The Traceroute Project
Welcome to The Traceroute Project
This project is now closed for submissions - please go to the results pages to see the outcome - thank you for participating!
There are three results pages; the original one is here; I have also made an easier text copy here; and there is also additional material here, created by J. Lehmus. For the original project, please read below:
The Traceroute Project will look at the health of the Internet, on December 31, 1999 and January 1, 2000. During this period, Y2k problems are expected to surface world-wide.
The Project will give us a MAPPING of the world-wide telecommunications system on the eve of the millennium (yes, there's another eve coming up!) - it will be a rough portrait of world-wide Internet accessibility. The result - a series of chartings of connections between computers everywhere - will be a new kind of writing / reading - looking at the raw data sent in from viewers, interpreting it as an image of the ELECTROSPHERE itself.
(The results and contributions are found at the trAce Online Writing Community; the Project is by Alan Sondheim, current Virtual Writer-in-Residence at trAce.)
Traceroute is a tool used by system administrators and Net users in general to examine connections between any two computers online at the same time. Traceroute sends packets - small bits of data - to all the machines between the target machine and your own location. Three packets are sent at a time to each of the machines (routers), and the results are presented in a table. I am asking contributors to use traceroute, between their home machine and others online, during this period - and to send the results to trAce - along with their location, the date, and a description of the effects of Y2k on their local environment.
For example, I live in Brooklyn; I might do traceroute between my machine in Brooklyn, and a machine in Perth, Australia; I would add the date, my location, and a description of the effects of Y2k on New York City (as far as I could tell). I would then paste this into the project URL, which is at (closed submissions form) - the results are at http://trace.ntu.ac.uk/writers/sondheim/routout.cfm.
The result of all of this will be a mapping of the Internet membrane, checking out its nerves and state of mind, during the Y2k millennium crossover. This is one of the peak dates for the evolution of technology, and The Traceroute Project will attempt a picture of at least some of it.
We'll keep the results up, closing the submissions on January 1, 2000.
How to Participate
There are 3 different ways to participate in the Project.
The EASIEST way is to go to http://www.traceroute.org and follow the instructions to traceroute your own location from any number of sites around the world. For example, I am firstname.lastname@example.org, and I can use the site to traceroute a location, say, in France, back to my location at panix.com.
If you use traceroute.org, simply cut and paste the results in at trAce, and don't forget to add the date, time, what's happening (in terms of Y2k problems) in your location, and your location itself.
The SECOND way to participate - if you have Windows 98 or 95 - is to go to the DOS prompt (generally through Start / programs) and use the built-in tracert facility. Just enter
tracert address >> trace.txt
for example, where "trace.txt" is the file into which you will put the results of your work. You can also put date >> trace.txt and time >> trace.txt - and then, when editing the text, you can add information about your location, and what's happening there. The text can be edited in any text editor, of course - it can then be pasted in the trace site. Please note the use of double carets >> instead of > - the double ones mean that new information will be APPENDED to the file, instead of rewriting the file with ONLY the new information. (There is an example below.)
And the THIRD way to participate - if you're on Linux or Unix - is just to use the traceroute program - you can do "man traceroute" at the prompt to get help.
Again, you PASTE your results at (closed submissions page) and you can READ the results at http://trace.ntu.ac.uk/writers/sondheim/routout.cfm.
Here is a sample traceroute entry. This was made from my home computer to a site in Australia, cleo.murdoch.edu.au. I had to double click on date and time, since the prompt asks for new time and date, and I didn't want to change anything. And I added "Brooklyn, New York, USA, from panix.com" by hand.
The commands (entered at the DOS prompt) were:
date > zz (places the date in a file zz)
time >> zz (adds the time to zz)
tracert cleo.murdoch.edu.au >> zz (traceroutes in Windows98 to zz)
The result follows:
Current date is Mon 12-20-1999
Brooklyn, New York, USA, from panix.com
Tracing route to cleo.murdoch.edu.au [22.214.171.124]
1 138 ms 139 ms 140 ms isdn2.nyc.access.net [126.96.36.199]
Thank You for Contributing!