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The Famous Brett Watson

Joined on July 20, 2004 – Australia
Total Post Views: 91,455


TFBW has a PhD from Macquarie University (Sydney), with a thesis entitled "Network Protocol Design with Machiavellian Robustness", but works day-to-day as a humble Perl developer. Aside from Internet technologies and computer science in general, his primary interest is philosophy (as the art of reasoned analysis, argument, and clear thinking).

Except where otherwise noted, all postings by The Famous Brett Watson on CircleID are licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Featured Blogs

Comcast's Network Management Practices: A Brief Analysis

Late last week, Comcast officially disclosed to the FCC details of its network management practices which have been a subject of considerable discussion here on CircleID. (My thanks to Threat Level from for providing a convenient copy of Comcast's "Attachment A" in which this disclosure is made.) There's not a lot of startling disclosure in this document, but it does provide some useful concrete facts and figures. I'll quote the more interesting parts of the document here, and offer comment on it. more»

What is Anti-Spam?

There's a lot of argument as to which "anti-spam" techniques are legitimately so called. In this article, I'd like to consider what constitutes an anti-spam technique in an ideal sense, then consider the various practiced approaches to spam mitigation in that light, drawing conclusions as to how we should frame the "anti-spam" discussion. ...For the purposes of this discussion, let "spam" refer to "unsolicited bulk email". Not everyone agrees on this definition, but it's by far the most widely accepted, and without a working definition we won't be able to define "anti-spam"... more»

What's in a Name?

Internet domain names are truly bizarre. There is nothing especially remarkable about them from a technical perspective, but from a social and political perspective they are all sorts of fun. We can have arguments over control of the DNS root, arguments over whether names are property, arguments over innate rights to specific names, arguments over a registrar's right (or lack thereof) to exploit unregistered names for private gain, and many more arguments besides. In this article, I'd like to explore the argument-space rather than defend any particular position in it. In so doing, I hope to illuminate some novel (or under-emphasised) perspectives on the matter. more»

Cornucopia: A Radically Different Approach to TLDs

Much of the discussion about proposed TLDs centres around domain names as a form of classification: ".mobi" for mobile device content, ".kids" for child-safe content, language codes for language-specific content, ".museum" for museum-related entities, and so on. Notoriously little activity has been forthcoming in actually implementing these proposals, and the select few that have been allowed out into the world are, shall we say, a tad arbitrary. I'd like to engage in a little thought experiment where we abandon the "few TLDs with carefully chosen meanings" paradigm, and instead consider the benefits of a cornucopia of completely meaningless TLDs. more»