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
well as external sites.
You can send me Email. Note this unique address
is only valid for the next few days.
The best way to link to a document is as
||By default only the most recent posts are shown, to
||Recent By Date
||Posts from the last few months
||Columns written in 1998-1999 -- blogging before blogs. Look here
for my more recent columns.
||All posts -- hundreds
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.