Autopilot FAQ

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Meta Questions

A lot of these aren't all that frequently asked, but I want to tell you the answers anyway.

Who wrote Autopilot?

Matthew Gray,, author of the original Web Wanderer.

What's a "Meta Question"?

Oh, I don't know.

General Questions

Can you add my URL to autopilot?

Uh, sure, if I feel like it. Feel free to send me email, but I am free to ignore requests. If you give me a compelling reason to include it, I'll be less likely to ignore it.

What's a 'compelling reason'?

Oh, I don't know. Probably not money, but given enough, who knows. Really though, try me. Compel away.

How many URLs are there in Autopilot?

There used to be more than 8001. Now there are much less, as the database was way way stale, and I'm fixing it.

Where did they all come from?

Secret. Ok, not really.

Do they all come up with equal probability?

Nope, but mostly. The Autopilot Periodic Message occurs a lot more often than the other pages. All the other pages occur with equal frequency, subject to the vagaries of the random number generator.

Why are there so many MIT pages?

Because I go to MIT and MIT is cool. :-)

Do you want to know about dead links?

I used to think I did, but I changed my mind.

Technical Questions

How does Autopilot work?

It sends your client a Refresh directive in the HTTP header telling it to come back for a different URL in 12 seconds. For more details, you should get the book, or check out the Netscape site and find out about client-pull.

Can I get the source code to Autopilot?

Yeah, sure. It's in the book, and it will be available online soon.

Help! I downloaded the source but now it won't work!

Read the help on running autopilot

What language is Autopilot written in?

Perl, of course.

Will Autopilot work with my browser?

As far as I know, it works with Netscape >=1.1 and the AOL (aka "IWENG") browser, and MSIE. If you know it works with any other browser, please, let me know

What does "vagaries" mean?

"Vagary" is a prevaricate meaning "an eccentric or unpredictable manifestation, action or notion". It is most likely derived from the Latin vagari which means to wander.

Is Autopilot really that complicated?

No, but it's still lots of fun.