Despite being a computer engineer I learned about this stuff rather recently. I knew roughly what the pieces were, but not the details. I think it is interesting and great fun to play with.
When you go to a web site the folks running the page/server get your IP address (of course since they have to send the pages/files you request back to you). Your IP address is normally assigned dynamically every time you login to your network. This system is called DHCP. Your service provider (Comcast, SBC, or network administrator at your workplace) takes your Ethernet address which is a unique and permanent address and maps it to an IP address. Ethernet doesn’t mean anything once it leave the building. I believe it is common that the IP address your computer sees is not actually the one that goes out over the internet though. The address is often translated form a local generic address to a more global address based on your service providers assigned IP address range. This happens at the router where your office network meets the larger internet.
So enough of the network stuff… what do I know about you just because you clicked on this page?
1) I know the IP address of your network (but not exactly of your computer).
2) Through a reverse look up in the IP directories I know the name of your service provider.
3) Through some magic I am not quite sure of, I know where you are +/- 10 or so miles. So if you live in the bay area… I basically don’t know anything… however, if you are my one reader from
4) If you “clicked” on a web page to get here, I know where you came from. (however, if you had a bookmark or typed directly into the title bar I do not know anything). Example. If you are reading Norcalcyclingnews and click the link to this page that Mike put up there then I get to know that the “referral” came from there.
5) No surprise that just about anything you click on this page I get a count of.
So what happened yesterday? Well I noticed an unusual amount of traffic after posting my FL story (for the record, it was 100% accurate… but whatever). So I checked the details.
First I saw a referral from a blog search engine… basically someone googled “floyd landis” and found my story in the first hour or two it was up. Then that link was emailed to several people. I know that because the referrals for those were links into web-based email systems. Also a couple directly to the page with no referral… likely a link from a non-web based email system. Several of these first direct-to the story links were from law firms, that I will not bother naming.
Later in the day I started getting referrals from this trustbut site. I don’t really understand it. I went there to take a look. It is sort of pro-floyd fan site, but also not entirely. Maybe it is his legal team. At any rate they linked me and wrote a mildly warm note roasting the story… not a big deal. I wouldn’t call it a flame. Just a toast. BTW, if you did read my old story before I took it down, I believe now that the second guy that was out riding was actual Mr. Suh ... his lawyer. Which just makes this all very weird.
But traffic kept coming and coming from trustbut. Lots of folks who don’t know me, don’t care about norcal track cycling and generally are not interested… just for whatever reason following FL stories. I’m not interested in playing that game. I killed the story. Which I never did get around to editing… it had some potential, but was generally a long winded stinker anyway.
There you go… Internet 101. Your lesson for the day. “what do they know about me when I click on a page”.