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Preview: Bob Frankston's Writings

Bob Frankston's Writings



Bob Frankston's essays and whatever else



Last Build Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2016 19:02:22 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 1994-2016 Bob Frankston
 



An Alien “Drove” my car

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 23:13:51 GMT

AI 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.



Re Question. Re Today is a remarkable day for the Internet! [IP Letter]

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 16:58:12 GMT

The end-to-end argument is about being to ignore the network rather assuring a connection between end pointts.



Trump’s Financial Naïveté

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:43:08 GMT

Trump has a very simplistic view of money. [From Facebook]



Mobile Edge Computing

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:34:37 GMT

When 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.



Infrastructure for a Connected World

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 11:02:07 GMT

Connected 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






re Tales from Comcast's data cap nation: Can the meter be trusted? [IP Letter]

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 10:05:50 GMT

Data caps are tolerated because of false analogies.



ANTIC Interview 226 - Bob Frankston, co-developer of Visicalc [external]

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 11:04:59 GMT

Interview with Kevin Savetz about the history of Atari and more ... You can go to YouTube for the video.



The Stories of Software

Fri, 12 Aug 2016 13:03:33 GMT

The 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.



What is a "Neutral Network" [external]

Sun, 24 Jul 2016 12:19:24 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Tue, 19 Jul 2016 01:39:20 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Fri, 15 Jul 2016 00:00:00 GMT

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.



The Internet as Our New Infrastructure

Mon, 04 Jul 2016 12:31:50 GMT

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.



Re This dark side of the Internet is costing young people their jobsand social lives [IP Letter]

Sat, 21 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT

"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 [IP Letter]

Fri, 13 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Another reminder that security is about trust relationships and people. There isn't a magic fix.



Broadband Data Caps Pressure 'Cord Cutters' [IP Letter]

Fri, 22 Apr 2016 18:20:29 GMT

FCC should be addressing data caps rather than just focusing on the legacy set top box.



80/20 Consumer Electronics

Tue, 19 Apr 2016 20:19:23 GMT

I learn by doing and creating my own solutions. This gives me a chance to experience the future and see beyond the present. Join me in exploring the possibilities.



End-to-End Arguments in System Design [external]

Sun, 20 Mar 2016 11:23:27 GMT

A seminal paper about the design point of the Internet by Saltzer, Reed and Clark



VisiCalc History and more [external]

Sat, 12 Mar 2016 10:16:53 GMT

Dan Bricklin's VisiCalc repository



Before Excel there was VisiCalc: An interview with its creators [external]

Sat, 23 Jan 2016 22:06:27 GMT

Interview by Business Insider with Dan Bricklin and myself talking about the history of VisiCalc.



VCF East 10 - History of VisiCalc - Bob Frankston [external]

Sat, 23 Jan 2016 16:59:23 GMT

I had fun talking to the Vintage Computer Festival in New Jersey last spring - VCF 10



A Hackers Vacation

Fri, 01 Jan 2016 17:04:45 GMT

What I learned on my summer vacation.



Netflix vs. Caps vs. Neutrality vs. The Internet [IP Letter]

Sat, 19 Dec 2015 09:41:15 GMT

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)



The Frankston Challenge [external]

Tue, 10 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT

Dan Bricklin does a great job explaining the need for Ambient Connectivity.



Zero-Rating vs. The Internet [circleid]

Wed, 04 Nov 2015 21:02:42 GMT

The idea of setting the rate for a given class of content is a concept that comes from the traditional world of telecommunications. It doesn't map into the raw packets of the Internet that are carried apart from their context.



The Internet is about Relationships

Fri, 30 Oct 2015 11:30:47 GMT

A big idea of the Internet is that we can focus on the relationships between two end points (devices) and not worry about what is between.



Identity Chaos, Courtesy of Your Federal Government - The New YorkTimes [IP Letter]

Sat, 17 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT

If we're going to use the SSN as a primary identify we should update it from the 1930's design point.



This guy bought Google.com for $12 - CNET [IP Letter]

Fri, 02 Oct 2015 11:40:20 GMT

The DNS -- yet another oops.



Undercover New Hampshire police nab cellphone ban violators / AKAbanning photography [IP Letter]

Thu, 01 Oct 2015 15:32:00 GMT

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" [IP Letter]

Sun, 27 Sep 2015 18:24:00 GMT

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" [IP Letter]

Sat, 19 Sep 2015 20:28:00 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Mon, 31 Aug 2015 00:00:00 GMT

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.






Why Can't We Be Like South Korea?

Sat, 01 Aug 2015 17:27:59 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Thu, 23 Jul 2015 18:54:00 GMT

What sucks is the idea that you can't owner your very identity nor reputation!



#APIFirst: How Things Speak to Each other

Tue, 21 Jul 2015 17:42:40 GMT

If we are to understand the world of connected devices we need to look behind the surface of the web to the APIs (Application Program Interfaces) that are the building blocks for the services we use and the ways devices “listen”. The hashtag #APIFirst emphasizes the importance of this foundation.



When Algorithms Discriminate

Mon, 13 Jul 2015 19:31:03 GMT

We tend have faith in algorithms as if they represent a divined truth.



A Software-(re)Defined World.

Wed, 08 Jul 2015 21:35:36 GMT

My Keynote from the ICCE conference in Taiwan June 2015



For Start-Ups, How Many Angels Is Too Many? [IP Letter]

Tue, 07 Jul 2015 19:01:46 GMT

Is angel investing become too much like a lottery?



Re: Where is Google taking us? [IP Letter]

Mon, 06 Jul 2015 09:46:00 GMT

Google is doing interesting projects but let's remember that they have a neat trick and not a crystal ball.



Chicago’s cloud tax [IP Letter]

Thu, 02 Jul 2015 09:55:00 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Thu, 28 May 2015 17:07:00 GMT

Yet another reminder of how ICANN is more about classic telecom providing services rather than empowering us.



Deconstructing Television: Delivery, Content, and Policy

Fri, 24 Apr 2015 22:26:49 GMT

The business “Television” as we know it is very much tied to the accidental properties of 1930’s vintage technology. We need to rethink very part of the technology and the industry.



Re how to Beat a Polygraph Test - NYTimes.com [IP Letter]

Mon, 13 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT

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? [IP Letter]

Thu, 09 Apr 2015 10:23:00 GMT

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

Wed, 01 Apr 2015 13:16:03 GMT

Products that do their own reorders may create ecosystems that may give a strong advantage to incumbents.



re Caught on camera: ICANN CEO slams team probing who will hold internet's keys of power [IP Letter]

Wed, 25 Mar 2015 21:48:21 GMT

More DNS gaming of names for profit



In science, irreproducible research is a quiet crisis [IP Letter]

Sun, 22 Mar 2015 12:29:00 GMT

IPIrreperoducible



Quora Question: What Is It Like to Have Been Programming for the Past Fifty Years? [external]

Sat, 21 Mar 2015 22:03:17 GMT

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.



Cancer genetic tests offered on websites often not all they promiseto be, Dana-Farber study finds - Metro - The Boston Globe [IP Letter]

Sat, 21 Mar 2015 09:26:00 GMT

While there is value in big data many of the expectations are driven by marketing rather than real science.



DL- GOOGLE Makes Us GODS (via Iona Miller) like Icarus [IP Letter]

Fri, 20 Mar 2015 18:02:40 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Mon, 16 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMT

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 [external]

Mon, 16 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMT

A prescient paper by Bob Fano from 1967 on the information utility.



Further Reading

Wed, 18 Feb 2015 12:21:47 GMT

Any one essay can only skim the surface. For further reading ...



Internet-Native Policies [circleid]

Tue, 17 Feb 2015 23:22:40 GMT

Amid 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 [external]

Sat, 14 Feb 2015 14:01:11 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:36:00 GMT

Verizon looks to wireless for profits but that may not last long



Silicon Valley's Mirror Effect - The New Meritocracy [IP Letter]

Sat, 27 Dec 2014 09:21:39 GMT

The rise of the meritocracy risks policies based on the hindsight bias.



Putting it all Together?

Thu, 25 Dec 2014 13:53:46 GMT

The 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.



What infrastructure is needed for positively disruptive technology

Sun, 30 Nov 2014 13:39:27 GMT

The talk I gave to ISOCNY November 11 2014 aimed at helping policymakers revisit their "givens".



Trying to talk about the future using the vocabulary of the past [IP Letter]

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:33:15 GMT

It is very difficult to talk about connectivity policy when the very vocabulary implicitly assumes the 19th framing of telecommunications.



House Republicans just passed a bill forbidding scientists fromadvising the EPA on their own research [IP Letter]

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:36:00 GMT

If you don't like reality pretend it doesn't exist.



Re NYC to blanket the city in free public Wi-Fi with 10,000 stations [IP Letter]

Mon, 17 Nov 2014 21:09:00 GMT

Another chance to play "Web or Internet".



Re: The Creepy New Wave of the Internet [IP Letter]

Mon, 17 Nov 2014 14:04:14 GMT

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 [external]

Mon, 03 Nov 2014 18:09:28 GMT

(image) “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 [external]

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:28:29 GMT

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

Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:45:12 GMT

The 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 [IP Letter]

Sun, 28 Sep 2014 13:02:00 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:39:00 GMT

Again with the caps that don't apply to the carriers' own content.



Science’s Sexual Assault Problem [Dewayne]

Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:06:14 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Sat, 13 Sep 2014 14:53:00 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Mon, 08 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMT

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 [external]

Sat, 06 Sep 2014 15:07:06 GMT

Another reminder why speed is the wrong focus for connectivity policy.



QoS -- the Intelligent network redux [IP Letter]

Sat, 30 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:17:07 GMT

If you repurpose an entertainment system expect it to be treated as a noncritical distribution system



Massachusetts licenses rejected in parts of Washington, D.C. - Nation - The Boston Globe [IP Letter]

Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:21:46 GMT

The battle over identity continues



Hands On with the HTC One M8 for Windows: The first OS-agnostic phone | Ars Technica [IP Letter]

Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:39:37 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Mon, 18 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMT

Jobs are an increasingly anachronistic method of wealth (re)distribution.



"Fast Lanes" Saved the Internet - not [IP Letter]

Mon, 04 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMT

We need to be aware of proof by example. We connect despite teleom rather than because of it.



Connectivity Policy

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:38:04 GMT

The 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.



Connectivity problem [IP Letter]

Thu, 10 Jul 2014 18:03:33 GMT

We are still dealing with the legacy of circuits using protocols and approaches which presume a common pipe for all packets and purposes.



re Is the End to End Principle of any use going forward? [IP Letter]

Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:13:55 GMT

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.



(Not) Getting the Message Across

Mon, 30 Jun 2014 17:28:47 GMT

If 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 [Dewayne]

Mon, 30 Jun 2014 10:32:16 GMT

Today's Internet as too many twisting winding passages rather than simple connectivity



'Wi-Fi First' - What still needs to happen -- [IP Letter]

Sun, 29 Jun 2014 12:08:39 GMT

Questions about "Agree" screens and their ilk.



'Wi-Fi First' - What still needs to happen -- [IP Letter]

Sat, 28 Jun 2014 21:46:56 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Mon, 23 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Sat, 21 Jun 2014 20:07:00 GMT

Let's be careful about using old telecom measures when we try to understand the Internet



Blast from the past? [IP Letter]

Mon, 19 May 2014 16:24:00 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Wed, 14 May 2014 22:47:58 GMT

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 [IP Letter]

Sun, 27 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT

Sure Aereo is a workaround copyrights but such workarounds are nothing new.



Heart bleed Highlights a Contradiction in the Web - NYTimes.com [IP Letter]

Sat, 19 Apr 2014 15:37:00 GMT

There's a lot of magical thinking iin expecting systems to work simply becuase they are supposed to.



Comcast: A simple remedy? [Dewayne]

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:52:05 GMT

We need to take a creative approach to new infrastructure



The Language of Smart Cities [IP Letter]

Sun, 13 Apr 2014 05:15:00 GMT

Another reminder of how much "smart cities" miss the lessons Jane Jacobs tried to teach us.



Re; Comcast: A simple remedy? [Dewayne]

Mon, 07 Apr 2014 00:21:01 GMT

We need to take a creative approach to new infrastructure elaborated



HTML5

Mon, 31 Mar 2014 15:44:20 GMT

HTML5 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 [IP Letter]

Sun, 30 Mar 2014 15:16:00 GMT

Big Data and IoT are exciting ideas but has the hype outstripped reality ... again?



Comsos - Science and motivation [IP Letter]

Sat, 08 Mar 2014 12:51:14 GMT

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 [circleid]

Fri, 07 Mar 2014 21:47:43 GMT

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 [external]

Mon, 03 Mar 2014 18:45:29 GMT

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.