Web archiving enterprises: keep trying

Through my keen observations, deep procrastination and occasional drunken ramblings, there are three things which annoy me about a service or product before I even use them. These three things, from a consumer's point of view, are the following:having a product with a stupid name;a blatant disregard to standard English and not capitalising the first letter of their product or company name - a noun;having a company which uses a ccTLD which magically incorporates the product name: del.

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Through my keen observations, deep procrastination and occasional drunken ramblings, there are three things which annoy me about a service or product before I even use them. These three things, from a consumer's point of view, are the following:

  1. having a product with a stupid name;
  2. a blatant disregard to standard English and not capitalising the first letter of their product or company name - a noun;
  3. having a company which uses a ccTLD which magically incorporates the product name: del.icio.us and last.fm, par exemple.

When I first saw iterasi, it hit two accounts of which trigger my hormonal psychosis, turning me from a lucid, gentle character, to a foaming-at-the-mouth nutter.

Their thoughts were, with all these dynamically and automatically created pages, with all these technologies and advancements with the web, with all these languages floating around the world keeping the Internet afloat, how can we bookmark a page exactly as it is?

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One thing I don't like is you have to download yet another plugin, addin, tool, whatever you want to call it. With our ever filled computers, with our many subscribed services, with God knows how many services and products out there aiming to make our lives easier, why another bloody download? If they wanted to make lives easier, you should just be able to add it to the cloud without any faffing around or installing anything.

Even on that rant, it does have good integration into your system. It'll work on Windows with Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 with IE7 emulation turned on, Firefox 2 and Firefox 3 on Windows, but Mac as well which is just "groovy".

When you get everything started, sorted, plugged in and raring to go, you've been given a big space to hold your "notarized" pages; a public page where you can show your notarized pages and an RSS feed for one and all. Not only is it a great tool for you, it throws in social relationship and networking aspects as well.

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So, to see this in action, take this page you're reading now. There's Javascript on every corner of this page, there's CSS and iFrames, and there's backend PHP and server side scripts pulling information from all over. Normally when saving a page like this, it'll come out as an array of absolute mess and formatting turns out looking like my mother's cooking. I notarized the page; it saved it to my cloud archive on iterasi's website. An excited me went to click on the snapshot to see the results.

Terrible.

Anyone who knows ZDNet, especially us who work here, knows what a nightmare the site can be. I know there's a lot of code behind the scenes, I know it takes a lot of people just to keep it maintained, but it's a good site which looks inviting and doesn't crash (often). I thought, maybe this is just a blip in the service? I ran through my Firefox bookmarks and opened up my favourite technology sites to see what other sites saved as.

Bink didn't render the top header properly, A Welsh View didn't display some of the Flash elements, and Lifehacker didn't display all the images properly either.

LiveSide was a major exception, where when I tried it, actually seemed to render the page better than the live version. istartedsomething looked absolutely fine, except Long's right sidebar CSS tweaks failed to work, and when I tried Winsupersite, that seemed to work fine as well.

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You can see the results for yourself here on my iterasi public page; another good feature, being able to show your saved pages to the world. Although there are some good features, interesting to say the least, it's not always what you'd expect or hope for. One of the key things they boast about is the ability to notarize maps and directions. I tried using Google Maps and Live Search Maps, and both work surprisingly well, even though it literally saves a snapshot of the page, rather than the functional elements behind the services.

Overall, it's a good research tool to have. It can schedule pages to be notarized (but only if your computer from which you set it from is on or logged in), the pages notarized are usually perfect in rendering, saving and retrieving, and the ability to share and save archived pages would be highly useful for some... but it's not for me.

I'm stuck in the dark ages with this sort of thing. I'll either print a page off and show it someone, send a link via Facebook or Windows Live Messenger, or print it to CutePDF and email it manually. But hey, that's just me.

*hits uninstall*

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