You learn something wrong everyday (TM)

I'm not a real doofus, but I play one at a national laboratory. (
Fri, 11 Jul 1997 11:48:17 -0500

Here's a little something from the other 3%. A sidebar from the Chicago
Tribune (April 22, 1997, I think). It is a monumental synopsis and stands by
itself. I could but detract from its glory by further commentary.

Transmission control protocol / Internet protocol

TCP/IP is the program that every Internet user and Internet
information server must run. Essentially, it is a two-layer
program: First, TCP (transmission control protocol) packages
data into bunches and routes it over the Internet, then IP
(Internet protocol) reassembles the data and formats it for use.

First layer - TCP (Connectors)

Information must be packaged into manageable bundles before it
is sent across telephone lines to its destination. This is
accomplished by one of two protocols.

. Point-to-point protocol: Puts individual computers directly
onto the Internet. PPP quickly accesses the Internet with a
simplified connection process. PPP can share a telephone line
with other protocols and can detect transmission errors. It is
the preferred protocol.

[Graphic of PC and modem, modem roughly the same size as the
system box, with two arrows: Request for data ---> and
<--- Return of data]

. Serial line Internet protocol: An older and less-powerful
means for connecting individual computers to the Internet.
SLIP is slower than PPP because its connection process requires
a user to know the addresses of a server and its destination.

Second layer - IP

After the information is sent to its destination, it must be
assembled so it is accessible to the user in the correct form.
This is usually performed by one of the following protocols,
listed in order of use:

. World Web Web / Hypertext transfer protocol
A set of rules for exchanging text, images, sound, video and
other multimedia files on the World Web Web. An essential
feature of HTTP is that it can accomodate files that contain
references to other files (hypertext links) which, when
selected, will transfer you to another site on the Internet.

. E-mail / Simple mail transfer protocol
Governs electronic mail transmission and reception.

. Libraries and large databases / Telnet
The protocol for accessing remote computer databases. Telnet
allows a user to log on to a database and access information
from the host computer. This protocol is specifically used by
libraries and other large databases.

. Exchange of files between computers / File transfer protocol
Another way that text, images, sound and other data are sent or
received between computers. FTP is similar to HTTP, but the
screen only has text.

On an unrelated (?) note, Dr. Fun (
is a favorite of mine, particularly yesterday's:


I can do anything you can do better.