MacDirectory Magazine

Warren Manser

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 38 of 115

BOOK REVIEWS TUBES REVIEW BY RIC GETTER "If I followed the wire, where would it lead?" The Internet is something Andrew Bloom had taken for granted. When a squirrel chomped down on the wrong wire outside his apartment suddenly disconnecting him from what had become a large part of his world, he found himself asking that question. Two years of research (following a visit from the cable guy, of course) led to one of the most gripping and readable books about one of the most influential technologies to be developed in our lifetime. Tubesgets its title from the often-cited (and ridiculed) description of the Internet as "a series of tubes" by the late Sen. Ted Stevens. Bloom knew it was far more complicated than that, so se set out to discover exactly what this marvel called the Internet really was. One of his first stops was a tired-looking building erected in 1901 that used to house the Milwaukee Athletic Club in its better years. Now filled with wires, routers, sparsely furnished offices and a bit of mildew, it is the Internet's on-ramp for more than 25,000 area households. Following the map of the "network of networks" takes Blum to some unexpected places and introduces him to a diverse cast of characters—the people behind the network. He traveled to UCLA and met the computer science professor who uncrated and powered up the first node of the Internet. When that box finally connected to its sibling several hundred miles north in Palo Alto, the network that was to become the Internet was born. (The box is still there, saved from a literal scrap heap by some extra space in a faculty conference room.) In New Jersey, in one of the many unmarked and nondescript buildings that are the critical junctures of the Internet, he sits down for an interview with Tata Global Network's Simon Cooper. Cooper, sitting at the other end of one of the company's trans-oceanic cables in Singapore, told the author the story of how the company expanded from making motor cars in India to linking poorly connected parts of the world to the Internet. This turned out to be a world-changing and very profitable undertaking. Blum is fascinated by infrastructures of the world and his descriptions of what he finds can be absolutely lyrical. He has the mind of a journalist and researcher but the eyes of a poet. Tubes is, in reality, a travelogue; one that is filled with memorable people and places, all vividly painted by the author. Our data flows invisibly underground, undersea, alongside railroads or strung along high-tension power lines as pulses of light running along thin glass cable housed in tubes, it surfaces and again submerges in a collection of remarkable and unlikely places. After his return from his travels and the completion of his research, Bloom discovers that Ted Stevens was not that far off. At its core, the Internet is, after all, made up of an awful lot of those tubes. Tubes by Author Andrew Bloom; $26.99 (hardcover), $9.99 (eBook), Ecco/HarperCollins ( 2012; 294 pages, ISBN: 978-0-06-199493-7 32 MacDirectory

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