An Unexpected Detour on the Information Superhighway


Good morning Everyone!

The day after Memorial Day, I spent about an hour working on a “Beginning of Summer” post.  I saved several drafts of it while in the WordPress.com New Post area, but while I was trying to upload some of the pictures, I got a message that my computer was blocking out certain images.  Since the message gave me the option to do so, I chose to look at everything without blocking.  The computer obliged me and reloaded WordPress, but somehow in the process, all the work I had carefully saved was lost.  FN.

Uh Oh!

Uh Oh!

This poses quite a mystery to me, since I can’t imagine what happened to all that information which was supposed to be safely stored on the WordPress servers.

head scratching, wondering, thinking

From http://www.clickartonline.com by Broderbund. All rights reserved.

We have digital internet, which means that information from my computer passes to the WordPress server in separate packages of information, called bits.  In a perfect world, I would be the only person working with the WordPress servers, and my little packages of information would be the only ones out there traveling the information superhighway.  In that case, the travel would look something like this:

digital internet bits

One Traveler on the Information Superhighway

Since, as you already know, this world is not perfect, I am willing to bet that there is NEVER a time when only one person is using the WordPress servers, and that more often than not, the path to the WordPress servers looks like New York City traffic at rush hour, something like this.

digital bits internet routing

Many Travelers on the Information Superhighway

The beauty of the digital internet and digital bits and routing hardware and software that I don’t begin to claim to understand is that, in a heavy traffic situation, the little bits of information coming from my computer (the red stars) somehow know to search for the least traveled route to WordPress, meaning that my information still gets to WordPress very quickly, even if the path to WordPress taken by my bits is longer than the original route.

digital bits routing alternative

My Bits Taking the Road Less Traveled By (With apologies to Robert Frost

So far so good, right? Everyone still with me? Anyone need an air horn blasted by their ear to wake back up? Here’s the problem, however  – when I saved my work on WordPress, my bits started traveling from my computer to the WordPress servers, but in the interim, when I told my computer to show me everything, the bits disappeared. WHERE DID THEY GO? Where do all the bits that somehow drop out of sight end up? After careful thought, all I can offer you is a few suggestions.

lost bits routing digital internet

Possible Detours on the Information Superhighway

Take Saskatchewan, for instance.  Saskatchewan is a Canadian province directly north of the states of Montana and North Dakota, with a population of just over 1,000,000 people as of 2011.  A bit from the Great State of Alabama would enjoy kicking back in the summer there for vacation, where temperatures range with highs between 75 and 82 in July, while back here at Alabama we will be somewhere between 95 and 100 with 100% humidity.

moose, royal canadian mounted police

Welcome to Saskatchewan!
from http://www.clickartonline.com; Copyright protected.

Timbuktu, on the other hand, represents mystery and adventure and a bit aiming for a little excitement on vacation could do quite well kicking around there for a while.

Safari, traveler, explorer

A Bit Exploring Timbuktu; from http://www.clickartonline.com; copyright protected.

As any airline traveler in Alabama knows, Alabama bits must go through Atlanta to fly to anywhere else in the United States or the world, AND the Atlanta airport takes some skill to navigate correctly.  I am positive that there are thousands of bits wandering desolately through the Atlanta airport looking for the right flight to take them on to their ultimate destination.

Aerial, Atlanta Airport

Atlanta Airport; Photograph released into the public domain by Nikon

A bit that is either 1) just plain lost or 2) looking for a very quiet place to relax  could end up somewhere like Franklin, Georgia, population approximately 950 people, on the banks of a river with a river walk and a boat launch.

Bits that wind up in Seattle are looking for higher education at the hands of Microsoft, Cray or Amazon, among many other available tech companies in the area.  Since a higher education takes years to achieve, these bits will stay off the highway long enough for it to have changed completely and for them to have forgotten their original mission.

Seattle

Downtown Seattle; photograph by Daniel Schen, from Wikimedia Commons

The bits that end up in Shangri-Law, the corporate law division of the paradise known as “Shangri-La”  live in a fantastic venue, but have to work hard, too.  It’s not easy policing the information channels of the world to ensure that Shangri-La remains a myth and that any information that might allow world travelers to discover its real location is removed or distorted.  These bits also will not be allowed to leave without a complete memory wipe, lest they deliberately or inadvertently lead others there.

Shangri-La, Sky Captain

Shangri-La, the location of the celebrated corporate law firm of Shangri-Law

I envy the bits in Never-Never Land – they get to play in the many computer games Peter Pan and the Lost Boys have acquired over the years (just because they don’t grow up doesn’t mean they haven’t kept up with the latest toy trends.  Rumor has it that even Tinker Bell has been seen playing with her cell phone and a fashion designing app.)

The bits that end up in the South Pole are dedicated to scientific research, since that is the only reason bits or people currently travel to the South Pole.  It makes me feel a little bit better to know that at least some of my earlier post was lost to ensure the advancement of humankind’s knowledge about the world we live in.

Penguin, South Pole

Travel Poster for Bits Enticing Them to the South Pole
from http://www.clickartonline.com, copyright protected.

If you have any stray bits wandering around out there, I’d love for you to let me know where you think they might be hiding!

Have a great day!

Nancy

FN.  There is nothing, I mean NOTHING, more irritating to a writer than to completely lose a piece he or she has put time, energy and imagination into writing.  It’s almost impossible to recapture the flavor of the original piece from memory.

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One response to “An Unexpected Detour on the Information Superhighway

  1. Love the ladder diagrams. Back in time before computer control I worked with these. They’d get so complicated the last instruction was always to cut into 4″ strips. place them on a roll, and install in bathroom.

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