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" with public access. I may create a file with links to some of them if there is interest.

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.

Assembly Required 20-Nov-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.
Bob Frankston interview at ICCE Asia October 2017 19-Nov-2017 📹 (video) Interview by IEEECSocTV after my keynote.
Life (yet to be) Scripted 23-Dec-2013 (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.
Further Reading 18-Feb-2015 (Updated: 11-Oct-2017 PDFAny one essay can only skim the surface. For further reading ...
Whither Consumer Electronics 23-Sep-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.
5G: Telecom Versus The Internet 14-Jun-2017 (Updated: 27-Jun-2017 PDFMy July 2017 IEEE CE Magazine Column: Overview of the contrast between 5G and the Internet.
The Stories of Software 12-Aug-2016 (Updated: 03-Jun-2017 PDFThe concept of software has evolved from the early days of programming when each minute step of had to be described in detail. Yet the challenges remain because, ultimately, software is about sharing our understandings with devices that will act as our agents. I learn a lot writing these columns. This one made me think about what software is and why automatic programming succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations yet has seems to have succeeded at all.
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 18-Oct-2016 (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.
Bob Frankston
Copyright 1997-2017