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Last night’s widespread outage of iinet, Australia’s second-largest Internet Service Provider, was bad enough. For hours, many of iinet’s customers had little or no access to the assorted services that they were paying for due to a cooling failure at an iinet data-centre, during record-breaking heat.

Bad enough, but iinet’s communications people actually managed to make things even worse than that, failing to communicate clearly, just when the company and its customers needed it most.

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Some people – indeed many people – feel that the Internet should be a fundamental utility and be handled in a similar way to other basic utilities.

I find it hard to disagree with that, but in many respects, I feel it already is.

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The image of Tateru Nino's Second Life avatar, as if printed in a bookAlts (AKA alternate accounts) exist in pretty much every online and offline service, from Second Life to Social Security. Usually, identifying an online alt is just a little bit easier than identifying an offline alt.

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IPv6, as you’re probably aware by now, is the successor to the current Internet Protocol (IPv4). Developed in the 1990s, it provides more address-space, and has little bonuses like more efficient routing, and small, but measurably improved performance. With IPv4 largely having run out of address-space (earlier this year), and ISPs charging ever-increasing rates for their remaining stocks of IPv4 addresses, there’s a small, but increasing number of systems that are only accessible through IPv6, and a much larger pool that are available through both.

As a major consumer of IPv4 addresses, the question of whether the Lab has any plans to add IPv6 support to Second Life is an interesting question – and one that has been being asked since 2004. However, Lab’s answers take some interpretation at times.

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