Philip Baczewski, Associate Director of Academic
School is back in session. it's time
for your Internet pop quiz. Take out
a number 2 pencil and a piece of paper and answer the following
You can earn partial credit, but only if your responses are in the
complete sentences. Now, let's begin.
1. How old is the Internet?
If you answered 35, then you are correct. On September 2, 2004, the
Internet officially turned 35 years old marking the anniversary of the
first communication between two computers in a UCLA engineering lab.
Who knew on that fateful day in 1969, that such a little network would
to allow us to buy every kind of collectable imaginable on EBay?
answer that -- it's just a rhetorical question.) See this
further study on this topic.
2. True or False: the World Wide Web was the first Internet
Sorry, the answer to that is "False." There were plenty of Internet
applications before WWW came into existence, the most popular of those
being e-mail and its various support applications, not to mention
and ftp. You get partial credit if you mentioned those and extra
credit if you explained how Gopher was much more popular than WWW for a while.
3. Name three good uses for SPAM.
That's a trick question. There aren't three good uses for SPAM,
mean that canned meat product, in which case "running gag throughout
whole Monty Python show" does count as a correct answer (partial
I suppose if you want to test the capacity of your e-mail system, then
may be useful, but only in the most annoying way. It is especially
interesting to note that since the U.S. Congress passed the CAN-SPAM
to discourage it, the amount of SPAM on the Internet seems to have
4. Choose the most correct answer: my Internet e-mail messages
remain private because of the following reason.
a. I only send messages to my friends.
b. I use an in-house system for all my e-mail.
c. I encrypt all my e-mail.
d. My boss can't read my e-mail.
e. None of the above.
Ooh, so close! The answer is actually "e. None of the above." Why?
Well, once you send an Internet e-mail message you lose all control over it.
Your friends may decide they just have to share it without you
knowing, it's easily forwarded outside of an in-house system, and even if you
encrypt it, somebody has to decrypt it to read it and if they can do
that, they can forward it on in plain text to whomever they wish. It's true
that encrypting e-mail can make it more secure in transit, but once it has
been decrypted, it's just like any message. And, yes, your boss can read
your e-mail on the company-owned system. There's plenty of case law which
supports an organization's control over their business e-mail system.
5. True or False: Microsoft invented the Internet.
You weren't paying attention or think that Bill went to UCLA? Nope.
Bill was a Harvard man before he dropped out and went on to found
Microsoft, market a simple BASIC compiler, complain about software pirates, sell
an OS he didn't have to a very gullible IBM, and go on to become the
richest man in the U.S. (if only that had been my idea, SIGH). Of course,
Microsoft was very late to recognize that that Internet thingy was
going to go anywhere and have spent the last 10 years trying to catch up. Just
this year they've realized that not everyone using the Internet is a good
guy like them. The answer is False, but partial credit if you said that
they just think they did.
How did you do? Well, you'd better keep studying. It's going to be
a long semester.
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