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Who will protect us from the dangers of the evil dark web

Guru 42 Blog -

Over the past year we have been on a campaign to explain many internet buzzwords from the world wide web to deep web and dark net.

We see a lot of questions from the average internet user asking how they can be protected from the evils of the dark web that they keep hearing about in the media.

You often see questions on various online forums stating that if the dark web is synonymous with criminal activity and illegal black markets, why doesn’t the government just shut down the dark web. 

Why doesn’t the government just shut down the dark web?

If you fully understand the concepts you will see that shutting the dark web to combat criminal activity is an absurd idea based on false assumptions.

Many people make the assumption that all anonymous traffic is related to illegal activities. That's simply not true!

Take a moment to understand the dark web

The dark web is a complex communication system that exists to allow anonymous traffic. People living outside the U.S. don't always share our freedoms, like free speech. Dark nets are used to get information into and out of places where free speech can get you killed.

Onion Routing, the concept behind the dark web, was developed by the U.S. Naval Research Lab for anonymous communications. Tor (The Onion Router) is a nonprofit organization responsible for maintaining the software used in accessing the Tor networks.

The average internet user will never use Tor or visit an Onion site, but they are fearful of the media created boogie man that waits for them "on the dark web."  The media has made out the dark web to be some evil empire lurking in the darkness of the internet, waiting to reign fear and havoc on the innocent internet users just using the surface web in the light of day.

Shutting the dark web to combat black markets is an absurd idea

What would be the plan for the government to “take down” the dark web?  In some cases the countries where black markets exist are the same countries where people are using the dark web to get the word out about their governments. What would you suggest, we isolate the entire country from the internet?

While the government can't shut down the dark web, they do shut down black markets.  One of the first dark net black markets, Silk Road, was indeed shut down by the FBI and Europol. There are many law enforcement agencies working on shutting down black markets, but many illegal activities originate in countries where “the government” has no jurisdiction, or has no cooperation from the local governments.

How can I protect myself from the dark web?

Various commercials strike fear into the minds of the innocent internet users just using the surface web in the light of day telling them they need protection, some even suggesting that paying for a monitoring system would help them from the perils of the dark web.

I've used this quote and link in other answers, Roger Dingledine, an MIT-trained American computer scientist known for having co-founded the Tor Project aka “the dark web,” spoke at the Philly Tech Week 2017 and does acknowledge that “Just about any use of the “dark web” phrase is really just a marketing ploy by cybersecurity firms and other opportunists. They’re profiting on ignorance. It’s nonsense.”

Article from Philly Tech Week 2017: Stop talking about the dark web: Tor Project cofounder Roger Dingledine

Regarding all the services now cropping up to protect your information on the dark web, as Roger Dingledine states in the quote above, “They’re profiting on ignorance.”

Here's my rant on the subject of protection services from a few months ago: What frightens you more: the dark web or credit bureaus

Knowledge is power

Don't be afraid of the dark, in this case, the dark web. Knowledge replaces fear.

From the perspective of the average internet user wondering what they can do to protect themselves from the “dark web” keeping your personal information safe and secure doesn't change because of the dark web.

Changing passwords often, keeping different passwords for different services, logging off of systems and computers when finished, not using strangers computers for secure transactions, are all part of staying safe and secure while using the internet. All the common sense things don't change because of the dark web.

Learn how to travel the highway safely, whether we are talking motor vehicles or web browsers. Knowing where you are going before you stumble blindly into a new place will help keep you safe. That's up to you, don't always expect the government to protect you from your own stupidity.

The dark web is one segment of the internet, and like the internet itself, you will find good things there, as well as evil.

Learn more:

The difference between deep web and dark web in simple terms

Buzzwords from the world wide web to deep web and dark net

End Of The Silk Road: FBI Says It's Busted The Web's Biggest Anonymous Drug Black Market

 

 

Tags: 

What would I find at the deepest darkest depths of Marianas Web

The Tao of Questy -

Body: 

I am often asked what are some of the illegal or immoral websites you can find on the mysterious and mythical part of the internet known as the dark web.  The mysterious dark web, sometimes called the dark net, is the fuel for spy movies. it helped to create WikiLeaks run by the super spy Julian Assange and it allows cyber snitches like Edward Snowden share secret information.

According to internet myths and legends, the deepest darkest depths of the internet is called Marianas Web. People are anxious to know how to find what is hiding beneath the surface in the dark web, especially in the most mysterious places. So I pondered, what if I visited Marianas Web, what would I find there?

I found instructions on finding Marianas Web from the dark web site of the Puppet Masters of Babylon. According to the Cult of Tesla, the Puppet Masters of Babylon know the truth about many mysteries.

Following the instructions, I installed my Quantum Woo Browser and connected my virtual reality goggles. I entered the IP address and login credentials I obtained from the Puppet Masters of Babylon.

I was feeling kinda seasick as room began to spin when the view came into focus. I met the ghost of Einstein and he explained to me the basics of polymeric falcighol derivation, and acknowledged that he really thought Tesla was crazy, and people shouldn't believe what they read on the internet.

I managed to get a screen shot you see below, before my nose started to bleed and I passed out.

When I woke up my virtual reality goggles were dead, and my computer display was dark.

I often wonder, had I visited the depths of Marianas Web in what I saw that night?

Perhaps it was real, or maybe an illusion, you can decide which is right.

---

I believe that Marianas Web is just a myth, but I am in search of the truth.

Wondering about the dark web and the forbidden fruit of the internet

Buzzwords from the world wide web to deep web and dark net

 

Explain the difference between deep web and dark web in simple terms

The Guru 42 Universe -

When I explain technology concepts I strive for using simple terms. I saw the question asked, "Can you explain deep web and dark web to me like I am a five year old?"

I just shook my head as I read many of the answers, I know a five year old is not going to understand them. I make those comments sincerely, with the first hand experience of spending time with my five year old grand daughter on a regular basis.

Most answers started out explaining that the surface web was the part of the internet indexed by Google. My granddaughter is pretty smart, but she no concept of what "indexed by Google" means. So here is my attempt to explain deep web and dark web to a five year old.

As I tell this story I can actually picture taking my grand daughter to the downtown area of the city where I work. First we would go to the library. I would show her around the library. Look at the people reading books, working on the computers. Isn't that cool, all the people moving around the library, learning new things! For our story we can call the public library the surface web.

Right next door to the library is an office building, let's go in there and look around. In the lobby of the building there is a common area where we can walk around freely and access various bits of information. On the wall there is a sign that tells me the names of all the people who have offices in the building on the floors above the lobby. We can see who these people are, but we really can't just walk around their offices to see what they do. In order to look inside these offices we need a reason to get into these rooms. These offices might be doctors treating people, or people talking about different business things that aren't things that are shared with the public. For our story we can call this office building the deep web.

Across the street from the office building is a large building with no name on it, so I am not sure what is inside the building. There isn't a lobby we can look around in to see who works there. From watching the people going into the building it looks like they have a special badge to get inside of the building, so it's not something we can go inside of to look around. For our story we can call this mysterious building the dark web.

I am sure there would be some question as to why the mysterious building did not want people to know what they are doing inside. I could expand the analogy further to explain the difference between public spaces like your school or library and private spaces like your home.

Learn more:

Dig deeper and learn more. The dark web need not mean some mysterious place of evil, it is simply a term describing an area of controlled access rather than free and open access.

Guru42 explores: Dark Net? Deep Web? What can I find there?

Guru42 explains: Beware of credit bureaus offering free dark web scans

Tags: 

Explain the difference between deep web and dark web in simple terms

The Guru 42 Universe -

When I explain technology concepts I strive for using simple terms. I saw the question asked, "Can you explain deep web and dark web to me like I am a five year old?"

I just shook my head as I read many of the answers, I know a five year old is not going to understand them. I make those comments sincerely, with the first hand experience of spending time with my five year old grand daughter on a regular basis.

Most answers started out explaining that the surface web was the part of the internet indexed by Google. My granddaughter is pretty smart, but she no concept of what "indexed by Google" means. So here is my attempt to explain deep web and dark web to a five year old.

As I tell this story I can actually picture taking my grand daughter to the downtown area of the city where I work. First we would go to the library. I would show her around the library. Look at the people reading books, working on the computers. Isn't that cool, all the people moving around the library, learning new things! For our story we can call the public library the surface web.

Right next door to the library is an office building, let's go in there and look around. In the lobby of the building there is a common area where we can walk around freely and access various bits of information. On the wall there is a sign that tells me the names of all the people who have offices in the building on the floors above the lobby. We can see who these people are, but we really can't just walk around their offices to see what they do. In order to look inside these offices we need a reason to get into these rooms. These offices might be doctors treating people, or people talking about different business things that aren't things that are shared with the public. For our story we can call this office building the deep web.

Across the street from the office building is a large building with no name on it, so I am not sure what is inside the building. There isn't a lobby we can look around in to see who works there. From watching the people going into the building it looks like they have a special badge to get inside of the building, so it's not something we can go inside of to look around. For our story we can call this mysterious building the dark web.

I am sure there would be some question as to why the mysterious building did not want people to know what they are doing inside. I could expand the analogy further to explain the difference between public spaces like your school or library and private spaces like your home.

Learn more:

Dig deeper and learn more. The dark web need not mean some mysterious place of evil, it is simply a term describing an area of controlled access rather than free and open access.

Guru42 explores: Dark Net? Deep Web? What can I find there?

Guru42 explains: Beware of credit bureaus offering free dark web scans

Tags: 

What frightens you more: the dark web or credit bureaus

Guru 42 Blog -

A television commercial offers to find if your personal information is on the dark web.

The first time I saw that Experian commercial, I immediately said, "Well that's really stupid!" (Maybe I added a few colorful adjectives as well to my shouted out remarks.)

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Experian is preying on the fear of the dark web to sell their services. Let's just assume for the sake of this question that everything that is sold on the "dark web" is less than legal. (That's what Experian is implying.) Why would Experian have any special access to less than legal information, more so than anyone else? Does that make sense?

If Experian did have some sophisticated way of searching the dark web and finding less than legal databases of information, wouldn't they have a legal obligation to report their findings to the police or other government agencies, rather than offering this information as a service?

What information?

For the sake of this question, let's address the basic question of "what is the danger if your information is on the dark web?”

We all should be worried about all of our information on the deep web, just above "the evils" of the dark web.

Do a search on your name, does it bother you that your current address, age, employer, and contact information is so readily available on the public web? Does it bother you that there are so many websites on the internet, that are offering to sell you information about people?

If a hacker had downloaded an entire database of information illegally, why would they have the contents stored where someone could access it? (As Experian is implying.) Unless you are someone rich and famous where one single bit of information could be used to blackmail an individual, if a hacker steals a database, they are going to sell the entire database.

And you would trust Experian?

It is pretty ironic that Experian, the company who had their servers hacked exposing the personal data of 15 million T-Mobile customers wants to help me find identity thieves on the dark web.

Lessons from the Experian hack: Lessons from the Experian hack

Experian Faces Class Action Over T-Mobile Data Breach: Experian Faces Class Action Over T-Mobile Data Breach - Cohen & Malad, LLP

Experian wants you to be afraid, very afraid of the dark. In exchange for their services, they are asking you to sell your soul to them. In order for you to have Experian check the darkness in your name, you are agreeing to Experian's terms of service:

"... Experian's terms of service and found a densely written, nearly 17,600-word document — a contract the length of a novella.

Not surprisingly, this is where you'll find an arbitration clause preventing you from suing the company — an increasingly common aspect of consumer contracts nowadays. That's the least of your worries, though.

It turns out running a free dark-Web email scan opens you up to "advertisements or offers for available credit cards, loan options, financial products or services, or credit-related products or services and other offers to customers."

Reference: Credit agency Experian says it can protect you from the 'dark Web' — sort of

Are You Afraid of Credit Bureaus?

Their commercial infuriates me. It preys upon fear and ignorance. I am much more afraid of what damage a credit bureau could do to my life than any information you could find about me on the dark web.

Let me conclude this answer with another question. What frightens you more, the thought of finding your information on the dark web or credit bureaus like Experian having the right to sell your information as they do?


In case you are curious:

Wondering about the dark web and the forbidden fruit of the internet

Buzzwords from the world wide web to deep web and dark net

 

Tags: 

What frightens you more: the dark web or credit bureaus

Guru 42 Blog -

A television commercial offers to find if your personal information is on the dark web.

The first time I saw that Experian commercial, I immediately said, "Well that's really stupid!" (Maybe I added a few colorful adjectives as well to my shouted out remarks.)

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Experian is preying on the fear of the dark web to sell their services. Let's just assume for the sake of this question that everything that is sold on the "dark web" is less than legal. (That's what Experian is implying.) Why would Experian have any special access to less than legal information, more so than anyone else? Does that make sense?

If Experian did have some sophisticated way of searching the dark web and finding less than legal databases of information, wouldn't they have a legal obligation to report their findings to the police or other government agencies, rather than offering this information as a service?

What information?

For the sake of this question, let's address the basic question of "what is the danger if your information is on the dark web?”

We all should be worried about all of our information on the deep web, just above "the evils" of the dark web.

Do a search on your name, does it bother you that your current address, age, employer, and contact information is so readily available on the public web? Does it bother you that there are so many websites on the internet, that are offering to sell you information about people?

If a hacker had downloaded an entire database of information illegally, why would they have the contents stored where someone could access it? (As Experian is implying.) Unless you are someone rich and famous where one single bit of information could be used to blackmail an individual, if a hacker steals a database, they are going to sell the entire database.

And you would trust Experian?

It is pretty ironic that Experian, the company who had their servers hacked exposing the personal data of 15 million T-Mobile customers wants to help me find identity thieves on the dark web.

Lessons from the Experian hack: Lessons from the Experian hack

Experian Faces Class Action Over T-Mobile Data Breach: Experian Faces Class Action Over T-Mobile Data Breach - Cohen & Malad, LLP

Experian wants you to be afraid, very afraid of the dark. In exchange for their services, they are asking you to sell your soul to them. In order for you to have Experian check the darkness in your name, you are agreeing to Experian's terms of service:

"... Experian's terms of service and found a densely written, nearly 17,600-word document — a contract the length of a novella.

Not surprisingly, this is where you'll find an arbitration clause preventing you from suing the company — an increasingly common aspect of consumer contracts nowadays. That's the least of your worries, though.

It turns out running a free dark-Web email scan opens you up to "advertisements or offers for available credit cards, loan options, financial products or services, or credit-related products or services and other offers to customers."

Reference: Credit agency Experian says it can protect you from the 'dark Web' — sort of

Are You Afraid of Credit Bureaus?

Their commercial infuriates me. It preys upon fear and ignorance. I am much more afraid of what damage a credit bureau could do to my life than any information you could find about me on the dark web.

Let me conclude this answer with another question. What frightens you more, the thought of finding your information on the dark web or credit bureaus like Experian having the right to sell your information as they do?


In case you are curious:

Wondering about the dark web and the forbidden fruit of the internet

Buzzwords from the world wide web to deep web and dark net

 

Tags: 

Who invented the Telephone?

Geek History -

The history books pick and choose "who invented it" based on who won a specific patent battle.

When asked who invented the telephone the name Alexander Graham Bell is often offered as the correct answer. Alexander Graham Bell patented his telephone first, the U.S. Patent Office awarded Alexander Bell, United States Patent No. 174,465 in 1876.

Who invented the Telephone?

An argument could be made for the answer to who invented the telephone could be Alexander Graham Bell, Elisha Gray, or Antonio Meucci. In the 1870s all three of these individuals worked on the technology to transmit speech electrically that would become our telephone system.

In the "who invented it" mythology everyone is looking for that one "eureka" moment when something appears out of thin air, a totally new idea. In the real world of technology, inventions are part of an evolution of ideas.

Early development of the telegraph and telephone

The telephone was an extension of the work done by Samuel Morse in developing the telegraph in the 1830s. Samuel Morse independently developed and patented a recording electric telegraph in 1837. The first telegram in the United States was sent by Morse January 1838, across two miles of wire at near Morristown, New Jersey.

History books tell us Samuel Morse invented the telegraph based on a 1837 patent, but another inventor, Dr. David Alter, invented his own version of the telegraph in 1836.


According to his biography from the book American Medical Biographies by Howard Kelly and Walter Burrage, 1920, Dr. David Alter "perfected an electric telegraph in 1836 which consisted of seven wires, the electricity deflecting a needle on a disc at the extremity of each wire."

Some sources state that Alter also invented a "speaking telegraph, " a forerunner of the modern telephone system. The little known inventor from Western Pennsylvania was also a pioneer in "the discovery of the principles underlying spectrum analysis."

Early development of the Reis telephone

In 1861, German scientist and inventor Johann Philipp Reis succeeded in creating a device that captured sound, converted it to electrical impulses which were transmitted via electrical wires to another device that transformed these pulses into recognizable sounds similar to the original acoustical source. Reis coined the term telephone to describe his device

Would you believe Antonio Meucci invented the telephone?

Many people would argue that Antonio Meucci invented the telephone. Antonio Meucci worked in developing electromagnetic voice transmission, and is recognized as a early pioneer of telephone on the the Library of Congress website.

Quoting from the Library of Congress website:

" Of course, Alexander Graham Bell is the father of the telephone. After all it was his design that was first patented, however, he was not the first inventor to come up with the idea of a telephone.

Antonio Meucci, an Italian immigrant, began developing the design of a talking telegraph or telephone in 1849."


In 2002 the United States Congress passed resolution HRes 269 EH acknowledging the contributions of Antonio Meucci for his work in the telephone's development, stating: "That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the life and achievements of Antonio Meucci should be recognized, and his work in the invention of the telephone should be acknowledged".

The Antonio Meucci conspiracy theory

Although the Library of Congress website states that Meucci began developing the design of a telephone in 1849, it was many years later, December 1871, that Meucci filed a patent caveat, not a patent, for a telephone device with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Patent caveats according to law were "a description of an invention, intended to be patented, lodged in the patent office before the patent was applied for, and operated as a bar to the issue of any patent to any other person regarding the same invention." Caveats lasted one year and were renewable.

Patent caveats were much less costly than a full patent application and required a less detailed description of the invention. If within the year another inventor filed a patent application for a similar invention, the Patent Office notified the holder of the caveat, who then had three months to submit a formal application. Antonio Meucci did not renew his caveat after 1874 and Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent in March of 1876.

According to some theories, Antonio Meucci did not know English well enough to navigate the complex American business community, and was unable to raise sufficient funds to pay his way through the patent application process. Other stories claim that Meucci was told that the Western Union affiliate laboratory reportedly lost his working models. Interesting, Alexander Graham Bell, conducted experiments in the same laboratory where Meucci's materials had been stored.

It should be pointed out that a caveat does not guarantee that a patent will be granted, or what the scope of that patent will be. Antonio Meucci understood how the patent system worked, he was granted fourteen patents for other inventions. There are unanswered questions as to why Meucci did not file a patent application for his telephone, when patents were granted to him in 1872, 1873, 1875, and 1876.

Patent wars Elisha Gray versus Alexander Graham Bell

In the 1870s, two inventors, Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell, both independently designed devices that could transmit speech electrically. Alexander Graham Bell's lawyer filed his patent application for the telephone in the U.S. patent office in Washington, D.C. on February 14, 1876. Elisha Gray's lawyer filed Gray's patent caveat the same day.

The phenomenon known as "multiple discovery" is when notable inventions have occurred simultaneously and independently among different inventors. It happens often as similar work is being done at the same time independently of each other because the evolution of technology that leads to the invention is going on all over. Was the patent office filings of both inventors on the same day the result of multiple discovery, or some other less than ethical action?

There is no shortage of conspiracy suggesting that Bell had illegally acquired knowledge of Gray's invention. Gray and Bell entered into a famous legal battle over the invention of the telephone, which Bell won.

Everyone knows the name Alexander Graham Bell because Bell Telephone is the company people associate with the evolution of the telephone.

In 1872, Elisha Gray founded the Western Electric Manufacturing Company, a company that would eventually evolve into Lucent Technologies. How many people know the name Elisha Gray?

The question of who invented the telephone may seem simple, but like so many modern devices in the history of technology, the story behind "who invented it" is very interesting because none of these "inventions" were the work of one man.

Main photograph (top): History books tell us Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone
but fail to mention Antonio Meucci (left) or Elisha Gray (right).

Smaller photograph: The little known inventor from Western Pennsylvania Dr. David Alter

Who invented the Telephone?

Geek History -

The history books pick and choose "who invented it" based on who won a specific patent battle.

When asked who invented the telephone the name Alexander Graham Bell is often offered as the correct answer. Alexander Graham Bell patented his telephone first, the U.S. Patent Office awarded Alexander Bell, United States Patent No. 174,465 in 1876.

Who invented the Telephone?

An argument could be made for the answer to who invented the telephone could be Alexander Graham Bell, Elisha Gray, or Antonio Meucci. In the 1870s all three of these individuals worked on the technology to transmit speech electrically that would become our telephone system.

In the "who invented it" mythology everyone is looking for that one "eureka" moment when something appears out of thin air, a totally new idea. In the real world of technology, inventions are part of an evolution of ideas.

Early development of the telegraph and telephone

The telephone was an extension of the work done by Samuel Morse in developing the telegraph in the 1830s. Samuel Morse independently developed and patented a recording electric telegraph in 1837. The first telegram in the United States was sent by Morse January 1838, across two miles of wire at near Morristown, New Jersey.

History books tell us Samuel Morse invented the telegraph based on a 1837 patent, but another inventor, Dr. David Alter, invented his own version of the telegraph in 1836.


According to his biography from the book American Medical Biographies by Howard Kelly and Walter Burrage, 1920, Dr. David Alter "perfected an electric telegraph in 1836 which consisted of seven wires, the electricity deflecting a needle on a disc at the extremity of each wire."

Some sources state that Alter also invented a "speaking telegraph, " a forerunner of the modern telephone system. The little known inventor from Western Pennsylvania was also a pioneer in "the discovery of the principles underlying spectrum analysis."

Early development of the Reis telephone

In 1861, German scientist and inventor Johann Philipp Reis succeeded in creating a device that captured sound, converted it to electrical impulses which were transmitted via electrical wires to another device that transformed these pulses into recognizable sounds similar to the original acoustical source. Reis coined the term telephone to describe his device

Would you believe Antonio Meucci invented the telephone?

Many people would argue that Antonio Meucci invented the telephone. Antonio Meucci worked in developing electromagnetic voice transmission, and is recognized as a early pioneer of telephone on the the Library of Congress website.

Quoting from the Library of Congress website:

" Of course, Alexander Graham Bell is the father of the telephone. After all it was his design that was first patented, however, he was not the first inventor to come up with the idea of a telephone.

Antonio Meucci, an Italian immigrant, began developing the design of a talking telegraph or telephone in 1849."


In 2002 the United States Congress passed resolution HRes 269 EH acknowledging the contributions of Antonio Meucci for his work in the telephone's development, stating: "That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the life and achievements of Antonio Meucci should be recognized, and his work in the invention of the telephone should be acknowledged".

The Antonio Meucci conspiracy theory

Although the Library of Congress website states that Meucci began developing the design of a telephone in 1849, it was many years later, December 1871, that Meucci filed a patent caveat, not a patent, for a telephone device with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Patent caveats according to law were "a description of an invention, intended to be patented, lodged in the patent office before the patent was applied for, and operated as a bar to the issue of any patent to any other person regarding the same invention." Caveats lasted one year and were renewable.

Patent caveats were much less costly than a full patent application and required a less detailed description of the invention. If within the year another inventor filed a patent application for a similar invention, the Patent Office notified the holder of the caveat, who then had three months to submit a formal application. Antonio Meucci did not renew his caveat after 1874 and Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent in March of 1876.

According to some theories, Antonio Meucci did not know English well enough to navigate the complex American business community, and was unable to raise sufficient funds to pay his way through the patent application process. Other stories claim that Meucci was told that the Western Union affiliate laboratory reportedly lost his working models. Interesting, Alexander Graham Bell, conducted experiments in the same laboratory where Meucci's materials had been stored.

It should be pointed out that a caveat does not guarantee that a patent will be granted, or what the scope of that patent will be. Antonio Meucci understood how the patent system worked, he was granted fourteen patents for other inventions. There are unanswered questions as to why Meucci did not file a patent application for his telephone, when patents were granted to him in 1872, 1873, 1875, and 1876.

Patent wars Elisha Gray versus Alexander Graham Bell

In the 1870s, two inventors, Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell, both independently designed devices that could transmit speech electrically. Alexander Graham Bell's lawyer filed his patent application for the telephone in the U.S. patent office in Washington, D.C. on February 14, 1876. Elisha Gray's lawyer filed Gray's patent caveat the same day.

The phenomenon known as "multiple discovery" is when notable inventions have occurred simultaneously and independently among different inventors. It happens often as similar work is being done at the same time independently of each other because the evolution of technology that leads to the invention is going on all over. Was the patent office filings of both inventors on the same day the result of multiple discovery, or some other less than ethical action?

There is no shortage of conspiracy suggesting that Bell had illegally acquired knowledge of Gray's invention. Gray and Bell entered into a famous legal battle over the invention of the telephone, which Bell won.

Everyone knows the name Alexander Graham Bell because Bell Telephone is the company people associate with the evolution of the telephone.

In 1872, Elisha Gray founded the Western Electric Manufacturing Company, a company that would eventually evolve into Lucent Technologies. How many people know the name Elisha Gray?

The question of who invented the telephone may seem simple, but like so many modern devices in the history of technology, the story behind "who invented it" is very interesting because none of these "inventions" were the work of one man.

Main photograph (top): History books tell us Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone
but fail to mention Antonio Meucci (left) or Elisha Gray (right).

Smaller photograph: The little known inventor from Western Pennsylvania Dr. David Alter

Is OpenNIC a reliable DNS service?

ComputerGuru -

I was asked the question, "Is OpenNIC a reliable DNS service?" As a systems administrator on a private network, being able to create and customize a DNS server adds some management features that would not apply to the average home based web surfer.

This question was asked with the reason for using OpenNIC is to add an extra layer of privacy to your web browsing. The belief, or perhaps paranoia, is that DNS servers are able to log your requests, and by doing so they have a record of sites you have visited. The question is asked in the context that your DNS provided by your ISP is a source to track where you have been on the internet, and by using an alternative DNS service that eliminates that extra potential layer of tracking, thereby creating more privacy.

If you want to start playing around with alternative DNS solutions you need to understand the risks as well as the benefits.

First let's take a quick look at the definition of DNS (Domain Naming Service)

  • DNS is a distributed database of Domain Names and their corresponding IP Addresses.
  • DNS makes it possible to attach hard to remember IP addresses to easy to remember domain names
  • DNS translates between meaningful host names and IP addresses. It is a hierarchical naming system used to give each server on the Internet a unique name.
  • DNS keeps a complete listing of all FQDNs (Fully qualified domain names) and their associated IP address.

What is OpenNIC?

OpenNIC, an open source DNS provider, an organization of hobbyists who run an alternative DNS network.

Is OpenNIC a reliable DNS service?

A quick look at some data found in the links below tell me that OpenNIC, an open source DNS provider, does not appear to be as efficient as other DNS providers.

Comparing the performance of popular public DNS providers -|- Recommended Public DNS Servers

Based on the data in those two articles, and my personal experiences with open source, I would ask, why bother to use OpenNIC?

I have volunteered my time and have been an advocate of open source solutions for more than 20 years. I am happy to use and test open source solutions if I see a benefit in using them. If I felt the need to pursue an alternative DNS solution I would do more research, but based on what I see here, I just don't see a compelling reason to jump on the OpenNIC bandwagon.


The importance of DNS

As an IT professional I have often used the analogy that talking to business managers about maintaining a computer network is like talking about the plumbing. Many cost cutting managers see technology infrastructure as an expense to be reduced, rather than a resource to be managed. The need to replace the pipes is not something that gets discussed. That is, until the morning when there is no water coming from the pipes, and no one can flush the toilets, then it becomes mission critical.

Computer network services such as DNS are like the plumbing below the surface, as long as it is running and everything is working, no one gives it much thought. That is until you type in the name of a website into your browser, and you get the message: dns_unresolved_hostname The requested site could not be found in DNS.

This article puts DNS into perspective: Plan to transition Internet management sparks censorship fears

Quoting from that article:  *"The importance of DNS cannot be overstated. It is the Internet’s phonebook, connecting bizarre-looking IP addresses to the domain names with which all Internet users are familiar. When someone types **Google* (http://google.com)* into their browser, their request goes through a DNS server, which understands that the user is looking for one of Google‘s many servers, including 195.122.30.25. If that routing information were compromised or corrupted, whether intentionally or accidentally, it could severely disrupt the basic flow of traffic over the Web."*

Digging deeper with DNS

Sounds simple on the surface, but when you look at DNS as a tool to deceive and mis-direct people, it gets a little deeper.

Over the years I've written quite a bit about internet laws and proposed legislation. In 2011 the world was up in arms about PIPA (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act.) The well meaning and good intentions of the US Congress was to shut down rogue websites and reduce the sale of counterfeit goods.

One of the provisions of the proposed law PIPA was allowing the government to remove rogue websites from the Domain Name System (DNS). Of course the internet purists were screaming about too much government control of the internet. (Ironically these same groups are now screaming for more government control of the internet with net neutrality regulations.)

Digging through some old notes I found this article explaining PIPA:  DNS filtering: absolutely the wrong way to defend copyrights

I have digressed a bit from the context of the original question, but I wanted to try to explain why the question might matter to someone beyond the simple answer, and why changing your DNS server is not something to be taken lightly.
 

Tags: 

Is OpenNIC a reliable DNS service?

ComputerGuru -

I was asked the question, "Is OpenNIC a reliable DNS service?" As a systems administrator on a private network, being able to create and customize a DNS server adds some management features that would not apply to the average home based web surfer.

This question was asked with the reason for using OpenNIC is to add an extra layer of privacy to your web browsing. The belief, or perhaps paranoia, is that DNS servers are able to log your requests, and by doing so they have a record of sites you have visited. The question is asked in the context that your DNS provided by your ISP is a source to track where you have been on the internet, and by using an alternative DNS service that eliminates that extra potential layer of tracking, thereby creating more privacy.

If you want to start playing around with alternative DNS solutions you need to understand the risks as well as the benefits.

First let's take a quick look at the definition of DNS (Domain Naming Service)

  • DNS is a distributed database of Domain Names and their corresponding IP Addresses.
  • DNS makes it possible to attach hard to remember IP addresses to easy to remember domain names
  • DNS translates between meaningful host names and IP addresses. It is a hierarchical naming system used to give each server on the Internet a unique name.
  • DNS keeps a complete listing of all FQDNs (Fully qualified domain names) and their associated IP address.

What is OpenNIC?

OpenNIC, an open source DNS provider, an organization of hobbyists who run an alternative DNS network.

Is OpenNIC a reliable DNS service?

A quick look at some data found in the links below tell me that OpenNIC, an open source DNS provider, does not appear to be as efficient as other DNS providers.

Comparing the performance of popular public DNS providers -|- Recommended Public DNS Servers

Based on the data in those two articles, and my personal experiences with open source, I would ask, why bother to use OpenNIC?

I have volunteered my time and have been an advocate of open source solutions for more than 20 years. I am happy to use and test open source solutions if I see a benefit in using them. If I felt the need to pursue an alternative DNS solution I would do more research, but based on what I see here, I just don't see a compelling reason to jump on the OpenNIC bandwagon.


The importance of DNS

As an IT professional I have often used the analogy that talking to business managers about maintaining a computer network is like talking about the plumbing. Many cost cutting managers see technology infrastructure as an expense to be reduced, rather than a resource to be managed. The need to replace the pipes is not something that gets discussed. That is, until the morning when there is no water coming from the pipes, and no one can flush the toilets, then it becomes mission critical.

Computer network services such as DNS are like the plumbing below the surface, as long as it is running and everything is working, no one gives it much thought. That is until you type in the name of a website into your browser, and you get the message: dns_unresolved_hostname The requested site could not be found in DNS.

This article puts DNS into perspective: Plan to transition Internet management sparks censorship fears

Quoting from that article:  *"The importance of DNS cannot be overstated. It is the Internet’s phonebook, connecting bizarre-looking IP addresses to the domain names with which all Internet users are familiar. When someone types **Google* (http://google.com)* into their browser, their request goes through a DNS server, which understands that the user is looking for one of Google‘s many servers, including 195.122.30.25. If that routing information were compromised or corrupted, whether intentionally or accidentally, it could severely disrupt the basic flow of traffic over the Web."*

Digging deeper with DNS

Sounds simple on the surface, but when you look at DNS as a tool to deceive and mis-direct people, it gets a little deeper.

Over the years I've written quite a bit about internet laws and proposed legislation. In 2011 the world was up in arms about PIPA (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act.) The well meaning and good intentions of the US Congress was to shut down rogue websites and reduce the sale of counterfeit goods.

One of the provisions of the proposed law PIPA was allowing the government to remove rogue websites from the Domain Name System (DNS). Of course the internet purists were screaming about too much government control of the internet. (Ironically these same groups are now screaming for more government control of the internet with net neutrality regulations.)

Digging through some old notes I found this article explaining PIPA:  DNS filtering: absolutely the wrong way to defend copyrights

I have digressed a bit from the context of the original question, but I wanted to try to explain why the question might matter to someone beyond the simple answer, and why changing your DNS server is not something to be taken lightly.
 

Tags: 

Home computer networks explained Wi-Fi and wireless access points

ComputerGuru -

Setting up your home network can get confusing as street slang dominates many forums and internet discussions.  Just about any plastic box with wires coming out of it is often called a modem or a router, in reality it may be neither.

Here at the Guru42 Universe we will do out best to sort through all the geek speak.  It is important to have a basic understanding of all the buzzwords when you are setting up your home computer network.  Depending on your Internet Service Provider and the service you are buying, the device they supply will vary and what you need to connect is not a one size fits all answer.

Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) may provide you with a "residential gateway" that allows you to connect to the internet. You then purchase an internet appliance that is often called a "wireless router" to attach it.  People get confused because many small technology appliances made for home use are actually several devices in one.  One of my pet peeves on is when people use the term "wireless router" to describe a variety of devices. Typically what most people call a wireless router is a combination of a router, a wireless access point, and a network switch.

Do I need a modem to access the Internet?

A modem is a MOdulator-DEModulator, as in a modulator which creates an analog signal such as the type needed in POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service), and a demodulator which converts the modulated carrier back to something that can be used in a digital circuit. Most modern communications use digital lines so the need to convert (MOdulate-DEModulate) is no longer necessary.

Often the word modem is used as a generic word for any device that connects your home network to an internet service providers network. Typically in modern home computing when someone uses the term modem they are talking about a  "residential gateway" provided to them by their ISP.

What confuses matters even more is that the device supplied by the ISP could be a multi-function technology appliance that contains a router, an Ethernet switch, and a WAP (wireless access point), and possibly other functions related to a home networks such as a firewall.

What is a wireless access point?

A Wireless Access Point (WAP) is a networking hardware device which, as the name describes, gives you wireless access to your LAN (local area network).  You have a wired connection, an ethernet 8P8C (8 position 8 contact) modular connectors port in your wall, that is wired access. You want to convert that to a wireless access point.

A Wireless Access Point has nothing to do with routing or switching.In a very small home network the WAP could be part of one appliance that has multiple features.  What many people call a router in their home may actually be a router, and a switch, and a wireless access point.

The terms "wireless access point" and "Wi-Fi" are not synonyms.

In online forums people often use the terms  "wireless access point"  and "Wi-Fi" to mean a hotspot, as in any type of public internet access.

A Wireless Access Point (WAP) is a device that offers, as the name suggests, wireless access to a wireless local area network (WLAN).  While cell phone technology is often discussed as a form of wireless networking, it is not the same as the wireless local area network (WLAN) technology discussed here.   In computer networking you would use the term Wireless Access Point (WAP) to identify the device being used, and the term Wi-Fi to identify the specific technology. rather than Wi-Fi access point.

Specifically the term "Wi-Fi" is a trademark of a trade association known as the Wi-Fi Alliance. The marketing company Interbrand, known for creating brand names, was hired to create a brand name to market the new technology, and the name Wi-Fi was chosen. The term "Wi-Fi" with the dash, is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

From a technical perspective WLAN technology is defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). IEEE 802 refers to a family of IEEE standards dealing with networks carrying variable size packets, which makes it different from cell phone based networks,  802.11 is a subset of the family specific to WLAN technology. Victor "Vic" Hayes was the first chair of the IEEE 802.11 group which finalized the wireless standard in 1997.

How are wireless access points used?

In the business world Wireless Access Points (WAP) are fairly common. On a business network your desktop computers (workstations) are connected via wire, but you probably have several WAPs (Wireless Access Points) for your laptop users.

If you are a visitor to a business network you may notice WAPs set up for office staff as well as visitors. This is becoming very common. You see this in government locations, perhaps even where you get your car serviced you can take your notebook into a lounge where you can use a "guest network" to connect to the internet.

Let's say you have a large home, and it is wired for data, as in it has ethernet ports through out your home. You want to convert that to a wireless access point. It has nothing to do with routing or switching. In wireless communications the "media" is a type of radio wave that communicates from your wireless adapter to the Wireless Access Point.

If your home office is in the basement, and that is the location of your current connection device (router, switch, wireless access point) where everything plugs in.  On the second floor of your house you have an ethernet port in your bedroom, but you want to use a tablet to surf the web, or perhaps use some internet appliance with your bedroom television.  The signal from the wireless access point in your basement is too weak.  You don't need to purchase another device that is a router and switch and WAP, all you need is the WAP (wireless access point).  So you simply buy a device that is ONLY a WAP, and plug it into your ethernet connection.

What is a wireless adapter?

Comparing a wireless network to a wired one, in a wired network your computer workstation has a NIC (Network Interface Card) which in a typical Ethernet network has an 8P8C (Eight Position, Eight Contact) modular jack on it where the network cable plugs into your computer.  From your computer the other end of the network cable plugs into some other type of device such as a switch or router, where traffic on your network is managed and distributed. On a wireless network the wireless adapter takes the place of the NIC.

How do I use ad hoc on a wireless network?

Ad hoc networks refer to networks created for a particular purpose. They are often created on-the-fly and for one-time or temporary use. If you don’t have a crossover cable to connect two notebooks or netbooks you can use their wireless capabilities to exchange files between without the need for any other than the computer itself. Instead of configuring your wireless adapter to connect to a wireless access point or router, you configure your wireless adapter to connect to another computer.

In the wireless world an ad hoc network is the equivalent of a peer to peer network.  In very small home networks, you may have two or three computers where you share resources between them, and to do so you set up a "peer to peer" network. Much like peer to peer networks in the wired world, ad hoc networks have management and security issues beyond that of the typical infrastructure network.

If your computer never leaves your house, having it set up to share files with another computer in your home may not be an issue you have to worry about.  On the other hand, if you travel with your computer, having ad hoc set up on your portable computer could create issues. Wireless devices in ad hoc mode offer minimal security against unwanted incoming connections, and there is a large security risk in using an ad hoc connection to an unknown computer, as you are exposing your computer to file sharing with strangers.

In some cases computers in public are purposely set up to look for and connect to other computers in ad hoc mode in order to steal information from them.  When using your computer in public hotspots you typically will be looking for a Wireless Network Connection, and ignore an attempt to connect with a strange computer using an ad hoc connection.

Learn more

If you are not sure what is the best technology choice for you, and you need some ideas, or if you want to keep up to date on hot topics in technology, check out the Guru 42 small business and technology blog  where we share our views and comments on the technology news of the day.

 

Tags: 

Home computer networks explained Wi-Fi and wireless access points

ComputerGuru -

Setting up your home network can get confusing as street slang dominates many forums and internet discussions.  Just about any plastic box with wires coming out of it is often called a modem or a router, in reality it may be neither.

Here at the Guru42 Universe we will do out best to sort through all the geek speak.  It is important to have a basic understanding of all the buzzwords when you are setting up your home computer network.  Depending on your Internet Service Provider and the service you are buying, the device they supply will vary and what you need to connect is not a one size fits all answer.

Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) may provide you with a "residential gateway" that allows you to connect to the internet. You then purchase an internet appliance that is often called a "wireless router" to attach it.  People get confused because many small technology appliances made for home use are actually several devices in one.  One of my pet peeves on is when people use the term "wireless router" to describe a variety of devices. Typically what most people call a wireless router is a combination of a router, a wireless access point, and a network switch.

Do I need a modem to access the Internet?

A modem is a MOdulator-DEModulator, as in a modulator which creates an analog signal such as the type needed in POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service), and a demodulator which converts the modulated carrier back to something that can be used in a digital circuit. Most modern communications use digital lines so the need to convert (MOdulate-DEModulate) is no longer necessary.

Often the word modem is used as a generic word for any device that connects your home network to an internet service providers network. Typically in modern home computing when someone uses the term modem they are talking about a  "residential gateway" provided to them by their ISP.

What confuses matters even more is that the device supplied by the ISP could be a multi-function technology appliance that contains a router, an Ethernet switch, and a WAP (wireless access point), and possibly other functions related to a home networks such as a firewall.

What is a wireless access point?

A Wireless Access Point (WAP) is a networking hardware device which, as the name describes, gives you wireless access to your LAN (local area network).  You have a wired connection, an ethernet 8P8C (8 position 8 contact) modular connectors port in your wall, that is wired access. You want to convert that to a wireless access point.

A Wireless Access Point has nothing to do with routing or switching.In a very small home network the WAP could be part of one appliance that has multiple features.  What many people call a router in their home may actually be a router, and a switch, and a wireless access point.

The terms "wireless access point" and "Wi-Fi" are not synonyms.

In online forums people often use the terms  "wireless access point"  and "Wi-Fi" to mean a hotspot, as in any type of public internet access.

A Wireless Access Point (WAP) is a device that offers, as the name suggests, wireless access to a wireless local area network (WLAN).  While cell phone technology is often discussed as a form of wireless networking, it is not the same as the wireless local area network (WLAN) technology discussed here.   In computer networking you would use the term Wireless Access Point (WAP) to identify the device being used, and the term Wi-Fi to identify the specific technology. rather than Wi-Fi access point.

Specifically the term "Wi-Fi" is a trademark of a trade association known as the Wi-Fi Alliance. The marketing company Interbrand, known for creating brand names, was hired to create a brand name to market the new technology, and the name Wi-Fi was chosen. The term "Wi-Fi" with the dash, is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

From a technical perspective WLAN technology is defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). IEEE 802 refers to a family of IEEE standards dealing with networks carrying variable size packets, which makes it different from cell phone based networks,  802.11 is a subset of the family specific to WLAN technology. Victor "Vic" Hayes was the first chair of the IEEE 802.11 group which finalized the wireless standard in 1997.

How are wireless access points used?

In the business world Wireless Access Points (WAP) are fairly common. On a business network your desktop computers (workstations) are connected via wire, but you probably have several WAPs (Wireless Access Points) for your laptop users.

If you are a visitor to a business network you may notice WAPs set up for office staff as well as visitors. This is becoming very common. You see this in government locations, perhaps even where you get your car serviced you can take your notebook into a lounge where you can use a "guest network" to connect to the internet.

Let's say you have a large home, and it is wired for data, as in it has ethernet ports through out your home. You want to convert that to a wireless access point. It has nothing to do with routing or switching. In wireless communications the "media" is a type of radio wave that communicates from your wireless adapter to the Wireless Access Point.

If your home office is in the basement, and that is the location of your current connection device (router, switch, wireless access point) where everything plugs in.  On the second floor of your house you have an ethernet port in your bedroom, but you want to use a tablet to surf the web, or perhaps use some internet appliance with your bedroom television.  The signal from the wireless access point in your basement is too weak.  You don't need to purchase another device that is a router and switch and WAP, all you need is the WAP (wireless access point).  So you simply buy a device that is ONLY a WAP, and plug it into your ethernet connection.

What is a wireless adapter?

Comparing a wireless network to a wired one, in a wired network your computer workstation has a NIC (Network Interface Card) which in a typical Ethernet network has an 8P8C (Eight Position, Eight Contact) modular jack on it where the network cable plugs into your computer.  From your computer the other end of the network cable plugs into some other type of device such as a switch or router, where traffic on your network is managed and distributed. On a wireless network the wireless adapter takes the place of the NIC.

How do I use ad hoc on a wireless network?

Ad hoc networks refer to networks created for a particular purpose. They are often created on-the-fly and for one-time or temporary use. If you don’t have a crossover cable to connect two notebooks or netbooks you can use their wireless capabilities to exchange files between without the need for any other than the computer itself. Instead of configuring your wireless adapter to connect to a wireless access point or router, you configure your wireless adapter to connect to another computer.

In the wireless world an ad hoc network is the equivalent of a peer to peer network.  In very small home networks, you may have two or three computers where you share resources between them, and to do so you set up a "peer to peer" network. Much like peer to peer networks in the wired world, ad hoc networks have management and security issues beyond that of the typical infrastructure network.

If your computer never leaves your house, having it set up to share files with another computer in your home may not be an issue you have to worry about.  On the other hand, if you travel with your computer, having ad hoc set up on your portable computer could create issues. Wireless devices in ad hoc mode offer minimal security against unwanted incoming connections, and there is a large security risk in using an ad hoc connection to an unknown computer, as you are exposing your computer to file sharing with strangers.

In some cases computers in public are purposely set up to look for and connect to other computers in ad hoc mode in order to steal information from them.  When using your computer in public hotspots you typically will be looking for a Wireless Network Connection, and ignore an attempt to connect with a strange computer using an ad hoc connection.

Learn more

If you are not sure what is the best technology choice for you, and you need some ideas, or if you want to keep up to date on hot topics in technology, check out the Guru 42 small business and technology blog  where we share our views and comments on the technology news of the day.

 

Tags: 

The evolution of the Internet and the birth of TCP/IP

ComputerGuru -

The creation of the protocol suite TCP/IP as the basic set of rules for computers to communicate was one of the last major phases in the development of this global network we now call the Internet.

The internet was not something born of a single idea, but rather a gradual evolution, and the work of many people over many years.

The idea started with a vision to create a decentralized computer network, whereby every computer was connected to each other, but if one member of the systems was hit, the others would remain unaffected.

From the initial idea of a decentralized computer network came the concept of packet switching. During the 1960s Paul Baran developed the concept of packet switching networks while conducting research at the historic RAND organization.


What is a Protocol?

Once the concept of packet switching was developed the next stage in the evolution was to create a language that would be understood by all computer systems.

The network concept of protocols would establish a standard set of rules that would enable different types of computers, with different hardware and software platforms, to communicate in spite of their differences. Protocols describe both the format that a message must take as well as the way in which messages are exchanged between computers.

During the 1970s Bob Kahn and Vinton Cerf would collaborate as key members of a team to create TCP/IP, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), the building blocks of the modern internet.

In 1972, Robert E. Kahn joined the DARPA Information Processing Technology Office, where he worked on both satellite packet networks and ground-based radio packet networks, and recognized the value of being able to communicate across both. In the spring of 1973, Vinton Cerf, the developer of the existing ARPANET Network Control Program (NCP) protocol, joined Kahn to work on open-architecture interconnection models with the goal of designing the next protocol generation for the ARPANET.

What is an RFC?

The concept of Request for Comments (RFC) documents was started by Steve Crocker in 1969 to help record unofficial notes on the development of ARPANET. RFCs have since become official documents of Internet specifications.

In computer network engineering, a Request for Comments (RFC) is a formal document published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), and the global community of computer network researchers, to establish Internet standards.

TCP/IP RFC History

The creation of TCP/IP as the basic set of rules for computers to communicate was one of the last major phases in the development of this global network we now call the Internet. Many additional members of the TCP/IP family of protocols continue to be developed, expanding of the basic principals established by Bob Kahn and Vinton Cerf back in the 1970s.

In 1981 the TCP/IP standards were published as RFCs 791, 792 and 793 and adopted for use. On January 1, 1983, TCP/IP protocols became the only approved protocol on the ARPANET, the predecessor to today's internet.

Links to learn more:

Check out our site Geek History where we discuss the evolution of the ARPANET and TCP/IP

Why was the internet created: 1957 Sputnik launches ARPA
http://geekhistory.com/content/why-was-internet-created-1957-sputnik-launches-arpa

When was internet invented: J.C.R. Licklider guides 1960s ARPA Vision
http://geekhistory.com/content/when-was-internet-invented-jcr-licklider-guides-1960s-arpa-vision

In the 1960s Paul Baran developed packet switching
http://geekhistory.com/content/1960s-paul-baran-developed-packet-switching

The 1980s internet protocols become universal language of computers
http://geekhistory.com/content/1980s-internet-protocols-become-universal-language-computers
 


 

Tags: 

The evolution of the Internet and the birth of TCP/IP

ComputerGuru -

The creation of the protocol suite TCP/IP as the basic set of rules for computers to communicate was one of the last major phases in the development of this global network we now call the Internet.

The internet was not something born of a single idea, but rather a gradual evolution, and the work of many people over many years.

The idea started with a vision to create a decentralized computer network, whereby every computer was connected to each other, but if one member of the systems was hit, the others would remain unaffected.

From the initial idea of a decentralized computer network came the concept of packet switching. During the 1960s Paul Baran developed the concept of packet switching networks while conducting research at the historic RAND organization.


What is a Protocol?

Once the concept of packet switching was developed the next stage in the evolution was to create a language that would be understood by all computer systems.

The network concept of protocols would establish a standard set of rules that would enable different types of computers, with different hardware and software platforms, to communicate in spite of their differences. Protocols describe both the format that a message must take as well as the way in which messages are exchanged between computers.

During the 1970s Bob Kahn and Vinton Cerf would collaborate as key members of a team to create TCP/IP, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), the building blocks of the modern internet.

In 1972, Robert E. Kahn joined the DARPA Information Processing Technology Office, where he worked on both satellite packet networks and ground-based radio packet networks, and recognized the value of being able to communicate across both. In the spring of 1973, Vinton Cerf, the developer of the existing ARPANET Network Control Program (NCP) protocol, joined Kahn to work on open-architecture interconnection models with the goal of designing the next protocol generation for the ARPANET.

What is an RFC?

The concept of Request for Comments (RFC) documents was started by Steve Crocker in 1969 to help record unofficial notes on the development of ARPANET. RFCs have since become official documents of Internet specifications.

In computer network engineering, a Request for Comments (RFC) is a formal document published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), and the global community of computer network researchers, to establish Internet standards.

TCP/IP RFC History

The creation of TCP/IP as the basic set of rules for computers to communicate was one of the last major phases in the development of this global network we now call the Internet. Many additional members of the TCP/IP family of protocols continue to be developed, expanding of the basic principals established by Bob Kahn and Vinton Cerf back in the 1970s.

In 1981 the TCP/IP standards were published as RFCs 791, 792 and 793 and adopted for use. On January 1, 1983, TCP/IP protocols became the only approved protocol on the ARPANET, the predecessor to today's internet.

Links to learn more:

Check out our site Geek History where we discuss the evolution of the ARPANET and TCP/IP

Why was the internet created: 1957 Sputnik launches ARPA
http://geekhistory.com/content/why-was-internet-created-1957-sputnik-launches-arpa

When was internet invented: J.C.R. Licklider guides 1960s ARPA Vision
http://geekhistory.com/content/when-was-internet-invented-jcr-licklider-guides-1960s-arpa-vision

In the 1960s Paul Baran developed packet switching
http://geekhistory.com/content/1960s-paul-baran-developed-packet-switching

The 1980s internet protocols become universal language of computers
http://geekhistory.com/content/1980s-internet-protocols-become-universal-language-computers
 


 

Tags: 

Last remnants of Westinghouse Electric for sale

Guru 42 Blog -

A Wall Street Journal article proclaims, "Westinghouse, Once an Industrial Powerhouse, Is on Brink of Sale."

The article talks about the current Westinghouse Electric Co, "a faded industrial giant that once helped electrify the world," as if the company being sold was the same company founded in 1886 by George Westinghouse. It's not, it is one last remnant of the original Westinghouse Electric that still bears the Westinghouse name.

The empire created by George Westinghouse, and the variety of products that carried the Westinghouse name have been split up over various companies over the years through a variety of mergers and acquisitions. The Westinghouse Electric mentioned in the article is the US based nuclear power company formed in 1998 from the nuclear power division of the original Westinghouse Electric Corporation.  The company retained the Westinghouse name even though it was acquired by Toshiba in 2005.  The Westinghouse nuclear power company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2017 and is being purchased by the company Brookfield Business Partners.

The current American mass media CBS Corporation, focused on commercial broadcasting, inherited much of the original Westinghouse Electric Company. When CBS Corporation was acquired by Viacom in 1999 that technically marked the end of the original Westinghouse Corporation. In 2005 CBS and Viacom split up, and the CBS Corporation lives on.

We will be watching to see if a new nuclear company creayed from the assets of the current Westinghouse Electric still carries the name Westinghouse. At one time the two major companies that dominated our world of electricity and electric appliances were Westinghouse and General Electric, which can be traced to Thomas Edison.

Interesting, the brand name of "Westinghouse" is still owned by the CBS Corporation. (Westinghouse heritage)

The names of Westinghouse Electric and General Electric are slowing fading away in corporate America, but the legacy of the great inventor and industrialist George Westinghouse lives on at GeekHistory.
 

A photo of  Westinghouse generators at Edward Dean Adams Power Plant in Niagara Fall, the first large-scale, alternating current electric generating plant in the world, built in 1895, reminds us of the legacy of Westinghouse.

Tags: 

Last remnants of Westinghouse Electric for sale

Guru 42 Blog -

A Wall Street Journal article proclaims, "Westinghouse, Once an Industrial Powerhouse, Is on Brink of Sale."

The article talks about the current Westinghouse Electric Co, "a faded industrial giant that once helped electrify the world," as if the company being sold was the same company founded in 1886 by George Westinghouse. It's not, it is one last remnant of the original Westinghouse Electric that still bears the Westinghouse name.

The empire created by George Westinghouse, and the variety of products that carried the Westinghouse name have been split up over various companies over the years through a variety of mergers and acquisitions. The Westinghouse Electric mentioned in the article is the US based nuclear power company formed in 1998 from the nuclear power division of the original Westinghouse Electric Corporation.  The company retained the Westinghouse name even though it was acquired by Toshiba in 2005.  The Westinghouse nuclear power company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2017 and is being purchased by the company Brookfield Business Partners.

The current American mass media CBS Corporation, focused on commercial broadcasting, inherited much of the original Westinghouse Electric Company. When CBS Corporation was acquired by Viacom in 1999 that technically marked the end of the original Westinghouse Corporation. In 2005 CBS and Viacom split up, and the CBS Corporation lives on.

We will be watching to see if a new nuclear company creayed from the assets of the current Westinghouse Electric still carries the name Westinghouse. At one time the two major companies that dominated our world of electricity and electric appliances were Westinghouse and General Electric, which can be traced to Thomas Edison.

Interesting, the brand name of "Westinghouse" is still owned by the CBS Corporation. (Westinghouse heritage)

The names of Westinghouse Electric and General Electric are slowing fading away in corporate America, but the legacy of the great inventor and industrialist George Westinghouse lives on at GeekHistory.
 

A photo of  Westinghouse generators at Edward Dean Adams Power Plant in Niagara Fall, the first large-scale, alternating current electric generating plant in the world, built in 1895, reminds us of the legacy of Westinghouse.

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Life without an Internet connection is not the end of the world

The Tao of Questy -

Body: 

For the most part I stay away from questions about politics and religion because the conversations get too emotional and irrational. I am starting to feel the same way about the recent rash of questions about net neutrality

I am not saying that regulations regarding net neutrality are not important, but they are not so important that anyone should consider leaving the country because of them. Any regulations surrounding net neutrality are not life and death issues.

If you are scratching your head right now, wondering what net neutrality is, I have a few links at the end of this that explain the topic. I am interested in net neutrality because I have worked in the fields of technology and telecommunications for many years. I feel pretty confident in saying that the world will not end if the internet shuts down tomorrow. I can live a normal healthy life without a broadband connection to my home.

Maybe I feel this way because I grew up in an era where the commercial internet did not exist. Yea, the internet technically existed in the 1960s and 1970s, but it did not became a commercial entity until the 1990s. Even in the 1990s the internet was so expensive to use, it was a small part of our lives.

What can we do using the computer without an Internet connection?

I can use a computer to do many of the things I did without a computer years ago. I really feel old when I answer questions about life before the internet went commercial.

Playing games

The obvious answer of using a computer not connected to the internet is playing games, but I have never been much of a gamer. I buy an old version of a game that is reduced in price because it has gone out of style or no longer the latest and greatest version.

I love music

I can listen to music all day long that is stored on my computer. I have a cassette player as well as a vinyl record turntable connected to my computer that allow me to take music from old analog sources and convert them to computer files. Yes, most of the songs are available somewhere as digital downloads. But I enjoy taking an occasional Saturday afternoon to convert files.

I love old movies

Just like with my music library, I can take old video files from tapes and DVDs and rip them as files stored on my computer. I have tons of old movies on an external hard drive.

I love restoring old photographs

I have boxes of old photographs, and just like with the movies and the music I get the urge to digitize old photographs from time to time. Not only does digitizing old photos give me a better way to store them, I can take old faded photos and try to restore the color. I can take different photos and edit them together. I currently have three different versions of PaintShop Pro on my computer, I update it to the latest and greatest version every few years.

I love to write

From days before I owned a personal computer I have pages of notes for stories, and various reference books. Over the years I have downloaded many books and movies that are now files on my hard drive that I use as reference material for when I write. I always have notepad open on my computer, and as ideas come to me, I jot them down in notepad. If I really wanted to be lazy, I have a laptop computer set up to take notes that I dictate to it verbally.

Who needs the internet?

As I am writing the draft of this blog post in notepad, and think about all the ways I use my computer, I realize all the many ways I use a computer without needing an internet connection. This answer is off the top of my head, and is just relating to my personal computer at home. I could write another chapter on various business and productivity applications I could use at work without an internet connection.

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

If the internet gets shut down tomorrow, I have plenty of things to do on my computer that do not require an internet connection. I guess I am ready for the apocalypse, the end of the internet, or whatever comes my way.

Learn more:

Internet equality and net neutrality explained in simple terms

Internet censorship and net neutrality is not a simple matter

Net Neutrality anxiety high over proposed changes by FCC Chairman
 

 

Life without an Internet connection is not the end of the world

The Tao of Questy -

Body: 

For the most part I stay away from questions about politics and religion because the conversations get too emotional and irrational. I am starting to feel the same way about the recent rash of questions about net neutrality

I am not saying that regulations regarding net neutrality are not important, but they are not so important that anyone should consider leaving the country because of them. Any regulations surrounding net neutrality are not life and death issues.

If you are scratching your head right now, wondering what net neutrality is, I have a few links at the end of this that explain the topic. I am interested in net neutrality because I have worked in the fields of technology and telecommunications for many years. I feel pretty confident in saying that the world will not end if the internet shuts down tomorrow. I can live a normal healthy life without a broadband connection to my home.

Maybe I feel this way because I grew up in an era where the commercial internet did not exist. Yea, the internet technically existed in the 1960s and 1970s, but it did not became a commercial entity until the 1990s. Even in the 1990s the internet was so expensive to use, it was a small part of our lives.

What can we do using the computer without an Internet connection?

I can use a computer to do many of the things I did without a computer years ago. I really feel old when I answer questions about life before the internet went commercial.

Playing games

The obvious answer of using a computer not connected to the internet is playing games, but I have never been much of a gamer. I buy an old version of a game that is reduced in price because it has gone out of style or no longer the latest and greatest version.

I love music

I can listen to music all day long that is stored on my computer. I have a cassette player as well as a vinyl record turntable connected to my computer that allow me to take music from old analog sources and convert them to computer files. Yes, most of the songs are available somewhere as digital downloads. But I enjoy taking an occasional Saturday afternoon to convert files.

I love old movies

Just like with my music library, I can take old video files from tapes and DVDs and rip them as files stored on my computer. I have tons of old movies on an external hard drive.

I love restoring old photographs

I have boxes of old photographs, and just like with the movies and the music I get the urge to digitize old photographs from time to time. Not only does digitizing old photos give me a better way to store them, I can take old faded photos and try to restore the color. I can take different photos and edit them together. I currently have three different versions of PaintShop Pro on my computer, I update it to the latest and greatest version every few years.

I love to write

From days before I owned a personal computer I have pages of notes for stories, and various reference books. Over the years I have downloaded many books and movies that are now files on my hard drive that I use as reference material for when I write. I always have notepad open on my computer, and as ideas come to me, I jot them down in notepad. If I really wanted to be lazy, I have a laptop computer set up to take notes that I dictate to it verbally.

Who needs the internet?

As I am writing the draft of this blog post in notepad, and think about all the ways I use my computer, I realize all the many ways I use a computer without needing an internet connection. This answer is off the top of my head, and is just relating to my personal computer at home. I could write another chapter on various business and productivity applications I could use at work without an internet connection.

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

If the internet gets shut down tomorrow, I have plenty of things to do on my computer that do not require an internet connection. I guess I am ready for the apocalypse, the end of the internet, or whatever comes my way.

Learn more:

Internet equality and net neutrality explained in simple terms

Internet censorship and net neutrality is not a simple matter

Net Neutrality anxiety high over proposed changes by FCC Chairman
 

 

The glorification of the legendary geek inventor Nikola Tesla

Geek Past -

Nikola Tesla is the poster child for the story of the little guy who takes on the world. He came to America with just a few cents in his pocket, looking to find a better life, and prove his point to the world. What adds extra energy to the story is that Tesla just didn't go up against the world, he went up against the greatest inventor of all times, Thomas Edison.

While there is a current coolness to loving Tesla for being the unsung hero, there is also a coolness for bashing Thomas Edison. It is almost impossible to get the words Edison and light bulb out of your mouth without someone shouting, "Edison didn't invent the light bulb!" There is a boastful gloating by some in calling Edison evil, and contrasting Tesla as the good that defeated the evil.

But Tesla didn't stop with just defeating Edison, he took on the other giants of his day. I remember when I was growing up reading that Marconi invented the radio. Ah, how wrong, say the Tesla fans, "Marconi didn't invent the radio!" They claim Marconi stole all his ideas from Tesla!

Tesla defeated the mighty Edison, his ideas were stolen by the great Marconi. But Tesla went after another giant of his day, he took on Einstein, the greatest scientist of his day, and dared to call Einstein, a long haired crank.

Beyond the character of good versus evil, there is the mystical Tesla, who went to the mountain tops of Colorado to harness lightning for the good of mankind, and communicate with other worlds along the way. The final battle of Tesla versus the world are the stories of the mythical free energy that Tesla promised he could create, but was stopped, and silenced by the evil corporate America.

The War of Currents was a battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, but the internet has changed it to a battle between Thomas Edison and Nikola Telsa, it makes for a better story.

Westinghouse spent most of his life running his businesses from the smoke stack city of Pittsburgh. Westinghouse was a quiet man who did not seek the spotlight. For as much as I have studied the late industrial age, I have not found many photos of Westinghouse. Compared to Tesla, Westinghouse was a pretty boring character.

Tesla rubbed elbows with the rich and famous as he frequented the best restaurants in New York City. Tesla was good friends with many famous people such as Mark Twain and loved to share his party tricks and experiments with his famous friends. Edison was called the Wizard of Menlo Park, but Tesla was really the wizard. Nikola Tesla was a handsome well dressed fellow. Tesla was an entertaining guy, he had cool party tricks, he invited the rich and famous back to his lab so he could shoot lighting bolts at them.

Every great epic story needs a hero and a villain. In the romanticized story known as the War of Currents, Edison is the villain. He is the guy everyone loves to hate. Tesla represents the hero we can identify with, the dreamer in all of us. It is the ultimate battle of good versus evil, and all the forces of evil, against that well meaning immigrant, who took them all on, representing every man with a dream who felt dumped on by the world.

People overrate the inventions and accomplishments of Nikola Tesla because they get so wrapped up in the myths and legends of a very interesting character.

The Cult of Nikola Tesla

Sadly, people get so passionate about Nikola Tesla they lose perspective of his accomplishments. If you study the times of Tesla, the late 1800s and early 1900s, you will find many inventors working on similar inventions. Tesla was not a hermit with a secret lab in a case. He was learning the ideas and inventions of others.

Some people get mad when I refer to The Cult of Nikola Tesla, but the followers of Tesla have a religious fervor to their devotion to the man. They take one small bit of information and turn it into a sermon for their beliefs.

But Edison didn't invent the light bulb!

That's right, Edison didn't invent the concept of lighting and electrical distribution systems. But neither did Tesla. The concept of lighting and electrical distribution systems was being developed in Europe before Edison and Tesla.

Tesla invented Alternating Current!

No, he didn't. Michael Faraday and Hippolyte Pixii were working with Alternating Current and electric motors in the early 1800s, years before Tesla was born.

But Tesla invented the AC induction motor!

Maybe, maybe not. Some sources name Galileo Ferraris as the inventor of induction motors. Some sources name Nikola Tesla as the inventor. Not taking any chances on patent issues, Westinghouse purchased a U.S. patent option on induction motors from Galileo Ferraris, along with Tesla's patents.

Marconi didn't invent the radio!

For years I was content with the common story that radio was primarily the work of Marconi. The Tesla fans are pretty persistent in their message that Marconi was a thief, and point to a 1943 US Supreme Court decision as "proof" that Tesla, not Marconi, was the real inventor of radio.

The 1943 US Supreme Court decision does not change the original radio patent of Marconi, but the decision overturns patents for many of the advanced features of radio, affirming prior work and patents that were held by Sir Oliver Lodge and John Stone Stone.

Marconi does not deserve credit for inventing radio, but neither does Tesla. There are many names that add to that list such as Reginald Fessenden.

Fessenden had many striking similarities to Tesla, working early in his career with Thomas Edison, but later teamed up with George Westinghouse to defeat Edison in the famous "War of Currents.

The forgotten geek that everyone knows

You hear the phrase of a "perfect storm" to describe a rare combination of circumstances coming together to make an event much larger that it would be otherwise. With Nikola Tesla there is a "perfect storm" of events which take him beyond just a cool geek to super hero status.


Learn more, the truth is out there:

Who contributed to the development of electricity and AC power

Who is responsible for electricity and AC power in our homes

Geekhistory explores who invented radio
 

 

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Net Neutrality anxiety high over proposed changes by FCC Chairman

Guru 42 Blog -

Many new questions are popping up regarding FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposing to reverse the FCC classification of home and mobile ISPs as common carriers.

There is panic and paranoia over what these changes might mean. I am not getting excited.

I have written quite a bit about proposed internet regulations over the years.  Here is a little historic perspective on the fight for control over telecommunications.

Government controls radio

The Radio Act of 1912 mandated that all radio stations in the United States be licensed by the federal government.

The government took over full control of all radio service for the good of the cause when the United States entered into WWI. All amateur and commercial use of radio ended in the U.S. on April 7, 1917. It became illegal for private U.S. citizens to own an operational radio transmitter or receiver.

The Radio Act of 1927 created The Federal Radio Commission (FRC) to regulate radio use "as the public interest, convenience, or necessity" requires.

Expanding power and control beyond radio, to all forms of telecommunications, now falls under The Federal Communications Commission which was created in 1934.

The Federal Communications Commission battles starting in 1934

The Communications Act of 1934 established the basic regulations of communication by wire and radio. The internet went commercial in the mid 1990s and The Telecommunications Act of 1996 addressed the new and emerging technologies.

Since 1996 the categories of Telecommunications Service, Broadcast Services, and Cable Services have become muddied together, rather than being distinctly different services. In 2015, the FCC classified Internet Service Providers as common carriers under The Communications Act of 1934 Title II, for the purpose of enforcing net neutrality.

The term "Net neutrality" was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003. The concept is based on legal concept of common carrier which became popular in the United States with the late 1800s with the railroad barons controlling the flow of goods and services.

Any FCC ruling can be challenged in the courts, as it has been in the past.

Telecommunications and Federal Trade Commission antitrust suits

Government antitrust suits have been a part of telecommunications dating back to the early 20th century. In 1913 Kingsbury Commitment was an out-of-court settlement of the government's antitrust challenge of AT&T's monopoly of the phone industry. In 1949 an antitrust lawsuit alleged that AT&T and the Bell System operating companies were using their near-monopoly in telecommunications to attempt to establish unfair advantages.

The government forced the breakup of the Bell System in 1982 into seven different holding companies. Through mergers and acquisitions over the years, four of the seven "Baby Bells" are now part of AT&T and two are part of Verizon.

Any actions by a telecommunications company can be challenged in the courts and the Federal Trade Commission as they have been in the past.

It's nothing new

Any changes made to Net Neutrality regulations in December 2017 will only be one event in an ongoing battle for control of telecommunications that has been waged on many fronts since the early development of radio and telephone services in the early 20th century.

Any changes made will be challenged, and changed again.

Learn more, previous posts on net neutrality:

Net Neutrality and the myth that the internet is free 02/18/2017 

Will new FCC chairman get rid of Net Neutrality? 01/27/2017

Net Neutrality and the Road to Hell 12/19/2016

Net neutrality and presidential politics does it matter who wins  08/04/2016

Comcast keeps getting bigger and wants to dominate your world  02/13/2014

Dominate the Internet: Net neutrality and the fight for control  01/18/2014

The fight for Net Neutrality isn't sexy, but you need to give a damn!
  01/18/2014
 

Learn more:

Internet censorship and net neutrality is not a simple matter (link is external)

Internet equality and net neutrality explained in simple terms (link is external)

Follow Guru42 as we continue to follow on ongoing debate over Net Neutrality.

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Photo: FCC Chairman Genachowski swears in Ajit Pai as a new Commissioner at the FCC headquarters in Washington, DC.
May 14, 2012. [Federal Communications Commission Photo]
 

 

 

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