It's What's on the Inside That Counts

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I have always felt lucky to be born at this particular period of time. I've personally witnessed the infancy of the internet from the time of Netscape all the way to its explosive, and potentially limitless, growth today. But I will always wonder what it was like to be there, at the birth of network communications. What would you have thought it could become? Most people wouldn't even be able to imagine the possibilities that the Internet could offer. As Kleinrock said on p48-49, "I thought it was going to be computers talking to computers or people talking to computers. That's not what it's about... what I missed was the social side."
I love the quote that Thomas Friedman, author and columnist for The New York Times, made back in 2011. When preparing for his newest book he checked the index of his previous book, The World Is Flat, which deals with globalization, and noticed something was missing. "Facebook didn't exist; Twitter was a sound; the cloud was in the sky; 4G was a parking place; LinkedIn was a prison; applications were what you sent to college; and Skype for most people was typo. All of that changed in just the last six years."
I feel this book does a wonderful job of explaining the real beginnings of how the Internet started and how it grew. From that first humble IMP communication, "Talked to SRI host to host", all the way to our "gigs" of data shooting down fiber optics at the speed of light. Although this book singularly focuses on the physical aspects of the Internet, to me what is on the web is so much more important since all of those tangible pieces were only built to meet the demand of its users. The Internet has allowed us to work online, bank online, game online, and communicate with anyone, anywhere, at any time, instantly all online. Over this short time, as we have revolutionized the Internet, in turn, the Internet has revolutionized us and it wasn't due to a hub at MAE-East or the invention of fiber optics, it was due to how amazing the Internet itself really is.


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I agree with you. Living in the era of modern technology is quite exciting and intriguing. Prior to reading this book, I never thought much about how the internet begun or how internet connections occurred but Blum had opened my eyes to thinking about the physical world of internet in much depth by providing details about the people that help invent internet such as Keinrock and others. He provides a historical analysis of the internet -- from ARPANET to MAE-EAST to fiber optics and much more. I really like the quote that Blum states, " The internet as it surrounded me wasn't a river I could dip a net in and pull up a sample to count the fish. To find the scale of information as we experience it each day-to find, say, a single email- would be more akin to counting the molecules of water. Each of those fiber-optic cables represented up to ten gigabits of traffic per second- enough to transmit ten thousand family pictures per second( pg. 82). It is amazing how much information that is contain within fiber-optics and in essence the unaccountable information that is present inside each computer is unimaginable.

I would agree with both these two posts. Modern technology is both exciting and scary at the same time. I would say it is scary, because we never know when it is going to end. Blum opened my eyes as well to the fact that there is a physical internet and it is indeed somehting that can be traced and "mapped".

I said in my blog post as well that Blum and "Tubes" has opened my eyes to somehting that I never thought was somehting to wonder about, but I guess it is.

Also the quote on pg. 82 is spot on. the fact that so much information is hidden in fiber-optics is crazy. Who would ever have thought of that 100 years ago? Why do people think of this now?
It just shows you hom much we have evolved in the last 100 years, and that is almost scary.

Who knows what the next 100 years will bring?

Sam, thanks for your blog post. To follow up on your last line, I wanted to ask: what makes the internet amazing, if not terrabit hubs or fiber optic cables? Aren't those are the things that make 4G, facebook, and twitter work they way they do? Or to put it another way, what is the relationship between the speed of our connected lives, the volume of information we have access to, and the way we communicate online? Why is communicating at 100Mbps different than on a dial-up modem?

Would you go to a blank website even if you could connect to it in 1 picosecond?

If it wasn't for people's curiosity to learn more and to constantly better our lives there wouldn't have been a driving factor in the expansion of the Internet's content. Today we are looking to obtain information and connect with people in a better and faster way because time is money.

Ultimately, fiber optic cables are just the fastest and cheapest tool currently available to connect people to people or people to information. Technology changes so fast, e.g. Moore's Law, and in the future wireless could catch up to wired, satellite could catch up to wireless, or some kind of new wire could be invented. After all, fiber optics were a product of the 70s, in technology years, it’s a dinosaur.

Then again, if people are not constantly seeking information and a better life, none of this even matters.


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This page contains a single entry by barri084 published on January 29, 2013 8:42 PM.

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