TL; DR: entertaining RFCs, weekend YT channels, a live computer from the 50s and the history of Fidonet

Last time we talked about “Rebuilding” IT monopolies, breaking cookie walls and open source software, and before that – discussed unusual “remote control”, personal information security and then why developers are more valuable than money… Today we share again the main points from our selected materials.

Alex Motoc /
Alex Motoc /

Just for fun: a couple of fun RFCs

The Request for Comments format has been around for over fifty years. During this time, about nine thousand different specifications came out, but not all of them should be taken too seriously.

For example, RFC 8771 describes the network I-DUNNO notation… Its task is to irreversibly obfuscate IP addresses in order to complicate their reading and to assign this area to computer systems.

The 8774th document provided for possible problems with quantum networks the future, namely, 0-RTT, which only TLS 1.3 and QUIC are ready to face. To deal with potential complications, the author proposes list all protocols affected by quantum bugs.

“The computer that refuses to die”

Another find of ours is the Japanese FACOM 128B. This year it turns 62 years old, and the 100th line of these devices is 66 years old. It is worth recognizing that the computer is inferior to its contemporaries (like IBM 701) in performance, but it was enough to design a whole airliner

FACOM compensates for the disadvantages with reliability and ease of maintenance. The 128B also feels great as a museum piece – just one engineer is needed to keep it running. By the way, in article we are talking about other “long-livers” – IBM 402 and DEC MicroVAX 3100.

Our short video about FACOM 128B:

Almost Anarchy: A Brief History of Fidonet

It should be admitted that the founders of this project there was no case before the victory over the Internet, and its name did not come from the nickname of the dog of one of them. Their solution was unique in terms of the lack of active commercialization, although this approach ruined this initiative.

Tom Jennings, who began work on the project in 1983, had the first communication session with a colleague on the other coast of the United States a year later. But from point-to-point to simple tree structure the network was transferred only after a few years. Then there were “points”, “nodes”, “sysops” and “regions”, which set the international scale for an independent project.

Fidonet came to Russia in the 90s, when it was at its peak of popularity. However, by the end of the decade, in terms of the level and speed of development, the Internet did not leave Fidonet not a single chance… On the other hand, the technology itself is still in use – today the Fido Technology Network is still used not only by individual enthusiasts, but also by some banks or even law enforcement agencies.

Explore the Weekend: Books for Network Administrators

We looked at what is being discussed today on Hacker News and other English-language technology platforms, and based on the results of such an analysis, we prepared a compact selection literature

The first book is about the principles of building computer networks with the participation of a leading VMware specialist. It is distributed free of charge – project repository on GitHub, and read – here

Second book Is the bestselling and comprehensive guide for the network administrator. One of the DNS developers called it indispensable for those who work with the cloud and open source software.

Third – from one of the top cybersecurity experts. Here we relied on the simplicity of examples and analysis of situations that a system administrator may encounter.

By the way, here’s a short video review another collection of books – this time with a focus on information security:

A couple of themed podcasts on networking

We reviewed several audio shows and talked about a select few podcasts… So, one of them decided not to continue in 2020, but the program has archive of 85 medium-length episodes that are easy enough to listen to – no special preparation is required for this. The show is suitable for those who would like to deal with a number of basic myths and evaluate profile topics with a fresh eye.

Leading second podcast pay more attention to information security issues. Here the episodes are a little more voluminous, but the format is also different – the fresh episode tells about fighting TrickBot, there is two-part analysis of large-scale data accounting at Yahoo and story about the “Golden Shield”.

English. YT channels about algorithms, software development and architecture

This review, published the other day on our blog, was added to favorites by 123 habrapuser. There are quite popular and relatively unusual projects here, but the format for presenting the material will seem more accessible to many for perception and understanding (after all, there is a visual component).

Key findings include:

A couple of specialized recommendations (Python, Linux, etc.) – in comments to habratopik.

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