Writings and Musings

Bob Frankston (bio)

Welcome to my writings.

If you want the recent essays check out the sidebar on the left or, better, go to Further Readings for a curated list of essays.

Other essays are listed in chronological order and then by category. The main essays are in larger letters and minor documents (such as messages posted on discussion sites) are indented and in smaller letters. The documents themselves are located on this site (www.Frankston.com) and as well as external sites.

Note that I'm currently writing shorter transient posts on Facebook as "Bob Frankston". I'm gathering links here.

You can send me Email. Note this unique address is only valid for the next few days.

The best way to link to a document is as http://rmf.vc/keyword.

By default only the most recent posts are shown, to see:
Recent By Date Posts from the last few months
Columns Columns written in 1998-1999 -- blogging before blogs. Look here for my more recent columns.
All All posts -- hundreds

Writings and Updates by Date

Some of the recent entries are also listed on the sidebar. Secondary items such as postings on other mailing lists are indented. Note that the year shown is the year the essay was updated. An essay written in 1979 might be listed under 2009 if it was updated recently.

The Pragmatist 01-Nov-2004 (Updated: 19-Jan-2005 I'm pragmatic. It's silly to argue about policy issues when we just have a fixable design flaw in today's Internet
Attempts at overthrowing the teaching of evolution gathering steam 08-Nov-2004 It's unfortunate that we teach evolution as if it were just another fact to memorize. Evolution is really just a property of complex systems. Complexity is really just an emergent property and an illusion. It's just that we don't see the inherent simplicity. As long we treat biological evolution as apart from evolution in other systems we will find ourselves asking people to memorize it as an arbitrary "fact" rather than understand it in context. The same processes apply marketplaces, social systems and the Internet. If we don't understand how systems self-organize we'll seek refuge in authority rather than realize the benefits of opportunity.
The End of Tolerance? 04-Nov-2004 The US has been defined by its diversity. Tolerance has had a major economic benefit. Out government has had a role in protecting us from the tyranny of the majority. Have we reached a time where one point of view has a decisive majority? Most worrisome is that this is not a benign majority but one that is threatened by others' ideas. Can we afford to ignore Niemöller's warnings just because they came for the gays first?
Ambient Opportunity 29-Oct-2004 It's been a long time since I've posted so I'm trying to put a lot into this one essay. It's an overture for essays I'm planning to write and ties together a range of concepts related to the end-to-end argument and the importance of creating opportunity in marketplaces. Reinventing the Internet is just part of the larger story.
Dialing John Smith 01-Jul-2004 (Updated: 21-Oct-2004 We must break our psychological ties to the PSTN. Why are we dialing numbers instead of trying to reach people?
Still Ruled by the Tuning Fork 01-Sep-2004 (Updated: 21-Oct-2004 It's time to give up our 19th century thinking. The tuning fork was the height of 19th century signal processing!
Project MAC: Man-Machine Symbiosis 30-Jun-2004 The 35th anniversary of Multics reminded me of the original goals of Project MAC -- understanding the relationships between man and machine. This vision is even more important today as we find ourselves awash in technology. We are bystanders when we should be participants.
It's About Being in Control 01-May-2004 (Updated: 23-Jun-2004 With VoIP, we all get to sit in the telecom driver's seat
More on Why the FCC should die 13-Jun-2004 More on how a marketplace that provides opportunity rather than narrow solutions allows demand to create supply. The FCC frustrates this virtuous cycle. This is a bit dense and I will be writing more about this in the future
More on For High-Definition Sets, Channels to Match 10-Jun-2004 HDTV is just a bit stream format. It's only a big deal because the current broadcast industry is not end to end
RIAA wants your fingerprints 08-Jun-2004 It's hard to add value if you can only borrow and not own
A Bluetooth Tragedy 06-Apr-2004 It should be simple to connect a navigation program to a wireless GPS. Unfortunately the GPS manufacturers have chosen to use Bluetooth thus making it difficult to do it except in the few scenarios that they thought of.
WTF 06-Apr-2004 Summary of a summary of my comments at David Isenberg's WTF workshop.
You're invited to join the EomE network 27-Mar-2004 Social networks are an interesting phenomenon. Why just have networks for friends and business contacts? Why not one for the "Enemy of my Enemies" and more …
Modems and other Relics 04-Mar-2004 The kids today don't know what a dialup modem is. Too bad public policy is stuck in the modem era.
Regulate What 01-Mar-2004 VoIP bits transported over networks have no intrinsic meaning. To bill or tariff them would be an exercise in absurdity
It's About Connectivity Not The Internet! 23-Feb-2004 The press treats the Internet as a news niche that is both too broad and too narrow. The changes wrought by the Internet -- abundant connectivity -- are beyond news stories including high profile corporate mergers. The readers can't understand what is happening unless the reports can connect the stories. Conversely when reporters do write about the Internet they paint a confused picture by ignoring the crucial differences between the technical infrastructure and social policy
More on Code Monkeys, not. 16-Feb-2004 Programming language nostalgia
More on Code Monkeys, not. 15-Feb-2004 Demystifying international outsourcing
EMail Scams and the FBI – darned good question jdf 31-Jan-2004 Is the FBI taking Internet fraud seriously? It's a transborder crime but I see little visible effort to address the problem.
At The Edge 24-Jan-2004 (Updated: 29-Jan-2004 The artifact that's today's Internet is unimportant compared with the power of the end-to-end concept. The Internet is demonstration of our ability to wrest control and create value at the edges of an infrastructure
Bob Frankston
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