What is WISL?
The Internet is comprised of a collection of machines that
communicate according to a set of standard protocols. It
has been in existence since the 1960's, and it was discovered
by the masses in the early 1990's with the advent of the
World Wide Web. Surprisingly, however, there is still much
that is unknown about the workings of the internet. In many
ways it behaves like a mysterious organism. WISL is an
application that attempts to find out more about the Internet
by listening to the network.
How can you listen to the Internet?
Each location in the internet may experience widely
differing network characteristics at different times.
WISL monitors the network's status from the vantage
point of the machine on which it is running. WISL
communicates with a central server, which also sends
data back to the application with information about the
state of the network.
Based on the information it receives, WISL plays different
sounds drawn from a cohesive set of sounds, or SoundPalette,
in real time. SoundPalettes can consist of many different
kinds of sounds --- musical or otherwise.
Depending on personal taste, the user can choose the
SoundPalette that is used to generate the current sounds.
WISL is also extensible: individuals can
contribute their own SoundPalettes and/or
NetModules --- the parts of WISL that monitor the
network. As a result, WISL detects a rich variety of
network conditions that get represented in sound.
In a sense, WISL teaches the Internet to dynamically
|Is WISL spyware?
WISL IS NOT SPYWARE. We're explicitly telling you up
front that WISL performs network performance measurements
and the data is used for research purposes. The kinds
of information that are collected are things like
loss rate, latency, DNS performance, which are necessary
for WISL to determine what the state of the network is,
and your IP address which is public info anyway. WISL does
not collect any personal information like credit card
numbers, which web sites you visit or anything like that.
Questions? Please email infoATwislDOTinfo.
|WISL technical info
For portability, WISL is written in Java
and utilizes the JavaSound API. WISL can work with
many different sound file formats. Currently, the open
Ogg Vorbis (OGG) format is supported. We will soon
support other formats such as AIFF, AU, MP3 and WAV.
SoundPalettes consist of XML files that conform to WISL's
soundpalette.dtd file, plus a set of individual sound
files. Multiple sounds can be played simultaneously.
The SoundPalette describes to WISL when to play each
sound. For more information on creating SoundPalettes
see the file
available also in the docs directory of the package.