We tend not to write about Twitter accounts dedicated to parodies or satire—unless their creators win lawsuits above and beyond $125,000—but we’ve always admired the weird world of Twitter bots. Developers have toyed with social-media assumptions and expectations by creating accounts that are designed solely to comb other sources of information and spit it out in 140-character mash-ups; one of our favorite developers in this sector, Darius Kazemi, has made quite a few of these, and we’re particular fans of his bizarre Two Headlines feed.
Now comes an even more intense Twitter bot that not only combs old resources but renders them in an appealing way: the Wayback_EXE bot. The day-old feed, created by developer Colin Mitchell, appears to grab Web pages at random from the earliest content in the Wayback Machine archives, then attaches a screengrab of each page as rendered by a randomly chosen Web browser from that era. The result strangely feels like browsing that mid-’90s era when the Information Superhighway had gone mainstream—when you never knew what kind of weird site lurked around the next corner, since search engines and portals hadn’t yet gotten the hang of how to guide us from site to site.
So far, the feed includes Yahoo pages rendered in old versions of Netscape Navigator, a 1997 Academy Awards nominee list as viewed through an old Mosaic browser, and more. Our favorite is probably the first page the bot picked up (seen above), which was a fan site dedicated to actor James Marshall of Twin Peaks fame.