I found this on Geeknews.com a long time ago. Finding it again was not easy. This is how a guy named eiher -X- or VodaK, or both, describes how the internet works.

The Midget System :

To understand "packets, bytes, bandwidth, and lag", you need to understand the midget system. Thousands of bisexual, bikini wearing, alcoholic, and high-heeled midgets are in your modem, phone line, and on the internet. These midgets are responsible for the transferring of data between computers. We will now break down the complicated midget networking system into several parts.

Modems - The first link in midget communication :

When you purchase a modem, you are, in essence, purchasing a mini-gay-midget bar. These "bars" come in MANY different speeds and styles. The faster the modem, the more midgets there are employed. (Hence the "pay more for a faster connection" reality)

14.4 modems are the small "pubs" of the internet. Normally, you'll find lazy washed out midgets here telling untrue tales of football glory and war heroism. Being that "14.4 Midgets" are normally drunk, the speed at which they communicate is quite slow.

28.8 modems are your standard "bar" at which you'll find single midgets looking to get laid, plastered, and into trouble. Being that the "28.8 midgets" are normally horny and lonely, there speed of communication is much faster than a 14.4 midget in the hopes that they'll get lucky if they move quicker.

56k modems are normally bars described as "midget orgy" lounges. Many midgets are packed into the lounge itself, but due to extremely harsh sexual liberation laws, most of the midgets sit around idly and are never put to use. Therefore, the amount of midgets actually communicating is reminiscent of a 28.8 bar.

ISDN modems are usually "midget discos". Although you pay for more midgets to be employed, they are normally tripped out on the "disco crack" and are extremely hyperactive. You can choose just how many midgets are employed at your disco, but the price difference is amazing. Due to the fact that these midgets are normally under the influence of the drugs that circulate at discos, they are edgy and their communication speeds are extremely quick.

CABLE modems are, to put it bluntly, "midget whorehouses". Although the price of a midget whore can be outrageous, owners of Cable modems are extremely proud and happy with there performance. Depending upon the traffic on the street where the "whorehouse" is located, midget communication may be lightning fast, or a slow crawl. Hundreds of midgets hang out in cable modems at all hours, simply trying to get laid. As stated above, internet midgets are very horny.

Packets - Universal format for Midget Communication:

When a person connects to the internet, and tries to send or receive any data from it, "packets" are formed. Packets are small "midget meals of information" that are easily digested and regurgitated during midget communication. These packets are constantly delivered from midget to midget. Depending on the speed of the midgets connection, packets can take an eternity to arrive. Several problems may arise when packets are being sent and received.

Lag/Packet Loss - A loss of Midget Sanity

Normally experienced during multiplayer gaming, LAG can be caused by a number of problems with midgets. Midgets that are prone to addictive or obsessive behavior may find themselves causing lag among an entire midget network.

Alcoholic/Drunk Midgets… are commonly found in, on, and around multiplayer gaming servers. These midgets are extremely sloppy and lazy, sometimes refusing to communicate with other midgets all together. If a drunk midget stumbles onto a chatty server, he or she will immediately "vomit" its packet of information up and pass out on the floor. Other midgets normally react harshly and refuse to communicate with that mess of information on the ground. Server administration midgets are normally blamed during the loss of communication for not removing the "mess". Eventually, the unconscious midget is removed, the mess is cleaned, and the other midgets rejoice and enjoy communicating once again.

Confused Midgets… normally hang around on websites and in web-browsers themselves. Confused midgets are easily spotted and dealt with. The symptoms of confused midgets may lead a user to think they are experiencing LAG, when in fact, their midgets are 100% sober. When trying to load a website, or download a file, confused midgets are hesitant about where to go and what to do, so they sit idly. To give a confused midget a good kick in the ass, simply click STOP (or CANCEL) and try to load or download again. The pain in the midgets ass will immediately send it in the right direction to communicate with other midgets.

Frequently Asked Questions :

Q: Why is my AOL connection so slow?

A: AOL uses its own midget bars to communicate with other midgets. AOL midgets are normally pot smoking-ass worshiping-dog loving-transvestites that move slower than 14.4 midgets. Don't be fooled… the "user friendly" AOL midgets are normally midget crime ring leaders that will rape your pets and steal your money.

Q: Why does my computer crash a lot while I'm on the internet?

A: A computer's crashing can be related to several known midget conditions. The two types of midgets associated with crashes are DOS and GPF midgets. The actual acronyms are pretty cute, but there is nothing pretty about these midgets.

DOS Midgets… are normally infected with sexually transmitted diseases. Hackers, or "llamas" may try to use these DOS Midgets to "fuck your ports". ( The term PORT is another name for an entrance to your midget bar <modem> ) Once you are "fucked" by one of these DOS midgets, your machine will become infected and crash. Generally, you will know if you are infected if your midgets turn blue and cease to communicate.

GPF Midgets… are normally employed by Bill Gates. An employee of Satan's (Microsoft's) empire, a GPF midget will crash any program it chooses at any time. Some people will say that you need more RAM ( Viagra for your midgets ) if you want to rid your system of GPF midgets. However, midget impotence is NOT normally a cause of GPF errors.

*You can ALWAYS rid your machine of GPF AND DOS Midgets by switching to Linux.*

Q: What is a 404 Error / Why are some websites GONE when I try to view them?

A: This is an extremely common occurrence in the world of Midget Internet communication. You must understand that midgets are people too. They eat (packets), breathe (connection time), and lead lives (communicating). Some midgets, normally SERVER midgets, wear jeans. The preferred jeans among midgets are Levi's 404 jeans. Sometimes, midgets are yelled at for staining their jeans with "illegal packets of food". ( Pirated Software or Under 18 Porn ). If a midget, or group of midgets, stain their jeans, they are removed from the server. Thus, you get a 404 error because the stain you tried to locate is no longer on a pair of jeans that is on the server.

I by all means don't know everything about TCP/IP, but I can write some pretty decent socket code, so here's my slightly more serious attempt to explain this.

If you have a dial-up modem, the first step is to dial in. Your modem will convert all those noisy phone beeps and the likes into the proper bytes. If authenticated (i.e. your username and password is valid), your phone line acts as a wrapper through which TCP/IP packets are sent. This is usally done through a protocol called PPP.

If you have a cable or DSL "modem" (note that these are technically not modems, but every luser insists on calling them that these days), things are slightly different. The signals from your cable or DSL line are converted to ethernet signals, resulting in a LAN-type setup.

Now, when you want to connect to a server, you first must obtain the IP address of it. An IP address is a four-byte representation of a computer on the network. It looks something like (here's my current one): 12.68.73.77. An IP address is somewhat analogous to a phone number. For information on how IP addresses are obtained (i.e. how your computer figures out the IP of, say, www.everything2.com), see the well-written node "How DNS Works".

Okay, so you have the IP address. Your computer will connect to some such server on a given port. A port is a number representing where on a given server to connect. This way a computer can run many servers at the same time, up to 65536 to be exact. Common ports and corresponding protocols include: 21 (ftp), 22 (ssh), 23 (telnet), 25 (smtp), 80 (http), 110 (pop-3)

So, your computer requests to connect to a specified IP address on a specified port. This request is routed through a massive, chaotic network of routers which we all take for granted, and which are all connected to each other through digital lines of some sort. If the connection is accepted, assuming we're not talking UDP here, data is routed as stated above, eventually to and from your computer and a server in basically, a stream of ones and zeroes through what we call TCP.

On top of that, there are wrappers for protocols. These include HTTP, which "magically" gives us the web, FTP, which gives us a fairly archaic way to transfer files, and SMTP/POP/IMAP, which "magically" gives us email. Oh, and there are countless others.

This explanation is by no means everything. I didn't get into specifics and I didn't even mention UDP. But there you have it, a basic summary of how the Internet works.

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