If you can read this, you might want to skip straight to the content. Also, kindly take a moment to read my rant about Web design—especially if you’re wondering why this site looks a bit…dull.


by Ben Goren

Over the years, I’ve written a few things on various topics. A significant percentage of what you’ll find here on this site I first wrote for classes I’ve taught at Mesa Community College.

For example, CIS105 included a bit on databases. The official textbooks included no theory at all, so I wrote up a little introduction to database normal forms. Read it if you think it’s a good idea to use Excel or Word for mailing lists.

Ever wonder just how your computer manages to get a Web page (such as the one you’re reading right now) or send and recieve email? Then read through my introduction to Internet protocols. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I wrote it because the textbooks for CIS133DA don’t describe anything past “Packets are small bits of information. Routers transfer packets. Look, you can buy books at Amazon!”

Before I started teaching at MCC, I had a near miss with a less-than-honorable graphic designer that has since come to exemplify to me the whole dot-bomb thing. Shortly after it happened, I had used it to describe everything needed to run your own Web site, but that’s since gotten a bit less involved and the true prophecy of the incident has come to light.

I’ve long had an interest in cryptography. For many people, it’s pure voodo, but there’s no reason it should be. Yes, understanding the state of the art requires some seriously heavy-duty math chops, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that a really hot fire makes lots of stuff go really fast out of one end of the rocket and Newton’s third law takes care of the rest. For a quick-and-dirty understanding of how basic cryptography works, have a look at the Cryptography subsection.

While I’ve never paid all my bills by administering networks, I’ve administerd a fair number of networks over the years, both as part of a job and for myself. I’ve collected a distillation of my current thoughts on how to do it right in a paper on Network Design.

That’s it for now. There’s lots more I want to write; expect to see additions sometime real soon now