Welcome to the machine

This week in The Internet Course, we will be looking at how the internet works. Members of the class have started collecting and connecting readings on the topic, and we’ll be discussing them on Tuesday and Thursday.

I’m going to throw a short video into the mix. This was done by Professor Michael Wesch and his class several years ago, and it looks at both how the internet has evolved and how it works, and hints at what that means for us.

We’ve actually all been looking at how it works, or at least part of it, through setting up our blogs and domains. The Web is made up of hyperlinked documents on the internet. When we blog and tweet and link, we’re building the web – more documents, more pages, more links. When we upload Cmaps to our domains, we’re interacting with the web at the server level. We put files in folders, making path names that make URLs.

The Cmap program generates HTML pages, which is another part of how the internet works. If we look at Dalina’s map, we can see the icons that indicate links back to the original readings and links out to further information. If we look at the source code behind it (CTRL-u in Firefox), we can see all the script and code that makes the page function. Most of it is pretty confusing if you don’t know the language, but if you scroll to the bottom you can see some a href tags that point to the hyperlinked documents.

The web is only part of the internet though. Where the Wizards Stay Up Late talked about some other fundamentals, like packet switching and servers. The readings cover topics like languages, search, the cloud, apps… I’m looking forward to where this goes.

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