization efforts by Japanese historians and scholars, showcases hundreds of years of rich Japanese history expressed through prose, poetry, and artwork. 

Among the highlights of the holdings are manuscripts and annotated books from the personal collection of the novelist Mori Ōgai (1862–1922), an early manuscript of the Tale of Genji, and a unique collection of Chinese legal records from the Ming Dynasty.

しんよし原大なまづゆらひ

Most of the works are written in Japanese, but some of them include illustrations that can be appreciated by anyone now. A search through the collection for 地震 (jishin, “earthquake”), for example, yields a fascinating set of depictions of earthquakes and their impact in past centuries.

In one satirical illustration, thought to date from shortly after the 1855 Edo earthquake, courtesans and others from the demimonde, who suffered greatly in the disaster, are shown beating the giant catfish that was believed to cause earthquakes. The men in the upper left-hand corner represent the construction trades; they are trying to stop the attack on the fish, as rebuilding from earthquakes was a profitable business for them.

Oreste ed Elettra

Seismic destruction is expressed more horrifically in ukiyo-e prints of the burning of Edo (Tokyo) after that same 1855 earthquake and of buildings collapsing during the 1891 Mino-Owari earthquake. They are a sobering reminder of the role that natural disasters have played in Japanese life.

Other highlights are high-resolution images from the Kamei Collection of original etchings from Opere di Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Francesco Piranesi e d’altri, originally published by Firmin Didot Freres in Paris between 1835 and 1839. 

We hope this partnership and collection will expand access to history and culture from Japan and spur a new generation of usage and scholarship.

About the University of Tokyo General Library

The University of Tokyo was established in 1877 as the first national university in Japan. As a leading research university, UTokyo offers courses in essentially all academic disciplines at both undergraduate and graduate levels and conducts research across the full spectrum of academic activity. The University of Tokyo Library System is composed of 30 libraries, with the General Library being the largest among them. While providing services to the researchers and students of UTokyo, the General Library also plays a central role in the operation and management of the Library System. The General Library’s history can be traced back nearly 130 years to the university’s founding and it now houses approximately 1.3 million books, including rare collections inherited from academies in the Edo period. 

About the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is one of the largest libraries in the world and home of the Wayback Machine, a repository of 475 billion webpages. Founded in 1996 by Internet Hall of Fame member Brewster Kahle, the Internet Archive now serves more than 1.5 million patrons each day, providing access to 70 petabytes of data—books, web pages, music, television, and software—and working with more than 800 library and university partners to create a digital library, accessible to all. To make a donation to the Internet Archive, please visit https://archive.org/donate/

東京大学総合図書館の所蔵資料がインターネットアーカイブから利用可能に

世界のネットワーク化がかつてなく進んだ現在、人間の歴史のどんなことでもワンクリックで調べられるようになったと思いがちです。しかし、外国文化についての知識や理解を深めるうえで、たとえインターネット上であっても言語の障壁や物理的制約が大きな妨げとなる現状は変わりません。それだからこそ、インターネットアーカイブでは、東京大学総合図書館との新たな提携を発表できることをたいへん嬉しく思います。インターネットアーカイブと東大総合図書館が共同で進める本事業は、東京大学学術資産アーカイブ化推進室の中竹聖也氏を中心として進められ、東大総合図書館が所蔵する極めて貴重な資料群のデジタル・バックアップを提供し、アクセスを拡大するものです。

インターネットアーカイブのコレクションチームでは2020年6月より、同館スタッフと協力して東大総合図書館のサーバーから数千単位のデジタルファイルを取り込み、4000点以上の極めて貴重な巻物、写本、資料などのメタデータ整備を進めてまいりました。このコレクションは日本の歴史家や研究者による緻密なデジタル化作業から生まれたものであり、何世紀にも及ぶ日本の豊かな歴史が散文、韻文、図像によって表現されています。

特筆すべき資料としては、森鴎外 (1862-1922) の個人文庫に収められていた鴎外自筆の写本や鴎外本人による書き込みがある書物を集めた鴎外文庫、源氏物語の初期の写本、さらに、中国明代中期の条例(皇帝の判断に基づく法令や先例)をまとめた皇明條法事類纂(同館以外での所蔵は確認されていません)などがあります。

日本語で書かれた作品ではありますが、どなたでも理解できる図像入りの作品も少なくありません。たとえば、「地震」を検索語としてこのコレクションを検索すれば、過去数世紀に起きた地震とその影響が描かれた興味深い資料群を閲覧できます。

1855年(安政2年)の安政江戸地震直後の作と思われるある風刺画には、地震で大被害を被った吉原の遊女や町の人々が、地震の元凶と信じられていた大鯰(おおなまず)を懲らしめている様子が描かれています。左上の男たちが止めに入ろうとしていますが、それは震災後の復興で商売が潤った建築職の人たちだからです。

地震による被害がもっと恐ろしく表現されているのが、同じく安政江戸地震後に発生した江戸の火災や、1891年(明治24年)の濃尾地震による家屋倒壊が描かれた浮世絵です。いずれも自然災害が日本人の暮らしにおいて果たしてきた役割を改めて思い起こさせてくれる作品です。

そのほかの特筆すべき資料としては、亀井文庫『ピラネージ版画集 Opere di Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Francesco Piranesi e d’altri』 (1835-1839、パリ、フィルマン・ ディド兄弟出版社刊) の高精細画像が挙げられます。

インターネットアーカイブでは、東大総合図書館との提携と本コレクションの公開によって、日本の歴史と文化が世界からいっそうアクセスしやすいものとなり、新たな世代の資料活用と学術研究が促進されることを願っています。

東京大学総合図書館について

東京大学は1877年(明治10年)に創設された日本最初の国立大学です。世界トップクラスの総合研究大学として、広範な専門分野における学部・大学院レベルの教育活動と、あらゆる学術領域にわたる研究活動をおこなっています。東京大学総合図書館は30の部局図書館・室で構成される東京大学附属図書館の中で最大の図書館であり、東大の研究者・学生向けのサービスをおこなうとともに、東大附属図書館の事務・業務を支える上で中心的な役割を果たしています。130年近くに及ぶその歴史は東大創設当初にまでさかのぼります。所蔵図書数は約130万冊にのぼり、江戸時代の学問所から継承された貴重な資料群も所蔵しています。

インターネットアーカイブについて

インターネットアーカイブ (Internet Archive) は世界有数のライブラリ(図書館)であり、4750億ページもの保存済みウェブサイトをアーカイブ検索できる「ウェイバックマシン (Wayback Machine) 」を運営する非営利法人です。インターネットの発展への功労者を表彰する「インターネットの殿堂 (Internet Hall of Fame)」に名を連ねるブリュースター・ケール (Brewster Kahle) によって1996年に設立されました。現在、一日150万人以上のアクティブユーザーに、書籍やウェブページ、音楽、TV、ソフトウェアなど70ペタバイト(約7万テラバイト)規模のデータへのアクセスを提供するとともに、世界800以上の図書館や大学と連携して、万人に開かれたデジタル図書館の構築を進めています。インターネットアーカイブへの寄付は https://archive.org/donate/ で受け付けています。

(訳:榊原知樹)

On Preserving Memory

When we talk about the Internet Archive, it’s so easy to throw massive numbers around: 70 petabytes stored and counting, 1.5 million daily active users, 750 million webpages captured per day. What’s harder to quantify is the human element that underlies all those numbers.

As I reflect back on 2020, I can’t help but think about the importance of memory. It’s hard to believe that in the same year of the nightmarish Australian fires, we experienced a sheer medical miracle in the form of Coronavirus vaccines. How much has happened in such a short time? How many stories, tragedies, triumphs in just 11 months?

These memories — the personal stories, collections, family histories — are our threads to the past, and our roadmaps going forward. Both precious and fragile, it’s on us to keep them safe.

Here’s one memory I’ll always treasure. I come from a sports family—all sports, really, but baseball in particular. My dad grew up playing little league, eventually making his way to the Softball World Series in the 1950s. His friend Bob went on to play for the San Francisco Giants. I grew up hearing about the time my dad was invited down to the dugout to meet the Yankees: Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra. I’ve probably listened to these stories a thousand times. 

When my dad’s dementia started to get really bad, we’d retell these old stories to cheer him up. So much of his frustration had to do with the inability to create new memories. But these old ones were still vivid, very much intact—something we could all still share and remember together. 

Finding the Classic Baseball Radio Broadcasts on the Internet Archive was such a godsend. When he listened, his anxiety would dissipate: Sandy Koufax’s 3-hit shutout, or Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. The audio calmed him. I liked to think it shook loose a ton of old memories — hanging out with his own dad, listening to the radio broadcasts of the games. 

Sometimes if I want to feel close to him, I’ll throw on one of these classic games. The 1951 Giants v Dodgers NL Championship, the ‘shot heard ‘round the world.’ My dad would have been 11 years old, listening to that same broadcast. Or cheering on Willie Mays and Willie McCovey in the 1962 Yankees v Giants World Series. He would’ve been 22, with his friend pitching for the team that year. 

When talking about the Internet Archive, we often use the term ‘memory institution.’ On a macro level, we’re talking about over 70 petabytes of data stored in hard drives inside massive buildings. But personally? We’re talking about some of the last threads between me and my dad. On a macro level, we’re talking about millions of texts and images and videos and webpages—but on a personal level, we’re talking about genealogists striking gold as they uncover the past. We’re talking about grandparents reading digital books to their grandchildren over video calls. We’re talking about the nostalgia of tracing a loved one’s online footprints, about the legacy of a unique family business, about the thrill of rediscovering yesteryear’s pop culture phenomena.

The personal stories, family histories, and threads to the past—are precious. And fragile. That’s why it’s on us, all of us, to protect and keep them safe. That’s why I work at the Internet Archive, and why its mission is more critical than ever.

Right now, we’re in the middle of our yearly donations drive. The end of the year is a time both to look back and to give back, and the Internet Archive is hard at work on both. So if you’ve found something in the archive that’s meaningful to you, or that brought back memories, or that you think should be preserved, we’d love it if you could chip in.

We hope you have a healthy and safe holiday season—and that this year, you’ll make some memories that will never be lost.

Katie Barrett is the Development Manager at the Internet Archive. When she’s not listening to old baseball broadcasts or raising support for causes she loves, she’s phone banking for the sake of democracy or dressing her dog up in costumes.

RSVP Now for “Quantum Potential: A Pathway to Peace”

“Infinite Potential” Virtual Screening & Discussion
On September 20th, please join the Internet Archive in celebrating the International Day of Peace with a screening of the film INFINITE POTENTIAL: The Life & Ideas of David Bohm. The event, put on by the Fetzer Memorial Trust and Imagine Films, will feature a special post-screening panel discussion – Quantum Potential: A Pathway to Peace.

Infinite Potential explores the revolutionary theories of David Bohm, the maverick physicist who turned to Eastern wisdom to develop groundbreaking insights into the profound interconnectedness of the Universe and our place within it. This mystical and scientific journey into the nature of life and reality will include a post-screening panel discussion with commentary from:
Reverend Dr. Michael B. Beckwith, Founder & Spiritual Director, Agape International Spiritual Center
Audrey Kitagawa, Board Chair, Parliament of World Religions
Reverend Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr., Civil Rights Leader
Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation
Marianne Williamson, bestselling author, political activist and spiritual thought leader
Dot Maver (moderator), Founding President of the National Peace Academy

Date And Time
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Film — 3:00 pm PDT / 6:00 pm EDT
Panel discussion — 4:15 pm PDT / 7:15 pm EDT

Location
Online Event

Watch the trailer from Infinite Potential: The Life & Ideas of David Bohm

Apple Pay, and Google Pay, and Venmo, and Crypto, oh my!

User behavior is changing. Over the past few years, we’ve seen an incredible climb in mobile usage of Archive.org. To keep with the times, the Internet Archive’s Fundraising and Front End teams are excited to announce the release of new mobile-friendly donation options! 

We now offer Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Venmo in addition to Credit Card, Paypal, and Crypto as donation payment methods. These slick new platforms make donating to the Internet Archive faster and simpler. Want to give it a try? Visit archive.org/donate to make a donation and let us know what you think in the donation comment box! 

Keep in mind that some payment methods work better with certain devices or certain browsers. Below is a general list of compatibility:

Platform Credit Card Paypal Apple Pay Google Pay Venmo Crypto
Windows ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
MacOS ✔️ ✔️ Safari w/
Touch ID only
✔️ ✔️
Linux ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
iPhone/iPad ✔️ ✔️ Safari only ✔️ Safari / Chrome /
Brave only
✔️
Android ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ Chrome / Brave
only
✔️

We still accept all major credit cards, Paypal, cryptocurrency, stock, gold bricks, and more. For a list of all payment methods accepted, visit our FAQ page.

A big thank you to everyone on our Front End and Fundraising teams for their efforts getting these new features launched. And to all of our donors, THANK YOU for supporting your Internet Archive!

How to Make a Difference Right Now Without Leaving the House

Our staff has been working from home for weeks now, keeping the Internet Archive up and running from a variety of remote locations. In the midst of all our video calls, email chains, and team chats, one theme keeps reoccurring: gratitude. We’re grateful for all of the donors who give so generously to us time and time again; we’re grateful for all of the teachers who write us with their suggestions and kind words of encouragement; we’re grateful for all of the Dead Heads who upload live shows and keep us staff entertained; we’re grateful for our partners and colleagues.

Most importantly, we are grateful that our community supports us and helps us grow. We are grateful for you

In the past few months we’ve received countless messages from our community asking “How can I help?”. People everywhere are wondering how, during these turbulent times, they can make a positive impact on the world without leaving their homes. Some folks have offered to make a donation in support of what we do, and we’re always grateful for the help! But for those who might not be able to donate right now, or who already have and wish they could do more, there are a few different ways you can lend a hand. Here are some easy ways to help the Internet Archive if you have limited time, money, mobility, or energy:

Matching Gifts
Have you donated to the Internet Archive recently? Help your gift go even further! Many companies offer matching gift programs as part of their benefits packages to employees. These organizations may be willing to double or even triple the value of your charitable gifts. Have you made a donation this year that might qualify? Curious to see if your company provides this benefit? To find out, visit our Matching Gifts page and enter your company’s name in the search box. 

Better World Books Roundup Program
There’s nothing like a good book to whisk you off and help wile away the hours while stuck inside. When you buy a book from Better World Books, you have the option of rounding up your purchase to support the Internet Archive. Since we launched this partnership back in December 2019, these roundups have resulted in $11,000 for the Internet Archive! A little bit certainly goes a long way. To our friends at Better World Books and to all who have ‘rounded up’ 10 cents here and 45 cents there, thank you. To wander their digital bookshelves for your next book purchase, visit the Better World Books website.

Amazon Smile
Fresh veggies, canned goods, dish soap, the elusive toilet paper…many people are doing most of their shopping these days using delivery apps like Amazon. Did you know that Amazon Smile gives back .5% of every purchase you make to the participating non-profit of your choice?  If you find yourself hitting their “virtual checkout” button more often, make sure you do so with Amazon Smile! And if you decide to make the Internet Archive the beneficiary, we’d be ever so grateful. To sign up and support us, visit: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3242767

BAT Brave Attention Tokens
We love Brave, the browser that lets you tip the websites you love and has the Wayback Machine natively built right into their browser! If you are a Brave Browser user and would like to learn more about its tipping program (and to throw a couple of nickels our way) you can do so here: https://support.brave.com/hc/en-us/articles/360021123971-How-do-I-tip-websites-and-Content-Creators-in-Brave-Rewards-

Donate Books
Looking for a forever home for all those books that no longer spark joy? Look no further than Better World Books. Every book they receive will be resold, donated, recycled… or digitized and added to the Internet Archive, so that readers everywhere can enjoy it. All books (in good condition) are welcome! Visit https://www.betterworldbooks.com/go/donate to find a dropbox location near you. 

Host a Facebook Fundraiser
Is your birthday coming up? Or looking for a good way to spread the word about the Internet Archive to friends and family? Why not try out hosting a fundraiser on Facebook! To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/fund/internetnetarchive/

Spread the Word!
One simple way to support us is by using the Archive and spreading the word to your friends and family. We don’t have an advertising or marketing team, so we definitely appreciate all the help we can get with promotion. If the Wayback Machine saved your website or you found a cool collection that made your day, tell a friend! You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We’ve got a once a month newsletter you can join, and make sure to bookmark our blog!

Thanks for helping us out! Your support helps journalists, teachers, researchers, high school students, kindergarteners, PhD candidates, genealogists, old time radio enthusiasts, Dead Heads, podcasters, developers, and readers of all ages get the information they want, the information they need, and the information they love. We thank you for all your contributions, big and small. Every little bit (and byte) counts. 

Money and Utopia at the Internet Archive

Guest blog post by Author Finn Brunton

The history of money is history itself. From the accounting and contracts of Sumerian cuneiform tablets (the earliest written language) to buried coin hoards, stamps and letters of credit, Incan khipu knot-counts, or the maps and censuses written in the service of levying taxes, part of the great archive from which history is made are the records of cash, debt, credit, assets, and coinage. 

A lot of that archive is durable: cowry shells, wooden tally-sticks, clay tablets, coins buried under floorboards or in the hulls of sunken ships. (/Rai/ stones, the indigenous currency of the Micronesian island of Yap, will outlast us all.) And a lot of that archive gives people their own incentives to preserve and maintain: saving precious metals, stock certificates, banknotes, deeds, or the proofs of kinship debts and IOUs. But most of the money transacted now is electronic. How could you write the history of digital cash?

That’s where the Internet Archive comes in. About eight years ago I began work in earnest on a book about the prehistory of cryptocurrency: the technologies, visions, subcultures, and fantasies that drove the project of building digital objects that could work like cash — anonymous transactions with money that could prove itself, as a dollar does, rather than needing the identities of the transactors, like a credit card. 

Digging up this history meant a crash course in the history of money itself — and, as strange as this might sound, the /history/ of the history of money, how people thought about what money meant and how to read it at different times, with collections like the Newman Numismatic Portal and documents like the playwright and poet Joseph Addison’s marvelous 1726 “Dialogues Upon the Usefulness of Ancient Medals,” a kind of dreamy, melancholy short story about coins, poetry, and the legacies of the past.

It also meant leaning about various utopian projects which used new forms of money and economic schemes to try to change society — these were often led the sort of ahead-of-their-time, or out-of-this-world, characters whose archives are, to put it gently, difficult to find. Not for the Internet Archive, though: the documents of the strange project of American Technocracy in the 1930s — like an autobiography written from the perspective of the economic price system! — are, through phone, tablet, or mouse, at one’s fingertips.

The book, focused as it is on small circles of monetary and cryptographic utopians in the Bay Area of California from the 1970s through the arrival of Bitcoin, also required study of the subcultures, publications, and movements within which my subjects crossed paths and dreamed big dreams — venues like Mondo 2000 (individual issues are incredibly rich time capsules and the people around Ted Nelson’s amazing Xanadu. But, of course, many of these people were among the first to leave print behind and begin writing and publishing primarily online — especially on the fragile, ephemeral Web. Which is where the Wayback Machine came in! Here crucial developments that would otherwise be lost were preserved, like Hal Finney’s “reusable proof of work” token system — an important step toward what would become Bitcoin and subsequent cryptocurrency and blockchain systems.

The book that I built using all these archives was written over the course of several years in many places, from the back seat of a car in the Colorado Rockies to a family farm in rural Quebec, a laundromat in New Hampshire, and a cabin in Finland, but anywhere that I could get the faintest wireless signal, these archives — and many more — were with me. (As a user of the search engine DuckDuckGo, “!archive” and “!wayback” are my favorite, reflexive search operators.) Some of the earliest discussions of computerized, digital money happened in the context of dreams of what networked computing could be: the world’s libraries and archives, across all media, on your “home information terminal,” available at a gesture. With the Internet Archive, that utopia is at last being realized.

BOOK LAUNCH EVENT
Join us Tuesday, June 25th at the Internet Archive in San Francisco for the book launch of DIGITAL CASH: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Created Cryptocurrency by Finn Brunton.

Date: Tuesday, June 25th 2019
Time: Doors Open: 6:00 PM
In Conversation with Finn Brunton: 6:30 – 7:45 PM
Reception: 7:45 – 9:00 PM
Light refreshments will be served. Finn Brunton’s book will also be available for purchase and signing during the reception, courtesy of The Green Arcade bookstore.
Where: Internet Archive
300 Funston Ave
SF, CA 94118

About the Author: Finn Brunton (finnb.net) is the author of Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet (2013) and Digital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Technologists, and Utopians Who Created Cryptocurrency (2019), and the co-author of Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest (2015) and Communication (2019). He teaches in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University.

Have You Played Atari Today?

Guest blog post by Kevin Savetz

When I was a kid I fell in love with computers. Specifically, I fell in love with the Atari 800, one of the first microcomputers. I wanted to know everything about it: how it worked, how to program it, about the things you could do with it. I was hungry for information about that computer, about all computers, really. I read about them constantly. With every trip to the grocery store, I bugged my parents to buy me computer magazines. With every trip to the library, I headed straight to the Dewey 000s, the computer science section. I sent away for all the free information I could get, in the form of brochures and catalogs that came in the mail. I stored the reading material and the knowledge as long as I could.

Although it’s been more than a few years, that Atari computer remains one of my favorite things, as is finding information about it. So not much has changed there. What has changed is that I can use Internet Archive to share that information with other “retrocomputer” enthusiasts, historians, researchers, and students. The amount of information that’s been archived (by myself and many others) about this niche within a niche of computer history would have boggled kid me. Heck, it boggles adult me.

Here’s the first version of the operator’s manual for the Atari 800 computer, printed in 1979. Only 200 copies were printed. It includes photos of pre-production versions of the hardware and screenshots that don’t match what the released version of the computer would actually display. As a historical artifact, it gives insight into the process of creating a microcomputer and the decisions that the hardware and software engineers were working though. It’s easy to open a couple of windows to do a side-by-side comparison with the more common released version, from later that same year, which trades some of the quaintness for accuracy.

You can also delve into development notebooks and design documents, which can provide unique perspective into how hardware and software was built. Joe Decuir, one of the designers of the Atari 800, saved his engineering notebooks from his time at Atari, and allowed me to scan them. His 1977 and 1978 engineering notebook include design concepts down to the chip level, feasibility studies, meeting notes, and teardowns of competing products.

Atari game programmer Gray Chang lent me his handwritten development notebook for his computer game Claim Jumper, which was published by Synapse Software in 1982. I was able to scan the notebook and upload it to Internet Archive. Claim Jumper is an adorable game about collecting gold nuggets in the Old West. The notebook, complete with painstakingly crafted programming code, flowcharts, hand-drawn graphics, and a handwritten draft of the manual, is a reminder of a time when one person could single-handedly create every aspect of a computer game. Many of today’s games are built by teams of dozens or hundreds of coders, artists, musicians, and writers. Gray’s notebook is testament to the fact once upon a time, it took a team of one to create a great video game.

If poring over old scribbled notebooks doesn’t whet your appetite for the history of old computers, perhaps a movie featuring children falling in love with them will. “The Magic Room” is a movie about Atari computer camps: summer computer camps for kids. Shot in 1982, the film was commissioned by Atari as a sort of documentary, sort of extended advertisement for its camp program. The title cards were made, naturally, on Atari computers. The kids are stunning in their pre-teen awkwardness. There are scenes of children riding horses at golden hour, playing basketball, and of course engaged with their Atari computers. Very little game playing is shown. These kids are programming, solving problems, thinking, and learning.

In fact, everything produced for Atari Computer Camp is hosted at Internet Archive. The application, the acceptance letter, the entire curriculum of programming classes, the instructor guide, and all the software that was available to campers. Everything. It’s far too late to attend an Atari summer camp but, using Internet Archive, you can read and do everything that those campers could do. (Except the horses and basketball.)

There’s more, of course, probably even enough information about Atari computers to keep kid-me satisfied. A curated “best of” selection of Atari-related material is in the Archive’s Atari Historical Documents collection. The Atari Computer Books collection has scans of 300 books, definitely more than my hometown library’s 000 shelf. And there’s entire runs of old computer magazines, all readable and searchable in your browser.

I’m grateful to Internet Archive for allowing me to share my passion for these computers by sharing the documents that I find with the rest of the world. And I’m grateful that the retrocomputing nerds in the rest of the world can use Internet Archive to share what they find with me.

===

Kevin Savetz (twitter, Internet Archive) is an Atari historian and podcaster. He is co-host of Antic: The Atari 8-Bit Podcast, where he has published more than 350 oral history interviews with people involved with the early home computer industry; and Eaten By A Grue, a podcast about Infocom text adventure games.

The Mueller Report, Searchable and Accessible on the Archive

Last week, the American public finally got its hands on the Mueller report–more than 400 pages, much of the text redacted, detailing the special counsel’s much anticipated findings.  Within minutes of that release, many copies of that file were uploaded to the Internet Archive. On Amazon, other outfits were charging $7.99 for an EPUB of the report. At the Internet Archive we made the Mueller Report searchable and downloadable. And free.

The government initially released the document in a PDF format which renders it like an image, impossible to search. When PDF files are uploaded to the Archive, we automatically run them through an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) process. This turns those images into text, making it much easier to move between sections and search for specific words or phrases. This allows journalists and the public to more easily parse through volumes of information contained within these massive documents. It also has the added benefit of making the text EPUB friendly, which makes it easily viewable on mobile devices, and accessible to our low-vision communities.

We have the tools that empower people to share and discover public domain documents like government reports. Thanks to our community members who moved quickly to upload copies, the world can now search, share, download or read a mobile-friendly version of the Mueller report for free.

For a free copy of the OCR’d version of the Mueller Report, visit: https://archive.org/details/mueller_report_20190422


A “Brave” New World

Micropayments on their own can seem pretty insignificant. A half a penny here. An eighth of a token there. Yet slowly and consistently, they accumulate over time. And they can catch you by surprise.

A couple of years back, the Internet Archive signed up to be a Brave ‘creator’. Brave, the web browser that prides itself not only on its speed but also its commitment to privacy and security, launched a program where anyone with a website can get paid by its users. So if you install Brave and spend time on archive.org, you can express thanks in the form of a tiny tip, right there in your browser.

Two years ago, this seemed like a fun experiment. A way for the Internet Archive to support a like-minded tech organization, and at the very least, try out something new. This experiment, turns out, has amounted to something far more significant. And worth sharing.

Last week, we hooked up our cryptocurrency wallet to our Brave creator account. Those tiny micropayments that Brave users had tossed into the Archive’s virtual tip jar had accumulated, growing into more than 9k Brave Attention Tokens (BAT) – the equivalent of $2500 USD!

This was an unexpected windfall. It was also proof that the current web, the one that’s driven by ads that know our every move, doesn’t have to be the web of the future. There could be a better way that’s secure, private and supported by its citizenry. To all of our Brave browser tippers, we thank you. Every little bit makes a big difference.

If you use Brave and would like to tip the sites you love, learn how here.

If you publish content on the internet, here’s how to become a Brave creator.

Thank you, Brave, for your push into micropayments to find alternatives to advertisements. And thank you for including Internet Archive early in your program in such a way that we have earned $2,500.