HTTP for the long now?

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From: Strata Rose Chalup (
Date: Tue Aug 15 2000 - 13:13:17 PDT

Amusing bit via several hops of humor lists. There is a good point
hidden here, namely that simple != broken. I know I'm preaching to some
of the choir here, so don't rush to agree, I know you're out there.
It's the differing viewpoint I'm interested in...

Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2000 13:53:29 -0700 (PDT)
From: Michael Thomas <
Subject: Archaeologist Discovers Ancient Packet

[ok, I'm bored and I'm reading Bruce and Yakov's new
 book /mat]

Dateline, Sept 3, 2147

Minneapolis -- In a rare view of 20th century life,
Cyber Archaeologist Ole Anderson of Minneapolis has
discovered an extremely rare throwback to the 20th
century: an ancient IP version 4 packet containing
HTTP -- the primitive method that early Internet
builders used to transfer data in what predated
our now familiar way of communications. Anderson is
convinced of the packet's authenticity since IP
version 4 packets have not been seen on the global
network in 115 years.

  "When I discovered the packet", says Anderson, "I
   couldn't believe my eyes. It contained an IP
   version 4 header which at first I couldn't
   decipher. Amazingly, the the contents of the
   packet are in plain text which means that I
   didn't even have to break the primitive crypto
   algorithms they had in those days. The packet
   seems to be directed at what was termed a ``web
   site'' called ``''.
   We are still trying determine what a ``ta-tas'' is."

Anderson claims that the packet was trapped in a
networking equivalent of suspended animation
which preserved it for close to 150 years.

  "The packet got trapped in a MPLS forwarding
   loop. It was widely believed at the time that
   packet life times were unnecessary because
   routing tables would converge and that
   misconfiguration would be rare. This was
   proven to be wrong and culminated in what has
   now known as the Network Panic of 2007 where
   a critical mass of packet entropy caused a
   worldwide collapse of the nascent Internet.
   Since then, all packets are marked with
   explicit lifetimes."

More remarkable is that Anderson found the packet
at all. The packet was found in an antique shop in
Duluth run by Doris Davenport on relic hardware by
a company once known as Cisco Systems. Cisco, we
all remember, was the first company that officially
disbanded in the early 2020's because all of the
employees were worth enough to retire. The packet
has been kept alive by the good fortune of battery
backup and the bustling market for antique

  "It's certainly fortunate that people are so
   fond of these relics," says Anderson, "I guess
   it must be the blinking lights and the
   knowledge that our great-great grandfathers
   worked so hard on these simple little toys."

As far as Anderson can tell this may be the
earliest known packet yet. It dates to 1999 which
was right at the cusp of wide spread MPLS usage.

  "It's hard to imagine that we'll find anything
   that predates this packet, so we're examining
   it very carefully for clues as to what life was
   like so very long ago. Conventional wisdom has
   always held that it was digital media swapping
   that fueled the early Internet, but this packet
   brings that all into question because by all
   appearances it seems to be directed at some
   sort of pornography distribution point."

Anderson will continue his search for more sources
of ancient packets to bolster his new and
disturbing theory about 20th Internet economics.

Strata Rose Chalup []   |, KF6NBZ
Director of Network Operations            |       VirtualNet Consulting
KnowNow, Inc []     |

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