Practical Technology

for practical people.

March 24, 2017
by sjvn01
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How search worked before Google

When I started using the Internet in the 1970s, it didn’t look anything like it does today, and our search tools were primitive. But when all you have is stone knives and bear skins, you make do.

Before I ever turned my hand to writing for a living, I put myself through graduate school by doing research on the very first online database systems: NASA RECON; Dialog, now ProQuest; and OCLC. These systems, which are still around, are part of what’s called the Matrix—and, no, I don’t mean the movies. The Matrix, as defined by Carl Malamud, is the superset of all interconnected networks. Today, you can get to ProQuest and OCLC over the Internet, but you’ll find yourself blocked from getting very deep into them without permission.

As for the pre-Web Internet itself, at first it didn’t have search tools. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that the Internet became searchable. When I started using it, we had to go through FTP file directories screen by screen and hope that the file we wanted was in there somewhere.

Then came Archie and Veronica

How search worked before Google. More>

March 24, 2017
by sjvn01
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How to protect your Apple iCloud account

Maybe the London-based hacker group — which goes by the name “Turkish Crime Family” — doesn’t have access to 250-million Apple iCloud account names and passwords. But they do have access to some indeterminate number of accounts, and that’s more than enough reason to exercise caution: Protect your iCloud password and data today or risk losing it tomorrow.

How to protect your Apple iCloud account. More>

March 23, 2017
by sjvn01
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Thanks for the Memcached…

How do you handle lots and lots of database reads and writes? That’s a question some of the biggest websites on the planet, such as Wikipedia and Facebook, face every day. (What? You thought all those up-to-the-minute updates happened by magic?) Their answer?—?and the solution used by many other companies?—?is Memcached, pronounced mem-cash-dee.

Thanks for the Memcached… More>