Okay apparently I've been out of touch with good books since Andrew published this gem back in 2012 and somehow I missed it.
Featured in my "How I Spent My Learning Stipend" post this is the second book on the list I powered through it on a recent flight and dang!! tbh I wish I'd had this book when I started out in software engineering - it answered so many burning questions I've had since I started out in tech.
One of the reasons this book spoke to me is the pure curiosity that drove Andrew across North America, Europe and beyond. The drive to wonder "where do all these wires lead?" and the tenacity to keep asking why why why and what's next.
Another reason is to correct the impression that we should laugh at Ted Stevens' interpretation of the internet as "a series of tubes" like he wasn't actually wrong about that specific part?
I uh... do have some notes about the full sound bite however
"And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on, it's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled, and if they're filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material."
What I Learned
- one time a 75year old grandma sliced thru fiber optic cable in Georgia taking out Armenian internet access
- The T in AT&T stands for Telegraph (side note: OMFG WHAT?!?!?!)
- 2% of world's electricity usage can be traced to data centers - Greenpeace, a rate growing 12% a year (side note: YIKES and these numbers are circa 2012)
Out of Context Quotables
They called the place 'the Winchester Mystery House' of Internet buildings - referring to PAIX aka Palo Alto Internet eXchange
The networks of the Internet would be global, but the infrastructure would always be local
The place had been in "telco hell" for too long already (side note: wtf is telco hell?)
Ashburn, Virginia is a small town that Internet people think of as a giant city.
The Internet is a small world.
I told my eight-year-old niece about what I'd seen at Equinix. She's an instant-messaging, YouTube-watching, video-chatting, iPad-swiping member of her generation; a digital native. (side note: if she is a digital native what does that make me/millennials? digital straddlers?)
The vast majority of exchanges exist out of sight, often run as cooperative side projects for the "good of the Internet" and despite their efforts at outreach are known and appreciated only by the handful of network engineers who crafts the routes across them. 😱 😱 😱
I'd met a guy named Greg Hankins with the unfortunate job title of "Solutioneer" 😂 😂 😂
In the heart of the Internet it was all fiber - thin glass strands filled with pulses of light.
The undersea cable people were more likely to be the type who wouldn't hesitate walking into a sailors' bar in a foreign port.
The details of a data center became like the formula for Coke, among the most important corporate secrets
recombinant - relating to or denoting an organism/cell/genetic material formed by recombination
cyberrific - idk this is actually a word? couldn't find a defo...
mille-feuille - a rich cake, thin layers of puff pastry filled with jam and cream
in honor of Tubes the book pls enjoy the cat tax