I was listening to Radio 4 the other day and there was an attempt to explain a few technical things to the audience. I phrase it that way because these are things that I hadn’t considered needed explaining and as such they can’t really be accurately lumped together.

Someone’s company website was threatened by some Albanian black hat who compromised site security and effectively held the business to ransom.

In explaining this subject it seemed to me that the audience not only barely uses the internet but more than that think it is powered by magic.

A digital intrusion doesn’t mean breaking into an office. Apparently this needed to be stressed. The issue here seems to also be that because the audience thinks the internet runs on magic they have no concept of what it actually is. Servers and lots of cables, basically. Lots of computers.

Well, servers had to be explained too. It wasn’t explained as “a computer like the one you have at home”. Instead it was described by its physical appearance “resembling a DVD player”. Don’t most electronics in cases look like DVD players in that case?

It aggravates me a great deal simply because what the device looks like is irrelevant compared to its function. Mentioning it to make it relatable is fine but could we deal with what it is as well?

“The Cloud” seems to be understood as some sort of nebulous concept due to its naming. It’s scalable computer resources outsourced to data centres. Alternatively “like paying a print shop to do posters when you need them instead of doing them at home”. It’s not a difficult concept to grasp. Instead we got a dawdling piece on data centres.

If we’re talking about data centres I’d love to have some discussion about lowering their power usage or repurposing the heat they generate. It’s a solvable problem after all.

Given the importance of the internet these days I simply find it strange that its basics aren’t covered more often so that people can marvel at the brilliance of it.


I saw you marvel!

Don’t get me started on “my internet’s down” or “do you have wireless internet here?”

I’ve half a mind to hook up a load of networked devices and a DNS server just to be a pedantic git. Perhaps that’s a bit far even for me. Just use the word “connection”, you goits. “My connection’s down” makes a damn sight more sense as well as not making the speaker sound less tech savvy than Thursday afternoon bingo players.

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