Thursday, December 21, 2006

A True History of the Internet

The Wicker Man and the Spam Men

(I say men as I cannot believe that a class act like women, would ever do something as nefarious as spam).

So there are zillions of people trying to become famous and save the world by finding a solution to the spam problem. I am already more famous than I want to be, so the reason I am suggesting this solution is to stop people patenting it and charing you for it.

The idea is this:

Spammers have to harvest lists of e-mail addresses. This is abottleneck as it takes time, although once you have them, you get to use them a lot. Some spammers even target e-mail quite well by getting other info from the e-mail address context (location, web page, institution, etc).

Users want e-mail, with all its warts -the ability to send a message to someone who hasn't heard of you appears to be appealing. (Some people have moved off e-mail to chat rooms and IM where the invitation only process prohibits mass misuse much more effectively - we'll leave them to their success).

So here goes. What if I change my e-mail once a day? once an hour? once a minute?

Oh, you cry. what about all those people who have my _old_ email address in their address book?

No problem, I respond. If they have it in an address book, and they send me a message to my old e-mail address I can do one of several things.
1. i probably have old e-mail from them, or they are in my address book - so I just take the mail and send them a response with my new address (standard tools already support change of address stuff.
ii. if i want to reduce load on my mail server as well as reduce reception of spam, I could pro-actively tell everyone in my address book each time I change my address.

What if the spammers harverst address books? They alerady do, but it takes time.
What if they use exploited machines address books? Well, I won't turn off my current spam technology, so when I get spam from someone who should know better, I delete them from my address book, and wait for them to get my new e-mail address.

How do people get my new e-mail address?
Easy: I publish it on my web page. This is cool, because it means that in a year, I could publish 525600 different e-mail addresses, only one of which will work in any given minute.
The spammers have now hadd their spam dilulted by 5-6 orders of magnitude.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

A True History of the Internet

Finally, a use for Qunatum Computing:
Network coding is proposed as a way to do efficient many-to-many content distribution (see Network information flow, by Ahlswede, et al, and dozens of papers since implementing it) - if we wanted to do this at really high speed in an optical core network (A million HDTV stations from the home) for fault tolerance etc, we cannot do it in conventional h/w and s/w - why not use a quantum computer - rateless coding is very like crypto - so the algorithms from quantum crypto might actually work well - might even solve he probiem of very large blocksizes (e.g. tornado code multiple movies in a SINGLE 10Gbyte file each for 1 short transmission!)

You saw it first here, so DO NOT patent it now:-)

A True History of the Internet

A True History of the Internet

what we need is an automated patent system -the way to do this is to use ontologies- as per berners-lee - then we could get rid of all the stupid patent offices that let people get "IPR" on bad, old, obvious ideas.

The Patent Office Ontology (Poo)
Built on Agents and RSS

game over...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Blind stuff...of and hit or miss

so do blind dogs have guide humans?

do the blind drunk have guide teetoallers?

does blind lemon pledge (that famous epsilon delta blues guitarist) have a guide track?

and what about hit&run drivers- why is that so bad? what do you expect them to do: miss and run? :-)

I think we should be told.
I would rather see you steppin away from me than go blind, to paraphrase an old song.

Friday, October 27, 2006


regarding this
intel research cambridge lablet closure
about it closing:

1. the lab was doing OK, but for the last year Intel had a hiring
freeze so it was about ~5 people down on the official numbers it needed

2. Intel have 30,000 employees in middle management to many (5 years
back they had 100,000 employees, they grew w by 30,000 - when Otellini
arrived he asked to see the books and was really p**d off to see this
and the fact that their profit had not gone up at the same time as AMD
was making inroads into their market share so he said to lose 10%
right away -

3. rather than lose 10% of each of 4 Intel labs, it was easier to lose
the most "expensive" lab (Intel pays the same everywhere and the $ is
crap against the pound, so my guess is that Cambridge actually is most
expensive, but also its perceived as pricey as whenever the lab
directors have an open day here about 25 people fly over business class
and that must put a dent in their travel budgets:)

4. about a year back, I (for some definition of I:-)
predicted this was pretty likely and sent an
email to all the lab people saying where I thought they might get a
job - as far as i know I was close to 90% right on the first offers
people have - to my knowledge, every person in the lab has at least 1
good local Cambridge job option - several of them have several very
good options, so we will be thumbing our noses at Intel (note that the
researchers job "titles" are middle management, because Intel doesn't
have a proper job title for senior researcher - unlike Microsoft,
Cisco, etc etc, which probably is why the bean counters hav't
perceived the damage this is gonna do to Intel's public
image and to their chances of hiring researchers in any of thesho
other labs for the next few years....

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I think one of the principle reasons there were so many people in the last 10 years
trying to do new network architectures is that there is a seriously broken cult of personality in
US research, and folks like Clark, Cheriton, Shenker, Cerf, etc don't do enough to dispell it
(actually Clark is probably the worst victim without being so guilty, but he could do more to undermine it) -

The fact is, like any Big Breakthroughs, the Internet was the product of a lot of peoples' efforts and most of the
papers people point at (e.g. Cerf&Kahn, or Clark's SIGCOMM 88 paper) were post hoc rationalisations at best
of stuff everyone working on stuff knew at the time but didn't have time to write a polished rant about.

The reason this is a problem is that it distracts people from the work that needs doing in exploring design space
and makes them write these "high level" land grabs, without much n the way of foundations. This is another reason I
think the FIND programme is misguided (and doomed:)

As I'll said in my CoNEXT talk, not only is architecture hard to do, most so-called architects didn't actually do
what they claimed anyway (thats the difference with people in the real world like folks that do processor
architecture&buildings, and network architects - there's tangible evidence the Power PC and the
Millau Viaduct are cool, as well as usable:)

oh, and there's also processors that fail & buildings that fall down:)
thats how we really learn what works, and what doesn't!

btw, one of the coolest websites for architecture (as in Le courbousier) is foster associates - see
real architecture and weep!

Monday, October 02, 2006

A True History of the Internet

So normally when i go swimming, whenver I dive down, one of the nice features of water is how quiet it is. Especially compared to the racket you get in many pools given all the hard walls etc

anyhow, imagine my surprise when I heard mutting and mumbling - perhaps the pool is haunted by the ghosts of drowned people? its an old old pool....

meanwhile, I recently heard of someone in a late 70s punk band being hurt in a terrible Internet hunting accident - can anyone confirm the truth of this awful story - it was the famous one legged pogo dancer alberto gizmondo from the thrash-salsa band, Two Brazilian Soldiers...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A True History of the Internet

Everyone's talking about spam but no-one's doing anything,

or to put it another way, the concept of a chronsynclasticinfundibulum
has been available to us since 1964, but there's a floccinaucinihilipilification
of effort in trying to use the concept in practice.

Personally, I blame the americans, but only because its fashionable.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A True History of the Internet

A True History of the Internet

Practical Quantum Computing

Using the Xen hypervisor, one could virtualise a bit - with sufficient
"guest bit" instances running, one could emulate any statistical
distribution of bit values, hence one could emulate a quantum
computer. This would be much cheaper than using josephson junctions or
lasers, although not as cool.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A True History of the Internet

Free Plotware Latest Donations

When police broke into his house and looked for his effects
after the professor vanished for the final time,
they found nothing. It turned out, that he had
Faked His Own Life.

Meanwhile, on a train to oxford, the professors ininitely more sage brother Piecroft, was wondering about the Beeps and Peeps and Meeps that he was surroned by - it appeared that the mobile phones in the carriage were talking to each other unbenownst to their owners, in an interesting code. As he manged to decrypt their alien conversation, he suddenly felt ill - perhaps the radiation....he thought as his mind blurred - but it was too late - his last note on his PDA was
"...and the meep shall inherit the earth"

Monday, February 20, 2006


Alice, Leo and the Ghost

1. Alice, Leo and the Little Yellow House
2. Alice and Leo on Holidays
3. Alice, Leo and the Specific Ocean


Jon Crowcroft, illustrated by ???
October, 1992, Grafton Road, London, United Kingdom

Alice and Leo are cousins. The Ghost isn’t. These are some of their adventures.

1. Alice, Leo and the Little Yellow House

Alice and Leo were walking in the fields down in the country one day.

In the distance is a little yellow house. "Oh Look" cries Alice, "There’s a little yellow house". "Where?" says Leo. "There, in the woods" says Alice.

So they walk and they walk and they slowly, slowly get closer to the Little Yellow House.

As they get closer, the house doesn’t get any bigger, but the woods do

The trees grow taller and taller and lean over more and more, so that in a way, the little yellow house looks even smaller, though it isn’t.

When they get to the house, Leo says "Let’s go inside". And they go in, and start to explore.

As well as being yellow (and little), the house has two floors, four walls and several ceilings and a roof. On the ground floor, there are lots of toys covered in spider webs. Upstairs, past the creeks and groans and greek crones under the steps, they find the Ghost.

"Hello" says the Ghost. "I’ve been expecting you. Would you like some tea. I’m afraid the biscuits are a bit damp. But I’ve got some nice red lemonade".

So Alice and Leo and the Ghost sit down at the table upstairs in the Little Yellow House and eat damp biscuits and drink lemonade until its time for Alice and Leo to go home.

"Time to go home", says Alice. "But we have had fun!" added Leo. "Maybe we’ll see you again soon".

The Ghost nodded and vanished through the wall. "Bye Bye" came its voice from within the darkening woods.

2. Alice and Leo on Holidays

Alice and Leo went on holidays to the sea in Africa. Africa is very big, and hot. So is the sea there, when you are by the sea in Africa at least.

The beaches are so beautiful and interesting and full of crabs and shells and things that Alice and Leo decided to send the Ghost a postcard of where they were. "So beautiful that it will haunt you" joked Alice.

Weeks later, when they came home, they wondered if the ghost got their card. But one day, when they were least expecting it, they got a card from the ghost, a picture it had had taken of itself by the sea.

The Ghost had gone to Africa too. And it said "Wish you were here, we could scare the fish out of the waves and dance with the Maasai on the sand".

The only trouble was that Alice and Leo’s parents couldn’t see the ghost on the postcard, but they could.

3. Alice, Leo and the Specific Ocean

One summer, Alice and Leo went sailing in a big boat on an even bigger Ocean.

They were in the middle of the ocean (you could tell it was the middle because it was a really long way to every side), when Leo suddenly shouted "Ahoy, ahoy".

"What is a hoy?" asked Alice.

"Don’t be silly" said Leo, "I mean I can see a boat". And he could, so they sailed over to the boat.

It was an odd sort of boat, as it didn’t seem to have any people or pirates or anyone on it. However, they climbed across from their boat to the other, to explore.

They went into the captains bridge, where the big steering wheel is on most boats - there was a creaking sound. "Don’t be scared" said Leo, "Its just that door opening and closing as the boat moves over the waves".

They went into the galley (the ship’s kitchen) - there was a howling sound. "Don’t be scared" said Alice. "Its just the wind coming down the chimley". (She meant chimney of course, but this was her private way of saying it).

They went into the cargo hold - there was a great big "ROAR". "Don’t be scared" said the ghost, because it was it. "Its only me".

Alice and Leo jumped up and down, and said hello, and they all went upstairs to the deck to have damp biscuits and red lemonade in the sun and talk about each others holidays.

Alice, Leo and other Ghosts

1. Alice and Leo meet Alouette and Lark.
2. Alice and Leo and Noah’s Big Boat
3. Alice and Leo and the Waterspout


Jon Crowcroft, illustrated by ???
October, 1992, Grafton Road, London, United Kingdom

Alice and Leo are cousins. These are some more of their adventures with other ghosts.

1. Alice and Leo meet Alouette and Lark.

Alouette and Lark were playing in the trees flitting from leaf to leaf. They see Alice and Leo’s clothes hanging on a chair through the open window of the bedroom.

It is early, too early, for Alice or Leo to be awake yet.

Alouette and Lark decide to have some fun, and fly into the pockets of Alice and Leo’s jackets.

It looks like Alice and Leo’s clothes are alive, and walking around the room all topsy and turvey.

Alice and Leo wake up and see their clothes dancing all around the room. "Is that the ghost?" asks Alice.

"No" replies Lark, "Its other ghosts"

"Would you like some damp biscuits and red lemonade?" asks Leo.

"Yes please" reply Lark and Aloutte, getting out of the jacket pockets.

So they do.

2. Alice and Leo and Noah’s Big Boat

Alice and Leo are walking in the village down by the old port. They arrive at Noah’s big boat.

Noah’s boat is big enough to be full of animals of every kind.

All the animals are called fred including the goblins and unicorns, except for a monster called smorgasboard and his mate called sushi.

Noah invites them to set sail and travel with him during the rainy season.

They visit a big black land and find the ghosts in a big black shiny castle, in the kitchen and bring Alouette and lark back to the boat who scare the goblins and unicorns away and thats why there are ghosts, but there aren’t unicorns or goblins even if Maurice Sendak says so...

3. Alice and Leo and the Waterspout

Alice and Leo were having a bath. The Bath was big enough on the best of days.

But today, the bath seemed to be growing - the edge, over which they could normally see, beyond into the garden and trees and birds, was getting higher and higher over their heads.

"Come on" shouted Alice. "Lets swim for that boat. She indicated the large blue and red plastic cruiser just off to the left of a fifty foot yellow duck.

"Ok, race you", cried Leo, and did.

They got there in double quicktime, and climbed on board. There they found a plentiful supply of bubbles and clothes pegs.

After a while, they got a bit bored, and cried out "Help, Help, we want to be normal size again".

Alouette and Lark came flitting through the glass and flew round and round and round, and the water started going round too, like it does when dad pulls the plug out and swishes the suds and stuff down. But this time, it got bigger and bigger til Alice and Leo and the boat were whisked up in a towering water spout, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, only wetter.

Just as it got a bit frightening, Alice and Leo were flung whizzing through the air to land in their beds.

Where they had both just woken up.

Alice, Leo and most of the Ghosts

1. Alice and Leo and the Blue Lemonade
2. Alice and Leo and the Mirrors
3. The Very Short Ghost Story
4. Another Very Short Ghost Story
5. Alice and Leo and the Farty Ghost
6. The Pocket Ghost


Jon Crowcroft, illustrated by ???
October, 1992, Grafton Road, London, United Kingdom

Alice and Leo have met quite a few ghosts in their time. This time they meet most of the rest of the ghosts.

1. Alice and Leo and the Blue Lemonade

Alice and Leo cannot find any ghosts today. They’ve looked everywhere - in the cellar, in the cupboards, under the squeaky stairs, behind an owl, underneath a bat’s wing.

Leo suggests that maybe the ghosts have gone somewhere to celebrate Halloween. Alice looks out of the window, and sees a big gibbous moon hanging in the evening sky like a gibbon.

"Look", says Alice, "maybe that’s where they are!"

So Alice and Leo set off for the moon - first they go to the airport to pick up their spaceship.

When they get to the moon they decide to hire a boat, otherwise they won’t be able to sail on any of the moon-seas. These are seas of sandy dust more dry than a dry beach at any earth seaside!.

They set off across the Sea of Tranquillity, steadily steadfastly searching for any sign of ghosts.

Suddenly, from nowhere, a storm whips up the sand into great patters of swishs and swirls in the sky.

"Hello, ghosts" say Alice and Leo.

"Hello Alice and Leo" say the ghosts, for it is them making the storm. "Would you like some damp biscuits and blue Lemonade"? "Yes, please. We’ve never had blue lemonade before".

2. Alice and Leo and the Mirrors

Alice was in England having a bath one day, and she wondered where Leo was. Meanwhile, Leo was in Africa, where he was having a bath too. Africa is a long way away and ahead in time, so Leo was having his bedtime bat, while Alice was having her teatime bath.

When they got out of their baths, they looked in the mirror to see who might be around to play with, and who should they see? Each other - that is, Alice could see Leo and Leo could see Alice, just like they were in the same room.

"Hello, that’s not really Leo is it?" asked Alice, and Leo asked the same thing of the mirror Alice.

"No, you caught us out - its Alouette and Lark!"

So Alouette and Lark got out of the mirrors, and went to play with Leo and Alice in Africa, until it was sleepy time time.

3. The Very Short Ghost Story

Alice and Leo were walking hand in hand through the undergrowth one day, when they thought they saw a ghost.

They didn’t, because they were looking in the treetops and the ghost was hiding behind a mushroom.

A little later, Alouette and Lark flitted down from the boughs and told them that they had narrowly missed meeting the Very Short Ghost.

Oh well" said Alice, "Another Day, maybe. How about some tea?"

4. Another Very Short Ghost Story

One day, in the middle of a very large bath, the Very Small Ghost was sailing along in a thimble, when it became rather lost. " help ", cried the Very Small Ghost.

Luckily, Alice and Leo were sailing nearby, and heard the very small cry . "Let‘s go an help" said Alice. "OK" says Leo. And they do.

5. Alice and Leo and the Farty Ghost

Alice and Leo were out walking in the forest one day amongst the trees so tall and so thin and so close together.

Suddenly there was a terrible "Whoooooooh" sound and it was Leo, and Alice said "Did you just make a pooey sound?", and Leo said "Yes,

A bit later, the same thing happened and Alice said "Ooops".

But a bit later still, it was the ghost who said "Whooooooh" and Alice and Leo said "Aha!". They said "Caught you there, flitting in the trees!".

6. The Pocket Ghost

Once upon a time there was a pocket ghost, which lived in peoples’ pockets. This one lived in Alice’s pocket. He would play games so that when Alice put things in her pocket, the ghost would hide them elsewhere.

Often, Alice though things had rolled under the fridge or the sofa.

One day, Alice was looking for her favourite bracelet and she put her hand in her pocket and when she pulled it out, she was holding the pocket ghost., "Hello", said Alice. "Where’s my bracelet?" "Elsewhere", said the pocket ghost.

Alice, Leo and Ghosts with the Most

1. Alice and Leo and the 3 Caps
2. Another Very Small Ghost Story


Jon Crowcroft, illustrated by ???
November, 1992, Grafton Road, London, United Kingdom

Alice and Leo play football and meet the queen; the ghosts are not far behind.

1. Alice and Leo and the 3 Caps

Alice and Leo are playing football in the field.

Three caps are folowing them around, with no heads underneath, or bodies.

"Its Alouete and Lark, and someone else" cries Alice.

2. Another Very Small Ghost Story

ALice is goijng to bed one night, but she doesnt feel too well. Mum decides to bring her some cough medicine, but when it arrives, and she takes the top off, out pops the very small ghost.

"Hello" says the very small ghost. "Look what I’ve got for you". And he holds out an even smaller bottle.

Alice takes the top off, and out pop Alouette and Lark who sinmg her a bedtime song.

"Hmmm, thats the medicince for me" dreams Alice.

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misery me, there is a floccipaucinihilipilification (*) of chronsynclastic infundibuli in these parts and I must therefore refer you to frank zappa instead, and go home