Let's Hope He Doesn't Find Out About WiFi

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Andrew Blum spends an awful lot of time being amazed by the wrong things.

In his extremely detailed, often plodding text, author Andrew Blum of the book "Tubes" spends the majority of his time musing in old-fashioned amazement. The short text on the technological growth and physicality of the seemingly ephemeral internet discusses most of the major technological advancements, including networks, fiber optics, and the massive data centers that comprise the world-wide-web. Blum argues through these chapters that the most amazing part of the internet is the rapid growth of the technology and hardware surrounding the project, stating specifically that a data center he visited was, "Cyberiffic." In fact, for the majority of chapter 7, Blum discusses the absolute marvel of laying fiber optic cable along the ocean floor, despite the first instance of laying cable across the pond occurring in early 1858. Though he touches on it in chapter 4 when he discusses the bi-annual meeting of NANOG, I find it unfortunately apparent that Blum has let the most amazing part of the internet slip right under his nose.
The point that I argue Blum missed was that the true wonder of the internet is in the cooperation necessary to create such an achievement. He spent unfortunately few words describing how humanity came together and created something truly awesome on its own accord. The atmosphere of sharing, connecting, and exploration that is made by the internet is replicated on very few places on planet earth, and certainly not on a scale such as this. He reflects on this shortly in chapter 4, stating "Yet looked at from within, the Internet is handmade, one link at a time", but the train of thought stops there. To me, this cooperation factor is more amazing than any system of tubes will ever be.

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I am intrigued by this response. I might be more gullible than you, but I feel the same way Blum does. There must be a way the internet travels through machine to machine and from country to country. Does it simply travel right to a satellite and outer space? How does it get there?

How are you not interested in the tubes and the start of everything? There has to be a start to this dear internet of our and how this enormous thing has become.

"The atmosphere of sharing, connecting, and exploration that is made by the internet is replicated on very few places on planet earth, and certainly not on a scale such as this."
This I would agree with and after you mentioned this here, he probably should have touched more on this subject sooner. However, Blum is still fascinated by his tubes and the origin of how the internet can travel from place to place and still is "invisible" to the human eye.

Sorry to posting this a full month late! But yes, I think you hit on good point that one of the really amazing things about the internet is the cooperation it took/takes to build/run it. I would also humbly point out that cooperation doesn't happen without rhetoric in the broader sense.

-josh

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This page contains a single entry by kentx098 published on February 5, 2013 3:42 PM.

Reflection on 'Tubes' by Andrew Blum was the previous entry in this blog.

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