Do we really “know” the Internet?

Wan's WorldI came to work today with a hat on because it was so nice I had all the windows down in my car.  The hat has a graphic on the front similar to the hat Mike Myers wore in Wayne’s World and says “WAN’S WORLD”.

“Man, you liked those movies enough to actually wear one of the hats from it?” says one of my co-workers.

“No, look closer.  There’s a reason you make mistakes…  your eyes don’t work!”

For the sake of this post, the dig on him wasn’t necessary, but I thought it was funny.  Anyway, he looks closer and asks me what was a WAN and why would I have it on my hat.  My response to him isn’t necessary to put here in that I’m a Systems Administrator, and so is he.  The question itself is just stupid to ask in my opinion.  For those of you who aren’t in an Info Tech role, WAN stands for Wide Area Network and refers to the global connection of a network outside of its LAN, or Local Area Network.  **GEEK CONTENT** Think of it like this, a LAN is likened to all the computers in your house linked together either by wire or wireless connections.  The WAN in this example would be the connection to your Internet Service Provider (ISP).  Examples of ISP’s are Comcast, Verizon, Embarq, RCN, etc. **END GEEK CONTENT**

The fact he asked the question sort of got me thinking about how the majority of people don’t really know what their email, Facebook, Netflix, and other stuff they do actually does or how it is presented to them.  A great dialogue from the show Criminal Minds sums it up quite nicely.

“The Internet is the greatest experiment the human race has ever embarked on that none of us really knows anything about.”

I paraphrased, its been a while since I saw the episode.  If you look it up, tell me what it should be and I’ll fix it 😛  People who know me will attest to the fact that not knowing about something or knowing how it works drives me absolutely crazy.  I almost get obsessed with learning as much as I can about something that totally perplexes me.  A good example of that is when I took my first computer apart, completely, just to put it back together.  Sure, you’re saying lots of us do that….  but do they do that BEFORE ever turning it on for the first time?  Yeah, that’s my point.

Having been around technology since I was 12 years old, there is still a lot I just don’t understand or even realize there are things that I need to understand.  The Internet is an unquantifiable network of computers interlinked around the world that 99% of the human race doesn’t have the ability to truly appreciate the shear complexity of the whole thing.  No one person on this Earth can say “I know the Internet completely.”  We live on our little Internet islands where we have information served up


    1. Thanks for the laugh! Being at work until 11pm has its cons, namely working until 11pm on Friday’s.

      Forgive the geek in me coming out yet again, but there is truth to the Al Gore inventing the Internet, but not in the way it was made out to be in the press. He was a member of the committee that was tasked with taking ARPANet (the government controlled communication and educational network existing since the 1960’s) into the commercial space that, at first, became Prodigy, CompuServe, and America Online. ARPANet still exists today, but its nothing anyone without Top Secret security clearance could access. Interesting fact, it was tested for the first real-life emergency on September 11, 2001 as up until that date, there had never been a real-world need for such a network.

      These days, I would imagine they would just use Facebook, lol!


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