The readings by Miller this week were partly review for me of things I knew already, with some elaboration and detail, but some of the information was definitely new.

I’ve been reasonably familiar with the various mechanisms for accessing the internet since I’ve used many of them at one point or another – dialup modems, DSL, and cable modems at home, T1/T3 lines at work, and wireless at both places plus other areas. I hadn’t known all the history of them, though, for instance how early T1 lines were developed.

The discussion of packets in ch. 4 of Miller helped clarify my understanding of those, especially the explanation of the differences between TCP and UDP. Likewise the material on IP addresses and proxy servers was really useful; proxy servers are something that I sort of vaguely understood but this helped me grasp what they do better. Same with routers, which again, I had some vague notions and I think now I understand better. I remember WINSOCK and having to install several versions of that! It’s so much easier now that TCP/IP is built into Windows.

Domain names and lookups I did know something about already, since I’ve maintained a personal website for some years and have to pay an annual fee to my host for domain registration, and I recall from early web days occasionally using the numeric addresses instead of names to reach some sites. I also remember doing ping tests a few times.

The readings by Ojala and by Eliopoulos & Gotlieb were a little dated, since there have been some changes in search engines in the last 6-7 years, but still useful. The table in the Ojala article which summarized the differences and similarities between search engines was good (although sadly the scan made it hard to read which engine was being described in which column). It was also good to be reminded (in the Eliopoulos & Gotlieb article) that the 80 results after the first 20 often can also be highly relevant – so often we settle for what we first see because it seems acceptable and we don’t want to waste time.

The Burd chapter looked back to what we did in building hypothetical computer labs in the second week of class; good as a refresher.

References:

Burd, Stephen D. 2006. Systems architecture. 5th ed. Boston: Thomson.

Eliopoulos, Demetrios, and Calvin Gotlieb. 2003. Evaluating web search results rankings. Online 27 (March-April): 42-8.

Miller, Joseph B. 2009. Internet technologies and information services. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Ojala, Marydee. 2002. Web search engines: Search syntax and features. Online 26 (Sept.-Oct.): 28-31.

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