So information turns out to be deep and have connections to other big ideas. Chapter 4 is about formulations that provide framework for coding information. “He made clear, though, that information-representations of number and process-would course through the machinery” (Gleick, 110), numbers served as a formal solution to the game of information. The correct calculations were needed in order for this country to burst with inventions and other scientific opportunities. The chapter delved into number tables which left me puzzled! But the message was clear that the science of calculation become more and more necessary as technology progresses in today’s society.
After Gleick moves through the mathematical phase of information technology he devotes the next chapter to “comparing cables to nerves; the nation, or the whole earth, to the human body” (Gleick, 126). The telegraph changed everything and was a new epidemic in communication. The telegraph brought the world together because it allowed people to connect from far distances. Even though it was new science it too had its problems. A couple drawbacks were that the two stations had to be linked both by sight and by sound; another problem was getting the clocks synchronized. However, the telegraph system set a new standard for speed communication, since the only real competition was a rider on horseback. The telegraph also had its own network which amazes me as well! Today, network holds a different definition and consists of connections between people rather than computers or systems. There was a scheme to encode the letters. Each letter required a number that had to be looked up. Back then they too used abbreviations and numbers for letters. As Nyssa mentioned in her post, it reminded me of text messaging and online chatting. History does indeed repeat itself! The telegraph was the blueprint for the telephone. Mathematicians went to work and solved equations that forever changed our world. After numbers and some more numbers the electrical speaking telephone first appeared in the 1870s. Even after many years, the telephone remains the ground breaking technology. It revolutionized how we communicate today!