Customer Review

54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, But Definitely For Techies, May 5, 2012
This review is from: Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet (Hardcover)
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After a squirrel living in his backyard chewed through wiring connecting his computer to the internet, journalist Andrew Blum became curious -- where, he asked himself, do all the computers, cables and routers 'live' that physically power the internet? And who runs the companies that maintain them?

This question was covered years ago in a series of fascinating Wired magazine articles written by novelist Bruce Sterling, so I was eager to read Blum's account. Blum traveled from one city to another, looking at inconspicuous office buildings filled with equipment, talking to executives about underwater ocean cables that are thousands of miles long, and tries to give the reader a series of mental pictures of how the internet actually 'works.'

The book is interesting, but his efforts to draw word pictures of complex equipment, how the internet functions, and the engineers who maintain it are somewhat rambling and disorderly, and he assumes a level of knowledge on the reader's part of things like internet IP addresses.

If I weren't a bit of a techie, I would have given up after the first 10 pages. This type of subject cries out for tight vignettes and colorful prose.

I think techies like myself will like it, but the average reader will be bewildered or bored.You do need to be a bit of a geek to understand the book.
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 14, 2012 5:04:52 PM PDT
DDC says:
We almost felt the same about this book, except for the fact that I believed that non-tech people could probably manage ok. I gave you a helpful vote even though we disagreed, because I think reasonable minds could differ on that point, and I think your point about the prose is well put. Do you have the link to the Wired articles?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 3, 2012 1:59:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 3, 2012 2:00:02 PM PDT
pundit says:
Here's one wired.com article on the subject:

http://www.wired.com/magazine/ff_internetplaces/

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 3, 2012 3:28:45 PM PDT
DDC says:
Thanks - I'll have to check it out!

Posted on Jul 20, 2012 4:35:00 PM PDT
Sara Wedeman says:
Who cares what non-techies think? The salient questions are:
1. Is it accurate?
2. Does it teach me something?
3. Is it helpful?

The world is filled with Luddites and anti-intellectuals. It's about time to stop paying homage to the ignorant while dismissing the informed.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2012 5:47:16 AM PST
Mattman says:
You moved from non-techies to Luddites and anti-intellectuals pretty quickly there. I don't think "non-techies" means what you think it means.
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