Gas station without pumps

2010 October 27

Searching on the wayback machine

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 16:39
Tags: , ,

I posted earlier about using the Wayback machine to find stuff that had disappeared from the Web.  In the example there, I found a rubric for which the URL was known, but for which the hosting web server was down.

Just a few days later, almost the same problem came up on the same mailing list, but with a different URL.  People were looking fo an animation that used to be at  and once again the Wayback machine easily found archived copies (such as the one at  This was sort of boring, though, and I was beginning to wish for a lmstwmfy (let me search the wayback machine for you) site like the lmgtfy (Let Me Google That For You) site.

Finally, someone asked an interesting question:

Hey Mr. Peabody,

Sherman here! I am trying to use the wayback machine to find  the companion animation for the one that you just found. I do not have its  address. It is on DNA replication and goes through all the steps in the  replication process, reviewing all the enzymes. It is made by the same group as  the one on RNA transcription and translation that you posted. If you could help  me locate it and post it, many would be VERY happy.

This is more interesting, because the Wayback Machine does not have full indexing, so I needed to find a web page that no longer exists, based on it being related to another webpage that no longer exists. As I expected, Google was very helpful here.

I looked for pointers to the missing web page whose name I knew, googling pub/flash/26/transmenu_s.swf

The second hit (the only one I looked at) was a list of pointers:
Looking down the list for the known site, I found an immediately adjacent listing for Animated DNA and replication review at

Now that I had the URL, I could go to the Wayback machine and look for it, finding

(There are other copies if this archived version is damaged—my browser at work doesn’t handle swf files, so I can’t check that the retrieved copy is good.)


  1. It seems I wasn’t as clever as I thought. A reader pointed out to me that the only the opening slide of the animation seemed to be working, so I tried downloading on my computer at home. At first I thought that I had the same problem, of only the menu slide working, but it turns out that the menu slide points to other files for the rest of the animation, and so you have to wait a long time for the wayback machine to retrieve the other files in order to see the animation. This is doable from a flash plugin on a web browser, but does not seem to work from a standalone player like RealPlayer.

    I’m not sure of the best way to convert a flash animation on the web (which seems to be distributed over multiple files) into a downloadable single file.

    Any suggestions?

    Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2010 October 31 @ 09:29 | Reply

  2. […] Searching on the wayback machine […]

    Pingback by 2010 in review « Gas station without pumps — 2011 January 2 @ 12:52 | Reply

  3. I’m having difficulty playing this as well. Has anyone found a way to download this? Or is there a way to track down the creators to see if they would be willing to post this again or even market this for sale??

    Thanks for the info – very helpful!


    Frustrated biology teacher : )

    Comment by Chris Mueller — 2011 February 7 @ 18:39 | Reply

  4. […] Searching on the wayback machine […]

    Pingback by Blogoversary « Gas station without pumps — 2011 June 5 @ 10:51 | Reply

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