An engaging, narrative tour behind the scenes of our everyday lives to see the dark beating heart of the Internet itself. We are all connected now. But connected to what, exactly? In Tubes, journalist Andrew Blum takes readers on a fascinating journey to find out. When former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska famously described the Internet as “a series of tubes,” he seemed hopelessly, foolishly trapped in an old way of knowing the world. But he wasn’t wrong. After all, as Blum writes, the Internet exists: for all the talk of the “placelessness” of our digital age, the Internet is as fixed in real, physical places as any railroad or telephone ever was. It fills enormous buildings, converges in some places and avoids others, and it flows through tubes under ground, up in the air, and under the oceans all over the world. You can map it, you can smell it, and you can even visit it—and that’s just what Blum does in Tubes. From the room in Berkeley where the Internet flickered to life to the busiest streets in Manhattan as new fiber optic cable is laid down; from the coast of Portugal as a 10,000-mile undersea cable just two thumbs’ wide is laid down to connect Europe and West Africa to the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, where Google, Microsoft and Facebook have built monumental data centers—Blum visits them all to chronicle the dramatic story of the Internet’s development, explain how it all works, and capture the spirit of the place/ Like Tracy Kidder’s classic The Soul of a New Machine or Tom Vanderbilt’s recent bestseller Traffic, Tubes combines deep reporting and lucid explanation into an engaging quest to understand the everyday world we live in.
Author: Andrew Blum
Release Date: 2013-05-17
Blum has created a lively guide to the very physical-world upon which our cyber-lives depend.—The Globe and Mail When your Internet cable leaves your living room, where does it go? Almost everything about our day-to-day lives and the broader scheme of human culture can be found on the Internet. But what is it physically? And where is it really? Our mental map of the network is as blank as the map of the ocean that Columbus carried on his first Atlantic voyage. The Internet, its material nuts and bolts, has been unexplored territory. Until now. In Tubes, journalist Andrew Blum goes inside the Internet’s physical infrastructure and flips on the lights, revealing an utterly fresh look at the online world we think we know. It is a shockingly tactile realm of unmarked compounds, populated by a special caste of engineer who pieces together our networks by hand; where glass fibres pulse with light and where creaky telegraph buildings, tortuously rewired, become communication hubs once again. From the room in Los Angeles where the Internet first flickered to life to the busy hub in downtown Toronto that links Canada to the world; from the coast of Portugal, where a 10,000 mile undersea cable just two thumbs wide connects Europe and Africa to the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, where Google, Microsoft and Facebook have built monumental data centres, Blum chronicles the dramatic story of the Internet’s development, explains how it all works, and takes the first-ever in-depth look inside its hidden world.
Everybody knows that the Internet is the most powerful information network ever conceived. It is a gateway to information, a messenger of love and a fountain of riches and distraction. We are all connected now, but connected to what? In Tubes, acclaimed young journalist Andrew Blum takes readers on a fascinating journey to find out. As Blum writes, the Internet is tangible: it fills buildings, converges in some places in the world and avoids others, and it flows through tubes—along train lines and highways, and under oceans. You can map it, smell it and see it. As Tom Vanderbilt does in his bestselling Traffic, Blum goes behind the scenes of our everyday lives and combines first-rate reporting and engaging explanation into a fast-paced quest to explain the world in which we live. The room in Los Angeles where the Internet was born; the busy hub in downtown Toronto that links Canada with the world; a new undersea cable that connects West Africa and Europe; and the Great Pyramids of our time, the monumental data centres that Google and Facebook have built in the wilds of Oregon—Blum visits them all to chronicle the dramatic story of the Internet’s development and explain how it all works.
Author: Andrew Blum
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Information superhighway
The Internet. Home to the most important and intimate aspects of our lives. Our careers, our relationships, our selves, all of them are out there - online. So . . . where is that exactly? And who's in charge again? And what if it breaks? In Tubes Andrew Blum takes us on a gripping backstage tour of the real but hidden world of the Internet, introducing us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who own, design and run it everyday. He uncovers the secret data warehouses where our online selves are stored, peels back the wires that transport us across the globe, reveals its mammoth hubs and surprising alley-ways, explaining what the Internet actually is, where it is, how it got there - and, yes, what happens when it breaks. 'Entertaining and illuminating. Excels at rooting the Internet in real-world locations. Full of memorable images.' Observer 'An excellent introduction to the nuts and bolts of how exactly it all works and a timely antidote to oft-repeated abstractions about 'cyberspace' or 'cloud computing'.' Economist 'Makes hard-to-grasp concepts easy to understand, even obvious. The history is one of the best and most memorable I have ever read.' New Scientist 'Even the most geek-wary of readers will enjoy.' Independent
Author: John MacCormick
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2012-01-03
Every day, we use our computers to perform remarkable feats. A simple web search picks out a handful of relevant needles from the world's biggest haystack: the billions of pages on the World Wide Web. Uploading a photo to Facebook transmits millions of pieces of information over numerous error-prone network links, yet somehow a perfect copy of the photo arrives intact. Without even knowing it, we use public-key cryptography to transmit secret information like credit card numbers; and we use digital signatures to verify the identity of the websites we visit. How do our computers perform these tasks with such ease? This is the first book to answer that question in language anyone can understand, revealing the extraordinary ideas that power our PCs, laptops, and smartphones. Using vivid examples, John MacCormick explains the fundamental "tricks" behind nine types of computer algorithms, including artificial intelligence (where we learn about the "nearest neighbor trick" and "twenty questions trick"), Google's famous PageRank algorithm (which uses the "random surfer trick"), data compression, error correction, and much more. These revolutionary algorithms have changed our world: this book unlocks their secrets, and lays bare the incredible ideas that our computers use every day.
Author: Johnny Ryan
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Release Date: 2013-03-15
A History of the Internet and the Digital Future tells the story of the development of the Internet from the 1950s to the present and examines how the balance of power has shifted between the individual and the state in the areas of censorship, copyright infringement, intellectual freedom, and terrorism and warfare. Johnny Ryan explains how the Internet has revolutionized political campaigns; how the development of the World Wide Web enfranchised a new online population of assertive, niche consumers; and how the dot-com bust taught smarter firms to capitalize on the power of digital artisans. From the government-controlled systems of the Cold War to today’s move towards cloud computing, user-driven content, and the new global commons, this book reveals the trends that are shaping the businesses, politics, and media of the digital future.
Author: Rob Kitchin
Publisher: MIT Press
Release Date: 2011
Rob Kitchin and Martin dodge examine software from a spatial perspective, analyzing the dyadic relationship of software and space. The production of space, they argue, is increasingly dependent on code, and code is written to produce space. Kitchin and Dodge argue that software, through its ability to do work in the world, transduces space. They develop a set of conceptual tools for identifying and understanding the interrelationship of software, space, and everyday life, and illustrate their argument with rich empirical material. And, finally, they issue a manifesto, calling for critical scholarship into the production and workings of code rather than simply the technologies it enables---a new kind of social science focused on explaining the social, economic, and spatial contours of software.
Author: Susan P. Crawford
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2013-01-08
Ten years ago, the United States stood at the forefront of the Internet revolution. With some of the fastest speeds and lowest prices in the world for high-speed Internet access, the nation was poised to be the global leader in the new knowledge-based economy. Today that global competitive advantage has all but vanished because of a series of government decisions and resulting monopolies that have allowed dozens of countries, including Japan and South Korea, to pass us in both speed and price of broadband. This steady slide backward not only deprives consumers of vital services needed in a competitive employment and business market—it also threatens the economic future of the nation. This important book by leading telecommunications policy expert Susan Crawford explores why Americans are now paying much more but getting much less when it comes to high-speed Internet access. Using the 2011 merger between Comcast and NBC Universal as a lens, Crawford examines how we have created the biggest monopoly since the breakup of Standard Oil a century ago. In the clearest terms, this book explores how telecommunications monopolies have affected the daily lives of consumers and America's global economic standing.
Author: Anthony M. Townsend
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2013-10-07
Traces the root of modern, sprawling megacities to advances in information technologies throughout the twentieth century and discusses how these advances can inform and improve the future of human settlements.
Author: Steven Solomon
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 2011-01-18
Far more than oil, the control of water wealth throughout history has been pivotal to the rise and fall of great powers, the achievements of civilization, the transformations of society's vital habitats, and the quality of ordinary daily lives. Today, freshwater scarcity is one of the twenty-first century's decisive, looming challenges, driving new political, economic, and environmental realities across the globe. In Water, Steven Solomon offers the first-ever narrative portrait of the power struggles, personalities, and breakthroughs that have shaped humanity from antiquity's earliest civilizations through the steam-powered Industrial Revolution and America's century. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Water is a groundbreaking account of man's most critical resource in shaping human destinies, from ancient times to our dawning age of water scarcity.
Author: Scott Huler
Release Date: 2010-05-11
Genre: Social Science
Investigates the systems of infrastructure that sustain the world and the cultures of historical periods, following various elements, from electricity and pavement to water and waste disposal, back to their origins and people who operate them.
Author: E. M. Forster
Publisher: Hyweb Technology Co. Ltd.
Release Date: 2011-10-15
Genre: Foreign Language Study
'"You talk as if a god had made the Machine," cried the other. "I believe that you pray to it when you are unhappy. Men made it, do not forget that."' E.M. Forster is best known for his exquisite novels, but these two affecting short stories brilliantly combine the fantastical with the allegorical. In 'The Machine Stops', humanity has isolated itself beneath the ground, enmeshed in automated comforts, and in 'The Celestial Omnibus' a young boy takes a trip his parents believe impossible. This book contains The Machine Stops and A Celestial Omnibus.
Author: Ingrid Burrington
Publisher: Melville House
Release Date: 2016-08-30
Genre: Technology & Engineering
A guided tour of the physical Internet, as seen on, above, and below the city’s streets What does the Internet look like? It’s the single most essentail aspect of modern life, and yet, for many of us, the Internet looks like an open browser, or the black mirrors of our phones and computers. But in Networks of New York, Ingrid Burrington lifts our eyes from our screens to the streets, showing us that the Internet is everywhere around us, all the time—we just have to know where to look. Using New York as her point of reference and more than fifty color illustrations as her map, Burrington takes us on a tour of the urban network: She decodes spray-painted sidewalk markings, reveals the history behind cryptic manhole covers, shuffles us past subway cameras and giant carrier hotels, and peppers our journey with background stories about the NYPD's surveillance apparatus, twentieth-century telecommunication monopolies, high frequency trading on Wall Street, and the downtown building that houses the offices of both Google and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. From a rising star in the field of tech jounalism, Networks of New York is a smart, funny, and beautifully designed guide to the endlessly fascinating networks of urban Internet infrastructure. The Internet, Burrington shows us, is hiding in plain sight. From the Hardcover edition.