I had been tossing and turning in bed for over an hour before I decided to bring my laptop in here and browse the web for a bit. Again, being sick sucks.
While the NOAA forecast doesn't say this, the Intellicast forecast does: it will snow tonight and tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to it, and if I'm awake when it's happening, I'll take some pictures so you silly Texas people can drool over them.
If you haven't already, read Andrew's comment to my previous post. He definitely has a way with, er, revisionist history. :)
This is the point at which you can stop reading if you don't care about technobabble.
So, I joined this thing called IRCache today. It's basically a network of content caching proxies all over the US...
You don't know what a content caching proxy is? OK, well, it's a program that runs on a server between you and the Internet. When you use a web browser to access a web site, the web browser asks the proxy for the web site, instead of asking the web server itself. If the proxy doesn't have the web site you want, it downloads the content from the web server on the other end of the Internet and stores it on its hard drive. If the proxy does have what you want, it just asks the web server if there's a newer version. If so, it downloads it just like last time. If not, it feeds your web browser the page it downloaded, oh, two days ago.
Most of the time, the last case happens: you ask the proxy for a web page, and there's no new version available, so it just gives you the content it already has. This has the benefits of reducing overall Internet bandwidth use, reducing the time it takes for you to get your web page, and reducing the bandwidth cost to the person or company that runs the web site. So, it works out very well for everyone.
IRCache, this thing I joined today, is a network of these caching proxies. I linked my proxy (located on the server in the closet in my living room) with their proxy in New York (They have one in Pittsburgh, but the one in New York is actually closer in terms of Internet distance (hops).), and essentially, my proxy is now going to feed off that proxy in New York. Because many people use these IRCache proxies, it's fair to say I'll notice a huge decrease in (pseudo-) web site response time, which is good for me, good for them, and good for the Internet. Wonderful!
Incidentally, you too can use this service even without having your own proxy server. Go find that box, somewhere in your web browser preferences, that asks you for an automatic proxy configuration URL. Enable that thing and enter http://www.ircache.net/pac/random.pac. Hit OK a few times, and that's it. You're now on the road to glorious proxy quickness. Your web browser will only ask the proxy for content that's unsecure (HTTP protocol, not HTTPS protocol), by the way, so you won't have to worry about it hanging on to your bank account password or anything like that.
If you want more information, there's a manual/FAQ located here. Section 4.2 tells you how to configure your browser to do this in a bit more detail than I gave.
If you're at work or behind a corporate firewall or something, this may not work. Your company may already have a proxy implemented in a transparent fashion, and trying to use a different one may screw it all up and not let you access the web at all.
Maybe I can sleep now.
Oh, and Taylor: yes, definitely, Katy makes fantastic chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.