The Mostly Unhelpful rfc791.ORG FAQ

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?
A: It was 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?
A: Learning. 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 about?
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 disposal. 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?
A: no.

Q: Why is there no flash on your web page?
A: Same reason tanks don't come with spinners and exhaust kits.