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.

Floppy Days Interview 28-May-2023 Talking about the old days of VisiCalc as well as a bit about the future. Floppy Days is "A podcast about home computers of the late 70's through the 80's. NEW SPONSORSHIPS! 8-Bit Classics is a great place to get video cables, power supplies and more for a wide variety of vintage computer platforms. Arcade Shopper has a wide variety of hard-to-find items for a large number of platforms."
Forever URLs 25-Feb-2023 (Updated: 19-May-2023 A Forever URL is one that never expires. Such URLs can be implemented using today's DNS as-is with new tooling to assist developers in developing websites. They also support devices and can support email addresses that aren't tied to a provider. They are a resource for the Internet as infrastructure.
Bits of “Intelligence” 25-Apr-2023 The AI engines tap into some powerful mechanisms, as does the Internet - -the idea that meaning comes from context and patterns and is not intrinsic -- a concept that is at odds with most people's reality. It is more revolutionary than Copernicus, who shifted a reference frame.
Connectivity Begins at Home 25-Apr-2023 📹 (video) This is my talk to BLU (Boston Linux and Unix) group. It's as much a conversation as a talk. While traditional home control is framed in an automation meme (Jetsons), I see it as more about managing relationships among peer devices.
The Problem Of 5G Hype 12-Apr-2023 (Updated: 13-Apr-2023 PDFWe're in yet another cycle of 5G hype so I need to explain the problem with 5G without getting into all the technical details.
The Posters Dilemma 26-Mar-2023 (Updated: 27-Mar-2023 PDFThis is my experiment with posts intended for discussions with copies on other sites.
GPT Ignores Major Risks of AI 18-Mar-2023 PDFIn response to a post on LinkedIn, I asked GPT about the risks of AI, and it's very telling that it omitted key risks of BS (blithely providing misinformation with authority) and its use for impersonation. the threats to provide by interpolation that we can't control. etc.
My Facebook Posts and More … 20-Jan-2018 (Updated: 12-Mar-2023 PDFAn attempt to catalog my Facebook Posts until when and if I use the ideas in formal essays and columns
Further Reading 18-Feb-2015 (Updated: 24-Feb-2023 PDFAny one essay can only skim the surface. For further reading ...
Trust and Insecurity 24-Feb-2023 PDFWe need to be wary about perimeter security and firewalls. While they seem to provide protection, they a vulnerable to the slightest breach. More problematic is that they prevent unanticipated innovation and make it difficult to try out new ideas. You can’t know all the second-guessers in the path.
Refactoring Consumer Electronics 01-Jan-2013 (Updated: 10-Feb-2023 PDFArticle in the January 2013 issue of the IEEE Consumer Electronics magazine. The concepts behind the Internet -- the best efforts exchange of raw bits -- represents a basic shift from a framing of electrons and pipes to one in which we can focus on relationships and applications.
The Stories of Software 01-Jul-2016 (Updated: 10-Feb-2023 PDFThe concept of software has evolved from the early days of programming when each minute step of had to be described in detail. Yet the challenges remain because, ultimately, software is about sharing our understandings with devices that will act as our agents. I learn a lot writing these columns. This one made me think about what software is and why automatic programming succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations yet has seems to have succeeded at all.
Consumer Technology vs. 5G 04-Feb-2021 (Updated: 10-Feb-2023 PDF5G is often heralded as the future of communications technology. It's actually the antithesis. It is the anti-Internet clawing intelligence back into the network and limiting innovation. With 5G consumers would once again be limited to a choice of offerings and a new generation would rediscover the busy signal. Also available on CircleID.
Distributed Cooperation 17-Oct-2022 PDFI use my home as a living laboratory for connected systems. One of the goals is to avoid single points of failure by having direct relationship between endpoints.
VSIG Lecture on the Public Packet Infrastructure 03-Oct-2022 My VSIG talk on the Public Packet Infrastructure. It's part of the VSIG Series of lectures on Internet Governance.. It's based on the ideas in article on the Public Packet Infrastructure
The Public Packet Infrastructure 25-Aug-2022 (Updated: 18-Sep-2022 PDFThe Internet isn't just a way to access the web, it is fundamental infrastructure -- the Public Packet Infrastructure. The infrastructure has seemingly unlimited capacity because we can innovate and take advantage of opportunities instead of negotiating for passage. We need to bring public policy and public perception into alignment with this new realty. This is also available on CircleID
The Impact of Open Connectivity 12-Jul-2022 The Internet hints at the much larger possibilities of open connectivity in enabling discoveries such as the web but for the physical world. The ideas themselves go to a deeper level of thinking about how we build systems and how we can enable the future.
The Internet as a Public Good 27-Jun-2022 Why do we work so hard to promulgate the idea that being held incommunicado is the norm and we have to pay to communicate? The ability to communicate and connect is a right not a privilege.
Realizing the Long-Term Value of Connectivity 14-Mar-2022 Open community infrastructure can provide enormous societal value by enabling services that we haven't dreamed of. Tesla has shown how a car you by can get features undreamed of at the time of purchase thanks to software updates. Open infrastructures enables innovation and discovery.
Voice over IP–An inflection Point 10-Feb-2022 Voice over IP (VoIP) represents a sharp break from the traditional telephony. Unlike traditional telephony (digital or otherwise), VoIP doesn't depend on a provider's reserved path. Understanding how VoIP works is key to liberating ourselves from depending on providers'. Without that dependency we are free to innovate and take advantage of a Public Packet Infrastructure own by the local community.
Empowering People … and Their Things 20-Oct-2021 (Updated: 01-Jan-2022 PDFThere is no separate "Internet of Things". There is the big idea of best-efforts connectivity which allows us to create the opportunity for innovation in how we build systems of things and services.
The Public Packet Infrastructure 04-Oct-2021 The Internet isn't just a way to access the web, it is fundamental infrastructure -- the Public Packet Infrastructure. The infrastructure has seemingly unlimited capacity because we can innovate and take advantage of opportunities instead of negotiating for passage. We need to bring public policy and public perception into alignment with this new realty. This is also available as my IEEE Column
Living the Beta Life 13-Aug-2021 PDFIt feels like all the devices and software I use are in beta, waiting for me to find bugs. I'd have it no other way -- I don't need to predict the future if I can live it. Alas, products are still in beta even if they are official shipping because I go beyond the typical use case and don't handwave away failures that I know are not necessary.
Communities of Things 05-Feb-2020 (Updated: 07-Jul-2021 PDFTrust issues among devices are complex. In order to address them we need to take a community-based approach rather than having to revisit the issue for each connection and each app n×n. Also available on CircleID
The Age of Software: An Introduction 13-Jun-2021 PDFThe combination of digital representation and software has transformed the world and our understanding of the world. The Internet as just one byproduct of this fundamental conceptual shift from meaning being intrinsic to meaning being defined by software with multiple interpretations co-existing.
Connectivity Starts at Home 13-Apr-2021 (Updated: 15-Apr-2021 PDFToday's Internet is just one application of the powerful idea of best-efforts connectivity. The home router (NAT) decouples the connectivity within the home from the larger internet enabling innovation that leverages the Internet without being limited by it.
My Turn: Broadband opportunities — internet as infrastructure 15-Mar-2021 This is my letter to the editor in the Greenfield recorder explaining why towns can implement their own infrastructure. It is in response to a claim by cable PR saying that only a cable TV company can provide infrastructure.
My Turn: Broadband opportunities — internet as infrastructure 06-Feb-2021 Letter to the Editor of the Greenfield-Recording responding to claims that only Comcast (or other providers) to provide broadband.
TV is Over – Long Live Content 05-Dec-2020 PDFWe are now in the age of "content" with Television (and movies) now available for view online just like books rather than being experiences you had to tune into on a broadcaster's schedule. We haven't cut the cord, we just forgot about it and moved on.
The JavaScript Ecosystem 23-Oct-2020 PDFJavaScript started out as a simple extension for the browser but has become so much more. In part this is true on building on rich concepts going back to Lisp. Along the way it has challenged the givens of programming and given us a high-performance flexible language along with rich libraries and rich tools. We're just beginning to discover the possibilities. (Also on CirlceID)
A piece of living history explains 5G without hype 23-Sep-2020 A conversion about the hype surrounding #5G. Also on Facebook
Broadband Breakfast Live Online on July 22, 2020 — Champions of Broadband: Bob Frankston 22-Jul-2020 My conversation with Drew Clark about the Internet as infrastructure.
Beyond the Interweb 24-May-2020 (Updated: 14-Jul-2020 PDFToday's Internet is a network of networks and seen through the lens of the web. We need to look beyond the engineering history to see the Internet in the context of the larger vision of JCR Licklider, an acoustic psychologist, and his vision of man/computer symbiosis.
The Internet as Infrastructure FAQ 04-Dec-2017 (Updated: 13-Jul-2020 PDFWhen I write about the Internet as infrastructure I find some questions keep reappearing - hence this FAQ
Age of Software and the Public Packet Infrastructure 11-Jul-2020 📹 (video) This is a recording of the talk I gave online to the World Talent Economy Forum.
Talk about the Public Packet Infrastructure 26-Jun-2020 📹 (video) This is the talk I have go the IEEE Madison Wisconsin Chapter on June 25, 2020 explaining the concept of the Public Packet Infrastructure.
Relationships Among Devices: IoT 🡲 RaD 07-Jun-2020 PDFInstead of thinking of just devices in isolation we need to think about relationships among devices and about the meta-devices that we have.
Rewiring my House … and the World 03-Apr-2020 Using software-based relationships instead of physical wires gives insight in the parallels be-tween connectivity within my house and connectivity across the wider Internet.
What I want for CES 06-Dec-2019 (Updated: 16-Jan-2020 CES is a time to see new products and services. Alas, my expectations might be too high.
From “Broadband” to “Infrastructure” 01-Sep-2018 (Updated: 04-Dec-2019 PDFIt's time to think about the Internet as infrastructure rather than broadband. (This is based on the version at the Broadband Breakfast site). There is also a companion FAQ. You can also read this at CircleId
Bits vs. Things 03-Sep-2019 (Updated: 04-Dec-2019 PDFI’m writing this for CE Magazine rather than Computer Magazine because I don’t see programming and software as something apart from the larger world but as the language, we use to articulate our understanding. Software has transformed consumer electronics from simply choosing what is available to having the ability to create and share one’s solutions.
Connecting 03-Nov-2019 (Updated: 04-Dec-2019 PDFIn 1986 I wrote a story for the Boston Computer Society predicting a connected future by 1997. Alas, it's 2019 and that future is still pending.
Seizing the wrist and re-understanding the Internet 13-Apr-2012 (Updated: 21-Nov-2019 PDFWrist-based programmable devices (AKA watches) and other devices give us a reason to rethink the design point of the Internet.
The Internet and My 53 Years Online 15-Jul-2019 PDFWith the upcoming celebration of the 50 years of the Inter-net, I’m trying to figure out how the traditional story misses the powerful idea that has made the Internet what it is – the ability to focus on solutions without having to think about the network or providers.
Found Objects 26-Jan-2019 (Updated: 21-Jun-2019 PDFIn the tradition of the Internet I don't build new networks nor new special environments for each application but rather repurse existing devices and services. The key is an architcture which limits complexity.
As a Service? 31-Mar-2019 (Updated: 11-Jun-2019 PDFThe trend towards hosted services and the return of the intelligent network create risks of dependency even if well-intentioned.
Ambient Connectivity: An Introduction 27-Sep-2009 (Updated: 05-May-2019 PDF 📹 (video) “Ambient Connectivity” is the ability to assume connectivity anywhere and anytime. It's the result of having an infrastructure that facilitates our ability to communicate
Do Do This at Home 18-Mar-2019 PDFMy February talk to the Boston Linux and Unix (BLU) group about my home control system - a work in progress.
CFR: Our Copper Fiber and Radios 29-Jan-2007 (Updated: 07-Mar-2019 PDFOur Copper, Fiber and Radios are a simple fixed asset. Why are we paying a service fee to privileged services providers when we can do it better ourselves. Our home networks run at a gigabit bit without a service charge yet we can on thousandth the capacity when we go outside our homes and pay a high fee for the "privilege". I was reminded of this as I saw Verizon installers running RG-6 cable for FiOS TV when I already had a perfectly good gigabit network and then they told me I had to use their router …
5G: Telecom Versus The Internet 01-Jul-2017 (Updated: 20-Feb-2019 PDFMy July 2017 IEEE CE Magazine Column: Overview of the contrast between 5G and the Internet.
Seeing the Light - Properties of 400-800 Terahertz Radios 14-Feb-2019 (Updated: 19-Feb-2019 PDFWe're used to turning light bulbs on and off. The advent of LEDs and software has given us an opportunity to rethink the givens of light and lighting in our daily lives. We can now paint surfaces with lights and manage ambience.
From Hi-Fi to CLI 01-Jan-2019 (Updated: 13-Dec-2018 Today users typically use computers through graphics user interfaces -- GUIs. Only programmers use the command line. But that is changing as more people discover the power of the command line just as they learned how to wire their own home entertainment systems in the days of Hi Fi.
It is no longer a relic of the past but rather a path to the future.
More 5G BS 02-Dec-2018 Hill.TV has taken on the cause of 5G as Telcos try to enlist support by telling why 5G is the answer no matter what the question.
re Cybersecurity "moonshot" project to secure the internet by 2028. 17-Nov-2018 Be wary of those who compare "solving" cybersecutiry to the well-defined challenge of sending a rocket to the moon.
From Net Neutrality to Seizing Opportunity 01-Nov-2018 (Updated: 17-Oct-2018 PDFNetwork neutrality is important in the context of assuring the opportunity to innovate in how we communicate and connect. We can't define it in terms of specific outcomes but rather in terms of what we enable. The Internet is just one example of what we can do when given the opportunity to use software to fashion our own solutions. (Also available on CircleID and at Broadband Breakfast
Progressive Web Apps 01-Mar-2018 (Updated: 12-Jul-2018 The browser is now a full fledged platform for apps. The major benefits of using the browser as a platform includes ease of universal deployment and avoiding concepts such as having to install software. It's also a very flexible and powerful environment. (Also available on CircleId)
Got API? 01-Jul-2018 (Updated: 21-Jun-2018 PDFIf your home control product doesn't have an open API, then it's a niche product and not part of the future of connected devices.
Broadband Providers? 20-May-2018 What does a broadband provider provide and what does it mean to have competing providers?
Re No “Material Difference Between 5G & LTE” 20-Apr-2018 5G may be reheated 4G but victory will be declared
Re EarthNow to Deliver Real-Time Video via Large Satellite Constellation 20-Apr-2018 Detailed photos of Earth are very big data with no opt out.
Re Is Science Hitting a Wall - it's not just about science 08-Apr-2018 We need to think of the future in terms of discovery and opportunity and not just the past a little faster and better. We see an example of this in public policies pushing faster old style telecom networks instead of creating new opportunities for connectivity.
Connectivity as a Vital Consumer Service 27-Mar-2018 (Updated: 28-Mar-2018 PDFToday we retreat the Internet as if it were another television channel. If the service goes out we are fully dependent upon a provider to diagnose and fix the problem. Today we are increasingly dependent upon connectivity and must meet the challenge by empowering consumers to work with providers to address issues and assure connectivity. ((Also avalable on CircleID)
Cockamamie #broadband pricing from #Cox. 20-Feb-2018 Another reminder of perverse pricing of broadband
Re Stop Saying 'Smart Cities' 18-Feb-2018 Smart Cities are like intelligent networks. Instead we need empowering cities.
Nationalizing the imaginary 5G Network? 30-Jan-2018 PDFThe proposal to nationalize 5G may be spurious but it is an opportunity look at how we think about networking.
Interconnected computing 02-Jan-2018 It's useful to think of the internetworking effort as a way to weave end points, initially computers, into a whole. The network is just a means. We need to look beyond neutrality to infrastructure.
Assembly Required 01-Jan-2018 (Updated: 20-Dec-2017 PDFIncreasingly consumer devices are not just become smart but connected. We are only at the earliest stages of understanding this connectivity and how to give users the ability to manage the connections.
It's time to move from "Broadband to Infrastructure" 13-Dec-2017 PDFNetwork Neutrality is about the business of telecom vs. a future in which we can assume Ambient Connectivity.
Bob Frankston interview at ICCE Asia October 2017 19-Nov-2017 📹 (video) Interview by IEEECSocTV after my keynote.
Life (yet to be) Scripted 01-Jan-2014 (Updated: 21-Oct-2017 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.
Whither Consumer Electronics 01-Oct-2017 PDFWhat is consumer electronics in an age where we use software rather than (just) electrons to create value. And when devices are defined by apps rather than hardware?
Operating System: A Relic of the Past 20-Mar-1996 (Updated: 20-Aug-2017 PDFA paper I presented in 1996 on why the classic operating system needs to be rethought.
Re Why Google Fiber Failed to Disrupt the ISPs 26-Jul-2017 A reminder that Google FIber is still in the old ISP model.
VisiCalc: The Visible Calculator 06-Jun-1979 (Updated: 14-Jul-2017 PDFThis is the paper I presented at the 1979 National Computer Conference where we introduced VisiCalc. You may also be interested in Implementing VisiCalc
Bots and Conversations 26-Mar-2017 PDF 📹 (video) Monage 2017: Bots and Conversations. With the Internet our conversations take place outside the networks.
An Alien “Drove” my car 01-Apr-2017 (Updated: 24-Mar-2017 PDFAI and applications like self-driving cars are exciting but we need to wary about treating them as if they think like we do. It is normal to see new technologies just replacing existing technologies or, in this case, human drivers. While there is some overlap in roles we get the most benefit by recognizing how they are different from us and not just replacements.
What is special about an Internet of Things 14-Mar-2017 PDFI've been reading reading papers about an "Internet of Things" but they tend to be old engineering approaches relabeled. What makes the Internet special is our ability to build on the big idea of "just works" or ambient connectivity and the ability to mix and match end points using this common facility.
5G (and Telecom) vs. The Internet 26-Feb-2017 PDF5G sounds like the successor to 4G cellular telephony and indeed that is the intent. While the progression from 2G to 3G, to 4G and now 5G seems simple, the story is more nuanced and gives us a chance to better understand the what and, more important, the why of the Internet.
Re 5G (Spectrum article) 02-Feb-2017 Spectrum doubles down on the 5G as the future though it's relaly the past.
Re: 5G (and Telecom) vs. The Internet 01-Feb-2017 Overview of the contrast between 5G and the Internet.
The real reason why Trump using an old Android phone should freak youout notsp 27-Jan-2017 The President is using a phone that makes it easy to tap into any conversation! Uh oh
TEDx 2016 Talk -- The Abundance of the Internet 25-Jan-2017 📹 (video) My talk from TEDx November 2016. Having grown up from when the technology was simple I see can see beyond the Internet and how it is so much more than just a network and just the web. It gives us the raw materials to create our own abundance.
Interview at StartupCon 2016 22-Jan-2017 📹 (video) Talking about my experience as a co-founder.
Techdirt's First Amendment Fight For Its Life / Ayyadurai again 12-Jan-2017 Ayyadurai's deep pocket fight over email continues to do collateral damage.
Time to Retire the Leap Second 03-Jan-2017 The leap second creates many problems in return for essentially no benefit. It is a leftover from the days when computers used the same notation people did for writing dates. Now that computers separate the representation from the presentation it's time to move on.
Trump questions quest for cybersecurity: 'No computer is safe' 02-Jan-2017 Normalizing Russian Cyberattacks is extremely dangerous. See also this and this follow up.
Site Insites 01-Jan-2017 PDFThis past summer I decided my website need to be refreshed. Rewriting the site from scratch in JavaScript (actually TypeScript) gave me a chance look beyond the façade of the web and better understand how the Web works and the simple mechanisms it is built on.
Parking apps are tied to cars not location 20-Dec-2016 Parking meter apps are tied to the car rather than just the location. Making implicit explicit requires adjustment.
The Internet as infrastructure - IGF 2016 13-Dec-2016 📹 (video) A link to my IGF 2016 video. There is also a live transcript of the session here.. I'm planning to do an associated essay.
Re Question. Re Today is a remarkable day for the Internet! 04-Oct-2016 The end-to-end argument is about being to ignore the network rather assuring a connection between end pointts.
Mobile Edge Computing 01-Oct-2016 PDFWhen we frame local computing as being at the edge of a network we lose the big ideas of connectivity by framing the Internet in terms of tele-communications.
Trump’s Financial Naïveté 27-Sep-2016 PDFTrump has a very simplistic view of money. [From Facebook]
Infrastructure for a Connected World 19-Sep-2016 PDFConnected devices need a free-to-use infrastructure that allows for innovation beyond the needs of a provider or other intermediary. Also available on CircleID here
ANTIC Interview 226 - Bob Frankston, co-developer of Visicalc 05-Sep-2016 Interview with Kevin Savetz about the history of Atari and more ... You can go to YouTube for the video.
The Frankston Challenge 10-Nov-2015 (Updated: 26-Aug-2016 Dan Bricklin does a great job explaining the need for Ambient Connectivity.
The Internet as Our New Infrastructure 04-Jul-2016 (Updated: 24-Jul-2016 PDF 📹 (video) The Internet is our new infrastructure. It is a basic facility just as roads and sidewalks available as a basic elements of infrastructure. I use the term "infrastructure" rather than "utility" to distinguish it from metered utilities like gas and electricity that are provided only at a price. This is the talk I gave at FGV in Rio on April 29th 2016.
What is a "Neutral Network" 24-Jul-2016 📹 (video) Panel at HOPE 2016 where I talk about infrastructure as an alternative framing to network neutrality.
Re US, NSF to put $400M into Advanced Wireless Research Initiative for 5G networks 19-Jul-2016 The NSF is funding a new wireless effort that fails to address the need for ambient connectivity as infrastructure. It's just same-old albeit a little bit faster. Like a 600HP car in rush hour solving traffic problems in a city.
Re How the internet was invented 15-Jul-2016 The popular view is that the Internet is just another network. It's not -- it's represents a very different approach to how we communicate. One that is resilient rather than dependent on carriers.
Re This dark side of the Internet is costing young people their jobsand social lives 21-May-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.
Once Again, Thieves Enter Swift Financial Network and Steal 13-May-2016 Another reminder that security is about trust relationships and people. There isn't a magic fix.
Broadband Data Caps Pressure 'Cord Cutters' 22-Apr-2016 FCC should be addressing data caps rather than just focusing on the legacy set top box.
80/20 Consumer Electronics 01-Apr-2016 PDFI 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.
End-to-End Arguments in System Design 20-Mar-2016 A seminal paper about the design point of the Internet by Saltzer, Reed and Clark
VisiCalc History and more 12-Mar-2016 Dan Bricklin's VisiCalc repository
VCF East 10 - History of VisiCalc - Bob Frankston 23-Jan-2016 📹 (video) I had fun talking to the Vintage Computer Festival in New Jersey last spring - VCF 10
Before Excel there was VisiCalc: An interview with its creators 23-Jan-2016 📹 (video) Interview by Business Insider with Dan Bricklin and myself talking about the history of VisiCalc.
Deconstructing Television: Delivery, Content, and Policy 01-Apr-2015 (Updated: 14-Jan-2016 PDFThe 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 01-Jan-2016 PDFWhat I learned on my summer vacation.
Netflix vs. Caps vs. Neutrality vs. The Internet 19-Dec-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)
Zero-Rating vs. The Internet 04-Nov-2015 PDFThe 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.
The Internet is about Relationships 01-Oct-2015 (Updated: 30-Oct-2015 PDFA 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 17-Oct-2015 If we're going to use the SSN as a primary identify we should update it from the 1930's design point.
Implementing VisiCalc 06-Apr-2003 (Updated: 12-Oct-2015 PDFThe 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.
A Software-(re)Defined World. 08-Jul-2015 (Updated: 09-Oct-2015 PDF 📹 (video) My Keynote from the ICCE conference in Taiwan June 2015
Undercover New Hampshire police nab cellphone ban violators / AKAbanning photography 01-Oct-2015 If your camear can run a telephony app does that make it illegal to use in a car even if it's stopped?
The Engineers "Dilemma" 27-Sep-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.
Snake Oil for the Innovation Age: Problems with Clayton Christensen's "Disruptive Innovation" 19-Sep-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.
Let Consumers Use Better, Cheaper Cable Boxes - The New York Times 31-Aug-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.
#APIFirst: How Things Speak to Each other 01-Jul-2015 (Updated: 11-Aug-2015 PDFIf 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? 01-Aug-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 23-Jul-2015 What sucks is the idea that you can't owner your very identity nor reputation!
When Algorithms Discriminate 13-Jul-2015 We tend have faith in algorithms as if they represent a divined truth.
For Start-Ups, How Many Angels Is Too Many? 07-Jul-2015 Is angel investing become too much like a lottery?
Re: Where is Google taking us? 06-Jul-2015 Google is doing interesting projects but let's remember that they have a neat trick and not a crystal ball.
Chicago’s cloud tax 02-Jul-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.
Why ICANN's Whois Accuracy Program is a disaster | Security contentfrom Dev Pro 28-May-2015 Yet another reminder of how ICANN is more about classic telecom providing services rather than empowering us.
Re how to Beat a Polygraph Test - NYTimes.com 13-Apr-2015 In our search for swift and sure justice we imbue hacks like polygraphs with magical powers far beyond those of mortal devices.
Surprise! Cell calls that sound superb ... but why? 09-Apr-2015 Verizon is selling VoLTE with the promise that one day it will be as good as Skype but that claim misses the point of VoIP which gave us the ability to do a Skype.
Product that do their own reorders 01-Apr-2015 PDFProducts that do their own reorders may create ecosystems that may give a strong advantage to incumbents.
Cancer genetic tests offered on websites often not all they promiseto be, Dana-Farber study finds - Metro - The Boston Globe 21-Mar-2015 While there is value in big data many of the expectations are driven by marketing rather than real science.
Quora Question: What Is It Like to Have Been Programming for the Past Fifty Years? 21-Mar-2015 My response to the Quora question about what it's been like to have been programming for half a century. You can also see the answer on Quora.
DL- GOOGLE Makes Us GODS (via Iona Miller) like Icarus 20-Mar-2015 The idea that we can gain by connecting our brains to the Internet. But our brains have never been isolated. They have always been connected to the rest of society and the intelligence outside the brain and inherent in its architecture have always been our source of smarts. We need to be careful lest this hubris lead us think this time we have the one true answer.
Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins 16-Mar-2015 Another example of hubris in assuming that we can automate warfare ... and the rest of society.
"The Computer Utility and the Community" - Prescient 1967 paper byBob Fano at MIT 16-Mar-2015 A prescient paper by Bob Fano from 1967 on the information utility.
Internet-Native Policies 17-Feb-2015 (Updated: 19-Feb-2015 PDFAmid all the recent discussion about "Network Neutrality" a concern is that we may be losing the soul of the Internet – the ability to create our own solutions. Our "flow" metaphors fail us when dealing with the tolerant and bursty nature of the Internet. The Internet is not a utility, nor is it a consumable we can meter like electricity or water.

Now that the Internet has begun to "grow up" we need to move beyond policies appropriate for a nascent Internet seeking passage through a telecommunications network and start to adopt Internet Native Policies to facilitate connectivity
Connectivity Site 14-Feb-2015 I will be setting up a site for sharing approaches to sharing connectivity with our neighbors and communities at Connectivity.xyz
Verizon nears "the end" of FiOS builds | Ars Technica 27-Jan-2015 Verizon looks to wireless for profits but that may not last long
What infrastructure is needed for positively disruptive technology 30-Nov-2014 (Updated: 20-Jan-2015 PDF 📹 (video) The talk I gave to ISOCNY November 11 2014 aimed at helping policymakers revisit their "givens".
The Wrist: Information near Your Fingertips 27-Sep-1993 (Updated: 02-Jan-2015 PDFIn 1993 I wrote about the importance of the wrist as real estate for information. After twenty years the ideas seem be becoming mainstream.
Putting it all Together? 01-Jan-2015 PDFThe idea of an automated home is premised on the idea that we can just put together any number of programs and they would auto-magically compromise a coherent whole. After a half a century of programming I know we still have a lot to learn.
Silicon Valley's Mirror Effect - The New Meritocracy 27-Dec-2014 The rise of the meritocracy risks policies based on the hindsight bias.
Trying to talk about the future using the vocabulary of the past 21-Nov-2014 It is very difficult to talk about connectivity policy when the very vocabulary implicitly assumes the 19th framing of telecommunications.
Re: The Creepy New Wave of the Internet 17-Nov-2014 There is a tendency to project our world views on the Internet. To some it is a way to centralize power and control. But the origins of the Internet are just the opposite -- something that emerged from our ability to use computing to create our own solutions.
Community Broadband Podcast 03-Nov-2014 “In this episode, we talk a lot about how to think about what he terms "connectivity" rather than telecommunications. Telecommunications are a train track - the network owner determines when to move the trains and at what capacity. Our goal for networks is more akin to the roads, where we have more capacity to move around and pick our own routes on our own schedule”
Beyond Neutrality - Enabling a World of Connected Things 24-Oct-2014 PDF 📹 (video) The Internet is about much more than accessing web sites. Today we have "Things" that are using the Internet to connect with each other and things need more than "access" -- they need unfettered (borderless) connectivity.
Connected Things 01-Oct-2014 PDFThe power of the Internet comes from our ability to build connected applications. We use the term “Internet of Things” to extend this concept beyond computation to include the objects in the physical world.
There are far more fundamental changes coming to discoverability 28-Sep-2014 As the Internet evolves it will be difficult to track what is happening as a byproduct of decentralization.
Re AT&T and Verizon defend data caps on home Internet service 23-Sep-2014 Again with the caps that don't apply to the carriers' own content.
Science’s Sexual Assault Problem 21-Sep-2014 This story of scientists faced with harassment (and worse) makes me think of my mother's experience in trying to get her PhD in geology in the 1930's.
Verizon's mañana policy - I now have a zero gigabit connection 13-Sep-2014 Connectivity is not a luxury so we do we have public policies that leave us disconnected for days?
Re Powers that be Buy Influence at Think Tanks 08-Sep-2014 We should worry when research is considered a product rather than an effort to broaden our understanding.
Two Cities With Blazing Internet Speed Search for a Killer App 06-Sep-2014 Another reminder why speed is the wrong focus for connectivity policy.
The Building Blocks of IoT: Borderless Connectivity and Generic Computing Devices 22-Feb-2014 (Updated: 01-Sep-2014 📹 (video) This is the talk I gave at the Internet of Things Festival in Cambridge February 22nd, 2014
QoS -- the Intelligent network redux 30-Aug-2014 The idea that you can make promises in the network (QoS) is a retreat from the Internet and innovation outside the network.
Time Warner Cable Internet Outage Affects Millions 28-Aug-2014 If you repurpose an entertainment system expect it to be treated as a noncritical distribution system
Hands On with the HTC One M8 for Windows: The first OS-agnostic phone | Ars Technica 22-Aug-2014 Now that we have a phone that can run more than one operating system the user should be able to choose which to boot.
re Humans Need Not Apply, and Robot Swarms 18-Aug-2014 Jobs are an increasingly anachronistic method of wealth (re)distribution.
"Fast Lanes" Saved the Internet - not 04-Aug-2014 We need to be aware of proof by example. We connect despite teleom rather than because of it.
Connectivity Policy 17-Jul-2014 (Updated: 31-Jul-2014 PDFThe internet is a different way of using the same facilities (wires, radios etc.) used for telecommunications. The big difference is that the Internet approach is not limited to provider-defined for-profit offerings. The differences go far deeper. I use the term "borderless connectivity" for the new concept. The approach is being adopted from the edge -- driven by market forces. Telecommunications becomes just another resource as one way to extend connectivity as we shift from being dependent upon service providers to creating our own solutions. Today's Internet gives a hint of what we can do with the new opportunities.
re Is the End to End Principle of any use going forward? 10-Jul-2014 I'm amazed at Internet-denialism. The end-to-end is about innovation outside of a network and opportunity. The old telecom metrics don't apply.
Connectivity problem 10-Jul-2014 We are still dealing with the legacy of circuits using protocols and approaches which presume a common pipe for all packets and purposes.
(Not) Getting the Message Across 01-Jul-2014 (Updated: 30-Jun-2014 PDFIf we are to get the benefits of the Internet's connectivity we need transparent paths without intermediaries either to press "agree" or having protocols like Bluetooth which insist on "understanding" the messages before passing them on.
The Troubling Truth of Why It’s Still So Hard to Share Files Directly 30-Jun-2014 Today's Internet as too many twisting winding passages rather than simple connectivity
'Wi-Fi First' - What still needs to happen -- 29-Jun-2014 Questions about "Agree" screens and their ilk.
'Wi-Fi First' - What still needs to happen -- 28-Jun-2014 As calling over Wi-Fi becomes more common we need to think about Wi-Fi as a primary transport rather than an offload for cellular. Instead cellular is simply a backup transport.
Over-provisioning bandwidth doesn't solve QoE problems 23-Jun-2014 We need to wary about using backward looking Telco-based metrics when trying to understand the Internet's connectivity.
RE: [IP] Over-provisioning bandwidth doesn't solve QoE problems 21-Jun-2014 Let's be careful about using old telecom measures when we try to understand the Internet
Blast from the past? 19-May-2014 Same group of us arguing the same issues for 35 years. Sigh.
Re Comcast plans data caps for all customers in 5 years, could be 500GB 14-May-2014 Broadband Competition is a filed approach. We need to have competition for providing common facilities rather than vying for favors from gatekeepers
Re White House opposes Aereo streaming TV service in Supreme Court battle 27-Apr-2014 Sure Aereo is a workaround copyrights but such workarounds are nothing new.
Heart bleed Highlights a Contradiction in the Web - NYTimes.com 19-Apr-2014 There's a lot of magical thinking iin expecting systems to work simply becuase they are supposed to.
Comcast: A simple remedy? 16-Apr-2014 We need to take a creative approach to new infrastructure
The Language of Smart Cities 13-Apr-2014 Another reminder of how much "smart cities" miss the lessons Jane Jacobs tried to teach us.
Re; Comcast: A simple remedy? 07-Apr-2014 We need to take a creative approach to new infrastructure elaborated
HTML5 01-Apr-2014 (Updated: 31-Mar-2014 PDFHTML5 is becoming the very portable virtual machine that makes it easy to create and share rich interactive applications.
Yet more on Big Data...and IoT 30-Mar-2014 Big Data and IoT are exciting ideas but has the hype outstripped reality ... again?
Spectrum as Farmland? 10-May-2009 (Updated: 10-Mar-2014 PDFI can understand why the idea of spectrum auctions are so attractive to economists. But is it good policy? Is spectrum really like "40 acres and a mule"? Spectrum is not dirt.
The Internet of Things versus the Access Framing 01-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.
Comsos - Science and motivation 08-Mar-2014 We should applaud efforts to broaden interest in science. The reason science funding is often driven by the military is not because we like war but because we fail to appreciate the value inquiry.
Thinking Outside the Internet 07-Mar-2014 PDF 📹 (video) In order to understand the importance of connectivity we have to think outside the paradigm of pipes or channels that characterized classic period of networking dating back to Shannon. The Internet itself is about borderless connectivity with the value and meaning outside the channels. This has strong implications for how we provide (and fund) the opportunity we associate with "The Internet"
The Internet Of Things: The Real Money Is The Internet, Not The Things 03-Mar-2014 Today's focus is on 3rd capturing value. We need to recapture the innovative spirit of the Internet by creating enabling technologies at the edge.
Re The myth of the fall 03-Mar-2014 Open source isn't entirely new. Sharing software has a long history.
The problem with Netflix/Comcast is SS7 all over again 24-Feb-2014 Having Netflix pay for getting guarantees for their performance brings us back to the days of SS7 when one had to make sure that each service was built into the network. It is a very worrisome precedent.
Re Streaming Video Isn't Playing Nice with the Internet 19-Feb-2014 Another example of what happens when we have an inherent conflict of interest.
MAC addresses and Tracking 13-Feb-2014 We need to remember that many of the constraints we try to work around are simply engineering and policy decisions. We could revisit them rather than trying to work around the problems. The MAC addresses and the channels we use to communicate are just constructs.
House to passengers: Shut up! 12-Feb-2014 Why is congress legislating the etiquette of airline passengers? WTF?
Heat System Called Door to Target for Hackers 06-Feb-2014 Yet another reminder of the dangers of perimeter security
The Understanding Stops At The FCC 24-Jan-2014 Another reminder that the Internet is a paradigm beyond the scope of the FCC
Routing (Packets) vs. Gatewaying (Messages 23-Jan-2014 PDFOur smart phones are wonderful devices with many functions built-in. This is in contrast with the simplicity of the Internet in which we simply route packets of bits rather than having to wait for third parties for each message. I contrast the simple routing of packets with the complexities of gatewaying messages with service providers attempting to “add value” to our relationships.
Evolution and the Internet 06-Jan-2014 Understanding how systems evolve is as much about the Internet as biology. We need to understand that the Internet wasn't designed as much as evolved as we discovered how to communicate without depending on a third party in the middle of the conversation.
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” 01-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 01-Apr-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.
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"
Re: Risks of spreadsheets 31-May-2013 Evaluating spreadsheets from the perspective of traditional programming misses the point of their use for exploring ideas.
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)?: Scientific American 13-Feb-2013 Bell Lab head confuses Claude Shannon's measure with information that humans care about.
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?
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
Information versus Telecom 05-May-2011 (Updated: 26-Dec-2012 PDFIf you think that the Internet is important because it's a network you're missing the point. Today's telecommunications industry exists in defiance of all we've learned about "information" in the last 100 years. In 1897 the British Copyright office warned us about the danger of creating scarcity by taking our abundance and converting it to private property. In 1949 Claude Shannon gave us a science of "Information" that helped us understand the distinction between bits and what we do with them. The generativity of today's Internet demonstrates the power of the idea. We need to build on this understanding and experience to create an infrastructure that supports the exchange of bits. We can then focus on relationships and creating value rather than getting lost in the constricted pipes of today's Telecom.
USB Rubber Ducky Online Payload Generator 18-Dec-2012 A worrisome attack vector via low level device interfaces.
Re Seattle is the latest city to go around ISPs to get a gigabit network 15-Dec-2012 One day a Gigabit may matter but today such connections are simply PR fodder deverting our attention from demanding availability.
3D in Perspective – First Thoughts 23-May-2010 (Updated: 25-Nov-2012 PDFI'm excited about the possibilities for stereoscopic (3D) viewing but we need to step back to understand the possibilities. It may be far more about your family photo album than big budget movies.
Re ITU gone wild 21-Nov-2012 We need to remember that the problem with the ITU is not the details of their proposals but in the fact that telecommunications is a very different paradigm from the Internet.
ALEC-ATT-Verizon-FCC vs. what we want vs. what we need 18-Nov-2012 A post about choices in connectivity based on a Kushnick proposal
Internet Connectivity: Toward a Sustainable Funding Model 05-Nov-2012 PDFI wrote this for an Internet Society discussion on policy issues. ITU gives us a Hobson's choice for sender or payer pays. There is another option -- paying for a common infrastructure. This avoids the problems with traditional telecom funding modes. (Also available on CircleID)
The Risks of Telecom 21-Oct-2012 The recent New Yorker story about an accident on the Chinese railroad mentioned a passenger upload a picture to the web while the train's engineer couldn't communciate because he had to use a traditional communications system.
Fwd: [IP] Who Made That Escape Key? - NYTimes.com 07-Oct-2012 A light hearted piece on the ESCape key in the NYT Magazine.
Podcast with Chris Mitchell of Muninet 27-Sep-2012 We talk about how to make connectivity more available to communities.
Re Who Benefits From iOS6's Crappy Maps and other business models 22-Sep-2012 If we are to understand why Apple wants to own their maps and why telecommunications companies are what they are we need to look at how the various markets work.
T-Mobile Closed my Local Store 16-Sep-2012 My local T-Mobile store had knowledge staff -- that's why I know and use T-Mobile. Now they are devolving into simply a second tier carrier. Their ads don't do much to tell me what is different (actually selling phones instead of just leasing).
The Signal has Left the Network 07-Sep-2012 (Updated: 08-Sep-2012 📹 (video) The power of the Internet comes from radical simplicity as I explain this talk I gave to the IEEE Communications Society.
Owning blue? 14-Aug-2012 Frank posted some of my comments about the business of owning colors.
GlobeCom 2012 Webinar 12-Aug-2012 PDFWebinar to preview my GlobeCom 2012 presentations.
Grand Debate:The Internet vs. Telecom 08-Aug-2012 Announcement for the preview for the GlobeCom event.
The PSTN vs. the Internet 06-Aug-2012 The PSTN and Internet are different ways to use the same resources. We should look the post-PSTN era as an opportunity rather than a threat.
AT&T to Discontinue GSM and EDGE 2G Networks by 2017 05-Aug-2012 How do we build persistent devices when we are dependent upon the whim of a path provider?
Wi-Fi and Smartphones Make Homes a Little Smarter - NYTimes.com V2 02-Aug-2012 We're starting to see devices that take advantage of connectivity with the whom. It's a reminder that the Internet isn't just about the web and a reminder of how much further we have to go.
More ‘wireless’ Internet” begs the question. 27-Jul-2012 (Updated: 01-Aug-2012 PDFIf we are to best support the needs of society and the economy we need to first ask the right questions.
re Who Really Invented the Internet? -WSJ 23-Jul-2012 The problem with this attempt to make up a political myth is not just that it gets it wrong but it confuses an idea with an implementation.
Re Making the Most of the Wireless Spectrum 20-Jul-2012 The governments PCAST's embrace of "spectrum sharing" misses the point of the Internet.
Thinking outside the pipe 17-Oct-2011 (Updated: 19-Jul-2012 PDFThe idea that bits must flow through wires or virtual pipes makes it hard to think of the Internet as infrastructure like roads. We communicate by exchanging bits. We need to move beyond the pipe or railroad metaphors if we are to take advantage of the abundant opportunities all around us.
The light bulb as an end point. 22-Jun-2012 PDFYou can buy LED bulbs that be act as network end points in themselves rather than depending on the light fixture.
re Leaked proposal reveals UN/ITU plans for Internet taxes - again 10-Jun-2012 The question shouldn't be how to govern the Internet, it should be what does it mean to govern our very ability to communicate.
Verizon's 300Mbps FiOS vs LTE 03-Jun-2012 What if Verizon add a Wi-Fi/LTE access point at each FiOS drop -- we'd have essentially unlimited capacity without "consuming" spectrum. It's such a powerful solution we have to wonder why they prefer scarcity.
New Comcast service turns TV into data center - silos and priorities 22-May-2012 As each service provider redoubles its effort to lock users into their world we get the kind of lock-ins we associate with monopolies.
Re: Calculating Data Network's Total Capacity Notoriously Difficult, but Theorists Making Some Headway 21-May-2012 Measuring capacity in channels misses the point of the Internet in decoupling meaning from bits.
Halting the future?, Re: [IP] Video: "Challenge of Change" (1961) 14-May-2012 Little has changed since this 1961 ATT promotional video -- as ATT continues try to take credit for value created outside of their network.
Re Speech by ITU Secretary-General - Canadian Wireless Telecommunication Association Wireless Antenna Sitting Forum : Closing Keynote Speech 05-May-2012 It isn't rational to invest in today's telecom industry. It is rational to invest in infrastructure. Today's problems with attracting capital are simply symptoms that we should heed rather than redoubling our effort to live in the past.
Fwd: RE: OpenRadio changes what it means to be an ISP 20-Apr-2012 OpenFlow and OpenRadio seem like throwbacks to the days of circuits.
The Information not-so-super Highway 07-Feb-2011 (Updated: 19-Apr-2012 PDFIt doesn't matter whether we're stuck in the slow lane or the fast lane. What matters is that we're confined to lanes.
New watch. WIMM ONE 11-Apr-2012 Dave Farber tries the WIMM watch.
Re Comcast Exempts Itself From Its Data Cap -- going over IP makes policies such policies more visible 28-Mar-2012 In substituting an XBox for a set top box Comcast is moving their core functions outside their network. Same for Verizon/FiOS and others.
From DIY to the Internet 11-Mar-2012 (Updated: 14-Mar-2012 PDFThe Internet has become a phenomenon because if empowers us. To understand how to get "more Internet" we must recognize that we got the Internet by doing things ourselves (DIY) and if we want more connectivity we need to start locally rather than petitioning the telecommunications providers. The Internet is not a layer on top of telecommunications but an entirely different concept.
DIY To Connectivity --the Video 14-Mar-2012 📹 (video) My presentation at the ISOC DC March 1st 2012 meeting on Connecting Everyone.
DIY to Connectivity -- The Slides 14-Mar-2012 The Slides Corresponding to the ISOC DC talk
Re Verizon launches faster[sic]-than-wired wireless broadband for homes; starts at $60/mo V2 08-Mar-2012 Again Verizon is attempting to recycle old products to new markets. Why should Verizon make more money than Netflix just for deigning to let a few bits reach customers?
Plans for 'TV Everywhere' Bog Down in Tangled Pacts 06-Mar-2012 TV anywhere is caught in the web woven to keep content under control.
For the Internet, No More Innovation for the Fun of It 06-Mar-2012 A well-written piece by Nick Bolton on the dangers of managed innovation.
Mobile to go Wi-Fi within a year: Cisco — and we can’t do it now? 04-Mar-2012 "Mobile" has already gone "Wi-Fi". Are the carriers trying to lockdown Wi-Fi so they can sell it back to us? WTF! But then, what's now -- they have nothing to sell that we don't already have.
re Comcast and other providers rush to impose data caps 02-Mar-2012 Comcast's caps go against the trend to move all content over IP
$51 for 2 Minutes: German Pay Phones Anger Troops 02-Mar-2012 The story about overcharging GI's in transit is framed as if nothing has changed in telecommunications other than a small change in the cost of phone calls.
The Internet as DIY -- DC March 1st 2012 26-Feb-2012 The Internet's importance comes by providing opportunity for individuals and groups to create new value without being dependent upon service providers.
Bell Labs Innovation in perspective 26-Feb-2012 We should applaud the transformation changes that came from work done at Bell Labs. When we do so we must make sure we take away the right lessons rather than expecting innovation magic.
Re Canada is ordering all IP Interconnetion for Core Realtime Communications 10-Feb-2012 Trying to reconcile VoIP with traditional telecommunications may be a noble effort but we need to face up to the fundamtel difference in the concepts.
CES 2012: In Perspective 07-Feb-2012 (Updated: 09-Feb-2012 PDFObservations from the Consumer Electronics Show. While I do describe some of the products this is more a view of the ongoing changes in consumer electronics and more.
ICCE 2012: A Software Perspective 06-Feb-2012 PDFThe founder of Broadcom gave an interesting talk on this history of the hardware used in networks. While the chips are important I'm a software guy as see them in the context of applications and larger market forces.
It’s about Capacity not Speed 30-Jan-2012 (Updated: 01-Feb-2012 PDFElectrons all go at the same speed so we do we talk about speed when it's really about capacity?
re BT plan puts 300Mbps in apartment blocks 30-Jan-2012 300Mbps per apartment sounds great until you think about it.
Jobs, Jobs and Cars ... and Speech 27-Jan-2012 "Creating" jobs requires creating a supportive environment. Part of this is the ability to communicate. The US First Amendment creates an atmosphere the encourages experimentation. We also need the ability to exchange bits and today's idea of making speech a profit center does great harm to our ability to do business.
Hotspot 2.0 and or X.400 Redux 12-Jan-2012 Another attempt by the incumbent carriers to try to hold back connectivity.
SOPA, DRM and Strange Bedfellows 09-Jan-2012 PDFPolitics makes for strange bedfellows because seeming agreements often mask radically different understandings beyond the agreement. This is why "friends of the Internet" can support bad ideas like SOPA and DRM.
Top 1% NYT Readers are Consuming 50% of the text! (was Top 1% of the Mobile users are consuming the world) 08-Jan-2012 Once again we see the false meme that the Internet it something we can use up. In this case it's compounded by hijacking the 1% meme. More disturbing when the NY Times gives such false ideas credibility.
Risks of Focusing on risks 02-Jan-2012 Too many institutions are focused on avoiding risks. How do we adopt a balanced approach to risk?
The Un-Internet and the war on general purpose computing 02-Jan-2012 It's hard to see past discontinuities and thus we tend to fear them. Thus we tend to deny ourselves the benefits despite examples like the Internet and general purpose computing.
Missing the point of the Internet 02-Jan-2012 We continue to force the Internet into the mold of telecom rather than recognizing it is something completely different.
Re an Uproar on the Web Over $2 Fee by Verizon 30-Dec-2011 It's easier to grasp small insults than asking why we have to pay to talk among ourselves
Re: Verizon to charge $2 for each credit card payment without autopay 29-Dec-2011 Verizon's customers are already captive which makes nuisance charges predatory.
Why Gigabit DSL matters 18-Dec-2011 Gigabit DSL is one more reminder that it's about how we use our physical infrastructure and not copper vs. fiber vs. wireless.
The benefits of bad architecture 09-Dec-2011 Good architecture decouple system elements in order to facilitate evolving the design. But the telephone system is designed badly and as a result it's difficult to dislodge the incumbents. Bad user experience is one result. Economic stagnation is another.
Whose communicator is it anyway? 05-Dec-2011 When a carrier puts monitoring software in a device they are assuming it is really their device and their software even if you have all "phone" conversations over IP. Another reminder that something is very wrong.
re Verizon API To Give Apps 'Turbo' Bandwidth Boost | News & Opinion | PCMag.com 15-Nov-2011 Verizon's attempt to charge users for less-crappy service reminds me of Bank of America's attempt to charge people for using credit cards in terms of being tone deaf. It's also a stupid idea but that's more subtle.
It’s pipes all the way down 19-Oct-2011 The "pipe" model of communications is akin to assuming the meaning is intrinsic and exists in each atom.
VisiCalc 32nd Anniversary hangout 19-Oct-2011 📹 (video) Dan and I talk about VisiCalc with the Google Docs team and others.
The Internet as Infrastructure 17-Oct-2011 PDFAn in-depth discussion of the Internet as our new infrastructure. The lessons we learn from the Internet can also be applied to other markets and systems. The value of infrastructure such as the Internet comes from the opportunity it provides and what we do with that opportunity. It's a lesson for policymakers that extends beyond the particular technology.
Re Big Brother is watching you: Voice of Russia 29-Sep-2011 Fighting for our liberties shouldn't be like playing Whack-a-Mole
ISOC Talk: (Video) The Internet as Infrastructure 20-Sep-2011 📹 (video) My September 22nd, 2011 to the New York Chapter of the Internet Society explaining that the Internet is really infrastructure rather than a set of service you access.
Re: Researchers' Typosquatting Stole 20 GB of E-Mail From Fortune 500 10-Sep-2011 Yet more reason to use normal social mechanisms rather than the DNS for social functions like reaching sites using human-oriented names and symbols that aren't easily subverted by simple typos.
Re: FCC upset about "cell phone logjam" after D.C. quake 26-Aug-2011 We need to remember that the cellular system is designed to fail if the billing system fails.
Re: Losing on the Facts, AT&T Turns to Smears 26-Aug-2011 ATT ads continue to claim credit for what others due, often despite ATT.
Turnpikes and Toll Roads in Nineteenth-Century America 24-Aug-2011 Profs Klein and Majewski's history of our path from private pikes to public roads from 1792 to the twentieth century.
Remembering Divestiture. 22-Aug-2011 When you look back at the history of MCI we should also think about the technologies that enabled MCI and eventually doomed telecommunications as an industry.
Re: IBM PC @ 30: Original review of the Personal Computer Model 5150 12-Aug-2011 When we remember the IBM PC we should also remember the openness of the Apple ][
Colleges Join Plan for Faster Computer Networks 27-Jul-2011 Once again we see an emphasis on speed rather than availability.
ATT’s Plight is our Plight 23-Jun-2011 (Updated: 22-Jul-2011 PDFATT’s planned acquisition of T-Mobile is an occasion to look at the fundamental issues facing the entire telecommunications industry. Very simply – we are asking providers to add capacity but we’re not willing to pay them a portion of the value created. Skype gets the benefits without paying the carriers. Worse, the more capacity there is the less valuable the carriers’ own services are.
WSJ TECHNOLOGY ALERT: Verizon to End Unlimited Data Plans for New Customers 06-Jul-2011 We are losing our right to communicate. Why is there so little outrage?
Verizon/Android Tethering and ATT/Cellular-over-IP 02-Jul-2011 Cellular over IP, Tethering and other technologies are vital elements of our right to communicate. Today the carriers are trying to impose restrictions just as they did in days they tried to ban webcams and home servers. They can't have it both ways -- they can't argue that they are trying to create abundance when doing everything within their power to assure scarcity. Even more so when it comes at the cost of our safety as well as our economy.
Itunes and everything as a Service 23-Jun-2011 "iTunes" as part of the "as a service" trend which puts us at the mercy of third parties.
ICANN Financial incentives? 22-Jun-2011 ICANN seems focused on creating source of revenue even if that means assuring the web will unravel. We need to assure that ICANN's incentives are consistent with the needs of society.
The DNS may be being mooted 17-Jun-2011 New TLDs are being introduced just as browsers shift the emphasis from the DNS to searching. The new TLDs seem aimed more to extract money from users than to help them.
The Wrong Stuff 13-Jun-2011 PDFWhen trying to think rationally we have to be aware that we don't have all the facts. Some seemingly foolish optimism is necessary to counter the possibilities we cannot anticipate.
Wisconsin Omnibus Budget Bill Kills Wisconsin Networking 07-Jun-2011 An attempt to return the Internet to the status of just another telecommunications channel. Corruption or ignorance -- the harm is the same.
ATT Admits there is no bit exchange business 16-May-2011 A senior ATT executive comments that there is no business in mobile data. And if all business is data the implications are stark. Fortunately infrastructure is a viable and stable alternative funding option.
Why Isn’t Wi-Fi Better? 15-May-2011 The problem with Wi-Fi is not technical. It's the idea that we need to make billing and authentication level zero. That can't work -- instead we can simply fund a common infrastructure.
The Internet’s generativity stems from a paradigm antithetical to telecom 07-May-2011 The very concept of telecommunications is based the idea that we are transporting valuable messages. We’ve applied that model to phone calls (“message unit” and now “minutes”). It’s about creating billable events.
The Internet Lost in Translation 05-May-2011 (Updated: 06-May-2011 PDFIf all we need is a way to exchange some bits then we can adopt a simple model using any and all paths available without even a need to assure all bits get through. By funding it as a whole we don’t need to assure billing relationships between every device and every element of the path. It’s not just that you don’t know what to bill for. It’s hard to innovate when even a pacemaker must have a bookkeeper as the critical design element. While we do need to deal with some of the problems with today’s telecom our major focus should be on the future – creating generative opportunity rather than fighting over scarcity.
Re: [IP] Gets worse Epsilon breach website fraud 17-Apr-2011 The Epsilon break-in should be a warning about the risks of centralizing identity.
Re: [Dewayne-Net] How To Fix 911 -- a threat to the entire nation! 17-Apr-2011 A more "Intelligent" and centralized 911 is easy abused.
FCC Rules VoIP Provider May Not Collect Access Charges 12-Apr-2011 Once again we see people assuming that a VoIP provider must be cheating. Gaming the Regulatorium is the essence of telecom.
Re: 133 US cities now have their own broadband networks 28-Mar-2011 Another reminder that the funding model matters and that muni-bells aren't necessarily infrastructure providers.
Simple and Stark -- the telecom death spiral 21-Mar-2011 ATT's acquisition of T-Mobile is a symptom of a far deeper problem with the concept of telecommunications.
The First Amendment for sale for $39 billion dollars plus a tax on innovation 20-Mar-2011 It's time to revisit the First Amendment compromise that created the scarcity of spectrum.
Re: How the Assault on Netflix Will Shake Out 17-Mar-2011 More and more companies, including old-line "cable" companies are streaming over IP and will be hurt by companies.
Re: Fight over municipal broadband rules in North Carolina 15-Mar-2011 We need to be careful about framing the issue of "municipal connectivity" as infrastructure rather than as a broadband service.
Re: AT&T imposing DSL and U-verse bandwidth caps, fees for "excess" use 15-Mar-2011 Usage caps are about bad accounting and not exhausting resources.
Re: Fight over municipal broadband rules in North Carolina 15-Mar-2011 Is the ITIF only a shill for cable companies or can it take a positive stance in support of infrastructure?
Re: AT&T imposing DSL and U-verse bandwidth caps, fees for "excess" use 14-Mar-2011 Caps are a way to prevent innovation as well as competition.
The ability to bill for speech is the ability to deny access 19-Feb-2011 When "Building the Technology Stack for Internet Freedom" we need to make sure that the foundation supports freedom.
The iCology 14-Feb-2011 PDFApple has its own iCology in which you use Apple tools to develop products for Apple platforms for Apple users
Twit TV: Beyond Neutrality Parts 1 and 2 13-Feb-2011 PDF 📹 (video) First part of Leo Laporte interviewing me about connectivity technical and policy issues.
Re: The Death of Speed – Extreme Malthusianism 13-Feb-2011 We need to remember that abstractions are real and real objects can be abstracted. That's how markets work.
Re: The End of the (Nokia) Raj 12-Feb-2011 Nokia needs to adjust to a new landscape and figure out what business it is in.
Demystifying Networking 29-Nov-2010 (Updated: 09-Feb-2011 PDFExchanging bits is a simple idea but one that is shrouded in misunderstandings that keep us dependent upon service providers. If see past the mystery and understand networking we can fund infrastructure as a public good. It would give us the kind generative opportunity that a service provider can't give. In fact the service providers very existence depends upon keeping their users dependent and limited.
Re: Washington Post: "Rush is on for custom domain name suffixes" 06-Feb-2011 It is naive to assume that names are globally unique.
Verizon Restrains Video Downloads as IPhone Debuts - Bloomberg 04-Feb-2011 Verizon's decision to second-guess content shows it doesn't yet grasp the idea of the Internet and users defining the meaning of the bits
Re An Apple E-Book Rule Tightens -- Ed Whitacre redux? 03-Feb-2011 Apple's policy limit how much each of us an innovate.
An Apple E-Book Rule Tightens -- Ed Whitacre redux? 02-Feb-2011 Apple's attempt to take a cut of the money made using the iPhone is worrisome. ATT had a similar attitude.
Re: ICANN, Bill Clinton, and Mr. Magoo 31-Jan-2011 ICANN has value as a travel agency.
WorkingRe: Egypt's Internet shutdown (RISKS-26.32) 31-Jan-2011 It's easy to shutdown today's Internet because the protocols are aligned with authority.
Re When will ISP like Comcast understand they are running a utility 27-Jan-2011 Another reminder why we need an infrastructure business model rather than billable pipes.
More on UMA - Unlicensed Mobile Access 23-Jan-2011 UMA Liberates us from the physical cellular infrastructure. Next step is liberating us from the business model.
Re: More on UMA - Unlicensed Mobile Access 23-Jan-2011 We need to be careful about perpetuating myths like the idea that we can only communciate because we bake-in particular services.
Re: Wireless carriers claim it violates their "First Amendment Rights" to warn of overuse 22-Jan-2011 The idea of using the First Amendment to hide information is strange but it's a reminder to think about why we have cellular pricing cliffs.
Wi-Fi Calling! 22-Jan-2011 Why isn't "cellular over Wi-Fi' the norm. Why do we need a special cellular network?
Verizon’s Internet Gateway 18-Jan-2011 (Updated: 21-Jan-2011 PDFVerizon's limitations on what I can do with in my own home seem to violate the spirit if not the specific rules of neutrality.
F.C.C. to Study Retransmission Fees 18-Jan-2011 The should focus on eliminating choke points rather than negotiating passage.
The Residential Gateway is back 18-Jan-2011 Rolling back the clock to the 1990's?
CES 2011: An Interpretation 17-Jan-2011 PDFOn the surface the Consumer Electronics Show is about artifacts of technology. If we look under the surface it's a far more interesting show.
Won't You Be My Wireless Neighbor 17-Jan-2011 Sharing connectivity is a feature that enriches society. It's not like stealing a consumable but more like joining the commons.
Comments on the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace 15-Jan-2011 Trusting "identity" is a very seductive idea fraught with consequences.
YouTube – House of the future 13-Jan-2011 The 2011 and 1950 homes of the future aren't very different
What is 4G and who has it? 11-Jan-2011 There may be one Internet but why is it always on the far side of a tollbooth?
The FCC and Neutrality in Perspective 26-Dec-2010 (Updated: 28-Dec-2010 PDFThe FCC can try to keep the "Broadband Internet" open but that's not the same as enabling the "generative Internet"
Sidewalks: Paying by the Stroll 25-May-2006 (Updated: 17-Dec-2010 PDFWe've gotten used to paying for phone calls as a service. It almost seems normal. Why not take this concept further. Why not regulate Transport Service Providers in order to assure Quality of Stroll?
FCC Chief Backs Usage-Based Broadband Pricing 09-Dec-2010 It's unfortunate the the FCC is taking a stance that is contrary to the very idea of the Internet -- value being created outside the network.
How do we create opportunity? 06-Dec-2010 Four minutes on creating opportunity. Today's Internet is just a hint of what is possible. How do we talk the idea further?
Comcast vs. Level Three vs. the Rest of Us 01-Dec-2010 PDFComcast seems to be at center of a set of tiffs all centered around their role as a service provider.
Re: [IP] FCC chairman to propose plan for net neutrality 01-Dec-2010 No surprise that the FCC frames it's policy within the limitations of telecom.
Re: [IP] FCC chairman to propose plan for net neutrality 01-Dec-2010 The FCC may be trying to do what is right but can't quite get there.
Re: Mall's Wi-Fi blocks "adult" content -- is 900 a synonym for "adult" 30-Nov-2010 More discussion on censorship and also the implicit association of pornography and 900 numbers.
Re: "Is a more expensive Internet a good thing? About Comcast and Level 3" 30-Nov-2010 The problem is not the cost of transport but the conflict of interest inherent in the current concept of telecom.
If this had been an actual emergency ... 29-Nov-2010 Comcast's outage shows they aren't building infrastructure.
Re: Mall's Wi-Fi blocks adult content related to their own stores 29-Nov-2010 Trying to manage social behavior by constricting the plumbing of the Internet is another reminder of the misunderstanding that abound.
Re: If this had been an actual emergency ... 29-Nov-2010 Another reminder that cloud can be very useful but we need to be wary about dependencies. Whatever people think they mean by "the cloud"
Re: Ars technica on BGP concerns 23-Nov-2010 Today's Internet routing protocols assume that we can trust everyone in the world to do everything just right. Oops.
Maker Faire and (disconnected) Things 22-Nov-2010 PDFI was excited by Maker Faire in New York. It gives us the opportunity to go beyond the glass screen into the real world.
Re: U.S. may require jamming of cell phone use inside vehicles 18-Nov-2010 The idea of making driving safer by jamming cell phones show show the danger of patching rather than thinking.
Re: [IP] My first week with Google TV 13-Nov-2010 Google TV is an interesting beta.
What is TV? 12-Nov-2010 PDFIn order to understand Google TV we need to think about we mean by "TV".
Sociotechnopathia 11-Nov-2010 PDFIs "social" really a technology?
Flexview 09-Nov-2010 Is Verizon taking on Netflix and reducing our dependence on the physical cable?
Clearwire in deep financial trouble, may not survive 09-Nov-2010 What did Clearwire's investors expect in building yet another commodity bit-pipe?
Bandwidth vs Capacity 05-Nov-2010 We must not confuse provisioned capacity, AKA telecom capacity, with the potential capacity of "The Internet".
Dish exec says Hulu is killing TV industry 04-Nov-2010 Let's be careful. When people say that Hulu is killing TV we need to understand that it's really forcing a change in the business model.
Why it’s hard to understand the difference between the Internet and Telecom 29-Oct-2010 PDFThe Internet is something very different from telecom so why do we keep treating the Internet as just another telecom service?
ATT et al are simply doing what they said they would do 27-Oct-2010 The faux controversy of the use of Bit Torrent at hotspots is another example of blaming the victim when the real problem is the constrictions caused by the carriers publicly stated need for scarcity.
Re: [IP] Effects of BitTorrent on a wireless hotspot -- blaming the victim not the unprovider! 26-Oct-2010 Before we blame the victim for cellular capacity we should ask who put the limits there.
Authentication vs. Vouching 24-Oct-2010 We need to understand the difference between who you are and what you do lest we judge people rather than actions.
Re: Internet Becomes Weapon in Fox-Cablevision Fight 20-Oct-2010 We need to distinguish between ISPs censoring and content providers limiting availability according to the path.
Verizon Cedes Control of the Value Chain 18-Oct-2010 PDFVerizon announced that they are selling a generic iPad and are bundling it with a MiFi unit. This is very different from the impression they want to give of having a "Verizon iPad".
Re: NYTimes: U.S. wants access to *all* encrypted Internet communications 27-Sep-2010 It's hard for policy makers to understand that the Internet is an idea and not just another network.
Fwd: Y2K and the Dot Com implosion. 23-Sep-2010 Could exaggerated fears of Y2K caused the dotcom bubble and then the collapse?
Hey Cable Guys! Cord Cutting is real, and It's a Problem Says Verizon CEO 23-Sep-2010 Verizon is admitting that the money is to be made using the network rather than owning it.
Re IPV6 reality starts dawning on ISPs - Really? 16-Sep-2010 For the short term we need additional IP addresses and V6 does help address that need. Longer term we need new ways to connect end points.
ATT Policies and other stuff from the whacky world of the cellularity 13-Sep-2010 Why I can't buy a SIM card from ATT? Why do I pay most carriers even if I bring my own phone. More from the irrational marketplace we call cellular.
Did Internet Founders Actually Anticipate Paid, Prioritized Traffic 11-Sep-2010 History is our understanding of the past informed by the present. Science and engineering are informed by the but not prisoners of history. It doesn't matter what the "founders" said as much as what we learn from them.
Re: Thomas Edison's plot to hijack the movie industry 02-Sep-2010 A reminder of why Silos are the new Trusts and why we need to create opportunity rather than more managed innovation.
QoS vs. Neutrality -- the crux of the matter 02-Sep-2010 Bits are inherently neutral but services are not. This why carriers want us to believe we need their services even though we don't.
Re QoS vs. Neutrality -- the crux of the matter -- why the attraction and where's the network? 02-Sep-2010 We can provide various measures of "quality" as marketplace offerings rather than building it into the public infrastructure and avoid the naive assumption that there is only one measure of quality and that we must pay any price for it.
Re: Additional or differentiated services 27-Aug-2010 Verizon holds aside capacity so I can't even watch NECN HD broadcast down the street from my house.
Re: Additional or differentiated services (QoS as an expensive option) 27-Aug-2010 The idea of Quality of Service continues to create confusion because it seems necessary but really just creates unnecessary costs while undermining our ability to communicate.
On NOT Baking in Special Services 14-Aug-2010 (Updated: 16-Aug-2010 PDFThe idea that some content type, like video, is more equal than others and that provider bits don't count undermines the ability of the Internet to continue to be a dynamic generative environment.
Re: [IP] VZ Google Announcement worth reading -- and worth challenging 16-Aug-2010 Before we have a group to advice on broadband implementation shouldn't was ask if broadband is the right answer?
Re: Irish Times: "A modest proposal on internet neutrality"-- the dangers of baking in our naive assumptions 14-Aug-2010 Even if you wanted to implement policies that favor "good" behavior can you even do it without causing even more harm?
Risks of network managers 14-Aug-2010 Why we should be wary of trusting network management by those who think it's about the network and not what we do with networking.
Re: Is a CDN Non-Neutral? 12-Aug-2010 The Internet isn't just about "content delivery"
Are Google and Verizon basically the same? 10-Aug-2010 Both Google and Verizon delivery content using their own and others' pipes.
Re: Google / Verizon "net neutrality" conference call complete - quick summary 09-Aug-2010 As long as we insist on the irrational and dysfunctional business model the Internet as just another broadband service any talk of neutrality is pointless.
Just another Thursday 08-Aug-2010 PDFA trip to fetch a bike becomes an adventure
Re: Google, Net Neutrality, and Fairness 08-Aug-2010 Neutrality and QoS don't mix. Another reminder that NN is a problematic framing.
inSecurity on Cell phones 06-Aug-2010 Do the cell phone companies understand connectivity?
Re: Upcoming Fifth Amendment argument against Net Neutrality 02-Aug-2010 If the carriers can claim neutrality diminishes the value of their assets then we are only quibbling over price and they may not have much to bargain with.
The First Amendment and the FRC 26-Jul-2010 In the 1920's the Federal Radio Commission was created as a reluctant exception to the US First Amendment
Smart Grid vs Copernicus 14-Jul-2010 The Smart Grid policies seem show little learning from the lessons of the Internet and that costs us dearly.
Re: Why it's hard to hack the power grid, and why NSA is the wrong choice to protect it 13-Jul-2010 We keep making policy based on a naive understanding of how systems work.
Re: Major UK ISPs challenge Digital Economy Act 09-Jul-2010 What is the cost of trying to prevent "piracy"?
Zombies Ahead 04-Jul-2010 Hardening the Internet plumbing and have government sponsored identity doesn't address the complex concept of trust. How do we know to ignore signs saying "Zombies Ahead"and pay attention to signs saying "US-1".
Re: Irresponsible science and academic fraud 29-Jun-2010 Is education simply about maximizing test scores?
Irresponsible science and academic fraud 28-Jun-2010 Broadband - from bad science (AKA, bad methodology) comes bad policy
Re: AT&T's 1993 "You Will" Commercials 26-Jun-2010 ATT had ads that foretold a future that ATT would bring you. That future sort of happened but despite ATT and not because of it. Beware the temptation to pick winners.
Re: USPTO grants (inappropriate) patent to Amazon's Bezos 26-Jun-2010 Charging for services. What a novel idea ... 40 years ago.
Re: [IP] re ICANN Likely to Approve "Dot-Ex-Ex-Ex" Domain for Chumps! but it's the DNS itself that does the damage 24-Jun-2010 XXX is another reminder that the DNS is a source of revenue for ICANN even as it threatens the future of the Internet
Re: [IP] Expensive malware appears for Microsoft's Windows Mobile -- Be very afraid of those who want to make you afraid 06-Jun-2010 Once more we're told we should be afraid of computing and let others make decisions for us.
Re: [IP] Steve Jobs: Google TV Will Go the Way of TiVo and Roku. And other twisting and winding paths 04-Jun-2010 ATT's woes with providing adequate capacity and the complexities of the set top box are symptoms of the 19th century roots of telecom. We need to change the context in order to discover capacity and find simplicity.
Re: 4G -- reality vs. hype 31-May-2010 So what is 4G, what are the numbers?
Re: DNS vs. CDN 29-May-2010 The less we assume we know what the Internet is the more that it can be.
Verizon Wireless: 900 Redux 22-May-2010 PDFOnce again Verizon is acting as a conduit for fraudulant charges and insisting on being paid while disclaiming all responsbility.
Is the RIAA carrying out its threat to destroy the world's economy? 13-May-2010 We risk continue grave economic harm by trying to lock down our infrastructure lest a few bits go unmonitored.
Re: German court orders wireless passwords for all 13-May-2010 Too bad the German courts are making simplifying connectivity illegal.
Re: How Lafayette, Louisiana built fiber, with dominant ISPs fighting them every step of the way 13-May-2010 (Updated: 12-May-2010 Congratulations to Lafayette. Next step is to go from the Telco model to infrastructure.
Canada goes crazy 07-May-2010 With the government endorsing charging for bits what's next, charging for words? The problem is in the business model for telecom rather than infrastructure. Follow up discussion here, here and in more detail.
Re: [IP] US: Hollywood can disable TV set features 07-May-2010 Why is the FCC micromanaging business models?
Re: Predicting a black market in IPv4 addresses 06-May-2010 We worry about running out of IP addresses but we should instead as whether we're focusing on the right problem.
re Ariz. college using RFID for the appearance of class attendance 04-May-2010 We get enamored with the theater of technology while forgetting about substance.
eBooks are not worth the paper they aren't printed on 01-May-2010 eBooks with DRM reduces their value by limiting our ability to use them.
Personal Information on the Copy Machine 22-Apr-2010 We are leaving tracks all over -- can the legal system reconcile this trail with our expectations of privacy?
WSJ: Cash Is Turning Into a Hang-Up for Verizon 19-Apr-2010 It's difficult to make money selling a superabundant nonconsumable
Web Coupons Know Lots About You, and They Tell 17-Apr-2010 NY Times story reminding us how we're being tracked
Privacy Questions About the New "Google Cloud Print" Service 16-Apr-2010 While cloud-based services can play a valuable role we need to be wary about over-dependence upon providers.
The myth of Title II reclassification 15-Apr-2010 Applying telecom regulations to the Internet is severe cognitive disonnance.
Could it happen here? 13-Apr-2010 The British Digital Economy bill is an example of the damage that comes from view the Internet as the enemy.
the future .. DNS National Security and the ICANN clowns 13-Apr-2010 Trying to make the DNS security is like locking the barn door in the open position.
Re: [IP] The Press Realizes The FiOS Party Is Over 03-Apr-2010 Now that the FiOS party is over Verizon now has to figure out how to pay the bill.
Unwanted phone charges raising consumer ire 30-Mar-2010 A billing system designed for telegraphy continues to annoy us.
Re: [IP] WORTH READING This Is Why People Hate the Phone Company, AT&T - Tested 27-Mar-2010 We shouldn't have third parties in control of our very identity and presence.
Re: ICANN helps China censor Internet. Root servers leak censored DNS replies outside Great Firewall 26-Mar-2010 We shouldn't have third parties in control of our very identity and presence.
Google Is Hiring Bond Traders 23-Mar-2010 Google's bond trading is a reminder that others own a lot of our data.
Re: Atlantic article claims "Cable TV is Doomed" 20-Mar-2010 "Cable" TV is about business models not any particular technology.
Re: Government webpage for every citizen in the race to create a paperless society 20-Mar-2010 Slowly the courts are coming to terms with the idea the Internet access is fundamental.
Re: Why Networks Want to Kill Hulu? 19-Mar-2010 Hulu has played an important role in moving TV to the Internet but we should think of it more as an example than a necessity.
FW: FCC plans spectrum-flog to fund broadband 17-Mar-2010 Another source of much effort and few results.
Re: 3G-Ready Nexus One Now Available Unlocked on AT&T - Google - Gizmodo 16-Mar-2010 Why do I need a phone just to use a different 3G frequency?
Broadband – DRM and Purpose 13-Mar-2010 PDFAt $1000/household/year the ability to communicate seems more like a privilege than a right. It doesn't help that the broadband claims sound more like snake oil than technology.
Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt: Internet Trumps TV 13-Mar-2010 The Internet is more than another television network.
Cisco returns us to yesteryear with IMS and the PSxN? 09-Mar-2010 Cisco seems to identify with its large customers in trying to maintain their control over our ability to communicate.
Re: [IP] ] Laptops in the classroom -- a reverse of direction 09-Mar-2010 Wouldn't it better to teach students how to learn rather than forcing them to listen to boring lectures?
Apple's New Stance On 'Cookie Cutter' Apps: Add More Features Or Perish 07-Mar-2010 While many apps should be just web pages should Apple be deciding that for us?
Re: [Dewayne-Net] Verizon to FCC: Let Us Retire Copper 04-Mar-2010 If Verizon is going to "retire" our copper shouldn't we get it back?
Nuclear War' in Patent Fight With HTC -- you can't run that App 03-Mar-2010 Apple is trying to control what it's users do while preventing others from competing.
Where’s the Internet? 28-Feb-2010 (Updated: 01-Mar-2010 PDFIf the Internet is about fungible bits and packets why do we distribute via a system that denies us the benefits of simplicity?
Re: NY Times on U.S. vs. Europe on Privacy and Google (and fragility) 28-Feb-2010 It's interesting to look at the basic issues like privacy vs. free speech in terms of how it affects society and economics
Re: Wi-Fi owner flips images for unwanted neighbors 26-Feb-2010 It's bad enough to characterize using an available path as stealing "Internet". It's far worse when clueless sociopathic vigilantes create the law with their own hands.
FW: [IP] So Where Else in the World Can You Get 1 Gbps to the Home? 21-Feb-2010 Once again a fixation on speed rather than availability leaves us disconnected almost everywhere.
HBO Shows Online Video Service HBOGO -- the world has changed 17-Feb-2010 HBO is now available over IP. I subscribe to HBO via Verizon but can use a Comcast connection to view the content. Content over IP is not new but until now HBO was available exclusively through silos.
Google Plans to Build Ultra High-Speed Broadband Networks 15-Feb-2010 Comments on Google's plan for 1GBps (a problem with mailing lists is that my response to this didn't get posted)
(Wireless) Innovation 14-Feb-2010 PDF(Wireless) innovation can't depend on grudging permission from the FCC.
Frankston’s Imperative 10-Feb-2010 (Updated: 11-Feb-2010 PDFI was challenged to explain my concepts in five minutes. Sheldon Renan came up with the term "Frankston's Imperative". I plan to post a written version of this talk in the near future. Very simply people communicate using a common infrastructure. It was different in the 1800's when private companies built a special infrastructure just to send telegrams. Today people use their own devices to communicate. The devices just exchange bits but the meaning is external to infrastructure. In the 1860's we sold telecom as a service. Today we need a common infrastructure funded as a whole.
Google Plans to Build Ultra High-Speed Broadband Networks -- my own analysis 10-Feb-2010 Google is pushing the edge of today's "telecom" business model.
As Data Flows In, the Dollars Flow Out 09-Feb-2010 NY Times story that highlights the burden "telecom" places on on famlies
Re: Broadband truth in advertising, redux 09-Feb-2010 Yet another reminder of how the cellular architecture might create scarcity.
A fight over freedom at Apple’s core 04-Feb-2010 A reminder of the "old" days when Apple was very open.
Re: The balance of power in airport security screening 04-Feb-2010 While we can lament the theater of airport security we become inured to each incremental change.
Things vs. NN 31-Jan-2010 We should be focusing on the future beyond telecom.
A bit of cellular pricing transparency 28-Jan-2010 T-Mobile gives you the option of transparent financing
Still kicking -- SNOBOL 24-Jan-2010 SNOBOL -- I remember it well
Speaking of jobs 15-Jan-2010 We need to come to terms with the changing nature of jobs as we did in the 1800's when sewing machines came on the scene.
re Who Confirms The Accuracy (or is it precision) Of ISP Usage [sic] Meters? 13-Jan-2010 We can measure bytes but that isn't the same thing as managing congestion. But focusing on the laments of the carriers ignores the larger issue of why we accept their framing of the problem.
On Ambient Connectivity (and 3G towers) 13-Jan-2010 Another reminder that cellular pricing is more about stories than costs.
Understanding Ambient Connectivity 09-Jan-2010 PDFYou walk around and you find Wi-Fi everywhere connected to abundant fiber and wires. Yet this abundance is locked away by a business model more suitable to 19th century telegraphy than 21st Internet Connectivity.
Mythbusting the Obama Magic 04-Jan-2010 The myth that we can predict the future
Mythbusting the Obama Magic 04-Jan-2010 Leadership vs. dealing with complex problems
Re: U2's Bono suggests Chinese-style tracking of P2P users, etc. 04-Jan-2010 OhNo! Protecting free speech by violating it? Comstock redux.
DEC celebrating its victory in personal computing 03-Jan-2010 It's useful to remember that DEC did indeed produce the best PC -- if by best you meant personal PDP-11.
Re: [BarryDGold@ca.rr.com: Re: AT&T Asks FCC to Kill Conventional (POTS) Phone Service] 31-Dec-2009 Let's make a deal. If ATT gives up their copper I'd be glad to convert it to infrasttructure.
Re: Why Apple Can't Kill Cable 23-Dec-2009 Let's not forget that cable pricing is a small part of a larger picture.
Re: Why Apple Can't Kill Cable 23-Dec-2009 And let's remember the conflict of interest in the current idea of content providers own their, not our, infrastructure.
Re: AT&T defender switches sides 20-Dec-2009 ATT closed a loophole. Let's not focus on details and ignore the larger picture.
FiOS – a Reality Check 15-Dec-2009 PDFPeople still find magic in fiber. Judging by my FiOS experience fiber is nice but so is Coax. Let's not be blinded by the light and recognize the problem of putting old line companies continuing to build upon business models that are at odds with the Internet. You can also read a prettier version on CircleID
Re: Television's Money Complaints - 2009 and 1974 06-Dec-2009 In the 60's TV was just TV. Today it is transport and content.
Re: CDT (Leslie Harris) Op-Ed on "Three Strikes" Internet Laws 06-Dec-2009 What does it mean to be banned from the Internet?
Re: Some thoughts on Google Public DNS from David Ulevitch OpenDNS founder 03-Dec-2009 If we care about critical infrastructure let’s not forget the DNS is a source of designed-in failure.
Comcast's Data Usage Meter is far from benign 01-Dec-2009 Measuring "broadband" usage begs the question. We shouldn't be surprised in seeing the status quo confirmed rather than challenged.
Re: Comcast/NBC Merger would pose new challenges for FCC 27-Nov-2009 Comcast's purchase of NBC Universal is a sign that industry is moving faster that the FCC in recognize bit transport is not a viable business in its own right.
Erik Cecil:Moving beyond "neutrality" 27-Nov-2009 Conversation with Erik Cecil on escape from the false dichotomy of Network Neuetrality:Yes or No
Background Audio on Web Sites 27-Nov-2009 Web pages not seen should not be heard.
Today's peering system is a perverse tax on innovation 12-Nov-2009 Today's system of settling accounts among network service providers creates a maze of twisted passages which deny us simple and abundant connetivity.
Identity give-away 04-Nov-2009 The banks blame identity theft on the victims. We mustn't accept this -- the responsibility is with the institutions which should work to earn our trust. Instead they seem complicit in giving way our "identity". I'm particulary annoyed at Bank of America's practices.
Purpose vs.. Discovery and the Internet as a dynamic 03-Nov-2009 I wrote this essay in response to all those who are trying to manage the Internet in order to assure their favorite applications work. In doing so they threaten the very dynamic that has made the Internet what it is.
Untethering and new connections 01-Nov-2009 Once we start thinking about dependencies on the cloud we should also think about other implicit dependencies and limitations. For example why must I have line of sight to a satellite to find my location.
bit.ly vs. China? 19-Oct-2009 Small URLs are a problematic point of failure
What About the Right to be Connected? 21-Sep-2009 (Updated: 16-Oct-2009 PDFConnectivity via the postal service is a basic right. Today electronic connectivity plays that role and is even more vital.
IPV6 Failure as a Market Success 09-Oct-2009 PDFIPV6 advocates blame the "market"for failing to transition to the new protocol.Perhaps the market recognizes it is too little for too much effort.
The Myth of Isochronous and the Risk of Baking-in the Past. 04-Oct-2009 PDFToo much of the discussion about network issues presumes constraints that aren't necessary and favor the past over the future.
Re: "Entry level pricing" as social policy v2 02-Oct-2009 When we look at prices for "broadband" we should look at cost per user. Getting friends to join us reduces the price, getting everyone to join ...
Re: "Entry level pricing" as social policy v2 02-Oct-2009 We need to avoid confusing large providers with small ISPs.
Re: Turning Research into Inventions and Jobs - BusinessWeek 21-Sep-2009 Encouraing entrepreneurship and innovation is good.But I worry when the purpose of the university seems to be to maximize the endowment.
Re: Internet still reshaping history 07-Sep-2009 The ARPANET and the Internet are different but then the Internet from the 80's is different from today's.
Future of the Internet and How to not Disable It 04-Sep-2009 The ITIF may have inadvertently made a case for reinventing the Internet
IPhone Users Love the Device, but Hate Its Slowness - NYTimes.com 03-Sep-2009 Let's try to understand the cellular system more before we jump to conclusions about apparent performance issues.
Mistranslating Broadband 02-Sep-2009 PDFWe are mistranslating "The Internet" as "broadband".
Robert Fano film 01-Sep-2009 The idea of information sharing goes back decades.
That Darn Internet -- questions with an attitude 31-Aug-2009 If we are to have a real discussion rather than posturing we need to decompose the problem.
We need to put the lie to the just-so stories that carrier networks are "the Internet" 30-Aug-2009 I wrote this in a response to a discussion thread on NNSquad claiming that the Internet depends on some bits being more special than others.
Defining Broadband 27-Aug-2009 Comments submitted in response to the FCC request for how to define broadband.
Re: BT NGN runs into difficulty 26-Aug-2009 Next generation networks attempt to move value back into the network and are in conflict with the dynamic of the Internet.
Re: H.R. 3458, Rep. Markey's third bill proposing to DEregulate the Internet 25-Aug-2009 As I read it this bill, in effect, deregulates the Internet by freeing it from the strictures of telecom. It is a step in the right direction.
Re: H.R. 3458, Rep. Markey's third bill to stop telecom from mismanaging our basic infrastructure. 25-Aug-2009 Responses to some of the standard objections to separating infrastructure from services.
Re: Setting the price of a free press 22-Aug-2009 Before we try to save newspapers we need to think a bit about what journalism is.
Re: Apple FCC response WELL WORTH READING 21-Aug-2009 Apple:Think different is not an option.
Re: Hacker-run GSM network vs the current hack we call cellular 19-Aug-2009 Today's cellular phone system is fragile and more of a hack then a well-designed system ...
Cellular history -- Past and Perfect - but what about the future? 19-Aug-2009 More about the accidental history of "cellular" and why need to move ahead to generic connectivity.
Hub to get early look at next-level Web link ... AKA, the past all over again 13-Aug-2009 I've been excited about "3G" so I was surprised to realize how annoyed I was at "4G" -- another generation of being captive to providers.
Re: The Case Against [FOR] Apple - Hush-A-Phone revisited 10-Aug-2009 Apple's effort to manage the user experience are very remiscent of ATT's Hush-A-Phone policy half a century ago.
Re: FCC Announces Senior Staff for Development of National Broadband Plan 08-Aug-2009 The problem with the FCC is not so much whether the individual appointees are capable, the problem is in the defining premises of the FCC.
QR Codes 02-Aug-2009 http://frankston.com/?name=IPQRCodesQR Codes are a way of encoding text that can be read by apps on devices such as iPhones and the Android without requiring third party services.
The Internet Story 23-Jul-2009 PDFThe Internet is a wonderful story but we confuse it with the old story of telecom. In my talk about GlueCon I dig beneath the surface to understand how the two stories differ.
Zero Marginal Cost! 16-Jul-2009 PDFThere is essentially no ongoing cost to running an existing wire as DSL or lighting up a fiber at higher speed. Imagine if we could take advantage of the abundance inherent in our physical infrastructure!
Post-Telecom Connectivity WIll Spur Innovation 15-Jul-2009 Short video on how the future beyond telecom.
Re: WSJ TECHNOLOGY ALERT: Justice Dept. Launches Informal Review of U.S. Telecom Industry 06-Jul-2009 We'll see if this is about the symptoms or an opportunity to address the inherent dysfunctions in the industry.
Is telecom contributing to climate change? 03-Jul-2009 As if we didn't have enough problems with today's telecom -- there is an energy cost to staying within silos.
ICANN – moving on from the DNS 02-Jul-2009 ICANN seem makes it difficult to move ahead. See DNS Failed to better understand why today's DNS is a failed idea.
DNS – A Failed Idea 02-Jul-2009 PDFWhy today's DNS is a failed idea.
Opportunity for Innovation 30-Jun-2009 PDFWe need to look beyond the simplistic notion that "innovation" is what drives our economy and understand the importance of opportunity as a prerequisite.
Re: TV Anywhere Gets A Boost: Paging Christine Varney! (and Jon Lebowitz and, eventually, Julius Genachowski) 24-Jun-2009 You have to wonder what the cable industry is thinking when they wrest back control of content that has escaped their grasp. It's as if they feel the market owes them something.
Cell phones are tools of the establishment 23-Jun-2009 As much as we are excited about the potential for the new technologies let's not lose sight of the fact that they are designed to follow established rules of 19th century telecom.
Re: The iPhone 3G S (I have never been less excited djf) 12-Jun-2009 We should have transparency - carrier funding of cell phones should be explicit.
Re: It's the Internet Stupid 07-Jun-2009 As we shift the funding model from services to intrastructure current networking practices will become moot.
Pipes – The Dumber the Better 03-Jun-2009 (Updated: 04-Jun-2009 PDFThe carriers fear becoming "dumb-pipes". We must seize the moment to transition to a post-telecom economy.
Policy beyond the potholes 01-Jun-2009 One of the more mindless arguments against connectivity as infrastructure is that cities can't fix potholes. This is childish at best. Instead we should be asking why we are denied access to the "dumb pipes" we need.
Re: Local forums to Implement High-speed Broadband 24-May-2009 PDFOpen government is not necessarily serviced by empahsize speed over infrastructure. It's hard to build apps when you have to negotiate the path.
Re: Apple's iPhone Channels the Prudes -- "Pick a Little, Talk a Little!" 23-May-2009 Another reminder of the dangers of forcing corporations to take responsibility for your services.
Phone tax on a wifi 22-May-2009 Another reminder of how difficult it is to recycle old companies -- so we are we trying so hard to prevent the birth of new industries based on connectivity?
The Broadband Internet? 26-Jan-2009 (Updated: 20-May-2009 PDFAchieving Simple Connectivity.
We ask for more "Internet" but it gets lost in translation from "broadband". We're so inured to the difficulty of getting connected that few people even realize the importance of making connectivity simple. We should be able to assume we are connected everywhere without having to make deals with every provider. Today's telecom is all about billing and not about empowering us. We need to make sure that our demand for broadband doesn't get lost in the 19th century idea of telecom. We can achieve connectivity with our existing resources -- we needn't settle for more of the same.
Re: Cisco: Smart grid will eclipse size of Internet 19-May-2009 Is the "Smart Grid" really about all the new opportunities to sell expensive gear?
Re: WashPost on Death of TV by Internet (no mention of bandwidth caps, natch) 17-May-2009 Another sign that television industry is moving away from "cable" and "OTA".
Re: Stricter rules regarding use of middle/maiden name on airline tickets 15-May-2009 It's troubling that policy makers seem to think that a person's name can be a simple unique identifier.
Re: British libel law strikes again 10-May-2009 What happens if we can't call nonsense nonsense?
Shovel-ready broadband stimulus 08-May-2009 Economists are Plato's children living in their ideal world. Be cautious about letting them define our reality.
Re: New Kindle DX introduced - is bigger better? 07-May-2009 The Kindle is a very clever design but clever has its limits.
All networks are not considered equal 07-May-2009 One if by Wi-Fi, Zero if by 3G? Path-dependency vs neutrality.
Licensed vs. Unlicensed Wireless Spectrum and Plato's Children 07-May-2009 We need to stop thinking in terms of telecom and think in terms of the resources locked up in the value chain of Regulatorium-defined services. Trillions of dollars in value were created by liberating IBM's hardware by decoupling it from software. The Internet has demonstrated that we can apply this to connectivity. So do we keep slipping back into the outdated and outmoded language of "telecom'?
The Economic Crisis and its Implications for the Science of Economics 06-May-2009 Much of economics appears to be about trying to predict the future even though it is inherently unpredictable. Instead we need to work with that dynamic instead of trying to outsmart it. We need to embrace the nuance and sharp distinctions I call "digital". We'd rather see nice analog lines trends than accepting the digital discontinuities.
ICANN: Billions for the DNS and not a penny for stability 06-May-2009 ICANN seems to be in the business of creating artificial scarcity rather than assuring the Internet functions over the long term.
Re: Op-Ed Contributor - End the University as We Know It - NYTimes.com 29-Apr-2009 While the department boundaries at universities may be problematic it's not likely that increasing top-down management is a better solution.
The Internet: Everyday Magic 14-Apr-2009 We're so used to working with ideas that we forget that we are accomplish real results simply by manipulating abstractions. Why can't we accept that the Internet is about an idea and not the fiber and other physical objects?
Cost (price!) of 1 gig - and other tales of structural corruption 14-Apr-2009 Byte caps are another consequences of charging for bits or minutes or other measures that are most valuable when scarce. They are accounting fictions and don't even reflect an underlying reality! We need a structural solution to a structural problem.
Telecom: A Prison of Our Own Devise 10-Apr-2009 PDFBy using physical metaphors for telecom we create our own limits and scarcity. The Internet is an idea and not just fiber and radios that we use to express the idea.
Re: Thousands cut off from phone service (land AND cell) 09-Apr-2009 Is failure due to someone who cuts a fiber or due to a policy that creates the vulnerabilities?
Re: How the Internet got its rules 08-Apr-2009 The success of the IETF may owe more to technology than sociology.
Twitter vs Telecom and the RIAA vs Newspapers. 05-Apr-2009 We need to be careful about our metaphors. High-speed is about HD not twitter and the Internet. If we care about intellectual property shouldn't we worry more about newspapers than music?
Register.com suffers further DOS attack 03-Apr-2009 Another reminder that we need to look beyond the DNS if we are to have a resilient Internet.
Hedges and Perpetual Motion 01-Apr-2009 The origins of our financial crisis may be as much in naïveté as malevolence.
Reflecting on regulations and markets and (cyber)security 01-Apr-2009 Let's not confuse simplistic notions of markets and "good" with the complexities of real markets and business.
Walgreens pricing vs Telecom Pricing 22-Mar-2009 It's useful to compare two different kind of markets to better understand why the concept of telecom is problematic.
Shuffling Markets – Coupling/Decoupling 14-Mar-2009 PDFIt's useful to compare two different kind of markets to better understand why the concept of telecom is problematic.(also see the previous post
Re: User sues AT&T after $5000+ bill for exceeding 5 GB bandwidth cap 03-Mar-2009 Companies have wide latitude in pricing but are limited by market forces and people's expectations. Why do we get the pricing anomolies in telecom?
Re: Credit card #s plucked out of air at FL Best Buy 02-Mar-2009 Again we have a story of "identity theft" but we need to look deeper to understand what is really happening.
DPI -- Protecting the past from the future 01-Mar-2009 The idea that we can distinguish between good uses and bad uses of networks isnot just naive but dangerous
Indirect vs Direct 28-Feb-2009 Information science challenges our distinction between direct and indirect action.
25 Years after ATTv1 -- it's not good vs evil -- it's Telecom vs the Internet 27-Feb-2009 25 years ago ATT was the telecom industry. Today's telecom is structurally similar to that version of ATT. The lesson of divestiture is that he industry can reconfigure itself. We now must apply the real lesson so we can communicate without having to petition the king be it ATT or today's telecom.
The (Kindle) Value Chain 27-Feb-2009 Authors are worried about losing control if they permit the kindle to read books. A mothers going to have to pay a royalty if they read to their children?
Re: Proposed data retention law WAS Republicans propose data retention laws etc 23-Feb-2009 Once again we see legislation that is technically naive with the potential to do great harm in its attempt to protect us from those bad people.
Lies .. Verizon FiOS Follies and destructive competition and SVC! 19-Feb-2009 We confuse broadband competition with Internet competition even as new protocols like SVC make it clear that owning private video networks is costly and foolish.
Re: The slow convergence of Internet and TVs 16-Feb-2009 Once again we get a confused story about the Internet vs TV as if the two were comparable rather than TV being just another application over the Internet.
A Fine Way to Run a Railroad but not an Internet 07-Sep-2007 (Updated: 14-Feb-2009 We tend to find ourselves trapped by bad metaphors. The Internet has had such a transformational effect because it has given us the opportunity to create our own solutions by doing our own networking. But we continue to act as if the Internet were a railroad with finite capacity and we must pay others to do our networking for us -- even if that creates a fundamental conflict of interest. We are forced to become dependent upon broadband. The Internet grew rapidly in the US because we could use the phone network as a transport without paying a premium to stay online. Riding the broadband railroad puts an end to that and leaves us firmly dependent upon companies that exist only in the fictional world of the Regulatorium. It's as if instead of enacting antitrust laws we handed the economy over to the robber barons 100 years ago.
Re: CNN's use of "Octoshape" slips live video P2P into users' PCs 05-Feb-2009 Once again we're being warned against using up the Internet and violating the conditions of our bandwidth bondage.
Verizon Deep-Fries VoiceWing 04-Feb-2009 Another reminder of how weak the carriers' business models are as they retreat from the present into the past
Ensuring Effective Broadband Stimulus — Analysis of Draft Economic Stimulus Legislation 26-Jan-2009 There are indeed issues with reducing "broadband stimulus" to practice but we need to setp back before we get lost in the details.
In-flight confrontations can lead to charges defined as terrorism 24-Jan-2009 A reminder of the danger of PatriotAct mission creep.
FCC Probes Comcast's Phone Practices - NYTimes.com 21-Jan-2009 Another reminder that we have a structural problem.
The Carriers are trying to take back control of the home network 19-Jan-2009 Connectivity begins at home -- and the carriers want back in.
Our world may be a giant hologram -- scientifically inclined friends. What's goin' on here? Not much 18-Jan-2009 We need to beware of settling for mysticism and filing to find the true wonder in our universe.
Our world may be a giant hologram -- scientifically inclined friends. What's goin' on here? DIGITAL! 17-Jan-2009 I've long argued that the universe must be fundamentally digital. Perhaps this is some sort of confirmation?
Fiber Showdown Tests the Viability of “Telecom”. 05-Jan-2009 PDFAs Verizon and ATT start to compete head on we need to wonder about wether the business model can survive real competition?
The Office of Connectivity Advocacy 05-Dec-2008 PDFWe need a connectivity advocate as part of a proactive agenda to assure connectivity and provide our economy with new opportunities. The Internet isn't a telecom service so we're not going to get there by fixing telecom. Instead we need a fresh start that can find value in our existing infrastructure and take the lead in providing new opportunity.
Repiking the pike and magical thinking -- and Verizon Wireless again! 04-Dec-2008 Why do we want to go back to the days when men turned pikes to allow you on their private highways. We should learn and liberate our information highways instead of privatizing our streets.
Re: amazing and appalling at the same time 04-Dec-2008 I welcome any advance in medicine -- even if only the use of clip boards. But we should expect so much more.
Hi-Speed Broadband vs Connectivity 04-Dec-2008 We need to be wary about a "broadband strategy" and recognize that it diverts our attention from the vital focus on connectivity using the resources we already have.
Amazing and appalling at the same time -- finding excitement in enabling technologies 04-Dec-2008 Too bad so few people are excited by mundane but vital projects. The result it
Re: Amazon iPhone App Lets You Buy Anything You Take a Picture Of 03-Dec-2008 Reading barcodes is just a start -- I want help in recognizing faces.
Becoming an Internet Native 21-Nov-2008 Become an Internet native is about more than seeing it as the "e-" version of the familiar. It is a chance to rethink the basic design of systems and see new opportunities.
The Internet and Opportunity 04-Nov-2008 We need to get past the very corrosive idea that the Internet works because the carriers know what's best for us. It's just the opposite -- it works despite their efforts. But as we see in this response to my further comments those who defend the carriers seem to find it necessary to attack the messenger rather than the message -- after all they insist they own the message.
Re: NY Times: People are watching much more online video 31-Oct-2008 Another reminder that we need to be aware of giving into our Malthusian fears of scarcity and deny ourselves our future. more on this topic
Re: ICANN proposes new way to buy top-level domains - Network World 30-Oct-2008 ICANN seems to be in the commercial web business rather than keeping to the task of supporting the Internet as infrastructure.
retro-spective (on the current Internet trajectory) and moving on 29-Oct-2008 Another reminder that we need to move beyond fixing today's prototype Internet and get to working on taking advantage of connectivity.
Whitespace is about Policy more than Physics 27-Oct-2008 When I read complex explanations of "whitespace" policy in terms of physics I'm tempted to correct the facts but then I realize that the physic is secondary. It's really about policy.
The Great Firewall of China 26-Oct-2008 Just back from a wonderful trip to China -- I was surprised how easy it was to connect back home.
Re: Beware: T-Mobile's Voicemail Paging Trap 26-Oct-2008 The Google/Android G1 is a step forward but still hobbled by being trapped within the world of cellular.
Re: Sour Grapes: Missing the Point About Google Android and the G1 07-Oct-2008 The Android is another opportunity to discover what we can do with technology. But it's also are reminder of how much more we need to do to give people the tools to take advantage of these opportunities.
Re: read both Google Phone "NORMAL" Data Users May be Throttled 04-Oct-2008 Sometimes a phone is just a phone but increasingly telephony is just another app. We need to be careful about basic policy on the assumption that it's all about phone calls.
Re: what is the cost of bb deployment 02-Oct-2008 Let's be careful we are asking the right questions before we ask for costs lest we just get prices.
Stock bounces 01-Oct-2008 How do you say oops when you don't control all consequences?
British Telecom says bandwidth costs PRICES unsustainable. True! So why haven't they collapsed? 24-Sep-2008 Telecom is indeed very expensive but that doesn't mean that it needs to be expensive. After decades of Moore's law style hypergrowth we should recognize an extreme violation of Moore's law as a symptom that something is very wrong. Also this
FW: [IP] British Telecom says bandwidth costs [price!] unsustainable. True? 24-Sep-2008 The CEO of British Telecom recognizes there is a problem with the telecom business model but the finger is still pointed at others rather than at the idea of telecom itself.
Re: How a few inches become 500 miles. 21-Sep-2008 The fact that a simple connection between two devices six inches apart in my house has to travel 500 miles is a good starting point for thinking about connectivity. You can also read the follow-up discussion
Re: Comcast's FCC Bailout Filing Today -- 911 and beyond 20-Sep-2008 Allowing Comcast to continue to operate a "broadband" network is akin to giving them a bailout. In return we should require a transition to an infrastructure appropriate for connectivity
Beyond ITU and the Internet -- neutrality as to purpose 14-Sep-2008 The importance of the Internet is that it is neutral as regards to purpose. We must not allow ourselves to be defined by providers' failures of imagination.
Re: Official Message From Comcast 14-Sep-2008 Comcast acts as if we can't possibly need more than 250GB by citing bogus examples. It doesn't make much imagination to see that 250GB of traffic isn't not all that much.
The ITU vs The Internet 13-Sep-2008 Sometimes policy goals and engineering realities are in conflict as is evidenced in talk of the ITU requiring protocols supporting traceability.
At the mercy of The Inscrutable Verizon and telecom itself 13-Sep-2008 I think I've resolved my problems with Verizon but I can't be sure because sometimes you need to see the data not hear about it. This confusion is indicative of larger problems with the concept of "telecom".
A comment on UAL stock price vs an old news story 11-Sep-2008 The price of United Airlines stock plummeted for a while due to an old story appearing as a new headline. Such is the nature of a marketplace in which the winner is the first one to hit the buzzer.
Re: "Regulating" the Internet -- and Distinctions -- ATM vs IP 11-Sep-2008 Network neutrality requires a structural change to telecom and it would also help to improve the IP itself.
Congress asks phone companies: Why are text prices rising? 10-Sep-2008 Congressman Kohl is asking why SMS prices have been raising. Perhaps he'll go further and ask why the telecom industry is able to take advantage of it's role as gatekeepers.
History note -- 1960's prices 03-Sep-2008 In 1960 transisters were expensive but so were computers.
It's hard to dance if your feet are bound 01-Sep-2008 Giving control of the infrastructure to the incumbents is akin to trying to dance with our feed bound.
Re: Do the Happy Dance people... strike 3 and you're out 01-Sep-2008 Comcast simply doesn't get it. They lie to the FCC about what they are doing and they promulgate arbitrary and seeming perverse policies. At some point we need to call them out. What if Comcast Transport and Comcast Content were separate companies. What if it had to follow the same rules as the rest of us?
Time to understand accounting rather than just bookkeeping V2 30-Aug-2008 It's useful to think of telecom industry in terms of accounting. Real accounting gives us measures used to guide decision making and set policy. Today's telecom is based on measures antithetical to the dynamic that is the Internet and one result is that the more connectivity we have the more the measures our out of kilter.
Bob raises an interesting and key question -- djf do read Comcast confirms 250GB cap effective October 1 29-Aug-2008 Having a limit on how much we can communicate with the rest of the world is bad enought but putting a limit on local connectivity is outrageous.
250GB: More Collateral Damage 29-Aug-2008 Comcast wants to limit the amount of content we use but the Internet isn't just about video.
Re: Comcast's New "Two Strikes and You're Dead" Internet Usage Policy -- and More 29-Aug-2008 Today our cable TV system might seem like the natural and efficient way to distribute video content.. We need to remember the lesson of VoIP. Given a chance the Internet can be a far better allow us to do so much more than TV as it used to be. And we can do so at a far lower cost with far more capacity.
Re: Comcast's New "Two Strikes and You're Dead" Internet Usage Policy -- and More 29-Aug-2008 We keep getting told about what we can't do with the Internet and again and again we do better than that by innovating. One reason is that telecom uses measures to maximize the value to the industry and the Internet gives us a chance to maximize the value to those of us who use the network.
Re: Broadband competition: Is this as good as it gets? 26-Aug-2008 Again -- facilities operators not service providers.
Re: Kennard: FCC on Shaky Ground in Comcast Decision 22-Aug-2008 We need to restructure the industry to separate facilities management and services if we are to have any hope of open opportunity.
Comcast Will Slow Heavy Web Users' Traffic for Up to 20 MinutesCan anyone define -- 21-Aug-2008 Legislating neutrality is frustrating -- rule out one outrage only to find another.
Re: more on the birth of the internet -- J C R Licklider 21-Aug-2008 The real history is more fascinating than the "simplified" history of the Internet.
Re: NSF and the Birth of the Internet 19-Aug-2008 I do believe in funding science but we need to be careful to find a balance between selling science and encouraging it
Re: California Declares Free Market Broken, Recommends Price Controls For Phone Services 17-Aug-2008 Why are we willing to argue for a lower charge for phone calls? The very idea of paying for phone calls is offensive. Would you put a postage stamp on email?
Re: US Internet speeds won't catch up with Japan in 100 years 16-Aug-2008 Higher speed from Comcast coming soon? Alas, we still need better protocols for scaling connectivity
Re: US Internet speeds won't catch up with Japan in 100 years -- that ISDN, oops, I mean broadband gap again 14-Aug-2008 Once again the broadband gap ... instead of the ability to create our own solutions.
Re: U.S. broadband adoption hits 7-year low 12-Aug-2008 A slowdown in the adoption of "broadband" is an indication that we are failing to take advantage of the potential of this infrastructure.
Re: Cablecos ponder networked DVRs in wake of Cablevision ruling 08-Aug-2008 It's nice the courts have endorsed the idea that we can cache bits remotely but why would we want a cable company to do it for us?
Re: That 5 gigabit cap is pulled back 06-Aug-2008 And yet another lesson -- why must be pay to use existing facilities that have no incremental cost just to talk to our neighbors or get emergency services or to get an education?
Re: When "free" is no longer free and other yarns 03-Aug-2008 Another lesson in why you don't make infrastructure a profit center
Re: Check out Essay - If You Run a Red Light, Will Everyone Know? - NYTimes.com 03-Aug-2008 Another reminder you are never innocent in the eyes of your neighbors.
Re: OPEC 2.0 -- Barrels vs Bandwidth 30-Jul-2008 We need to be careful about our analogies. Bandwidth is a measure and not a resource in itself. If we have bandwidth based pricing we create constrictions that limit our ability to connect and communicate.
We didn't need all that DRM after all?? 29-Jul-2008 It's encouraging to see P2P usage is down while getting content from original sources is increasing. While there may be value in controlling content we don't need the extreme control inherent in controlling the path from the source all the way to the screen.
Thought-provoking musings about decentralization and cypherpunk, from Danny O'Brien 25-Jul-2008 Just a reminder that the Internet wasn't built by using existing infrastructure. The goal was to be full decentralized but today's implementation falls short of that goal.
The Carriers' Perspective 24-Jul-2008 If we are to understand the issues behind the controversy over network neutrality we need to understand the carriers perspective. They are stuck with a business model that depends on sharing in the value generated using their wires. This puts them in conflict with the Internet and the creation of value using the network but outside the network. I a could argue that the carriers should've known better and that we paid for much of the infrastructure but better to encourage moving forward than being vindictive.
Re: Dueling broadband policies 23-Jul-2008 We need to recognize that our "broadband" policies are very confused and driven by perception rather than technology.
Cellular Scare -- byte caps extreme 22-Jul-2008 With all the talk about "byte caps" it's useful to look at what happens when you exceed your cellular minutes or, far worse, you pay for data by the byte. A simple error of being on the wrong plan could result in a $1000 charge for a $50 ... or worse.
What if STBs accepted bits over IP vs the parallel universe of RG-6? 22-Jul-2008 We have two parallel universe. One in which content is locked into broadband silos and the other in which content is delivered using IP over any path. They are both fully function. Once we recognize this we can complete the transition and liberate ourselves from the constraints of broadband silos.
Abducted! 20-Jul-2008 The efforts to do good often come at a price. Even more problematic then the real agenda is different as in trying to limit the Internet because it spread ideas and not all are "good".
A very strong reason universities should require students use P2P protocols. 14-Jul-2008 It's strange to see universities claiming that P2P is the enemy when the goal was to prevent the very problems it is supposedly causing. We should encourage more local P2P traffic rather than forcing us to fetch bits from afar again and again.
Telecoms Sue Over High-Speed Links 07-Jul-2008 The carriers can't allow people to create their own solutions.
MIT Tech review vs the Internet 06-Jul-2008 Too bad MIT's Technology Review is perpetuating the tired idea that the Internet is a clogged highway. (also see)
Re: BitTorrent now being used for piracy of textbooks 03-Jul-2008 Text books are a mechanism and not an end in themselves.
Linux Journal Interview 01-May-2008 (Updated: 29-Jun-2008 Doc Searls interviewed me for the May 2008 issue of Linux Journal.
Re: Japan's upload caps at 30GB...per day 26-Jun-2008 The 100Mbps miracle is a demo -- the reality is that you can't really make use of it. Be careful that you fully understand the illusion you are chasing.
Re: Priorities Amuck: ICANN Poised to Trigger Naming Quagmire 25-Jun-2008 Again people are piling on top of the DNS rather than addressing the basic problem of persistent relationships.See also this and this.
Re: Chrysler announces the rolling WiFi hotspot automobile 24-Jun-2008 It's great to see connectivity in cars but it's also a reminder to think more generally about connectivity.
Re: Net Neutrality: A Radical Form of Non-Discrimination by Hal Singer vs Hal Singer 22-Jun-2008 Once again we have an academic paper that makes arbitrary assumptions -- in this case the need for QoS -- and then proceeds to make policy recommendations as if the assumptions were facts. It's all-too-easy to accept conclusions that serve ideological needs and thus reinforce their private reality
Re: Net Neutrality: A Radical Form of Non-Discrimination by Hal Singer vs Hal Singer 22-Jun-2008 Follow up -- relying on QoS makes performance worse when the promise can't be kept.
FW: [IP] Net Neutrality: A Radical Form of Non-Discrimination by Hal Singer vs Hal Singer 22-Jun-2008 It's too easy to setup a strawman and then criticism a particular characterization of Network Neutrality.
Re: NebuAd Forges Packets, Violates Net Standards | Threat Level from Wired.com 20-Jun-2008 What's the difference between reading people's web traffic and reading their mail?
The Tiger Effect vs byte pricing? 19-Jun-2008 Did Tiger Woods "congest" the Internet?
ISOC France - asking for your backing 18-Jun-2008 There's an effort in France to apply social policy to something they call "The Internet". It's a reminder that NN issues are symptoms of deeper misunderstandings.
getting to be interesting -- a scarcity-creating model 15-Jun-2008 When looking at economic models it's important to question the premises as well as the model. A clever model shouldn't lead us to accept false premises. Congestion pricing decreases supply when value comes from scarcity. (Note typo at end -- I meant to say increasing capacity is more efficient than managing scarcity)
Re: ALSO MUST READ NYTimes.com: Charging by the Byte to Curb Internet Traffic "People seem to be missing the point." 15-Jun-2008 The carrier-created scarcity pits us against each other and diverts us from addressing the source of the scarcity -- the artifact of telecom.
Re: NYTimes.com: Charging by the Byte to Curb Internet Traffic 14-Jun-2008 The carriers continue to try to create value through scarcity -- why are they in the position to keep us impoverished?
Update on ISP Actions Regarding C-Porn and Usenet 11-Jun-2008 Carriers that have policies defining what content is acceptable may find themselves having to choose between the content and transport businesses.
Re: Update on ISP Actions Regarding C-Porn and Usenet 11-Jun-2008 Carriers that have policies defining what content is acceptable may find themselves having to choose between the content and transport businesses.
The ID Divide 09-Jun-2008 Once again a word, in this case "identity", makes it too easy talk about a complex concept without understanding what we don't understand.
Microsoft patents mandatory social policy?? 05-Jun-2008 Is Microsoft planning to implement mandatory social policy in our digital infrastructure?
Two Sides but Different Coins 26-May-2008 I applaud the call for civility in the debate over Internet policy issues vs telecom interests but there aren't two sides of a debate -- we have two different dynamics. The Internet is about creating solutions independent of what's in the middle. Telecom is all about what's in the middle. We need to come to terms with this fundamental difference if we are to have a productive discussion.
Why do we have to care so much about how to interpret what Comcast says and does? 24-May-2008 As long as we are distracted by trying to micromanage carriers into behaving we are missing the bigger issue -- why do we need to beg for permission to speak?
Achieving Connectivity from the Edge 13-Mar-2008 (Updated: 14-May-2008 Very simply the Internet is about relationships that are independent of the path and intermediaries. This is what makes it easy to create new value and our own solutions. The telecom industry is just the opposite - it's all about making sure intermediaries can charge a fee even if they not only don't create new value but work hard to prevent it.
Network Neutrality: It's not just Common Carriage and Antirust 14-May-2008 I wrote this essay after a complex legal discussion about this history of common-carriage and antitrust and how it applies to telecom policy and antitrust. As I've written, those policies make sense when we are taking about Railroads. If we want to talk about the Internet we need to question precedents based on premises that no longer make sense.
GIOVE-B Transmitting its First Signals 13-May-2008 Getting more sources of location information is good but we need to more than rely on satellites. If we are to get the benefits of knowing the location of device and people we need better protocols and better availability of the data even when satellites are not directly visible.
More on the Internet vs TV and beyond 24-Apr-2008 The revolution has happened already. The Internet can already displace the current TV distribution system. Imagine if we took advantage of this abundant capacity for peer connectivity.
How carriers mismanage traffic and then blame us 22-Apr-2008 We need to be careful to avoid getting so focused on the problems in trying to repurpose a content delivery system as peer infrastructure that we forget that it's a transient problem. If start by assuming a common infrastructure and then remove the bottlenecks we'll find we have abundant capacity at a very low cost.
South Park says it better 21-Apr-2008 This episode parodies the popular notion that the Internet is something that can crash. Perhaps more telling is the meta-message -- they very idea that I can simply give you a URL to a TV show bypasses the entire broadcast and telecom infrastructure as if it added no value. Alas, you can't watch the show from outside the US as the infrastructure is used to limit the availability and value of the content (or to create artificial value through synthetic scarcity).
Re: how does one define "capacity" 20-Apr-2008 We typically think of capacity in terms of bits per second or a technical measure? But that misses the point - shouldn't we think of capacity in social terms or human terms such as the entertainment value we can deliver or the learning we do?
Re: AT&T: Internet to hit full capacity by 2010 19-Apr-2008 An ATT spokesperson warns us that the "Internet" will run out of capacity ... what does that even mean?
FCC: Moving Beyond Neutrality. 26-Feb-2008 (Updated: 15-Apr-2008 The FCC is holding hearings on "Network Management" in response to the concerns over network neutrality. I've been pleased to see that the FCC is taking steps to limit the carriers' practices but ultimately the problem of neutrality cannot be solved in isolation. The basic problem is that service-based regulator system forces the carriers to take advantage of their control to finance their infrastructure. This is true whether we have a traditional phone company or a municipal system (a "muni-bell"). The FCC can play a positive role in removing the impediments to local ownership and work with the carriers to revisit divestiture but this time effect real restructuring so we can have a shared infrastructure.
Re: Comments by American Consumer Institute -- misunderstandings in masquerading as facts. 04-Apr-2008 The ACI policy statement presents common misunderstandings as "facts". These aren't facts at all but they do reflect how people think about connectivity policy issues. For this reason it's important to respond and explain how the Internet is not a thing that we must divvy up according to arbitrary management rules.
"Every Click You Make " Re: [IP] BT admits tracking 18,000 users with Phorm systems in 2006 - and every swipe 04-Apr-2008 Issuing rebates via credit card creates another opportunity for tracking my behavior while making it difficult to spend the full amount of the rebate.
Re: Comcast increasing compression of some HD sources 02-Apr-2008 Our fixation on speed as the primary measure of "broadband" value we've lost sight of the importance of connectivity itself. In turn we look to something we can do with speed -- video. In particular HDTV. Yet even for video innovation is far more important than arbitrary standards. It's as if we confused typing speed with the ability to write and think. Speed is easy – we should be demanding ubiquitous (wireless) connectivity rather than more 1950's style TV.
FW: [IP] Comcast HD Quality Reduction: Details, Screenshots - AVS Forum 02-Apr-2008 Dividing a common medium into separate paths decreases effective capacity as we see with Comcast resorting to compression to fit more channels into their broadband pipes. It's difficult to add compression as an after-the-fact solution. We can indeed compress video signals if we due sufficient computation but it requires stepping back from the isochronous streaming constraint of traditional television.
Re: Hope for Wireless Cities. (revised for clarity) 31-Mar-2008 Another perspective on how the Internet isn't an improved version of traditional telecom. Internetworking is a pragmatic approach do creating our own solutions. We need to be careful to avoid confusing the bits with their meaning – the problem is not in the network but in ourselves. Given this confusion it's useful to look at the premise that HD is just about lots of bits at high speed. This focus on technical measures misses the point of television as entertainment for humans. It's as if we confused the ability to type with the ability to tell a compelling story.
Re: Hopes for Wireless Cities Fade as Internet Providers Pull Out 28-Mar-2008 This is part of an ongoing attempt to explain how the Internet is very different from the traditional telecom view of the world. Many efforts to provide local connectivity, including municipal Wi-Fi are simply local version of traditional carriers (I use the term muni-bell). I wrote about this in WiFi Edge. This goes into more detail in responding to counter-arguments.
Re: Economics is Dismal 22-Mar-2008 When you listen to economists you must examine the presumptions. We shouldn't accept a dismal conclusion based on the presumption of scarcity when know that measures like bandwidth are arbitrary and don't represent the potential capacity available.
Re: Misplaced Hopes for Wireless Cities Fade as Internet Providers Pull Out 22-Mar-2008 These failures give me hope because I see them as a confirmation that they are the wrong model. Ubiquitous coverage is important but it must be infrastructure and not a patchwork of billable paths and without perverse distinctions between wired and wireless bits.
Re: Comcast claims FCC can't control Comcast's Internet practices 20-Mar-2008 As long as Comcast is trusted with our ability to communicate they must respect our rights.
Pacman or sheet music and ESPN strong-arming 16-Mar-2008 The more I think about the idea of taxing "The Internet" (whatever that is) to pay for someone to play music the more absurd it gets.
Emergency Broadcasting via Cellular -- our lives held hostage? 15-Mar-2008 Cellular systems seem to have an emergency alert capability but it's not turned on because the carriers supposedly have no business case for saving lives.
Re: DNS Redirection: The Plot Thickens 15-Mar-2008 The carriers shouldn't be second-guess application protocols. It make it difficult to move beyond the past.
Re: Music industry proposes a piracy surcharge on ISPs 13-Mar-2008 Why do some people think the music will stop unless they can get a cut of the action from our Internet? It's not all about them.
Re: VoIP competitors try to avoid spitting on their subscribers 11-Mar-2008 It's nice that the carriers, VoIP or otherwise, want to protect me from voice SPAM but I'd much rather get the ability to protect myself. They are using IP but it's still telephony.
Re: [IP] Optical Data Transmitted Over 1, 500 Miles At 16.4 Tbps 03-Mar-2008 Another reminder that the problem with speed is that it is too easy to move bits quickly and in doing so they threat the business model of those who want to make us pay high prices for networking. Those who cite the "broadband gap" contribute to the idea that it's expensive and difficult.
Re: INTELLIGENT network management? (far from IP) 02-Mar-2008 "Intelligent" network management misses the point of the Internet
Re: Competition 01-Mar-2008 Maybe we need a new term "natural commons" for cases where it's hard to have competing exclusive ownership but we want to encourage everyone to contribute.
INTELLIGENT network management? (far from IP) 29-Feb-2008 If you require QoS for VoIP then you have the PSTN not the Internet. Period.
Re: FCC paths to Internet network management? A thin thin slice of pie anyone? 29-Feb-2008 What is this concept of "disrupting others"? Isn't that the whole point of the first amendment and any marketplace? By its very nature we have competing interests. The question is how these competing interests are resolved.
FCC Hearing today (Monday, 25-02-2008) 26-Feb-2008 I was encouraged by the FCC hearings on network neutrality. I'm now focusing on moving ahead to argue for infrastructure rather than settling for neutrality.
BS and FCC v Us and Comcast v ATT 16-Feb-2008 The carriers' network management policies seem to belie their claims of a crisis. There is not consensus that there is a long term problem. Instead their short term strategies highlight the fundamental problem -- they are managing their network rather than fulfilling their mission of serving our communities. The problem isn't a question of network management - it's about whose network they are managing.
NN is about users, not providers! 15-Feb-2008 Focusing too much on the plight of small ISPs or even large ones misses the point of the Network Neutrality debate. It's not about how they manage the networks -- it's about our ability to communicate without having to serve the business needs of providers we are forced to use.
Re: "Deep Packet Inspection" Trade Group 12-Feb-2008 The post office doesn't inspect my letters -- it just follows the instructions on the envelope. Why do network operators decide they can and should snoop?
Re: "Deep Packet Inspection" Trade Group 12-Feb-2008 The idea that you must peek at every packet to determine how to handle it misses the point of the Internet. Unfortunately such assumptions go unquestioned by many of those who see telecommunications from a network-centric perspective.
That Olde Tyme Broadband -- again. 01-Feb-2008 Another demand for more broadband. Inarticulate rage has risks. Broadband is just a package the Internet comes in. And it comes despite the package not because of it! It's a testament to the power of the ideas behind the Internet that we can get value even though the very idea of telecommunications is dysfunctional -- the more we get the less viable the carrier business is.
Re: Holy War! Researchers say EEs have a 'terrorist mindset' 31-Jan-2008 The issue is not so much "Terrorist Mindset" as "Engineer's Mindset". That's a naming calling and rather than observation.
Imagine no FCC 30-Jan-2008 Imagine a world without the FCC and without a telecommunications industry. How would we communicate? The FCC is supposed to assure we can communicate but instead has become agency that has assured scarcity rather than abundance.
Re: Speculation, how AT&T can implement "copyright filtering" without wiretapping/dpi... 29-Jan-2008 I consider multicast to be more of an application protocol than a network protocol. It's attractive because it seems just like broadcast TV. But without the constrains of today's telecom policies why would we want to broadcast the same content to everyone everywhere at the same time?
Re: the idiots at comcast suddenly started 18-Jan-2008 Port 25 blocking is annoying and problematic but, for now, I've come to terms and find advantages in relaying my mail through third parties that can vouch for me.
Re: Regulating the Invisible Hand: A Contradiction? 17-Jan-2008 We must be careful when talking about (de)regulation to recognize when we are trying to manage the results vs. managing a dynamic that we can't fully control. What we can do is try to prevent obvious dysfunctional behavior (as we see with telecom) and find a balance between cooperation and collusion that frustrates marketplace dynamics.
Re: F.C.C. to Look at Complaints Comcast Interferes With Net - New York Times 16-Jan-2008 A reminder that traditional telecommunications is about solutions provided by a network operator. The Internet is about finding solutions without depending on there even being a designated "network".
Re: [ NNSquad ] Richard Bennett on Comcast and Fairness (from IP) 14-Jan-2008 A good engineer works within the constraints given -- a great engineer questions the constraints and gets fired because the constraints serve a policy need higher than mere science or reality. One can argue about Comcast's approach but far more important to question the constraints and focus on making the inherent abundance available to all.
Re: Your Thermostats or Your Life! 13-Jan-2008 The real lesson of the Internet in understanding how to create distributed solutions. Too bad we still try to impose arbitrary "intelligent" solutions rather than working with dynamic marketplaces that can evolve.
Net Neutrality vs Moral Court 12-Jan-2008 The very idea of that a network provider gets to decide what the nature of our communications is problematic (and offensive). It's not simply a matter of treating everyone equally because still leaves the measure in the hands of carriers whose arbitrary assumptions cannot be challenged. We needn't settle for "equally bad".
Re: Can You Go to Prison for Lying to a Web Site? 11-Jan-2008 When reading about a new outrage associated with the Internet we have every reason to worry as our laws are stretched to achieve immediate emotional satisfaction as it creates future hazards.
CES Rap -- In the net no net 10-Jan-2008 This year's CES has a swallowed the Internet with 'nary a burp. None of that annoying distruption.
Re: Brain Doping, or, The Futurological Congress 27-Dec-2007 It's reasonable to be cautious about so-called cognitive enhancement drugs but we also need to be wary when such concerns seem to be driven by a moral agenda
Re: On the Cusp of the Future 26-Dec-2007 We tend to envy farsighted governments that set an agenda for the future but somehow these agendas go off the rails whether it's in Japan in the 1990's or the US in 1934 with it's telecom act.
Re: Details of Unlisted Number Address "Exploit" Revealed 21-Dec-2007 Another example of building upon implicit assumptions. In the early days of telephony forcing people to list their numbers seemed to make sense to capitalize on the network effect. Today we've forgotten why land line (but not cellular!) numbers are listed. Worse, we still limit the network effect to wires and fail to see that it's a social phenomenon and not a technical issue!
F for Fake 10-Dec-2007 David Strom mused about fake blogs -- but how do we know something is not "fake" -- a surprisingly ambiguous concept.
Rural Broadband Gets Boost From Phone-Fund Proposal 26-Nov-2007 The Universal Service Fund is caught up in the past when the goal was more telephony. Making the money available for connectivity is an incremental improvement though it would be better to close the fund down.
Re: Edge Bandwidth: 18mbps connectivity widely available in U.S., we just don't realize it. 25-Nov-2007 Today's Internet protocols are path dependent but we can add a layer on top that allows us to bond multiple paths together to improve performance, reliability and mobility without depending upon the network providers.
Re: Characterizing broadband networks without client software 24-Nov-2007 No surprise that Telcos try to fit the Internet into their mold.
Re: Internet could clog networks by 2010, study says 21-Nov-2007 Again we see stories about how the Internet or the phone system would collapse unless the carriers get more money. And again if you look at the claims they make no sense.
More on Internet Clogged 2010? Report doesn't say that. 21-Nov-2007 More Detail on the "clogged" Internet report and the risk of making recommendations based on a whole pile of conjectures.
Re: "How to Patrol Your ISP" 18-Nov-2007 Should the router/NATs we use to connect to the Internet also serve as guardians on our behalf?
Read and watch the activities of IPSphere 14-Nov-2007 IPSphere is an attempt to take the carriers' presumption that it's their network and carry it to the Internet even as they acknowledge there is no longer relationship between the services and the transport.
U.N. forum: Should U.S. give up Web control? 12-Nov-2007 Once again people seem to think the Internet is something ruled by ICANN. Instead of recognizing that the whole point is that they can create their own solutions they demand their turn to control it.
Re: "Network Neutrality Squad": Users Protecting an Open and Fair Internet 06-Nov-2007 NNN (Network Non-Neutrality) can be obvious as when Comcast spoofs packets. But the more insidious kind is built into the architecture of the network.
Is That a Phone in Your Office? 01-Nov-2007 The kids today don't see why we need landlines and they are right. So why do we still have an old-style telephone on the desks in our offices?
Video Tipping Point Near? 28-Oct-2007 PDFAs long as people see the Internet as just another "channel" on their broadband pipe it will be hard to explain why we should invest in a common infrastructure. But we are nearing the point at which we'll see TV itself transform into content we view on the Internet. This change in how we think about viewing will make it easier to justify direct investment in infrastructure instead of being suckered into paying forever"cable".
Re: AT&T says there is no duopoly, net neutrality is bad 25-Oct-2007 Network Neutrality is a great meme but must be used to help people understand that there is a fundamental problem with telecom. NN legislation runs the risk of legitimizing the status quo.
Re: AT&T says there is no duopoly, net neutrality is bad 25-Oct-2007 NN is not enough -- everyone equally disadvantaged is not enough. I want there to be every incentive to increase capacity…
Re: The Top Five Misconceptions About the Success of Municipal Wireless Networks 07-Oct-2007 As I've noted the idea of municipal wireless is flawed. We do need ubiquitous wireless connetivity but municipal Wi-Fi is often modeled as a phone service and not connectivity.
The Internet vs The Internet Dynamic 26-Sep-2007 The thing we call the "Internet" is an artifact. The value of the Internet is in the dynamic that is akin to Moore's law for hardware. When we confuse the artifact with the Internet and ask more of the thing and confuse it with broadband we are in effect asking more of the past. The tragedy is that in asking for more "Internet" we lose it's soul.
If There be Pirates There be Heroes 07-Sep-2007 Those who have a stake in scarcity vilify Bit Torrent users as Pirates. Those who advance the technology and use what is available or those who take control over our infrastructure for their own benefit while leaving us impoverished and with only a limited ability to communicate.
Re: P2P responsible for as much as 90 percent of all 'Net traffic 05-Sep-2007 Lies, Damn Lies and Traffic Reports. We need to be very careful in interpreting these studies. What does it even mean to measure traffic in a decentralized system. Who is asking and why?
Re: Comcast Cuts Off Heavy Internet Users and Modems and Webcams and VoIP and web servers and ... 27-Aug-2007 Remember the modem scare and all the other dire warnings about how the best users are the worst threats?
Re: AT&T's 1993 "You Will" Ads -- no thanks to ATT! 25-Aug-2007 The idea that only a phone company can delivery services is at the heart of regulatory policy. Unfortunately reality is just the opposite!
Lampposts vs the Internet 25-Aug-2007 The Internet is about taking advantage of opportunity. Instead of having to find a special place for sensors, such as lampposts, we can take advanate of all the opportunity offered by the distributed nature of the Internet.
Fortunately Minneapolis didn't have a 700Mhz system 11-Aug-2007 The FCC claims that the 700Mhz auction is a way of funding public safety but they are putting us at risk by failing to learn the lessons of the Internet and the interstate highway systems in the value of a common infrastructure.
Re: You might be paying $1,000 per MB of SMS 30-Jul-2007 While $1000/MB for SMS is a symptom of larger problems.10¢ may not seem much but such charges on European phone service were enough to discourage use of the Internet and cede the advantage fo the US.
Re: Vint Cerf on Google spectrum and the new "Die Hard" 24-Jul-2007 We keep talking as if price and cost were well defined. Buying telecom services seems a lot like having to buy a ticket on the railroad rather than being allowed to just drive there ourselves.
Re: iphone and 2 year servitude 07-Jul-2007 Another reminder that we don't have a real marketplace. The wireless service providers are essentially identical. No matter which we choose we still don't get access to the basic transport and it's even worse when we can't even mix and match technologies and are forced to make choices of entire packages.
Re: Several AT&T Stores Forced Customers to Buy Accessories With iPhone - Gizmodo 01-Jul-2007 The carriers told us they need to charge a "termination" fee to cover the cost of financing our telephones. Now it's obvious that they are doing it just because they can force us to pay.
Re: Europe opens the door to in-flight phoning 19-Jun-2007 Too bad we are stuck with cellular technology when we fly rather than getting real connectivity like we had for a brief period with Boeing's Connexxion service.
First Square Mile is not the Last or First Mile: Discovery not Just Choices! 16-Jun-2007 The fights over network neutrality and the demand for more broadband have little to do with the Internet itself. They are only attempts to reform telecom. It would be far better to focus on a positive agenda of connecting our neighborhoods and then inter-connect them. After all, that's what the Internet is really about -- our interconnectedness. Telecom is just a minor application alongside the web and what may lie in the future.
What does Telecom have to do with the Internet anyway? 16-Jun-2007 Network neutrality is not an issue in itself. It's a symptom of the larger problem being forced to buy services when we can do far better by creating our own solutions. As long as we keep talking about the Internet as something "out there" we won't be able to take advantage of the bountiful capacity right in our own neighborhoods.
FSM – The First Square Mile, Our Neighborhood 15-Jun-2007 Telecom is about services delivered over the last mile. Our connected neighborhood gives us the opportunity to discover the unanticipated. Instead of waiting at the end of the last mile we should look within our first square mile and see the possibilities, not just the choices offered.
Re: One of four U.S. jobs headed overseas 1 and comment on 14-Jun-2007 It's troubling to find the chairman of the Federal Reserve treating technology as a little more than trade. He complains that the best jobs are going overseas and then seems to want to make sure that Americans are qualified to do little more than act as the sideshow for the rest of the world.
NSF announces GENI Project Office and no threat from P2P 22-May-2007 Project GENI is a throwback to the old days of projecting all our hopes and fears on the network. It's in sharp contrast to the importance of the Internet in recognizing that responsibility and solutions are determined by how we use the transports. Once again, Intelligent Design finds its counterpart in the Intelligent Network.
GENI discussion 22-May-2007 While project GENI is not the "next Internet" it's worth looking at it because of what is not being done. The approach is inherently biased towards trying to solve social problems inside the network. That's more like the old phone company than the Internet. What seems to be missing from Internet research is the real spirit of the Internet which is to reduce our dependency on the network itself. No surprise that large institutions empower institutions not individuals.
Re: It's Silicon Valley vs. Telcos in Battle for Wireless Spectrum 16-May-2007 We keep reading about battles for the spectrum -- a fictional construct dating back to our primitive technologies of the early 1900's. Yet we seem to be mesmerized by the spectacle and unable to free ourselves to take advantage of what we have learned in the last century. The world's economy is deprived of trillions of dollars in value and we are barred from creating our own solutions
The Internet is Not Telecom 14-May-2007 We tend to treat the Internet as another communications network. It isn't -- it's the idea that we can create solutions independent of the telecom services
The Nation's Borders, Now Guarded by the Net 14-May-2007 It seems as if we are increasingly succumbing to fundamentalist idea such as the notion that morality is absolute and intrinsic. If you used LSD in the 1960's it means your are tainted and this country would rather do without your contributions than accept the idea of evolution. This is the kind of intolerance we profess to be fighting against but instead we seem to fighting over which intolerance will be used to prevent the future from being better than the past.
Re: Customers slow to tune into AT&T's and Verizon's TV over fiber and through retro RG-6 13-May-2007 The real competition is not between the Telcos and the Cablecos -- the real competition is telecom vs us.
Re: Harvard, BBN Use Streetlamps to Light Up Wireless Network 13-May-2007 Sensor networks are exciting but it seems that there is more interest in reinventing the wheel than driving anywhere
Re: We're Stuck In The Slow Lane Of The Information Trollway -- it's all about the billing relationship 08-May-2007 Once again we have the broadband gap … and once again I have to explain that broadband is old telecoms antiInternet. We know how to ask for what was even if it prevents what can be.
Re: The House of Representatives on campus downloading 04-May-2007 The Internet is intrinsically peer to peer but once again we're seeing people projecting their misunderstandings on the Internet by assuring we can do no harm even if it all also assures that we cannot do good. And that does real harm.
Facing economic realities of muni Wi-Fi Re: 04-May-2007 As I've tried to explain, much of the enthusiasm over muni Wi-Fi seems to faddish. Wi-Fi has a real potential to add value but instead we're seeing it treated as a way to seem "with it".
more on FCC wants to regulate "violence" on broadcast and basic cable TV 24-Apr-2007 The concept of a la carte programming is stuck in the idea of channelized television? Why not real choice instead of a limited slate of options?
Re: Researchers explore scrapping Internet - Yahoo! News 14-Apr-2007 The Internet continues to be a work in progress. Today's Internet is a prototype that made pragmatic compromises in order to allow us to discover what is possible given the constraint of the end-to-end principle. Today too many people believe we now know what the Internet is good for and want to make it better for those applications. This misses the whole point -- the goal was to enable us to continue to discover new possibility, not to find the one answer. If anything we need to remove the scaffolding that has tied to a single infrastructure and encourage more innovation from the edge independent of the governance of ICANN and the dependency on the IP address and the DNS.
Whose Network is it Anyway? 14-Apr-2007 Verizon says it listens to its customers and responds. What more can one ask? A lot more -- we can demand the ability to create our own solutions instead of petitioning a service provider. It's another lesson in the difference between the world of telecom and its services and the world of the Internet with us, the users, in control. I don't want favors, I want freedom to do it myself!
Forget about it and Oyffice 2k7 11-Apr-2007 The blog post feature in Office 2007 but it also illustrates the problem as I come to terms with office 2007. All these features are nice but some fundamental problems still remain and patches to an aging product come at a price.
Homeland Insecurity—911 vs the concept of the Internet 11-Apr-2007 Once again we see an effort to "improve" 911 by taxing phone calls. And all in the name of "Homeland Security". And yet I feel even more insecure.
Judge Bars Vonage From Seeking New Customers 06-Apr-2007 Again Verizon seems intent on using the patent system as a weapon to protect its privileges. (See the followup stay)
Re: Senator Clinton Introduces Rural Broadband Bill 04-Apr-2007 And once again broadband and other naïve policies feed upon themselves leaving us impoverished and dependent.
more on FCC adopts new phone privacy rules 03-Apr-2007 Taxing phone calls is necessary to pay for taxing phone calls and round and round we go.
Jet passengers may not get to chat on cellphones after all -- but … 23-Mar-2007 Why is the FCC in the business of regulating social behavior? The FAA has no problems with cell phones in planes but the FCC seems to working hard to find a cover story for what amounts a social policy. (See also my previous post on this topic
Researchers Track Down a Plague of Fake Web Pages 19-Mar-2007 This is a confirmation of my sense that a significant amount of the spam we see comes from a small number of alpha sources.
[IP] Re: thieves stealing data thru "evil twin" hotspots 17-Mar-2007 Another lesson -- the importance of end-to-end security. Link level security between computers and access points is another example of complacency. It works just well enough for the naïve to treat the problem as solve. The result is to leave us vulnerable and surprised.
[IP] Beyond evil twin hotspots -- the pervasive retaking of control 17-Mar-2007 The issue with hot spots is just one aspect of the larger battle between the world of telecommunications and the essentially unrelated world of the Internet. Link-level security protects are particular path and makes us more reliant on service providers. End-to-End security is important but ultimately it's about taking responsibility for our networking but ultimately it's about who owns the infrastructure. Ownership is a defining assumption for tele/com being treated as a single industry. Users owning their own infrastructure challenges the basic concept of telecom.
Let Them Eat Bandwidth? 14-Mar-2007 The Boston Globe reported that Comcast cut off a user for too much downloading. I applaud Globe calling attention to these kind of abuses by Comcast and other providers and I encourage them to pursue this topic and ask why we have to ask permission to communicate.
[IP] More DST fall-out 11-Mar-2007 More on DST as a reminder of the importance of proper representation. Even something seemingly as simple as a date is fully of subtle surprises.
[IP] DST and related foibles 09-Mar-2007 DST is round #2 of Y2K. It's useful to stress the system from time to time so we assure our systems are resilient rather than brittle. Change is the norm so we need to stress systems to help them stay resilient.
Looking Behind the Curtain 01-Mar-2007 The telecom industry appears to be very large and imposing but in reality it's all very simple.
FTC Broadband Workshop Comments 25-Feb-2007 PDFThe title of the FTC workshop on “Broadband Con-nectivity Competition” assumes that the status quo makes sense and we only need to fine tune it. What struck me most about the workshop is the lack of a crisp insight. There was a lot of talk about how complex the issues are and lots of fascination with the details of the current Internet. But there was a stunning failure to see though the complexity. We can argue all we want about neutrality or we can recognize that bits are inherently neutral and reframe policy in terms of basic connectivity. Basic connectivity means we can create our own solutions rather than being required to buy services from a provider. We would not need to petition the FCC nor the FTC for neutrality. Attempting to bring a service-based model in line with the principles of neutrality is futile and counter-productive.
[IP] The MP3 patent debacle 24-Feb-2007 Microsoft finds itself having to pay again for the MP3 patents. Too bad MP3 has become a generic name and thus people demand it when they really don't care about the particular compression scheme. Everything is labeled "MP3" these days. It's not even a good scheme.
[IP] Re: Windows Vista Flunks At MIT 12-Feb-2007 Transitioning to Vista can be a challenge when user code is too smart or the operating system is too specific. Static friction slows development and makes it difficult to take advantage of new capabilities.
The Internet in Perspective 11-Feb-2007 With all the discussion about VoIP and the two-tiered Internet and Broadband policy you'd think something is being said. But the words have no common meaning. The biggest problem, perhaps, is that the Internet itself is little more than a demonstration of what is possible when one is forced to come up with solutions that are not beholden to third parties who cannot help but use their control to limit our opportunities to create different of solutions.
[IP] Re: An Alternative To San Francisco's Wi-Fi Deal 01-Feb-2007 Applying CFR principles. Can San Francisco transcend broadband and create real infrastructure?
Be Careful Lest You Get What You Ask For 20-Jan-2007 If we want more Internet connectivity we must not ask for broadband. They are not the same thing. We've managed to salvage broadband as transport but the price we pay is that we are disconnected unless we are near our TVs and PCs.
[IP] more on Visual VM 14-Jan-2007 The idea of a visual UI for voice mail is obvious. The problem is that it took a billion dollar company to get a cellular carrier to let them do it. We should demand real interfaces and not just a choice of arbitrary facades that hide the underlying opportunities.
[IP] more on dot "ex-ex-ex" domain boondoggle, err, proposal, back again -- so much for ambiguity 07-Jan-2007 .XXX again! It's not just that it's a bad idea, .XXX is loaded with very dangerous political agendas.
[IP] Ailing music biz set to relax digital restrictions 02-Jan-2007 No surprise that DRM is working so well that it is preventing people from watching movies and this is showing up in slow sales. Tellywood seems to be slowly waking to up the realization that better to make a few sales than none at all.
Power Distribution to be like Telecom Distribution 31-Dec-2006 If the telecom companies can get us to pay for their private distribution systems when why should the power companies have to share a wires. They too should be able to running billing paths to every house!
[IP] RE: The AT&T/BellSouth Deal and Hollow Net Neutrality 30-Dec-2006 The fATT/BellSouth merger is papered over with empty Network Neutrality promises. But the real problem is the underlying assumption that the transport is to be funded by services. We need to fix the basic funding model rather than pretend we can keep a broken model as long as we naïve enough to believe in vague promises to be neutral. (until bugs is fixed see this for a more readable version.
[IP] Inflight Web in Holding Pattern Inflight Web in Holding Pattern 23-Dec-2006 Once more we are going to be disconnected when in flight. Apparently we're to be kept isolated and out of touch because it's not profitable to the airlines. Alas, once again nanoeconomics and a lack of perspective.
[IP] NY Times coverage of T-Mobile dual mode phone trial 15-Dec-2006 T-Mobile is happy to charge you extra to send some of your cell phone calls over Wi-Fi. You pay to reduce their traffic? Is Wi-Fi magic? Am I missing something?
[IP] Moving beyond IPV6 15-Dec-2006 The has serious scaling problems and while IPV6 might help we have to go back to the edge and communicate despite the center rather than put all our effort in fixing the middle.
(Wireless) Connectivity from the Edge 14-Dec-2006 While I applaud the idea of municipal Wi-Fi in spirit, in practice it is problematic and we have a far better alternative in connectivity from the edge by taking advantage of existing paths and building from there. The danger is that these well-meaning efforts will give us more of the past rather than the opportunities inherent in a dynamic and ever-changing Internet.
Our Internet! 14-Dec-2006 The Internet is not something we connect to. It's not even a network like the phone network. It simply the name for the community that can connect using common protocols. Instead of thinking about networks and broadband we must look for transports that create the opportunity to connect. We should pay for copper and glass and radios and not have funding by buying service we can do ourselves. It's not about the money -- it's about the lack of opportunity.
The FTC Must Look Beyond Broadband 14-Dec-2006 The FTC is going to hold a workshop on broadband competition. Broadband competition is a charade. We need the real competition that will come from having a transport that is not beholdent to those whose business is selling billable services.
[IP] Kindergarten Cam Redux 14-Dec-2006 The price has once more discovered and example of using the Internet to view remote cameras. What is old is new again if you don't recognize the common theme and view each instance in isolation.
The HP-HW6945: Mobile Computing w/Telephony 02-Dec-2006 I don't think of the HP-HW6945 as a telephony. The addition of a built-in GPS and the ability to run multiple applications has made telephony one of the applications. It's a taste of mobile computing and a chance to learn the value of ubiquitous connectivity.
Mulling about Writing about Mulling. 02-Dec-2006 It's easy for me to write quick email posts but far more difficult to write without the safety of the small group and the lists context. And then there are those typos. Maybe if I confess I can feel freer to write more freely but probably not.
[IP] Microsoft Enters Municipal Wi-Fi Realm 15-Nov-2006 I appreciate Microsoft's interest in providing municipal connectivity but it's still locked within the billable service model. Microsoft should be at the forefront in assuring we have a connected infrastructure.
A Real Marketplace 01-Nov-2006 Alfred Kahn, the architect of airline regulation argues against heavy handed network neutrality legislation. While I agree that additional regulation is unwise the solution is not status quo but a real marketplace which is self-regulated. Transport and content are distinct industries yet the FCC and its Regulatorium seem desperate to maintain the fiction that they one and the same. What we need is a dose of reality.
The Internet as Design Principle 09-Oct-2006 We tend to think of the Internet in terms of what we can do with it. But the design principles that have allowed the Internet to become what it is are far more important than each application. The Internet is a lesson in how to build resilient sytems.
What’s a Phone Company? And Why? 01-Mar-2006 (Updated: 09-Oct-2006 You no longer buy light from a light company, you buy electricity. Why are people still buying phone calls from a phone company?
Tele/Communications 01-May-2006 (Updated: 09-Oct-2006 In the last column I asked what a Phone Company does and why we need one. In this column I continue the theme by questioning the assumptions implicit in the word “telecommunications”.
Convergence? 01-Jul-2006 (Updated: 09-Oct-2006 Convergence – it’s an attractive idea – all networks using common IP protocols. Instead of having a special network for each form of content we have a single converged network.
Whatever on Whatever 01-Sep-2006 (Updated: 09-Oct-2006 The VON conferences are moving beyond Voice on the Net. In fact, we can send pretty much whatever we want over any transport available.
[IP]. stalling Wi-Fi plans -- obviously Wi-Fi is not considered useful in itself. 22-Sep-2006 Muni Wi-Fi is a nice idea -- we should be able to assume ubiquitous connectivity. Unfortunately such efforts aren't as if they are worthwhile products. Instead they are often given grudging acceptance as long as they can pay their own way. It's akin to funding roads only out of the revenue of the restaurants along the way and seeing no additional value in having at transportation system.
[IP] Spectrum Allocation and the Burden of Proof 08-Sep-2006 It's nearly 80 years since the US Supreme Court accepted limitations on First Amendment and gave Federal Radio Commission control over our speech. After 80 years of advances in technology the onus is on those advocating spectrum allocation to justify the extraordinary exception to the First Amendment.
[IP] Understanding Robots.txt 04-Sep-2006 People need to learn to live in a world in which you can't undo. Robots.txt is just a convention and the failure mode is to copy everything.
[IP] more on YUP!! results of uk ban 10-Aug-2006 Once more our lives become more narrow and less pleasant as we focus on walling ourselves off from danger.
[IP] more on search experience on "border" 03-Aug-2006 Our use of secret ballots is a recognition of the need for having some escape from others' judgment and scrutiny. If we expect to be watched all the time we will learn to avoid taking the risks necessary to discover new ideas.
[IP] An Identity Protection Racket? 26-Jul-2006 Another reminder that identity theft is a profit center for the financial industry. They want you to pay for protection from their sloppy procedures.
[IP] more on snobol & java 26-Jul-2006 Today's computing isn't all that new. In fact, when I was a kid . . .
FCC vs Us 21-Jul-2006 As much as one can fault the phone companies and cable companies for their behavior, the are acting within the rules of the Regulatorium. It is a folie à deux -- a shared madness in which the participants create their own reality. The carriers are behaving rationally in responding to the demands of the Regulatorium rather than their customers. In fact, the customers are a threat as they seek to wrest control from the gatekeepers.
It's Our Infrastructure 21-Jul-2006 Continuing on the theme of understanding our infrastructure vs the carriers' assumption all those fibers exist only for their benefit. They want consumers not users who can be participants and thus competitors.
A Folie à Deux—The FCC and Telecommunications! 21-Jul-2006 The FCC and the telecom industry live in their own little world … the rest of us are disinvited.
[IP] more on "Strong" AI to be here within 25 years 15-Jul-2006 It's important to understand how systems evolve. In some situations we get the kind of hyper-growth characterized by Moore's law. It's not magic -- it's co-evolution as long as you don't care about the particular results. I doesn't occur if you have a particular goal as there is nothing to be intelligently designed. And that includes so-called intelligence. The issue is important because understanding how complex systems function is essentially for those making policy decisions -- unfortunately there is a tendency to take an authoritarian approach as if those who want to do us good are proxies for the grand intelligent designer.
[IP] more on Initial experience with Win XP VM with Parallels Desktop for [Intel] Mac 11-Jul-2006 Virtualization and end-to-end go very well together. Unfortunately USB is a bucket brigade protocol that puts too many constraints on each element in the feeding chain.
[IP] more on fbi plans new Net-tapping push 08-Jul-2006 Is the unexamined conversation going to become illegal?
Cringely: If we build it they will come 30-Jun-2006 Robert X Cringely's PBS column does a better job that I can in articulating why we should be thinking about infrastructure rather than simply trying to get the carriers to behave better.
[IP] more on Verizon "Broadband Router" the perfect Trojan Horse 30-Jun-2006 Network Neutrality or NN is a way to articulate the principle of unfettered connectivity with the rest of the Internet. It gives us a way to say No No to carriers that are very tempted to use technology to limit our ability to make full use of the Internet.
[IP] more on Broadcast flags pass Committee markup, net neutrality to be voted on tomorrow. 28-Jun-2006 The broadcast bit again … how can anyone create new economic value if we must prove the worth of every new idea to who think bits have intrinsic meaning and morality?
[IP] more on skype 23-Jun-2006 As I noted in previous comments on Skype it represents the future of connectivity. A layered dependency upon End-to-End misses the point of End-to-end. Another reminder that the current Internet is a just prototype.
It's about Infrastructure! 22-Jun-2006 It's often far easer to explain a point in response to a question than try to write a general position paper. This is a good start before you read the related essays. It's about our infrastructure not the Regulatorium's notion of services.
[IP] more on Hub & Spoke or P2P Mesh? That is the question. 22-Jun-2006 A reminder to be careful of what we ask for. It is more important to work with the marketplace dynamic than specifying a specific result such as "high speed broadband"
Response to Infrastructure Questions 22-Jun-2006 Response to questions about my infrastructure comments.
Connectivity Sound Bites 21-Jun-2006 Sometimes, perhaps most of the time, all you have is a chance to say one or two sentences. Here are a few for your framing pleasure.
Opportunity, not Services 18-Jun-2006 Today's debate about our infrastructure is framed in terms of network neutrality. We must articulate the concept of an open transport but the real debate will be about owning our own infrastructure. It is more than just means for carriers' to deliver services. You may want to read Infrastructure! first to better understand the context.
Carriers: Their Services vs Our Infrastructure 16-Jun-2006 Read Opportunity for an overview. The whole concept of "telecommunications" seems to be fundamental and necessary. But if you step back you see how all the pieces fit together but they are in a world of their own. We are able to create our own solutions. The question is not whether carriers will permit us to communicate, it's only a question of how long will we allow our economy and safety to be held out bay in order to support an obsolete and business model that preserves scarcity rather than allowing us to get the benefits of abundant connectivity.
[IP] Who they're spying on 07-Jun-2006 It's easy to try to justify bad policies by pointing to examples of good results. The current administration's contempt for our rights and any restraints on its activities gives us added reasons to object to its spying on its own citizen. It's public statement shows a dangerously warped and naïve view of the reality. The contempt it has shown for legal constraints on its activities shows contempt for our freedoms.
[IP] more on EU to tax e-mail, text messages? 27-May-2006 One more attempt to tax email. While I don't expect it to go anywhere it's a reminder that bad metaphors keep getting rediscovered.
[IP] more on Cell Carriers to Web Customers: Use Us, but Not Too Much -- Modem "Crisis" Redux 11-May-2006 Once again we see the carriers raising alarms about customers using too much of their network. It's another reminder that we have an industry whose incentive is maintain scarcity so they can exert control. Why does Congress seem to want to reward the carriers for this behavior rather than punishing them?
Beyond Buggy Whips 26-Apr-2006 Frank Coluccio reposted comments I made on a mailing list. People are starting to think beyond the current carriers. This is a trend that is gaining momentum.
[IP] Out At Sea 17-Apr-2006 Before we had offshoring we had Britain and its East India Company. Are today's carriers the modern version of the global monopolies?
[IP] more on In Silicon Valley, a Man Without a Patent 16-Apr-2006 Patenting away huge swaths of the future is a risky policy for society. Patents do have value but today's tendency towards preempting patenting has gone too far. Even more troublesome is that patenting of old ideas simply because they weren't locked done.
Telecom is Just a Phrase We're Going Through 31-Mar-2006 Telecom is just a phrase. Tele (over distance) is distinct from Communications (Talking). The entire telecom industry is premised on the notion that they are a single concept and thus normal marketplace forces don’t apply. But transport is simple infrastructure. Today's regulatorium is premised on a compromise made in 1927 to support spectrum allocation and its inefficiencies. In 2006 we must correct the misunderstanding and allow for abundance and opportunity.
[IP] more on for Californians AB 2231 Emergency alerts 31-Mar-2006 It's tempting to use the SMS capabilities of cell phones for emergency messaging but it's a problematic system. More troubling is the tendency to confuse the retail price of such services with cost.
Skype as the Future of Connectivity 23-Mar-2006 It is Skype, not Internet 2, that represents the future of connectivity. Skype provides stable connectivity despite the Internet. The report on an investigation of Skype's code makes this even more clear.
[IP] Companies That Fought Cities On Wi-Fi, Now Rush to Join In 20-Mar-2006 It's no surprise that carriers want to bid on the franchises to control municipal Wi-Fi. But that's the wrong model -- we shouldn't cede control of the commons to companies whose only goal is creating billable events.
[IP] TV Stations Fined Over CBS Show Deemed to Be Indecent 17-Mar-2006 Our Federal Speech Commission is complicit with Astroturf campaigns in their pursuing a moralistic agenda. Too bad the press is complicit in failing to do more than hint that the 300,000 letters the FCC received are Astroturf rather than representing mandate. The theme of "Good night and good luck" is even more relevant now than it was in the 1950's.
[IP] Cell Phones Airplanes and all that] 07-Mar-2006 After all the serious discussion of the issues it's useful to remember that this is about how we live our lives. The technology can be used to make traveling fun rather than something to be endured.
[IP] a good discussion more on worth reading the economic arguments djf The High-Speed Money Line]] 06-Mar-2006 Today's telecom industry assumes that the transport and the content are the same so we can tax the value of communications to pay for transport. This is no longer possible and doesn’t make sense. We must shift to creating a real infrastructure and a real marketplace rather than continuing the failed experiment in state socialism.
[IP] Maybe the cause is bad design of aircraft cell phones and electronic devices are a risk to planes] 05-Mar-2006 Another warning about the dangers of cell phones rather than wondering why aircraft are so vulnerable.
[IP] TECHNOLOGY ALERT: AT&T Plans to Buy BellSouth v2] 05-Mar-2006 Another tragic consequence of a failed experiment in state socialism from the 1930's. The real question is why this chimera is tolerated when its own research demonstrates that communications and transport have no intrinsic relationship. If Whitacre says his business isn't viable then he seems to be doubling up the bet in the same way that Ebbers did.
[IP] more on Plug-In Internet Connection to Get Test on Long Island] 27-Feb-2006 Broadband over Powerline is a strange beast because it's be brought to you by an industry that is even more encumbered than the current carriers. While I welcome additional paths, I'm concerned about the mired in problematic regulations and economic models. (See the previous post)
[IP] Flash TV -- the broadcasters'' nightmare 24-Feb-2006 The new show Kappa Mikey is done using Flash. Sending flash through the standard broadcast channels destroys the integrity of the original flash. It's a harbinger of content which is done far better outside the broadcast channel. Their role is shipping from facilitator to a bottleneck
infoTalk Podcast form Mashup Camp 20060220 22-Feb-2006 A podcast from David Berlin's Mashup Camp at the Computer History Museum. John Furrier interviewed me on various topics including my current fixation on liberating the infrastructure.
So Why Say Infrastructure? 19-Feb-2006 Dana Blankenhorn posted some of my comments about what it means for our infrastructure to be held hostage. It's the kind of short post that I should do more often -- I tend to try too hard to explain rather than posting short comments.
[IP] Google Video DRM: Why is Hollywood more important than users? 14-Feb-2006 DRM is about far more than just protecting "content". It's about controlling technology. I am not allowed to take advantage of my 2500x1600 display until Tellywood gives me permission. This is offensive and nutty -- allowing the clowns to tell us what we are allowed to do!
9-1-1 – Better Safe Than Live? 04-Feb-2006 What's the good of 9-1-1 if it fails in an emergency because you have to first tell it that you haven't changed your location. Too bad 9-1-1 is more about politics than safety.
Achieving Connectivity 01-Feb-2006 Abundant connectivity is here but the cellular carriers want to Assure Scarcity because it threatens their business. They agree that the Internet is going to give us plentiful and cheap bits. We shouldn't be negotiating to get the carriers to behave better, they can't and even if they did, the Internet is more than faster phone lines. We should focus instead on Getting Connected by shifting the basis for policy from predefined and limited services to the opportunity afforded by connectivity.
QoS as per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India 01-Feb-2006 A "Next Generation Report" for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has a nice statement saying that QoS is a nonissue. QoS is a big issue because it's gives the transport owner to define service policies. If QoS is moot, then they lose the ability to choose the winners and charge a premium for "quality" bits.
Assuring Scarcity 31-Jan-2006 I've been trying hard to explain that the Internet gives us abundant capacity to connect and create new value but it is being thwarted by the telecom industry. The cellular companies are so confident that they are willing to make my case for me. They are warning each other about the danger of abundance and lay out their strategy for assuring scarcity. They are bragging about maintaining monopoly control. They pride themselves in stalling the global economy. Why do we stand for this?
[IP] more on Looking for "futurists" 31-Jan-2006 Companies don't want to know about futures in which they don't exist.
Getting Connected 30-Jan-2006 The telephone and cable TV networks are fundamentally different from the Internet. Asking the carriers is a losing proposition -- they can honor the rules while violating the spirit. More important they are trying to provide wide area phone service and they are inherently unable to provide abundant local connected. We need a policy based on connected rather than treating the Internet as something the carriers will deign to allow.
[IP] Government study: VoIP, video can be taxed 27-Jan-2006 The topic of "Internet" taxation keeps coming up but that's a meaningless concept. Commerce is commerce independent of the Net. VoIP is a technology. You can tax people providing phone services but not SIP. It's hard to have a rational discussion among people who are using meaningless terms. Worse are laws that embody misguided assumptions.
[IP] more on STUPID STUPID High-Def Forced To Down-Convert 25-Jan-2006 It's difficult to discuss the DRM issues because we have a conceptual device between those who view bits as bits and those who view each instance and form of their product as an new product. Current DVDs and HD DVDs are seen as different products -- not just an increase in capacity.
And Now with Billability 22-Jan-2006 The new big thing for the telephone companies is IMS. It is supposed to be a way to delivery all sorts of new service but in reality it's real purpose is to assure that they can bill for services and prevent their users from competing with them. It's an attempt to prevent the Internet from growing. It's doomed and their investors are going to learn that you can't find an idea. But for the carriers it's their last desperate attempt to have a reason to exist and we are paying the price for their intransigence.
Kodak vs the Internet — Who Owns You? 03-Oct-2005 (Updated: 19-Jan-2006 Update: Kodak is now offering a premium service which supports downloading. The idea of a Wi-Fi camera that automatically send your data to a web set where you view the pictures sounds wonderful. But there's something very wrong -- you don't really own those pictures. You have to pay and they will deign to mail you a CD if you want and can wait. And the price increases with use! Something is very wrong -- once more we have an old business that is used to exerting control and getting revenue for each transaction. Just like the carriers, just like Tellywood. As their business models become more threatened they react by trying to tighten control and petitioning Congress to make innovation illegal. You no longer own what you buy -- you cannot invest in the future. It seems as if the dynamics of the marketplace are too threatening to be tolerated any more.
[IP] more on Steve Gibson: MS WMF is a Backdoor, Not a Coding Mistake 13-Jan-2006 Microsoft's WMF bug may be serious but it's seems like a classic bug but not an intentional backdoor
[IP] more on Spielberg loses out at the push of a button 11-Jan-2006 Another example of why DRM-based systems are so fragile. Unfortunately people seem to generalize from examples in isolation and thus fail to see the systemic consequences of their policies. This is not just about DRM -- it affects medical care and our safety. The wisdom embodied in the US Constitution is not to be found in today's "leadership".
[IP] more on Spielberg loses out at the push of a button 11-Jan-2006 More on the DRM issues. The computer industry creates value by decoupling system elements which allows us to create new and valuable combinations. Tellywood is just the opposite -- everything is a unique product and little of the value is available to the future.
[IP] more on response from Google to yet another twist 10-Jan-2006 Google is cooperating with researchers measuring network performance. It would be wonderful if we could scale this effort with a SETI-like approach that allows us all to contribute a small amount of our networking and computing capacity to give us a better understanding of the dynamics of the Internet.
[IP] more on WI-FI RUN BY CITIES: YEA OR NAY? 09-Jan-2006 The so-called "Progress and Freedom Foundation" seems to be driven by ideology unfettered by understanding. It's trying to preserve a fictional telecom industry against the threat of a fictional municipal telecom industry. Unfortunately many accept this argument because they do not understand the concept of connectivity and the opportunity it providers.
[IP] more on [I agree djf] an acurate description of this behavior is unprintable in polite company 08-Jan-2006 As I discovered when I first got my Samsung i730, Microsoft and Samsung have been cooperating with Verizon by crippling the Bluetooth capabilities and also crippling the browser. I share the strong aversion to such odious behavior.
[IP] worth reading more on : Telco's Arrogant Stand on Content 07-Jan-2006 The story of IPTV is very confused. If you start asking questions you find that the story falls apart. The carriers claim that they deserve special advantages in delivering video content but what they are really asking for is special treatment for assuring scarcity. When offered abundance they get afraid. Additional comments in a followup posting.
Gearlog Radio: Bob Frankston -- Make The Internet More Like Interstate Highways 06-Jan-2006 Talking to David Coursey at CES about the Internet as infrastructure
[IP] Leap second considered harmful 03-Jan-2006 I'm glad to see I'm not alone in questioning the idea of a leap second. This 21 page reports goes into detail but concludes that the leap second is not necessary while creating problems of its own. Now, we can chuck the whole thing and move one?
[IP] more on Huge virus threat rocks Microsoft 03-Jan-2006 Another reminder that the world has its toxic elements. Technology is not perfect and even solutions come with risks.This is as much a social problem as a technical one. We must go after those who exploit these vulnerabilities. Too bad the fixation on terrorism blinds us to real and immediate threats.
[IP] Student sues over mistaken drug bust 30-Dec-2005 If the "authorities" can't distinguish between flour and cocaine can we trust them when they have all that mined data to misinterpret?
Speed is nice, connectivity is vital 27-Dec-2005 There is a temporary glut of high speed connections but we shouldn't confuse the current applications with what we can do with abundant connectivity. 30cps (300bps) was wonderful and 1200bps was faster than we could read. And we soon found that we needed more. We are still confusing fast broadband with the Internet and simply replacing the television isn't that exciting but we'll get past that. Universal connectivity is far more important than speed just as universal service was an important idea (even with a bad implementation) in the early days of telephony. We need to shift our emphasis to connectivity. The billions spent on redundant infrastructure is more than sufficient to provide 24x7 connectivity to everyone with or without a wire. The problem is that the carriers' business model presumes scarcity. Abundant connectivity means that they are no longer in a privileged position in creating services and thus can't repay the costs of that infrastructure. Ironically the only way they can compete in providing "broadband" is to emphasize speed.
[IP] more on Leap second fight brewing 26-Dec-2005 Leap Seconds again … no programming language can handle it because seconds are fungible but apparently rocket scientists are too dumb to handle correction factors.
[IP] more on Cellphone 911 calls failed in big storm: Prudence 22-Dec-2005 Once again an attempt to impose a narrow solution. Providing location information would allow the creation of new services in place of an anachronistic E911 system.
[IP] more on Talking Points: The So-Called War on Christmas - New York Times 17-Dec-2005 Those who claim that there is a "war on Christmas" are aligned with those who want to use the FCC as a Federal Speech Commission as an ally in a fight against tolerance.
Why not just save as XML? 16-Dec-2005 When I save settings from a device or a program it's typically in some inscrutable binary format. That's just dumb. Save in XML unless there is a strong reason not to. Just do it!
[IP] GOOD QUOTES IPTV quote 16-Dec-2005 Microsoft is proud that IPTV boxes are closed boxes that allow the carriers to control your browsing as well as choosing what you can watch and when you can watch it. Good this monstrosity is going to fail of its own weight. (See follow-up comments
[IP] Student-run radio station fighting for air 16-Dec-2005 Scarcity is an opportunity to impose social policy. Rather than fighting to assure everyone has a voice why don't we just make IP connectivity available and stop this nonsense?
[IP] more on Telecoms want their products to travel on a faster Internet 15-Dec-2005 Fancy words for simply pigging out on our connectivity. Also see One Percent.
Looking Back from Above 11-Dec-2005 I've found fun playing with the new bird's eye view available with Microsoft's Virtual Earth. I can look back to where I lived when I first moved to Boston.
[IP] credit card rip-off (fwd) 10-Dec-2005 And the companies doing snookering are proud -- they call them loyalty programs! Does marketing work best when sociopathic? I hope not.
[IP] credit card rip-off (fwd) 10-Dec-2005 Scam or not a scam? Where is the boundary between "clever" marketing and outright fraud? Beware clicking the "rewards" button after making a purchase -- you might find yourself getting build monthly.
[IP] more on Comcast plans 6% rate hike / Increase comes as phone firms prepare to enter cable market 07-Dec-2005 Comcast is raising it's rates at the same time that I find I can get reasonable quality using only 5% of the capacity of my Internet connection. Phone companies kept raising their rates until VoIP put an end to such nonsense.
[IP] A follow up comment about PC streaming 07-Dec-2005 In thinking about it the real problem is not that I can bypass the carriers but that while they've been guarding their castle a vibrant and larger city is growing up outside not hobbled by their business model nor DRM.
VoIP–A Life Saver! 07-Dec-2005 Once again in a disaster resilient connectivity has showed it's value. It allows anyone to contribute to the solution. Tradiitional networks create brittle dependencies because the business model requires that everything be captures and billed. Can we really afford to put ourselves in peril to conform to an obsolete business model that exists only because of a regulatorium that disserves us?
[IP] more on Google search and seizure, etc. vs. technologists 04-Dec-2005 Techies seem to view each no threat with grave concern while accepted the myriad of present threats to privacy with indifference.
[IP] more on re: 2029, A Worldwide Mesh? 04-Dec-2005 Another example of attempting to do us favors by creating a smarter network rather than giving us enabling technology. It's no surprise that people solving low level technical problems will want to present in terms of visible benefits but we must not confuse that with giving us the ability to create new solutions. The problem with these approaches is that they divert us from solving the real problems of a connected infrastructure. The current Internet doesn't support local solutions because of dependencies on mechanisms such as the DNS. Today's telecom companies are a major impediment to any improvement because they threaten those who try to solve their own problems. This is not just business as usual but malevolence and clear and present danger.
[IP] more on Amazon Phishing scam - BEWARE! 03-Dec-2005 Phishing is more of a social problem than a technical one it prays on our trust "cues". We need to develop a way to come to terms with this problems rather than looking for absolute protection.
[IP] The RBOC's next move (blocking) 03-Dec-2005 With all the concern about carriers blocking access to Internet services there has been remarkable little blocking. The real threat is far simpler -- the withholding of capacity and the lack of ubiquitous connectivity.
[IP] Telecoms required to save logs of e-mail 02-Dec-2005 The EU is requiring telecom companies to save email logs. While this may help catch some unwanted behavior it seems to be another example of an inability to come to terms with "edge-to-edge" architectures.
[IP] more on Chinese hackers 25-Nov-2005 Once again we see an attack on a supposedly vital system. We can't simply put up new walls -- we need to understand how to be effective participants in a complex ecosystems rather than hermits limited by fear.
[IP] more on Renewed Warning of Bandwidth Hoarding 25-Nov-2005 Once again we see carriers trying to demonize their best customers. Rather than responding defensively we should question the fundamental premises of the current telecom industry.
[IP] more on Coming to TV: ads about you -- 2 23-Nov-2005 Once again we have advertisers salivating over technology. Such efforts do represent a threat to privacy but the real losers may be advertisers who look backwards rather than ahead.
[IP] more on TiVo to Bring TV to iPod and PSP 22-Nov-2005 We shouldn't confuse sharing degraded or low resolution versions of content with the ability to control the bits we have.
[IP] Cisco Agrees to Buy Scientific-Atlanta for $6.9 Bln 18-Nov-2005 Cisco's purchase of Scientific-Atlanta may open the way for video content to be distributed over the IP infrastructure. The walled garden may be still be implemented using encryption but the ability to share a common infrastructure would be a major step forward. I await to see what happens.
[IP] Verizon's EVDO terms of use 10-Nov-2005 Whose network is it anyway? Verizon's EVDO policies seem to be out odds with the service they really sell. These kind of restrictive policies are endemic to the ISP model. Since they are at odds with reality enforcement is only sporadic and even perverse. The danger lies in the danger that the carriers might actually be so foolish as to impose these policies as they see their business threatened.
[IP] THEY STOOPED TO CONQUER 08-Nov-2005 A book review from the Economist -- we must be careful about mixing morality and politics..
[IP] more on The U.N. Isn't a Threat to the Net 06-Nov-2005 Beware those who want to do us good. Those whose background is social policy find it difficult to leave technology alone lest it not produce the desired results.
more on How the MPAA killed the movie theater experience: a first-hand report [ip] 05-Nov-2005 Another example of the problem of seeing all devices as unambiguous threats. Attending a movie shouldn't require giving up ones connections to the world such as the ability to be available to ones' babysitter in an emergency.
Reality vs the Regulatorium 03-Nov-2005 The discussion about SBC's whining about how the deserve to be paid just because they spent money is a reminder about how far the Regulatorium has drifted from the realities of today's marketplace. The issues are coming to a head. The Regulatorium is becoming more obviously dysfunction and as ideas like municipal Wi-Fi become accepted the carriers are going to find their "story" is no longer accepted. The new story of the utility model for connectivity is starting become too obvious to ignore.
[IP] more on Trying to Plug the Analog Hole -- An Exercise in Futility 02-Nov-2005 The increasing effort to create technical solutions are born of the attitude that one must prevent bad things from happening even if that means disallowing innovation and creativity. It is a zero-sum philosophy that encourage evasion in order to get anything done. The alternative is to find a balance and encourage users to see their self-interest lies in cooperation. Instead evading restrictions becomes illegal and necessary -- a sign of a dysfunctional kleptrocracy.
[IP] PC Makers Facing a Flop In Home Entertainment {corrected} 02-Nov-2005 No surprise that computer companies are failing to become consumer electronics companies. Instead of playing to the strengths of personal computing they are hobbling themselves by imitating old line consumer electronics while coupling it with the complexity of personal computing. At a dab of DRM and you have a perfect formula for failure.
[IP] Comments on PPOE 01-Nov-2005 PPPoE (point to point protocol over Ethernet) is a strange creation. It's a strange protocol that exists only to confirm to a particular billing regimen. It requires that the packets travel an expensive phone network rather than getting the benefits of connectivity for the first leg.
[IP] more on SBC to raise DSL pricing 25-43% (unless you bundle) 31-Oct-2005 SBC's CEO was interviewed in Business Week. Carriers seem to whine a lot about the state of affairs. It's a tactic used to gain the sympathy of Congress as they try to retain their privileged position. Normal business blame themselves when they fail to stay profitable. The carriers tend to blame their customers and see them as competition.
[IP] Don't let your ISP muck with your PC 31-Oct-2005 DSL and Cable modem providers want you to run special software as if you were buying a service rather than a utility. Their benevolence can do more harm than good.
[IP] more on IPTV deployment in major cities 29-Oct-2005 IPTV is another attempt by the Telcos to take advantage of their right of way to choose what we can watch and have us pay for it. They have counterparts in municipalities that want to share the booty. The 15mbps providing for IP connectivity is less than 1% of capacity but is enough for video. How long before Tellywood goes direct and stops letting the carriers keep most of the fees and all of the control?
[IP] more on French government bans Skype at Universities 25-Oct-2005 France is attempting to ban the use of Skype at universities with a cover story about security. Can you spell "doesn't get it"?
[IP] more on Locked In a Cell: How Cell Phone Early Termination Fees Hurt Consumers 16-Oct-2005 Responses to Gerry Faulhaber's question about why cellular companies try to lock their customers into contracts that frustrate marketplace dynamics. I go a step further in a followup discussion I point out that the fees are relatively minor compared to the larger issues including capital at risk as the CellCos lose their tight control over wireless connectivity.
[IP] Paranoia and George Orwell 12-Oct-2005 I'm amazed how little people seem to care about their inability to own knowledge and information. The so-called Progress and Freedom Foundation seems to see freedom as something for corporations so they can give us what we want as long as we ask nicely and they see money in it. It's freedom from choice. We see Kodak taking control over your pictures only reluctantly sells them back to you. See a followup response and more
[IP] The Blackberry patent debacle is in the news again 09-Oct-2005 The patent wars over the "Blackberry" are in the news again. I followed up and looked at the patents. They demonstrate the tragedy of a system that disdains science. Doing the same old thing but over RF seems to make it patentable? Of course that ignores that 802.11 puts everything over RF and RF has been used for Ethernets for more than 30 years!
Making Connections 03-Oct-2005 Connectivity is the vital resource. Voice is just one of the applications enabled by connectivity.
Those Orifices! 03-Oct-2005 Steve Jobs described the carriers as orifices. It may not be a dignified description but we need some way to make people understand that the carriers are all about ARPU (Average Return Per User) and not about benevolence. They want to force you to pay and pay for what you already own. After all, you don’t really own it -- you are just using at their sufferance. It's their network and you should appreciate that they are nice enough to let you pay a lot of money to use it. They could simply say no instead of just pay more.
[IP] more on How we got it wrong on Calling-Number ID [RISKS] Risks Digest 24.05 03-Oct-2005 The caller ID and the DNS have many parallels - both in the degree to which we assume they work and the reality that they aren't as definitive and authoritative as we'd like to think. They also do just enough to discourage far better approaches.
Beyond the DNS and The Internet 01-Oct-2005 This is a summary of my current thinking about the need to move beyond the limitations of the current Internet which is really a first implementation of end-to-end network. The network itself is only a first step - the edge devices are dependent upon a central authority for their presence on the network. The name (the IP address) is defined by where they are on the network -- if you move to a different place you must change your name. The result is a network that is not sufficiently dynamic and subject to the whims of those who administer the network. The P2P community (Skype is an example) works around these restrictions. Such approaches will become the norm as we make it easy to develop ad-hoc communities that do not depend on "The Internet" but can use any paths available. This is a work in progress but I want to share my thinking so far.
[IP] more on Neustar to create their own DNS root and own universe to rule 30-Sep-2005 Apparently the cellular phone companies want to create their own special Internet. This seems very strange since there is no problem getting to the net and the name servers now. If the cellular carries want to create their own private Internet they may find themselves alone users migrate away and take their telephony with them. It turns that this particular implementation is likely to be used just internally within the cellular system for its own use. But it's part of their larger problem of trying to use Internet technologies without embracing the end-to-end principles which make the net what it is. The protocols are constantly evolving -- capturing an instance leaves in trapped in the past.
[IP] more on more on frequent fliers 30-Sep-2005 It's no surprise that a discussion about "privileges" that frequent fliers get brings out anger towards "the rich". It's really a form of profiling that's endemic in social policies. We see this same anger directed towards technologists and intellectuals. It's important to ask where the anger comes from. Picking on frequent flyers seems particular strange since for many of them it isn't a privilege but just a way of making their commutes tolerable. It's a zero sum mentality that seeks to limit others' gains rather than trying to create more for all.
[IP] Verizon to Police Web Customers To Protect Disney From Piracy 24-Sep-2005 As the Telcos try to become providers of video content they find themselves in an industry in which every gain comes at a high price. Verizon which once tried to defend its customers against the RIAA now seems quite eager to sell them out in return acceptance by Mickey Mouse and the rest of Disney. In a market based on control, users are just another commodity.
[IP] more on Microsoft and software engineering 23-Sep-2005 The PC industry has been around for 25 years -- far longer than the mainframes or minicomputers but it has stagnated. We are still using mainframe operating systems and designs rather than creating systems for the dynamics of personal and connected computing.
Connectivity is a Utility 22-Sep-2005 I've been talking to people about the utility model for connectivity. This essay gathers up a lot of what I've said into one place and pulls the themese together.
DVDs and IPTV -- Change is Opportunity 20-Sep-2005 Microsoft is selling IPTV to the carriers because it's not clear how to sell it to consumers. But while Tellywood fights the future it also manages to make a profit on it. Rather than selling to the past, IPTV should be part of our future, not the carriers'.
[IP] more on Adam Thierer on how draft Communications Act bill is hyper-regulatory and just plain wrong [econ] 18-Sep-2005 Just an observation that shifting the onus to "faith-based" organization has a parallel in policy, especially the FCC, where faith trumps reality.
[IP] more on query on eBay to Acquire Skype 13-Sep-2005 I'm skeptical about the eBay Skype deal. As long as they don't do anything outrageous people will continue to use Skype but that limits their ability to gain too much advantage. More comments as here
The Information Trollway 10-Sep-2005 Billing was once a means of paying for our communications infrastructure but it has become an end in itself and makes it hard for us to get the benefits of simple Internet connectivity. It has the effect of only allowing valuable applications -- it's like forcing us to pay the price of a cake when all we want to buy is flour -- it's basically a "let them eat cake" policy when we really need bread.
It's Time to Get Rid Of USB Et Al 10-Sep-2005 The USB protocol was a breakthrough in 1995. Now it's just an annoying legacy that fails to take advantage of all we've learned about networking and connectivity over the last ten years.
[IP] more on more on Blame the government...whoever that is.....; 07-Sep-2005 The real work of government gets done by a persistent bureaucracy. FEMA has been far from perfect but it seems that this administration has purposefully undermined FEMA and other organizations and made them more answerable to ideology than competence.
[IP] more on 1st Circuit rules on Councilman 06-Sep-2005 The legal system only function if we trust it as an alternative to setting disputes through direct confrontation. Unfortunately the legal system doesn't do well at tracking change be it technical or philosophical.
[IP] Australian court rules against Kazaa 05-Sep-2005 The Australian Supreme Court has ruled that Kazaa owes the record industry a zillion dollars for not working hard enough to prevent bits interpreted as copyrighted materials to pass their portals. Is it better to keep the record companies fat and happy than allow the economy to benefit from innovation?
[IP] Verizon Wireless Takes Legal Action Against Florida,California Telemarketers to Defend Customers' Privacy 02-Sep-2005 I applaud Verizon Wireless helping protect its customers but it's also a reminder that the current telephone and cellular networks are flawed and don’t' give the customers the ability to protect themselves.
[IP] more on Katrina and the folly of trusting cell phones 02-Sep-2005 Disaster stresses the traditional infrastructure. It's a reminder that we need a resilient alternative. A meshing packet network should be normal infrastructure -- the fact it is easier to repair in a disaster stems from it being a good idea not because it is designed just for the extreme case. See also the followup.
[IP] more on NZ Telecom announces forced migration to VoIP network 30-Aug-2005 NZ Telecom is going with IP telephony. The press announcement seems confused -- is it possible they are going to let users do their own telephony? Probably not but perhaps.
[IP] more on Bush administration asks for halt to .xxx domain [fs] [based on 6000 letter indeed djf] 16-Aug-2005 Once again a single person gets 6000 people to send email. This things are ignored except when they server a political agenda. Once again, censorship gets priority over other goals. I don't like the .XXX domain for technical reasons not for a narrow-minded moral agenda.
[IP] more on WSIS, DNS, WGIG, etc 16-Aug-2005 Following up the .XXX debacle is another report on how to make the DNS work as a directory. Alas …
Why Settle for Just 1%? 15-Aug-2005 The carriers have promised to give us a level playing field but they've taken 99% of the bits off the table by saying video bits don't count. It seems silly to fight over that 1% of the bits rather than demanding that that carriers play fair and put 100% of the bits onto the level playing field.
Why Are We Fighting Over The Last 1%? 15-Aug-2005 Briefly -- The carriers have taken 99% of their assets of the books. They are using the public rights of way and it should be for the public good.
Verizon – The Saga Continues 14-Aug-2005 I'm still trying to straighten out my Verizon service though I realize that the real issue is that landline telephony is a legacy business and it doesn't make sense for Verizon to invest. Their real goal is to become a video provider.
[IP] The case of the stolen Wi-Fi: What you need to know 13-Aug-2005 The attempts to create a new "crime" of stealing Wi-Fi access is part of the ongoing campaign to assure that are infrastructure is locked within billable channels. Once more the Interent is being positioned as bad because it threatens the past.
[IP] more on Say Goodbye to Offshoring? 10-Aug-2005 The old is new again. Timesharing and outsourcing are now called the moral equivalent of offshoring.
vs The Customer and Themselves 08-Aug-2005 Companies like Verizon, Comcast and Microsoft are finding it difficult to come to terms with our increased ability to do things ourselves. Rather than being more accommodating they seem to be putting themselves in the position of treating their customers as their primary competition.
Comcast vs Customers and itself! 08-Aug-2005 Comcast seems to be working hard to make simple problems hard to solve. How else can they maintain their ability to choose what we can watch and when we can watch it?
Verizon vs Customers and Itself 08-Aug-2005 I simply wanted to move a virtual phone number to VoIP. In order to do so Verizon would up sending a few trucks to my house and taking hours of time just to preserve a fiction. It's as if they fear admitting that their business is now about preserving a story rather than creating value.
Microsoft vs Customers and Itself 08-Aug-2005 Microsoft should be trying to make it easier to use their technologies and to find new applications. Instead they are acting as if it is more important to limit the customers choices in order to preserve the obscellescent business model of Tellywood.
The FCC Vs Business and Vs US 08-Aug-2005 The FCC's mission seems to be the protect the carriers from the marketplace. 19th century science has been frozen into the 20th century Regulatorium. We must not allow this travesty to continue into the 21st century.
[IP] Weekly column: Schizo FCC deregulates DSL, but regulates Net-wiretapping [priv] 08-Aug-2005 A seemingly contradictory policy may be perfectly rational within itself. The fault may lie in the premises.
[IP] more on Science is for Pansies - REAL Men believe in Genesis! 05-Aug-2005 Our schools are a mirror on our society. While we can lament its failures we need to stop back and recognize that they are doing what are asking. They teach students science to the letter and fail to convey the more important idea that failure is an essential part of learning. Entrepreneurs have figured that out -- at lest in the US. We confuse training with educating and then wonder why people fail to challenge the accepted wisdom.
[IP] Oppenheimer and other unwelcomes 04-Aug-2005 Robert Oppenheimer and others vital to our victory in World War II would not be able to participate in helping the country today -- many wouldn't even be allowed to visit the country. As we isolate ourselves from the world we become poorer and less safe. What we don't know is harming us. Once again, our enemy is fear itself
A Tiny Bit more on Leap Seconds 03-Aug-2005 Some more points about leap seconds. Perhaps we'll finally see them go away.
[IP] HDMI (HDCP) for HDTV don't get burned! 1080p sets ship 01-Aug-2005 Interference is an artifact of a bad signaling system. It's amazing how such a simple mistake can cause such damage. The legislation that stems from this mistake reads like a programmer's nightmare. In translating naïve physic into legislation we find ourselves destroying marketplaces and subverting the free speech clause in the US Constitution. Rather than locking bad ideas into legislation the FCC should be at the forefront in questioning its own legitimacy. After all, it is supposed to have some knowledge of technology in order to set the rules rather than trying to make physics conform to legislation. As far as its rules are concerned the value of pi might as well be 3.
[IP] Leap second fight brewing 29-Jul-2005 The leap second gain - we confuse leaping over tall buildings with leaping of a small stream. Let astronomers keep their correct fact but not annoy the rest of us by making us trip over pointless hurdles.
[IP] Sen. Ensign Introduces Communications Legislation That Rewrites the '96 Act - Maybe with good intent but danger lurks 29-Jul-2005 While a number of clauses in the bill seem reasonable it seems to treat the Internet as a service and may make it difficult for municipalities to provide connectivity as a utility.
Joho and the Bell Curve 28-Jul-2005 A response to David Weinberger's comments on "Bell Curve" I generally agree with him. My goal is not to convert Iders but to give us a vocabulary that gives us insight into systems. It is important for public policy. Talking about evolution outside the realm of biology can reduce the emotional barriers that make effective debate so difficult.
DRM vs the Bathroom 28-Jul-2005 Will this attempt to lock down all bits allow commercial television to enforce a policy of requiring us to watch commercials? Is going to the bathroom a violation of a "contract" with television broadcasters?
DRM Chops off the Long Tail 27-Jul-2005 The idea of protecting rights seems so reasonable. The problem is that a strict DRM policy thwarts the dynamic of the marketplace. Not only are we denied opportunity to discover new possibilities the existing marketplace becomes stagnant and fails. Chris Anderson's long tail is a useful metaphor for those opportunities that seem worthless but are the sources of new vitality. It's evolution in action -- too bad we are so ego-centric as to think evolution only applies to biology. It makes it difficult for people to appreciate the importance of the dynamics of the marketplace. The marketplace fails if we try too hard to manage the process.
Who "Designed" the Bell Curve? 27-Jul-2005 It's easy to tell a story about what we don't have. The bell curve is beautiful and symmetric. How could the two tells coordinate to well. It's easy to posit an intelligent designer for a phenomenon which emerges out of simple principles. Intelligent Design is only the illusion of an explanation and denies us the opportunity to understand.
[IP] more on NYC to search transit riders' bags – but ... 22-Jul-2005 New York's policy of random searches has its problems but we need to recognize that these practices are based on psychology. Whether the policy is wise is harder to answer.
[IP] more on Public Broadband Hits Political Speedbumps 18-Jul-2005 Be careful about what you ask for. If you fund your Internet connectivity then those who buy content from elsewhere wind up reducing the funding for the Internet. This is like paying for E911 from phone calls -- those who use VoIP wind up defunding E911. "Broadband" should be about enabling a process to increase availability rather than a fixed goal which will become an impediment to future growth.
[IP] more on Connected: Verizon puts your privacy in precarious position 17-Jul-2005 Companies that collection personal data aren't inherently bad -- the tradeoff is whether to have a small set of information that is our "identity" or make it less defined and more difficult to "steal".
[IP] Spammers Most Likely Users of Email Authentication 13-Jul-2005 We are trying to control behavior using identity as a proxy. Such approaches can be counterproductive by giving those whose behavior we want to limit an opportunity to adopt an identity and thus escape scrutiny. Conversely those whose identity we associated with "bad" behavior trapped within a stereotype and prejudgment.
The i730 and Beyond 12-Jul-2005 I've been writing about the Samsung i730 because it's at the crossroads of telephony and computing. For now it's still a phone. In this essay I try to explore why and why not. It's about more then Verizon trying to maintain control and Microsoft missing the new face of personal computing.
An i730 Clarification and an EVDO Comment 09-Jul-2005 The i730 can indeed receive calls while you are using Wi-Fi though you do have to disable Wi-Fi. On the other hand, EVDO is not the same as being connected all the time.
The Samsung i730 – the Saga Continues 08-Jul-2005 I did buy the Samsung i730. It's a nice phone but the Bluetooth implementation is perverse. It's a tug of war between the carriers and the users and the results are far more confusing than the HP-6315 (a GSM phone vs the CDMA i730).
Evolution is Simple and Fundamental 16-May-2005 (Updated: 07-Jul-2005 PDFThe controversy over the teaching evolution pits science against religion. But the topic is too important to be lost in arguments over which set of facts to accept. Understanding evolution is really about how systems change. Biological evolution is just a special case. By teaching evolution is an arbitrary fact in biology class we trade insight for memorization. We cannot afford a retreat into comforting non-explanations. It leads us to make public policy blunders that leave us all poorer. We can see evolution in the systems all around us. Science is not arbitrary -- it's simply about learning from our mistakes and, in fact, making mistakes as we explore. If we see that we results are not what we desire then we can and must adjust and adopt. As Jared Diamond has so ably demonstrated in Collapse! we cannot afford the consequences of ignorance.
Verizon vs Users – The Samsung i730 07-Jul-2005 The Samsung i730 seems like a wonderful connected portable computing device. Why did Verizon have to go and lame it by removing capabilities that would allow me to use it to connect my devices to the world? To add insult to injury I can't even receive phone calls while I'm using Wi-Fi -- very strange. (That's what Samsung said, turns out that you really can!)
More Cellphony Dependency 07-Jul-2005 The NY Times Circuits lead column tells us that the carriers are looking at ways to deliver (AKA sell) use content? Nary a thought that maybe we can just do it ourselves like we do with PCs -- browse to sites and view or even buy things directly. But buying music is the least of what we can't do … such is the price of dependency
[IP] more on Von Mag: Funding USF through Broadband 07-Jul-2005 Once more the USF (Universal Service Fund) is an irresistible opportunity - a pile of money that can be used to sustain the status quo.
Selling Candy to Children 05-Jul-2005 SMS is seductive. Like 900 numbers it creates billable entities. Produces like ringtones and jokes are like candy to children. Seemingly innocuous but the costs add up. Messaging has so many possibilities -- too bad it's priced so that the only viable business is like selling candy to children.
VON: Connectivity is a Utility 04-Jul-2005 It's easy to understand the desire to keep businesses alive long past their expiration dates. Such policies are considered "pro business" when they are just the opposite -- they show distrust for the marketplace and its ability to reinvent itself. One might justify the policy if it preserves jobs and meets other needs but the tele/com industry is costing us jobs and frustrating the creation of new industries that can create new jobs and value. Connectivity is another utility like garbage collection, electricity, public roads etc. The value comes from the availability of connectivity but policies that require capturing the value of each service don’t permit innovation because nascent services typically don't seem valuable at first. The utility model is a business model. Providing connectivity as a utility is the real pro-business policy.
Comment on networked washing machine 28-Jun-2005 A brief comment on an "Engadget" story about a washer/dryer that allow remote viewing of their status. The idea itself is not bad but it shouldn't be implemented as a special closed system.
Cost of receiving a text message going up 400%! 28-Jun-2005 Verizon is jacking up the price of receiving a text message by 400%. A tight orifice is more powerful than Moore's law!
[IP] More insecurity 22-Jun-2005 Another example of BofA sending mail from an untrusted domain.
[IP] Bank of America vs security 22-Jun-2005 It's bad enough that Bank of America sends its email through intermediaries that we don't know whether to trust, it's another thing for them to send alarmist messages in response to innocuous queries. As an aside, I scrape screens because the bank web sites that are touted as the alternatives to paper documents are seriously flawed in that the data is only available at their whim and once you close an account all history is lost!
[IP] more on Pod Slurping Dangerous To Enterprises 22-Jun-2005 A bit of hype -- the problem of being able to slurp data and take it with you has been around for a long time but attributing quotes and capabilities to well known figures is a common phenomenon. Also helps make a feature story seem like news.
[IP] more on In-flight cellphone proposal hits static [the real issue!] 17-Jun-2005 Even I fell into the trap of thinking the cell phone ban was about cell phones. This is what makes it so hard to explain to people that the "orifices" have limited the value of the devices we have and the infrastructure by convincing people to accept their definitions of "services" rather than allowing others' to create their own value. Telephony, in this case cellular telephony, is just an application. What is really important is the connectivity afforded by their devices and the ability to use technology as our agent. Mindless fear of "wireless signals" is compounded by those who fear what might go wrong. It's a reminder of the importance of the US Constitution which helps assure we have the opportunity to innovate without having to assure only "good" outcomes.
[IP] In-flight cellphone proposal hits static [rewritten] 16-Jun-2005 The willingness to allow the user of cell phones in flight is an admission that the ban has been based on factors other than technology. Those who want to preserve the ban seem to be motivated more by imposing their values on others because change spooks them.
[IP] Tellywood and the Cable Orifices 12-Jun-2005 Another reminder that your "Set Top Box" owes its allegiance to Tellywood rather than you the viewer.
[IP] more on "NCLB: The Implausible Dream" 12-Jun-2005 In the effort to "solve" the problem of education we need to blame someone. Yet if the education is failing today's students why do we assume it was successful with their parents? Education is not just for the children.
[IP] "unused" portion of their DSL lines to broadcast video signals. 11-Jun-2005 TV programming is now being delivered over DSL connections in Spain using standard Internet protocols. Currently this is carrier-provided video but there's no reason the user can't take advantage of the capacity rather than just accepting the choices provided by the carriers.
Phoney Economics - The Telco pricing model is losing credibility 08-Jun-2005 VoIP (and ENUM) make it difficult for the carriers to sustain the illusion that their prices has anything to do with real costs.
[IP] more on E911 with no Opt Out? 07-Jun-2005 Fast response is a key element in providing medical services but a policy that focus on a particular technology may not be the bet way to achieve this goal
[IP] more on Editors comment on the number of items re ex-ex-ex 03-Jun-2005 The creation of the .XXX TLD (Top Level Domain) is a consequence of a basic failure to understand the nature of the end-to-end principle. All the more reason to reinvent the Internet from the edge.
[IP] more on U.S. shuts down network that leaked 'Star Wars' 28-May-2005 Shutting down a directory is not the same thing as shutting down a network. One more example of the conceptual gap between those innovating and those attempting to set the rules.
Enter Walled Garden Here (through the orifice) 26-May-2005 A short IM conversation with commentary from David Berlind building Steve Jobs' description of the carriers are orifices.
[IP] The software industry is learning from the RIAA? 19-May-2005 Reports about software (or music) "piracy" often rely on inflated figures. We shouldn't presume all of those "lost" sales would become real sales.
Another anti-spam Naïveté – VRFY isn’t Authoritative 17-May-2005 I’ve run into yet another naïve attempt to control spam – systems that try to verify the mail sender using the SMTP VRFY command. The problem is that a system that relays mail might report the address as invalid because it is not a local address even though it really is valid when relayed.
Books: A Bibliography 16-May-2005 This is a catalog of books with comments and recommendations. This is an ongoing project and pretty sparse in its initial version
[IP] Read it and prepare to stand on LONG LONG lines – Senate Backs Measure to Tighten ID Requirements 11-May-2005 We need Niemöller but we get Andre Maginot and a nation of bubble babies who think that the one authentic truth will save protect them from risk. What’s next, banning the first and last car of trains to prevent accidents? It’s depressing that we have a tradition of journalism which reports just the “facts” as if the spin were a “fact”.
Spam Evolving? 09-May-2005 I notice that the email addresses on my sites have not been harvested in a long time. I generate a new one on each visit and including the IP address as well as the date and time. Spam messages tend to arrive in batches with very similar messages and the made-up names tend to be valid English words without an appreciation for the meaning. It's important to understand spam and see it in perspective. It's too easy to give into our fears and see spam as another reason to be afraid of free speech.
A Failure to Connect 09-May-2005 What is connectivity? I’ve been thinking about it in terms of networking but that’s only a small part of the problem. It’s really about relationships and operations that involve cooperation or connections between two “things”. In DIY, Not Connectivity, I emphasized that it was about marketplace economics rather than just a lower cable TV bill. I wanted to hand out copies of that essay at the IP Policy Summit and got a case study in the real problem. … Why just watch when I can participate. Connectivity is about enabling opportunities for new kinds of relationships between device as well as people.
DIY, not just Connectivity! 08-May-2005 PDFIt's wrong to think of the Internet as the successor to the telecommunications industry because of surface similarities. But the dynamics of the two industries are very different. There is no transition -- the new opportunities that that the Internet thrives on must not be sacrificed to get us what we think we want. And they need not be since we the marketplace process continues to serve us well. We don't want to look back and lament that we asked for the Internet and all they gave us was more television.
Stop Shouting and Start Communicating! 01-Apr-2005 (Updated: 05-May-2005 Imagine if we didn't have to use wires - we could just send a signal from anyplace to any other place. By 1864 James Clerk Maxwell described radio waves. By 1895 Marconi was sending "Hertzian Waves" several kilometers. Oscillating waves were a familiar concept. Alexander Graham Bell worked on the same principle in trying to put multiple signals on a single telegraph line but the mechanical tuning fork wasn't up to the task
[IP] more on Setting history straight: So, who really did invent the Internet? 02-May-2005 Before we can ask "who invented the Internet" we need to figure out what we mean by the term. The impact is a result of the marketplace dynamics of TCP vs IP and not networking as such.
[IP] more on IP-Based TV Will Revolutionize Entertainment 29-Apr-2005 With all the talk about IPTV we need to be wary -- the Telcos want to be a CableCo. We won't get real change until we can buy directly rather than paying a transport "tax". If we buy directly, then owning the transport is a liability. This has stark implications for today's "telecom" industry.
[IP] More Baggage Taboos, but Little Security Enhancement 27-Apr-2005 Petty consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds and, apparently the TSA. Should the TSA be making sure that pilots cannot take control of airplanes?
Acela – A Casualty of Risk Aversion? 26-Apr-2005 The Acela is twice as heavy as corresponding trains in Europe. This led to the current problems with the brakes on the trains. Could that danger be a result over design due to risk aversion?
[IP] more on Bush Administration Punishes some who donated to Kerry 25-Apr-2005 Apparently the Bush Administration requires loyalty over expertise and anyone who has made a donation to Kerry is not allowed to serve on international technical committees. It's equivalent of requiring bribes in order to consider scientific facts. Having a difference of opinion is regarded as heresy. At a time when the rest of the world is moving ahead we are trying to roll back the renaissance! Another victory for terrorists!
[IP] more on P2P Fuels Global Bandwidth Binge 24-Apr-2005 I'm trying to understand why people seem to focus on doling out scarcity as opposed to working towards abundance. The word "Binge" has a negative overtone and "P2P' is too easily associated with "bad" activities. Once again we should demand more capacity rather than accusing the most avid users of abusing a "privilege". It's a right not a privilege! The consequences are serious -- the US is in real danger of opting out of a vibrant world economy!
[IP] more on Credit Information Stolen From DSW Stores 19-Apr-2005 Amex offered use-once numbers but they were too clunky to use and offered no obvious benefits to most users. Too bad, the concept is useful but one needs to do more and help users manage their transactions as well.
[IP] more on (don't expect good cell service says) Verizon CEO sounds off on Wi-Fi, customer gripes 17-Apr-2005 CellCo benevolence must not come at the price of denying us the ability to create our own solutions.
[IP] Civil War V2 15-Apr-2005 Frist is upping the ante in the senate. Giving faith a privileged position in the judiciary is very dangerous. The separation of church and state is an agreement to disagree - violating that agreement is very dangerous.
It's not "Identity Theft"! 13-Apr-2005 It's not about stealing your soul's sole identity. It's about a weak system of establishing a relationship for the purpose of some transactions. Whether accepting a weak system and then protecting your magic numbers, we should step back and think about the purpose of these tokens of identity and address that problem rather than accepting blame when our "identity" is "stolen".
RIAA Plans to Sue Hearing Aid Manufacturers 12-Apr-2005 The RIAA continues its campaign do whatever it takes to make sure they maintain contorl. What's next, suing hearing aid manufacturers because they don’t enforce DRM rules? Will the MPAA require eyeglasses honor the broadcast bit?
Comcast and Disney vs the Internet 11-Apr-2005 Comcast and Disney are offering an Internet services only available to Comcast subscribers. Comcast/Disney -- the Anti-Internet!
EV-DO - a Taste of Connectivity 09-Apr-2005 EV-DO is wonderful. I can be connected anywhere (at least in major cities). But it's also the end of a generation. The next generation will be IP based. We should embrace the present but not make it the enemy of the future.
Using EV-DO 08-Apr-2005 My experience in using EV-DO to get ubiquitous connectivity.
[IP] Spend $2 Bill, Go To Jail 08-Apr-2005 It's amazing how something as innocuous as a $2 bill can scare people so much.
[IP] more on Law would put 'In God We Trust' in schools 07-Apr-2005 The version of the Pledge of Allegiance that was set to music did not contain "In God We Trust"
Another attempt to do me good 07-Apr-2005 Embedded computing doesn't necessarily empower the user.
The Filibuster vs the Tyranny of the Faux Majority 06-Apr-2005 Both the Presidency and Congress are aligned in pushing a moralistic agenda The normal checks and balances are undermined by those who seek to impose a narrow moralistic agenda on the country. The tyranny of the majority threatens the normal resilience of our democracy. The majority in Congress doesn't reflect a majority of the people -- it's more of an artifact of an all-or-nothing electoral process. The filibuster is considered obstructionist but it is also a way to protect the country from those who view constitutional protections with disdain and seek solace protection from science. There is a real danger in embodying that ideology into law and the enforcing it with a judiciary select for loyalty to that ideology.
USB Power! 06-Apr-2005 USB is become the universal power source for small devices.
At the Movies in 2005 06-Apr-2005 Today's digital projector uses essentially the same technology we use at home. The theaters aren't just for Tellywood anymore.
Airport Foibles 06-Apr-2005 Passing through Logan Airpot on my way to DCA I had chance to be entertained by observing how things can go wrong
Glossary 01-Jan-1999 (Updated: 05-Apr-2005 Definitions for some of the terms I use in my writings.
[IP] more on Teacher, student suspended for bypassing school filters [fs] 05-Apr-2005 Science is about testing limits, yet we find ourselves increasingly up against an attitude that sees the purpose of government as enforcing rules rather than creating opportunity.
1920 x 1080 05-Apr-2005 Nice for movies but some of us like to read (and write)
[IP] A clear and present danger? 04-Apr-2005 I used to think of the filibuster as an obstructionist tactic. Now that I'm on the 'other" side I recognize that it plays an essential rule to protecting us from the tyranny of the majority.
[IP] Not all municipal connectivity is "good" 30-Mar-2005 I want connectivity everywhere but often all I get is municipal cable TV which sets up the wrong incentives.
Why are reservation sites so lame? 29-Mar-2005 We shouldn't be stuck in the "page" model of the web.
How Spam Makes Email Safer 26-Mar-2005 Email isn't really reliable -- the flurry of spam reminds us not to be complacent.
[IP] more on FCC: we don't need no steenkin line sharing 26-Mar-2005 Why battle over old policies when we need to be looking ahead?
Phones Need Simplicity Before Cool Stuff, CEOs Say 26-Mar-2005 What's really strange is that we are calling 64MB computers with 1 GB of SD storage PDAs. The PDA is a function or an application.
Gratuitous Complexity for Fun for Profit 19-Mar-2005 Reading a story in the Boston Globe about how wonderful it is that I can now send picture messages from Verizon to Cingular cell phones I decided to look into the protocols and understand a bit more about how such messages could cost 25 cents each. Not only is it difficult to do things for ourselves -- we must pay a high price and be thankful for the little we are allowed to do. Another case of being limited to solutions and being given little opportunity.
Connectivity in Days in Washington 08-Mar-2005 March 2005 will be connectivity month. The Grokster and Brand X cases will be heard by the Supreme Court March 29th and David Isenberg's Freedom To Connect starts the next day.
X-Box Live. . . and more 01-Mar-2005 X-Box live is a vibrant part of the VoIP world.
more on "Identity Theft for Dummies"? 27-Feb-2005 The attention to "stolen" records that can be used to "steal" "identities" is misguided. I put the words in quotes because they are used in distorted ways. The real problem is that all it takes to steal an "identity" is persons name phone number and social security number and maybe a tidbit or two. And once you lose your "identity" why is it so hard to reestablish relationships? Of course this is not you identity, just the persona that the is used by banks and others in lieu of the real "you". Focusing on protecting the records will comes at a high social cost while not solving the real problem.
Connected to the World Out There, not Just People 24-Feb-2005 It's wonderful to fly while using my GPS to compare what I see in maps with what's on the ground. I'm no longer confined to the tiny metal cage in the air. It also makes me think about the all the press about blogs and blogs talking about blogs -- blogcest. There's a big world at there, the blogs are about more than just reporting, they are also a means of participating.
More on House Passes Bill to Raise Indecency 18-Feb-2005 The complexities of the Regulatorium create a layer of FUD that shields the most outrageous policies from critical analysis. FUD: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.
House Passes Bill to Raise Indecency 16-Feb-2005 $500,000/word is the cost of free speech as defined by Congress and interpreted by the Federal Speech Commission.
More on Powell: Don't Rewrite Telecom Act 15-Feb-2005 Some comments from the Silicon-Flatirons conference on the future of Telecom policy.
More on Consumer Electronics vs Computers 10-Feb-2005 As I try to "capture" the contents of my video tapes I run into more reminders of how different the worlds of CE (Consumer Electronics) and CS (Computer Systems) are.
More on Digital TV: Congress vs. Consumers 08-Feb-2005 Congress has mandated that TV broadcasting shift from using the analog broadcast bands to digital bands. It's important to examine the reasons for this industrial policy. It's all about preserving Tellywood and limiting consumer choice.
Tellywood and the Home Theater 07-Feb-2005 The home theater epitomizes the fusion of Television and Hollywood -- Tellywood. Articles on home theaters can be entertaining but a newsmagazine should do more than write about fantasies circa 1969. In the age of the Internet and computers a television is simply a combination of screens and video sources. It's more than just a piece of furniture used to display the content of plastic discs.
Camera-phone mania 01-Feb-2005 Camera or Phone? Floor Wax or Dessert Topping.
Single Frequency Signaling and Single Hop Signaling 27-Jan-2005 Coddling obsolescent technology comes at a high price. Century old, fragile communications technologies require that we restrict necessary innovation. The confusion between transport and meaning leads to blatant violations of the US constitution.
More on Firms formulate guidelines for employee cellphone use 27-Jan-2005 Legal decisions based on "weird science" put us at risk. When the law acts more like a lottery our ability to benefit form technology is at risk.
More on NewSci: Net noise threat to emergency radio 24-Jan-2005 SFS (Single Frequency Signaling) and SHC (Single Hop Communications) are outdated and their limitations shouldn't be used to frustrate innovation
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
Is VoIP a carrier's best friend? 01-Jan-2005 Carries may die by VoIP but they also live by VoIP
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
Policy vs Reality – Problems of our own Devise 01-Dec-2003 Telecom policy should be simple and null. The hard part is convincing people it really is that simple and why. This essay gives an overview for my more detailed comments on television and telephony
2007 or 1995 or 1950? 01-Dec-2003 Congress doesn't seem to get it. They are acting as if the asymmetric broadcast model must be kept alive and criminalizing those who use content without asking permission first. The private bit police will be in charge.
Telecom Policy: Virtue vs Tolerance 01-Dec-2003 A brief introduction to the brief introduction to my latest essays on telecom and other policies. The Internet seems to violate our work ethic and that makes it very hard for people to come to terms with the new opportunities.
Favors I Can't Afford 29-Nov-2003 I accidentally spammed thousands of people because the address book synchronization service is overzealous. The real damage is that it is speaking in my name and thus I get the blame.
The end is nigh again? 17-Nov-2003 Another story saying we are at the end of the beginning. Failure of imagination is comforting but ...
Don't Recapitulate! 13-Nov-2003 The FCC's plan to set rules for VoIP is a reminder of the tragic disconnect between the Regulatorium and the real world and the price we pay for accepting a mythological view of telecommunications.
The Regulatorium and the Moral Imperative 01-Nov-2003 The Regulatorium is sustained by a moral agenda that is based on a perception of scarcity.
The Value of Dallying and Community 01-Nov-2003 Blogs are more than just diaries and sometimes it's useful to take time to think.
What the SV AV-100 Is and What it Could Be 20-Oct-2003 The Panasonic SV AV100 is an example of the best in consumer electronics and the worst. It is a great camera but is hobbled by software that limits its capabilities. The PC industry, often despite itself, has thrived by giving users the ability to reinvent products and create new capabilities. The consumer electronics industry can benefit by sharing the ability to enhance and even redefine products.
VoIP: CoIP or TaWKi? 07-Oct-2003 Should VoIP resemble the PSTN or be something else entirely?
The Importance of What Isn't 21-Sep-2003 We are used to judging a product by what it is but what isn't and can be is far more important. With computers we are increasingly able to create new products out of building blocks. The Internet is just one example of how we can take an existing product, the entire telecommunications industry, and use it as the starting point for creating new products. One reason why it is hard to understand the real importance of the Internet is because we trying to explain what can be and people find it hard to see what isn't.
Answering the Wrong Question: IEEE and Voting 20-Sep-2003 The IEEE is in the process of setting standards for voting machine. Assuring a trustworthy voting system is about more than the local behavior of individual machine. There's a danger that narrowly focusing on an aspect of the process will be taken as endorsement of the process as a whole.
Spreading Infantilization 01-Sep-2003 Another provider or user refusing to accept mail without approval from my "provider" whatever or whomever is supposed to ask as my parent.
Spam Assassinated! 27-Aug-2003 Spam Assassin is a popular program used to filter mail. Unfortunately its metrics show a deep antipathy towards my email messages because I want to move beyond the limitations of the teletype era. I am being silenced by others' moralistic assumptions about email.
AOL and Roadrunner vs the Internet 25-Aug-2003 In a naive and misguided attempt to protect their users form spam AOL and it's subsidiary, Roadrunner, have banned email from systems with dynamic IP addresses and thus have made the spam problem much worse by channeling all of the Internet traffic through narrow and arbitrary chokepoints. This doesn't bode well for companies whose future depends on their ability to understand the Internet
AOL and Roadrunner have Left the Internet 25-Aug-2003 In a naive and misguided attempt to protect their users form spam AOL and it's subsidiary, Roadrunner, have banned email from systems with dynamic IP addresses and thus have made the spam problem much worse by channeling all of the Internet traffic through narrow and arbitrary chokepoints. This doesn't bode well for companies whose future depends on their ability to understand the Internet
Viruses, Trust and Complacency 20-Aug-2003 We must take the latest waive of computer viruses seriously but the hiding behind the castle wall is not an effective response and only increases our vulnerability while denying us the benefits of the new technologies.
IPv6 isn't just about more addresses 05-Aug-2003 Internet Protocol V6 is an important part of giving us a dynamic Internet that allows us all to be participants. Those who want a transition to IPv6 miss the point of the Internet. We can start using IPv6 now without waiting for a transition.
Kinko's vs Hot Spots 29-Jul-2003 Kinko's has been a leader in taking advantage of the Internet. Adding wireless access to their in-store network is simple and obvious. But instead they have chosen to use T-Mobile's hotspot service which is far expensive and more complicated and slower.
AOL vs the Internet 26-Jul-2003 AOL is threatening to stop accepting mail from systems with dynamic IP address. This is an arrogant and hostile attack on the Internet itself. Has AOL decided to opt out of the Internet?
More on the DNS 23-Jul-2003 Response to Dan's comments on the DNS.
Observations on Observations from Always-On and XP 22-Jul-2003 Comment on Observations from Always on and a warning about an upcoming rant about computer XP and all that
Searching for Dial Tone in Africa 05-Jul-2003 Great NY Times story about Voice of IP in Africa. Worth reading to get an understanding of the impact of VoIP.
Hotspots Cold Cells 03-Jul-2003 The idea of deploying hotspots seems like a natural extension of the cells used for cellular phones. This is a false analogy and has made hotspots seem to fall short of expectations when the real problem is in not understanding the real needs.
Faux Wires 03-Jul-2003 The cellular phone network may not have the artifact of wires but it has the reality of the circuit which is the real limitation whether or not there are wires.
Realizing the Internet 25-Jun-2003 We need to recognize that the Internet has triumphed. The good news is that the carriers are embracing the Internet. The process needs to be accelerated but will rapidly move beyond the carriers ability to stay in control.
We Have Connectivity! 24-Jun-2003 We have an infrastructure that is fully capable of giving everyone always-on connectivity but the FCC and the carriers acting as if it is still a phone and cable TV network. We must recalibrate and focus on removing the impediments of connectivity instead of just mediating feuds that no longer server any larger purpose.
Catching up on 4G, 802.11, Spam etc 03-Jun-2003 Overview of my recent postings on ZDNet and Dave Farber's list.
Move over 3G: here comes 4G 31-May-2003 The cellular world is trying to find a future as WAP, Bluetooth and now 3G are seen to be failures. Why should 4G be any different? What is 4G anyway?
Stopping spam isn't as easy as you might hope 31-May-2003 Most approaches to dealing with spam naively assume that spam is a simple well-defined concept.
Book Sharing 23-Apr-2003 The record industry isn't the only one concerned with their bits. Imagine if the book publishers controlled their content just as tightly!
The End of Leap Seconds?? 22-Apr-2003 The "time committee" is considering phasing at the leap second. The leap second has been one of my pet peeves but it's a lot more. It's an example of the experts' inability to distinguish between their technical concerns and the social use of their technology.
Another Example of Being Precise, Accurate and Completely Wrong 22-Apr-2003 I reposted my essay on leap seconds because I had made mistakes in cleaning up the HTML for Word. Another example of dealing with a program that gives me a presentation that is has unwanted precision while making it difficult to deal with the content.
Number Portability is misdirection. 20-Apr-2003 With all the discussion of number portability it's easy to lose sight of the fact that we already have number portability. The issue should be why we have to invent a second layer just so that we can pretend it is a difficult problem.
Implementing VisiCalc (pointer) 07-Apr-2003 Short intro Implementing VisiCalc. Points to the primary essay.
768x1280 20-Mar-2003 Laptops seem to be made for viewing movies. If I rotate my laptop I get a tall and narrow screen suitable for reading and writing text.
United States v. American Library Association 05-Mar-2003 The Supreme Court is going to determine if libraries can be forced to act as censors. It is a test of modernity and the idea that ideas have meaning in context and the best way to respond to concerns is by challenging the ideas rather than censoring them. Does a picture of a naked person cause irreparable harm?
Some Good News 03-Mar-2003 I'm cautiously optimistic after returning from the Spectrum Policy conference at Stanford. But I'm exciting to find that the SFO intra-airport trains are running and that I-90 now goes directly into Logan Airport.
Dim Copper 28-Feb-2003 We didn't create the automobile by lashing a carriage to a mechanical horse but we were able to repurpose the roads designed for horses by paving them to create a smooth surface. The Internet isn't just an upgrade to the phone network. It needs its own path. The existing copper infrastructure is a valuable resource that can be used as a native medium for Internet connectivity. We must take advantage of the opportunity to provide universal connectivity very quickly at a low cost, we get vastly improved telephony as a free bonus.
Theft of Service? 12-Feb-2003 Cable modems showed great promise when they were introduced. Originally planned for 10mbps, they rolled out at 1.5mbps. Originally supposed to be symmetric, they were asymmetric at 5:1 and now it's 10:1. Any available capacity is denied us and used to sell us a limited choice of stale content (movies).
Live Blogging! 11-Feb-2003 My attempt to blog an event live. Dave Winer's meeting about blogging at Harvard.
ClearType! 10-Feb-2003 Microsoft's Cleartype technology really does make a difference!
Email is Still Just a Toy 06-Feb-2003 We now think of email as a normal form of communication and have to use the retronym postal mail. But when we have important messages, our email systems aren't up to the task and we go back to paper.
Spam Fixation 02-Feb-2003 Short Abstract of Spam Fixation
Spam Fixation 01-Feb-2003 It seems as if everyone wants to hunt down the spammers and make laws against people who call us on the telephone. The real problem is managing our availability. Computers make it easy for people to send us email but they also give us the means to take charge of our availability.
Prior Restraint: Censorship as the Legacy of Spectrum Policy 22-Jan-2003 Early radio receivers took advantage of the technologies available and assigned each transmitter a unique frequency. It is a very inefficient approach and required a complex regulatory system to keep all the signals sorted out. Since World War II we've had the ability to use signaling approaches that are far more effective and do not need this regulatory regimen. Yet we still cling to spectrum allocation and the censorship inherent in the onerous regulatory system
AT&T Broadband users see 3rd e-mail shift 16-Jan-2003 Once more ATTBI is forcing users to change their email addresses. While they blamed the previous on trademark problems there seems reason this time other than a change in ATTBI's marketing needs
Two stories on coming to terms with the Internet 10-Jan-2003 Two interesting articles in the New York Times about coming to terms with the new marketplace. One about adapting to the new realities of the content business and one about failing to address the change in telecommunications
VoIP is a simple idea and simply works 05-Jan-2003 Voice over IP is a simple concept that allows us to redefine telephony. It requires no special hardware or constructs like QoS. For now it looks like the PSTN but is rapidly coming into its own
Bad Coupling 05-Jan-2003 I started to write about my successes in using my home networking to connect all my devices but I soon realized that it was a tail of triumph over unnecessary.
Bad Coupling (abstract) 05-Jan-2003 I started to write about my successes in using my home networking to connect all my devices but I soon realized that it was a tail of triumph over unnecessary.
Cranking Along 20-Dec-2002 Short intro and pointer to the full essay
Cranking Along 20-Dec-2002 Scott Kirsner wrote about blogs (including mine) in the Boston Globe. I felt I should quickly put together my own comments but it took five days to reflect upon my writing.
On Ensuring End-to-End 15-Dec-2002 It is easy to ask for quality but rarely do people ask what is meant by Quality. In practice, the term is often and excuse for arbitrariness and is antithetical to the openness of the Internet.
Learning by Shipping 09-Dec-2002 The table PC is interesting both as a device in its own right and as a way to understand how products evolve.
Mistrial! 23-Nov-2002 The Federal courthouse in Boston has banned the use of PDAs. The unwillingness to allow mental aids is very worrisome.
Blogs of Interest and of Concern 15-Nov-2002 Pointers to blogs on telecom policy and on the dangers of security mania.
Teething Pains or Cavities 12-Nov-2002 Hiawatha Bray wrote about his experiences with the first set of Bluetooth devices. Reality highlights the Bluetooth's limitations (summary).
Teething Pains or Cavities 12-Nov-2002 Hiawatha Bray wrote about his experiences with the first set of Bluetooth devices. Reality highlights the Bluetooth's limitations (full essay).
on Lessons from the Meltdown of U.S. Telephone Industry 09-Nov-2002 Response to an article from Japan about the Telephone Industry.
Ownership 31-Oct-2002 Owners add value. But we limit ownership based on a static agrarian model of property. In order to maximize society's benefit we need to be able to accept that others' need the opportunity be owners and holding bits hostage leave us with little opportunity to create value.
Another Dangerous Idea 31-Oct-2002 Just as the Darwin's recognition that we are the product of an indifferent process of evolution, the Internet forces us to come to terms with the interplay of social policy and technology.
From Hotrods to PCs 24-Oct-2002 In the 1950's enthusiasts would soup up their cars. Today this energy often goes into ones computer.
Implementing .DNS 02-Sep-2002 With all the noise and rancor surrounding ICANN it is easy to lose sight of the fact that ICANN itself is just mechanism that people care about too much. Create the .DNS TLD gives us a way to move beyond the squabbling.
Trapped by the Web! 02-Sep-2002 The web protocols are great for pushing documents but we must not confuse a web site with a service. Your need to focus on service, not a web site.
About Binding 02-Sep-2002 The DNS is a mechanism for associating stable identifiers with volatile IP addresses. The dotDNS simply removes the impediments to effective use of binding for maintaining relationships on the Internet but it's also important to understand the concept in its own right.
dotDNS 02-Sep-2002 Short abstract of the dotDNS proposal.
The Cable Racket!! 26-Aug-2002 What gives ATT the right to grab revenue from a company just because it uses their wires? Something is very wrong and I hope that these kinds of arrangements will make it more obvious.
So You Want to be Secure 11-Aug-2002 Security is about a lot more than keeping the bad guys out a lot less. We shouldn't confuse stasis with security.
Blogging, Spam and Discovery 10-Aug-2002 Blogging is being "discovered" by the mainstream press and they view it in their image. But it is a lot more interesting when viewed as a way to exchange information and compared with others approaches such as advertising and its feral cousin, spam.
Annoyances and more 08-Aug-2002 Mainly a pointer to recent articles on Frankston.com and some comments on the difficulties in using computers.
(East (New (York))), (New (York)) 31-Jul-2002 In visiting the neighborhood I grew up I was struck by the sign for E New York Ave. But the street is named after East New York, not New York. Ambiguity is everywhere. Too bad the ICANN seems to be in denial.
The Economist, the Internet, Telecom and the Dow 31-Jul-2002 I greatly respect The Economist as a business magazine yet even they seem to treat the woes of the telecom sectors as a symptom of problems with technology rather than seeing the woes as the result of the rise of new vibrant sectors.
Various annoyances and related issues 06-Jul-2002 We tend to underestimate the pervasive effect of seeming innocuous design issues yet they have large implications, especially as they accumulate. In itself each annoyance seems minor. The challenge is seeing which of them are leverage (or tipping?) points. After all, the Internet Protocols are trivial yet they mooted a trillion dollar telecom industry.
Redesigning Frankston.com 06-Jul-2002 The first major redesign of this site since 1998.
Check Engine! Why? 06-Jul-2002 The car is designed by them for us. It needn't be and shouldn't be.
Interesting Articles 03-Jul-2002 Pointers without further comment
Caller ID and End-to-end 02-Jul-2002 The Caller-ID service on telephones provides a casebook study in the value of end-to-end design.
Blue in the tooth 02-Jul-2002 Pointers to some of my remarks on Bluetooth
Living a Lie? 09-Jun-2002 Without advocacy, it is hard to even know what is possible.
The FCC In Context 25-Apr-2002 Politics is often treated as a spectator sport. But the FCC is different in that we can do more and think about the fundamental issues rather than just betting on winners and losers.
The Importance of Encrypted IPV6 23-Apr-2002 The Internet has become a maze of twisting winding passages because the existing addressing scheme has been unable to keep up with the demands. The Internet has also become unsafe and we need to support responsible behavior by giving users the ability to maintain the integrity of their connections.
The "Magic" of the Internet 14-Apr-2002 The Internet seems to work by magic but if you look underneath you find it is very simple. A good example is email. You don't even need a program - you and send mail by simply typing and sending commands to the recipient's computer! The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is indeed simple!
Whither ICANN 27-Feb-2002 ICANN is aiding and abetting the .com tragedy
The Tragedy of the .COMs 14-Jan-2002 The problem with .com and the DNS. Originally posted on SATN
Beyond Telecom 30-Oct-2001 We have a communications infrastructure that based on the assumption that telephony and television are fundamental services. The Internet has demonstrated that they are both applications built upon packet-based connectivity. The marketplace has been unable to make this transition because we are locked into a complex regulatory structure defined by regulation.
The IBM PC at 20 and beyond. 03-Aug-2001 Written as part of the 20th anniversary of the IBM PC. How the PC has been a source of innovation and why it will continue to be a place to experiment and not just another appliance.
DNS - Safe Haven 02-Aug-2001 This is a proposal to address issues that threaten to entangle the infrastructure of the Internet with political and policy issues. Updated
The Internet is Not Television 02-May-2001 An extended letter to the editors of Wired Magazine in response to a May 2001 cover story which demonized the Internet simply because it doesn't make sense to those whose vision of the world is limited to television as we know it.
The Prerogatives of Innovation 15-Mar-2001 The Personal Computer and the Internet have given us wonderful opportunity to innovate and change the world. Yet there still seems to be a condescending attitude that drives companies to continue to design lame products and services that deny the value of innovation. These efforts are sadly misguided -- they promise simplicity and deliver only frustration.
Contents vs Connectivity 10-Feb-2000 The Internet is the source of disruptive innovation that has driven our "new" economy. But the Internet is now considered too important to tolerate any more disruption. With companies that own "content" also owning the consumer's connections to the Internet, we no longer have a marketplace to advocate improving or even maintain connectivity.
Beware the Broadcasters 09-Feb-2000 This column appeared in the Boston Software News. It part of my writings on the issues of the IP infrastructure.
CES 2000 Debrief 10-Jan-2000 This is a debrief I wrote of CES 2000.
Open Access 11-Nov-1999 As we build Internet connectivity atop the existing telecommunications infrastructure we need to assure that there is a separation between connectivity and the services that are built upon the connectivity.
Much Fuss about the DNS 12-Jul-1999 The domain names (as in www.frankston.com) seem to be a scarce resource as companies try to secure their own ".com" names. There are also too few Internet addresses to go around. Alas, the "crisis" is due to a lack of understanding of the role of the domain names. There are more appropriate mechanisms already available.
Columns 04-Jul-1998 (Updated: 25-May-1999 These columns represent a first attempt at posting short opinions
The IP Infrastructure 12-Apr-1999 This essay captures much of what I've been trying to explain about what the IP infrastructure really is and what it means. Very briefly, it provides a connected infrastructure and creates a new marketplace that takes advantage of this connectivity. In order to understand this it is necessary to have a basic understanding of what underlies the Internet. This understanding is necessary for those making policy decisions and is essential for being a literate member of today's society. I'm writing companion essays on the new literacy and on the difference between computer science and the needs of the IP infrastructure. If you'd like to be notified when they are available, [Notification], "send me a note"
Y2K, Area Codes etc 20-Mar-1999 The Y2K problem and Area Code splitting are the results of failing to understand the difference between how we use information informally and how we must representation it in computer systems and on the Web.
Newton 2000 24-Nov-1998 Suggestions for how, a suburb of Boston, Newton, Ma can use the IP infrastructure and related technologies to make the city operate more efficiently and be a better place to live.
Extending Email Addressing 21-Oct-1998 Email addressing has a serious flaw. Unlike the paper mail which allows you to use any name you want, with email you must register each one with your service provider and often pay a fee. This is a proposal to extend email addressing to support the extensibility necessary for universal use of email.
Demo Letter: Article on Home Networking 01-Aug-1998 This short piece focuses on IP as the enabling technology.
Internet Myths and Public Policy 27-May-1998 Originally written in response to a desire to provide Email to all. Without a proper understanding of the technology, setting policies to implement this is very likely to have the perverse effect of insuring just the opposite!
Home Connectivity 06-May-1998 The terms "Home Networking" and "Home Automation" are often used to describe what I prefer to be calling "Home Connectivity and Control". The confusion in terminology is symptomatic of the difficulty in a real but often misunderstood need.
Universal Service 26-Apr-1998 An argument that the social policy of universal access (via the Universal Service fund) is outdated and a threat to advancement in telephony.
The Holmesian Fallacy 19-Apr-1998 Sherlock Holmes makes for great fiction, but depending upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for lessons in reasoning is a very bad idea.
IP Everywhere 06-Apr-1998 The IP Infrastructure has the potential for being a vital resource, but we are at a point where a lack of understanding by policy makers and an emphasis on supporting legacy systems threatens to leave the Internet a much less effective medium than it could be.
Phone Numbers 07-Mar-1998 The idea of a phone number should be very simple -- each phone has a number. But, in practice, we are burdened with special case rules such as when we must or must not dial a "1" or an area code. We must also constantly monitor changes to these rules such as area code splits. This complexity is the result of policies rather than technical reasons.
Leap Seconds 07-Mar-1998 Leap second seems trivial but we have an inherent ambiguity in how we deal with time and computation. The value of a time, such as the year 2000, cannot be determined ahead of time!
Firewalls 25-Feb-1998 Mechanisms like firewalls have the downside of frustrating effective use of the network, while providing only the illusion of security. Updated with comments about malicious programs sent via email.
The Internet and Consumer Electronics 01-Dec-1997 Presented at the IEEE Consumer Electronics conference in Singapore. This is available as part of the ISCE proceedinghere
Beyond Limits 01-Mar-1997 PDFA chapter from the ACM Book, Beyond Calculation. It focuses on how innovation has driven, and will continue to drive, computing.
Rethinking Operating Systems 01-May-1995 An unpublished draft explaining that current operating systems are the result of an evolutionary process and are still focused on the needs of the 1960's.
Bob Demos the web in 1994 01-May-1994 📹 (video) Video of Bob Frankston's tour of the WWW in 1994
Rush Hour 1997 01-Aug-1989 An amusing look at the mid 90's, written in 1989. It now seems to be less absurd than it was meant to be.
Multics Lightweight Processes 03-Mar-1974 A pair of memos I wrote about implementing a tasking mechanism on Multics. Mainly for those who are very curious about arcane details of computing history.
The Computer Utility as a Marketplace for Computer Services (TR-128) 31-Jan-1974 My Master's Thesis. (1974). Probably one of the earliest discussions of Internet-based electronic commerce. It addresses the issues of what are now called micro-transactions.
Bob Frankston
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