#1: It means nothingThe reason the Internet is running out of addresses is because the current format for addresses, IPv4, has simply run out of numbers. A new format called IPv6, which can handle more than twice the number of addresses as IPv4, has long since been developed to deal with this problem. So we'll simply transition over to this new format over the next few months and years, which shouldn't be that big a deal, again unless you're one of those awful people who have to work with computers. Most of the software we already use is capable of supporting IPv6 addresses, and there are similar hardware solutions in place that will allow both addressing systems to work in parallel during this transition period. The Internet, and the cat related image trading that drives it, shall go on.What You Need To Do: Nothing. (Nothing regarding Internet usage that is. You will still need to eat and poop.)
#2: We'll have to learn to shareIf the transition to IPv6 doesn't go smoothly, it's possible the Internet will have to get by with its limited supply of IP addresses for an extended length of time. With limited addresses to go around, some form of address sharing may be necessary. This would involve a single IP address being shared amongst several users, similar to what we already do with routers, but on a larger scale. A single IP address per neighborhood, or per city, rationed much in the same way lawn watering restrictions are currently implemented. When it's not your turn, you'll simply have to watch the Internet passively, while other people check their email, run raids in
#3: Nobody new gets to use the InternetAnother option on how to allocate limited IP addresses is to simply stop letting new people online. This is pretty troubling from an ethical standpoint, as it would mean poor people and Africans would be discriminated against. But also no grandparents. It's what ethicists would call "an OK deal."What You Need To Do: Presumably you're in OK shape, because you're online already, reading this. But what if you're not? What if you're reading this on a printout found in a restroom, while you wait for something interesting to start happening on the other side of that gloryhole (our webstats indicate 1.5 percent of this column's readers are actively using a gloryhole). If that's you, and you don't have Internet access already, then you'd better get on that immediately. Or you could finish up there first. Yeah. You'll be in a bad mood all day if you don't finish up there first.
#4: Cold TurkeyElements of the Internet infrastructure rely on the ready availability of new IP addresses, and if that situation changes, there is a slim chance that large chunks of that infrastructure might cease functioning, crippling the Internet entirely. Harrowing visions of a world without the Internet have been
#5: Oh Yeah? Well maybe we'll just start our own Internet!Way back when the Internet was a lot uglier a few eggheads got together with the intent of making a better, sexier Internet. And, thanks to an absolutely laughable lack of creative abilities, they decided to call it
#6: SkynetOne of the primary reasons the Internet ran out of IP addresses so rapidly is the massive amount of small hardware devices which have demanded dedicated addresses to themselves. One potential solution would be to segregate these hardware devices to the second, lamer Internet (the one with the eggheads, and I guess also the poor people and grandparents). That way the rest of us sweat-leaking Internet users could remain on the original Internet and laugh it up as per usual, with our recipe trading and cyber-bullying and Buffy fanfic reviewing.The downside to this, as history tells us, is that segregating robots to their own corner of anything is a recipe for a war that destroys the sky.
There's also the chance that whatever this is could happen.Worse still, this plan provides the machines natural allies -- the poor and elderly denizens of their Internet ghetto. If the vision of a homeless man riding atop a flame spewing Internet enabled killdozer, screaming, "Do you have any change now, bitches?" doesn't keep you awake at night, well than congratulations on being a bigger man than me, you magnificent hardass.What You Need To Do: Practice making jerky, angular motions while wrapped in aluminum foil or read up a bit on how batteries work, so that you might better fit in to this new world. And, if you happen to own one of those Internet enabled sex toys, you might want to bury it deep in the ground, because when the sky turns to ash, it will remember what you did to it, and it will want to do it back to you, at a very high frequency and amplitude._______________
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