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Have you ever tried to access a website only to get the error message “Service is Unavailable?” It can be very frustrating, especially when you are in urgent need of information that you had earlier found on that website. The good news is nothing vanishes completely from the Internet. So whether a website has been down for some minutes or inaccessible for months, there are some ways that you can still view its content.
If you are trying to access a website and it won’t load but others can access it, it could be due to a number of reasons. The first thing to do is determine which end is the issue. Here are three possibilities:
Your ISP (Internet Service Provider)
The website servers could be down
If the issue is with the website servers, there is nothing more you can do but wait. However, you can still view your recently opened pages through the various options described below.How to access a web page when it’s down Option 1: Google cached pages
Google makes a cached version of every web page you visit, and if the site is inaccessible, Google lets you access the cached version of that page instead. So if you are trying to access a website that isn’t available from Google search, you can easily access its cached copy. All you have to do is type the site’s URL prepended with “cache:” in the Google search box. It should like this:
With this method you will also be able to see the date and time when Google created the cached copy.Option 2: Internet Archives Wayward Machine
Another place you can find old versions of web pages is the Internet Archives Wayback Machine. While the Wayback Machine might not display as much as you would find in Google’s cache, it does allow you to go further in time to see how a website looked years ago.
To use this tool, simply head over to the Internet Archives Wayback Machine page. Enter the URL of the website you want to view or the address of a web page you want to visit and hit enter.
The more popular the site is, the higher the number of archived pages that this tool will provide. With this tool you can access a website if it’s down at the moment. However, if you are interested in fresh content, the Wayback Machine won’t help.Conclusion
With the cached version, you won’t be able to access a web page as you could if it were up. However, if you are looking for an old post and the site is inaccessible, a cached copy of the page can prove to be very useful. But if the website is blocked, you may have to get your hands a little dirty. Check out our article on how to access blocked websites.
Kenn is a tech enthusiast by passion, Windows blogger by choice, and a massive coffee imbiber. He likes watching sci-fi movies in his free time and tearing gadgets apart so he can fix them.
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These days, no popular movement goes without an Internet presence of some kind, whether it’s organizing on Facebook or spreading the word through Twitter. And as we’ve seen in Egypt, that means that your Internet connection can be the first to go. Whether you’re trying to check in with your family, contact your friends, or simply spread the word, here are a few ways to build some basic network connectivity when you can’t rely on your cellular or landline Internet connections.Do-It-Yourself Internet With Ad-Hoc Wi-Fi
However, a prepared guerrilla networker with a handful of PCs could make good use of Daihinia ($25, 30-day free trial), an app that piggybacks on your Wi-Fi adapter driver to turn your normal ad-hoc Wi-Fi network into a multihop ad-hoc network (disclaimer: we haven’t tried this ourselves yet), meaning that instead of requiring each device on the network to be within range of the original access point, you simply need to be within range of a device on the network that has Daihinia installed, effectively allowing you to add a wireless mesh layer to your ad-hoc network.
Advanced freedom fighters can set up a portal Web page on their network that explains the way the setup works, with Daihinia instructions and a local download link so they can spread the network even further. Lastly, just add a Bonjour-compatible chat client like Pidgin or iChat, and you’ll be able to talk to your neighbors across the city without needing an Internet connection.Back to Basics
Remember when you stashed your old modems in the closet because you thought you might need them some day? In the event of a total communications blackout–as we’re seeing in Egypt, for example–you’ll be glad you did. Older and simpler tools, like dial-up Internet or even ham radio, could still work, since these “abandoned” tech avenues aren’t being policed nearly as hard.
In order to get around the total shutdown of all of the ISPs within Egypt, several international ISPs are offering dial-up access to the Internet to get protesters online, since phone service is still operational. It’s slow, but it still works–the hard part is getting the access numbers without an Internet connection to find them.
Unfortunately, such dial-up numbers can also be fairly easily shut down by the Egyptian government, so you could also try returning to FidoNet–a distributed networking system for BBSes that was popular in the 1980s. FidoNet is limited to sending only simple text messages, and it’s slow, but it has two virtues: Users connect asynchronously, so the network traffic is harder to track, and any user can act as the server, which means that even if the government shuts down one number in the network, another one can quickly pop up to take its place.Always Be Prepared
In the land of no Internet connection, the man with dial-up is king. Here are a few gadgets that you could use to prepare for the day they cut the lines.
Whether you’re in Egypt or Eagle Rock, you rely on your Internet access to stay in touch with friends and family, get your news, and find information you need. (And read PCWorld, of course.) Hopefully with these apps, tools, and techniques, you won’t have to worry about anyone–even your government–keeping you from doing just that.
Patrick Miller hopes he isn’t first against the wall when the revolution comes. Find him on Twitter or Facebook–if you have a working Internet connection, anyway.
David Daw is an accidental expert in ad-hoc networks since his apartment gets no cell reception. Find him on Twitter or send him a ham radio signal.
A web browser, aka Internet browser, is a software application that lets people access the World Wide Web. It is used to locate, fetch and display content on the internet, including web pages, images, videos, documents, and other files.
In other words, you can also call it a rendering engine whose job is to download a web page and render it in a way that people understand. Web pages are built upon HTML, which needs to be rendered in the layout displayed in the user interface.
For instance, Chrome offers built-in tools like Password Manager, Password Checkup, Anti-phishing, and more.
Before we start with how a web browser works, let’s have a brief look at the components of a browser that play an important role in its functioning. Post which, we’ll see the step-by-step working of a web browser.
Any web browser has two elements- front-end and back-end. The front end is the interface we interact with, which looks fairly simple. However, it’s the complex back end that facilitates the core functioning of a browser. A browser has the following main components:
The Browser Engine provides a link between the user interface and the rendering engine. It manages and manipulates the rendering engine based on inputs from various user interfaces.
The Rendering Engine renders the requested web page on the browser screen. A web page is a document commonly written in HTML- rendering engine converts this document and data to an understandable format so that users can see the desired site, image, or video.
It deals with HTML and XML documents and other files to generate the layout displayed in the user interface. The rendering engine can also work with other types of data with the help of certain plugins and extensions. Below are the rendering engines used by major web browsers:
Blink – Google Chrome, Opera, Microsoft Edge (previously used EdgeHTML).
WebKit – Used in Safari.
Gecko – Mozilla Firefox.
Trident – Internet Explorer.
Presto – Legacy rendering engine for Opera.
UI Backend helps to draw basic widgets like a select box, an input box, a window, a check box, etc. It uses the underlying operating system user interface methods for the same.
It is a uniform layer that the browser uses to store all its data, including Cookies, Local Storage, Session Storage, IndexedDB, WebSQL, and FileSystem.
It involves a multi-step process including DNS resolution, HTTP exchange between browser and web server, rendering, and so on, as follows:
You enter a URL in the web browser.
The browser finds the IP address for the domain using DNS.
The browser initiates a connection with the server.
Next, it sends an HTTP request to the webserver.
The server handles the request and sends out an HTTP response.
The browser renders and displays the HTML content, i.e., the web page.
Below are the commonly used jargons that you might’ve read above or come across while reading about the internet, web, or browsers.
URL – Universal Resource Locator is the address of a given unique resource on the Web.
HTML – HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language, used for creating web pages and applications.
HTTP – HTTP is a protocol that allows the fetching of resources, like HTML documents. It is a client-server protocol, which means your web browser initiates requests.
IP Address – It identifies the location of a specific server that’s connected to the internet. Each website has its own unique IP address and can have multiple IP addresses when hosted at multiple locations. For example, a common IP address for Facebook is 22.214.171.124.
DNS – DNS or Domain Name System is the database that contains records of the domains. It helps discover websites using human-readable addresses.
Cookies – Cookies are the small pieces of data websites store on your device’s storage.
Google Chrome is currently the world’s most popular web browser with over 64% market share. It was first released in 2008. The browser uses Google’s Blink rendering engine. Here’s more about the evolution of Chrome over 12 years.
Microsoft Edge was first released in 2023 to replace Internet Explorer as the default browser on Windows 10. Later, it was made available for Android, iOS, and macOS.
It initially used the EdgeHTML rendering engine. However, in 2023, Microsoft rolled out the new Chromium-based Edge using the same rendering engine as Chrome, i.e., Blink. It still has a meager worldwide market share at a little over 3%.
Here’s how Edge has evolved from Internet Explorer.
It was acquired by a Chinese consortium led by Golden Brick Capital Private in 2023. Opera has recently released a dedicated Web 3 Crypto browser.
Safari is another browser popular amongst Apple product users. It first appeared in 2003 for Mac OS X, while the mobile version was introduced with iPhone OS 1 in 2007. It also had a Windows version, available from 2007 to 2012.
Safari uses WebKit rendering engine and has Google as the default search engine. It currently holds over 18% of the browser market share worldwide.
UC Browser, etc.
The new developments in the Web 3.0 space might soon change how we use our browsers. Here are some Web 3.0 browsers that you may be interested in and yes, Brave is a part of it.
Do you often use the screenshots of your (or maybe someone else’s) Tweet? I see the Twitter screenshots throughout the web. People use the screenshots of Tweets as quotes or to visualize the idea or just for fun.
This is why the new non-official tool by Twitter employee Robin Sloan got my attention.
Blackbird Pie is a Twitter-based tool that allows to embed a Tweet to your web page to save time immensely:
No time spent on making the screenshot;
No time spent on editing the image;
No time spent on uploading the image.
The Twitter user who said that.
– which will potentially encourage more people to go to your profile and follow you:
So let’s see this time-saver in action:How It Works
1. Step one: get the direct link of the Tweet you want to embed.
Find it here:
2. Provide the link in the form and press “Bake it”:
3. Get the code to embed the Tweet to your page:
Enjoy the Time-Saving Tools
While Blackbird Pie is a time-saver in itself, it has a couple of tools that make it even faster:
1. WordPress Plugin for Blackbird Pie
That makes it easier to embed the Tweets to your WordPress blog.
2. Blackbird Pie Browser Bookmarklet
Note: there’s also a Chrome extension that works the same way in Google Chrome.
Do you feel like using this tool?
The vast majority of laptops come with a built-in touchpad as the primary input device for controlling the on-screen cursor. However, most users prefer to use an external mouse as it is easier to use than the touchpad. In this case it is useful to disable the touchpad so that you don’t accidentally touch it while typing.
Although GNOME Shell provides a way to turn off the touchpad completely in the “Mouse & Touchpad” settings, it can be tedious to fiddle with the settings every time you need to turn the touchpad on or off. It’s possible to configure GNOME to automatically disable the touchpad when your mouse is connected and enable it again when you don’t have your mouse nearby.
As usual, there’s an extension for that.Prerequisites
If you’ve never installed a GNOME Shell extension before, you need to install the “GNOME Shell Integration” browser extension and native host connector.
Here are the links to install the Gnome Shell Integration browser extension in Firefox and Google Chrome.
The way to install the native host connector depends on your distribution.
You can install the connector directly from the Ubuntu repos if you are on Ubuntu 17.04 and later:
If you are on Ubuntu 16.10 or earlier, you need to add the following PPA to your software sources before installing the package.
Open your terminal and type in the following commands:
Other distro users can find installation instructions on this page.
Once you have installed both the browser extension and native host connector, you may proceed with the instructions below.
1. Open this link in your browser to install the Touchpad Indicator extension.
2. Toggle the Off switch to “On.”
If you see a new touchpad icon on the top bar, it means Touchpad Indicator is now installed on your computer.
Now you need to configure it so that it automatically detects when a mouse is connected so that it can switch the touchpad off and on as needed.
2. Select the “Auto Switch” tab and set “Automatically switch Touchpad On/Off” to “On.”
3. If you want to receive a notification when the touchpad is disabled or enabled, you can toggle “Show Notification” On as well.
Ayo Isaiah is a freelance writer from Lagos who loves everything technology with a particular interest in open-source software. Follow him on Twitter.
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Below The Surface
You thought you knew the Internet. But sites such as Facebook, Amazon, and Instagram are just the surface. There’s a whole other world out there: the Deep Web.
It’s a place where online information is password protected, trapped behind paywalls, or requires special software to access—and it’s massive. By some estimates, it is 500 times larger than the surface Web that most people search every day. Yet it’s almost completely out of sight. According to a study published in Nature, Google indexes no more than 16 percent of the surface Web and misses all of the Deep Web. Any given search turns up just 0.03 percent of the information that exists online (one in 3,000 pages). It’s like fishing in the top two feet of the ocean—you miss the virtual Mariana Trench below.
Much of the Deep Web’s unindexed material lies in mundane databases such as LexisNexis or the rolls of the U.S. Patent Office. But like a Russian matryoshka doll, the Deep Web contains a further hidden world, a smaller but significant community where malicious actors unite in common purpose for ill. Welcome to the Dark Web, sometimes called the Darknet, a vast digital underground where hackers, gangsters, terrorists, and pedophiles come to ply their trade. What follows is but a cursory sampling of the goods and services available from within the darkest recesses of the Internet.Things You Can Buy
Individual or dealer-level quantities of illicit and prescription drugs of every type are available in the digital underground. The Silk Road, the now-shuttered drug superstore, did $200 million of business in 28 months.
2. Counterfeit Currency
Fake money varies widely in quality and cost, but euros, pounds, and yen are all available. Six hundred dollars gets you $2,500 in counterfeit U.S. notes, promised to pass the typical pen and ultraviolet-light tests.
3. Forged Papers
Passports, driver’s licenses, citizenship papers, fake IDs, college diplomas, immigration documents, and even diplomatic ID cards are available on illicit marketplaces such as Onion Identity Services. A U.S. driver’s license costs approximately $200, while passports from the U.S. or U.K. sell for a few thousand bucks.
4. Firearms, Ammunition, and Explosives
Weapons such as handguns and C4 explosives are procurable on the Dark Web. Vendors ship their products in specially shielded packages to avoid x-rays or send weapons components hidden in toys, musical instruments, or electronics.
6. Human Organs
In the darker corners of the Dark Web, a vibrant and gruesome black market for live organs thrives. Kidneys may fetch $200,000, hearts $120,000, livers $150,000, and a pair of eyeballs $1,500.Things That Make Internet Crime Work
Digital cash, such as bitcoin and darkcoin, and the payment system Liberty Reserve provide a convenient system for users to spend money online while keeping their real-world identities hidden.
2. Bulletproof Web-hosting Services
Some Web hosts in places such as Russia or Ukraine welcome all content, make no attempts to learn their customers’ true identities, accept anonymous payments in bitcoin, and routinely ignore subpoena requests from law enforcement.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin help keep the deep web in business.
3. Cloud Computing
By hosting their criminal malware with reputable firms, hackers are much less likely to see their traffic blocked by security systems. A recent study suggested that 16 percent of the world’s malware and cyberattack distribution channels originated in the Amazon Cloud.
Less skilled criminals can buy all the tools they need to identify system vulnerabilities, commit identity theft, compromise servers, and steal data. It was a hacker with just such a tool kit who invaded Target’s point-of-sale system in 2013.
5. Hackers For Hire
Organized cybercrime syndicates outsource hackers-for-hire. China’s Hidden Lynx group boasts up to 100 professional cyberthieves, some of whom are known to have penetrated systems at Google, Adobe, and Lockheed Martin.
6. Multilingual Crime Call Centers
Employees will play any duplicitous role you would like, such as providing job and educational references, initiating wire transfers, and unblocking hacked accounts. Calls cost around $10.How to Access the Dark Web’s Wares
Secret Search Engines
Carefully organized wikis list hidden sites by category, such as Hacks, Markets, Viruses, and Drugs. Descriptions of each link help curious newcomers find their desired illicit items.
Just as in the real world, online criminals looking to obtain the most felonious material must be vouched for before they can transact. A network of invitation-only chatrooms and forums, hidden behind unlisted alphanumeric Web addresses, provides access to the most criminal of circles.
This article was adapted from Marc Goodman’s book Future Crimes, which was published in February. It originally appeared in the April 2023 issue of Popular Science, under the title “The Dark Web Revealed.” All text © 2023 Marc Goodman, published by arrangement with Doubleday, an imprint of The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
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