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How many public IPs does Augusta County have?

September 18, 2009, 7:05 PM

So I was talking to my mother on the phone this evening, and we discussed my day, and one of the things that came up was the stuff I did on Wikipedia during my lunch break this afternoon. As it turns out, I blocked an anonymous user for two weeks for vandalism, whose IP address, 216.12.45.78, is registered to Augusta County Public Schools, which is the school district where my mother teaches, and where I went to middle school and high school.

So I just kind of threw it out there to Mom: “How many public IPs does Augusta County have?” Mom was kind of taken back by that question, since we had a little language barrier here. What’s an IP? What does IP stand for? Explaining that was a little difficult, since in the few minutes I had to explain it, I had no chance of getting Mom to understand, though if I had a little longer, I might have had a way of figuring it out.

And now I did figure out how to explain it, after the conversation, of course. Basically, imagine you’re in a neighborhood. Each apartment building has a street address. That’s your public IP address. Let’s take “123 Sesame Street”, for example. Say that 123 Sesame Street has the IP address 123.456.789.000. Then each apartment inside 123 Sesame Street has a number. Thus the behind-the-router numbering of 192.168.x.x. Thus Gordon and Susan, in one apartment are 192.168.1.101. Bob is 192.168.1.102. Bert and Ernie are 192.168.1.103. Maria and Luis are 192.168.1.104. They all access the world by walking through the halls of 123 Sesame Street, and then going through the front doors of 123 Sesame Street. The apartment is your inside IP address, the hallways are your router, and then the door is your public IP. Thus Gordon and Susan’s computer, with a local IP address of 192.168.1.101, goes through the router and accesses the Internet via the public IP 123.456.789.000.

I wonder if my mother will “get” the concept now.

But ultimately, I’m wondering how Augusta County accesses the Internet. If Augusta County only has one public IP address for all of its schools, then by blocking this little miscreant, I just blocked all 12 elementary schools, all four middle schools, and all five high schools from editing Wikipedia without registering. Thus if Augusta County does indeed have only one public IP for the whole system, my block would affect roughly 11,000-some students and 800-some teachers, according to this site and this site. Based on the contributions history, I’d guess that the person was at Buffalo Gap High School.

So I’m curious to see if I blocked the entire school system, or just one or two schools. I asked my mother, who teaches at my old middle school, Stuarts Draft Middle School, to check out Wikipedia on Monday. See if she can edit an article without logging in. There’s plenty to do on Wikipedia, and considering that my mother teaches writing, perhaps she can improve a sentence or two. I figure that if she’s blocked at Stuarts Draft Middle School, and assuming that the vandal is at Buffalo Gap, I probably did block the whole school system because in that case, the only public IP address is 216.12.45.78 (which I blocked from anonymous editing). If she can edit, then Augusta County has more than one public IP address, and I only blocked one or two schools. I’m kind of hoping for the latter, though I would laugh if I did in fact block the whole bloody school system.

And of course, nothing in this block prevents registered users from logging in from a computer connected to 216.12.45.78 and just editing away. If I went over and visited Mom at school, sat down at her school computer, and logged into my Wikipedia account, I could just edit all day despite the block on the IP.

Web site: Wikipedia:Get over it, a very short essay that I wrote for Wikipedia about those people who won't give up an issue after a matter is basically settled.

Song: Still with the Rock Opera...

Quote: Of course, I've never understood people who go on Wikipedia specifically to vandalize. Vandalism is so unbecoming of people, and as Garfield might say, "The cat is not amused." These people that will randomly insert the word "penis" in an article where it doesn't belong and things like that just make me wonder. Especially when I can revert their vandalism in one click. Seriously, one click, and an edit summary is generated that says, "Reverted edits by xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx (talk) to last version by [whoever]" while sweeping away their trash.

Categories: Internet, Wikipedia