Friday, May 27, 2016

Getting Around

Apparently, I'm currently in El Segundo, California.  Which is odd, as I appear to still be sitting in my living room here in Crapchester.  I've peered out of the windows, just to check, but I'm definitely still in the UK.  My house hasn't mysteriously crossed the Atlantic, then flown over the US to settle on the West Coast.  It's still the usual Toyotas and Vauxhalls driving down the street rather than Buicks and Plymouths.  The confusion arises from the fact that, according to one of the stats services I use on my websites, my current IP address is located in El Segundo, (a coastal city in Los Angeles County, California, if you are interested).  And if you are wondering, yes, I do visit my own sites, it's the easiest way to check they are still up and running and I also like to check they're still displaying correctly after I've posted new stuff on them.  I know that I could block my visits so that they didn't show in the stats logs, but then I wouldn't know where my IP address is placing me geographically, would I?

To return to the point, like most domestic broadband users I have a dynamic IP address, meaning that it changes every so often, particularly if my router is disconnected for any reason - when I reconnect I get new a IP address.  Usually, they place me within the UK, sometimes to a specific city, but rarely one near where I'm actually situated.  As my current ISP is Plusnet, my location is usually given as being in Sheffield, which isn't surprising as they are Yorkshire-based, but it is the opposite end of the country to where I'm physically located.  Previous ISPs more often than not gave IP addresses which located me within twenty miles of here, but now, apparently, I'm in California.  Interestingly, my other main stats service still locates me in the UK but, very oddly, lists my ISP as being 'Wartsila Diesel'!  Odd because, obviously, it is actually Plusnet, (a BT subsidiary, which is why it often shows up in the logs as BT), and, as far as I'm aware, Wartsila is a Finnish company which makes marine engines and power systems, not an ISP.  It's also based in Helsinki, not the UK or El Segundo. 

The way in which stats services assign a location to an IP address is something which has always fascinated me.  Obviously, they are primarily using data about the IP address derived from, mainly, the WHOIS database to determine the ISP it is associated with.  Some simply assume that the location of the ISP is the location of the user: which is why, for one of my stats services I'm currently in California - the IP address is assigned to Infonet Services, a California-based subsidiary of BT, the parent company of my ISP, Plusnet.  (Infonet also uses some IP addresses returning a Sheffield location).  The other stats service clearly uses a more sophisticated look-up service which knows the ownership of Infonet and that the IP address is used by UK located Plusnet customers (it includes Plusnet in the IP information it provides).  The Wartsila Diesel business is more difficult to explain.  It could simply be that they were once the owners of Infonet, I suppose, or that they were a customer of Infonet and the IP address was one once assigned to them, the records of the look-up service having not been updated. 

Whatever the reason, it's clear that I've been getting around quite a bit without leaving my sofa - all that virtual traveling has left me exhausted.  IN fact, I think I might have jet lag thanks to all this hopping across the Atlantic and changing time zones...



Blogger Nasreen Iqbal said...

Perhaps your house is like the TARDIS. Have you checked the date?

2:36 pm  

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