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This is a headshot of Marion Aitken.

As long as we live, we never run out of Firsts.  When elementary school is over, it is followed by high school.  Soon after that comes another first, be it a first day at camp, college, a new job, a volunteer position, a new neighbourhood, country, friend, restaurant, or pair of socks.  Firsts never run out.  I suppose, even our final day can be our very first Last Day.


Driving to a new job recently, I pondered the reality that only superficial things change as we experience Firsts.  Indeed on that 'first day', I wasn't riding a pink Strawberry Shortcake bicycle to my first day of Grade 2 or 3, armed with a fluorescent pink Barbie and the Rocker's lunch box (the one with the built-in thermos compartment), accompanied by my best friend, and a major case of jitters.  The trusty pink two-wheeler was swapped out for a four-wheeled, highway-capable Nissan; I was armed with my trusty Nalgene Bottle and the knowledge that my best friend was thinking of me from the other side of the hemisphere. The jitters were still present though!

First Days and their inevitable jitters are a right of passage.  If there are no Firsts, there is no movement. If the First isn't accompanied by jitters, the question begs asking, "If it doesn't freak you out -just a bit - is that First even worthwhile?"  Firsts are good.  As much as it would be nice to skip their temporary discomfort, that blip of angst on the radar of Life really says "You're alive!"  


As long as we are alive, there will be Firsts; the two are inseparable.  I'm grateful for my First Day at a new job, in a new place, with new co-workers, and I look forward (with some jitters) to the next First, because as long as I can see it coming, I know I'm alive...and I'm happy to be alive. 

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This is a headshot of Marion Aitken.

A very basic explanation of DNS and why we need it.


I know what a website is and that it needs a place (some nebulous server, full of information, somewhere out there) to be stored or ‘hosted’.  And I know what an email is, and that, like websites, there needs to be a storage space for all my emails, (received, sent and deleted).  But what on earth is DNS, and why do I need it?


DNS stands for "Domain Name Server".  Great. That clears it up, (she said sarcastically).


Here at REM Web Solutions, I like to describe DNS as a sort of phone book that works in the background to help users find websites online. Websites have meaningful names, such as, in a language we can understand, because  humans communicate with intelligible words (where possible). On the other hand, servers that connect to the Internet use a number based addressing system that is a lot like the phone numbers we use to connect with people over the phone.  That system is called the Internet Protocol (IP for short).  Here’s one here: and another:  


When people want to buy apart ment furniture, for example, seemingly random numbers are a lot more difficult to remember than simply going to “”, and thus DNS was born to give us all a fighting chance to find websites that matter.


Sources vary, but a recent estimate suggests that, worldwide, there are 45-50 million servers functioning.  Clearly some kind of incredible filing and retrieving system is required in order for us to access the things hosted on any of those millions of servers.  DNS is a database that, upon receiving a “query” (for example, you typing “” into your browser), translates that to an IP address and then uses that to locate the server, somewhere in the world, in which the information for that website is kept (or hosted).


DNS also plays a vital role in connecting email servers so that you can send and receive emails, as well as instant messages. Both of those processes are a more complex than I am describing here, but the bottom line is that DNS makes possible the daily, web-based tasks and entertainment that we value so highly.


Blair Rampling and David Dalan, from DNS For Dummies, summarize it nicely:

In quite a practical sense, any application that uses the Internet to connect two or more hosts to share information, or otherwise communicate, is probably relying on DNS services in one form or another.


Now you know, even if on a surface level, that DNS is important and, like a hidden structural support, it helps hold together the entire "building" of the Internet for us to use and enjoy.

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This is a headshot of Marion Aitken.

At Work

Role at REM:  

Customer Support Representative



Diploma, Scientific and Technical Illustration


Work Experience:  

Photography Retoucher, Graphic Designer, Fine Artist, Administrative Assistant.


Something that Makes Me Smile at Work:  

Clever, unexpected, non-malicious pranks



Web site:

Don't have one.


Your God Is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan 


Popcorn, chocolate, steak

TV Show:  
Don’t have a TV now, but was on a CSI kick when I had one.

Musical Artists: 
No favourites because I appreciate a huge spectrum of genres. Not a fan of Screamo though.  I can even handle Zydeco for a bit.

Time of Day:  

I like different things about each one.

Places in the World:  
Remote, pristine, breath-taking natural areas.

Recreational Activities/Hobbies: 
Hiking, biking, painting.


Don’t have one.


Least Favourite


Cooking and shopping.

Time of Day: 
Between 10:00 pm and sleep.


Crowded, busy, loud places, bursting with people.


More Info

Best Thing Someone Said to You:  
When asked how he was, in casual, passing conversation, an elderly gentleman replied without hesitation: “I am smoother than the fuzz on a toad's wrist.”  

Favourite Quote: 
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 

- Dr. Howard Thurman

My Hero:  
People who don’t know they are heroes, who live life in ways that put others ahead of themselves.

One of the Things I Find Fascinating: 
That we can never know for sure what someone else’s ‘red’ looks like; is it the same as what I see as red?

Most People Don’t Know This About Me:  
I like spiders and can ride a unicycle.

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