Wayback Machine

Have you ever taken a look at the Wayback Machine? In these days of the fast and the furious internet too few of us take time to look back at how things were in the not so distant past.

It may therefore be of interest to you to know that the more serious of the reverse engineers (I refuse to call them hackers, but that is a story for another day) do know about the Wayback Machine.

The way it works is that it constantly crawls the web and keeps a copy (by datestamp) of pages that have changed since the last crawl.

In ROC terms (you knew this was coming, right ?) the Wayback Machine holds on to expired (= no longer valid) representations of a resource. When I say no longer valid, I mean no longer valid now, for within the correct context - a given date - they are of course valid. There, the explanation of a time machine by a none-scientist!

NetKernel has it's very own time machine. It is called the Visualizer. It holds on to representations of resources. How ? By tagging them in the cache. For all  other purposes these representations may be expired, but as long has the Visualizer has them tagged, they are not removed from the cache and can be consulted.

To see it at work, start it, then consult a couple of pages in the Backend Fulcrum. Go back to the Visualizer, stop it and take a look (in detail) at what you just did. It is that simple.

There is no debugging tool on the market that can stand even close to it. Let me repeat that. There is no debugging tool on the market that can stand even close to it. Most of them are postmortem tools, you have to reconstruct what happened. The (more expensive) ones that allow real time debugging suffer from the quantum problem : "Once you stick in your instruments to measure, you've changed the thing you want to measure".

The Visualizer suffers from neither problem. It is a true time machine. Go check it out. Today!

For those of you that are not convinced ... the Wayback Machine and its counterparts get more hits from reverse engineers (and I'm not talking script kiddies here) then by any other group of users. These are people that know how to use things like SoftIce (now Syser), Java Decompilers, javascript injection, ... Why would they bother with a rather boring website ? Out of historic interest ? I think not ...