I have this urge to write a book…

It would begin like this:

On a bright Illinois morning on the sixth of November, 2010, Teresa Williams dragged a picture of her twins in their Halloween costumes into a mail message. She clicked a button to send it to their grandparents. Three minutes later, in Göteborg Sweden, Teresa’s mother’s phone buzzed discretely. The mail had arrived.

This book is about everything that happened between the click and the buzz.

It would be a popularization, hitting a technical level somewhere around Singh’s The Code Book—that is, technical enough that someone who really knows the details wouldn’t consider it incorrect, but accessible to the layperson.

What do you think?

4 Responses to “I have this urge to write a book…”

  1. jmeowmeow Says:

    I think it has promise. I wonder about some of the alternative pathways (e.g. Teresa’s desktop operating environment and mail client), and whether it would be more expedient to abstract/fuzz away the differences or choose a particular one.

    Jeff Miller

  2. zac Says:

    I think the phone should buzz “discreetly” instead.

    But seriously, I think it would be difficult to capture the same interest as something like The Code Book; the popular appeal of secret codes is much larger than that of internet protocols (grossly over-generalizing to make a point).

    On the other hand, some of Singh’s work has been in association with television, which doubtless aided the popularity … I think with the right narrator and production it could help your hypothetical book to take off. Anyone know if James Burke (http://www.k-web.org/) is available?

  3. glv Says:

    I think it has real promise, and I’d like to read it. A better example of what you’re aiming for might be Charles Petzold’s “Code” … on the surface it sounds like “The Code Book”, but rather than encryption, “Code” is aimed at explaining how computers work. It’s masterful, I think, and was quite popular.

  4. mheusser Says:

    I’d suggest actually talking to Petzold to feel out the market. He’s one guy that might have some insight or be able to make some introductions for you.

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