Required text

Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means Albert-Laszlo Barabási ©Basic Books, 2003, ISBN: 0465085733
An introduction to the science of networks. Still one of the best explanations of the dynamics of networked systems. This is available as an eBook on the NYU library system.


Making Things Talk 3rd Edition Tom Igoe ©O’Reilly Media/Make, 2017
A lot of what I know about how to connect devices to networks. This is the third edition, available as of August 2017. This edition contains explanatory material and examples relevant to much of this class.

You can read this for free via through your NYU Home account. Go to the research tab and search for Safari Books Online. Within Safari, search for Making Things Talk, 3rd edition.

Head First Networking Al Anderson; Ryan Benedetti ©O’Reilly Media, Inc., 2009, ISBN: 978-0-596-52155-4
If you like the Head First series, you’ll find this introduction to networking helpful. It concentrates on OSI-based networks only, and gets at the low-level technical details very fast, but in a friendly way.

Communications Networks

Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet . Andrew Blum, Harper Collins, 2012. A travelogue of some of the major sites of internet connectedness, explaining some of the details of the business.

The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires Tim Wu. Doubleday, 2010. A great introduction to telecommunications and media business empires and how they rise and fall. Describes the cycle from monopoly to competition to monopoly in the growth of a networked business in very readable detail, using telecomm and the film industries as examples.

Networks of New York: An Illustrated Field Guide to Urban Internet Infrastructure. Burrington, Ingrid. An overview of the physical elements of New York City’s network infrastructure, with some background on the organizations that built it.

The Victorian Internet : the remarkable story of the telegraph and the nineteenth century’s on-line pioneers Tom Standage ©1999 Walker and Co. ISBN 0425171698.
A well-told story about the beginnings of telecommunications. Great inspiration if you’re interested in networks.

325 Hudson: Birth of a Carrier Hotel Hunter Newby and Shulli Halak. There’s a PDF version as well, for those without iPads.

Electrical Power Networks

The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future Gretchen Bakke. Bloomsbury Press, 2016. A good introduction to the electrical power grid as a network, with some detail on the corporate and regulatory forces that shape it.

The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World.   Schewe, Phillip F. National Academies Press, 2007. A good history of electrification, explaining how the power grids of the US, Russia, and others came to be. This is available as an eBook on the NYU library system at this link.

Fox-Penner, Peter. Smart power: climate change, the smart grid, and the future of electric utilities. Island Press, 2010. A good explanation of the business of electrical power, and explanation of the idea of the smart grid.

Transport Networks

The Box Marc Levinson, Princeton University Press, 2007. A history of the shipping container and its effect on the shipping industry and the cities that support it. A great parallel to the internet because it describes, indirectly, how packetization and standardization of containers changed shipping in a way similar to how it changed telecommunications.

Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate Rose George. Picador, 2014 A travelogue of marine shipping, detailing the process of actually moving goods from one place to another. Good followup to The Box.

Other Readings

The Works: Anatomy of a City Kate Ascher ©Penguin, 2007, ISBN: 978-0143112709
Good illustrated explanation of city infrastructures, revealing the network nature of those infrastructures.

Radical Technologies The Design of Everyday Life Adam Greenfield.  Verso, 2017. In this book,  Greenfield offers a critical review of many of the technologies that are currently front and center of everyday life, or emerging in the market: Smartphones, connected devices, blockchain technologies, augmented reality, machine learning, and more. It’s a read dense with ideas on the impact of these technologies. This is available in hard copy in the NYU library.

Interop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems John Palfrey and Urs Gasser ©Basic Books, 2012, ISBN: 0465021972
An introduction to interoperability theory, with several useful case studies. This book will give us material to discuss how best to implement networks that work well together when needed.

Captive Audience . © Susan P. Crawford, Yale University Press, 2013. Kindle Edition. ASIN B00AMYGFXK. A good overview of the Comcast merger case, and argument for competition among network carriers in the U.S.

Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected AgeDuncan J. Watts. W.W. Norton & Company; ©2003. ISBN: 0393041425
A nice introduction to the science of networks, with a good bit of focus on the social angle.

Shaping Things Bruce Sterling, Boston, MIT Press, ©2005, ISBN 0-2626-9326-7. Bruce Sterling’s take on a plausible future in which everything made has a network address, and therefore a documented and documentable history. He takes this vision to its extreme, showing how it changes everything from design to manufacturing to consumption to disposal of material goods. An inspiring read if you’re interested in networks, material or information design, or sustainability.

The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected WorldLawrence Lessig. Vintage Books: ISBN 0-375-72644-6 ©2001
An excellent examination of the clash between the open-ended architecture of the early internet and the property-centric legal system in the US. Lessig puts forth the idea of the internet as an “innovation commons”, and explains how current attempts to extend copyright and tighten intellectual property law threaten that commons.

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without OrganizationsClay Shirky ©Penguin, 2009. ISBN: 978-0143114949
Clay’s introduction to the effects of networks on social, political, and commercial organization.

Designing Connected Products Claire Rowland, Elizabeth Goodman, Martin Charlier, Alfred Lui, Ann Light. Best book I have seen on the subject, from a design point of view.

Readings on REST

History of Connected Devices

Marc Weiser, “The Computer for the 21st Century” (Scientific American, 1991)

Weiser, “The Coming Age of Calm Technology

Xerox PARC video on Pads, Tabs, and Boards

Paul Dourish and Genevieve Bell, Yesterday’s tomorrows: notes on ubiquitous computing’s dominant vision

Matthew Chalmers and Ian MacColl, “Seamful and Seamless Design in Ubiquitous Computing

Ian MacColl, Matthew Chalmers, Yvonne Rogers, Hilary Smith:  “Seamful ubiquity: Beyond seamless integration

Konrad Tollmar, Stefan Junestrand, Olle Torgny, “Virtually Living Together: A Design Framework for New Communication Media

Saul Greenberg and Hideaki Kuzuoka, “Using Digital but Physical Surrogates to Mediate Awareness, Communication and  Privacy in Media Spaces


Ray Bradbury, There Will Come Soft Rains (Or you may prefer the audio version)

Bruce Sterling, The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things

The Design of Future Things, Donald A. Norman,  ©Basic Books,2009. ASIN: B0074A6JUY (Kindle), ISBN: 978-0465002283 (Paperback) Good writing on how connectedness and automation affect industrial and interaction design.

Smart Cities

Adam Greenfield Against the Smart City: The City is Here For You To Use 

Anthony Townsend, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia