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Communications Software The Internet

"Series of Tubes" Metaphor Implemented 266

meisteg writes to tell us about Tubes: a beta application that uses a tube metaphor to enable users to share files over the Internet. The Windows-only app is free and the company hopes to make money on an enhanced version targeted at businesses. See this video for some details of how Tubes works. From the article: "[Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens] endured ridicule last year for his assertion that the Internet is 'a series of tubes.' But one Web startup hopes to bring that metaphor to life with a new service that makes it easy for people to share videos, songs, pictures and other big files."
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"Series of Tubes" Metaphor Implemented

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  • Re:well (Score:1, Informative)

    by russ1337 ( 938915 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:10PM (#17622978)
    It may not be a truck, but it looks like they'll be shipping plenty of things to you.... let's just hope you know you're signing up for them...

    From their privacy page:

    Log Files

    Other Use of Information

    Adesso may share aggregated demographic information with its partners and advertisers.
    This aggregated information is not linked to any personal information that can identify any individual person. Adesso may use an outside shipping company to ship orders and uses a credit card processing company to bill users for goods and services. These companies have access to user information in order to perform their functions, but these companies are not authorized to use personal information for any other purposes.

    Adesso may partner with other parties to provide specific goods and services. When you sign up for such goods or services, Adesso will share names or other contact information that is necessary for the third party to provide these goods and services. Adesso does not authorize third party providers to use personally identifiable information except for the purpose related to these good or services.
  • Re:Tube == VPN (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pooua ( 265915 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:12PM (#17622994) Homepage
    VPN does not perform automatic synchronization. Tubes is supposed to do so.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:27PM (#17623156)
    I am the marketer at TubesNow.com and my name is Steve. And no, we didn't name it Tubes because of the Senator from Alaska although we do get a chuckle out of it here in Boston. We named it Tubes because of the metaphor we borrowed: the pneumatic tube used at many bank drive ins to transfer documents & cash. You know that cool thing at the bank the teller uses to send you money with a whoosh? Tubes is the digital version of that - letting you share with many people at once. Just like that bank tube, Tubes is secure, bi-directional, personal (you see and wave at the teller behind glass while she counts out your money), private, nearly instantaneous and fun. I remember getting lollipops in the tube when my Dad would drive to the bank (way before ATMs) and I practically begged him to use the bank tube because I was trying to figure out how it worked. We could have called it Star Trek (but we didn't, that would really be bad marketing) since some people think of it as part Replicator and part Transporter. We think it is cool and I hope you try it. It is beta software and we're hoping the slashdot crowd helps us make it better.

    And to the other person worried about getting his computer filled with stuff that other people send you, be aware that we implemented a feature called "On Demand" that lets you see what people are sending you before you accept. Or you can accept it all, delete your local copy, and request a local copy any time you want, on any computer.

    Hope that helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to post them on our forum!
  • The relavent quote: (Score:5, Informative)

    by wile_e_wonka ( 934864 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:04PM (#17623592)
    Here is why he gets mocked:

    "There's one company now you can sign up and you can get a movie delivered to your house daily by delivery service. Okay. And currently it comes to your house, it gets put in the mail box when you get home and you change your order but you pay for that, right.

    "But this service is now going to go through the internet* and what you do is you just go to a place on the internet and you order your movie and guess what you can order ten of them delivered to you and the delivery charge is free.

    "Ten of them streaming across that internet and what happens to your own personal internet?

    "I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?

    "Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially. ...

    "They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck.

    " It's a series of tubes.

    "And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

    "Now we have a separate Department of Defense internet now, did you know that?

    "Do you know why?

    "Because they have to have theirs delivered immediately. They can't afford getting delayed by other people."

    This quote (more fully found here [wired.com]; there is also a link to the audio recording on that page) doesn't actually get at what the Senator was talking about--how corporations clog the "tubes," causing them to be unavailable to the average consumer for sending "internets," and therefore telephone companies should be allowed to charge fees to content providers to discourage clogging the "tubes."

    Here is a tracking of the Senator's delayed "internet." [wired.com]

    Also see, of course, the relevant Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org].

    [and this is why we should probably hand decisionmaking authority with regard to this type of regulation to an expert body, rather than leaving it to congresspeople who don't even know the proper use of the word "email."]
  • Re:well (Score:5, Informative)

    by phritz ( 623753 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:10PM (#17623634)
    Sooo ... you would prefer that they not tell Fedex your address when shipping something to you? Seriously, that's the most standard privacy clause you can find.
  • Re:well-Planespeak. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bodrius ( 191265 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:46AM (#17624466) Homepage
    I believe you need to listen to the speech to understand the full effect.

    There is one main thing that made this a particularly awful speech:

    Mr. Stevens was trying to 'educate' his fellow Senators, assuming the condescending tone of a self-appointed 'expert' in the subject.

    He was not trying to explain it in the sense of 'this is sort of how I understand it, as a simile', but more like 'you kids don't understand this interweb thing, and I do, so I'm going to extemporate here until you get it'.
    This makes silly gaffes like 'my staff sent an internet through the tubes', and his wild guess as to his delay 'receiving his Internets', positively painful to hear.

    Also, whether by tone of voice, timing, or phraseology, his metaphorical description didn't just seem that metaphorical. It sounded like he took it almost literally, at least to my ears... and I suspect a lot of people have had enough experience with some computer-illiterate person (cd trays as cup-holders, wireless devices never plugged in, etc) that the picture just completes itself.

    I doubt Mr. Stevens believes the interwebs are made of tubes, but I got the impression he was shortly briefed on the subject by his staff, and he took a metaphor he didn't completely understand and ran away with it.
    Considering his role in the Senate and in this particular issue, that is very worrying...

    In essence, like Dan Quayle's issues with the word 'potato', this is a particularly bad delivery that became a problem because it symbolizes the character so well.

    Another good comparison may be Al Gore's "I invented the Internet"... everyone knows he didn't really claim that. But the phrase was indelibly attached to him because it was so easy to picture him saying that, even if it was not true. It was a concise symbol of some parodiable elements of his character.

  • Re:Windoze Only (Score:3, Informative)

    by arpy ( 587497 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @01:45AM (#17624946) Journal
    Coined by Bush - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internets_(colloquial ism) [wikipedia.org] BUSH: ...We can have filters on Internets where public money is spent. There ought to be filters in public libraries and filters in public schools so if kids get on the Internet, there is not going to be pornography or violence coming in. and BUSH: Yes, that's a great question. Thanks. I hear there's rumors on the, uh, Internets, that we're going to have a draft. We're not going to have a draft, period. The all-volunteer army works. It works particularly when we pay our troops well. It works when we make sure they've got housing, like we have done in the last military budgets.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:45AM (#17625712) Homepage
    Look, the point of an analogy is that it's supposed to be related in some aspect - if they had to be similar in every aspect, nothing would be analogous to anything but itself.

    As for the basic flow, there's basicly two kinds of tubes - those that move liquid through pressure (hydraulic), and those that move liquid through decent (drains, sewer pipes). Pressure doesn't make sense - I don't send packets and then have to sent more packets to push the first ones. Neither does the other one, that'd imply some sort of directional net. Also, the liquid is just one big flow.

    A highway tend to give people many more of the right ideas - lane sizes, packetization with small and big vechicles, one packet moving independently of the other and so on. Tubes... not really. Maybe to show off some other aspect, but I don't see it.
  • Re:well-Planespeak. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Eivind ( 15695 ) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:07AM (#17626114) Homepage
    Some of them do:

    $ telnet someserver smtp
    220-someserver ESMTP Exim, welcome.
    HELO eivind
    250 someserver Hello eivind, nice to meet you !
    MAIL FROM eivindorama@gmail.com
    250 OK
    RCPT TO someguy@somewhere
    250 Accepted. Will do my best to deliver your message.
    354 Enter message, ending with "." on a line by itself
    Subject: Message for you

    Hi somguy, how's it going ?
    200 Message accepted for delivery.

    Most people don't imagine that email-servers go around exchanging courtesies with oneanother while delivering mail, but infact many of them do. Some of them even have a sense of humour. (postfix used to, for example, on wrong commands say something along the lines of "Proper forging of email requires learning SMTP")

  • Hamachi (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @09:13AM (#17627420)
    Interesting, this is like Hamachi on crack.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie