Writings and Musings

Bob Frankston (bio)

Welcome to my writings.

If you want the recent essays check out the sidebar on the left or, better, go to 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.

Note that I'm currently writing shorter transient posts on Facebook as "Bob Frankston". I'm gathering links here.

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 http://rmf.vc/keyword.

By default only the most recent posts are shown, to see:
Recent By Date Posts from the last few months
Columns Columns written in 1998-1999 -- blogging before blogs. Look here for my more recent columns.
All All posts -- hundreds

Writings and Updates by Date

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.

The Internet as Infrastructure FAQ 04-Dec-2017 (Updated: 13-Jul-2020 PDFWhen I write about the Internet as infrastructure I find some questions keep reappearing - hence this FAQ
5G: Telecom Versus The Internet 01-Jul-2017 (Updated: 20-Feb-2019 PDFMy July 2017 IEEE CE Magazine Column: Overview of the contrast between 5G and the Internet.
Assembly Required 01-Jan-2018 (Updated: 20-Dec-2017 PDFIncreasingly consumer devices are not just become smart but connected. We are only at the earliest stages of understanding this connectivity and how to give users the ability to manage the connections.
It's time to move from "Broadband to Infrastructure" 13-Dec-2017 PDFNetwork Neutrality is about the business of telecom vs. a future in which we can assume Ambient Connectivity.
Bob Frankston interview at ICCE Asia October 2017 19-Nov-2017 📹 (video) Interview by IEEECSocTV after my keynote.
Life (yet to be) Scripted 01-Jan-2014 (Updated: 21-Oct-2017 PDFThe goal of "home automation" seems to write rules to control our homes (and our lives) as if we were setting rules for a very smart butler. But the real world is more complicated and computers aren't omniscient butlers who can read our minds and anticipate every eventuality.
Whither Consumer Electronics 01-Oct-2017 PDFWhat is consumer electronics in an age where we use software rather than (just) electrons to create value. And when devices are defined by apps rather than hardware?
Operating System: A Relic of the Past 20-Mar-1996 (Updated: 20-Aug-2017 PDFA paper I presented in 1996 on why the classic operating system needs to be rethought.
Re Why Google Fiber Failed to Disrupt the ISPs 26-Jul-2017 A reminder that Google FIber is still in the old ISP model.
VisiCalc: The Visible Calculator 06-Jun-1979 (Updated: 14-Jul-2017 PDFThis is the paper I presented at the 1979 National Computer Conference where we introduced VisiCalc. You may also be interested in Implementing VisiCalc
Bots and Conversations 26-Mar-2017 PDF 📹 (video) Monage 2017: Bots and Conversations. With the Internet our conversations take place outside the networks.
An Alien “Drove” my car 01-Apr-2017 (Updated: 24-Mar-2017 PDFAI 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.
What is special about an Internet of Things 14-Mar-2017 PDFI've been reading reading papers about an "Internet of Things" but they tend to be old engineering approaches relabeled. What makes the Internet special is our ability to build on the big idea of "just works" or ambient connectivity and the ability to mix and match end points using this common facility.
5G (and Telecom) vs. The Internet 26-Feb-2017 PDF5G sounds like the successor to 4G cellular telephony and indeed that is the intent. While the progression from 2G to 3G, to 4G and now 5G seems simple, the story is more nuanced and gives us a chance to better understand the what and, more important, the why of the Internet.
Re 5G (Spectrum article) 02-Feb-2017 Spectrum doubles down on the 5G as the future though it's relaly the past.
Re: 5G (and Telecom) vs. The Internet 01-Feb-2017 Overview of the contrast between 5G and the Internet.
The real reason why Trump using an old Android phone should freak youout notsp 27-Jan-2017 The President is using a phone that makes it easy to tap into any conversation! Uh oh
TEDx 2016 Talk -- The Abundance of the Internet 25-Jan-2017 📹 (video) My talk from TEDx November 2016. Having grown up from when the technology was simple I see can see beyond the Internet and how it is so much more than just a network and just the web. It gives us the raw materials to create our own abundance.
Interview at StartupCon 2016 22-Jan-2017 📹 (video) Talking about my experience as a co-founder.
Techdirt's First Amendment Fight For Its Life / Ayyadurai again 12-Jan-2017 Ayyadurai's deep pocket fight over email continues to do collateral damage.
Time to Retire the Leap Second 03-Jan-2017 The leap second creates many problems in return for essentially no benefit. It is a leftover from the days when computers used the same notation people did for writing dates. Now that computers separate the representation from the presentation it's time to move on.
Trump questions quest for cybersecurity: 'No computer is safe' 02-Jan-2017 Normalizing Russian Cyberattacks is extremely dangerous. See also this and this follow up.
Site Insites 01-Jan-2017 PDFThis past summer I decided my website need to be refreshed. Rewriting the site from scratch in JavaScript (actually TypeScript) gave me a chance look beyond the façade of the web and better understand how the Web works and the simple mechanisms it is built on.
Bob Frankston
Copyright 1997-2023