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Old 08-03-2012, 12:03 PM
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JWG JWG is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Northeastern US
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Post For documentation purposes

I probably should document how I produced the spreadsheets of the internet browsing history in case there is any question about the information we end up posting and discussing here.

Firefox History

AZ received three files of Firefox history data. One file contains activity from March 4 - 21, 2008. A second file contains activity from June 16 - July 16, 2008. A third file contains activity from July 14 - 16, 2008. There does not appear to be duplicate entries in the second and third files, so the date range overlap seems puzzling to me. More on that in a different post.

The history files are from version 2 of the browser, which stored browsing history in something called the Mork database format. As a result, the data is largely unreadable, although one can pick out certain words here and there, but not the time stamps.

I found a Perl script written in 2004 specifically to decode the Firefox 2 history file. The copyright allowed anyone to modify, use and distribute the code so long as the copyright notice appears in the code. I made a minor change to the output portion of the code to create a tab-delimited text file. As a result, I was able to read the decoded files into separate tabs in Excel. With the auto-filter features in Excel it makes it easy to find and sort the data.

Internet Explorer

AZ received four folders containing a number of separate files. Two folders have data for the "casey" account and span the time frame from November 2, 2007 to July 16, 2008. Two folders have data for the "owner" account and span the time frame from May 7, 2004 to July 16, 2008. Again, there do not appear to be duplicate entries in any of the files.

These are a little easier to read, but because there are so many files they are very cumbersome to work with. I found a program on the web called "History Viewer" that was able to read each folder and allowed me to save the results in a tab-delimited text file. From the four files I produced I created another Excel spreadsheet with each folder represented by a separate tab.

As a result of this, we now have two spreadsheets - one with Firefox history and the other with Internet Explorer history - containing about 37,000 browsing records.
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