My Boring New Hobby

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Over the last couple of days, I've hit upon a new hobby! I mean, aside from writing 12 page briefs on the proper definition of the word "authorization" while on a 36-hour sleepless stimulant binge. This site lets you look up the geographic location of IP addresses. That is, whereas a standard WhoIs lookup tells you information about the ISP that owns a given IP address, this service actually lets you find out what general area is served by that specific range of IP addresses, so you can get a general idea of where the person with that IP address is located.

I mean, this isn't the most amazing thing ever, but it's neat. I can figure out where people who comment on my site live! ... Except I kind of already know where the people who comment on my site live. It'd be more fun if I could get the IP addresses of the folks who get here by random web searches; I could figure out the exact geographic distribution of all the people who keep coming here searching for carstuck videos.

As a consolation, though, I've figured out how to find the IP addresses of people who send you e-mail. You go into the e-mail header, and look for the lines that say "Received from:" followed by server names and IP addresses. Each time a new server gets an e-mail, it adds a line to the header giving the name and IP address of the computer it got the e-mail from. So if you go down to the last line, you get the IP of the sender. So now I can use that site to figure out where people who send me e-mails are sending them from! It's fun for the whole family! ... Except, again, I generally know where people who send me e-mails live. It's pretty much New York and Berkeley. Oh, I can use this to figure out where all those e-mails ostensibly from John Kerry, John Edwards, Howard Dean, and Jimmy Dean are actually coming from.

Speaking of, apparently washed up presidential candidates think I would like to know what exciting grass-roots political action they're mobilizing from their townhouses on the Potomac. If they're reading this, allow me to disabuse them of that notion right now.

So, I've found myself a new hobby for the next few days: Going through my old e-mails and seeing where people sent them from. Maybe I'll find something surprising. Or maybe I'll just waste a bunch of time. Still, it's more interesting than the definition of the word "Authorization."

1 Comment

well, I got here following a link through a've hit the Midwest, at least.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on February 13, 2006 8:52 PM.

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