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Category: stories

internet’s backbones

Did you ever wonder what hardware keeps the web running ?
Fibre-optic cables, cross-continent cables and the like seem to be a
dull subject but in the hands of Neal Stephenson. When he was doing research for his excellent book Cryptonomicon he travelled the continents
following the biggest backbone cable to be laid and wrote down his
journey for Wired Magazine in Mother Earth, Mother board. Here are his opening
lines : “In which the hacker tourist ventures forth across the wide and
wondrous meatspace of three continents, acquainting himself with the
customs and dialects of the exotic Manhole Villagers of Thailand, the
U-Turn Tunnelers of the Nile Delta, the Cable Nomads of Lan tao Island,
the Slack Control Wizards of Chelmsford, the Subterranean
Ex-Telegraphers of Cornwall, and other previously unknown and
unchronicled folk; also, biographical sketches of the two long-dead
Supreme Ninja Hacker Mage Lords of global telecommunications, and other
material pertaining to the business and technology of Undersea
Fiber-Optic Cables, as well as an account of the laying of the longest
wire on Earth, which should not be without interest to the readers of
Wired.”

Probably this long text is a bit tiring to
read from screen so I made a pdf-file of it which should be easy to print out.
Enjoy the read!

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a blogging 2004


As it is probably better to run years behind than to stand
eternally still, I’ll try out how much of a _blogger_ I am in 2004. If
you want to read more about blogging, Rebecca’s
pocket
is a good place to
start. She has written an essay on the early days of the
weblog
, an
article on weblog ethics and a couple of (pretty obvious)
tips for a better
weblog.

But let us not talk about ‘better’ or ‘ethical’ at this
moment, I’m just starting out. Give me a couple of weeks/months to
develop my own style and topics and I’ll change the layout accordingly.
For now, I’ve taken the free blog-tool
pMachine which uses only PHP and MySQL on
the server-side so I should be able to get the layout suited to my own
mood shortly. A major advantage of a weblog over a homepage is that you
can feed it to programs called _news aggregators_ by subscribing. The
program can then be tuned so that it ventures out on the net at regular
intervals checking whether any of the blogs it is subscribed to has new
material and reports back with the running title and opening lines. If
more people would turn their homepages into weblogs, the frustrating job
of checking (usually in vain) whether their pages has been updated could
be left to the aggregator. For now, I’m using Rancheros’s
NetNewsWire
as my Mac OSX news
aggregator. Okay, now it is time to make some final preparations for
endyear, but tomorrow I’ll wake up to become a _blogger_…

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