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Networked: Using technology like a boss





Greetings humanoids. Do you have masses of devices all connected with wires? Do you copy music to your SD card or through iTunes to get it on your phone? Have you still not figured out how to print pictures you've taken on your phone and left them there? You noob, what's wrong with you?! This is going to hopefully be a series where we try and rectify that and bring together all of those islands of devices that you have and make them work with each other instead of by themselves. Network.png


Before we get into any practical stuff it's always worth covering the basics so that we're all starting on the same page. If I do go a bit crazy later on and start talking in mumbo jumbo please do stop me and send a virtual slap my way. The first and most obvious thing you've all heard of is with this type of stuff is 'the cloud'.


The cloud                                                                    

What is the web? It's a bunch of servers that store stuff that your computer/phone visits to see. A good analogy is museums or galleries; If you want to see the Mona Lisa you need to go to the art gallery where it is. The idea s the same for websites. This website here is stored on giffgaffs servers and you're visiting it in the same way that you'd go to a gallery to see the Mona Lisa. The cloud is an extension of that in that you request specialist providers to store your stuff which you can go visit or take home with you. The main difference is that digital stuff allows for an infinite number of copies so you can store things in as many museums as you like and make copies and alterations.


Local network                                                             

The role of routers in the home is always misunderstood; to most it's a way of connecting to the internet but that's only half of its job. To understand the role of routers we need a tiny history lesson in the difference between networks and the internet.


A network as you might expect is a series of things connected to one another and talking to each other, a computer talking to another computer or a server for example (a server is just a computer that's made up of mostly hard drives to store files, the name server comes from its role; which is to serve those files out to other devices on the network). Networks have existed for decades but the internet has been revolutionary because it allowed your network to talk to other networks. So now your home network can talk to Facebooks network, or Amazon and Googles network. The key phrase here being YOUR NETWORK. Yes you have your own network. One of the roles of a router is to connect all of the devices attached to it to each other and also to allow them to talk to other networks. Your router at home connects all of the computers and phones attached to it each other as well as to the internet in what's called a local area network (LAN) or 'home network'. The home network is often ignored because most see a router as a means to connect to the internet and nothing else but it also acts as a gateway to let all other devices connected to it talk to each other. We're going to be using both home networks and the internet in this series with a big emphasis on home networks and making them accessible when you're not at home.


See you soon                                                               

There's lots of alleys we can go down from here but next time we'll be going over some cloud storage and file sync like Dropbox and P2P solutions like Bit Torrent Sync. Simple ideas that can have huge practical benefit and the first step on the ladder to becoming a zen technology master.

Ok, on first read through this is all a bit over my head (I'm gonna blame the fact that its Saturday night and I've had a glass of wine), but I'm sure the more I read it the more it will sink in and won't seem like such a foreign language to me (that's not a sleight on your writing, more my ability to absorb tech stuff), and I look forward to the rest of the series Smiley Happy

This looks great, is it going to be a regular Saturday night thing? (Which nights will you get off?! Smiley Tongue)



Think I understood it 

looking forward to the next one


Well Simone I've having this stuff proof read to make sure I don't go nuts and start rambling about things that no human being ever needs to know Smiley Tongue There's going to be a lot of tutorial and external links if you need them and of course I'll always be around. Might even be scope to set up something in contribute where the zen masters and the uninitiated can converge and get things done.


@jordan This is stuff I've been doing with my own stuff so it's mostly documenting my own adventures, so less time consuming than you might imagine. I don't have a schedule or anything although Zobia might force one on me at some point Smiley Very Happy As regular as I can though, once a week sounds pretty good. Smiley Happy


Particularly excited about retasking of old phones. If you just need a device with a network connection and no other fanciness my three year old Xperia X8 here is perfect for that.


@viv3  It can be a tough paradigm to picture in your head, it's one of those things where once it clicks it all makes sense though. I'll be hanging around pretty much all the time and hopefully some other techno ninjas too so don't worry about asking. The theory is always the worst part, it's the practical that makes it all make sense.

The home network section was educational - I should probably take advantage of it personally!


Looking forward to learning more.  I found it was at the right level to understand. Thanks!


A virtual slap has been sent Woman LOL

Stephen I think I'll definitely be making use of any tutorials or external links you provide. I'm of the mindset that all this tech stuff works by fairies and other mythical creatures Smiley Wink I think if someone like me, who's not too au fait with tech jargon can understand (or at least get the jist) of what you're saying then you're doing a good job Smiley Happy

I changed the graphic at the top a bit. Essentially everything connected to the router connects to each other through the router; so your phone connects to your laptop etc. The router also allows all of those to connect out of the immediate home network to other places over the internet, like websites and cloud storage.



I think I prefer the original graphic, as it shows that you don't necessarily need a router to connect to everything, whereas the new image gives the impression that you do