The Internet in real time provides a visual insight into how much activity is happening on the web every second. Counts for things like Facebook likes, tweets, and YouTube video views are updated every second, all on one page.
It fascinates me every time to see stuff like this, because, apart from the human activity in itself, I have a glimpse of an understanding of how much technology work is happening behind the scenes.
I came across this old story (back from 2003) on Slashdot – NCR Patents the Internet – and it even more hilarious now than it was back than:
We all know about NCR’s lawsuit against Palm & Handspring, but I haven’t seen much press about patent infringements they are claiming against some of the biggest sites on the planet. According to documentation that a friend’s company has recently received, their patents protect everything from keyword searching to product categorization. Patents to look for (and filed in 1998) include 6,253,203, 6,169,997, 6,151,601, 6,085,223 and 5,991,791 . IMHO, this is absolutely outrageous and is likely to cause billions in both legal fees and eventual licensing fees (eBay, Amazon and MSFT have already licensed from NCR). How is this not the lead story on every site? every day? Maybe because no one wants to get sued for having an online business.
This is one of those things that I love about the Internet. When you are wrong, the Internet doesn’t just gently mention it. It absolutely destroys you, shoving the reality so hard down your throat, you forget how to breath for a while. And then, next time, if you haven’t killed yourself yet, you think long and hard before saying anything out loud. If you have a half a brain or more, of course.
The apartment building where I live in for the last few years had some cabling issues. That prevented me from joining the rest of the world in the 21st century, when it comes to home Internet connectivity. Here’s what I’ve been on until today:
Today, I’ve got my connection updated. PrimeTel Fibernet, which is currently only available to select buildings, brought the modern age of technology into my house. Here’s how it looks:
Yup, that’s a 50 Mbps download with 8 Mbps upload connection. Nearly a 10x speed increase, but not only that. Have a look at 1 ms ping now vs. 35 ms ping before. And that all is for the same price. And nothing else had to change – I still have the same TV channels and the same landline number. Ah, no, wait, my home IP address changed, but who cares about that, right?
This thing is so far indeed, that to fully utilize it I need to use the Ethernet cable. Gladly, that’s how both my PlayStation 3 and the home media server are connected. With my laptop’s WiFi, I get the numbers like this:
I’m not yet sure why, but I’ll probably need to look into my wireless card drivers or something.
Anyways, WiFi or not, it’s way faster than it used to be, both in bandwidth and latency. Which are amazing news!
P.S.: Thanks to SpeedTest.net for cool graphics and years in service too.
I came across “Global Internet Map 2012” – an interactive map by TeleGeography, via this article (in Russian). If you read the language, check the article for more maps and resources on the subject. Also check my previous posts here and here.
Apart from the absolute visual awesomeness, one thing that struck me in particular is how weird the world looks if you just rotate the map a bit.
“The Rise and Fall of .Ly” covers some of the not so widely known Internet history, including The God of the Internet, Jon Postel:
Until 1998, the Internet had a “God.” His name was Jon Postel.
Postel was a computer science student at UCLA in the late 1960s. In 1969, he got into the Internet more or less on the ground floor, when he was part of the team that set up the first node of the ARPANET — which would lay the technological groundwork for the modern Internet.
In these early days, computers would refer to each other and the files on them by IP address. The earliest web addresses were strings of numbers, like: 188.8.131.52. If you wanted to reference, access, or communicate with a computer, you’d type in its numerical address. As the ARPANET grew, its moderators compiled a single file mapping memorable names, often pronounceable strings of characters, to IP addresses. This file was named “HOSTS.TXT”, and it was like a giant phone book with every computer’s name and number in it. Hosts made copies of the master HOSTS.TXT. This system got more and more cumbersome as the network got bigger and bigger.
In 1983, ARPANET became a subnet of the early Internet. At around the same time, Postel, along with computer scientist Paul Mockapetris, devised a new system to name the various places of the web. Their invention, called the Domain Name System (DNS), took the role of the HOSTS.TXT file and distributed it across an eventually vast, multifaceted network of servers.