Yahoo! Shuts down Geocities – Download Geocities via Bittorrent

Hello there. You mailed geotorrent@******.com to be notified when the torrent file for the download of Geocities was ready. Well, it’s ready. This letter has the details, and I’ve attached the 1.3mb .torrent file that you will use to make it work. We’ve been running tests at archive team for a while, we’re about 99% sure everything is working.

In the words spoken by so many before me and ignored every single time, please read this whole letter before starting, to make sure you understand what you’re getting.

The final size of this archive is 642 gigabytes, which decompresses to roughly 909gb. The archive contains roughly 100,000 user accounts from Geocities and related sites. The files are gtar .tar files compressed into .7z archives, hence the space savings. If you do not know what a .tar file is, or what .7z archives are, this is a warning sign you might be getting a lot of data that will not interest you.

There was a lot of press that hit when this torrent was announced. Some of the press started using phrases like “download all of Geocities” or “A 900gb archive of Geocities that expands to terabytes”. Maybe next time they’ll e-mail people directly, instead of making things up by reading random blogs. Maybe next time we’ll not see a Geocities be shut down either. This is a percentage of Geocities we got through our methods. We hardly got everything. A lot had been deleted over the years by Yahoo! and a lot of data was linked from nowhere else, so we will not pretend this is anywhere near complete. But it will be quite enough for most people.

IF ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS SPEND A FEW MINUTES BROWSING GEOCITIES LIKE IT WAS THE OLD DAYS, GO BROWSE A MIRROR. Here are a set of them:

You’ll get your fix and you won’t go into internet rage when you find you downloaded hundreds of gigabytes of THING YOU DO NOT WANT.

Others have different sets of the Geocities data, and some are larger (and some are smaller). We hope they make an effort to create torrents or distribution methods as well, but here we are with what we have. The attention to this issue was always the main intent, and we got a lot of it. The hope is that “the next time”, a shutdown of this magnitude with no easy export function or hope for retrieval afterwards will be a source of derision and horror.

THE SEEDING WILL BE SLOW AT FIRST – but there are plans underway to ferry hard drives to a number of entities to add a larger amount of seeds. So expect it to speed up.

As fun as watching 15 years of history be destroyed can be, we had fun putting this together. We hope you make use of this material in whatever way you feel best. There’s a lot to learn and a lot of use for it – if nothing else, to remember a time now gone.

Catch you at the next shutdown.

Jason Scott
For Archive Team

Download the .torrent

 

Julian Assange of Wikileaks speaks at TED

The controversial website WikiLeaks collects and posts highly classified documents and video. Founder Julian Assange, who’s reportedly being sought for questioning by US authorities, talks to TED’s Chris Anderson about how the site operates, what it has accomplished — and what drives him. The interview includes graphic footage of a recent US airstrike in Baghdad.

You could say Australian-born Julian Assange has swapped his long-time interest in network security flaws for the far-more-suspect flaws of even bigger targets: governments and corporations. Since his early 20s, he has been using network technology to prod and probe the vulnerable edges of administrative systems, but though he was a computing hobbyist first (in 1991 he was the target of hacking charges after he accessed the computers of an Australian telecom), he’s now taken off his “white hat” and launched a career as one of the world’s most visible human-rights activists.

He calls himself “editor in chief.” He travels the globe as its spokesperson. Yet Assange’s part in WikiLeaks is clearly dicier than that: he’s become the face of creature that, simply, many powerful organizations would rather see the world rid of. His Wikipedia entry says he is “constantly on the move,” and some speculate that his role in publishing decrypted US military video has put him in personal danger. A controversial figure, pundits debate whether his work is reckless and does more harm than good. Amnesty International recognized him with an International Media Award in 2009.

Assange studied physics and mathematics at the University of Melbourne. He wrote Strobe, the first free and open-source port scanner, and contributed to the book Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier.

“WikiLeaks has had more scoops in three years than the Washington Post has had in 30.”