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Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet Paperback – May 28, 2013
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“Fascinating and unique. . . . [A] captivating behind-the-scenes tour of how (and where) the Internet works. . . . [Blum] has a gift for breathing life into his subjects.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Every web site, every email, every instant message travels through real junctions in a real network of real cables. It’s all too awesome to behold. Andrew Blum’s fascinating book demystifies the earthly geography of this most ethereal terra incognita.” (Joshua Foer, bestselling author of Moonwalking with Einstein)
“Tubes is an absorbing tale of this new technology, as well as a wonderful account of the Internet’s growth and the people who made it possible.” (Science News)
“Clever, enterprising . . . Tubes uncovers an Internet that resembles nothing so much as a fantastic steam-punk version of itself.” (Boston Globe)
“Engaging. . . . Full of memorable images that make the internet’s complex architecture easier to comprehend. . . . Blum leaves readers pondering questions that would not have occurred to them before and better informed about an innovation most of us take for granted.” (The Guardian)
“A charming look at the physical infrastructure that underlies the Web.” (Scientific American)
“A satisfying postmodern quest. . . . The history, in particular, is one of the best and most memorable I have ever read.” (New Scientist)
“Blum paints a vivid picture of the Internet, and gives a sense that it is more than just the mysterious interstitial digital space between your computer and mine. It is, increasingly, the backbone that supports our daily life, and Mr. Blum is an able anatomist.” (New York Journal of Books)
“Quixotic and winning. . . . Valuable, comic. . . . [Blum has] a knack for bundling packets of data into memorable observations. What makes Tubes more than an unusual sort of travel book, is [Blum’s] sense of moral curiosity.” (New York Times)
“Ingeniously beguiling. . . . Blum is a smart, imaginative, evocative writer who embraces the task of making his readers feel the wonder represented by these unprepossessing objects.” (Laura Miller, Salon)
From the Back Cover
Design Observer Best Book of the Year
Tubes looks behind the scenes of our digital lives at the physical heart of the Internet itself. This is a book about real places on the map: their sounds and smells, their storied pasts, their physical details, and the people who live there. Sharing tales of his on-the-ground reporting, along with lucid explanations about how the Internet works, Blum's eye-opening travelogue offers a unique perspective on the role of technology in our lives.
Top customer reviews
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I specially appreciated the author's attempt to raise awareness on how critical are the infrastructures beneath the Internet, and how the whole system relies on a limited number of hyper critical nodes and areas. The implications of this, in terms of vulnerability and long term sustainability, being probably one of the main issues for the near future.
To extend the metaphor, this book is all about the places that The Internet creates its beautiful music, but it's told using the narrative of the bass player. It's wonderful; it's easy for everyone who is interested in how the Internet works to understand, but Network Engineers will especially love it.
This is not a geeky book-- Blume handles technical subjects in a manner that is very accessible to us non-geeks. I would even recommend this to folks who are not comfortable using the internet or are still mystified by their email, but who are interested in understanding how this internet thing works.
Very enjoyable to read, very approachable and a quick read, because it's hard to put down.
And, for a delicious twist of irony, purchase the kindle edition and have it delivered wirelessly to your kindle reader!
Would I read it again? probably not.
Would I recommend it? Yes.