Suffix It to Say

The tech world's lexicon is full of funny suffixes

3 min read

Implicated in ”the Volgagate” are a group of liberal officers who were caught removing bugs from telephones [and] mixing actual letters and telegrams from Soviet citizens in with the usual phony ones. --National Lampoon, August 1973

In the wake of a political scandal, inevitably editorialists will harrumph and scold, angry citizens will write angry letters, and some wag columnist will tack the suffix -gate onto the name of whatever person, place, or thing is most closely associated with the kerfuffle. The citation above is the first recorded use of the -gate neologism (albeit in a humor magazine), but there have been dozens, nay, hundreds in the years since Watergate, the ur- gate.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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