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 is a more directed overview of primary 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.

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.

Year: 2016

Re This dark side of the Internet is costing young people their jobsand social lives 5/21/2016
"Internet addiction" is simply addiction that happens to manifest itself in a particular way. Saying that it is new or special trivializes real problems.IPList
Once Again, Thieves Enter Swift Financial Network and Steal 5/13/2016
Another reminder that security is about trust relationships and people. There isn't a magic fix.IPList
Broadband Data Caps Pressure 'Cord Cutters' 4/22/2016
FCC should be addressing data caps rather than just focusing on the legacy set top box.IPList
80/20 Consumer Electronics 4/19/2016 PDF
I learn by doing and creating my own solutions. This gives me a chance to experience the future and see beyond the present. Join me in exploring the possibilities.
Further Reading 2/18/2015 (Updated: 4/19/2016) PDF
Any one essay can only skim the surface. For further reading ...
End-to-End Arguments in System Design 3/20/2016
A seminal paper about the design point of the Internet by Saltzer, Reed and Clarkexternal site
VisiCalc History and more 3/12/2016
Dan Bricklin's VisiCalc repositoryexternal site
Before Excel there was VisiCalc: An interview with its creators 📹 1/23/2016
Interview by Business Insider with Dan Bricklin and myself talking about the history of VisiCalc.external site
VCF East 10 - History of VisiCalc - Bob Frankston 📹 1/23/2016
I had fun talking to the Vintage Computer Festival in New Jersey last spring - VCF 10external site
Deconstructing Television: Delivery, Content, and Policy 4/24/2015 (Updated: 1/14/2016) PDF
The business “Television” as we know it is very much tied to the accidental properties of 1930’s vintage technology. We need to rethink very part of the technology and the industry.
A Hackers Vacation 1/1/2016 PDF
What I learned on my summer vacation.

Year: 2015

Netflix vs. Caps vs. Neutrality vs. The Internet 12/19/2015
Issues like capacity limits and network neutrality are framed in terms of telecommunications. We need a different narrative if we are to understand the Internet. (See further comments here)IPList
Zero-Rating vs. The Internet 11/4/2015 PDF
The idea of setting the rate for a given class of content is a concept that comes from the traditional world of telecommunications. It doesn't map into the raw packets of the Internet that are carried apart from their context.CircleID
The Internet is about Relationships 10/30/2015 PDF
A big idea of the Internet is that we can focus on the relationships between two end points (devices) and not worry about what is between.
Identity Chaos, Courtesy of Your Federal Government - The New YorkTimes 10/17/2015
If we're going to use the SSN as a primary identify we should update it from the 1930's design point.IPList
Implementing VisiCalc 4/6/2003 (Updated: 10/12/2015) PDF
The story of how we implemented VisiCalc. We always viewed VisiCalc as a product, not a program. The program itself was just a means of delivering the product and only part of the larger experience. computing
A Software-(re)Defined World. 📹 7/8/2015 (Updated: 10/9/2015) PDF
My Keynote from the ICCE conference in Taiwan June 2015
Undercover New Hampshire police nab cellphone ban violators / AKAbanning photography 10/1/2015
If your camear can run a telephony app does that make it illegal to use in a car even if it's stopped?IPList
The Engineers "Dilemma" 9/27/2015
The telecommunications business model has problems. The FCC's well-meaning efforts to make that business work has the unintended consequences of protecting it from alternatives approaches that can work far better. This extends to protecting it from better engineering.IPList
Snake Oil for the Innovation Age: Problems with Clayton Christensen's "Disruptive Innovation" 9/19/2015
We need to be wary of claims that we can manage our way through disruptive changes. But nostrums and solutions sell books so we tend to try to tame disruption rather than embracing the new opportunities. We should read the The Innovator's Dilemma as descriptive rather than prescriptive.IPList
Let Consumers Use Better, Cheaper Cable Boxes - The New York Times 8/31/2015
The FCC may be getting ready to encourage set top box competition but that only fixes a symptom. It doesn't address the problem of silos.IPList
#APIFirst: How Things Speak to Each other 7/21/2015 (Updated: 8/11/2015) PDF
If we are to understand the world of connected devices we need to look behind the surface of the web to the APIs (Application Program Interfaces) that are the building blocks for the services we use and the ways devices “listen”. The hashtag #APIFirst emphasizes the importance of this foundation.
Why Can't We Be Like South Korea? 8/1/2015
We need to be careful about what we ask for and heed the lessons of Minitel which was the future in 1980 but lacked the dynamic of the Internet.
For .sucks Web domains, the currency seems to be paid in reputations| BetaBoston notsp 7/23/2015
What sucks is the idea that you can't owner your very identity nor reputation!IPList
When Algorithms Discriminate 7/13/2015
We tend have faith in algorithms as if they represent a divined truth.
For Start-Ups, How Many Angels Is Too Many? 7/7/2015
Is angel investing become too much like a lottery?IPList
Re: Where is Google taking us? 7/6/2015
Google is doing interesting projects but let's remember that they have a neat trick and not a crystal ball.IPList
Chicago’s cloud tax 7/2/2015
The idea of an "Internet Tax" misses the point that the Internet is just the latest face of ecommerce going back to Sears selling from a catalog over the phone.IPList
Bob Frankston
Copyright 1997-2012
Bob Frankston Site