Writings and Musings
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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: 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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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!
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.
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.
[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.
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] 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.
CFR: Our Copper, Fiber and Radios 29-Jan-2007
Our 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 …
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.