Tubes Analysis

Many things can be discussed in detail about Andrew Bloom’s book Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, however, only a few topics of interest will be analyzed for their relation to the internet. First, the layout of the book was constructed from a historical concrete analogy to the decoding of where data is stored. Such a model allows readers like myself to understand where the internet began even before its inception. Second, the analogy itself, tubes, portrays a very interesting view of what the internet in both the physical and digital senses. He uses the analogy to show that in the eighteen hundreds, Wisconsin was the biggest producer of tubes full of materials to print or make things in the beginner industrial times. However, when it came to the internet itself, the physical tubes underneath the sea where in the shape of a tube that transmitted information from one side to the other to give people all around the globe connection to the internet in order to conduct all sorts of uses out of it. The same concept can be applied to how the internet connects from one wired box to another through physical cables or digital signals that flow in a linear fashion across the planet at billions of times per second.

Book Cover Image

Lastly, The details within the text have given me a better understanding of what this digital space is all about from many angles in a very plain English style of writing. A couple of examples given below will further illustrate how the author makes the internet not so much of an abstract place, but more of a easy to understand solid idea and concept to grasp for the average user. The first example coming to mind would be the explanation of how the internet began in terms of connecting the world before tubes were put underneath the sea for wider coverage. The idea of having many run down abandoned buildings being used as warehouses for connecting boxes to each other for connecting others to them in the area was very abstract and absurd at that time. Nowadays that is not a surprise due to the internet’s overwhelming reach, but to know that the internet was a physical construct of connections seemed to me impossible at first glance because most people think of digital spaces as non-tangible. The second example, relates to how or where data sleeps. Data is actually stored in real physical centers that look like a call center receving or making inbound or outbound calls. In reality, these places store all of the data that is used by everyone globally for future uses. Before reading this text, I assumed like everyone that data was stored in a cloud based storage system like iCloud, but such an assumption was far from right. Realizing this and other aspects of the text have made me more aware of what the internet is, where it physically came from, and how it has progressed into our lives to the point where we are dead without its presence.

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