November 2002 Archives

Japan Times
The Japan Times Online Microsoft to reveal source code to Japan, which has eyed Linux

Microsoft Corp. will disclose the source code of the Windows operating system to the Japanese government in line with the government's e-Japan project, company officials said Wednesday.

I recently made a public comment on the record at the oversight committee for the National ID about Microsoft and trying to get them to open up the source code. I wonder if this had any effect. I guess we must all have had an effect. I assume many people have been saying this. It's a great step forward, even if it is just MS trying to keep Linux out.

P504iS01289.jpgSo yesterday's discussion with Hiroo Yamagata and Lawrence Lessig went well. It was a lot of fun and I think a constructive discussion. Hiroo was in good form. But he usually is... in person. ;-) He had written something negative about Mr. Ikeda in the afterward of translation of "The Future of Ideas" and had gotten in a dispute with Mr. Ikeda. He had just finished the battle and I guess they have both gotten over it now. Maybe Hiroo was just tired from that. I do generally agree with Hiroo's position, although maybe not the way he said it. I think Mr. Ikeda and others had inferred that Larry was against privacy policies. In a mailing list Mr. Ikeda had said that my efforts to stop the National ID were futile and that we didn't have any privacy anyway. The struggle for privacy is a struggle of data structures and can be achieved without destroying the end-to-end nature of the Net. It think it is simplistic to equate privacy with control of the Net. I just finished reading Hiroo's English translation of his afterward. It's quite good. He should post it on the Net.

Hiroo Yamagata
Freedom is supposed to be a good thing. People say Communism died and Freedom prospered, so freedom should be good. But when you ask these people to explain the actual benefits of freedom, hardly anyone can give you a meaningful answer. This isn't (necessarily) because they are stupid. It's because freedom itself doesn't do anything. Freedom is just an environment that allows you to do something.

We talked about the issues from the book and the Japan context. When is going to happen to physical layer, code layer and content layer in Japan?

Are the wires, the spectrum and fiber going to be opened up in Japan? It sure looks like we're headed that way. The government seems quite incapable of stopping the ADSL players from eating NTT's lunch and there is serious discussion of opening up the spectrum.

The code layer is a mess. I talked about the National ID and the fact that lack of understanding about the architecture of the Net is causing Japan to launch itself into a direction without much discussion about the policy of code. We talked about how many people talk about end-to-end, but don't really understand it's high level political ramifications. On the other hand, it's better to have people believing in it and writing code with that philosophy to fight off the circuit-heads who try to make the Network smart and make connections look like circuits. I think education and discussion about the political ramifications of architecture and code are essential, but having a lot of people educated with the right philosophy vis a vis network architecture, security, privacy, and free software (even if they don't understand all off the political issues) is better than nothing.

Content... We don't have MS or Hollywood and most patents and copyright extensions hurt Japan economically. It is very frustrating that Japan tries to "harmonize" with the US and doesn't realize that if they are going to give up something that is a net loss for Japan, they should negotiate for something in return. This is at the government level. At a more basic level, I think Japan should try to run an end-run around these guys with some new idea about how to deal with content. I guess the fact that Sony has a content business in the US and that big Japanese technology companies have "figured out" the patent thing puts these guys in a neutral to hostile position on this issue and doesn't help move this forward...

I gave a copy of Dogs and Demons to Hiroo who knows the construction industry well. It will be interesting to see what he thinks of it.

I think the Japanese are very non-active right now and has Hiroo points out in his afterward, Japan didn't have "the Framers" like Thomas Jefferson who "got it" to inspire the legal professionals to pound the table like Larry. I think it's going to take a lot of luck to get it right in Japan... but for better or for worse, the "other side" is not very smart either so we just MIGHT get lucky. Does this sound depressing?

Had the Lessig's, Jiro Kokuryo, Sen, Yoon and Neeraj over for Thanksgivings Dinner. Didn't cook the turkey ourselves this year so it wasn't a REAL Thanksgivings, but it was better than no turkey.

Sen and Yoon... Thanks for doing all of the work.

Funny thing is, I'm seeing Jiro Kokuryo at the i-mode council, Neeraj at a meeting and Larry for an interview tomorrow night. Small world... or maybe just narrow taste in friends. ;-p

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I am embarrassed to admin that I had scanned The Future of Ideas by Lawrence Lessig, but had not READ it carefully. I find I do this with books where I know the author's position quite well in an area I know something about. I KNOW that the book is worth reading, but it feels like patting myself on the back. I tend to like reading books written by the enemy. ;-) Anyway, enough lame excuses. Tomorrow, I have a magazine article discussion with Larry and the translator of The Future of Ideas Hiroo Yamagata, who as I've said before, is an intelligent, but ruthless fellow. Hiroo is a menace to those who are unprepared, but is probably one of the most thoughtful people in this space... Anyway, now that I finished the book, I am prepared for tomorrow...

So about the book... everyone has probably read it already so I probably don't need to write a lame book review, but if you haven't read it, I can now urge you to read it. Larry talks about spectrum, code, and content control and calls them the physical, code and content layers. This is exactly how I think of these issues and how everyone should think of these issues. Although he addressed it in his last book, Code, Larry doesn't have time to talk about privacy in this book. I believe that identity and privacy are also important and probably represent for me the other BIG issue.

I had thought through most of these issues already in great detail so the logic was easy to follow and the detail and facts have added new ammunition to my arsenal. What was also interesting was Larry's continued pursuit of balance both politically and technically. When you are under public scrutiny, balance is very important to protect being attacked by people you are trying to change. The difficulty of taking a balanced view is that the message is difficult to deliver, you can sound wishy/washy and at the end of the day, you will end up being attacked by both extremes, the moderates apathetically fading into the background. Or at least that is my experience.

Maybe it's because Larry is a law professor, but he is able to navigate the detail and the logic well... But as the issues become more and more complex and one realizes that the government and public opinion become more and more obtuse, one ends up becoming VERY despressed as Larry appears to be by the end of the book.

I think Larry's mission, shared by most of the intelligent people that I know is one of the most important missions today. The commons and innovation are threatened by the old power structures which are more and more able to stay in power than ever before. I believe that a similar struggle is going on in the field of energy technology. Big oil protecting its interests and waging war.

Innovation in information technology and energy (See ECD) has the power to solve many of the problems we face today, yet this innovation is faced with great resistance. The public, which at the end of the day is the only group capable of causing real change, sits watching apathetically. How depressing.

I've been meaning to try to aggressively blog with my new phone and Justin's article and his phrase "moblog" pushed me over the edge. My guys set up this "moblog" for me. It's still a test site, but you get the idea...

Tanaka-san's office is in a see-through case in the waiting room of the prefecture building.
Tanaka-san greets our team
Presenting our vision to Governor Tanaka and the division heads
Today, Seki and I visited Nagano with Goto-san and Yamazaki-san of the Ministry Economy Trade and Industry special region group. This special region project was created by the central government to allow local governments get waivers on regulations and laws in order to build new businesses.

My pitch was/is heavily influenced by the discussion with David about who should run the network and Larry Lessig's thoughts on The Commons. I talked about trying to get an experiment going in Nagano involving VoIP, high powered 802.11, UWB and non-phone number based voice calls. (No Australian ENUM please!) With Tanaka-san's no-compromises reform position and the support of the reformists inside of the bureaucracy, I think we might have a chance of creating an interesting network in Nagano where voice will be free, and high powered WiFi and eventually UWB will allow networks to propogate without relying on the phone company. This is quite a subversive project, so please keep this confidential. ;-p

Roger Clarke, one of my favorite privacy experts and the person I learned the notion of separation of "entities" and "identities" has written a paper about the problems with ENUM. I wrote about ENUM when Australia announced their initiative. I am on a mission to make sure that Japan doesn't try to link ENUM with the national ID...

Roger Clarke
From: Roger Clarke
Subject: Glitterati: ENUM: Case Study in Social Irresponsibility

I've just finished a paper on a proposed Internet scheme that will have extremely serious implications if it's implemented:

ENUM - A Case Study in Social Irresponsibility
http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/DV/enumISOC02.html

As always, constructively negative feedback much appreciated.

Abstract

ENUM is meant to provide a means of mapping from telephone numbers to IP-addresses: "today, many addresses; with ENUM, only one", as its proponents express it.

Any such capability would be extremely dangerous, providing governments, corporations, and even individuals, with the ability to locate and to track other people, both in network space, and in physical space. The beneficiaries would be the powerful who seek to manipulate the behaviour of others. It would do immense social, sociological and democratic harm.

The astounding thing is that the engineers responsible for it are still adopting the na・e position that its impact and implications are someone else's problem. With converged computing-and-communications technologies becoming ever more powerful and ever more pervasive, engineers have to be shaken out of their cosy cocoon, and forced to confront the implications, along with the technology and its applications.

Contents

Introduction
Outline Description of ENUM
The Context
Implications of ENUM
Responses by the ENUM WG
Conclusions
References

--
Roger Clarke http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/

Heavy bloggers will have already seen this article. As we push for more privacy in Japan and I try to get the Japanese government to take a serious look at the value of anonymity, this sort of thing makes it difficult. It looks like a the group of experts were about to be "looks like co-option" fodder, but managed to make enough noise to get word out. I wish I had collaborators like these on my study groups in Japan.

New York Times

SURVEILLANCE
Agency Weighed, but Discarded, Plan Reconfiguring the Internet
By JOHN MARKOFF


he Pentagon research agency that is exploring how to create a vast database of electronic transactions and analyze them for potential terrorist activity considered but rejected another surveillance idea: tagging Internet data with unique personal markers to make anonymous use of some parts of the Internet impossible.

The idea, which was explored at a two-day workshop in California in August, touched off an angry private dispute among computer scientists and policy experts who had been brought together to assess the implications of the technology.

The plan, known as eDNA, called for developing a new version of the Internet that would include enclaves where it would be impossible to be anonymous while using the network. The technology would have divided the Internet into secure "public network highways," where a computer user would have needed to be identified, and "private network alleyways," which would not have required identification.


I saw it first on Werblog

Justin does a good job describing blogs and what happens when they go mobile.

From Weblog to Moblog
by Justin Hall, Nov 21 2002

Marc Canter blogs about it...


This week was an energy week for me. Stan Ovshinsky, the CEO of ECD, Bob Stempel, the Chairman (and the former chief executive of GM) and Iris Ovshinsky, the co-founder of ECD and Stan's wife were visiting Tokyo this week. We talked a lot about the relationship between energy and information and the fact that information was codified energy. The more I think about it the more it all starts to fit together into an amazing unified image.

The picture above is ECD's vision of the Hydrogen Economy. Get Carbon out of the picture. Reduce the cycle to the basic elements of the universe. Photons creating energy to break H2O into Hydrogen and Oxygen. Oxygen goes back to the atmosphere and the Hydrogen is stored and transported in the Hydride material. The Hydrogen is later extracted to create energy through combustion or through the creation of electrical energy with a fuel cell. This electricity can be stored in a Hydride battery which is also based on Hydrogen. The electricity obviously can be used for propulsion or be converted into meta-energy, or information. Photos->Hydrogen->Electrons->Bits that’s all we need. No CO2, fossil fuels, Uranium or any of the non-big-bang stuff please. Oh and by the way, the basic material and the phenomenon used to store hydrogen in a solid, the convert hydrogen in to electricity and the store electricity in hydride batteries is the based on the same basic science.

It is almost like the relationship between the mind and the body. The true cost of information is cost of the carrier which is based on the creation of energy. Just as the spirit lives in the mind which is carried inside of the body, Information is carried in bits which are carried on wires by electrons, thrust forward by some sort of energy source.

When I was talking to the Tokyo Power Company information division folks the other day, I realized an interesting thing... Just as the telephone company can provide flat fee traffic over their leased lines because they own the wires and fiber, the power company can provide data center and wires for free because they make money on the power consumption.

At a lunch with Jack Welch, he once said, "I love the Internet because it consumes energy and I sell more turbines."

Because power companies don't have legacy information businesses, they can jump into the information and telecom business unencumbered. If you also consider that the phone company is so leveraged and losing so much of their core revenue, such as voice, I can imagine a world where energy and power is the whole game and IT is just like an appliance that you OWN and only pay to power it. And... eventually with photovoltaics, we'll just have to buy energy conversion devices and get our energy from the sun...

(picture by Carver Mead's Foveon Camera)
Thanks to Gen Kanai for introducing me to David Isenberg. David is famous for many things including his paper "The Rise of the Stupid Network" David was talking a lot about Oil. He says that "Hubbert's Peak", when oil production will begin to drop, will happen in 2003. On the other hand, world energy consumption will increase 66% (USA Today, 1/10/02) from 1999-2020. It's OBVIOUSLY time for the Hydrogen Economy that we're starting to get very excited about.

David was extremely bright and gave me an interesting view into the "prosultants" (vs "consultants") who are smart researchers who trying to figure things out and convey them to people and companies. I guess that's what I try to do in my own small way. He invited me to several interesting conference and I hope to see him more often more now that we are linked.

I was so excited while talking to him that I forgot to take a picture. I had to steal the picture from his web page.

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A picture of the Prince that I took with my P504iS just several hours before he passed away
As many people know already, H.I.H. Prince Takamado Norihito passed away the day before yesterday. I had just visited the Prince that day around 5 hours before he passed away. He had a heart attack while playing squash at the Canadian Embassy. He was only 47 years old. Several of us had visited him to thank him for accepting our request to give the opening speech for the New Business Forum which he had accepted every year for many years now. I was the vice-chairman of the Forum last year and the chairman this year. It is the role of the chairman to invite the Prince and the introduce him at the forum.

The Prince was a very approachable, intelligent and kind man. He liked technology and gadgets very much. He had recently published a book of his own photographs of his travels. Last year, in his speech he talked about cells phones and "wangiri". (Wangiri became a big problem this year. Wangiri is when people call and let the phone ring once and leave their caller ID on your phone to get you to call them back. It has become a type of spam.)

The day before yesterday, I was showing him my new P504iS phone with the two cameras and we discussed what sort of possible uses there might be for having two cameras. I showed him my phone and took this picture of him, which might be the last picture taken of him.

His death is a great loss to Japan and I will personally miss him very much.

Mainichi article

Yikes. I'm glad I stopped smoking. We were just talking yesterday about smoking in Japan.
Gen Kanai
Update on Japan smoking

LA Times - The Land Cigarettes Call Home
In Japan, half of all men smoke, and lung cancer is a leading killer. But then, the government owns 67% of the big tobacco seller.


The Finance Ministry owns 67% of Japan Tobacco, or JT, which until 1985 was a government monopoly. In an era of tight budgets, tobacco contributes $19 billion a year to government coffers in taxes and dividends, making it among the largest revenue sources. The ministry, not health authorities, controls tobacco policy, and promotion of the industry is an explicit national goal.
...
Japan's warning label is among the world's weakest: "Please remember to follow good smoking manners. As smoking might injure your health, please be careful not to overdo it."
...
The greatest source of industry clout is the Tobacco Business Law, one of a string of related measures dating to 1904. The law says the government must own at least 50% of JT in perpetuity and, as a matter of national policy, "promote the healthy development of the tobacco industry and ensure stable revenue in the interest of a sound national economy."
...
In contrast to the Finance Ministry's large tobacco section, the Health Ministry doesn't have a single full-time official working on smoking issues ・even though smoking accounts for the nation's highest level of premature deaths, triple the number of suicides and nine times that of traffic fatalities.
...
The national health budget this year for anti-smoking awareness is $180,000, for a practice that kills 95,000 Japanese a year. By comparison, the budget for the prevention of AIDS, which kills approximately 45 people a year, is $94 million.

Horrific stuff- gruesome. I don't even know where to start pulling it all apart.

Today I was hanging out with Leonard Liu, one of my good friends, investors in Neoteny and advisory board members. He was once the chief architect for hardware and software at IBM and architected SNA and SQL. He later became the chairman of Acer and is now the chairman of the ASE group which is one of the biggest IC testing and packaging companies in the world. Anyway, he is one of the most energetic and thoughtful computer scientists I know who can actually run companies.

He said an interesting thing that is sort of obvious, but quite exciting. He said that we still have mainframes, but everyone writes stuff for PC's because there are several orders of magnitude more PC's. Game machines are built cheaper and better because there are a lot of them too. Networked consumer electronics will probably exceed PC's in number and a similar effect of application developers shifting to these CE devices may happen. We talked about how this might happen in the next two years. Will Intel and MS be able to keep up? Will a completely new architecture win? For some reason, it sounds more convincing when Leonard says it...


There is a cool site in Japan that sells a great aluminum case for G4 Powerbooks. I just ordered one. Hirata turned me on to these...


Our guys just upgraded our server to MT 2.5 and I just installed Kung-Log on my Mac. It's nice with all kinds of pull down menus and stuff. It makes up for the fact that one click URL'ing doesn't work in MT on the Mac.

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I just ordered my Segway Ginger on Amazon.com. They say delivery will be 2003. So I have the rest of the year to figure out how to smuggle it into Japan...

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I definitely DON'T need one of these. WHAT is palm thinking?

We've been debating in Japanese about what a blog is and whether it is any different from diary sites or other web pages. I've had quite a difficult time defending the position that blogs are really anything special. Here is a funny comic strip of a discussion between a grumpy girl and a questioning ant on that topic.

Seen first on for the sake of clarity.

I just gave my opinion at a government meeting about considering alternatives to Windows. I've been pushing them to do this for years. I'm glad they are finally taking a serious look at it. China is far ahead with their Linux project, but it's never too late to start!

Kyodo News
Gov't considers abandoning Microsoft Windows
Sunday, November 17, 2002 at 07:30 JST

TOKYO The Japanese government is reviewing the possibility of no longer using Microsoft Corp's Windows operating system as part of its plans to boost computer security within the government, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported Saturday.

Most of the government's servers and personal computers use Windows software.

But the government is interested in studying alternative operating systems, especially open-source programs such as Linux, the newspaper said.

Open-source programs do not require licensing fees and can be modified because their source codes are made available for free.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will set up a panel of experts to study the alternatives and what systems other governments use in the next fiscal year beginning April 1, the newspaper said.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party's panel on promoting electronic government asked the government in August to develop or introduce an open-source program for security reasons, it said.

p504is.jpg
I got my P504iS today. It is the new i-mode phone with a built-in camera. They went on sale last week. Docomo's i-mode council upgrades our phones for us so we can play with the new features. (No wonder people are mad at me. ;-p ) Anyway, the one I got, the Panasonic phone has two cameras! One points at you and one away. There are also two color LCD displays. This is the perfect mobile photo blogging device. Now I have two cameras in my phone, a voice recorder in my digital camera, a camera in my computer and a camera in my Clie Palm. Do I need all of these cameras? Of course...
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Okada-san is on the left and Suzuki-san is on the right
Okada-san and Suzuki-san from the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry came to visit today. The Japanese bureaucracy is one of the things I often criticize, but I really like many of the individuals. I first met Okada-san when he was working for Governor Domoto. He had been seconded by the Ministry to Chiba to help the Governor. I liked him a lot because of his straight forward and aggressive style and he was one of the main reasons I decided to work with Chiba. He recently returned to the Ministry and is now in charge of venture business and SME related affairs there. This was very lucky for me because this post is probably the most relevant post for Neoteny inside of the Ministry. He manages the Ministry activity for the New Business Forum that I wrote about and is also quite active in trying to create tax incentives for venture investing. We talked a lot about the laws that bog venture businesses down such as the registration license tax, bank fees, etc. Since Koji Omi, one of my favorite LDP politicians is now running the venture sub-committee inside of the LDP as well as the head of the tax reform group, it's a good time to push for some changes. Another change that should be done soon is a waiver of the minimum capitalization of new companies. One is currently required to have a minimum capitalization of 10mm yen. The new law that should go into effect at the beginning of next year will allow companies to be created with only 1 yen in capitalization. This should help entrepreneurs who want to start companies. Go for it Okada-san!

Found this on IP...

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Samsonite's 625 Series Hardlite ICT has bluetooth built in. It supposedly keeps track of your travel info, owner info and has an alarm mechanism for theft control... I wonder if I need one...

2hiptops.jpgHiptop Nation is a blog forDanger's Hiptop owners. They recently had a Halloween Scavenger Hunt. Smartmobs blogs about it and one of the members of one of the teams has written a paper about it.

Teams, games, wireless devices, photos. Cool stuff for blogs moving forward.

Speaking of games, although this is a bit old, I thought Survivor Blog was very cool.

We have a lot of different wireless devices in Japan that let you take pictures and email them. We should try to think of some cool games too.

Since I live in Japan and most people here read mostly Japanese, I've been trying to write in Japanese and read Japanese blogs. (Although I speak Japan fine, my reading and writing has never been that good.) I just spent the last few hours reading a bunch of articles and entries about myself and my friends that were quite negative. I'm pretty good at taking criticism and I actually believe that reading it is important for self-improvement. Having said that, it's quite tiring. Especially in Japanese.

One thing I've noticed is that people have more "local conversations" behind your back and tend to be a bit more personal and biting in their criticism than in the US. (Although it was sort of personal when Tim May came after me for being on a government crypto committee...) I wonder which is worse, getting really negative people writing comments in your blog, being ripped apart in a mailing list, or having to hunt down negative comments... Anyway, I blogged a rather negative comment I found by an intelligent sounding guy on my Japanese blog and pinged him for a response. Let's see if this turns into a mess. An experiment in the strength of weak ties... ;-p

What I am often criticized about is trying to "take all of the credit" or creating some sort of power structure or insider group. It's really frustrating because that's exactly what I am trying fight against. How do you try to evangelize when the people you are trying to reach react negatively towards people who get attention? It's quite a dilemma. This sort of thing does exist in the US, but I think to a lesser extent. For instance, I find that the Linux community in Japan is much more closed and populated by many people who pride themselves in how much they know, happy that so many people can't use Linux. I think there is much less evangelizing to the masses.

I wonder if this us/them closed mentality is what keeps Japanese from being more politically active. It reminds me again of Toshio Yamagishi's discussion about how Japanese come from a "closed" culture...

Saw a cool trick on Boing Boing. If you search for "http" on Google, the results are sites ranked by page ranking. As Boing Boing notes, the tops sites are search site. Asahi.com, the online news paper is number one and that most of the top Japanese sites are mass media sites. I love that tabi no madoguchi makes it into the Top 10 in Japan. It's a great site and is all about conversation on the living web come true.

Top 10 Overall
1. Yahoo!
2. Google
3. Microsoft Corporation
4. Adobe Systems Incorporated
5. AltaVista - The Search Company
6. My Excite
7. Amazon.com--Earth's Biggest Selection
8. CNN.com
9. Lycos Home Page
10. MapQuest: Home

Top 10 in Japanese
1. Asahi.com
2. Yahoo! Japan
3. Tabi no madoguchi (a travel site with customer feedback)
4. Fresheye
5. Nikkei Net
6. goo
7. Yomiuri Shimbun
8. Microsoft Japan
9. NHK Online
10. Recruit ISIZE

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Mizuka and I went to the new Marunouchi Building built by Mitsubishi Jisho and had lunch with her parents. It was VERY flashy and expensive looking and jam packed with tourist types. Some restaurants are booked through the end of the year, which is rare in Japan. It is also probably one of the most expensive office buildings right now. On the first floor was a weird "XBOX Cafe" where people could play games and there were some huge screens running game demos. I guess if you have $40bb, you can afford to have a game cafe in the most expensive real estate in Tokyo. Also, everything was VERY high tech - steel, glass, concrete. It really reminded me of the Dogs and Demons book. All of the people lining up in front of the elevators watching impressive ads ABOUT nature on the HDTV displays...

The other amazing thing is that such a tall building was allowed to be built overlooking the Palace. In Japan, you are not supposed to "look down on" the Palace. I heard someone mumble, "Only Mitsubishi could do this..."

Anyway, it is obviously the "Thing to See" right now. It will be interesting to see what happens when all of the other new buildings open next year... Like the huge Roppongi Mori Building. Next year is supposed to be a big year that may crash the office building business because there are so many sky scrapers opening... What a strange thing to be happening during an economic crisis...

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The XBOX Cafe
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The view of the Palace from the 36th floor restaurant we ate at
Plastic
Putting The Boots In — Photo Lab Grasses Up Pot Growers found on BBC News written by holgate, edited by John (Plastic)

excerpt
A house in Leith, near Edinburgh, was raided by police, leading to the arrest of five people, and the seizure of marijuana plants 'valued' at £15,000, after receiving a tip-off from photo-processing staff at the local branch of Boots. It's believed that a lab technician identified the plants when developing a set of prints, and got on the phone to the boys in blue.

"While you can understand photo-labs wishing to protect themselves from obscene images, given that there are specific laws prohibiting the possession and reproduction of such images, it's another thing entirely to call in the police, based solely upon the perception that photographs record something illegal: that is, recognizing a few tell-tale leaves. Undoubtedly, the pot-growers in question weren't the sharpest knives in the box, but is the knowledge that random people may take moral outrage at your photographs another reason to add that digital camera to the Christmas list?"
Yup. Exactly why I first got into digital cameras. I remember one lab which was part of a franchise. I knew the owner fairly well. Anyway, the owner once thanked me for using their service, even though I hadn't told anyone. Also, I had several rolls of film where I had visited the same place several times. The photos of the place were arranged together instead of in the order they appeared on the negatives. It really hit me that someone was "looking" at my pictures... Which makes sense if you think of how a lab works. Now I generally focus on landscape on film. ;-)

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Floor of temple in Koyasan taken while listening to a speech by a monk about the mandalas
I'm really getting into Photo.net. I had been using it mostly for the discussion forums, but recently I created a profile and set up a portfolio. It tracks all of my equipment all the way down to the serial numbers. I scanned a bunch of my 6x6's into Pro Photo CD's and uploaded them to the site. I even got positive feedback on one of my photos! Photo.net which I think was started by Philip Greenspun is obviously a site built by geeks for true enthusiasts and is a real pleasure to use after trying all of the "commercial" photo sites. I think I've found my online home for my photography.
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That's Yanai-san on the left and Hasegawa-san on the right
Had dinner at Gonpachi in Nishiazabu with Hasegawa-san, the CEO of Global Dining, Yanai-san, the CEO of Pia and Jun. Jun is my chairman and an outside board member of Global Dining. I am on the outside board of Pia. Jun and I introduced the two of them over dinner a few months ago, I think. Hasegawa-san took us to Tableaux, Decadance du Chocolat and Dancing Monkey last time. (All places he runs.) Yesterday, we had sushi at Gonpachi. It was totally packed. George Bush ate at Gonpachi when he was in Tokyo. The food was great and the place is huge.

Hasegawa-san is an a amazing guy and I'm a big fan. His company, Global Dining, runs Gonpachi as well other famous chains of restaurants including Cafe La Boheme, Zest, Monsoon Cafe, etc. Global Dining also runs Tableaux, on of my favorite restaurants. Hasegawa-san has a very unique management style for Japan where most of his staff are part time, but very motivated. He has a very open and competitive management style. Global Dining is also famous for being the first company to go public in Japan without a single college graduate on the board!

It's nice beening outside board members of companies that do real things like sell concert tickets and run restaurants. ;-)

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Just installed OS X 10.2 and am trying to "Make the Switch"... I'm using Mizuka's old Powerbook G4 with the broken "/" key, not the cool new one that just came out. I just ordered office and all of the Adobe stuff, so until that arrives, I can't completely switch. I feel totally screwed up right now though. I have a Sony Vaio C1MRX with a great form factor and excellent battery life, I have a Dell Latitude coming that I'm going to configure with with Windows 2000 in a very security conscious mode (after talking to Chris Goggan about what the most secure PC setup was...) and now I have this PowerBook. I hope I am only using one of these a month from now and I HOPE it is going to be the PowerBook.

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Facing off with the bureaucrats..
Sorry I didn't blog anything yesterday. I've been in overdrive this week with Jun (my chairman) in town and a continuous stream of extremely early morning meetings... Jun was mentioned I that I was spending too much time on this non-work-related stuff. He's right... Anyway...

Yesterday, I started the day with a meeting of our anti-national ID group. I reported on my thoughts of how we should connect the privacy movement with the whistle blower protection law. Since I had the second National ID security oversight committee meeting later in the day, I wanted to get an update from everyone on where things were. One of the things that many of the local governments were asking for was the right to allow their citizens to choose whether they use the National ID system to receive local government services. The ministry had been telling them that that this was not possible. Also, there were some comments that the government was planning to use an extended National ID number as a tax tracking number, which currently is not allowed under the law.

Later in the day, I attended the committee meeting. I made several points. Since they are using Microsoft Windows out-of-the-box, I mentioned that the recent ruling by the DoJ against MS had a clause that made me worried that maybe the US government might include some malicious code in Windows. (There is a clause that says, "any API, interface or other information related to any Microsoft product if lawfully directed not to do so by a governmental agency of competent jurisdiction." Dan writes about it.) Even if they do not, I mentioned that Japan should make an effort to get MS allow us to do a security review of Windows and possibly swap some modules that we do not feel good about. I mentioned that China has successfully made demands on Microsoft and that China was working on desktop Linux for the government.

I told them that should not use the local government ID as the taxpayer ID and that it should be a separate, and hopefully a non-human-readable number.

I mentioned the whistleblower protection bill I was working on and that we should consider building in anonymity and pseudonymity into the law. I said that I thought people should be allowed to anonymously receive clarification on laws and procedure and that they should be allowed to pseudonymously receive guidance and counseling on issues before "going public" with their case, for instance.

Finally, I asked why numbers could not be "opt-in" for the local government ID. I did not receive a satisfactory answer and said that I would like them to explain this to me "off-line".

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Hiroo and Larry with the hand on the chin "intelligent" look
Had dinner with Lawrence Lessig again. Today Hiroo Yamagata, who is translating has latest book, set up the dinner with our small Japan chapter of CPSR. The guy on the left in the picture is Mr. Yamagata. He worships Bob and is an ordained minister of the church of the sub-genius. He showed us his card today. I really like Yamagata-san, but I first learn about him when he was translating Timothy Leary's book and objected to my writing the forward. Later he made fun of my in his column in Wired Japan. Being the masochist that I am, I hunted him down (Kobahen, the editor of Wired Japan introduced us over drinks) and I THINK we are friends now. Anyway, I'm a big fan of his twisted and intelligent style. (Larry, don't worry, the translation will be fine.)

Part of the discussion was a continuation of last night's discussion. Why aren't Japanese active? (As in "activists") Listening to the other CPRS folks talk about this made me think that maybe it was a bigger issue than I thought. There are many intelligent people who don't feel like making a big deal about stuff. How can you be AWAKE and still bear not to say anything? Reminds me of The Matrix

Just finished having dinner and am in the cab on the way home... DInner was so interesting that I forgot to take a picture. Joi "always-takes-a-picture" Ito forgot to take a picture. Oh well. You all know what he looks like and we ate in the same restaurant that I took Dan and Noriko to.

It's really great having someone like Larry in Japan. Kara, Megan, Dan... We're on a roll!

Larry can really help push some of the issues I find most frustrating working in Japan. Japanese lawyers don't understand technology and technologists don't understand law. IP is still not considered a very important social issue and the value of "public domain" is greatly un-appreciated in Japan. Also, I think that the one of the biggest risks for Japan is to become irrelevant. Having great thinkers like Larry experiencing Japan ang leaving with an understanding of the issues, but a appreciation for our real assets will be one of the things that will save Japan as we go through the massive changes ahead.

Larry will be in Japan for a few more months. I hope I get to see him again and introduce him to the folks he won't meet at Tokyo University. ;-)

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I'm sitting on the inquiry committee where we are revising the consumer protection law. We're discussing provisions to protect whistleblowers. I'm very passionate about this issue. I think that with increasing ability to track people and profile them, we need to protect the identities of whistleblowers. I am proposing that anonymity and pseudonymity using privacy technology should be considered when writing the new law. Certain types of interactions with the government should be allowed in an anonymous way. Currently all whistleblowing and FOIA is on a fully disclosed ID basis without clear protection of the "list" that is created as a result...

The press are here in numbers. Probably because whistleblowing is more common in Japan these days and it is quite clear that they need to be protected.

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Suction cup 7 dBi antenna: Mike from Signull Techologies sent me the URL of a spec sheet for their 7 dBi suction cup antenna pictured deployed on automobiles! Wardriving made easy.
I want one of these...

Found this on Marc's Voice today...
Mitch Ratcliffe

Listen to your market, stupid

internetnews.com writes: RIAA Was Right ... The Sky Is Falling. It appears the music industry's fears were justified; new figures show that e-commerce music sales are down 25 percent as file sharing and CD-burning become commonplace.

Oh, come on. The RIAA wasn't right, instead the RIAA has alienated music audiences so much with the difficult and limited access to online music that sales dropped. It's not due to file sharing and CD-burning, it's because buying online is an even worse deal than buying CDs at the store, where sales are not falling.

Absolutely. I hate these, "fears were justified" figures. So typical. As the record industry starts to force tech saavy customers and artists out of their industry, I wonder where they will go? I know that Kenji Eno for instance became a game developer instead of a musician because of the constraints in the music industry. He wrote, directed and played all of the music in his games. Hopefully we'll find another home for all of the creative energy that was the record industry. Hopefully it will still be "musical"...

grubb.jpgFound this on Dave Winer Scripting News. Tara Gubb has a streaming video message talking about the "webolution". She's running for US Congress from North Carolina and directs you to a blog. ;-) Blog Politics!

Ruseel Beattie's excited that I blogged his blog. So I blog him again since I'm excited that he blogged me. I found a bad link on John Patrick's Blog so he was nice enough to put a link back to me. (This entry is a perfect excuse to return the favor. ;-) ) And as the links go round-and-round, and our google rankings go up-and-up, it feels great, but are we really getting anywhere? Well, the discussion about the Semantic Web is important and slightly relevant to what I do for a living.

Dave Winer quotes Russell in the context of procrastination which blogging can quickly become. Since Dave Winer is a "blog professional", I guess he should be allowed to blog all he wants.

I enjoy reading Russell Beattie's weblog, esp today as he writes about a book that teaches you how to get things done. It seems Russ is procrastinating on a grand project, by reading a book on how not to procrastinate. He has a wonderful quote from Will Rogers. "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging." Interesting. I do the opposite.

There is an interesting discussion going on various blogs about "The Semantic Web". Russel Beattie starts a discussion about it. Les Orchard makes a nice attempt at explaining it on his blog. According to Les, Tim Berners-Lee talked about it on NPR Science. I thought about it a lot when I was running Infoseek Japan and I was thinking about how XML would impact search engines. Thinking about how metadata and schema for metadata will evolve is a very interesting topic. It is as much political and social as it is technical. When you run a search engine, there is a constant trade-off between brute-forcing information indexes and waiting for the metadata. If the sematic web really existed and you could run the queries in a distributed way, you wouldn't REALLY need search engines, at least in the way they are designed now. What's so exciting about blogs and things like RSS is that the community is pushing the metadatification of the sematic web in a way that no standards body or company could ever have done.

This reminds me of the incident where the Ministry of Finance leaked information vital to the market on their web page in August. The other funny similarity is that the newspaper called me the night before the article and asked me for a comment. I guess they wanted something like what David Farber said to the Post. However, I said something more like, "it's not a big deal. I'm much more worried about the leakage of information about citizens," which I guess wasn't realy what the paper was looking for. ;-)

I also love the "Internet enthusiasts" label. Sitting here at 5am on the morning of a national holiday blogging definitely puts me in that category.

Washington Post
Court Posts Microsoft Ruling on Web By Ted Bridis Associated Press Writer Friday, November 1, 2002; 9:41 PM

WASHINGTON –– The landmark decision in the Microsoft antitrust trial was supposed to remain secret until after financial markets closed, but the federal court quietly posted the documents on its Web site nearly 90 minutes before the closing bell.

That discovery by some Internet enthusiasts coincided with a flurry of late-day trading of Microsoft's stock. Its price, which had been falling most of Friday, ticked up just moments after the court placed on its Web site the decision that handed Microsoft a huge victory.

Late-day trading peaked five minutes before markets closed, when $90 million worth of Microsoft shares exchanged hands.

The incident meant tech-savvy Web surfers knew the judge's decision fully one hour before even lawyers for Microsoft and the Justice Department. A glitch in Internet technology – which was at the heart of the antitrust trial – contributed to the early disclosure.

"Somebody wasn't thinking," said David Farber, an Internet expert and former chief technologist for the Federal Communications Commission. "They probably uploaded it just to make sure they wouldn't have any trouble, assuming that no one read it, which was probably naive. They're going to have to be a lot more careful."

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Walking with my FE 60-120 zoom lens on my Hasselblad 205FCC fixed to my tripod.
Decided to take a stroll in the park with Mizuka instead of blogging a day. It was a beautiful day. I've uploaded some pictures I took with my Sony Cybershot DSC-P5. I wish I had a better photo album online. Does anyone know of a good photo album server I can run on a Apple XServe?

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The entrance to Komazawa Park is one of the nicest views in the park. The leaves are just starting to turn yellow.

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Yakiimo is the great portable food of the fall/winter in Japan. These little trucks roast the sweet potatoes in ovens billowing smoke with this great tape recorded message going on and on about how nice, sweet and hot the potatoes are.

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Another great outdoor food is grilled corn. The corn has soy sauce on it that burns and smells like... burnt soy sauce. All Japanese are conditioned to salivate when they smell burnt soy sauce.

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The Japanese made a mistake and Japlish took over on this one. "free market" and "flea market" are generally used interchangeably. Some web sites talk about "free markets" being more "open" "flea markets"... So here is a "free market"...

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The local right wing truck showed up to join the festivities with speakers blaring on about the Japan flea market economy...

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Komazawa Park has these great bikes for 2 people that you can cruise around in. Mizuka wanted to ride one, but we got turned down and told that they were for kids.

hassyh1.jpgI just LOVE Hasselblad Cameras. I have two of them, a 503CW and a 205FCC. The 503 was my first Hasselblad and I used it for several years before I bought the 205FCC. (I read an article on photo.net that said that the 205FCC was great, but that it was a waste for newbies. ;-) )Hasselblad is really the ultimate medium format camera with such a great design that they haven't changed much in over 50 years. The 503CW is requires no electricity. The 205FCC has an amazingly accurate internal spot meter that allows me to do fancy stuff like measure the contrast of the image and adjust the push processing on my B&W to compensate for it. An amazing feature, I rarely use. ;-) Anyway, this new H1 that Hasselblad designed with Fuji Film is fully automatic with everything integrated. Even auto-focus! Is this a blasphemy or a breakthrough? It feels like when Leica came up with their first auto-focus minilux series. If I hadn't just bought my 205FCC I would take a serious look at the H1, but... I've bought too many cameras this year to afford another one.

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Dogs and Demons by Alex Kerr. Click on image to go to the Amazon.com entry.
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The Enigma of Japanese Power by Karel Van Wolferen is also still very relevant. It is about the power structure behind Japan.
I was already feeling pretty bad about Japan and the job ahead of us, but after Dogs and Demonsby Alex Kerr, I feel worse. I feel like moving to an island somewhere or killing myself. The most difficult thing about the book is that it's probably all true. Alex Kerr is a Japanologist who talks you through the problems with modern Japan from the viewpoint of how Japan has managed destroy it's environment and the economy at the same time. He details how the construction industry has taken over Japan physically and economically. It is a MUST READ for anyone interested in Japan today.

He also makes a point that although Japanese are considered to be nature lovers, much of it manifests as control over nature.

Dogs and Demons
People who admire the Japanese traditional arts make much of the "love of nature" that inspired sand gardens, bonsai, ikebana flower arranging, and so forth, but they often fail to realize that the traditional Japanese approach is the opposite of a laissez-faire attitude towards nature. These arts were strongly influenced by the military caste that ruled Japan for many centuries, and they demand total control over every branch and twig.

Here are some quotes:

Dogs and Demons
In the early 1990s, construction investment overall in Japan consumed 18.2 percent of the gross national product, versus 12.4 percent in the United Kingdom and only 8.5 percent in the United States. Japan spent about 8 percent of its GDP on public works (veersus 2 percent in the United States -- proportionally four times more). By 2000 it was estimated that Japan was spending about 9 percent of its GDP on public works (versus only 1 percent in the United States): in a decade, the share of GDP devoted to public works has risen to nearly ten times that of the United States. -- The colossal subsidies flowing to construction mean that the combined national budget devotes an astounding 40 percent of expenditures to public works (versus 8 to 10 percent in the United States and 4 to 6 percent in Britain and France). -- by 1998 it (the construction industry) employed 6.9 million people, more than 10 percent of Japan's workforce--more than double the relative numbers in the United States and Europe. Experts estimate that as many as one in five jobs in Japan depends on construction, if one includes work that derives indirectly from public-works contracts. -- In 1994, concrete production in Japan totaled 91.6 million tons, compared with 77.9 millions tons in the United States. This means that Japan lays about thirty times as much per square foot as the United States. -- By the end of the century...shoreline that had been encased in concrete has risen to 60 percent or more. -- There are more than a thousand controlled hazardous substances in the United States,...In Japan, as of 1994 only a few dozen substances were subject to government controls...
FT.com
FDA request slows launch of cheap Prilosec By Christopher Bowe in New York Published: October 29 2002 21:38 A potential cheap version of Prilosec, the blockbuster heartburn medicine, is to be delayed after Procter & Gamble said it did not expect US regulatory approval of its over-the-counter product until late next year.

Postponement of the final approval stems from the US Food and Drug Administration's request for a study to make sure consumers understood that the treatment was long-acting and once-per-day. That study will take eight more weeks and six months for regulatory review. The FDA has otherwise tentatively approved P&G's retail version.

This is bad news, good news and bad news for me. For someone who takes Prilosec every day, it's bad news that an over-the-counter version is delayed. It's good news because I didn't know an over-the-counter version was even on its way. It's bad news because I live in Japan and it will probably take another Admiral Perry to get it approved in Japan.

For those of you who don't know what Prilosec is... It is the best medicine for chronic heartburn that I know of. I used to have heartburn every day and ulcers. I took all kinds of anti-acid medication and it never worked. After I started taking Prilosec I'm completely fine. I spent SOO much of my high school and college years fighting with my aching stomach that discovering Prilosec was really a key moment in my life. A US doctor recommended it and I had my doctor in Japan search down an equivalent and prescribe it to me.

Wired News

Kristen Philipkoski
02:00 AM Nov. 01, 2002 PST

The journal Science retracted eight of Hendrik Schon's discredited research papers on Thursday, but the information still lurks on the Internet.

In September, an investigative committee found that 17 papers authored by Schon, considered to be major breakthroughs in physics, were mostly fabrications.

But a Web search on Schon's name turns up more pages touting those "accomplishments" than his firing in September by Bell Labs, the result of his fabricating that data.

So this is an important issue, but not an impossible one. It relates to the story about "The Google Gods"
CNET News.com
Does search engine's power threaten Web's independence?
By Stefanie Olsen
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
October 31, 2002, 4:00 a.m. PT

Patrick Ahern has witnessed the power of Google--and the difficulties of trying to do business without it.

Data Recovery Group, where he is president, would typically come up around the fourth listing on Google's popular search engine last year. Then in January, when Google removed the company from its listings without explanation, Data Recovery saw a 30 percent drop in business.

I have also suffered as I wait for Google to update it's database. It just today finally dumped my old URL's and rolled over to my new ones making my site google searchable again. It took months for Google to index me properly when I first got started. It was very frustrating. Having said that, I've run a search engine and I know how difficult it is to keep everyone happy.

blog theme song on... So maybe blogs, meta-indexes and things like weblogs.com to keep track of updates... basically the whole xml thing will help solve the issue of keep track of "the living web"...

What do you think of the slogan, "Joi Ito's conversation with the living web"? I got the conversation part from The Cluetrain Manifesto and the living web part from 10 Tips to Writing the Living Web. People kept asking me what the difference was between a blog and a web site. I said it was different because I wasn't publishing, I was having a conversation. I didn't have "readers" I was part of a "living web". I have no idea if that gets the message across, but I sure like the sound of it.

I gave a talk today at the Keizai Doyukai (Association of Corporate Executives) Secretariat study group meeting. I talked about Neoteny, venture capital and... blogs. ;-p Many of the older guys fell asleep. At the lunch, I sat next to Yotaro "Tony" Kobayashi. I'm a big fan of Tony's. He's very smart, nice, well-dressed and important. He is the chairman of the Keizai Doyukai and Fuji-Xerox. Tony also represents the Keizai Doyukai to the World Economic Forum so I gave him an update on the Blueprint for Japan 2020. I told him that we were discussing the issue of women's participation in my blog and suggested that his wife, Momo, who I respect greatly and who is very smart and outspoken, should join the meeting and help us understand the women's perspective. He said he thought that was a good idea. He said she often asks questions that many men are either afraid to ask or have forgotten how to ask...

I was complaining to him about the whole NBC thing and mentioned I wanted to quit. Watanabe-san who is working on a collaborative project between the Keizai Doyukai and NBC heard me and asked if I was going to quit. Oooops! Cat-out-of-the-bag, foot-in-the-mouth... I said I would serve until I completed my duties at the chair of the forum, but that I was planning on leaving after that. I said I blogged it already...

gears.gifNooo! Stop! Pleeeeez.... Not so soon... I feel like a little kid playing with my blocks and hearing my mean big brother come home to dash my little castle to bits...

Elizabeth Lane Lawley
so it'll be microsoft, not aol... Looks like the possible "aoling" of blogspace that I discussed earlier might come from Microsoft, not AOL. Anil Dash has an article about Microsoft's easy-to-install-and-use "Sharepoint" software, which is basically a blog tool. But, of course, they don't call it that (shades of the conversation on Joi Ito's blog about whether this will be called "blogging" when it goes mainstream). They call it "lists." (Cue "Jaws" music here...)

kurokawa_thumb.jpgDr. Koyoshi Kurokawa is the most outspoken MD I know. He was originally at Tokyo University, but left to join Tokai University School of Medicine. This is a pretty rare career move. Kurokawa-san is working on starting several venture businesses and is also one of the most entrepreneurial MD's I know. He's so energetic and neotenous that I always forget how important he is. ;-) He is the chairman of many government science committees and is a regular at the WEF Davos meeting and other international conferences. Today, he dropped by with one of his young doctors to discuss a new idea for a venture startup. Kurokawa-san is the one who really got me thinking about the suicide problem in Japan...

ogawa_thumb.jpgKazuhisa Ogawa is a well known military analyst and appears on Japanese TV quite a bit. He was originally a member of the Japanese Self-Defense Force in the Helicopter Division. He was key in Japan's response to the Peru incident as well as convincing the Japanese disaster relief forces that helicopters could actually be used to put out fires at night when they failed to fly during the Kobe earthquake. He is very smart and outspoken. We met when he was a guest for a magazine column I was involved in and we've kept in touch ever since. Now we have begun to work closely together again as computer privacy and security risks continue to involve physical and military risks more and more. We agree on almost everything and it is great to have a well established military analyst support my opinions. We make a pretty good team during government study group when we need to beat people up with a good combination punch. ;-) Today, we were plotting our next move...

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Pete Wilson
I've joined the Pacific Council Task Force on Japan as a guest. The Pacific Council is affiliated with the Council on Foreign Relations. They do reports on a variety of countries and this year they are working on Japan. The Task Force on Japan is being headed by Pete Wilson, the former Governor of California. We had breakfast today at the American Club and Mr. Wilson gave a great speech about Japan which was "off the record"... ;-)

I was originally asked to join this group by Mr. Toyoda of the METI who was the chief trade negotiator for MITI at the time. Mr. Toyoda and became friends when Dr. Ishiguro of Tokyo University invited me to join a study group for Mr. Toyoda on preparing for the WTO negotiations the year that AOL proposed a bunch of e-commerce related deregulations. It's interesting how my being dragged into a government study group to protect Japan against American IP and IT imperialism ended up with me criticizing Japan at the American Club. ;-)

Yesterday, I met the John Wheeler and Daniel Rosenblum from the Japan Society who are also working on US/Japan stuff.

It's great that there are all of these groups helping to try to save Japan, but it would probably make sense to coordinate and have each group focus on a different aspect...

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Takasuka-san on the left, Funaki-san on the right
Yesterday, Matsumoto-san who is now the CEO of Neoteny Venture Development, Takasuka-san, the founder and CEO of Cybozu and Funaki-san the President of TIS and I had lunch. Takasuka-san is a really interesting guy who I met through Hato-san of Exceed. Takasuka-san was an engineer at Matsushita in the Management Information Systems group. He left Matsushita to found Cybozu. Cybozu makes a groupware package. The key to their success is that they did guerilla marketing to small groups in big companies that wanted to bypass the MIS group. Since the groupware products of big companies were invariably too complicated and a pain to work with, Cybozu was a great alternative that was priced low enough to get under the radar. They have been profitable and growing from their first year and have done well even after their IPO. TIS is one of the largest and most profitable system integration companies. They are headquartered in Osaka (as is Matsushita) but most of their operations and customers are in Tokyo. Sanwa Bank owned a big share of them for awhile, but have cut back in the wake of bank balance sheet reforms. Mr. Funaki used to work at Sanwa Bank and joined TIS several years ago to run it. TIS invested in Digital Garage and helped Digital Garage grow from a web company to an e-commerce company. TIS also invested in my Neoteny.

Anyway, it was fun introducing the two who met for the first time. I have a theory that Osaka companies that do business in Tokyo make money. Osaka is known for their business sense. The problem with Osaka is that it is a small market with a lot of competition. Funaki-san can act as regal and upper-class as anyone, but lunch was very Osaka-style. My father is from Osaka and Matsumoto is Kyoto which is in the Kansai region near Osaka. The discussion quickly shifted to a Kansai dialect.

What is fascinating about Takasuka-san is that he still loves Matsushita. He loves Matsushita even more than when he was there. He seems to embody the real soul of Matsushita which is about delivering great products to the masses at the lowest cost.

Anyway, I wish the best to both of them and I think they bonded in an interesting way. A senior Sanwa Bank executive now immersed in running a huge IT company and a young Matsushita engineer running a public company.

I know some of you are not as excited about this whole "Blog Thing" as some of us, but this is really amazing. This is the kind of thing that I think shows how the speed and the "feed-like" nature of blogs can short circuit mistakes and create new communication channels that traditional web pages just weren't fast enough to do...
Boing Boing
Judge amends decision after reading correction on blog
A former law clerk noted an error in a Fifth Circuit decision on his blog. The judge who wrote the decision turns out to be a regular reader of said blog, and he immediately amended the decision and wrote to the blogger with the news. Judges read blogs. Judges correct Federal court rulings based on blogs. Wow.
Link

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