As stand-alones, computers don't do much. Fast calculations, sure, but when they connect to each other their functionality can leap by quantums. An ultimate power of networked computers is the World Wide Web.
What if we could see the Web in action? Fortunately, a graphical software tool shows these connected nodes, computer-to-computer. Written and released in 2000 by Juan Toledo for unix, Etherman does the job. In real time.
I have a version, EtherApe, running on my Linux box. It's some show to see what happens when you type in an URL and make the Web connections.
EtherApe looks at all those packets of information moving at fiber-optic speed and sniffs out the originating DNS signatures.
I visited Sports Chosun [http://sdprk.org.kp], a sports website in North Korea. Here's a screenshot of what it saw: Red shows my ISP 22.214.171.124 dial.eltopia.net connecting to 126.96.36.199. Who's that end node? A whois lookup says it's run by Star Joint Venture Co. Ltd. located in Ryugyong-dong Potong-gang District in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.
While in North Korea, I checked out another website: the Maritime Adminstration of Korea [http://ma.gov.kp]. Here's EtherApe's screenshot. Unlike the sports website with two nodes, this one has five different server addresses. Partly, it's website complexity. But what I found interesting were the DNS lookup locations for server registrants of each node.
Four of the five were registered outside North Korea. Specifically, Caracas, Venezuela; Russia [Karachay-Cherkess Republic]; Tokyo, Japan; and Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Physically, the servers might—or might not—be in North Korea. Connectivity of the Web means servers and their registrants can be anywhere.
Things got more complex when I came back to the States.
Here's what EtherApe shows for the US edition of The Guardian. Fully 13 servers involved in bringing me The Guardian online edition. Well, perhaps, only five are actually delivering content and DNS lookups point to Fastly Network Operations in the Bay Area.
But the other nodes? amazonaws probably offers cloud storage. But do facebook.com & akamaitechnology not track? And the four e100net nodes? None other than Empire Google.
In the reclusive kingdom of North Korea, a webster is not game for Big Data. Here it's different.
In the USA, tracking and selling your Web behavior & identity is de rigueur. Sadly, a bit of the original spirit of the Internet that's been lost.
Image credits: the author on linux mint 17.2
Read Charlie Dickinson's story collection [and feel free to share with a friend] The Cat at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable formats:
.epub (most other readers)
.pdf (for PCs)
11:21:17 To Save, or Spend, Change
11:13:17 uzbl & "Faster Dial-Up" Redux
10:29:17 The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement
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10:23:17 Running a Laptop off a $1 Thumbdrive
10:14:17 In Pursuit of the $1 Thumbdrive
10:5:17 Zabriskie Point
9:30:17 19th Century-Style Photographic Prints
7:2:17 DIY Prescription Eyeglasses
6:22:17 Free Geek: "helping the needy get nerdy"
5:27:17 Reading My Great Grandfather's 1868 Diary
4:27:17 The Bickford Fuse, a book review
4:14:17 Why I, Too, Will Not Fly United Airlines Again, Ever.
3:21:17 The Revelation to John
1:29:17 A Platonic Slide Into Tyranny
12:29:16 We Wanted Workers, a book review
12:10:16 Popular Mechanics Magazine, May 1933, a review
11:27:16 Deoderant Confession
11:10:16 Grisi Neutral [Neutro] Soap
10:24:16 Finding Solace in Camus
9:24:16 A 35-Year-Old Calculator
8:27:16 My Sanctuary
7:27:16 And the Weak Suffer What They Must?, a book review
6:12:16 The Squinty Prius
5:26:16 The Disconnect of Vote-by-Mail
5:17:16 The Still Pond
5:12:16 Marina and Lee, a book review
4:28:16 A Little Catechism Goes a Long Way
4:15:16 Au Revoir, Cloudburst Recycling
3:11:16 Screen Magnetism
2:4:16 We've Got Algorithms
1:18:16 Forgiving Portland's City Bus Line
12:28:15 The Gluten Lie, a book review
12:12:15 Ten Things I Buy at Dollar Tree
12:3:15 My Logging Habit
11:11:15 The Internet Is Not the Answer, a book review
10:21:15 How I Write When I Write
9:17:15 The Other Portland
8:20:15 Gods Without Men, a book review
8:19:15 Oregon's Most Obscure Traffic Law
7:31:15 A Small Death
7:23:15 China Shakes the World, a book review
7:16:15 Out Damn Spot!
5:31:15 My New Library Card
5:21:15 Let Me Be Frank With You, a book review
5:08:15 Portland's Rabbit Hutches
4:21:15 The Sea Lions at Astoria
3:26:15 Sacrificing for a Lower Water Bill
3:10:15 The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, a Book Review
2:5:15 Pinhead Books aka e-books
1:15:15 Good Riddance to Old-School Shaving!
12:20:14 Three Whys I Quit Reading a Book
12.12.14 the life-changing magic of tidying up, a book review
11.12.14 Oil Changes
10.17:14 Doomsday Preppers, a TV series review
9.30:14 The Trigger, a book review
9:10:14 Clipboard People
8:23:14 Ukraine Diaries, a book review
8:21:14 My Home Darkroom on a Shoestring
7:29:14 Right Speech
6:28:14 Pacific Power's Wily Ways
6:20:14 My New Clarks Sandals
5:31:14 Portland's Water Woes, Again
5:10:14 Faster Dial-Up
4:11:14 Update on Stockpiling Light Bulbs
4:10:14 The Next 100 Years, a book review
3:15:14 A Cruel and Shocking Act, a book review
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2:9:14 The Flight (and Fight) of the Hummingbird
1:25:14 My Frugal Byways
1:20:14 Walden on Wheels, a book review
1:2:14 Growing Up Amish: A Memoir, a book review
11:28:13 The Moneyless Man, a book review
11:23:13 The Lost Art of Walking, a book review
11:10:13 The Cultural Revolution Cookbook, a book review
10:23:13 The Biker Angel
10:11:13 No Self-Serve Gas in Oregon
9:28:13 A Street Cat Named Bob, a book review
9:23:13 The Life & Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin, a book review
9:18:13 Autumn Leaves
8:19:13 The Worst Car Driver & Why
8:12:13 The Gardener from Ochakov, a book review
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5:29:13 My Linux (Mis)Adventures
5:25:13 Southern Cross the Dog, a book review
5:5:13 Russian Tumbleweed
4:16:13 "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster
3:25:13 Moore's Law
3:13:13 Grocery Shopping
2:28:13 Razor Blade in Moonlight
1:27:13 Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design, a book review
12:9:12 White Bread, a book review
12:4:12 Update on Old-School Shaving
11:12:12 Ten Great Buys at Dollar Tree
11:6:12 My New Russian Camera
10:29:12 Leaf Day
10:2:12 The Russian Navy in New York?
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9:14:12 Revolution, 1989, a book review
8:23:12 Train Whistles in the Night
8:2:12 Why I've Stockpiled Light Bulbs
7:22:12 Old-School Shaving
7:16:12 Злектроника МК-52, computer de minimus
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3:30:12 How I Got Published in Mississippi Review
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