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.

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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 Internet of Things versus the Access Framing 14-Jul-2013 (Updated: 09-Mar-2014 PDFThe Internet is a technique for using any available facilities to exchange bits and implement relationships between end points using whatever facilities are available. There is no border. When we talking about "accessing" the Internet we isolate ourselves from the abundance by treating the Internet as something apart.
Life (yet to be) Scripted 23-Dec-2013 PDFThe goal of "home automation" seems to write rules to control our homes (and our lives) as if we were setting rules for a very smart butler. But the real world is more complicated and computers aren't omniscient butlers who can read our minds and anticipate every eventuality.
The Framing of "IP Transition" Fails to Come to Terms With Real Impact of the Internet 27-Nov-2013 The framing of an "IP Transition' is an attempt to fit the Internet into existing telecom policy. We need a fresh start - a Department of Connectivity -- that can take a zero-based approach to connectivity policy.
A Permanent Slump? 23-Nov-2013 When looking at the changes in today's job climate we need to understand how various factors interact rather than just treating each element in isolation.
re My blog today on "Permissionless Innovation" 14-Nov-2013 Verizon wants freedom from regulation. But, in return, they would have to cede control of our common facilities.
re How anti-NSA backlash could fracture the Internet along national borders 02-Nov-2013 Trying to control the meaning of bits is just more collateral damage from the NSA debacle.
Deconstructing “the Smartphone” 21-Oct-2013 (Updated: 22-Oct-2013 PDFAs exciting as mobile may be, the parts are far more than the whole. This excitement is understandable. The devices have evolved to the point where computing is personal and available. “Mobile” is what I call marketecture – putting together disparate concepts into a neat package that defines a market.
Trouble at the lab ... and beyond 22-Oct-2013 "Science" has been a very successful methodology but we must be careful when we use the word for the business of science.
Smart meter deployments to double market revenue of wireless modules 17-Oct-2013 The use of a separate network for reading meters appears to be more about revenue than security or other concerns.
Re Let's Build a More Secure Internet 10-Oct-2013 A "secure internet" is like "secure copper". Security is a social/usage issue, not a property of the raw materials.
The End of History? 08-Oct-2013 Economists want to believe they can and need to predict the future. This can lead to policies that limit opportunity.
Good Koch/Bad Koch and the United States of Koch 06-Oct-2013 PDFHow does one reconcile the philanthropy from the Koch brothers with their opposition to the idea of public good?
Memes that define us 03-Oct-2013 Today's political debates and policies are defined by our use of words that we use in lieu of having to understand what they mean.
Why do we still have "phone companies" 03-Sep-2013 With VoIP telephony is no longer a network service. So why do we still have phone companies?
Cox opens the gates to the country's largest Wi-Fi hotspot network 28-Aug-2013 The Cable industry is attempting to compete with cellular using engineering principles that no longer work.
Homeopathic Policy 22-Aug-2013 Just because we can "run the numbers" doesn't mean that the results are meaningful. Information theory uses the word information but excludes understanding. Just because 2+2=4 doesn't mean a Tutu has four legs.
RE: [IP] re Google Fiber Continues Awful ISP Tradition of Banning "Servers" 14-Aug-2013 More reminders of how the disconnect between the world of broadband from carriers vs. the Internet's connectivity.
The reason for gigapipes 01-Aug-2013 Perhaps the reason that Google feels a need for speed is that quick bursts drive ad revenue.
Re : "The Future of Programming" talk by Bret Victor 31-Jul-2013 The 50's, 60's and 70's were very a innovative in software (and hardware) as we filled a new continent that had been opened up.
Re OSI: The Internet That Wasn't 30-Jul-2013 History, like a fine wine, takes time to mature. The Internet represents a break from the past. We need to be wary about framing it in terms of networks and layering.
The Fate Of The Internet Is The Story 28-Jul-2013 Decentralized connectivity gives us an alternative to the pipes that make it all-to-easy for those want to do us good to butt in.
The Internet: Missing the Light 26-Jul-2013 PDFWe tend to think of the Internet in terms of high profile applications like the web. The future lies in those applications that aren't yet valuable enough to get so much attention. Yet today's Internet fails us for the simplest things such as connecting a light switch to a light bulb. There is no mechanism for stable relationships and the telecommunications business model works at cross-purposes with "just works" ambient connectivity.
re TSA searches valet parked cars at airport 19-Jul-2013 Another reminder of "security" as theater performances at airport.
re Kosher war over proposed .kosher gTLD 19-Jul-2013 Oy, the DNS rent-seekers are at it again as if nothing's been learned since the Domesday book.
(Not) In Control of your Home 24-Jun-2013 (Updated: 14-Jul-2013 PDFEveryone wants to sell us tools to automate and control our homes but that won't happen till we have common protocols and open connectivity. (My April 2013 IEEE/CE Column)
Switching away from the horse-based transportation system ..... 05-Jul-2013 There is a lot of talk about an IP-based PSTN but the Internet is an entirely different concept from the PSTN.
I now need to provide my SSN to print postage stamps! 03-Jul-2013 Another reminder of how much tracking there is. (also a follow up
The Internet Is Designed for Surveillance 26-Jun-2013 The hierarchical implementation of the current Internet is an initiation for snooping. It misses the big idea of the Internet -- the escape from hierarchy.
A counter-example to - "if you've done nothing wrong" 21-Jun-2013 Society depends on tolerating "wrong" behavior.
Why Big Data Is Not Truth - NYTimes.com 01-Jun-2013 Big data can is useful but it can also be profiling and prejudice. Be wary of applying findings to individuals.
Re: Risks of spreadsheets 31-May-2013 Evaluating spreadsheets from the perspective of traditional programming misses the point of their use for exploring ideas.
The Risks of Public Wi-Fi [sic] 31-May-2013 Public Wi-Fi access is typically about the web and breaks apps.
Re: The Internet is no place for Critical Infrastructure 31-May-2013 The Internet isn't a place but a way of using available infrastructure that is appropriate for "critical infrastructure"
Another reminder that Google is a Telco 30-May-2013 Google "broadband" is still billable pipes.
The limits of surveillance 20-May-2013 Cameras can invade our privacy while those we are afraid of can still hide in plane site.
Re DOJ Spectrum Plan Is Not Supported by Economic Theory or FCC Findings 19-May-2013 Economists continue to play fantasy policy by treating a construct, spectrum, as a real resource. Thus they do has harm in pursuit of theory.
The Shame of Boston's Wireless Woes 23-Apr-2013 RISKS: Congestion problems in an emergency are typically a result of telecom policy
Multiple Subsea System Failures 27-Mar-2013 Another remind of the risks of making our ability to communicate profit center
ICANN Trademark Clearinghouse launches today 26-Mar-2013 ICANN is attempting to extend it's problematic DNS into the realm of trademark.
Re "Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the InterWeb"-- 09-Mar-2013 To many people the Internet and the web are synonymous. We have to understand that if we are to explain the technology.
Re: Criticism Of Copyright Alert System Mounts 03-Mar-2013 Having your the provider of the only means by which you excercise your right to free speech snooping in case you are annoying the RIAA is a direct afront to the US First Amendment. Yet the sheep are silent.
Re: Automakers Oppose FCC's Proposal to Free Up Wireless Spectrum for Wi-Fi 22-Feb-2013 Fights over "Frequencies" are framed in terms of everyone having their own private Internet. And that's indeed the way the FCC sees it.
When Will the Internet Reach Its Limit (and How Do We Stop That from Happening)? 13-Feb-2013 More fears of "running out of Internet". WTF does that even mean?
When Will the Internet Reach Its Limit (and How Do We Stop That from Happening)?: Scientific American 13-Feb-2013 Bell Lab head confuses Claude Shannon's measure with information that humans care about.
re A telecom service provider using the Internet is just dandy with NATs 24-Jan-2013 Don't confusing providers using the Internet to provide services with providing connectivity for your own innovations.
Montana family accused of swindling $70M via customer phone bills | World | News | National Post 21-Jan-2013 Do you really want the a phone company "buying" stuff for you you don't want?
Re not, Re: [IP] LOOKS LEGIT. Online Banking Interruption 06-Jan-2013 The hueristics that worked for pMail doesn't work as well in vouching for eMail
Bob Frankston
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