My third book, Hello Ruby: Expedition to Internet is now out in English. Ruby has grown into a series of three books with new characters and new adventures. In this update I wanted to share footnotes and resources that inspired me while writing the book and a warm thank you for all of you for helping me on this Great Expedition of becoming a real children's book author.
In the third Ruby book we learn about the Internet. Ruby, Julia and Django think snow is the best thing about winter. You can make anything out of snow - even a Snow Internet!
The kids decide to build a Snow Internet, but run into many questions. Is the Internet a cloud or a bunch of cables? How does the information travel online? And why do you need people on the Internet?
As an author, I always enjoy reading the tidbits, footnotes and references of the process of making a book. So here is a list of things that sparked my interest and curiosity while writing Hello Ruby: Expedition to the Internet. In no particular order.
- Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson. I pondered a lot about metaphors of Internet and wanted to use snow somehow. Living in the North days during winter are short - you'll see how the light fades from one spread to another in the book. Internet is what we build of it - for other metaphors this was a treasure trove. Pair with Kottke post on Internet as a Time Capsule.
- Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet by Andrew Blum. A fascinating book on the physical/hardware side of Internet. If in a rush, his TED talk is also great. Pair with Networks of New York by Ingrid Burrington - there is a small exercise inspired by her in the book.
- Where Wizards Stay Up Late by Katie Hafner. The Internet’s first words! And what did Internet look like in 1973? And here is the Berners-Lee original proposal for WWW (so.. high-level!). I chuckled also reading this proposal from Marc Andreessen on including <img> tag on the web.
- Talking about data, algorithms and ads was something I wanted to include early on. This video of how ads work (for kids) is great and ProPublica's work is always amazing. My Shadow inspired me a lot when thinking of exercises for chapter 4 and Malware museum with virus activities.
- Finally, I think the biggest insight for me while writing the book was the idea that Internet is as much about connecting us humans to one another as it is about connecting computers and software. And this scene from the final season of Halt and Catch Fire captures the sentiment beautifully.
Try it out!
Fix underwater Internet cables, go on a Wi-Fi hunt, send secret messages, design a web-page, detect fake news and prevent a DDoS attack. Like in the other Ruby books part of the fun is crafting, imagining and discussing. Try out a free selection of the exercises here.
This generation of kids grew up with computers and the Internet as part of their everyday life. Kids can chat online or play games over the Internet with friends on the other side of the world. Childhood increasingly happens online.
The Internet is invisible yet it is almost everywhere. For many people it is difficult to define what the Internet actually is. The book explains what the Internet is from three different perspectives: what is the infrastructure of the Internet, how protocols of the Internet work and what services the Internet provides to people.
Ultimately the Internet is about communication: from machine to machine, from human to machine, and from human to human.
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