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Throw Away the Internet: Start All Over

6 replies on 1 page. Most recent reply: May 5, 2003 10:21 AM by Tiago Antao

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Bill Venners

Posts: 2249
Nickname: bv
Registered: Jan, 2002

Throw Away the Internet: Start All Over Posted: Apr 24, 2003 6:09 PM
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Larry Seltzer writes: "Sometimes I look at the Internet and I see so many different ways being used to compromise security that I wonder whether we'd be better off trashing a lot of the existing infrastructure. After all, the Internet was designed to be secure from nuclear attack, not its own users."

Read this Security Supersite article by Larry Selzer:

http://security.ziffdavis.com/article2/0,3973,1036052,00.asp?kc=SCZD103039TX1K0100568

Here's an excerpt:

In my mind, the biggest failure in this regard is SMTP, the dominant mail protocol of the net. Spam is as pervasive as it is because of weaknesses in SMTP. We know how to fix these problems; the problem is that doing so would break existing applications, which means e-mail in general. This is always a bad thing, but it's not always a deal-killer. I think this is one area where, in the long term, it may make sense to move away from a protocol that has allowed e-mail to get out of control.

What do you think of the author's comments?


Charles Bell

Posts: 519
Nickname: charles
Registered: Feb, 2002

Re: Throw Away the Internet: Start All Over Posted: Apr 25, 2003 2:58 PM
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Dear Bill,

Yesterday I discovered what RSS really was. I have read about it but not understood enough about it to know that I really did not know it. (Another example of, " I did not know that I did not know." It started when I clicked that red XML box last week end on the weblog page you set up for me.
I thought I had found a broken wep page link. I was very surprised when your email response pointed out that I had a gaping void in my Internet knowledge. Suddenly I began to notice all these red XML boxes all over in places that I had not been visiting. That happened as soon a I did a search with my favorite search engine Ixquick on rss. I have been reading news on a personalized MyYahoo page for quite some time and shocked to find that newsfeeds with little red XML boxes had just popped up everywhere. Its spring on the internet. The new flowers look like little red xml pictures. The browser I use, Opera, the fastest web browser on the planet, is not rss feeder capable. Neither was Internet Explorer or Mozilla. Clicking on the little red xml box or rss feed link did nothing useful for me.

So now I've got to figure out how to do all this rss. Its sort of like starting over for me. Hey maybe this would make a web log?

From what I have learned so far, an RSS feeder reader will connect to these little red xml boxes. I found a java rss reeder reader. Now I want to program my own.

My observation is that most of what we read in email could really be something that could be done with an rss feed, then perhaps we could junk the smtp email thing and shutout all the spam in one big thunk.

Thank you Bill,

Thank you very much,

Charles Bell

Bill Venners

Posts: 2249
Nickname: bv
Registered: Jan, 2002

Re: Throw Away the Internet: Start All Over Posted: Apr 26, 2003 2:07 AM
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> Yesterday I discovered what RSS really was. I have read
> about it but not understood enough about it to know that I
> really did not know it. (Another example of, " I did not
> know that I did not know." It started when I clicked that
> red XML box last week end on the weblog page you set up
> for me.

I myself only discovered RSS last September, when a reader emailed me asking if I'd considered creating an RSS feed for new articles. I replied asking what RSS was. They pointed me to some info, and within two hours I had an RSS feed for new articles. It was my first, and is still running:

http://www.artima.com/newatartima.rss

A lot of people are just discovering it recently. Bruce Eckel, for example, started his weblog at Mindview.net the week in March I invited him to have one at Artima.com. He hadn't yet heard of RSS. A lot of people are discovering it for the first time nowadays. It has been under the radar for most people.

> Suddenly I began
> to notice all these red XML boxes all over in places that
> I had not been visiting. That happened as soon a I did a
> search with my favorite search engine Ixquick on rss. I
> have been reading news on a personalized MyYahoo page for
> quite some time and shocked to find that newsfeeds with
> little red XML boxes had just popped up everywhere. Its
> spring on the internet. The new flowers look like little
> red xml pictures.
>
I think you're right. It is funny you posted about RSS in this topic, which is about an article that suggests we consider consciously reinventing some of the basic functions of the internet, such as email. RSS feels more like a distributed, unplanned, unorganized revolution sweeping the internet. So left alone, the internet will likely continue to reinvent itself from time to time. Those little XML boxes are popping up all over the internet like spring flowers, though some of them smell nicer than others.

> So now I've got to figure out how to do all this rss. Its
> sort of like starting over for me. Hey maybe this would
> make a web log?
>
That would be suitably self-referential.

> My observation is that most of what we read in email could
> really be something that could be done with an rss feed,
> then perhaps we could junk the smtp email thing and
> shutout all the spam in one big thunk.
>
I think the author of the article has a point that Spam has gotten so bad that it may be cost effective to move to a completely new email-like system. If you add up how much employee time must be being wasted every day sorting through spam, it must be a huge drain on productivity, and it keeps getting worse. It would be a fun design project, but I have no idea what it would end up looking like.

Charles Bell

Posts: 519
Nickname: charles
Registered: Feb, 2002

Re: Throw Away the Internet: Start All Over Posted: Apr 26, 2003 8:42 AM
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Just about everybody on the internet wants the spam problem to just somehow go away. All the articles I come across on fighting it are defensive measures more than anything. These measures give away one's freedom.

What about a new email type protocol or program "xmtp" with the "x" being extensible and "x" for stamp out spam?

Note: I don't remember seeing an xml email standard at www.w3c.org.

It "is" worth fighting for. The masses would follow like sheep trying to beat the other sheep to the feeding trough. Sounds something revolutionary like Gosling did when java came out.

The spam situation will ultimately lead to an internet revolution to stop it or it will choke itself to death. Its inevitable for survival.

Someone could make a grunch of $$ or euros if they set up an email system where there was no way unsolicited emailers could send you anything, only from those email addresses you choose. All else would be dropped into an internet black hole. Now that I think of it, I could probably do that with Eudora, the one I use, but that would not stop it from being sent. Its got to be stopped in all the routers.

Vincent O'Sullivan

Posts: 724
Nickname: vincent
Registered: Nov, 2002

Re: Throw Away the Internet: Start All Over Posted: Apr 28, 2003 5:29 AM
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> Someone could make a grunch of $$ or euros if they set up
> an email system where there was no way unsolicited
> emailers could send you anything, only from those email
> addresses you choose.

Isn't this what 'whitelist' based security is? If so, it's already common. Even Microsoft's Hotmail has the facility.

Vince.

Charles Bell

Posts: 519
Nickname: charles
Registered: Feb, 2002

Re: Throw Away the Internet: Start All Over Posted: Apr 28, 2003 5:41 PM
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The whitelist security you mention will not stop spammers from "sending" millions of emails. These emails are clogging up the internet. A whitelist program just cans them "after" transmission. These spammers don't care. They are banking on percentages.

I have read in several places that email itself is becoming more and more unreliable. Emails are being dropped enroute.
There is no assurance that you are getting all the emails you think are being sent to you.

You may be getting dropped from distribution lists without your knowing it.

I don't personally fully understand the whole problem and I know I am just a little speck.

Like Bill said initially, maybe its time to start over.

Start a revolution??

Tiago Antao

Posts: 26
Nickname: tiago
Registered: Feb, 2003

Re: Throw Away the Internet: Start All Over Posted: May 5, 2003 10:21 AM
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> Yesterday I discovered what RSS really was. I have read


It would be really good if we had *decent* semantic information available.

If there was a generalized usage of the RSS 2.0 category attribute it would be very easy to generate sites (meta sites?) that would be in fact collections of pointers to other sites with relevant articles,

example:

So, there could be a site that would have a list of selected sites (artima, tss, etc...) and select only the articles on say, JMS. Something like an (automatic) meta-blog. Also, if there were more semantic information (summaries of articles...) it could be really something neat, *your* *automatic* slashdot, cnn, whatever

At the end of the day there would be no need for big information editors anymore (like say CNN) as any person could select their original sources and have an automated process displaying the relevant ones.

Whishful thinking...

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