Just as it turns 40, the internet comes of age. One day before of the anniversary of the first two computers connected together by a prototype network in 19691 — a move that foreshadowed the worldwide network of computers we know today — the U.S. Government announced that it was forever releasing direct control over a key governance organization that makes the internet run. Called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), that governance organization is what runs the top level domain name servers (DNS). And that is important because it is the DNS that translates human-friendly names such as “www.google.com” and “dltj.org” into network-friendly addresses.
It was only a few months ago that I was teasing Dan Chudnov for joining Twitter. Now I’ve gone and done it myself. I don’t expect to be using it much, but after observing the “Falls Church, VA” incident yesterday, I thought it would be an useful tool to have at-the-ready. Here’s the story of what inspired it.
Via a weekly wrap-up post by Dion Almaer on the Google Code Blog comes mention of a Google Tech Talk video from their IPv6 Conference 2008. It is a panel discussion called “What will the IPv6 Internet look like?” and it offers insight into the difficulties of transitioning to the next generation IP transport protocol. Although it has been years since I’ve seen the business end of managing an actual IP network, I found the discussion a fascinating look at the issues that are ahead of network engineers and device manufacturers around the world.
I’ve been collecting disclaimers that appear on the bottom of e-mail messages in a draft post on DLTJ for about a year now — every time I’d get a new one with a different twist, I’d save it anticipating the day would come that there would be enough humor here to share with the rest of you. That day has come. There wasn’t one that disclaimer that finally pushed the publication of this post over the edge; just the accumulation of examples. Identifying information has been removed, but the humor was left intact. If you recognize your institution/company in these examples, please laugh along with me. If you are the lawyer or pseudo-lawyer that drafted these, please do us all a favor and find something else to work on. Like drafting disclaimers for toothpicks and such.
So here is my role on the internet — a Connector: “Connectors combine a sense that information technology is good for social purposes with a clear recognition that online resources are a great way to learn new things.” That definition comes from the Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. How close did the definition come to my view of myself? Here is the “connector” definition picked apart sentence by sentence.
- The Connectors’ collection of information technology is used for a mix of one-to-one and one-to-many communication.
An e-mail from Leslie Daigle, chair of the Internet Architecture Board, crossed my inbox tonight through the IETF-announce list (excerpted below) that brought back memories of the mid-90s and the Internet growth explosion that spurred the deployment of NAT (Network Address Translation) devices, the shift in large scale Internet routing from a “Classful” system to a “Classless” system (called Classless Inter-Domain Routing, or CIDR), and fueled the (relatively) quick development of IPv6. The conditions are somewhat different from decades ago, but some of the solutions are the same. If you are interested in how the guts of the internet work, read on. I’ve expanded organizational acronyms and linked to documents and other helpful bits; this stuff is fascinating (in the same way that one can walk into the machine room and gaze in amazement at all of the lights blinking in just the right way to tells you it is all working together just fine).