"Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet," by Andrew Blum
Jeff Glor talks to Andrew Blum about "Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet."
Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?
Andrew Blum: A few years ago, I was writing mostly for Wired Magazine about infrastructure of all kinds--planes, trains, automobiles, skyscrapers, things like that. But it didn't occur to me that the Internet itself had an infrastructure--or really any physical reality--until the cold day in 2009 when my home Internet connection broke. The repair guy thought the problem might be a squirrel chewing through the wire. I was like, huh?! What wire? And if there was really a wire, where did it go? What was that place like? Who worked there? It was like finding a hidden world in the back of the closet. That was when I decided to visit the Internet.
JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?
AB: I never got over how small the Internet was. I suppose that sounds like a strange to say-- from this side of the screen, the Internet appears to be an infinite expanse. But as I got deeper into my research, the same handful of places kept coming up, run by a relatively intimate group of network engineers. I've received emails from a couple of them recently, saying that the book was full of old friends. They're the wizards behind the curtain.
JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?
AB: Probably teaching high school English, which I did briefly, and loved. But I've also always been fascinated by real estate developers, especially in New York. I like about writing about places--like the Internet--but I think it would also be interesting to build them.
JG: What else are you reading right now?
AB: Peter Bergen's "Manhunt" -- an incredible feat of reporting. Lauren Groff's novel "Arcadia." Gideon Lewis-Kraus's memoir, "A Sense of Direction."
JG: What's next for you?
AB: Another book. I'm looking for strange new worlds. Seen any?
MORE VIDEO:Andrew Blum on where the center of the Internet is Why is Ashburn, Va. important to the Internet?
For more on "Tubes" visit the Harper Collins website.
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