Tubes: Behind the Scenes at the Internet

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9780141049090: Tubes: Behind the Scenes at the Internet

“Andrew Blum plunges into the unseen but real ether of the Internet in a journey both compelling and profound....You will never open an email in quite the same way again.”
—Tom Vanderbilt, New York Times bestselling author of Traffic

In Tubes, Andrew Blum, a correspondent at Wired magazine, takes us on an engaging, utterly fascinating tour behind the scenes of our everyday lives and reveals the dark beating heart of the Internet itself. A remarkable journey through the brave new technological world we live in, Tubes is to the early twenty-first century what Soul of a New Machine—Tracy Kidder’s classic story of the creation of a new computer—was to the late twentieth.

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From the Back Cover:

When your Internet cable leaves your living room, where does it go? Almost everything about our day-to-day lives—and the broader scheme of human culture—can be found on the Internet. But what is it physically? And where is it really? Our mental map of the network is as blank as the map of the ocean that Columbus carried on his first Atlantic voyage. The Internet, its material nuts and bolts, is an unexplored territory. Until now.

In Tubes, journalist Andrew Blum goes inside the Internet's physical infrastructure and flips on the lights, revealing an utterly fresh look at the online world we think we know. It is a shockingly tactile realm of unmarked compounds, populated by a special caste of engineer who pieces together our networks by hand; where glass fibers pulse with light and creaky telegraph buildings, tortuously rewired, become communication hubs once again. From the room in Los Angeles where the Internet first flickered to life to the caverns beneath Manhattan where new fiber-optic cable is buried; from the coast of Portugal, where a ten-thousand-mile undersea cable just two thumbs wide connects Europe and Africa, to the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, where Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have built monumental data centers—Blum chronicles the dramatic story of the Internet's development, explains how it all works, and takes the first-ever in-depth look inside its hidden monuments.

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. For all the talk of the "placelessness" of our digital age, the Internet is as fixed in real, physical spaces as the railroad or telephone. You can map it and touch it, and you can visit it. Is the Internet in fact "a series of tubes" as Ted Stevens, the late senator from Alaska, once famously described it? How can we know the Internet's possibilities if we don't know its parts?

Like Tracy Kidder's classic The Soul of a New Machine or Tom Vanderbilt's recent bestseller Traffic, Tubes combines on-the-ground reporting and lucid explanation into an engaging, mind-bending narrative to help us understand the physical world that underlies our digital lives.

About the Author:

Andrew Blum is a journalist and author of Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, the first book-length look behind the scenes of our digital lives, at the physical heart of the Internet itself. Before falling into the Internet's depths, Blum was writing about architecture, design, technology, urbanism, art, and travel--all subjects arising out of his interest in the relationship between place and technology. Since 1999, Blum's articles and essays have appeared in WiredThe New York TimesThe New YorkerBusiness WeekMetropolisPopular ScienceGizmodoThe AtlanticArchitectural Record, and Slate, among many other publications. He has degrees in literature from Amherst College and in human geography from the University of Toronto, and lives in his native New York City with his wife and daughter.

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Tubes: Behind the Scenes at the Internet by Andrew Blum is. Utterly engrossing. The year s most original and stimulating travel book. Even the most geek-wary of readers will enjoy Independent Entertaining and illuminating. Excels at rooting the Internet in real-world locations. Full of memorable images that make its complex architecture easier to comprehend Observer The Internet. Home to the most important and intimate aspects of our lives. Our careers, our relationships, our selves, all of them are out there - online. So .where is that exactly? And who s in charge again? And what if it breaks? In Tubes Andrew Blum takes us on a gripping backstage tour of the real but hidden world of the Internet, introducing us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who own, design and run it everyday. He uncovers the secret data warehouses where our online selves are stored, peels back the wires that transport us across the globe, reveals its mammoth hubs and surprising alley-ways, explaining what the Internet actually is, where it is, how it got there - and, yes, what happens when it breaks. An engaging reminder that, cyber-Utopianism aside, the Internet is as much a thing of flesh and steel as any industrial-age lumber mill or factory. An excellent introduction to the nuts and bolts of how exactly it all works and a timely antidote to oft-repeated abstractions about cyberspace or cloud computing Economist Makes hard-to-grasp concepts easy to understand, even obvious. The history, in particular, is one of the best and most memorable I have ever read New Scientist A Quixotic and winning book with a knack for bundling packets of data into memorable observations. This valuable book leaves you with its share of unsettling visions, but there are comic ones too The New York Times For a full understanding of the Internet on every level, this book is a must-read Techzone A great, playful, wondrous read ArsTechnica Blum is perhaps the millennial generation s John McPhee, chronicling an arcane journey of deep relevance to everyday life. For non-techies, the book is a very accessible revelation Forbes All too awesome to behold. Andrew Blum s fascinating book demystifies the earthly geography of this most ethereal terra incognita Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein Compelling and profound. You will never open an e-mail in quite the same way again Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic One of our best writers. A compelling story of an altogether new realm where the virtual world meets the physical Paul Goldberger, New Yorker The Internet really IS a series of tubes! Who knew? David Pogue, The New York Times Andrew Blum writes about architecture, infrastructure and technology for many publications, including the New Yorker, The New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, Slate and Popular Science. He is a correspondent for Wired, a contributing editor to Metropolis and lives in his hometown of New York City. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780141049090

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Tubes: Behind the Scenes at the Internet by Andrew Blum is. Utterly engrossing. The year s most original and stimulating travel book. Even the most geek-wary of readers will enjoy Independent Entertaining and illuminating. Excels at rooting the Internet in real-world locations. Full of memorable images that make its complex architecture easier to comprehend Observer The Internet. Home to the most important and intimate aspects of our lives. Our careers, our relationships, our selves, all of them are out there - online. So .where is that exactly? And who s in charge again? And what if it breaks? In Tubes Andrew Blum takes us on a gripping backstage tour of the real but hidden world of the Internet, introducing us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who own, design and run it everyday. He uncovers the secret data warehouses where our online selves are stored, peels back the wires that transport us across the globe, reveals its mammoth hubs and surprising alley-ways, explaining what the Internet actually is, where it is, how it got there - and, yes, what happens when it breaks. An engaging reminder that, cyber-Utopianism aside, the Internet is as much a thing of flesh and steel as any industrial-age lumber mill or factory. An excellent introduction to the nuts and bolts of how exactly it all works and a timely antidote to oft-repeated abstractions about cyberspace or cloud computing Economist Makes hard-to-grasp concepts easy to understand, even obvious. The history, in particular, is one of the best and most memorable I have ever read New Scientist A Quixotic and winning book with a knack for bundling packets of data into memorable observations. This valuable book leaves you with its share of unsettling visions, but there are comic ones too The New York Times For a full understanding of the Internet on every level, this book is a must-read Techzone A great, playful, wondrous read ArsTechnica Blum is perhaps the millennial generation s John McPhee, chronicling an arcane journey of deep relevance to everyday life. For non-techies, the book is a very accessible revelation Forbes All too awesome to behold. Andrew Blum s fascinating book demystifies the earthly geography of this most ethereal terra incognita Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein Compelling and profound. You will never open an e-mail in quite the same way again Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic One of our best writers. A compelling story of an altogether new realm where the virtual world meets the physical Paul Goldberger, New Yorker The Internet really IS a series of tubes! Who knew? David Pogue, The New York Times Andrew Blum writes about architecture, infrastructure and technology for many publications, including the New Yorker, The New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, Slate and Popular Science. He is a correspondent for Wired, a contributing editor to Metropolis and lives in his hometown of New York City. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780141049090

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd. Book Condition: New. Takes us on a backstage tour of the real but hidden world of the Internet, introducing us to the remarkable clan of insiders and eccentrics who own, design and run it everyday. This book uncovers the secret data warehouses where our online selves are stored, peels back the wires that transport us across the globe. Num Pages: 304 pages, ill. BIC Classification: UBW. Category: (G) General (US: Trade); (P) Professional & Vocational; (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 199 x 132 x 23. Weight in Grams: 210. . 2013. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780141049090

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