A Year and Counting

from the Sept-30,-1999 dept

A year ago, when I heard that PacBell was offering DSL in my area, I didn’t ask “how much”, I asked “when?”. We have now been connected to the internet via a permanent DSL connection for 1 year. Guess what’s changed?

Click below for more…

Friends of the Revolution
A Year and Counting...
by Brian Day

A year ago, when I heard that PacBell was offering DSL in my area, I didn't ask "how much", I asked 
"when?". We have now been connected to the internet via a permanent DSL connection for 1 year. Guess 
what's changed?

Instantaneous Information
I think the best thing about being connected all the time is the ability to instantaneously get access to 
information. If we want to know what's playing at the movies we just walk over to the computer. When 
a new piece of mail arrives we hear a beep. It changes the way you get information. Newspapers seem 
obsolete (even wasteful).

Rich Media
Due to the fast connection we can easily receive rich media. This is cool for watching movie trailers, and 
listening to Internet radio, but that's about it for now. There is not a lot of high speed content. We still 
watch about the same amount of television.

Home Network
Once you get a permanent high speed connection the first thing you'll want to do is set up a Home Area 
Network (HAN). If you're like me you have a bunch of computers sitting around doing nothing. What if 
you could link them all to the net and put them around your house? Cool.

The first step is to set up a gateway machine. This machine enables the rest of the network to connect to 
the internet. Unfortunately there is no simple out of the box solution for creating a home gateway and 
therefore you will spend weeks if not months figuring it out. My wife could now use our separate 
computers to access the Internet. I started with a pretty simple Macintosh gateway and have since moved 
to a Unix based gateway machine. Ugh...

After hooking up all your machines to the net and keeping them on 24 hours a day you start to get 
paranoid about hackers. What if someone hacked into our network and deleted our Quicken files? You 
now get to learn about Proxy Servers and Firewalls. Oh boy! The problem is that in order to fix the holes 
you end up disabling network functionality. For example: when I set up a Proxy server to limit the type 
of traffic coming into my network my wife could no longer get access to her mail from her machine. 

Internal Networking
Once you become used to accessing the Internet from any machine, you will also want to do everything 
else from that machine as well. It seems logical that every machine should be able to print, right? Not so 
easy... especially in a mixed OS environment. Let's not even discuss file sharing, or easily plugging work 
laptops into the HAN.

What DSL means to me is a few benefits and lot of new responsibilities. Remember when you bought 
your first computer thinking it was going to save you a lot of time, and then wasting a lot of time 
learning how to set up your operating system, or learning a new application like Photoshop? While I 
would not give up my permanent high speed connection, sometimes I long for the simpler days before 
we had the home network. I'm sure that someone could make a lot of money either making a product that 
would be a all-in-one hub/router/firewall or a service for managing home networks. Please...?

Friends of the Revolution
by Brian Day

A column that comes out every so often, and talks about something
or another...

If you would like to subscribe or unsubscribe, or maybe subscribe more
than once let me know via e-mail at bcd2@cornell.edu.  Past issues can
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The information contained in this newsletter reflect the opinions of
Brian Day, and do not represent actual fact.  Any decisions made based
on these opinions is your own fault.  blah... blah... blah...

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Comments on “A Year and Counting”

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Andy (user link) says:

Gateway machines

There are a lot of products that claim to have all in one solutions for firewalling, gatewaying (ip masquarading), and related serivces. I’m not sure how appropriate they are for a home use though. We (the ISP I work for) include them with the packages we do for our business customers with dedicated connections. (I don’t have the actual product names handy, else I would post them.)

Mr.White (user link) says:


I have DSL….weeee, not as fast as cable….but nice.
Anyways. I am a NT admin, I know what I am doing [no flames plz].
I have NAT [winroute.com], Firewall [also winroute], I log everything, Web via Xitami…from Imatix.com, Email/Web mail via MailGear….works well. Security *IS* an issue, I have hacked some open boxes on our own network…..and told them to increase [no flames…I was nice and left an email]. I suggest, if you have a 9x box on the network, TURN IT OFF….if you are not using it. If you are? Read up on stuff.

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