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You Don’t Have To Be Confused…

To be a senator, but a lot of them are, and they deal with important issues about which they know nothing.

By now you seen references, like this one on Blonde Sense about Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska.

First off he complains about the speed of delivery of office e-mail, which he calls “internet”, and he’s right to complain. Many of us who send e-mails to Congress have been complaining for an extended period about the lousy mail server that Congress uses, but in this case it has absolutely nothing to do with the Internet: an e-mail within Congress never gets on the Internet. Ted call your Congressional IT administrator and chew him/her out and suggest that they switch to the standard, free software that does a much better job.

Most people don’t understand the structure of the Internet or realize that they may not get to the Internet for a lot of what they do. I’m not on the Internet if I go to Barnes & Noble. We are both on the Sprintlink network, so there’s no need to access the Internet. If I go to Amazon, I am on the Internet, which I normally access through the Dallas Network Access Point [NAP]. The Internet “backbone” is the collection of NAPs and the high capacity connections that tie them together. How Stuff Works has a straight forward explanation that Congresscritters should be reading. It has pictures and animations, to make it understandable even to senior Senators.

If you would like to see whether or not you are on the Internet when connecting to a site and use a Windows machine, open a DOS window and type in TRACERT and the name of the site. For example, TRACERT whynow.dumka.us will list the path between your computer and this blog. You will note that it ends at nearlyfreespeech.net which is my host. Somewhere you may see a reference to a city name, like Dallas, which is usually a NAP.

Oh, Ted, we occasionally refer to “pipes” when talking about high capacity connections, but never “tubes”. Visit the site, please!


1 andante { 07.05.06 at 3:37 pm }

I vastly prefer the gerbil messenger theory.

Sort of makes you wonder what else Stevens bloviates upon and knows absolutely nothing about.

2 Bryan { 07.05.06 at 4:29 pm }

I don’t expect him to know about this stuff, I expect him to seek the opinions of those who do. I’m sorry that the group that really knows all seems to be on the same side, but that should provide him with a hint.

3 Steve Bates { 07.05.06 at 5:20 pm }

Maybe, that afternoon (and others), Stevens (among others) didn’t get his NAP…

Bryan, your explanation is very clever, but as andante and I both know, it’s turtles, um, I mean, gerbils, all the way down. 🙂

4 Bryan { 07.05.06 at 7:31 pm }

Stevens would be one of those clients for who I would invoke magic, as in “It’s all magic, don’t try to understand.”

5 Mustang Bobby { 07.06.06 at 11:39 am }

…or as Bob’s brother would call it, “FM.” Fucking magic.

I apply the same theory to CD’s. I have no idea how a laser beam reading 0’s and 1’s can turn it into The Beatles, the Beach Boys, or Claude DeBussy. So I don’t worry about it. I just listen.

6 Bryan { 07.06.06 at 1:00 pm }

Fortunately there are people like me with absolutely no musical talent who can make the conversions without bothering people who can make music. There is a poetry in numbers that doesn’t resonate with everyone, as there is logic in music that doesn’t appeal to everyone.

Beyond my own response to art, I don’t criticize it because I lack the expertise and the fundamental understanding. It would be nice if others would extend the same courtesy to those of us in technology.

7 Steve Bates { 07.06.06 at 3:44 pm }

There is a poetry in numbers that doesn’t resonate with everyone, as there is logic in music that doesn’t appeal to everyone. – BLD

Beautifully put, Bryan; I may quote you (with attribution, of course; after all, I’m not Ms. Coulter) from time to time.

The amazing thing to me, as one who has a foot in both worlds, is how far we’ve come toward a mutual acceptance between art and technology. A friend who writes avant-garde liturgical music and performs new music of many sorts has become such a real-world expert on digital signal processing, and the hardware and software one uses, that I wouldn’t think of doing any such work without consulting him. I met him when we were both working toward degrees in music. Similarly, another friend of mine with a music degree knows at least two dozen specialty software packages for creating and working with digital images; her photography and Photoshop work are just the beginning of her expertise. And I believe you have a cousin renowned for her Bryce and Poser work. I’m not preaching some grand convergence of disciplines, but any artist (visual or performing) who wants to make a name for himself or herself had better “get digital” these days, and the available tools make it possible for the artistically inclined technology specialist to jump into the arts as never before. In that one sense, it’s a great time to be alive, in the arts or in technology.

8 Bryan { 07.06.06 at 4:39 pm }

I don’t mind anyone using what I write, or I wouldn’t put it on-line.

There are “tools/programs” that are analogous to instruments in music or the colors and brushes in painting, but underlying them is the world of numbers and the logic that converts the numbers to and from colors and sounds. Writing a program can be mechanical, or it can be an act of creation when you really have convinced a machine to do something unique.

The best programs do something useful in an obvious way. The “interface” between the person and the machine will make or break a program.

9 andante { 07.06.06 at 6:26 pm }

absolutely no musical talent…..

The family accordion gene passed you by?

10 Bryan { 07.06.06 at 7:07 pm }

Andante, I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, nor draw a straight line with a ruler. I can appreciate, but not participate in any of the arts.