Writings and Musings
Welcome to my writings.
If you want the recent essays check out the sidebar on the left or, better,
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
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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.
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
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.
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.
QR Codes 02-Aug-2009
QR 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!
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.
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
Achieving 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.
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.
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?
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?
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.