[Air-l] Internet History/Stages, was Internet in Everyday Life

Denise N. Rall denrall at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 4 22:19:17 PST 2002

The capital I

I had the cite somewhere, but Vinton Cerf, the
inventor (as I recall it) of the IP protocol,
especially the 'peer 2 peer' component, defined those
connecting to the Internet (as a network) as any who
exhibit IP protocol on the client side, or was
identified to the network with a proper IP address.
There of course is some flexibility in this as dial-up
clients, by proxy servers and through socket
emulation, etc., are assigned temporary IP addresses.
I would say it's standard practice.

This is demonstrably *not* the same activity as other
clients connecting to other networks, (apparently
PLATO) BITnet, dial-up modem protocols like x-modem,
etc. that dominated other, asynchronous networks, such
as the Well.

IMHO, the Internet is a discrete entity governed by a
specific set of protocols (although vastly
distributed) that do absolutely govern the
transmission and reception of messages that travel on
it ("you're either on the bus or off the bus"). I.e.,
before we get too far from the 'mere technical
details' -- if I am not, as a client, sending a TCP/IP
based or translated packet (BITnet and other protocols
have been boosted to TCP/IP networks, likewise the
newer protocols of WAP etc.) it will not arrive on the
Internet for all my pals to see. Internet transmission
& reception is determined by a fixed protocol and bent
packets are not sent packets. End of story.

However, the internet or perhaps the 'Net as I believe
is under discussion here is a much broader network
that will conceivably be accessed by a number of
differently configured protocols. If we are talking
about the larger networks, from mail to telegraph,
teletype, telephone, cell phones, camels, SMS and so
on then it is not really the point to call that larger
communicative context 'the Internet.' In fact it would
be pretty weird to do so.

So if I get the drift here, we have good, cultural
reasons to liberate the internet from a specific
context of interaction, *even though* that specific
interaction determines what objects appear on the
'net, at least at present. Indeed, it is the
simplicity, flexibility and robustness of the TCP/IP
protocol that brings us the endless peripherals like
the web cam, and the internet fridge. It's that lowest
common demoninator that addresses and gets the packets

I stand by for further corrective treatment (and
thanks for not beating me up too much the last time). 


"it's easier to use your mouse than your brain"
Denise Rall, Sustainable Forestry Mentoring Coordinator &
PhD student, School of Education, Southern Cross University,
PO Box 157, Lismore, NSW, 2480 Australia
Phone +61-2-6624-8627 Fax +61-2-6624-8637
Office (Tuesdays) (02) 6620 3577 Mob 0438 233 344

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