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robzy last won the day on September 30

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About robzy

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  1. robzy

    Did something just happen?

    It seems more like it's because of you Rob.
  2. FWIW, I just had a proper read of the Networking Systems syllabus, and while there are some horridly outdated things in there, there are some things that remain quite relevant. The first page is a nightmare, but there's some good stuff on the 2nd page. For example; LAN/WAN/VPN, server vs p2p, some of the network components in the right context (routers, switches, NIC as network glue) and security management. I even think that bus network topology could be interesting in the context of how cars these days are essentially a LAN. I'm struggling to think of a context for ring topology though, perhaps an argument could be made that it should be replaced with mesh. Rob.
  3. I don't think that historical models are required to understand the modern one. (Also, historic doesn't necessarily mean simpler, but that's a moot point.) In this case, the depth of history to cover depends on what the course is intended to do. For example, is it about deploying networks, or is it about creating new network technology. The name "Networking Systems" makes me think the former, as does the actual syllabus, and therefore the history isn't as important. It's like if you were studying cars. It would be a different course if you were studying cars to work as a Toyota serviceperson or if you were going to work at Toyota designing the next generation engine. The latter would benefit from historical context and learning about past development, the former would not benefit from learning about the hand cranks used in China in 200 BCE, Al-Jazari's twin-cylinder pump, Samuel Morland's gunpowder experiments, Robert Street's compressionless engine , Carnot's theory of idealized heat engines, Rudolf Diesel's compression ignition engine (note: there's some subtlety here), Ernest Godward's petrol economiser, etc. etc. In a more applied course this would be boring. (Incidentally, all of those things sound fascinating and I'd love to spend the next few hours reading about them on Wikipedia.) That being said, to add colour to my POV and agree with @~thehung, the best future Toyota servicepeople will be the ones that understood the first principles of how an internal combustion works. And, when personal curiosity strikes, they've been given a decent set of core tools and knowledge to use when learning about the history of the internal combustion engine. To bring it back to this hypothetical syllabus we're discussing, I think that learning about IPX/SPX networks would only be worth spending time on in a subject which has an assignment like "what would be some key attributes of a stateless multiplexed transport layer for a cable provider that wants to stream TV, would it be datagram or stream based, and why?" I imagine that a question for this syllabus will be more along the lines of "connect these computers and make them ping eachother" or even "explain how modern traceroute tools work." Rob.
  4. Neither of those points were directed at you, but rather the other interesting conversation that was developing. Sorry that I didn't make that clearer. Rob.
  5. That's honestly fascinating to me, and I'm glad I now know that. But that doesn't mean that we should amend any [plural-of-syllabus] to include this fact It's irrelevant. I think that we ultimately agree (although I haven't read the whole syllabus). Rob. I agree. But going back to first principles doesn't necessarily mean going back in time or discussing bygone technology. Rob.
  6. Huh? I don't understand your point here. I disagreed with some of the statements in your post, so I posted my take on things. Why do you have a problem with that? Nevertheless you miss my overarching point: The "relevance or lack therefore to foundational knowledge" is meaningless when the scenario is that the kids are bored with the computing subject and enrolments have gone down. Again, I'm no pedagogy expert, but it seems to me that a syllabus should avoid including topics for reasons that (a) the creator thinks its interesting, or (b) its relevant to the creator. I don't mean to rant on about this, I just honestly find it fascinating. I strongly disagree that the history of IT is necessarily important. I agree that history is important for science, because its the study of curiosity and discovery which we can learn a lot about how it was done in the past, but it doesn't apply to IT in this context. I think that's the right way to see it. I just had a read of the Rational section of the syllabus, and it made pretty clear that it was about the applied side of things.
  7. I agree that the knowledge is "good to have" (for some definition of "good to have") - but this doesn't hold up when the scenario is that the kids are bored with the computing subject and enrolments have gone down. While I'm not an expert in pedagogy, but I don't think the situation will not be improved by telling kids "one day you might work in corporate IT!" or "one day you might come across a domestic ethernet network!" It would be interesting to hear the opinion of a professional, although I also note that we've drifted way off the OP's topic. Rob.
  8. There's so much misinformation here that it makes my head spin. [edit]: The one caveat I should add is that I probably shouldn't've said I'm "totally across" IPX/SPX. Bad choice of words. I meant that having a working knowledge of other network/transport layers (e.g. TCP/IP) gives you plenty of background to grok IPX/SPX if you needed to. Rob.
  9. I wish I could claim that it was a typo, but I didn't even realise they were different words *shamed*
  10. Sheesh. I think I see why the scenario is that kids have gotten bored of the subject. And here I was arguing that Ethernet isn't even worthwhile... Rob.
  11. I don't know what budget is realistic, but it might be worth looking into Espressif's ESP32. You can pick up generic clones for less than $10 a pop and they come WiFi equipped. Espressif have a software set that makes them as easy to program as an Arduino https://github.com/espressif/arduino-esp32 . That's only true to an extent. If you understand the new tech you won't have trouble applying the same principles to understand the old. I'm surprised they still cover IPX/SPX, I've never learned about it, but I'm sufficiently familiar with TCP & UDP that it took me a few minutes of flicking through Google to be totally across it. Haha, you're straw-manning. TCP/IPv4 is not a great example of the bygone tech I'm talking about. Rob.
  12. Kothos: You have to stick to the official computing syllabus? That makes it more difficult. Indeed, those suggestions are relevant for you, but not a current 16 year old. The suggestions would've been interesting to a 16yo around 15 years ago. I know this because 15 years ago I was a 16yo that would've been interested in your suggestions. In the past there was more overlap between the corporate networks you're talking about and the home networks the kids are familiar with, so it would've been more relevant to the kids. Nowdays there's much less overlap, and a Networking Systems topic that included ethernet would probably feel like an Authoring and Multimedia topic that included VHS. Of course, all this would be moot if the syllabus requires the teaching of old tech. Rob.
  13. Heh, I like that idea, but it works better if the scenario was "we need to do this as efficiently as possible." Not so much when the scenario is "the kids are bored with the computing subject and enrolments have gone down." To my mind, what you want to do is to convey the fundamentals of networking to them using things that are relevant to them. To add to my list above, a key component of networking is handling growth. In the olde days this would be about hubs and switches. But to kids these days? I bet that WiFi access points and repeaters would resonate more and still convey the fundamentals. Bonus points if they go home and apply their knowledge by telling their parents how to fix their flakey WiFi.
  14. I think you're onto something. Cables? No one uses them any more (if you'll excuse the hyperbole). Let's talk about WiFi. Let's play with a few different specs (802.11a, 802.11n) and learn that WiFi can run on different frequencies with different characteristics (5.4GHz is faster than 2.4GHz but won't work as nicely through walls etc.) Let's play with different security schemes. Even if its just WAP and the deprecated WEP. The deprecated WEP could be fun because you could actually demo in class how easy it is to "hack" it. Maybe talk why its easy to be hacked (40-bit encryption key means only 1 trillion possible combinations, which is nothing for a computer. WAP has 10^19 possible combinations which is a lot even for a computer.) Let's setup MAC restriction, so that we can block our friends from our network even though we gave them the key. We could even talk about white lists vs black lists which are a tenant of IT security. Lets talk about mesh network vs centralised networks. This is applicable in WiFi, Bluetooth, and is incredibly topical in computing as a whole with the concept of distributed systems (see Bitcoin, Ethereum, IPFS, etc.). Servers? No one uses them any more (if you'll excuse the hyperbole). Let's talk about cloud. Or how we can make "someone else's computer" to be "our computer". Play with some virtual machines and maybe even containers. This doesn't even need to be so technical. There's a wide range of SaaS solutions that talk to eachother. It might be really cool to setup a Slack and start integrating it with other services. For example, use Trello to manage homework and store all work on Github (but KISS) and play with the Slack/Github/Trello integration. This the modern form of "networked systems." Both Google Cloud and Amazon's AWS has a whole set of IoT functionality. They both also offer free resources for education purposes (hint hint). There's some complexity here, but it would be cool if you could cut through it and actually have the kids build a real system on them. Device management and security. Any organisation these days is made up of oodles of laptops, tablets, and phones. How do we manage all of these? Can we even play around with some VPN tech? Bigger picture items... How does the NBN fit together? E.g. what technologies are being used and what are the different roles that companies play. How does domain name registration work? All that being said, at face value I think a good 10 week project would be: Building a WiFi network to support a number of IoT devices which can be managed through Slack (or a cloud IoT solution).