Den (dewhitton) wrote,

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Bees, Freaky Fungus, and Uni Tutorials

about an hor ago a swarm of bees decended on the compost bin at the back of the yard. At first I thought they were setting up a hive, but judging by the to-and-fro nature of the swarm I can see they're only after something in the bin, possibly the old mangoes I threw in there yesterday. The fruit should be well on the way to fermentation by now, what with the warm, wet days we're having. It's hard to tell from the smell since compost tends to smell composty and swamps every other scent. I'm not game to lift the lid.

The last seven days have been warm and wet. While I was checking out the bees I noticed a rather rank, deadish smell in that end of the garden. It was a little less organic than the bin, and a little more meaty than you would expect. When I looked down I saw this wierd fleshy thing poking up through the grass. Then I saw another. And another. The newest one is about 1/2 inch thick, stands about 3 inches, is the colour of skin and is soft to the touch. It's roundish in cross section. The first thought that sprang to my mind was I have dicks growing in my garden! The oldest one is a good 6 inches high, about 1 inch thick and star-shaped in cross section. The end has opened out so that the whole thing looks like a 5 armed squid. The colour has deepened to a deep red, and it REEKS. If it uses flies to scatter the spores then it's working. They must only last a day or so - there's the remains of one all limp and collaped under the sycamore. I noticed a heap of little pink dick-ends poking through the soil, so I will be fascinated for a few days longer.

I've just finished the uni tutorial for ITC125 Information Superhighway. Read more if you want. You can also laugh and point.

Week 1 Introduction to The Internet

Part 1

(actually, you can ignore htis bit. It involved navigation around the CSU site)

1. From , clicking on the link Get On With I.T. takes the user to Clicking on Resources opens on which is a link to my.csu. This link takes the user to where they will find yet another link to The Information Superhighway (ITC125) at

Note: the url http://clio/subjects/itc125/index.html listed in the tutorial does not exist, but does.

2. Ignore this, too. It was to demonstrate how I can use multiple windows

3. Definition of the terms Internet, Information Superhighway, and World Wide Web
· The Internet: The Internet is a world wide network of networks.1
· The Information Superhighway: This term is applied to the logical applications of the internet in communications, and information storage, access and transfer.2 It is usually used with the assumption that every user has broadband access to the internet.
· World Wide Web: The WWW is a project developed by the WWW Consortium3 to make using information on the internet easier. Documents on the WWW are linked using Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP)4

4. Improvements in technology have had a significant impact on the internet. The development of high bandwidth systems, such as fibre optics, means broadband services are feasible, making the theoretical Information Superhighway a reality. Improvements in computers also give users access to powerful and cheap PCs. According to Moore’s Law5 computer systems double in processing capacity every 18 months. Old computers (ie about 3 months old) are routinely sold at a discount as each new, more powerful model comes onto the market.6 The average user can buy cheap hardware and cheap access to the internet, and easy to use software to browse the WWW.

5. Internet Milestones

1844- Samuel Morse transmits first data by wire (Morse Code)7
1876-Alexander Graham Bell develops first telephone8
1946-First electronic computer
1965 - Thomas Merrill and Lawrence Roberts connected the TX-2 computer in Mass. to the Q-32 in California with a low speed dial-up telephone line, creating the first Wide Area Network9
1969- ARPA lays down principles of Internet. ARPAnet formed.10
1969- (October) First host-to-host message sent from UCLA to Stanford11
1972 - First email application written12
1975- Altair 8800, first home computer, released13
1981- IBM Personal Computer released. Cost of computers begins to fall, bringing them within reach of home budgets
1983- January 1: ARPAnet changes protocols to TCP/IP14
1988 - National Research Council committee produced a report titled "Towards a National Research Network". This report was influential on then Senator Al Gore, and ushered in high speed networks that laid the networking foundation for the future information superhighway.15 Al Gore states later that this is when he invented the internet.16
1995- Privatisation of The Internet begins.17 Everyone with a computer (and their dogs) creates a homepage

6. The single item that affected the growth of the internet is cost. Until the early 90s only members of government and academic institutions had free access to the network. Often, members of the public had to pay a few hundred dollars per month for their connection, if they could find a university that would allow them to connect.18 In the mid 90s privately owned Internet Service Providers, such as TPGI and Ozemail, began to provide cheap accounts for all members of the public. From that moment on anyone with a computer and modem could browse the information available, or even create their own home page. The internet is constantly growing, with new users and hosts being added by the second.19

7. Why is the World Wide Web so popular? The WWW has allowed ordinary people show the rest of the world what they can do. There are no rules to what they can and can’t put on their homepages. They are free to put up photos of their pets, a list of their CDs, creative uses for AOL CDs20, what they do in their spare time,21 or the diary of their last trip to, say, New Zealand22. Some people advertise their abilities in web page design23, and some even serve as an example of How Not To Design Web Pages.24Companies also use WWW to advertise their products.25

The WWW has given people the freedom to express themselves publicly in ways they have never been able to in the past.

Part 2

The Size Of The Internet

The Internet Domain Survey at contains figures on the growth of the internet.

Telecoria Technologies uses a java applet to show dynamically the size of the internet.
1 Source:
2 Source: and
4 Source:
6 Better Computer World sales figures, 1997.
18 Source: Officer currently working in the Australian Taxation Office IT section, Canberra.

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