Andrew Blum, in Tubes:
"For all the talk of the placelessness of our digital age, the Internet is as fixed in real, physical places as any railroad or telephone system ever was."
I must get a copy of this book. I found it via Jeremy Keith's nice post about visiting the Heart's Content cable station recently. I love how Jeremy wishes (and actually does) visit some of the places that are vital in the birth of the telegraph and Internet.
Most people in this world couldn't describe to you the way the Internet works. Some, though, could more than likely describe to you the way a telegraph works. At least as its basic "sending Morse code over a line drawn between two locations" description. When people think of the Internet they do not think of it as a physical network the way they do the telegraph. But they should. You should.
I think it is great to remember where we've come from and also that the Internet is still, and will be for some time, a huge series of cables and routers and boxes and boosters and buildings and the list goes on and on. To understand the network is to be a better developer.