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The Sustainable Network: The Accidental Answer for a Troubled Planet Paperback – Oct 30 2009

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Lost in the details March 14 2010
By Mitchell R. Alegre - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you want to better understand how the global network works, this book will interest you. If you want to know the implications of the network and how it may answer the world's problems, this book will disappoint you. The supposed point of the book--how the global communications network is the best sustainable technology to address the world's problems--is lost in a mountain of details about how the network operates. Throughout my excruciating experience reading this book, I kept asking, "Why do I need to know this?" I now better understand the path an email takes after I send it. So what? How does this help me understand how to use the global network to address society's problems? I did find useful suggestions for action included at the end of a few of the chapters. But any of the chapters that addressed the supposed premise of the book dealt with issues at a superficial level. I was hoping that this book would provide a thought-provoking read. Instead, I experienced reading this book as a mind-numbing chore.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Optimists View of the Internet Nov. 15 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
How did we get here? This book is an attempt to bring you up to speed on what's happening in the interconnected world. For the "newbie" it is an excellent resource for educating one about the internet, how it works, how it is shaping our lives, and the dangers we face because we are interconnected more than we've ever been.

The author is a former employee of Juniper Networks, a major producer of the routers and switches that make up the "guts" of the internet. As an "insider" she has many helpful discussions about the many factors that shape the internet we use, its strengths and adaptiveness, its ability to survive major attacks, and its weaknesses that may place the data we transmit over it at risk. The book serves best as an omnibus of content for most any question you ever had about networks in general and THE network in particular.

The subtitle is "The Accidental Answer for a Troubled Planet." The implication I read is that through the networks we've created we'll be able to save our planet. That is a moot point. While the Internet is rapidly becoming the medium of choice for information sharing, it doesn't come without a price. As she states, the servers, routers, and switches that send information on its way require a steady stream of electrons for their operation, and at current rates of expansion, it is not clear that we'll be able to afford the electrical power plants that will continue to allow that expansion. This is one of the few books I've read that has addressed this particular energy problem in some depth.

A sampling of chapters that address current issues include:

What's So Smart About an Energy Grid?
Is Broadband Really That Important?
Net Neutrality
Political Sustainability
Rocking the Vote
Antisocial Network Engineering
Government's Role in Protecting the Network's Integrity
21st-Century Warfare: Cyberattacks
The Health Net
Not by Accident: Social Networking

As a prototypical nerd, I hope that she's correct in suggesting the Internet may be a major means of "saving" the planet, i.e. The Sustainable Network may become a model for the "Sustainable World." My nightmare is that human nature will remain rigidly rooted in its prehistoric "small group" past, and we'll continue to make decisions for the benefit of our small group, but decisions that lead to the degradation of the planet.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Highly Relevant and Interesting Nov. 11 2009
By J. Goldman - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am not in the tech industry but I am a big user and fan of technology. This book is a great examination of the profound impact that technology (the "network", wireless, etc.) has on our lives...It's really fascinating to have the author examine the environmental, political, social, and economic implications of the network. This book is great follow up reading to Thomas Friedman's "Hot, Flat and Crowded"...The Sustainable Network was highly educational and very interesting.
A 'must' for any library strong in social issues and technology Feb. 21 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
THE SUSTAINABLE NETWORK: THE ACCIDENTAL ANSWER FOR A TROUBLED PLANET offers a fine survey considering the global network and how to realize its power. From examples of how the sustainable network offers examples of how it's already inducing change. From roles market and political forces play to how networks can be improved to make even more of an impact on environmental, economic and social conditions, THE SUSTAINABLE NETWORK is a 'must' for any library strong in social issues and technology.
A great read! Feb. 12 2010
By Arbee - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is a real gem. I recommend it to anyone wishing to better their understanding of the pervasive role the network already has in today's world, and how that pervasiveness is only destined to grow and have an even bigger part to play in how we can choose to conduct our lives, and what that could mean in terms of leading life in a sustainable manner. Whatever you think you know, and however much you are already thinking about what the networked-future could look like, this book will give you a lot more fact and, more importantly, additional food for thought, discussion ... and even action and change.

Some examples of topics covered then. The actual and factual: what is the network and how does it work (Ch. 2); broadband, what it is and why it's so important (Chs. 5 & 20); and the data center (Ch. 17). And the food for thought: doing good by doing right (Ch. 19); rocking the vote (Ch. 28); and protect the net (Ch 34). But to be honest, every chapter's a winner. If you'd like to see the full table of contents, go to: [...]/catalog/9780596157043.

Also, this is a very well written and reader friendly work, with just the right touch of humour. The 41 chapters are needed to cover the breadth of topics addressed, but with an average length of 6 pages it's easy to fit the reading into your day. You can read the book cover-to-cover as this is definitely a good story with a beginning, middle and end; or you can dip in and out, as each chapter is also quite self-contained.

To end, I'd like to thank the author for making me aware of Kiva ([...]), and would like to encourage all of you who have read this far and would like to do something more to check the Kiva site.