BN.com Gift Guide

Telecosm: How Infinite Bandwidth Will Revolutionize Our World

Overview

The computer age is over.

After a cataclysmic global run of thirty years, it has given birth to the age of the telecosm -- the world enabled and defined by new communications technology. Chips and software will continue to make great contributions to our lives, but the action is elsewhere. To seek the key to great wealth and to understand the bewildering ways that high tech is restructuring our lives, look not to chip speed but to communication power, or bandwidth. Bandwidth is ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (126) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $1.99   
  • Used (121) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$1.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(30)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Excellent Buy!!!

Ships from: Pleasant View, TN

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$8.00
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(226)

Condition: New
2000 Hard cover New in fine dust jacket. Light Shelfwear. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 351 p. Audience: General/trade. (10E)

Ships from: WEST ISLIP, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$9.99
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:

(21)

Condition: New
New.No writing,marks,or highlighting.Binding is tight and intact.Ships fast

Ships from: lincoln park, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$14.00
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:

(325)

Condition: New
1st Edition, Fine/VG 3/4" DJ tear bottom front fore-edge corner, o.w. clean, bright and tight. No ink names, bookplates, etc. Price unclipped. SIGNED by Author on front endpaper. ... ISBN 0684809303 Read more Show Less

Ships from: Troy, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$15.50
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(40)

Condition: New
Deirdre C. Amthor (Design); Tom Stvan (Jacket Design) New York, London, Sydney, Toronto 2000 Hardcover 1st Printing Brand New in Brand New jacket Academic, Scholarly, Research. ... 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. 351 pp. Book and dj in pristine state. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Bronx, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

The computer age is over.

After a cataclysmic global run of thirty years, it has given birth to the age of the telecosm -- the world enabled and defined by new communications technology. Chips and software will continue to make great contributions to our lives, but the action is elsewhere. To seek the key to great wealth and to understand the bewildering ways that high tech is restructuring our lives, look not to chip speed but to communication power, or bandwidth. Bandwidth is exploding, and its abundance is the most important social and economic fact of our time.

George Gilder is one of the great technological visionaries, and "the man who put the 's' in 'telecosm'" (Telephony magazine). He is equally famous for understanding and predicting the nuts and bolts of complex technologies, and for putting it all together in a soaring view of why things change, and what it means for our daily lives. His track record of futurist predictions is one of the best, often proving to be right even when initially opposed by mighty corporations and governments. He foresaw the power of fiber and wireless optics, the decline of the telephone regime, and the explosion of handheld computers, among many trends. His list of favored companies outpaced even the soaring Nasdaq in 1999 by more than double.

His long-awaited Telecosm is a bible of the new age of communications. Equal parts science story, business history, social analysis, and prediction, it is the one book you need to make sense of the titanic changes underway in our lives. Whether you surf the net constantly or not at all, whether you live on your cell phone or hate it for its invasion of private life, you need this book. It has been less than two decades since the introduction of the IBM personal computer, and yet the enormous changes wrought in our lives by the computer will pale beside the changes of the telecosm. Gilder explains why computers will "empty out," with their components migrating to the net; why hundreds of low-flying satellites will enable hand-held computers and communicators to become ubiquitous; why television will die; why newspapers and magazines will revive; why advertising will become less obnoxious; and why companies will never be able to waste your time again.

Along the way you will meet the movers and shakers who have made the telecosm possible. From Charles Townes and Gordon Gould, who invented the laser, to the story of JDS Uniphase, "the Intel of the Telecosm," to the birthing of fiberless optics pioneer TeraBeam, here are the inventors and entrepreneurs who will be hailed as the next Edison or Gates. From hardware to software to chips to storage, here are the technologies that will soon be as basic as the air we breathe.

To seek the key to great wealth and to understand the bewildering ways that high tech is restructuring our lives, look not to chip speed but to communication power, or bandwidth. Bandwidth is exploding, and its abundance is the most important social and economic fact of our time.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Bookseller's Report
While most of us are still dabbling in microchips, futurologist George Gilder has moved on to the next revolution: the telecosm. This world of infinite bandwidth, speed of light networking, and cathedrals of glass that enable us to communicate hundreds of Libraries of Congress in an instant. This history of these still miraculously unfolding technologies will challenge readers with its new rules (e.g., "the smaller the space, the more the room"), but as the music industry learned, it can be expensive to get caught napstering.
Library Journal
Gilder, a highly respected and widely read technology analyst (Forbes, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal), predicts an impending "bandwidth blowout" that will reshape the way we do business and organize our lives. The author's The Meaning of Microcosm (1997) described a world dominated by the Microsoft- and Intel-based PC. In his latest work, a world enabled and dominated by new telecommunications technology will make human communication universal, instantaneous, unlimited in capacity, and free to all. Gilder explains the science and engineering trends of his predictions, who is fighting them, who will ride them to victory, and what it all means. He weaves together a number of rich and complex stories to back up his claims and provide readers with the necessary components toward understanding the pending telecosmic revolution. This book will be of interest to technologists, investors, and general-interest readers. Recommended for public and academic libraries.--Joe Accardi, Northeastern, Illinois Univ., Chicago Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Wired
The book works because Gilder's starry-eyed claims (and stock tips) are grounded in an engaging narrative. Much of Telecosm recounts, in jargon-free if often ecstatic prose, the development of today's fiber-optic network, from pioneering researcher Will Hicks to Qwest cofounder (and escapee) Nayal Shafei. Gilder spins engineering research and business strategies into an Arthurian struggle, heroically dispatching outmoded bandwidth-bound thinking, from Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe's 1996 forecast of an Internet meltdown to the FCC's crudely managed spectrum auctions.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684809304
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 9/11/2000
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.45 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author


George Gilder publishes the Gilder Technology Report, a monthly newsletter, and is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, where he directs the program on high technology and public policy. He is a founder and contributor to ForbesASAP, a contributing editor of Forbes magazine, and a frequent writer for The Economist, Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. His previous books include Microcosm and Wealth and Poverty. He lives in Tyringham, Massachusetts.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt


Chapter 1: Maxwell's Rainbow

The supreme abundance of the telecosm is the electromagnetic spectrum, embracing all the universe of vibrating electrical and magnetic fields, from power line pulses through light beams to cosmic rays. The scarcity that unlocks this abundance is the supreme scarcity in physical science: the absolute minimum time it takes to form an electromagnetic wave of a particular length. Set by the permeability of free space, this minimal span determines the speed of light.

The discovery of electromagnetism, and its taming in a mathematical system, was the paramount achievement of the nineteenth century and the first step into the telecosm. The man who did it was the great Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell. In his honor, we will call the spectrum Maxwell's rainbow. Today most of world business in one way or another is pursuing the pot of gold at the end of it.

Arriving at the profound and surprising insight that all physical phenomena, from images and energies to chemical and solid bodies, are built on oscillation, Maxwell embarked on a science of shaking. For roughly a hundred and fifty years, this improbable topic has animated all physics. Another word for oscillation is temperature. Without the oscillations, the mostly empty matter of the universe would collapse in on itself. In theory, you can make the shaking stop, but only by making things cold indeed -- 273 degrees below zero Celsius, or zero Kelvin. So far unreachable even in laboratories, it is the temperature of the universe's heat death.

When things oscillate, they make waves, and in that magic moment the possibility of the telecosm is born.

Maxwell's genius was to realize that all waves are mathematically identical, and can be arrayed along a continuum known as the spectrum. The unity of the spectrum makes possible the ubiquity and interoperability of communications systems and thus enables the unification of the world economy in the new era.

The light your eyes can see is only a tiny slice of the range of "colors" that actually exist or can be created. They run from the background rumble of the universe at the low, or "dark" end, to shrieking gamma rays that can penetrate a planet at the high "bright" end. Each wavelength has its own distinct characteristics -- some are better at transmitting raw power, others for traveling long distances, others for carrying digital bits.

Slices of Maxwell's rainbow form the core of virtually every significant modern technology: 60-hertz household power cords and three kilohertz (thousand-cycle) telephones; 700 megahertz (mega is million) Pentium PCs; two gigahertz (billion) cellular phones and 200 terahertz (trillion) fiber-optic cables. The neurons in your brain, for their part, hum along at barely a kilohertz; thank the Lord for parallel processing. Dental X rays, at the other extreme, top a petahertz -- a thousand trillion cycles per second. The potential number of frequencies is literally infinite, limited only by how finely your technology can parse the rainbow.

Maxwell's theory informed his several immense tomes on electromagnetism. The fruit of a promethean life ended by cancer at age forty-eight, his work empowered titans such as Erwin Schroedinger, Hendrik Lorentz, Albert Einstein, and Richard Feynman to create the edifice of twentieth-century quantum and post-quantum physics.

As much as pure scientists hate the idea, however, it is engineers and entrepreneurs who finally ratify their work. Until theory is embodied in a device, it is really not physics but metaphysics. Newton's ideas burst forth as the industrial revolution. Quantum theory triumphed unimpeachably in the atomic bomb and the microchip. In contrast to the intriguing perplexities of particle physics -- Einstein's relativity, Murray Gell-Mann's quarks, Richard Feynman's quantum electrodynamics, Stephen Weinberg's grand unification, Schwartz's karass of superstrings -- Maxwell's rainbow may seem child's play. But as we approach the twenty-first century, the spectrum's infinite spread of capabilities is history's driving force.

Maxwell had transformed the mindscape of metaphor and analogy by which human beings grasp reality. For Newton's medley of massy and impenetrable materials, he substituted a noosphere of undulatory energies. And woven uniquely into the warp of nature was the resonating speed of light. As Maxwell and others discovered, the speed of light is a basic constant in our universe -- no matter the speed of the observor or the medium. Frequencies and wavelengths may change, but light speed delay -- the time it takes to propagate an electromagnetic wave -- never changes.

As we will see, light speed is both the crucial enabler and limit of the telecosm. Without it, radiation would be chaotic and uncommunicative. It would be noise that could not bear a signal. Yet communication can never exceed this speed, a fact that will keep us forever distant from other planets and even from ourselves.

There are no practical limits to the spectrum's range of possible wavelengths and frequencies. Nor is the spectrum expressed only by the physics of electromagnetic waves. Spectral frequencies translate into temperatures, into atomic signatures, and into photon energies.

Let the action begin by beating on a drum at a rate of once each second: one hertz. Translating these drumming "phonons" into electromagnetic form, a one-hertz frequency would command a theoretical wavelength of three hundred million meters. Applied to a single photon, its energy in electron volts would be Planck's quantum constant -- 6.63 times 10 to the minus 34th power, close to "Johnson noise," the background chill of the cosmos. Slowly accelerate the drumming to the fast be-bop rattle of a Max Roach or Buddy Rich, perhaps 16 beats per second. That is 16 hertz, around one fourth of the rate of an electrical power station. Suppose that your drumming skills are superhuman, moving at 3,000 beats per second; you are transferring the same number of oscillations that can be carried by a telephone wire. At some 30,000 hertz you have broken the sound barrier because you are sending out wave crests faster than they can be heard.

Nonetheless, you remain near the very bottom of the electromagnetic spectrum. At the other extreme are gamma rays, creatures of cosmic explosions and giant particle accelerators, a frequency of 10 to the 24th hertz. Their wavelength, 10 to the minus 22 meters, is small enough to get lost in an atom. Between Johnson noise and gamma rays is the telecosm, the gigantic span that Maxwell bridged with his mind, most of it now open to human use.

Above 14 gigahertz -- at wavelengths running from the millimeters of microwaves down to the nanometers of visible light -- is the new frontier of the millenium, empires of air and fiber that command some fifty thousand times more communications potential than all the lower frequencies we now use put together. A purely human invention, they provide the key arena of economic activity for the new century.

To put this huge span of frequencies in perspective, a factor of some 10 to the 25th stands between the lengths of the longest and shortest known forms of electromagnetic waves. As molecular biologist Michael Denton has observed: "A pile of ten to the twenty-fifth playing cards would make a stack stretching halfway across the observable universe." Seventy percent of the sun's light and heat occupies the band between near-ultraviolet and near-infrared -- the width of the edge of just one playing card in Denton's cosmic stack. This little sliver of the spectrum providentially sustains life. Maxwell opened the rest of it up for human use: the telecosm....

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Prologue: Abundance and Scarcity 1
Part 1 New Light 13
1. Maxwell's Rainbow 15
2. The Imperial Science 19
3. Enter the Laser 24
4. The Light-Speed Limit 31
Part 2 The New Paradigm 43
5. The Road to the Fibersphere 45
6. The Collapse of the Seven Layers 61
7. The Law of the Telecosm 69
8. The Wireless New World 82
9. The Satellite Ethersphere 96
10. The Coming of Component Software 110
11. The Storewidth Paradigm 132
Part 3 Revolt Against Abundance 147
12. Betting AGainst Bandwidth 149
13. Tilting Against Monsters 165
Part 4 The Triumphal Telecosm 181
14. The Rise of a Paradigm Star 183
15. Deluge of Dumb Bandwidth 193
16. Searching for a New Intel 209
17. The TeraBeam Era 232
Part 5 The Meaning of the Light 243
18. The Lifespan Limit 245
19. The Point of Light 256
Afterword: The Twenty Laws of the Telecosm 265
Appendix A. A List of Telecosm Players 271
Appendix B. Nine Stars of the Telecosm 273
Appendix C. The Telecosm Glossary 289
Index 337
Acknowledgments 353
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Chapter 1: Maxwell's Rainbow
"Nothing is too wonderful to be true."
--James Clerk Maxwell, discoverer of electromagnetism

"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful."
--Mae West

The supreme abundance of the telecosm is the electromagnetic spectrum, embracing all the universe of vibrating electrical and magnetic fields, from power line pulses through light beams to cosmic rays. The scarcity that unlocks this abundance is the supreme scarcity in physical science: the absolute minimum time it takes to form an electromagnetic wave of a particular length. Set by the permeability of free space, this minimal span determines the speed of light.

The discovery of electromagnetism, and its taming in a mathematical system, was the paramount achievement of the nineteenth century and the first step into the telecosm. The man who did it was the great Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell. In his honor, we will call the spectrum Maxwell's rainbow. Today most of world business in one way or another is pursuing the pot of gold at the end of it.

Arriving at the profound and surprising insight that all physical phenomena, from images and energies to chemical and solid bodies, are built on oscillation, Maxwell embarked on a science of shaking. For roughly a hundred and fifty years, this improbable topic has animated all physics. Another word for oscillation is temperature. Without the oscillations, the mostly empty matter of the universe would collapse in on itself. In theory, you can make the shaking stop, but only by making things cold indeed -- 273 degrees below zero Celsius, or zero Kelvin. So farunreachable even in laboratories, it is the temperature of the universe's heat death.

When things oscillate, they make waves, and in that magic moment the possibility of the telecosm is born.

Maxwell's genius was to realize that all waves are mathematically identical, and can be arrayed along a continuum known as the spectrum. The unity of the spectrum makes possible the ubiquity and interoperability of communications systems and thus enables the unification of the world economy in the new era.

The light your eyes can see is only a tiny slice of the range of "colors" that actually exist or can be created. They run from the background rumble of the universe at the low, or "dark" end, to shrieking gamma rays that can penetrate a planet at the high "bright" end. Each wavelength has its own distinct characteristics -- some are better at transmitting raw power, others for traveling long distances, others for carrying digital bits.

Slices of Maxwell's rainbow form the core of virtually every significant modern technology: 60-hertz household power cords and three kilohertz (thousand-cycle) telephones; 700 megahertz (mega is million) Pentium PCs; two gigahertz (billion) cellular phones and 200 terahertz (trillion) fiber-optic cables. The neurons in your brain, for their part, hum along at barely a kilohertz; thank the Lord for parallel processing. Dental X rays, at the other extreme, top a petahertz -- a thousand trillion cycles per second. The potential number of frequencies is literally infinite, limited only by how finely your technology can parse the rainbow.

Maxwell's theory informed his several immense tomes on electromagnetism. The fruit of a promethean life ended by cancer at age forty-eight, his work empowered titans such as Erwin Schroedinger, Hendrik Lorentz, Albert Einstein, and Richard Feynman to create the edifice of twentieth-century quantum and post-quantum physics.

As much as pure scientists hate the idea, however, it is engineers and entrepreneurs who finally ratify their work. Until theory is embodied in a device, it is really not physics but metaphysics. Newton's ideas burst forth as the industrial revolution. Quantum theory triumphed unimpeachably in the atomic bomb and the microchip. In contrast to the intriguing perplexities of particle physics -- Einstein's relativity, Murray Gell-Mann's quarks, Richard Feynman's quantum electrodynamics, Stephen Weinberg's grand unification, Schwartz's karass of superstrings -- Maxwell's rainbow may seem child's play. But as we approach the twenty-first century, the spectrum's infinite spread of capabilities is history's driving force.

Maxwell had transformed the mindscape of metaphor and analogy by which human beings grasp reality. For Newton's medley of massy and impenetrable materials, he substituted a noosphere of undulatory energies. And woven uniquely into the warp of nature was the resonating speed of light. As Maxwell and others discovered, the speed of light is a basic constant in our universe -- no matter the speed of the observor or the medium. Frequencies and wavelengths may change, but light speed delay -- the time it takes to propagate an electromagnetic wave -- never changes.

As we will see, light speed is both the crucial enabler and limit of the telecosm. Without it, radiation would be chaotic and uncommunicative. It would be noise that could not bear a signal. Yet communication can never exceed this speed, a fact that will keep us forever distant from other planets and even from ourselves.

There are no practical limits to the spectrum's range of possible wavelengths and frequencies. Nor is the spectrum expressed only by the physics of electromagnetic waves. Spectral frequencies translate into temperatures, into atomic signatures, and into photon energies.

Let the action begin by beating on a drum at a rate of once each second: one hertz. Translating these drumming "phonons" into electromagnetic form, a one-hertz frequency would command a theoretical wavelength of three hundred million meters. Applied to a single photon, its energy in electron volts would be Planck's quantum constant -- 6.63 times 10 to the minus 34th power, close to "Johnson noise," the background chill of the cosmos. Slowly accelerate the drumming to the fast be-bop rattle of a Max Roach or Buddy Rich, perhaps 16 beats per second. That is 16 hertz, around one fourth of the rate of an electrical power station. Suppose that your drumming skills are superhuman, moving at 3,000 beats per second; you are transferring the same number of oscillations that can be carried by a telephone wire. At some 30,000 hertz you have broken the sound barrier because you are sending out wave crests faster than they can be heard.

Nonetheless, you remain near the very bottom of the electromagnetic spectrum. At the other extreme are gamma rays, creatures of cosmic explosions and giant particle accelerators, a frequency of 10 to the 24th hertz. Their wavelength, 10 to the minus 22 meters, is small enough to get lost in an atom. Between Johnson noise and gamma rays is the telecosm, the gigantic span that Maxwell bridged with his mind, most of it now open to human use.

Above 14 gigahertz -- at wavelengths running from the millimeters of microwaves down to the nanometers of visible light -- is the new frontier of the millenium, empires of air and fiber that command some fifty thousand times more communications potential than all the lower frequencies we now use put together. A purely human invention, they provide the key arena of economic activity for the new century.

To put this huge span of frequencies in perspective, a factor of some 10 to the 25th stands between the lengths of the longest and shortest known forms of electromagnetic waves. As molecular biologist Michael Denton has observed: "A pile of ten to the twenty-fifth playing cards would make a stack stretching halfway across the observable universe." Seventy percent of the sun's light and heat occupies the band between near-ultraviolet and near-infrared -- the width of the edge of just one playing card in Denton's cosmic stack. This little sliver of the spectrum providentially sustains life. Maxwell opened the rest of it up for human use: the telecosm.

Copyright © 2000 by George Gilder

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2002

    A fairly complicated exploration

    Although not overly technical, ¿Telecosm: How Infinite Bandwidth with Revolutionize the World¿ by George Gilder is still a fairly complicated exploration into the way exploding bandwidth affects the way we live. Gilder contends that we are now in the ¿age of the telecosm,¿ which he defines as the world ¿enabled and defined by new communication technology,¿ and he points out that bandwidth has replaced computer power as the driving force for technological advancements. Gilder discusses the promise of fiber in replacing ¿switches and air and microwaves and computer displays and geo-synchronous satellites¿ instead of simply being a retrofit for copper wire. But, he reminds the reader of the speed limit of light and that abundant bandwidth does not accelerate the time the first bit in a given message can travel. At the end of the book, Gilder translates his thoughts into 20 ¿Laws of the Telecosm,¿ some of which were intriguing and others common sense. He also offers a telecom glossary, which he describes as ¿An Opinionated Lexicon.¿ His metaphors helped me (a non-techie) to visualize and understand telecom technologies. For example, he described TDMA as being like each person at a cocktail party who restricts his/her talk to a specific time slot while everyone else is silent. In contrast, CDMA would allow everyone to talk at once but in different languages. Everyone would listen for messages in their own language and ignore all other sounds as background noise. Gilder makes suggestions about investment opportunities. However, his advice wasn¿t always accurate. He speaks highly of Global Crossing, which is now beset by challenges. This book presents the science, history, business stories, investment advice, and predictions for the future of telecommunications networking. An interesting perspective if you can tolerate the complexity or don¿t mind wading through the detail.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2001

    Substance OK, style impenetrable

    Reasonably enjoyable if you can get around the awful way way it is written. Gilder appears perpetually out of breath, and while I'm all for enthusiasm about your subject, you should never let it become an impediment to understanding. Why for example, does Gilder eat not merely Sushi, but 'Sushi and Wasabi' if you please - and twice in one paragraph at that? Is it to sound grandiose? Still, the book has its points. I enjoyed learning about how existing technologies were developed, and by whom. When he drops his attempts to be poetic, he tells a pretty good story. He should have someone edit his next effort.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2000

    Fascinating look at revolutionary changes

    George Gilder¿s new book Telecosm will become ¿must reading¿ for everyone who wants to know what comes after the computer-internet revolution. While the essence of Gilder¿s argument is easy, the details are complex and sometimes daunting. Essentially Gilder argues that the ability to send messages is about to explode in capability and crash in price. The result, he argues, will be a revolution in the volume of information we can rely on and the cost of getting it. Most Americans at home use a 56k (56,000 bits of information per second) or slower modem to connect them to the Internet. At work they are lucky if they have a T1 system with about 1.2 million bits per second. Gilder wants us to prepare for a world in which you will have a billion or more bits per second available to you which may be available on a portable wireless system you can carry around with you. In general I agree with Telecosm¿s assessment of the coming large-scale change. As I have argued in ¿the Age of Transitions¿, we are entering a period of such dramatic change that the amount of change we saw in the entire twentieth century will almost certainly be matched by the changes of the next 25 years. This rate of change guarantees that the world will not stabilize in our lifetime, and we will therefore be engaged in a series of transitions in which we learn one new thing in order to move on and learn another new thing.Gilder focuses on changes in one crucial area, and in his general orientation he is almost certainly right. Gilder offers a series of arguments for the practicality and reasonableness of his projections. He carries you through a history of the laser, fiber optics, the use of frequency modulation, the opportunities inherent in low orbit satellites and wireless. Anyone interested in how science becomes engineering and engineering becomes entrepreneurship will find much of this book fascinating and useful. Given Gilder¿s earlier prescience in Microcosm (a study of the silicon chip and the computer revolution) his credibility forces you to automatically take Gilder seriously. One of the implications of this forecast is a radical redistribution of cost structures. In the current world of limited bandwidth, and therefore limited information transfer, it makes a lot of sense to put money into sophisticated processing which enables us to compress data and maximize the current bandwidth. The result is a system in which the embedded communications base has enormous investments in sophisticated message carrying and translating equipment. In Gilder¿s analysis the future will belong to relatively simply fiber optic systems with very limited investments in processing the communications and the intelligence will drift to the periphery. You will be able to send so much data so inexpensively that the emphasis will rest with increasing the capabilities of individual users¿ computers to deal with the flood of information rather than investing in the communications network. Gilder believes the traditional telephone companies are trapped into a system of stunningly complex investments that will become obsolete as the fiber optic world evolves. Gilder further believes this new revolution will use frequency modulation to create enormous information carrying capability for local wireless systems. A fiber optic cable will carry giga (billions), terra (trillions) and peta (add three more zeros) bits of information, and will broadcast them locally so they will literally leap over the twisted copper which today keeps all of us moving at a snail¿s pace in our local network. The result will be more information in a home than currently exists in the fastest supercomputer. It will be a world in which expert systems explode with capability and work, shopping, health, politics and entertainment are explosively liberated from geographic constraints. Gilder believes the initial low-orbit-satellite telephone systems were misdesigned, and that the

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)