Tag Archives: Internet

How does clearing browser cache/cookies fix a lot of website issues?

In the case of a web browser, sometimes temporary files and cookies are not current, or even become corrupted. Either way, if changes were made in the browser when trying to load, if the browser is attempting to use what is cached and it is conflicting with what the website currently has, then it can load badly or not load at all. So clearing it forces the the browser to load it as if it were visiting the page for the first time.

Also to note, sites that use a page count, such as newspapers who allow a limited number of articles to be read without a subscription, use cookies and temp files to show that this browser/pc has read x-number of articles, which would cause it to load that annoying screen prompting you to log in or subscribe. Clearing the cookies removes that reference point.

How do Facebook ads know what we searched on Goggle?

When you search things on Google or visit websites, what you’re looking at gets stored somewhere in your browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox etc), in the form of what is called cache data.

When you sign into Facebook, you give them permission to just reach inside the jar of recent searches within your browser, and they look at what they can use for adverts, such as products you’ve viewed or even looking at flights for a holiday. They then show these adverts to you hoping you’re more likely to click on them because they know you’ve already searched for that stuff before, and clicking on ads often gives them money.

In short, searches are stored in a big jar of cookies and Facebook has permission to reach into this jar and feed you the ones it knows you like.

How do people who end up in viral videos and/or memes suddenly become rich? Where does the money come from?

The money comes from advertisements.

Take a YouTube video for example. Once a YouTuber gets enough subscribers and views on their videos, they have the option to enable ads. Have you ever seen an ad on a video? Yes, those are the ones.

What happens is that companies makes ads and pay YouTube to show them on their websites (and videos). When a video is posted, one can enable ads to show on the videos. When a viewer clicks the ad, the creator of the YouTuber will get a certain amount of money, and YouTube itself will get a certain amount of money.

In essence, the companies make the ads, pay YouTube to show them, viewers click on the ads, and YouTube shares a small commission to the creator of the videos.

If the video turns viral, that portion can turn quite huge.

Who owns the Internet? Is it the US Government?

Nobody and yet everybody owns the internet! The network of internet was originally developed by the US Government because it had provided necessary funds to the ministry of defense (Pentagon) and the participating research universities. Had internet been invented by private sector then the inventor company would have put it in the market on commercial basis but in the capitalist USA neither the government nor the universities carrying out research from the funds provided by the government indulge in business. The US government has stuck to the wise policy of not riding two horses – governance and business – at the same time. Earlier also, the government had transferred the inventions of AM and FM radio, and UHF television to the private sector after sponsoring them with the public funds. Although the US Government has not given up control of internet’s backbone-like core cable network, it has refrained from harnessing this monopoly for profit making.

As a result, a number of internet service providers (ISPs) sprang up in the private sector. They created their own small and local networks of subscribers and linked them with the internet. In this manner the coverage of internet went on expanding till it became worldwide network. The last vestige of US Government’s ownership over internet was severed during Bill Clinton’s presidency in 1998 when the internet’s domain name system which authenticates electronic addresses of the internet users, was transferred to private companies.

Although internet is no longer owned by the American Government, it is still in the position to exercise some indirect control over it. Hence, in a way, it will not be entirely correct to say that internet is completely independent of the US Government. Now the authority for authentication of domain names or online addresses of internet users vests with Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers / ICANN which has its headquarters in California State of the USA. Suffixes following the names in the domain names such as .com, .org, .edu etc also must have prior approval of this agency. Since this corporation is under control of US Department of Commerce, the control in respect of domain names is ultimately in the hands of the government. Therefore, in the ultimate analysis, the US Government has the casting vote on who is to be admitted to the internet (or not). As this situation is not acceptable to some countries, they would like to have ICANN under international control.

More reading:
Internet (Wikipedia)
ICANN (Wikipedia)

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Where is all the information data on the Internet stored?

There is no centralized storage of data at any one place but it is stored in the hard disks of numerous web servers all over the world. Web server is also a computer, but it’s a jumbo-sized mainframe computer having different functions. It consists of a number of cupboard size racks known as data centers which are connected with one another as well as with the Internet.

The volume of database stored in these data centers is simply mind-boggling and can exceed the data that can be contained in 1,000 volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica. To which web server the demand of Internet user will be directed will depend upon the web service selected by him. Various web services (or websites) such as Google, Yahoo and Ask.com etc are available. Assuming that the Internet user types www.google.com, he would get connected with Google’s web server situated in California State of the USA.

In view of practically limitless information data stored on the Internet, one question crops up in the mind: How is the information called for furnished within moments? Why the task which is like searching a needle in a haystack, does not take more than three or four seconds? No doubt the task is difficult but systematic classification of information makes it easy. Indexing system in the web server can be compared with a large tree having numerous branches. Commencing search from all individual branches, web server checks each branch by subject name to locate the data on specific subject at lightening speed and withdraws from database the data file held under the required name. Since the transmission of data also takes place at lightening speed, it does not take long to appear on the user’s computer monitor.

One interesting bit of information: Web servers all over the world also contain information running into thousands of terabytes for which no demand has ever been received! On one hand, there are no takers for substantial volumes of information whereas on the other hand, information keeps on accumulating on Internet at the rate of 700,000 web pages per minute!

Such a massive accumulation of Internet database at mind-boggling speed makes one think that inflow of fresh information must dry up sooner or later. Such doubts entertained by some experts in the past also have been proven groundless. There’s not likely to be any shortage of storage space for ever growing information database either, because those who launch websites have to pay a fixed sum to the web services selected for storage of web sites per megabyte; and with that money in the kitty the web services can go on setting up more servers.

Additional reading:
Internet (Wikipedia)
Web server (Wikipedia)

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What is RSS feed and RSS aggregator?

RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’ or ‘Rich Site Summery’. It is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, web blogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.

RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually.

Special computer programs called “RSS aggregators” have been developed that automatically access the RSS feeds of websites you care about on your behalf and organize the results for you. (RSS feeds and aggregators are also sometimes called “RSS Channels” and “RSS Readers”.) One of the popular feed readers is Google Reader.

More reading:
RSS (Wikipedia)
News aggregator (Wikipedia)

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What is email spam? Where is the word ‘spam’ derived from?

The term is derived from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a British TV comedy. The word ‘spam’ was sung therein repeatedly and loudly, drowning out conversation.

Email spam works much the same way, since it creates a great deal of clutter and chaos in the internet traffic. Email spam is the unsolicited email sent out to large number of people at the same time. It is also known as ‘bulk email’ or ‘junk email’. It is estimated that spam accounts for more than 80% of all emails in the USA today.

More reading:
E-mail spam (Wikipedia)

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Who invented the word cyberspace? What does it mean?

Cyberspace is a term popularized by author William Gibson in the year 1984, in his novel Neuromancer, in which humans “jacked” or projected their disembodied consciousness into Earth’s computer “matrix” and then roamed wherever they pleased. Cyberspace exists only as digital bits stored and traveling on a computer network. The term borrows from the word cybernetics, coined by mathematician Norbert Weiner in 1948. Cybernetics is the discipline that compares electronics control systems to the human nervous system.

The closest thing we have to the true cyberspace today is Internet, but the term has also been appropriated to refer to the realm inhabited by more prosaic online services. If your email messages take a long time getting to their destination, they must be stuck in cyberspace.

More reading:
Cyberspace (Wikipedia)
William Gibson (Wikipedia)
Norbert Weiner (Wikipedia)

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