Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Week 1: The Internet has always been my best friend.

"Have always been, will always be."

Ah, the Internet... What will I do without you?

With Tumblr around; you have been my confidant during my teenage years, with YouTube; my entertainment, with Facebook, Instagram, Flickr; my photo album collections and with Google; my go-to dictionary, translator, technical-problem-fixer, thing-I-ask-questions-to-daily.

Truth be told, I depend on you more than I depend on people.

But in all seriousness, the Internet has been a part of more than three-quarters of my life - and like many millennials alike - seen the good, bad, happy, sad (just see my Instagram posts, or lack thereof LOL) and questionable moments. So, despite COM 125 being a prerequisite module, one has to wonder, what else is there for me to learn that I do not already know, being as I have spent most of my time alive on the World Wide Web?

The first class started with a few statistics on the evolution of the Internet and how the number of users and platforms are ever-growing - nothing too mundane or surprising, if I have to be honest. Surely, as technology becomes more advanced, the Internet has made communication, commerce and information so much more accessible, convenient and we have become so much more connected around the world. 

It is fascinating... yet scary though; how a piece of technology holds the power, or rather, lends us the power, that we as the human race have at our fingertips. 

What struck the chord with me most was the Dark Web (i.e. websites that hides IP addresses of servers that run them using an encryption tool) compromising of 80% on the web. While I have yet to explore the collection of websites, I'm pretty excited to have a go. Without oversimplifying such a wonderful innovation (a.k.a the Internet), it just goes to show that this piece of technology is ever-changing, improving and making their users believe that one day, the impossible can be achieved (or maybe, it already has on the Dark Web?).

I, like many other individuals, depend on the Internet for a countless of things - from the most minuscule things such as bus arrival timings to research and/or additional study materials. As something that is embedded into every aspect of our lives today, I guess it doesn't hurt to be open and learn more about the World Wide Web - even if it means rehashing daunting memories of CSE 111.

As I cringed over the moments spent in CSE 111, another term; TCP/IP rang a bell. As one of most two prominent protocols used, the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (what it stands for) works similarly to the mailing/postal system.

Unlike a television broadcast, any data exchanged via a network (or a series of networks) requires it to be routed (or, addressed using IP addresses) to the receiving destination by the sender (or, source host) - much like how a parcel is being delivered - by using multiple of layers such as link layers, Internet layer, transport layer and application layer. [See video below for more information (though they use a different analogy to describe said layers].

While the explanation of how the Internet works may seem monotonous to some, I find myself pondering on how something so technological reflects mirrors aspects of our reality. How?

One of the purpose of TCP/IP is to have a secure network.

Think of it as finding out your best friend's crush likes your best friend. You wouldn't be shouting such information across the hallways in school to your best friend the next time you see him/her, would you? (Maybe, if you're that savage enough lol). In order to ensure that the information will be related to your best friend while playing it cool, TCP/IP ensures that information is kept away from others except to the recipient as intended using IP addresses.

What distinguishes a postal system and TCP/IP however, is how the information being sent over is broken down further into data packets. Such method is done in order to prevent a congested traffic over a network. How fast information being exchanged via the network is determined by the information size and the speed of line - not the order in which information is being sent. As such, this prevents any small information sent after larger information from having to wait until larger information has been sent -- as well as prevent anyone (who is not intended to receive the information) from understanding what is trying to be relayed unless they received the full information being exchanged. Like a puzzle!

If you're much more confused than you first started reading, here's what you need to know:
  • The Internet is my best friend
  • Dark Web: only noob Internet users explores 20% of what is on the web and think that's all is on the Internet
  • The Internet runs on a set of rules a.k.a protocols with TCP/IP being the most prominent of rules of them all 
    • TCP/IP ensures your information will only be delivered to the recipient you intended 
    • TCP/IP works much like a postal service that uses a puzzle-like process of delivery by breaking the information into smaller packets 
      • Process of delivery is to:
        • Prevent a congested traffic over the network 
        • Ensure information being sent is secure 
Alright, till next time! 

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