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
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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.
Refactoring Consumer Electronics 24-Dec-2012 (Updated: 19-Oct-2014
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 IEEE version is available here)
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.