I’m sure I’m not the only person who has had this question, especially in this age of Tivos and DVRs: Where can I get a schedule of things that have happened?

It’s interesting. I’ve completely given up on the printed TVGuide. Why pay money for a weekly throwaway schedule of TV shows that doesn’t even cover well all 100+ channels of programming that I receive? I wouldn’t, especially because I can get that information directly via my TV tuner or, if I’m desperate, through the internet. But the printed TV Guide has one advantage over these digital mediums - it keeps near-term historical information.

If I wanted to know what I missed on TV tonight now that it’s 1am, I really can’t think of a way to figure that out. I can only hope that my DVR recorded the programs that I wanted to watch. Since I don’t have a Tivo, it’s not quite smart enough to follow around the shows that I like if they change time slots or whatever. So it’s of some small value to me to see the passed evening’s, or even yesterday’s or the day before’s, schedule. And this isn’t the only thing like this.

Another great example of data that expires and falls completely off the map is weather data. Abby has a homework assignment this month to keep track of temperatures and precipitation. Of course, if we have a really hectic weekend like we did recently, we don’t think to record that information. Finding yesterday’s temperature might not be impossible, but it is nowhere near as easy as what you might think.

Even RSS feeds that offer weather data somehow manage to expire the feed for yesterday’s weather. So you have to subscribe already in order to have yesterday’s feed data around. That seems kind of weird. If weather data is being offered in a blog-like syndication format, then shouldn’t today’s entry show the current weather, the forecast for later today, and the forecast for the rest of the week? Instead, they somehow manage to have separate entries for forecasts and no data for yesterday’s weather. It’s interesting to me that I fail to reason out why this is the case.

I wonder what other scheduled or time-sensitive data is lost when it expires. Surely there is a record of this stuff somewhere. I mean, they record the minutia of baseball stats with swiss-watch-precision. But why is it so hard to get to? It’s like the people with the data are purposefully putting it away so that we can’t use it, and that seems strange, considering how open they had been with it when it hadn’t happened yet.