Ted (merovingian) wrote,

UUDDLRLRBA Start! Just because we use the cheats doesn't mean we're not smart!

So, you know that contest where every year, one lucky user of the internet gets to meet with the original ARPA architects and ask one question? It's gotten less fanfare since The September That Never Ended, but they still do it. This year I won!

As you might expect, they're almost all men, but the assumption-meeting ends there. Some haven't been involved in years; some are still making new RFCs. Some made five-star generals or CEOs, some are fixing vending machines or just enjoying their grandkids. They don't even really see each other except on that one day a year.

"What's the deal with my uncles always forwarding chain emails?" I asked. The question has to be Internet-related, and I couldn't think of anything else.

They conferred a bit and then came back with their answer. "Because they love you, of course. It's a generational thing. Their generation made a habit of sending newspaper clippings to each other if something seemed interesting. Nobody had a national searchable archive, so it was a vital means of spreading valuable information. More than that, though, it showed someone you were thinking of them. You Gen-Xers with your information glut problems see it as getting spammed by family, so maybe you should just ignore the content and interpret it as a note saying hello, no message, just thinking of you. You still like those, right, son?"

"Did you just say that to make me feel guilty?" I asked.

"Sorry, one question only."

Whoever wins next year, could you do me a solid and check on that? Thanks.
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