Virtual Karma

Thursday, February 02, 2006

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Dad, What Was Internet?

Year 2019.
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Son: Dad, today in the history class they taught us about Internet and all the amazing stuff you could do on it.

Dad: Those were good old days before the Verizon-net, Comcast-net, BellSouth-net

Son: If internet was such a good thing, why don’t we have it today?

Dad: Because they decided to end it sometime around 2006.

Son: But why did they do that?

Dad: Apparently the telcos were not were not making enough money.

Son: That’s bad. Why didn’t you guys pay the poor telcos?

Dad: Oh! We did. Every month.

Son: Then how come they didn’t make any money?

Dad: They made a lot of money but I guess it was not enough. They wanted the big websites like Google, Amazon, eBay, MSN etc. to pay them and not use their network for free.

Son: That’s so bad of Google to not pay them. I have lost all respect for Sergey and Larry. How can they expect a free ride? So convenient for them to make all that Ad dollars while running their algorithm from public libraries?

Dad: Public Libraries?? What are you talking about? They had their own offices and datacenters.

Son: But you said they used the internet for free. How can they provide content without paying for the bandwidth?

Dad: Oh! They did.

Son: Wait. I’m all confused here. We paid for our end of the bandwidth and the websites paid at their end. So who is getting a free ride here?

Dad: I haven’t figured that out yet.

Son: My friend called to tell me that he won’t email for another month because he has exhausted his quota of 13 emails for the month. If he uses anymore they will be forced to upgrade to platinum plan and his folks can’t afford that.
Mom was telling me that you used to write a blog back then. What happened? Why did you stop?

Dad: They asked me to pay up if I wanted guaranteed delivery of content.

Son: So before that your blog did not reach your readers for sure?

Dad: It did.

Son: So what is the “guarantee” about?

Dad: Have they taught you about extortion yet?

Son: Not yet. They said instead they are making us read the book: “Telcos – Riches to Riches story”.
So what did you do about your blog then?

Dad: I hosted it on my computer and let people dial in directly. Many of my friends did that. It was kind of cool. They said that they had similar setups before the Internet.

Son: What about peer-to-peer networks? Why don’t we have it today? And what does startup mean? And why do Google search results say “censored by your service provider”? And why do we have only 87 functional websites? And…

Dad: Time to go to bed son.

Son: One last question. Did the greedy telcos kill the Internet?

Dad: Aren’t you glad we moved to Africa?


Update: This article made it to the front page of reddit 3 days ago. Thanks for all your votes and comments. It also "almost" made it to the front page of digg, but then something happened which I'm still investigating. I will let you know as soon as I hear from digg.

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