Further ReadingPDF Version Available

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Updated: Aug 17, 2016


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Classic Essays

These are essays and writings that have endured over the years.

  • Beyond Limits. I wrote this in 1996 as a chapter in the ACM book Beyond Calculation. In this chapter I explain that Moore’s law is about particular market configurations and is not particular to semiconductors. More to the point you lose the power of hypergrowth when you tie it to a singular measure of success.

My writings on Connectivity

  • Restructuring Consumer Electronics. This was my first column for the IEEE. In it I give a simplified view of how the Internet happened within the context of the pragmatic world of consumer electronics. I go into more of the issues in other columns.
  • Purpose Vs Discovery. I go into more detail about the counter-intuitive concept of how we get abundance by creating opportunity rather than presuming we are building solutions for well-defined problems.
  • Internet Native Policies. How the Internet is different from telecommunications and why “best efforts” means we can start with local efforts rather than relying on providers.
  • Connectivity Policy. This is the more detailed policy document that explains how the Internet is really about creating solutions which take advantage of the nature of software to redefine the world. I submitted it to the FCC as part of its inquiry on neutrality policy.
  • What infrastructure is needed for positively disruptive technology A talk I gave to ISOC in which I explain how the Internet is a departure from traditional telecommunications.
  • The Internet: Missing the Light. By assuming connectivity is expensive we find ourselves justify connectivity with heavy duty products and big data rather than enabling the mundane applications that allow us to discover the future.
  • Zero Rating. The problem of applying telecommunications policies to the Internet.
  • Engineer’s Dilemma. This is a work-in-progress and more a place holder until I do a formal version.
  • Spectrum as Farmland. Our current policies treat spectrum as if it were a physical thing like farmland. In fact it is just a construct from the 1920’s that limits our ability to communicate.


  • Beyond Neutrality. October 2014. A talk I gave on the themes in this essay. Some might prefer a video.
  • Thinking Outside. January 2014. The evolution of digital connectivity and how the Internet is a discontinuity from the traditional of telecommunications.
  • A Software-(re)Defined World. June 2015. My talk at ICCE in Taiwan about how the Internet is a byproduct of the way we use software to create our own solutions.
  • Keynote ICCE 2015 Taiwan. The Internet and other consequences of software redefining our world.

IEEE/CE Columns

This is a list of the columns I’ve written for the IEEE Consumer Electronics Societies magazine:

  • Refactoring Consumer Electronics. How the Internet is part of a larger trend that challenges the traditional framing of consumer electronics now that value is created in software rather than just hardware. (January 2013)
  • (Not) In Control of your Home. The challenges of home control. (April 2013)
  • The Internet of Things versus the Access Framing. Why putting a border around The Internet prevent us from building connected devices. (July 2013)
  • Deconstructing “the Smartphone”. Today’s smart phones may be more useful as building blocks than as devices in their own right. If only we could make their potential available. (October 2013)
  • Life (yet to be) Scripted. The automation meme assumes machines will do what we want them to do not what we tell them to do. (January 2014)
  • HTML5 is become the new compute engine allowing us to start to take advantage of the capabilities in the devices around us. It’s not just about the web. (April 2014)
  • (Not) Getting the Message Across. Why we need simple packet connectivity rather than smarter intermediaries. (July 2014)
  • Connected Things. Understanding the so-called Internet of Things. (October 2014)
  • Putting it all Together? Real life lessons in putting together those (potentially) connected things.
  • Deconstructing TV. 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.
  • API First. The importance of having programmatic interfaces rather than just focusing on the user interface.
  • The Internet is about Relationships. Rather than thinking in terms of wires need to think about the end points of relationships.
  • A Hacker’s Vacation. A relatively light piece about what I learned renting a Tesla and using technology as I traveled.
  • 80/20 Consumer Electronics 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.

Note that the columns are also reachable as http://rmf.vc/IEEECEyyyymm. Where the months are 01, 04, 07, 10 so far.

Additional Readings

To understand the design point of the Internet you can read the End-to-End Arguments in System Design paper. For those who won’t past the title the term “end to end” is used in the sense of only depending the end points and not anything between.

Railroaded by Richard White. The comparisons between the history of railroad regulation and Telecommunications are striking.

It’s also interesting to read about the history of turnpikes and how we moved from toll roads to public highways in the early 20th century.

Bob Frankston Site