Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Remember your spine!

Were you on the Internet today? I was. Something significant happened: nothing.

Why was that significant? Because apparently while I was composing a lengthy e-mail about problems with my latest project, and pausing on occasion to play Braingle or read a news story, and while Bill was using his Vonage phone for a spirited discussion of Woodstock's proposed cell tower, the Internet itself was under attack.

No one knows anything about these attacks yet, except this: 1) they were unusually powerful, and 2) they appeared to come from South Korea.

What came under attack was part of what is commonly referred to as the backbone of the Internet, 13 of the computers that handle DNS for domain names ending in "org." Most of us didn't notice because computer scientists all over the world sprang into action to deal with the flood of excess data that made up the attack. And because they worked hard and are good at their jobs, and because the Internet is infinitely resilient and flexible, I was able to check my bank balances, and even look up some stuff on the ASJA web site (which is an "org") without interruption.

Kinda like a real spine, and probably just as frequently ignored. I'm sitting right now with my legs crossed in what is certainly an un-ergonomic position not caring too much about the fact that the way my spine is bent in may not be good for it. But what the hell, it's working fine. When it stops working, then I'll notice. Which is pretty much how most of us, especially most of us non-geeks, think of the Internet.

Nice to remember there are hardworking geeks out there ready to do whatever it takes--so the rest of us can keep right on ignoring our worldwide technological spine.

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