By Andrew Blum, contributor
FORTUNE -- When, in 1924, the Western Union Telegraph Co. went looking for land for a new headquarters in lower Manhattan, it had strict requirements: The building had to be close not only to the New York Stock Exchange and the commodities exchanges but also to the company's existing operations center, with its fixed cable links to the hinterlands. By the end of 1930, messenger boys were keeping the revolving doors of 60 Hudson Street spinning all day, shuttling messages to the trading firms piled up downtown.
Today's financial services companies -- especially those in the business of high-speed algorithmic trading -- are faced with exactly the same requirements. They, too, have clustered around 60 Hudson Street, where the majority of transatlantic undersea cables land, in a similar effort: to hear the news of faraway markets first, if only by a matter of milliseconds. The result has been the creation of a parallel Wall Street geography, based not on the location of bustling trading floors but on proximity to the darkened buildings that house today's automated trading platforms. The surrounding space is at a premium, as companies strive to literally shorten the wire that connects them to the hubs.
--Andrew Blum is the author of Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet (Ecco, 2012, from which this is adapted).
More: Mapping the Internet
For developing nations that can't afford high-cost infrastructure, the solution may be simple: Cut the cord.
By Benjamin Schenkel, contributor
FORTUNE -- It's one thing to bring fiber-optic cable to the coast of a landmass; it's quite another to then build that network into the interior of that landmass. Without much infrastructure already in place, the cost of new broadband cables is extremely high. The result is a bitter irony: Those MOREJul 16, 2012 5:00 AM ET
Apple's tablet plays a key role in the largest debt restructuring in history
FORTUNE -- I got a London call last week from Bob Apfel, a Brooklyn neighbor (and fellow Oberlin College graduate).
"Two weeks ago," he began. "I completed the debt restructuring of Greece."
It was pretty bold statement, but not entirely out of character. After all, Apfel runs a company called Bondholder Communications Group that does this kind of thing.
But that MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 22, 2012 7:27 AM ET
Apple shares briefly fall to $0.00 on Google Finance
Under the heading "OK, I almost just had a heart attack," one of the investors who follow Apple (AAPL) on Investor Village's AAPL Sanity board posted the screenshot at right, in which Google's (GOOG) stock-tracking service reports Apple's shares plummeting $350.96 (100%) in after-hours trading Tuesday.
The stock bounced back in the next clock tick, but the glitch shook investors who rely on MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 31, 2011 6:18 AM ET
Tool allows users to graph the performance of their whole portfolio.
Until now, Google (GOOG) Finance users had to graph their stocks/assets individually to gauge their performance. With the release of Portfolio Charting, Google overlays each individual asset in an easy to see chart.
To make it even easier to track your portfolios, today we launched Portfolio Charting on Google Finance. Now you can graphically track your portfolio's historical performance either individually MORESeth Weintraub - Nov 5, 2010 3:39 PM ET
A round-up of the companies, deals, and trends that made headlines.
Every day, the Fortune staff spends hours poring over tech stories, posts, and reviews from all over the Web to keep tabs on the companies that matter. We've assembled the weekend's most newsworthy bits below.Illustrator Randall Monroe's 2010 edition of his "Map of Online Communities." Photo: xkcd
"The world doesn't need another platform." -- Google VP of Engineering Andy Rubin on Windows MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Oct 11, 2010 6:30 AM ET
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