From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
In 1969 a machine called the interface message processor, or IMP, was installed at UCLA under the supervision of a young professor named Leonard Kleinrock. This was the first packet-switching node in a network called ARPANET, which would later become the Internet. Blum begins his journey to discover the physical presence of the Internet by visiting Kleinrock and IMP, both still ensconced at UCLA. Blum visits cable landing stations that house entry points for the longest tubes, the undersea fiber-optic cables that connect all the continents on the globe, where bits and bytes of information enter the cable as light at one end and come out the other end across the Atlantic Ocean. Taking a tour of the cloud proves to be a bit of a challenge, but Blum gets a peek at some of the data centers with their servers, routers, and cables all efficiently cooled and humming along, storing your Facebook photos or e-mails. Blum reminds us that cyberspace isn't just a virtual place to visit out there, but rather a real, growing physical network consuming vast amounts of electricity and resources.--Siegfried, David Copyright 2010 Booklist
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
This book's primary focus is the infrastructural components and facilities of the Internet and the everyday people who work in those facilities. Tubes would be useful for readers interested in mass communications and management information systems. It may lack the detail level for those in engineering and computer science fields, but it would still be a fun read for this audience. The author's approach is similar to that of a travel guide. Blum (journalist) writes in the first person, talking about his own experiences during his travels to the world's major network infrastructures; readers will feel that they are vicariously visiting these high-security locations themselves. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the book has no images. This is not surprising; given the locations the author visits, it is doubtful that anyone would be able to take photos. Of particular interest is the section describing the peer exchange process between the tier 1 networks. The book does not impart any specific techniques that are useful, but, overall, readers will come away with a better holistic understanding of how the Internet infrastructure runs and the character of the people who work in that environment. Summing Up: Recommended. All students, general readers, and professionals. S. A. Patton Indiana State University
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Here Blum (correspondent, Wired; contributing editor, Metropolis) attempts to understand the infrastructure of the Internet. He reflects on his travels and recounts conversations with people who founded, helped understand, maintained, or developed the Internet's physical presence. Blum visits Leonard Kleinrock, one of the fathers of the Internet, who wrote the first paper on packet switching-the concept that information can be transmitted in small chunks. He also meets with Markus Krisetya, a cartographer employed by TeleGeography whose work maps the Internet across the globe. Most web users rarely think about the infrastructure of the Internet, but more technically savvy readers may find Blum's reflections wear thin. VERDICT Blum might have conveyed in fewer pages his conclusion that the Internet is everywhere and is, "in fact, a series of tubes." Of interest to the general reader with a beginning curiosity about the infrastructure of the Internet, this title is not recommended for more knowledgeable readers in the history, politics, or sociology of technology and the Internet. [See Prepub Alert, 12/16/11.]-Jon Bodnar, Emory Univ., Atlanta (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.