17 – The secret to finding out how many Apple employees dig your stuff

January 5th, 2013 Jeremy Jeremy

Image 1-5-13 at 11.09 AM
Don Melton has been penning some fascinating stories about the early days developing Safari. In his latest post he talks about how he kept Safari a secret.

His main challenge? Server logs.

Back around 1990, some forward-thinking IT person secured for Apple an entire Class A network of IP addresses. That’s right, Apple has 16,777,216 static IP addresses. And because all of these addresses belong together — in what’s now called a “/8 block” — every one of them starts with the same number. In Apple’s case, the number is 17.

IP address 17.149.160.49? That’s Apple. 17.1.2.3? Yes, Apple. 17.18.19.20? Also, Apple…

I was so screwed.

To make a long story short, he successfully hacked his way through and preserved both Safari’s secrecy and his own head.

The cool thing is that Apple still owns and uses that block of IP addresses. So egotistical webmasters everywhere can see how many Apple employees have been reading their stuff or checking out their apps. All you have to do is check your logs (usually available through your web host’s panel interface) and search for IP addresses beginning with 17.

Don mentioned to me that there is one caveat: “often external CDNs serve up Apple content.” So it’s not always a sure thing but don’t let that stop you from letting a few 17s in your logs brighten your day and give a few loving strokes to that all important ego.

To my Apple employee readership, I’m sorry if this a bit creepy. We love you guys.

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