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April 14th, 2008

Plus c'est la même chose

A brief observation after nearly a week of security conversations at RSA2008 in San Francisco.

RSA is very like a worldcon. I remarked on it to a friend who's also a fan (and here with a well known encryption company), and he agreed. The panels are the community talking to itself, just like a worldcon (and they're put together and run much the same way). And just like a big US SF convention, there are ribbons everywhere.

There are just a lot more exhibitors in the dealers' room...

Instructions for rebooting the ARPANET

Instructions for rebooting the ARPANET

This is the label on the front of one of the Interface Message Processors that managed the original ARPANET, way back, when the wizards stayed up late. It's a long time since routers were this big, and had this many controls on their front panel. It rather reminded me of a similar label on Tim Berners-Lee's NeXT cube at CERN.

ARPANET unveiled

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View is a fascinating place, and it's well worth taking the docent tour. The guides are all experts in their fields, and all have long histories in the technology industry. Anecdotes abound, shedding light on the hidden corners of the industry's histories.

Well worth a visit.

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This is what makes Google tick

Would you build a world-beating business out of servers like this? They're motherboards stuck on thin sheets of fibreboard, shoved into a rack, and hooked together with piles of ethernet. No cases, no additional cooling, and hard disks bolted onto yet more fibreboard. If one dies (and it will), you just move its load onto another...

This is what makes Google tick

Google did. This is one of the original server racks, now on display in the Computer History Museum.