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.

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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.

The Office of Connectivity Advocacy 05-Dec-2008 PDFWe need a connectivity advocate as part of a proactive agenda to assure connectivity and provide our economy with new opportunities. The Internet isn't a telecom service so we're not going to get there by fixing telecom. Instead we need a fresh start that can find value in our existing infrastructure and take the lead in providing new opportunity.
Hi-Speed Broadband vs Connectivity 04-Dec-2008 We need to be wary about a "broadband strategy" and recognize that it diverts our attention from the vital focus on connectivity using the resources we already have.
Repiking the pike and magical thinking -- and Verizon Wireless again! 04-Dec-2008 Why do we want to go back to the days when men turned pikes to allow you on their private highways. We should learn and liberate our information highways instead of privatizing our streets.
Re: amazing and appalling at the same time 04-Dec-2008 I welcome any advance in medicine -- even if only the use of clip boards. But we should expect so much more.
Amazing and appalling at the same time -- finding excitement in enabling technologies 04-Dec-2008 Too bad so few people are excited by mundane but vital projects. The result it
Re: Amazon iPhone App Lets You Buy Anything You Take a Picture Of 03-Dec-2008 Reading barcodes is just a start -- I want help in recognizing faces.
Becoming an Internet Native 21-Nov-2008 Become an Internet native is about more than seeing it as the "e-" version of the familiar. It is a chance to rethink the basic design of systems and see new opportunities.
The Internet and Opportunity 04-Nov-2008 We need to get past the very corrosive idea that the Internet works because the carriers know what's best for us. It's just the opposite -- it works despite their efforts. But as we see in this response to my further comments those who defend the carriers seem to find it necessary to attack the messenger rather than the message -- after all they insist they own the message.
Re: NY Times: People are watching much more online video 31-Oct-2008 Another reminder that we need to be aware of giving into our Malthusian fears of scarcity and deny ourselves our future. more on this topic
Re: ICANN proposes new way to buy top-level domains - Network World 30-Oct-2008 ICANN seems to be in the commercial web business rather than keeping to the task of supporting the Internet as infrastructure.
retro-spective (on the current Internet trajectory) and moving on 29-Oct-2008 Another reminder that we need to move beyond fixing today's prototype Internet and get to working on taking advantage of connectivity.
Whitespace is about Policy more than Physics 27-Oct-2008 When I read complex explanations of "whitespace" policy in terms of physics I'm tempted to correct the facts but then I realize that the physic is secondary. It's really about policy.
Re: Beware: T-Mobile's Voicemail Paging Trap 26-Oct-2008 The Google/Android G1 is a step forward but still hobbled by being trapped within the world of cellular.
The Great Firewall of China 26-Oct-2008 Just back from a wonderful trip to China -- I was surprised how easy it was to connect back home.
Re: Sour Grapes: Missing the Point About Google Android and the G1 07-Oct-2008 The Android is another opportunity to discover what we can do with technology. But it's also are reminder of how much more we need to do to give people the tools to take advantage of these opportunities.
Re: read both Google Phone "NORMAL" Data Users May be Throttled 04-Oct-2008 Sometimes a phone is just a phone but increasingly telephony is just another app. We need to be careful about basic policy on the assumption that it's all about phone calls.
Re: what is the cost of bb deployment 02-Oct-2008 Let's be careful we are asking the right questions before we ask for costs lest we just get prices.
Stock bounces 01-Oct-2008 How do you say oops when you don't control all consequences?
FW: [IP] British Telecom says bandwidth costs [price!] unsustainable. True? 24-Sep-2008 The CEO of British Telecom recognizes there is a problem with the telecom business model but the finger is still pointed at others rather than at the idea of telecom itself.
British Telecom says bandwidth costs PRICES unsustainable. True! So why haven't they collapsed? 24-Sep-2008 Telecom is indeed very expensive but that doesn't mean that it needs to be expensive. After decades of Moore's law style hypergrowth we should recognize an extreme violation of Moore's law as a symptom that something is very wrong. Also this
Re: How a few inches become 500 miles. 21-Sep-2008 The fact that a simple connection between two devices six inches apart in my house has to travel 500 miles is a good starting point for thinking about connectivity. You can also read the follow-up discussion
Re: Comcast's FCC Bailout Filing Today -- 911 and beyond 20-Sep-2008 Allowing Comcast to continue to operate a "broadband" network is akin to giving them a bailout. In return we should require a transition to an infrastructure appropriate for connectivity
Re: Official Message From Comcast 14-Sep-2008 Comcast acts as if we can't possibly need more than 250GB by citing bogus examples. It doesn't make much imagination to see that 250GB of traffic isn't not all that much.
Beyond ITU and the Internet -- neutrality as to purpose 14-Sep-2008 The importance of the Internet is that it is neutral as regards to purpose. We must not allow ourselves to be defined by providers' failures of imagination.
At the mercy of The Inscrutable Verizon and telecom itself 13-Sep-2008 I think I've resolved my problems with Verizon but I can't be sure because sometimes you need to see the data not hear about it. This confusion is indicative of larger problems with the concept of "telecom".
The ITU vs The Internet 13-Sep-2008 Sometimes policy goals and engineering realities are in conflict as is evidenced in talk of the ITU requiring protocols supporting traceability.
A comment on UAL stock price vs an old news story 11-Sep-2008 The price of United Airlines stock plummeted for a while due to an old story appearing as a new headline. Such is the nature of a marketplace in which the winner is the first one to hit the buzzer.
Re: "Regulating" the Internet -- and Distinctions -- ATM vs IP 11-Sep-2008 Network neutrality requires a structural change to telecom and it would also help to improve the IP itself.
Congress asks phone companies: Why are text prices rising? 10-Sep-2008 Congressman Kohl is asking why SMS prices have been raising. Perhaps he'll go further and ask why the telecom industry is able to take advantage of it's role as gatekeepers.
History note -- 1960's prices 03-Sep-2008 In 1960 transisters were expensive but so were computers.
It's hard to dance if your feet are bound 01-Sep-2008 Giving control of the infrastructure to the incumbents is akin to trying to dance with our feed bound.
Re: Do the Happy Dance people... strike 3 and you're out 01-Sep-2008 Comcast simply doesn't get it. They lie to the FCC about what they are doing and they promulgate arbitrary and seeming perverse policies. At some point we need to call them out. What if Comcast Transport and Comcast Content were separate companies. What if it had to follow the same rules as the rest of us?
Time to understand accounting rather than just bookkeeping V2 30-Aug-2008 It's useful to think of telecom industry in terms of accounting. Real accounting gives us measures used to guide decision making and set policy. Today's telecom is based on measures antithetical to the dynamic that is the Internet and one result is that the more connectivity we have the more the measures our out of kilter.
Re: Comcast's New "Two Strikes and You're Dead" Internet Usage Policy -- and More 29-Aug-2008 We keep getting told about what we can't do with the Internet and again and again we do better than that by innovating. One reason is that telecom uses measures to maximize the value to the industry and the Internet gives us a chance to maximize the value to those of us who use the network.
Re: Comcast's New "Two Strikes and You're Dead" Internet Usage Policy -- and More 29-Aug-2008 Today our cable TV system might seem like the natural and efficient way to distribute video content.. We need to remember the lesson of VoIP. Given a chance the Internet can be a far better allow us to do so much more than TV as it used to be. And we can do so at a far lower cost with far more capacity.
Bob raises an interesting and key question -- djf do read Comcast confirms 250GB cap effective October 1 29-Aug-2008 Having a limit on how much we can communicate with the rest of the world is bad enought but putting a limit on local connectivity is outrageous.
250GB: More Collateral Damage 29-Aug-2008 Comcast wants to limit the amount of content we use but the Internet isn't just about video.
Re: Broadband competition: Is this as good as it gets? 26-Aug-2008 Again -- facilities operators not service providers.
Re: Kennard: FCC on Shaky Ground in Comcast Decision 22-Aug-2008 We need to restructure the industry to separate facilities management and services if we are to have any hope of open opportunity.
Comcast Will Slow Heavy Web Users' Traffic for Up to 20 MinutesCan anyone define -- 21-Aug-2008 Legislating neutrality is frustrating -- rule out one outrage only to find another.
Re: more on the birth of the internet -- J C R Licklider 21-Aug-2008 The real history is more fascinating than the "simplified" history of the Internet.
Re: NSF and the Birth of the Internet 19-Aug-2008 I do believe in funding science but we need to be careful to find a balance between selling science and encouraging it
Re: California Declares Free Market Broken, Recommends Price Controls For Phone Services 17-Aug-2008 Why are we willing to argue for a lower charge for phone calls? The very idea of paying for phone calls is offensive. Would you put a postage stamp on email?
Re: US Internet speeds won't catch up with Japan in 100 years 16-Aug-2008 Higher speed from Comcast coming soon? Alas, we still need better protocols for scaling connectivity
Re: US Internet speeds won't catch up with Japan in 100 years -- that ISDN, oops, I mean broadband gap again 14-Aug-2008 Once again the broadband gap ... instead of the ability to create our own solutions.
Re: U.S. broadband adoption hits 7-year low 12-Aug-2008 A slowdown in the adoption of "broadband" is an indication that we are failing to take advantage of the potential of this infrastructure.
Re: Cablecos ponder networked DVRs in wake of Cablevision ruling 08-Aug-2008 It's nice the courts have endorsed the idea that we can cache bits remotely but why would we want a cable company to do it for us?
Re: That 5 gigabit cap is pulled back 06-Aug-2008 And yet another lesson -- why must be pay to use existing facilities that have no incremental cost just to talk to our neighbors or get emergency services or to get an education?
Re: When "free" is no longer free and other yarns 03-Aug-2008 Another lesson in why you don't make infrastructure a profit center
Re: Check out Essay - If You Run a Red Light, Will Everyone Know? - NYTimes.com 03-Aug-2008 Another reminder you are never innocent in the eyes of your neighbors.
Re: OPEC 2.0 -- Barrels vs Bandwidth 30-Jul-2008 We need to be careful about our analogies. Bandwidth is a measure and not a resource in itself. If we have bandwidth based pricing we create constrictions that limit our ability to connect and communicate.
We didn't need all that DRM after all?? 29-Jul-2008 It's encouraging to see P2P usage is down while getting content from original sources is increasing. While there may be value in controlling content we don't need the extreme control inherent in controlling the path from the source all the way to the screen.
Thought-provoking musings about decentralization and cypherpunk, from Danny O'Brien 25-Jul-2008 Just a reminder that the Internet wasn't built by using existing infrastructure. The goal was to be full decentralized but today's implementation falls short of that goal.
The Carriers' Perspective 24-Jul-2008 If we are to understand the issues behind the controversy over network neutrality we need to understand the carriers perspective. They are stuck with a business model that depends on sharing in the value generated using their wires. This puts them in conflict with the Internet and the creation of value using the network but outside the network. I a could argue that the carriers should've known better and that we paid for much of the infrastructure but better to encourage moving forward than being vindictive.
Re: Dueling broadband policies 23-Jul-2008 We need to recognize that our "broadband" policies are very confused and driven by perception rather than technology.
What if STBs accepted bits over IP vs the parallel universe of RG-6? 22-Jul-2008 We have two parallel universe. One in which content is locked into broadband silos and the other in which content is delivered using IP over any path. They are both fully function. Once we recognize this we can complete the transition and liberate ourselves from the constraints of broadband silos.
Cellular Scare -- byte caps extreme 22-Jul-2008 With all the talk about "byte caps" it's useful to look at what happens when you exceed your cellular minutes or, far worse, you pay for data by the byte. A simple error of being on the wrong plan could result in a $1000 charge for a $50 ... or worse.
Abducted! 20-Jul-2008 The efforts to do good often come at a price. Even more problematic then the real agenda is different as in trying to limit the Internet because it spread ideas and not all are "good".
A very strong reason universities should require students use P2P protocols. 14-Jul-2008 It's strange to see universities claiming that P2P is the enemy when the goal was to prevent the very problems it is supposedly causing. We should encourage more local P2P traffic rather than forcing us to fetch bits from afar again and again.
Telecoms Sue Over High-Speed Links 07-Jul-2008 The carriers can't allow people to create their own solutions.
MIT Tech review vs the Internet 06-Jul-2008 Too bad MIT's Technology Review is perpetuating the tired idea that the Internet is a clogged highway. (also see)
Re: BitTorrent now being used for piracy of textbooks 03-Jul-2008 Text books are a mechanism and not an end in themselves.
Linux Journal Interview 01-May-2008 (Updated: 29-Jun-2008 Doc Searls interviewed me for the May 2008 issue of Linux Journal.
Re: Japan's upload caps at 30GB...per day 26-Jun-2008 The 100Mbps miracle is a demo -- the reality is that you can't really make use of it. Be careful that you fully understand the illusion you are chasing.
Re: Priorities Amuck: ICANN Poised to Trigger Naming Quagmire 25-Jun-2008 Again people are piling on top of the DNS rather than addressing the basic problem of persistent relationships.See also this and this.
Re: Chrysler announces the rolling WiFi hotspot automobile 24-Jun-2008 It's great to see connectivity in cars but it's also a reminder to think more generally about connectivity.
Re: Net Neutrality: A Radical Form of Non-Discrimination by Hal Singer vs Hal Singer 22-Jun-2008 Follow up -- relying on QoS makes performance worse when the promise can't be kept.
Re: Net Neutrality: A Radical Form of Non-Discrimination by Hal Singer vs Hal Singer 22-Jun-2008 Once again we have an academic paper that makes arbitrary assumptions -- in this case the need for QoS -- and then proceeds to make policy recommendations as if the assumptions were facts. It's all-too-easy to accept conclusions that serve ideological needs and thus reinforce their private reality
FW: [IP] Net Neutrality: A Radical Form of Non-Discrimination by Hal Singer vs Hal Singer 22-Jun-2008 It's too easy to setup a strawman and then criticism a particular characterization of Network Neutrality.
Re: NebuAd Forges Packets, Violates Net Standards | Threat Level from Wired.com 20-Jun-2008 What's the difference between reading people's web traffic and reading their mail?
The Tiger Effect vs byte pricing? 19-Jun-2008 Did Tiger Woods "congest" the Internet?
ISOC France - asking for your backing 18-Jun-2008 There's an effort in France to apply social policy to something they call "The Internet". It's a reminder that NN issues are symptoms of deeper misunderstandings.
Re: ALSO MUST READ NYTimes.com: Charging by the Byte to Curb Internet Traffic "People seem to be missing the point." 15-Jun-2008 The carrier-created scarcity pits us against each other and diverts us from addressing the source of the scarcity -- the artifact of telecom.
getting to be interesting -- a scarcity-creating model 15-Jun-2008 When looking at economic models it's important to question the premises as well as the model. A clever model shouldn't lead us to accept false premises. Congestion pricing decreases supply when value comes from scarcity. (Note typo at end -- I meant to say increasing capacity is more efficient than managing scarcity)
Re: NYTimes.com: Charging by the Byte to Curb Internet Traffic 14-Jun-2008 The carriers continue to try to create value through scarcity -- why are they in the position to keep us impoverished?
Re: Update on ISP Actions Regarding C-Porn and Usenet 11-Jun-2008 Carriers that have policies defining what content is acceptable may find themselves having to choose between the content and transport businesses.
Update on ISP Actions Regarding C-Porn and Usenet 11-Jun-2008 Carriers that have policies defining what content is acceptable may find themselves having to choose between the content and transport businesses.
The ID Divide 09-Jun-2008 Once again a word, in this case "identity", makes it too easy talk about a complex concept without understanding what we don't understand.
Microsoft patents mandatory social policy?? 05-Jun-2008 Is Microsoft planning to implement mandatory social policy in our digital infrastructure?
Two Sides but Different Coins 26-May-2008 I applaud the call for civility in the debate over Internet policy issues vs telecom interests but there aren't two sides of a debate -- we have two different dynamics. The Internet is about creating solutions independent of what's in the middle. Telecom is all about what's in the middle. We need to come to terms with this fundamental difference if we are to have a productive discussion.
Why do we have to care so much about how to interpret what Comcast says and does? 24-May-2008 As long as we are distracted by trying to micromanage carriers into behaving we are missing the bigger issue -- why do we need to beg for permission to speak?
Network Neutrality: It's not just Common Carriage and Antirust 14-May-2008 I wrote this essay after a complex legal discussion about this history of common-carriage and antitrust and how it applies to telecom policy and antitrust. As I've written, those policies make sense when we are taking about Railroads. If we want to talk about the Internet we need to question precedents based on premises that no longer make sense.
Achieving Connectivity from the Edge 13-Mar-2008 (Updated: 14-May-2008 Very simply the Internet is about relationships that are independent of the path and intermediaries. This is what makes it easy to create new value and our own solutions. The telecom industry is just the opposite - it's all about making sure intermediaries can charge a fee even if they not only don't create new value but work hard to prevent it.
GIOVE-B Transmitting its First Signals 13-May-2008 Getting more sources of location information is good but we need to more than rely on satellites. If we are to get the benefits of knowing the location of device and people we need better protocols and better availability of the data even when satellites are not directly visible.
More on the Internet vs TV and beyond 24-Apr-2008 The revolution has happened already. The Internet can already displace the current TV distribution system. Imagine if we took advantage of this abundant capacity for peer connectivity.
How carriers mismanage traffic and then blame us 22-Apr-2008 We need to be careful to avoid getting so focused on the problems in trying to repurpose a content delivery system as peer infrastructure that we forget that it's a transient problem. If start by assuming a common infrastructure and then remove the bottlenecks we'll find we have abundant capacity at a very low cost.
South Park says it better 21-Apr-2008 This episode parodies the popular notion that the Internet is something that can crash. Perhaps more telling is the meta-message -- they very idea that I can simply give you a URL to a TV show bypasses the entire broadcast and telecom infrastructure as if it added no value. Alas, you can't watch the show from outside the US as the infrastructure is used to limit the availability and value of the content (or to create artificial value through synthetic scarcity).
Re: how does one define "capacity" 20-Apr-2008 We typically think of capacity in terms of bits per second or a technical measure? But that misses the point - shouldn't we think of capacity in social terms or human terms such as the entertainment value we can deliver or the learning we do?
Re: AT&T: Internet to hit full capacity by 2010 19-Apr-2008 An ATT spokesperson warns us that the "Internet" will run out of capacity ... what does that even mean?
FCC: Moving Beyond Neutrality. 26-Feb-2008 (Updated: 15-Apr-2008 The FCC is holding hearings on "Network Management" in response to the concerns over network neutrality. I've been pleased to see that the FCC is taking steps to limit the carriers' practices but ultimately the problem of neutrality cannot be solved in isolation. The basic problem is that service-based regulator system forces the carriers to take advantage of their control to finance their infrastructure. This is true whether we have a traditional phone company or a municipal system (a "muni-bell"). The FCC can play a positive role in removing the impediments to local ownership and work with the carriers to revisit divestiture but this time effect real restructuring so we can have a shared infrastructure.
"Every Click You Make " Re: [IP] BT admits tracking 18,000 users with Phorm systems in 2006 - and every swipe 04-Apr-2008 Issuing rebates via credit card creates another opportunity for tracking my behavior while making it difficult to spend the full amount of the rebate.
Re: Comments by American Consumer Institute -- misunderstandings in masquerading as facts. 04-Apr-2008 The ACI policy statement presents common misunderstandings as "facts". These aren't facts at all but they do reflect how people think about connectivity policy issues. For this reason it's important to respond and explain how the Internet is not a thing that we must divvy up according to arbitrary management rules.
FW: [IP] Comcast HD Quality Reduction: Details, Screenshots - AVS Forum 02-Apr-2008 Dividing a common medium into separate paths decreases effective capacity as we see with Comcast resorting to compression to fit more channels into their broadband pipes. It's difficult to add compression as an after-the-fact solution. We can indeed compress video signals if we due sufficient computation but it requires stepping back from the isochronous streaming constraint of traditional television.
Re: Comcast increasing compression of some HD sources 02-Apr-2008 Our fixation on speed as the primary measure of "broadband" value we've lost sight of the importance of connectivity itself. In turn we look to something we can do with speed -- video. In particular HDTV. Yet even for video innovation is far more important than arbitrary standards. It's as if we confused typing speed with the ability to write and think. Speed is easy – we should be demanding ubiquitous (wireless) connectivity rather than more 1950's style TV.
Re: Hope for Wireless Cities. (revised for clarity) 31-Mar-2008 Another perspective on how the Internet isn't an improved version of traditional telecom. Internetworking is a pragmatic approach do creating our own solutions. We need to be careful to avoid confusing the bits with their meaning – the problem is not in the network but in ourselves. Given this confusion it's useful to look at the premise that HD is just about lots of bits at high speed. This focus on technical measures misses the point of television as entertainment for humans. It's as if we confused the ability to type with the ability to tell a compelling story.
Re: Hopes for Wireless Cities Fade as Internet Providers Pull Out 28-Mar-2008 This is part of an ongoing attempt to explain how the Internet is very different from the traditional telecom view of the world. Many efforts to provide local connectivity, including municipal Wi-Fi are simply local version of traditional carriers (I use the term muni-bell). I wrote about this in WiFi Edge. This goes into more detail in responding to counter-arguments.
Re: Economics is Dismal 22-Mar-2008 When you listen to economists you must examine the presumptions. We shouldn't accept a dismal conclusion based on the presumption of scarcity when know that measures like bandwidth are arbitrary and don't represent the potential capacity available.
Re: Misplaced Hopes for Wireless Cities Fade as Internet Providers Pull Out 22-Mar-2008 These failures give me hope because I see them as a confirmation that they are the wrong model. Ubiquitous coverage is important but it must be infrastructure and not a patchwork of billable paths and without perverse distinctions between wired and wireless bits.
Re: Comcast claims FCC can't control Comcast's Internet practices 20-Mar-2008 As long as Comcast is trusted with our ability to communicate they must respect our rights.
Pacman or sheet music and ESPN strong-arming 16-Mar-2008 The more I think about the idea of taxing "The Internet" (whatever that is) to pay for someone to play music the more absurd it gets.
Re: DNS Redirection: The Plot Thickens 15-Mar-2008 The carriers shouldn't be second-guess application protocols. It make it difficult to move beyond the past.
Emergency Broadcasting via Cellular -- our lives held hostage? 15-Mar-2008 Cellular systems seem to have an emergency alert capability but it's not turned on because the carriers supposedly have no business case for saving lives.
Re: Music industry proposes a piracy surcharge on ISPs 13-Mar-2008 Why do some people think the music will stop unless they can get a cut of the action from our Internet? It's not all about them.
Re: VoIP competitors try to avoid spitting on their subscribers 11-Mar-2008 It's nice that the carriers, VoIP or otherwise, want to protect me from voice SPAM but I'd much rather get the ability to protect myself. They are using IP but it's still telephony.
Re: [IP] Optical Data Transmitted Over 1, 500 Miles At 16.4 Tbps 03-Mar-2008 Another reminder that the problem with speed is that it is too easy to move bits quickly and in doing so they threat the business model of those who want to make us pay high prices for networking. Those who cite the "broadband gap" contribute to the idea that it's expensive and difficult.
Re: INTELLIGENT network management? (far from IP) 02-Mar-2008 "Intelligent" network management misses the point of the Internet
Re: Competition 01-Mar-2008 Maybe we need a new term "natural commons" for cases where it's hard to have competing exclusive ownership but we want to encourage everyone to contribute.
Re: FCC paths to Internet network management? A thin thin slice of pie anyone? 29-Feb-2008 What is this concept of "disrupting others"? Isn't that the whole point of the first amendment and any marketplace? By its very nature we have competing interests. The question is how these competing interests are resolved.
INTELLIGENT network management? (far from IP) 29-Feb-2008 If you require QoS for VoIP then you have the PSTN not the Internet. Period.
FCC Hearing today (Monday, 25-02-2008) 26-Feb-2008 I was encouraged by the FCC hearings on network neutrality. I'm now focusing on moving ahead to argue for infrastructure rather than settling for neutrality.
BS and FCC v Us and Comcast v ATT 16-Feb-2008 The carriers' network management policies seem to belie their claims of a crisis. There is not consensus that there is a long term problem. Instead their short term strategies highlight the fundamental problem -- they are managing their network rather than fulfilling their mission of serving our communities. The problem isn't a question of network management - it's about whose network they are managing.
NN is about users, not providers! 15-Feb-2008 Focusing too much on the plight of small ISPs or even large ones misses the point of the Network Neutrality debate. It's not about how they manage the networks -- it's about our ability to communicate without having to serve the business needs of providers we are forced to use.
Re: "Deep Packet Inspection" Trade Group 12-Feb-2008 The idea that you must peek at every packet to determine how to handle it misses the point of the Internet. Unfortunately such assumptions go unquestioned by many of those who see telecommunications from a network-centric perspective.
Re: "Deep Packet Inspection" Trade Group 12-Feb-2008 The post office doesn't inspect my letters -- it just follows the instructions on the envelope. Why do network operators decide they can and should snoop?
That Olde Tyme Broadband -- again. 01-Feb-2008 Another demand for more broadband. Inarticulate rage has risks. Broadband is just a package the Internet comes in. And it comes despite the package not because of it! It's a testament to the power of the ideas behind the Internet that we can get value even though the very idea of telecommunications is dysfunctional -- the more we get the less viable the carrier business is.
Re: Holy War! Researchers say EEs have a 'terrorist mindset' 31-Jan-2008 The issue is not so much "Terrorist Mindset" as "Engineer's Mindset". That's a naming calling and rather than observation.
Imagine no FCC 30-Jan-2008 Imagine a world without the FCC and without a telecommunications industry. How would we communicate? The FCC is supposed to assure we can communicate but instead has become agency that has assured scarcity rather than abundance.
Re: Speculation, how AT&T can implement "copyright filtering" without wiretapping/dpi... 29-Jan-2008 I consider multicast to be more of an application protocol than a network protocol. It's attractive because it seems just like broadcast TV. But without the constrains of today's telecom policies why would we want to broadcast the same content to everyone everywhere at the same time?
Re: the idiots at comcast suddenly started 18-Jan-2008 Port 25 blocking is annoying and problematic but, for now, I've come to terms and find advantages in relaying my mail through third parties that can vouch for me.
Re: Regulating the Invisible Hand: A Contradiction? 17-Jan-2008 We must be careful when talking about (de)regulation to recognize when we are trying to manage the results vs. managing a dynamic that we can't fully control. What we can do is try to prevent obvious dysfunctional behavior (as we see with telecom) and find a balance between cooperation and collusion that frustrates marketplace dynamics.
Re: F.C.C. to Look at Complaints Comcast Interferes With Net - New York Times 16-Jan-2008 A reminder that traditional telecommunications is about solutions provided by a network operator. The Internet is about finding solutions without depending on there even being a designated "network".
Re: [ NNSquad ] Richard Bennett on Comcast and Fairness (from IP) 14-Jan-2008 A good engineer works within the constraints given -- a great engineer questions the constraints and gets fired because the constraints serve a policy need higher than mere science or reality. One can argue about Comcast's approach but far more important to question the constraints and focus on making the inherent abundance available to all.
Re: Your Thermostats or Your Life! 13-Jan-2008 The real lesson of the Internet in understanding how to create distributed solutions. Too bad we still try to impose arbitrary "intelligent" solutions rather than working with dynamic marketplaces that can evolve.
Net Neutrality vs Moral Court 12-Jan-2008 The very idea of that a network provider gets to decide what the nature of our communications is problematic (and offensive). It's not simply a matter of treating everyone equally because still leaves the measure in the hands of carriers whose arbitrary assumptions cannot be challenged. We needn't settle for "equally bad".
Re: Can You Go to Prison for Lying to a Web Site? 11-Jan-2008 When reading about a new outrage associated with the Internet we have every reason to worry as our laws are stretched to achieve immediate emotional satisfaction as it creates future hazards.
CES Rap -- In the net no net 10-Jan-2008 This year's CES has a swallowed the Internet with 'nary a burp. None of that annoying distruption.
Bob Frankston
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