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La Educación
Número: (118) II
Año: 1994

9. Carl MALAMUD. Exploring the Internet: A Technical Travelogue. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: PTR Prentice Hall, 1993, xii, 379 p., illustrations, index.

Rarely is a technical subject treated with such an interesting approach. Malamud’s description of Internet development is provided through the narrative look of a true explorer. People, places, and laboratories interacting around the world are combined to create a unique perspective of the concept and reality of Internet. From having traveled three times around the globe during a six-month period, Malamud presents a refreshing first-hand vision of Internet as the world-wide pioneering effort to create “cyberspace.”

Malamud’s book is a fascinating combination of fun with serious research. This mix is, without a doubt, its main asset. Unfortunately, fun does not eliminate the reader’s need to grasp the most basic concepts of computer networking technology. Communication protocols and electronic networking standards appear related to names of people and descriptions of circumstances that show computer networks as living entities. From the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) headquarters in Geneva to the Golden Shopping Center in Hong Kong, the reader has the opportunity to examine a variety of topics: from the bureaucratic intricacies of international standards to the unbelievable diversity of computer related piracy.

Different kinds of networks are included in Malamud’s account:
  • In Amsterdam, he witnessed the birth of EBONE, a long awaited pan-European research backbone.
  • In Japan, he visited the Fujisawa campus of Keio University where all entering freshmen are required to learn UNIX.
  • In Bombay, he observed the Indian Railways Reservation System, one of the largest in the world, which moves ten million passengers a day in over 6,000 trains.
Malamud’s exploration reveals a reality that goes beyond the more conventional definitions of the Internet. It allows one to perceive, in a unique manner, the emergence of global computer communications.

This is surely enjoyable reading for all of those interested in computer networking and communication.

Leonel Zúñiga