qatsi (qatsi) wrote,


Book Review: Tubes - Behind the scenes at The Internet, by Andrew Blum
I have to admit, this was not really the book I had hoped for. I thought it would describe, in a non-technical way, how your device requests and obtains data from the Internet; in fact, it's more of a psychogeographical tour of some notable physical sites that relate to the Internet, past and present, triggered by Blum's curiosity after a squirrel gnaws through his local telephone cable.

As such, it's not a bad tour, taking in the original Arpanet project, Internet exchanges, undersea cables and data centres. These places are not without interest, but once you're there, looking at the cables, in this book it's just magic, there is no further explanation. Perhaps the highlight of the book, ironically, is the write-up on the bland stonewalling by Google on access to one of their data centres; Facebook were more accommodating. Certainly Blum does no evil. Anyone who has had to do business with Google will probably feel his pain.
Tags: books, computing
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