Caching by Mail

by Alistair

A nice little bit of nostalgia from Stuart Cheshire’s 1996 article ‘It’s the Latency, Stupid’ in its discussion of caching:

One of the most effective techniques throughout all areas of computer science is caching, and that is just as true in networking…

Recently companies have started providing CDROMs of entire Web sites to speed Web browsing. When browsing these Web sites, all the Web browser has to do is check the modification date of each file it accesses to make sure that the copy on the CDROM is up to date. It only has to download files that have changed since the CDROM was made. Since most of the large files on a Web site are images, and since images on a Web site change far less frequently than the HTML text files, in most cases very little data has to be transferred.

I have no recollection of ever encountering this, seeing as I was all of fourteen at the time this was written; maybe that’s why I find it amusing. It’s certainly a great example of Sneakernet in action, and it also illustrates just how much the web’s changed since, and and how unbelievably static is was in its original form.

As they say: never underestimate the bandwidth of a 747 full of tapes. Or, in this case, a postie bike.

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