How the Internet works


Ars Technica runs a nice overview article “How the Internet works: Submarine fiber, brains in jars, and coaxial cables“.  It features plenty of cool images, statistics, and details of the Internet wiring from under the sea to the last mile to the last 100 meters.  It’s mostly focused on UK, but it provides a good understanding of what’s involved in the modern day connectivity.

P.S.: On a less serious note, here’s The IT Crowd take on how the Internet works.  Thanks to Maxym Balabaev for a reminder.

what3words – addressing the world

what3words is an interesting solution to the problem of the global addresses.  What’s the problem, you ask?  Well, according to their website:

  • Poor addressing costs businesses billions of dollars and hampers the growth and development of entire nations.
  • Around 75% of the world (135+ countries) suffers from inadequate addressing.
  • 4 billion people are invisible, unable to get deliveries or receive aid, and unable to exercise their rights as citizens.

That doesn’t sound too far from the truth.  So, how do they solve it?


what3words is a global grid of 57 trillion 3mx3m squares.

Each square has a 3 word address that can be communicated quickly, easily and with no ambiguity.

Our geocoder turns geographic coordinates into these 3 word addresses and vice-versa.

Using words means non-technical people can accurately find any location and communicate it more quickly, more easily and with less ambiguity than any other system like street addresses, postcodes, latitude & longitude or mobile short-links.

It’s a very elegant solution.  Obviously, it doesn’t solve all of the problems (for example, it does not take height into account, so if you have a 50-floor high apartment block, all 50 floors will share the same squares).  But this solution is still valuable and super easy to use.

And it’s fun too!  I live around, and I work close to simply.approve.pretty.  See, I told you.

By the way, what3words has been recently in the news:

Mongol Post, the country’s largest mail provider, has licensed the system from What3Words, and starting in September it will offer customers the option of using the three-word codes. (The company added Mongolian to its first 10 languages; 14 more are coming.)

If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is.

Global Internet Map 2012

internet map

I came across “Global Internet Map 2012” – an interactive map by TeleGeography, via this article (in Russian).  If you read the language, check the article for more maps and resources on the subject.  Also check my previous posts here and here.

Apart from the absolute visual awesomeness, one thing that struck me in particular is how weird the world looks if you just rotate the map a bit.

Cost Obsessions Around the World

obsession map

Cost Obsessions Around the World

Google’s autocomplete function provides suggestions derived from common Google searches by other users. Comparing autocomplete results for searches on different countries reveals how certain places are perceived by people around the World.

Make sure to scroll through the original article for continental breakdowns.

I’m thinking these stats are somewhat off due to language variations (not everybody searches in English).

Why Waze is so incredibly popular in Costa Rica

Why Waze is so incredibly popular in Costa Rica – excellent story, which, I think, is pretty applicable in Cyprus too.  There aren’t many people here.  And there are even fewer sensible street addresses.  We are landmark driven navigation country too.


Battle scars: How the first world war changed the world

Battle scars: How the first world war changed the world

Geography changed too. After the war the Treaty of Versailles carved out new countries from what remained of the old pre-war empires. Independence was granted to the Baltic states, which had been handed to Germany in 1918 as part of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which ended Russian involvement in the first world war. Poland was reconstituted from former Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian territories, and Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and a larger Romania were created.

Check the link for the cool swipe map overlay.