The Mostly Unhelpful
Here's a list of questions that I expect frequently go through the heads of
first time visitors
Q: What does RFC791 actually mean?
A: RFC791 is the
Request For Comments for Internet Protocol
, the specification for how traffic travels over the internet.
Q: Why'd you choose that as your domain name?
the only thing smaller than 30 characters that hadn't been claimed by
squatters that had anything to do with what we're about.
Q: What are you about?
rfc791.ORG is a place of technological advancement.
The open source movement
has shown that with a little reading, it's possible to create new technologies
in one's own basement. And we here at rfc791.ORG are of the opinion that
better technology will be bred if technological change is brought about by
hobbyists who do what they do to see how well they can do it, instead of by
giant corporations who are out to see how cheaply they can do it, and how much
they can sell it for. My personal experience has been that the hardest part
of getting into any technically challenging hobby is the beginning. It's
hard to find beginner references for topics that you don't know the basic
vocabulary for. But after you get that hurdle out of the way, you're flying.
A lot of that first hurdle can also be self-doubt. We aim to be the spark to
ignite the fire under the butts of tomorrow's amateur engineers.
Q: You speak about "technology" so generally. What are you talking
A: We started out with a few unix machines learning what all the hype was
about, how to write software for them, how to administer them, what a well
designed operating system looked like. We got to see how much universal
acceptance of a technology is entirely unrelated to its technical merit.
We also got to see the fantastic unix toolbox mindset, the ideal that all
technology that had gone before should be fully accessible in simple black
boxes that can be plugged into each other easily, but that can also easily be
opened and reverse engineered.
An effective engineer of new technology
benefits greatly from a more complete understanding of the tools at his/her
For this reason, rfc791.ORG's scope will be expanding from simply being a
promoter of the unix operating system to being a promoter of any passtime from
which one can learn more about the technology around them.
I am currently learning about amateur radio. Ben is
currently experimenting with alternative vehicle fuel systems (he's running
a Mercedes off of used restaurant grease). Joe seems to have a new software
project each week.
Q: Okay, so how does this all tie into rfc791?
A: The internet is the technology to link all technologies. My focus
in unix programming was to design network analysis software; packet sniffers,
port scanners, and the like to understand how traffic flowed over the internet.
My focus now in amateur radio is how to get those same rfc791 datagrams to
flow off the wire into the air. Sure, the technology exists to do that
already in amateur radio: packet radio; there's technology to do it in the
non-amateur world: 802.11. But neither of these things can both operate at
10Mb/s and span 15 miles. There are hams out there trying to find better
ways. In the meantime I'm learning all sorts of
neat things about antenna design, tuned circuits, HF propagation, and software
digital signal processing.
Q: I noticed the little sidebars on your unix help pages. You seem to also
have an interest in history.
A: Without history, there is no future. This ties right in with understanding
the technology that has gone before. Look for more historical reference at
rfc791.ORG in the future.
Q: Do all your pages have a black background because you're trying to make a
statement about free speech?
Q: Why is there no flash on your web page?
A: Same reason tanks don't come with spinners and exhaust kits.