The Technical Details


How Did I Come to Own the Name ""?

It is an extremely simple, and relatively cheap process to reserve any web site name that has not been taken yet. First, make sure the name you have in mind has not been taken by typing it into a WWW browser. An error dialog should pop up saying something like "This server does not have a DNS entry" or some such mystic error. Then go to the WWW site and follow the instructions for reserving the name. You get the name in less than 24 hours, and it costs $70 to own the name for two years.

Taking the example of "ski-epic", the only minor complication is that you must tell internic the names of at least two EXISTING machines in the world that can properly "resolve" the name "". "Resolve" simply means that when asked (through the network), the machine reports the IP address (a unique network number) of the machine currently identified as "ski-epic". If you have a lot of high tech friends like I do, that just means two of your friends add your info to their machines to resolve the name. If you don't know anyone, for a moderate fee (maybe $50/year) many businesses will do this for you.

Where Is Ski Epic and How Is It Always On the Net?

Physically, "ski-epic" is a computer sitting in an apartment in San Francisco. It is always powered up, and always on the network. The apartment has a T1 connection to the internet (a dedicated, fast connection). I rent a shelf in this apartment and put my own computer (ski-epic) on that shelf, and run any software I want on that computer. The owners of the apartment supply and administrate the T1 internet connection. This is a fairly original setup called "Hungry Programmers", that I found out about through a friend (Elliot) of a friend (Stuart). Elliot lives across the street from "Hungry Programmers", and probably ran into them at a party some night.

What is the Hardware and Software Behind "Ski-Epic"?

Ski-Epic is a Pentium based PC clone running the operating system "Linux" which is a free Unix available for PC clones. By running Unix, I can log in remotely from anywhere to administrate the web site, add more pages, etc. The web server is Apache. This isn't all that important from a user's standpoint. Ski-Epic could be a Macintosh or a Sun Sparcstation for all the web surfer cares.

This Computer Exists Just to Serve a Single Web Site?

No. The computer "ski-epic" also has SEVERAL other names, and basically pretends to be several machines on the internet at once including "", "", and a few others. All of us share this one PC clone and split the cost, but to the outside world it appears as if we each have our own machine. By joining this loose communal group of friends sharing a computer, I was able to get a very custom setup. For example, if we ever run out of disk space I could purchase a disk and add it to the machine. "Ski-Epic" is a relative latecomer to the group, and I believe that "" was the computer's original name, and Elliot is the main person behind this whole communal setup.

Return to Ski-Epic home page.