Dateline, September 3, 2147
In a rare view of 20th century life, Cyber Archaeologist Ole Anderson
of Minneapolis has discovered an extremely rare throwback to the 20th
century: an ancient IP version 4 packet containing HTTP --the primitive
method that early Internet builders used to transfer data in what
predated our now familiar way of communications.
convinced of the packet's authenticity since IP version 4 packets have
not been seen on the global network in 115 years.
discovered the packet", says Anderson, "I couldn't believe my eyes. It
contained an IP version 4 header which at first I couldn't decipher.
Amazingly, the the contents of the packet are in plain text which means
that I didn't even have to break the primitive crypto algorithms they
had in those days. The packet seems to be directed at what was termed a
We are still trying determine what a `ta-tas' is."
claims that the packet was trapped in a networking equivalent of
suspended animation which preserved it for close to 150 years.
packet got trapped in a MPLS forwarding loop. It was widely believed at
the time that packet life times were unnecessary because routing tables
would converge and that misconfiguration would be rare. This was proven
to be wrong and culminated in what has now known as the Network Panic
of 2002 where a critical mass of packet entropy caused a worldwide
collapse of the nascent Internet. Since then, all packets are marked
with explicit lifetimes."
More remarkable is that Anderson found
the packet at all. The packet was found in an antique shop in Duluth
run by Doris Davenport on relic hardware by a company once known as
Cisco Systems. Cisco, we all remember, was the first company that
officially disbanded in the early 2020's because all of the employees
were worth enough to retire in comfort, some as young as 19 years old.
The packet has been kept alive by the good fortune of battery backup and the bustling market for antique electronics.
certainly fortunate that people are so fond of these relics," says
Anderson, "I guess it must be the blinking lights and the knowledge
that our great-great grandfathers worked so hard on these simple little
As far as Anderson can tell this may be the earliest
known packet yet. It dates to 1999 which was right at the cusp of wide
spread MPLS usage.
"It's hard to imagine that we'll find
anything that predates this packet, so we're examining it very
carefully for clues as to what life was like so very long ago.
Conventional wisdom has always held that it was digital media swapping
that fueled the early Internet, but this packet brings that all into
question because by all appearances it seems to be directed at some
sort of pornography distribution point."
Anderson will continue
his search for more sources of ancient packets to bolster his new and
disturbing theory about 20th Internet economics.