[Editor's Note: Coder and activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide Jan. 11, 2013 in New York. He was 26 years old. See Wired's early coverage for details.]
When a great baseball or basketball player leaves the game they retire his or her number. That means the jersey hangs from the ceiling, or there’s a plaque at the stadium, and no player on the team ever wears that number again.
On the web, retiring a number would mean the website is permanently registered, and the content is preserved so it lasts as long as the web does. That means the contents of aaronsw.com will be there forever. It will never become a porn site, or a landing page, or whatever.
Right now there is no way to do this. Isn’t that strange. We could fix it if we want. The internet is just software. It would be a small but worthwhile hack and could set a precedent for future memorials.
Dave Winer, a former researcher at NYU and Harvard, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software. A former contributing editor at Wired magazine, Dave won the Wired Tech Renegade award in 2001. Follow @davewiner on Twitter.
If you’ve ever looked at a common web technology, protocol, service or piece of internet infrastructure and wondered aloud if Google was working on its own better, faster version of it, rest assured that the answer is almost always, “yes.”
The company announced Thursday that it is launching a public domain name system (DNS) service. On the Google Public DNS project’s website, Google tells us why DNS matters to everyone:
The DNS protocol is an important part of the web’s infrastructure, serving as the internet’s phone book: every time you visit a website, your computer performs a DNS lookup. Complex pages often require multiple DNS lookups before they start loading, so your computer may be performing hundreds of lookups a day.
The company’s plan, in its words, is to make those lookups happen faster, more securely and without redirects.
To start using Google Public DNS, set your network controls for the heart of Google’s servers, which live at the very cool IP addresses 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52.
If you set it up, let us know how it performs for you.
Google will always swear it isn’t up to no good, but some feel this launch is clearly a move to collect as much user data as possible to use for ads, better traffic routing and, of course, improving search.
One thing to note: in the project FAQ, Google says it does not plan to release Google Public DNS as an open source project, and as of now, it is an experimental service with no software license agreement that is only designed to be implemented within Google.
Of course, the web already has a free, fast DNS service you can use in tandem with or as a replacement for your ISP’s DNS service. It’s called OpenDNS, and it offers more control over your experience than Google does.