March 2003 Archives

I blogged earlier that I thought that CNN telling Kevin Sites to stop blogging sucked. I recently talked to a friend of mine who works at a major US TV Network and was presented a more balanced view on the issue. I have received permission to quote the following from an email exchange.

All U.S. TV networks have a script approval process and frankly I think overall it leads to better, more focused, and more accurate reporting, not the opposite. We have script approval for the same reasons newspapers and magazines have editors. If you're going to call script approval censorship then you'll have to call the whole editing process censorship.

Its also standard that a news organization has legal rights by contract to all "works" produced by its journalists. this is a basic market reality. Why should we expect a news company to pay us a decent amount of money and then not retain the rights to our news related "works"?  If we want total "freedom of speech" to write or say anything, anywhere at any time - especially on the same subjects that we cover as journalists - then we should expect to work for free.

Went to see President Ando of Sony. He is second in command under Chairman Idei and is more and more in charge of representing Sony in the US. He gave the speech at CES this year and said some some very interesting things. First he pushed open standards.

Ando said Sony will also work to use open standards in future products to make it easier for consumers to more widely access content on devices and urged other companies to help to establish these standards to help the industry progress.
Then he complained about the difficulty of the current record label business.
Steven Levy
After the keynote, Ando unwound at a dinner for a few journalists, where talk turned to the knotty problem of digital rights. He startled everyone by speculating that in the long term, given the nature of Internet copying, record labels may not have a future. "When you have a problem like this," he says, sighing, "I really wish we were a simple hardware company."
My kind of guy. We talked about blogs (of course), open standards and how cool it would be for Sony to really embrace open standards and let the blog tools and services talk to Sony products through open standards that we worked on together.

Mitch Kapor blogs about documentation coming for the 0.1 release of Chandler by the Open Source Applications Foundation. They are using a Wiki for the collaborative development environment. Great example of how Wiki's are cool.

Is UN politics getting in the way of best practices?

AP
Taiwanese accuse U.N. health agency of ignoring them; say it could aggravate spread of mystery illness

By William Foreman, Associated Press, 3/30/2003 01:44

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) When a deadly flu-like virus began spreading through Asia earlier this month, a group of Taiwanese doctors sent an e-mail to the World Health Organization asking for help in investigating the mysterious bug.

No one responded. No investigators from the U.N. agency visited. And the requests for assistance continue to go unanswered a policy inspired by China's rivalry with Taiwan, and the island's struggle for recognition by the United Nations.

via Technorati Hot Links.

Also, Karuna Shinsho, former CNN and NHK anchorwoman now living in Hong Kong, has written a first hand report on Chanpon.org.

Tim Oren also seems to think that the buzz is back and that we've hit a bottom.

Listed on BlogSharesBlogshares just went beta. It is a site where you can trade shares of blogs using fake money. The price is based on trading and a valuation of sorts is derived from links weighted by how valuable the links are. (Kind of like google page rank.) This price/value spread is sort of a P/E. Obviously, this fuels the "popularity content" aspect of blogging. Having said that, it's fun. I wish I could short sell blogs. ;-) It will be interesting to see whether the blog prices predict new popular blogs accurately since people should buy blogs that are new and cool but people don't know about yet.
koizumi.jpg

The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) is a club for scientists who have, or believe they have, luxuriant flowing hair. The project was first announced in mini-AIR 2001-02.

I wonder if there is a Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Politicians? I would nominate Koizumi-san.

Via Xeni on Boing Boing

I finally got my broken 15 inch PowerBook fixed and I've spent the last 2 days, messing with it to get everything installed. I started with a quick and dirty Carbon Copy Cloner copy from my 12 inch PowerBook and that didn't work. Then I did a fresh install and copied all of the libraries and frameworks over and that quickly got screwed up. I spent last night and today installing everything fresh from CD or downloads and moving just my email and key preferences over. Now it seems to be working. I sorted out a lot of stuff while I was at it and even organized my CD's. Phew. That was a lot of work, but I feel like I just moved into a new house with everything sorted out. But... I've let my blog go unattended for a few days and I feel REALLY guilty. BTW, the display on the 15 inch 1GHz is SOO much better than the 12 inch and the extra memory and speed of the CPU make this machine worth the extra weight and size. It feels much better now that I'm back on my 15 inch...

Sorry. Have spent the day trying to switch computers with disasterous results. I won't bore you with the details, but apologies for not writing anything today.

coronavirus.jpgI reported earlier that the situation with the killer pneumonia was getting better, but it looks like it's getting worse. AP reports that over 1000 people in Hong Kong have been quarantined and travel alerts are increasing. The WHO has called on countries to screen international air travelers for symptoms.

via Dan Gillmor

UPDATE: BBC reports that they've probably identifed the virus and it's called the Corona virus. via Marc's Voice

bushblog.gif
A roundup of hilarious satire blogs. Blogs by GW Bush, Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il.

Kim Jong Il Live Journal link via woj@MetaFilter

fujimori.jpg
Photo from CNN.com
So Interpol has issued a "Red Notice" asking countries to extradite former Peruvian President Mr. Fujimori. He is charged with a variety of crimes including running a paramilitary death squad. He is of Japanese origin and had hidden his Japanese citizenship until he fled to Japan. Japan accepted him and now is refusing to extradite him to Peru.

I heard that many politicians and business leaders in Japan are big supporters of Fujimori and they even threw a party for him when he arrived in Tokyo.

So, I don't personally know if the Peruvians are politically motivated and unfair as Fujimori claims, but ignoring Interpol and secretly admiring a criminal charged with running a death squad is very uncool in my book.

Steven Frank has composed a song about blogging called Ben and Mena. He blogs about it here, and the 3.8MB mp3 file is here. Probably interesting to hardcore bloggers only, but VERY funny. ;-)

Via Chris Pirillo

How to watch Iraqi Satellite TV on the web: The Saddam Show Paul Boutin has all the details in Slate, right here.
[...]
UPDATE: Oops. Too bad we just blew it up. AP reports one version of the story, and CBS reports another, as follows

Just like geeks have a geek code, bloggers now have a blogger code. Mine is: B9 d+ t+ k++ s u f++ i++ o+ x-- e+ l c--

Here is is a site to generate your code and here is a site to decode it.

The only question that was a bit difficult to answer was, "Does longevity equal respect in the blogging world? How long have you been regularly maintaining a personal web log or online journal?"

I have been posting journal-like entries on my web page since 1994, but I moved my site to joi.ito.com and started using Movable Type last June... I answered the question "Over 3 Years." but that might be wrong since I wouldn't tell people I've been blogging for more than three years. I guess this is the whole "what is a blog?" question. What do you think?

UPDATE: here's another decoder

Technorati, my favorite blog oriented engine just announced two new services. Breaking News and Hot Links. Breaking News shows articles from about 4000 "professional" news services that have been published in the last 12 hours that bloggers are talking about. (Take THAT Google News. ;-) ) Hot links shows links that bloggers are talking about in all categories in the past 12 hours in chronological order so you can see what is hot NOW. Very cool.

Taiichi Fox brought a Segway over to the office today and let us take it for a spin. It was great. It is one of the two Segways that I know about in Japan. He brought it from the US. I'm still trying to figure out whether to leave mine in the US or have it delivered to Japan. Japan is definitely more suited for Segways but we're not allowed to ride them yet. I'm applying for a regulatory waiver, but the first one was rejected. I'm applying for it again in June. I think I should probably leave mine in Silicon Valley to cruise around when I'm there and bring mine to Japan once we are allowed to cruise freely.

Anyway, it was lots of fun and perfect for people who have to walk 30 minutes to the train station every day.

CNN MENTIONED SALAM PAX -- and gave his URL. This isn't cool.

More reason to hope the troops get to Baghdad soon, and keep Saddam's goons busy in the meantime.

IMHO, I think that Iraqi intelligence probably already reads Salam's blog so the CNN coverage MIGHT increase his risk, but at this point, I think the more people who read Salam's blog, the better.

A Japanese guy (site in Japanese but great pictures) with long hair cuts his hair to make a chonmage. Chonmage's are now only worn by sumo wrestlers and actors in samurai movies. This guy goes out to dinner and even gets his picture taken for his drivers license with his new 'doo. Chris, you should try this next.

Frank Boosman is pro-war and he and I have had several debates/discussions about this. On the issue of the treatment of POW's, he's on Al Jazeera's side and provides good reasons which I agree with and couldn't have said better.

Salam, our blogger in Baghdad was out of touch for a few days and I was getting worried. He's back online and says his Internet access was down, but it's back up.

Christiaan van der Valk posted a thoughtful item about mutual respect and the Arab world on the GLT list.

Christiaan van der Valk
It goes without saying that Iraq and its people need all the help they can get short term.

Seeing US soldiers paint a message for Saddam on a missile saying "9/11" was a sad confirmation of US public opinion of the reason for this war. While of course inspired by a fear only those in combat have a right to judge, seeing troops cheer as missiles are fired off (a commander explains: "they know the devastation these things bring") was as revolting as seeing people in the Muslim world celebrate after 9/11. I am sure the US and UK are serious about bringing peace and stability to the region (albeit certainly without a sufficient understanding of what the region really wants) but a little PR briefing of the troops would have helped. I did some introspection this weekend and concluded that I, too, as probably most Westerners, have a level of sub-conscious fear and resentment against the Arab world -- as much as rationally I would like things to be different, I could not conclude otherwise. Why? Because apparently some primitive part of my brain says "they hate us" and "they threaten our way of life". Even if one has been educated (as I think I have) to always question such feelings and try to understand them and counter them through rationalization, it does not take a lot for these these feelings to take the upper hand. I am pretty sure most people in the Arab world have not been sensitized to signal and deal with such dangerous emotions -- in many cases rather the opposite. Try to imagine against that background how this war and its preparation feel. There is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of people in the Arab and Muslim world are convinced the West hates them. And as much as Bush and all of us are sure we're doing all the right things to inspire confidence, we haven't began to do what is needed to get there. It is this mindset we're up against. You can pump a hundred billion into post-war Iraq, if you do not address this basic issue it will not be interpreted as positive. We have to learn mutual respect and we have to accept compromise. Showing decency in every aspect of this war, which is now a fact of life, must be a first step.
quoted with permission

How do you like my new faceroll? It's on in my left sidebar. Jason explains how to do it here. You have to be a paying member of Blogrolling.com to use it. I have mine set up to pick 5 people randomly. If you see your picture and you don't want to be in the faceroll or have another picture you'd rather I used, let me know.

Just had lunch with Adriaan, the developer of Kung-Log, my favorite OS X client for Movable Type. It uses the MetaWeblog API to talk to MT. I am proud to say that it was on this blog that Dave Winer and Ben Trott discussed and enabled metaWeblog.newMediaObject which allows me to upload photos, which was my big gripe with the MetaWeblog API. Now MT and Kung-Log support the new API. This photo of Adriaan is brought to you by Kung-Log. With this, I will probably switch to Kung-Log as my primary method of writing to MT.

Adriaan is Dutch and he is a researcher at Tsukuba. He is one of the many people writing great tools "on the side." I wonder if it is the open standards, the excitement of blogging, the ability to discuss standards more easily and better development environments that are causing this increase of useful tools. Or maybe it just looks that way to me since I'm so into blogging right now.

One request. Adriaan, can you do thumbnailing, upload the two images and create the html like MT does? I think you need to do it in the client since it isn't in the API...

Good entry level article (not just because he quotes me ;-) ). Talks about blogging, klogging, RSS, moblogging as well as blogging in Japan. It's available in pdf in the American Chamber of Commerce Japan Journal on Issho.org

So I went on a walk as Dave Winer suggested. Then, I called Yuichi, my fat club partner and we decided to play squash and have a weigh-in. We played squash for an hour. I hadn't exercised for a month when I went to the gym yesterday and I was pretty much a mess today. I totally suck at squash anyway, but I was obliterated today. The only thing I have ever been good at is wrestling. I was wearing my Polar heart monitor and noticed that my heart rate went up to 194bpm at one point. Probably a bit too high...

Anyway, I was confident that I had lost some weight since the last weigh-in so I drank a lot of water. Yuichi on the other hand didn't drink any. I wanted to trick him into thinking I was still way out of range so he would slack off. Then, with my new no-alcohol, walking-every-day regime, I could increase my rate of weight loss and beat him easily. ;-)

The weigh-in reminded me of wrestling where we had to weigh in before each match. The biggest difference is that I weigh 17kg more than I did when I was at my peak in wrestling... Anyway, he was still 4kg away from his target and I was 3kg away. We may be at this for awhile...

Gave a talk on March 19 at the MIT Enterprise Forum in Tokyo hosted at the Nikkei BP office. I tried to tie a bunch of things together. I started out by saying that at a macro level, I was very depressed, but that at a micro level, I was extremely excited. I talked first about the lack of entrepreneurs in Japan, the problem with the economy and democracy in Japan. Then I talked about the nature of risk and why risk/return is broken in Japan. Then I talked about weblogs and about how excited I was about the political, media, social, communications and tool building aspects of weblogs. I closed by talking about open standards and the impact that open standards could have on consumer electronics. I promised to upload the slides so here they are in a 16.2mb pdf file and a1.2mb QT file. I don't have any notes on the slides, so by themselves, they're pretty useless, but...I promised. I used keynote, which was a true pleasure. I also fixed up some of the slides so the images are newer than the presentation date.

Generally good response. Blogging seemed to be new to people so the blow-by-blow of how a blog works seemed to be useful. The democracy issue was very interesting to some, irrelevant to others. ;-)

TouchGraph GoogleBrowser V1.01 is a cool Java tool to let you see your Google neighbors. Uses Google API. Reminds me a bit of the Blogstreet visual neighborhood.

Via Werblog

Washington Post
We Begin Combing in Five Minutes
By Lloyd Grove
Friday, March 21, 2003; Page C03

The White House is vowing a strong retaliatory response after the BBC aired live video of President Bush getting his hair coiffed in the Oval Office as he squirmed in his chair and practiced on the teleprompter minutes before Wednesday night's speech announcing the launch of military operations against Saddam Hussein.

The footage available on The Smoking Gun.

My email notifications list is a combination of people who had subscribed to my blog, my old mailing list and random friends. I stopped sending blog entries via email when I started increasing my output. Some people have told me that they would rather receive email notifications. I just set up a Bloglet account and now you can get this blog via email. If you are receiving this via email, this will be the last time you get email from me. If you would like to subscribe by email, please go to my site and subscribe. The box to enter your email is towards the bottom of the bar on the left side of the page.

Very funny video of lipsynching Bush and Blair. 3.8mb .mpg file.

Via WombatNation

I've been trying to lose weight and set a target weight. I made a bet with Yuichi. Whoever hits their target first wins. The loser has to be a chauffer for the other one for a day. Well, that doesn't seem to be enough incentive. My weight's been hovering for the last week. So new rule. No more alcohol until I hit my target. I'll think about drinking again at that point. This should help in a variety of ways. I have stopped blogging when drunk. If I stop drinking, I will be able to blog at night and catch Dave Winer when he starts blogging in the morning on the East Coast. With the increase in email since I started blogging and all of the great new deals to look at in Silicon Valley, I am definitely reaching my limit on available time and not drinking should significantly increase my "uptime."

So, this is an official announcement. If anyone catches me drinking, you can smack me and blog that I'm a liar and a cheat. Come to think of it, I quit smoking since I started blogging. After my weight is under control and I stop drinking, maybe I'll take a crack quitting caffeine. Then I can announce that blogging is good for your health and that it saves lives. ;-)

Technorati's current events, a new feature on Technorati is a great source for news. Very up-to-date and interesting.

If you haven't seen it already, Lisa has video footage of police hitting protestors in San Francisco.

Kevin Sites
Pausing the warblog, for now. Dear readers: I've been asked to suspend my war blogging for awhile.
That sucks. I wonder if CNN thought he was getting too much attention. He was the only professional journalist on the inside blogging that I know of. Now we have to hope that Christopher of Back to Iraq 2.0 gets his stuff in order and actually makes it into Iraq and hope that Salam stays alive and keeps on blogging.

Via Instapundit

"Just like the Internet was 10 years ago, blogging is popular with an underground culture that is doing it for the love and passion," said Tony Perkins, who edited the recently folded Red Herring technology magazine and last month launched a business blog called Always On Network.

"Now there are people like me coming along and trying to figure out how to package it," Perkins said. "It's time to take it to the next level."

Interesting thought. What level are we on? I guess it might look "underground" when you first join, but blogging has already past the "underground culture" phase, I think. Having said that, I'd like to continue doing it for love and passion.

Nick Denton says this about the article.

One of the most clueless articles in a while, on the weblog phenomenon. Stars Tony Perkins, editor-in-chief of the defunct Red Herring, and his new venture, a super-blog about technology that I can't even find through Google.
Henry Copeland blogs some thoughts and an exchange with Tony Perkins where Tony gets a bit defensive. Elizabeth Spiers blogs:
The funniest thing is Tony's attitude toward Henry—the who-do-you-think-you-are indignation. This is how blogs work, Tony. You generate content. Other people comment on it. And you're not always going to like what they say.
Tony comments on Elizabeth's blog in humble lowercase:
Tony Perkins
to the lovely elizabeth spiers who runs this site, i promise to work harder. i must say that the fact that a person as obviously as smart and qualified as you are can't find a single thing of value on AO is certainly dissapointing to me. if you don't mind, i will let you know when i finally post something that you might find useful. btw, i appreciate the feedback so far.
So... Where am I on this? I've signed up for and played around with AlwaysOn. It looks sort of like a blog, but doesn't feel like a blog for a variety of reasons other people have blogged already, but the articles feel like magazine columns and it doesn't have the linked-in/real-time/community-participation element that real blogs have. For instance, I think Dan Gillmor does a great job of blogging and having a weekly column separating his interaction with the blogging "underground" and the readers of his column. Two different groups of people.

On the other hand, I think Tony is turning on a lot of people in Silicon Valley and getting bigshots to blog is a good thing. I do think it would be better to try to learn how to blog before evangelizing though. I am a venture capitalist trying to figure out how to make money. Blogging feels like 1992 to me. Lots of tool builders, lots of buzz, pre-Yahoo, pre-Amazon. I'm doing what I did in '92. I'm immersing myself in the technology and the community. I started my blog June last year and am finally figuring out the nuances, which makes blogging so cool. You really have to do it and immerse yourself in it before you really "get it." I think the risk that Tony faces is that "taking it to the next level" before you understand the current level is that you might not bring all of the good stuff with you to that level. I am also trying to "take it to the next level" but I'm part of a group effort.

Anyway, I thought the interview with Idei was great. I think Tony's helping everyone become more aware of blogging generally and I wish him the best. It reminds me a bit of how I alienated the Japanese diary community when I started ranting about blogs in Japan. They were upset because I had not given them credit for popularizing the form in Japan and acting like blogging was a new thing. Maybe a lot of the negative reaction to Tony is a similar feeling. I do think that there are a lot of smart people in the "blog underground" that Tony should probably interact with more and calling us an underground culture is not the best way to make friends.

You have probably seen this already, but just to close the loop on my March 16 post about this...

The good news is it looks like they figured out what it is. The bad news is that it will probably be years before they have a vaccine or a cure. The good news is it doesn't spread so easily.

I commend the WHO et al. Everyone did a great job coordinating by email, keeping everyone informed without causing a panic. Great execution. I felt more informed than any other such threat in the past. On the other hand, if the bug had gone into a full blown outbreak, there might have been a panic...

BBC
Scientists in Hong Kong have claimed a key breakthrough against a virulent form of pneumonia which is claiming more victims around the world.

The researchers have identified the mystery respiratory illness at the heart of a global health scare as a virus from the paramyxoviridae family, which are responsible for conditions such as mumps and measles.
[...]
"It is rather slow-moving, rather restricted to families and hospitals, not a rip-roaring affair, but still very nasty.

"There are no anti-viral drugs against this family of viruses, and there are no vaccines available. It will be a question of several years work.

"But it is not fantastically infectious, so I wouldn't expect there to be a massive outbreak in other parts of the world."

I'm a bit late in commenting on this, but Adam released it in the middle of my Silicon Valley immersive experience and had a hard time concentrating. His paper which is available as a pdf file or on his web page is an interesting idea. The basic idea is to create a constitution and manage it like we manage open source software projects. It's a short paper and he doesn't elaborate on some of the details of how it would be done, but I think it is an interesting notion.

I've worked with some UN model law around electronic commerce and cyber arbitration, and some of the ideas are similar. Create a core code base that people can adapt and use locally. Helps harmonize. The main difference between what the UN does and what Adam is suggesting is the use of an open structure like open source.

I think the paper is a bit too geeky for lawyers and a bit to constitutional law oriented for geeks. I have the same problem with my emergent democracy paper.

Adam is releasing 1.0 this summer, I think. Look forward to reading it.

Adam
I'm gonna get my deep geek on here, and go public with something I've been putting a great deal of thought and effort into lately: apropos of many recent discussions of "emergent democracy," here's a proposal - a "minifesto," if you will - for the constitution of virtual, post-national states. The relationship to conceptions of democracy should be obvious.

Go 'head and shoot holes in it: I'm not a constitutional lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. The ideas proposed herein may well not stand up to extended inspection, which is OK with me. Think of this, then, as a public beta, offered as a conversation starter only.

Adam Greefield is proposing to hold a conference about moblogging in Tokyo this summer. Sounds like a good idea. Especially the fact that it's in Tokyo. ;-)

Saw Robert Berger yesterday. He is yet another very cool person I met through John Markoff. (Thanks John!) Robert is a radio guru. Glocom had invited him to Japan to work on a report about spectrum. I'm glad he was invited to Japan and got a chance to learn about Japan and meet the community here. He'll be returning to Silicon Valley soon. He will be one more of the few important people there who have experience in Japan. I continue to feel that the bridge between Silicon Valley and Japan is still too weak and the more cool people who can spend a little time in Japan and return to the US to be, if not advocates, at least conscious of Japan, the better. Looking forward to hearing what Robert plans to do next!

I'm sure everyone knows about "Where's Raed?" a blog by a guy in Baghdad which I wrote about here and here. (Thanks again John for the original link.) Paul Boutin does some great investigative blogging about where Salam Pax, the Baghdad Blogger, is. His conclusion?

Paul Boutin
Q: Is the Baghdad Blogger for real?

A: Probably.

Check out his thoughts if this question has been on your mind.

There is a great deal of debate in the Diet recently about Japan's military capability. The constitution of Japan states:

Japanese Constitution
CHAPTER II. RENUNCIATION OF WAR

Article 9.

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

The interpretation of this is that Japan can not attack another country and in fact can not even shoot at anything until someone dies. So, if North Korea shoots a missile at Japan and it hits an unpopulated area, Japan can do nothing. If the missile kills someone, Japan can shoot the next missile down when it is over international waters. The military is pushing to have this law changed and the constitution amended.

In the Diet testimonies, the military said that they are currently not equipped to strike anyone anyway. The Aegis destroyers only have sea-to-air and sea-to-sea missiles and the fighter jets only have air-to-air missiles.

I currently do not know what my position is about rearming Japan, but interesting facts since Japan has quite a large military these days, but for what?

031903algore.jpgAl Gore and Apple sure picked an interesting day to announce this. I wonder if they are going to declare war on Microsoft?

CNet
Al Gore joins Apple's board
By Ian Fried
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
March 19, 2003, 1:38 PM PT


Apple Computer on Wednesday named former Vice President Al Gore to its board of directors.

I think business method and software patents are a very bad idea. I've been arguing against them for a long time. Larry has an idea to solicit specific examples and opinions from people. He will verify the information and make a web page. This should help the policy makers and lawyers understand what technologists are always complaining about.

I’ve been a skeptic about software and business method patents for a long time (while a supporter of, e.g., drug patents)
[...]
So here’s an idea. I’d like to construct a page of views of technologists who have experience with the system. The aim will not be to evaluate the system as a whole, but instead to collect credible testimony about the burdens the system imposes. Policy makers should be evaluating whether the benefits outweigh the burdens. My aim is not to do that weighing. My aim is simply to collect stories and evidence about the burdens.

If you have experience and a view, then email me and describe both. I will collect them and verify the source, and then make the results available here. The aim is not to conduct a poll; this will not be a representative sample of anything. But it would help immensely to have a place where people could go to read what technologists say to me all the time.

If Saddam survives, he'll probably ban photoshop.

Via hidely on Metafilter

Village Voice via Lisa Rein
Ashcroft Out of Control Ominous Sequel to USA Patriot Act By Nat Hentoff for the Village Voice.

Under the proposed Ashcroft bill reversing that court decision, for the first time in U.S. history, secret arrests will be specifically permitted. That section of bill is flatly titled: "Prohibition of Disclosure of Terrorism Investigation Detainee Information." In Argentina, those secretly taken away were known as "the disappeared."

Moving on, under Section 501 of the blandly titled Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, an American citizen can be stripped of citizenship if he or she "becomes a member of, or provides material support to, a group that the United States has designated as a 'terrorist organization,' if that group is engaged in hostilities against the United States."

The day before yesterday, I was in the inquiry committee for consumer protection and I explained that privacy had far reaching effects. One example I gave was GRID.
Equifax
EQUIFAX BECOMES CRITICAL LINK IN FIGHTING FINANCIAL FRAUD

Selected to Manage Database That Will Aid Financial Institutions In Tracking Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Other Criminal Activities
[...]
The Global Regulatory Information Database (GRIDSM) is a unique solution for financial institutions to conduct automated and enhanced due diligence on entities, individuals and transactions as mandated by federal law. Among other federal and international rules, the recently passed USA PATRIOT Act requires financial institutions to undertake stringent verification processes for existing and new accounts. The GRID database is the first unified attempt by financial institutions to comply with the Act's requirements through a comprehensive database.

Information collected in Japan about Japanese citizens could easily be handed over to GRID by the Japanese government as a gesture of good faith to the US that the Japanese government seems so happy doing these days. GRID will be a global database and will grow to include all kinds of information. For those of you who are unaware of this, money laundering law makes it illegal to hide your money flow from the government, even if you are not doing anything else illegal. So, a warning to those Japanese who have recently sent money to a friend in Iraq, visited Afghanistan, donated money to Greenpeace or had dinner with a human shield... beware of international travel. You may be on a list that you won't know how to get off of. As a non-citizen of the country you are visiting, you will not even have the rights that US citizens have. These lists are based on profiling, so many things that you do could be construed as: "becomes a member of, or provides material support to, a group that the United States has designated as a 'terrorist organization,' if that group is engaged in hostilities against the United States." Better not to say, do our buy anything if you plan on visiting to the US any time soon.

beosound2.jpg

MacMegasite
Bang & Olufsen releases MP3 player for Mac
Bang & Olufsen has responded to requests from Macintosh users and is making the company’s portable mp3 player compatible with Apple’s iTunes.
Yes! I love B&O stuff. I aways buy it and never use it. ;-p I'm so happy with my iPod and my Shure E5c's that I'm not sure where this BeSound2 would fit into my lifestyle, but it just looks sooo cool. Maybe I can use the BeSound2 when the iPod is out of battery power or when I have to wear an mp3 player at a dinner party...

The Swiss Ambassador to Japan, Jacques Reverdin
Had dinner last night at the Swiss Ambassador's residence for the second time in one week. Last week was the kickoff meeting for the ISC alumni club. I will be speaking at the ISC symposium this year so that qualified me to be a member. I met Ambassador Reverdin for the first time at this dinner. He struck me as smart, classy person with a good sense of humor. Also notable were the two pianos. He played one of the pianos to signal the beginning of dinner.

Last night, I was invited to dinner with some people who attended Davos and a few of his friends, including the EU Ambassador and the British Ambassador. It was a much smaller group and as usual, I talked a lot about blogs and democracy in Japan. It was a very healthy discussion representing a variety of views. (Will not go into detail since one of the issues discussed was the issue of being misquoted or unfairly portrayed in the media...)

I really enjoyed the discussion. I wonder if there aren't very many such discussions, or whether I'm just not invited to them very often. ;-) Also enjoyed listening to ambassadors talking about politics at the residence of the Swiss Ambassador. Seemed like a good place to get a balanced impression the European view of the war.

Anil demonstrating the deadpan smile.
Anil coins a new smiley. :|

Have a day everyone...

PS Anil is not nearly as annoying in person as he is online. When I met him at my party I was suprised by how warm and friendly he was. Later I started introducing him to others like this: "Anil is not an asshole but he plays one on TV." He told me that his ability to manage his online personality was his key to success. ":)"

Just got out of a meeting of the Association of Corporate Executives or the Keizaidoyukai where I am a secretariat member and was the youngest member when I joined. The Keizaidoyukai is one of the two most powerful economic associations in Japan. The other one is the Japan Business Federation or the Keidanren. The Keidanren is the federation of all of the big companies, the members representing their companies. The Keizaidoyukai represents individual corporate executives. The Keidanren is more powerful, but the Keizaidoyukai has played a very important role in the past in pushing for reform. The Keizaidoyukai was founded after the war by a group of visionary business leaders in their 30's to rebuild Japan. It has grown into a large organization with over a thousand members and an average age of 66 years old.

Tony Kobayashi, the chairman of Fuji-Xerox is the chairman, but his term will end next month and is most likely going to be succeeded by Kakutaro Kitashiro, the chairman of IBM Japan. I'm a big fan of Tony Kobayashi and Mr. Kitashiro is someone I greatly respect. I should be overjoyed that Mr. Kitashiro is taking over the Keizaidoyukai but today we had a meeting with him and I was quite negative. I felt a bit bad, but I told the group that I was considering resigning because I was frustrated with the lack of measurable results from our meetings and that I thought it was difficult to try to gain the support of younger members when most of the people in the association were basically retired and had a lot of time to talk and not act. We all talked about how we needed to reform the Keizaidoyukai if it was going to be an agent of change in Japan.

I walked away feeling like I should give Mr. Kitashiro a chance to change the Keizaidoyukai, but with a feeling that it would be difficult. I can barely stand the tedious task of trying to convince the senior Japanese business executives. I can't image the really young leaders wanting to spend their time in these meetings. It's really a pity considering the strong philosophical foundations upon which the association was founded, but as with anything, age and power bring a variety of issues and it is losing its edge…

PS I resigned from the New Business Conference per my promise that I made here.

Matthew Cadbury, the always insightful GLT posted this on our list today. Relevant to the revolution and the pursuit of truth thread today.

Matthew Cadbury
I was disturbed (but not surprised) to read in the newspapers that a recent NBC poll shows that 42% of the US population believe that Saddam Hussein was behind the September 11th attack (the reality, of course, is that none of those involved in September 11 were Iraqis and there was no Iraqi involvement of any kind in the attack). How do so many people come to be so misinformed?

The misinformation is certainly deliberate and has been done by "Team Bush" to justify attacking Iraq. Rumsfeld mentioned Al Qaeda 8 times in his last press conference on Iraq, this constant drip feed of Saddam/Al Qaeda eventually influences people.

We have discussed the importance of a free press before in this group, so where has the free press been in the USA the last few months? Has the free press not been able to counter government misinformation or has it not tried?

One problem with a free press is that it might produce the news that gets the sales, so how do you guarantee that truth is involved?

Why do US citizens tolerate being lied to by their government?
Has the USA lost respect for the truth?

Several of us have been talking about a revolution in Japan recently and I've been interviewing many people about their thoughts on the need, the possibility and the correct process.

I think it is clear that it will take something on a revolutionary scale to change the Japanese system enough to make it a functioning democracy. This revolution probably does not involve violence. This revolution will require the people to want change so much that they become actively involved in trying to cause change.

Most people still have jobs and are generally happy. Most people believe that they cannot cause change. And in fact, there is no easy mechanism for the people to cause change.

Several people have suggested that a revolution won't happen until we have a true economic meltdown -- maybe in a few years.

I had several people over to my house yesterday including people from the press, IT industry, financial industry and non-profits ranging from someone in their 20's to people in their 60's. It was my own little deliberative democracy representing a variety of views. Anyway, we talked a lot about revolution. The older participants remembered the student uprisings in the 60's and 70's in Japan and described how they started and were eventually stomped out by the riot police. I talked about how blogs could encourage activism and they described that the way the students got "activated" was similar. We decided that the environment which caused the student uprisings does not exist today and the establishment and its ability thwart such an attempt is much stronger.

So, we decided that we focus not on politics or revolution for the moment, but on "truth." We will focus on having meetings and creating tools to help people in pursuit of "the truth." We talked about many things that we thought people should know and analysis that should be conducted and the members from the media explained that more than any malicious intent, it was the lack of incentive and will for them to spend the energy to do this that kept these sort of things from being reported. Someone mentioned that "the truth" is subjective. Yes. It is. But I think it is much easier to argue for the necessity of knowing the truth than arguing for democracy (a concept that I am find is actually quite alien to many Japanese) or the overthrow of the establishment. I think that blogging, polling and other tools that help us find out what the people think and expose and analyze what those in power are doing will help people become aware and active. That's the first step. We decided to continue to have regular meetings to talk about how to collect facts and highlight important truths.

Good rant from Salam, a blogger in Baghdad about the war.

Salam
What is bringing on this rant is the question that has been bugging for days now: how could "support democracy in Iraq" become to mean "bomb the hell out of Iraq"? why did it end up that democracy won't happen unless we go thru war? Nobody minded an un-democratic Iraq for a very long time, now people have decided to bomb us to democracy? Well, thank you! how thoughtful.
I hope my efforts get support for democracy in Japan doesn't mean that we want someone to bomb us. Someone joked with me yesterday that the US should bomb Japan to democracy since Japan seems to be re-arming and we have a rogue regime. (Once again, this is only a joke...)
Salam
The entities that call themselves "the international community" should have assumed their responsibilities a long time ago, should have thought about what the sanctions they have imposed really meant, should have looked at reports about weapons and human rights abuses a long time before having them thrown in their faces as excuses for war five minutes before midnight.
[...]
To end this rant, a word about Islamic fundis/wahabisim/qaeda and all that.

Do you know when the sight of women veiled from top to bottom became common in cities in Iraq? Do you know when the question of segregation between boys and girls became red hot? When tribal law replaced THE LAW? When Wahabi became part of our vocabulary?

It only happened after the Gulf War. I think it was Cheney or Albright who said they will bomb Iraq back to the stone age, well you did. Iraqis have never accepted religious extremism in their lives. They still don't. Wahabis in their short dishdasha are still looked upon as sheep who have strayed from the herd. But they are spreading. The combination of poverty/no work/low self esteem and the bitterness of seeing people who rose to riches and power without any real merit but having the right family name or connection shook the whole social fabric. Situations which would have been unacceptable in the past are being tolerated today.

Salam also thinks the human shields should go home.

Doug Fox asks some great questions about Emergent Democracy.

I'll try to respond to some of them.

Doug Fox
Question 1: A New Form of Democracy?

What are some illustrations of what your “emerging democracy” will look like? In other words, how specifically will it “rectify the imbalance and inequalities” of the world without jeopardizing the many benefits of our existing representative democratic institutions?

I think that initially emergent democracy should be looked at as something that will be an addition to the current system. I think the initial impact will be in more activity by the people and a clearer more intelligent voice of the people. It seems to me speed has increased with global TV journalism, but that now politics and discourse tends to revolve around short soundbytes. I am over-simplying here, but if you can imaging what scaling of deliberative polling might look like. Add a self-organizing element to this. If there was a clear "opinion of the people" on every key issue, this could help guide politicians and force/help mass media to be less reactive. Eventually, if this "opinion of the people" really worked and became intelligent enough, (This will take some time, I believe) maybe people could play a greater and greater role in governance. Again, I think this is an experiment which will take time, and I am not pushing to replace anything right away. I believe that creating a new voice through blogs is a great way to get started.
Question 2: The Face-to-Face Universe

The Internet does not exist independently from other forms of citizen engagement. From your article, I have the impression that the Internet is a panacea from which will eventually emerge new types of democratic systems and institutions that will solve the ills of society. You do discuss deliberative democracy, but what other types of transformations have to take place in the way citizens engage in face-to-face dialogues and deliberations in order to contribute to the improvement of our political, economic and social structures? And how will these new types of face-to-face encounters work in tandem with your discussion on emerging democracy in the digital sphere?

I also think that face-to-face is very important. I think that the Internet lowers the cost of interaction greatly, increasing the ease of organizing and the value of face-to-face meetings. The Internet is no replacement for face-to-face. In fact, I think the number of face-to-face contacts should INCREASE as emergent democracy puts people in touch with more and more people who they want to meet.
Question 3: Hijacking Self-Organizers

You write, “It is possible that there is a method for citizens to self-organize to deliberate on and address complex issues as necessary and enhance our democracy without any one citizen being required to know and understand the whole… If information technology could provide a mechanism for citizens in a democracy to participate in a way that allowed self-organization and emergent understanding, it is possible that a form of emergent democracy could address many of the complexity and scalability issues facing representative governments today.”

Could you elaborate on this idea? It’s intriguing. What would be a possible illustration on the national level? And if such self-organizing initiatives could be created with the help of information technology, what mechanisms would be in place so that these participative endeavors were not hijacked by individuals or groups with their own political motives and agendas?

I think this is an interesting question. I think about this a lot. I think that the key is that when everyone is active and engaged, it's much harder to "pull a fast one" on them. In a representative democracy, most people don't really know what is going on behind closed doors or what "deals are cut." In an emergent democracy, everyone is watching and the process is quite transparent. This ties into the question about co-opting bloggers, but I think that such attempts would be quickly found out and discarded and that mechanism for detection could easily be put in place.
My question is do you see the co-opting of the bloggers who benefit from the Power Law as a major obstacle to your theory of Emergent Democracy?
No, because I do believe that this is the strength of blogs and other very active feedback networks. It's actually VERY easy for people to join the dialog. For instance, you posted a comment on my blog, and now you are an active part of my conversation. In fact, just linking to me guarantees that I will read what you said, if it is picked up by technorati, a simple process. On the other hand, deliberate attempts to co-opt the community, such as the Raging Cow thing by Dr. Pepper, is a good example of how sensitive the community is to co-option. I think that the more popular your blog is, the more people are watching and checking to make sure integrity and honesty is maintained.
Can the weblog community really come close to replicating the levels of trust engendered by people within communities who have spent life times together engaged in the discussion and implantation of political, social and economic issues?
No. The problem is, many people have only these "strong tie" community trust networks to work with. How else are you going to get to know someone in Iraq, or Afghanistan? The idea of the strength of weak ties is that you need to reach beyond your local network. Also, in an exceedingly open and complex world, you are made to interact with more and more people from more and more places which reach beyond your community. A trust network that spans communities could be built which could enhance your ability to communicate with, interact with and build trust in such a world. Like, face-to-face, I don't think that this new trust network necessarily displaces strong tie trust networks in tight communities, but enhances it by allowing weak ties to be more easily created and managed.

I think you raised some great questions and issues that we need to think about when trying to design the tools for ED. I don't think I answered your questions completely, but wanted to get some thoughts off in a timely way. Thanks for reading the paper and sharing your thoughts.

So here is a great example of why we need to be able to link to stuff and not be endorsing them. From the Goldblogger website (Whuffie=thumbsdown http://www.goldblogger.com/):

Goldblogger
"You can't make money blogging."

How many times have you heard that?

If you are like me, it's once too often!

Who are these idiots that are making these wild claims? Not one of them can offer proof or facts to back up their statements.

But here is the truth.

I am making money with my blogs and so are the big names in the blogging community:

Rebecca Blood
Nick Denton
Glenn Reynolds
Andrew Sullivan
Dave Winer

All of them are accomplished writers and command a large and devoted audience of readers. But it is their entrepreneurialism that sets them apart. I call them GoldBloggers!

Via Chris Pirillo. So Chris, how did YOU find this site? Were you googling for "make money blogging"? ;-)

The emergent democracy paper was scobleized thus:

Robert Scoble
Next time I see Joi, I'm going to ask him how his emergent democracy idea will help get radical new ideas into political life. Letting the masses run things is OK, but you don't get the radical innovations that only a small wacky minority sees at first.

Remember, 50 years ago most Americans thought it was OK to discriminate against blacks. It took a radical minority to push the idea through that that wasn't OK.

Here are my thoughts...

So, in the paper, I am arguing that democracy should protect the rights of the minority while being governed by the will of the majority. In emergence, for instance in the brain, the trick is to allow diversity to stimulate new ideas and creativity.

In Calvin's theory of how our brain works, he explains that the edges or parts of the surface of the brain which are not adjacent to many other areas is where new ideas form which can come back and influence the rest of the brain.

In evolution and the theory of genetic drift and gene pools, it can be shown that when you have large populations, genes tend to stay more similar and drift more slowly but on islands with smaller gene pools, genes can go wild... like the Galapagos islands.

So I believe the trick is to have the various levels. The radical ideas and the great products come from small groups (the creative layer) to be allowed to work on a diverse set of ideas. When these ideas reach a certain level acceptability, the social level (the early adopters?) picks up the idea and "puts it on the radar." It then gives the opportunity for the idea to take a real shot at the masses. If you think about The Woz, I would say that the Home Brew Computer Club was the creative layer where the idea percolated. Then, Silicon Valley (the social layer) decided to give the idea a try. Eventually, it chanaged the world (the political layer). Many ideas don't make it past the first layer or the second.

What I think good emergent democracy will enable is exactly the kind of thing you are talking about Scoble. Right now most "thoughts" are thunk by experts in powerful positions. Was The Woz, an "expert"? Smoking might not have been intuitive, but it took a huge number of people fighting against Big Tobacco for A LONG TIME trying to break through the resistance that Big Tobacco were able to put in place with their money before this thing was able to happen. Couldn't this have been enabled more easily with emergent democracy where the debate could have captured the hearts and minds of bloggers more easily than the years in court that this took for people to notice?

Scoble... why are comments turned off on your blog?

Yesterday, the NYT reported the outbreak of a killer pneumonia in Asia. I was freaking out getting ready to blog about it when the WHO just announced that it has gone global.

First the New York Times says it's an Asian thing.

New York Times
Outbreak Prompts Travel Warning in Asia
By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN with KEITH BRADSHER

Hundreds of people in Vietnam, Hong Kong and China have been stricken by a mysterious respiratory illness that has killed at least six people and left all the others with severe breathing difficulties from which they have yet to fully recover, worried officials of the World Health Organization said today.

The scary quote from the NYT article was:
New York Times
"This pathogen is turning out to be a tough thing to pin down," he said. "Nothing is turning up, not a thing."
Then the next day, it has gone global...
WHO
Date: 15 Mar 2003
World Health Organization issues emergency travel advisory
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Spreads Worldwide
----------------------
15 March 2003 | GENEVA -- During the past week, WHO has received reports of more than 150 new suspected cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), an atypical pneumonia for which cause has not yet been determined. Reports to date have been received from Canada, China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Early today, an ill passenger and companions who travelled from New York, United States, and who landed in Frankfurt, Germany were removed from their flight and taken to hospital isolation.

Due to the spread of SARS to several countries in a short period of time, the World Health Organization today has issued emergency guidance for travellers and airlines.

So, what does "emergency guidance" mean? For 155 people on the Singpore Airlines flight it means being quarantined...
Some 155 other passengers who had been due to change planes or stay in Frankfurt were placed in quarantine there, while the remaining 85 passengers and 20 crew on the Singapore Airlines flight continued their journey, German officials said.
via IP and Louis. Thanks!

So, after a discussion about fair use and copyright, I decided to upload a short rant that I did on the panel in Davos about the Blueprint for Japan 2020 this year. It is a QT .mov file and is 4MB. It was taped from an NHK broadcast of a Davos special. The audio is stereo with Japanese on the left channel and English on the right.

I have a fair use question that maybe someone can answer for me. NHK taped and broadcasted the Blueprint for Japan 2020 panel in Davos. I am one of the speakers. I taped the broadcast and would like to put it on my web page. There are maybe three types of content mixed together. My talking, other people talking, translation into Japanese and some visuals. I guess, strictly speaking, they own the copyright, but what would constitute fair use? In text, I can see quoting it, but how do you quote video?

Also, NHK is a public broadcast company which we have to pay for like a tax. I wonder whether I can try to push them to make stuff like this public domain...

Another totally separate note, they didn't pay me for the panel. I had to pay to go to Davos. I didn't sign any waiver or anything either. What rights do THEY have to broadcast it? Maybe I signed something without noticing it... hmm...

First the Pentagon says we can't use Wi-Fi because it screws up their radar. Then they say that their GPS is so good that they can target things EXACTLY. Now they're saying that they can't tell the difference between a television uplink and a military target? Or are they saying that independent journalists ARE military targets?


US threatens to eliminate independent war journalists
Cheney has Kate Adie in the crosshairs
By Paul Hales: Tuesday 11 March 2003, 10:20
IN A CYNICAL bid to ensure that the people of the world see only what they need to see, the US has threatened to target independent journalists working in Iraq when the invasion kicks off.
[...]
She said she was told by "a senior officer in the Pentagon" that "if uplinks -- that is the television signals out of... Baghdad, for example -- were detected by any planes ...electronic media... mediums of the military above Baghdad... they'd be fired down on. Even if they were journalists .."

From Ken via Dave Farber's IP List

IDG News Service
Does File Trading Fund Terrorism?

Industry execs claim peer-to-peer networks pose more than just legal problems.

Grant Gross, IDG News Service Thursday, March 13, 2003

WASHINGTON -- A congressional hearing on the links between terrorism, organized crime, and the illegal trading of copyrighted material produced more complaints about college students using peer-to-peer networks and other governments sanctioning copyright violations than it did evidence of nefarious connections.
[...]
Criminal Charges
Representative John Carter, (R-Texas), suggested that college students would stop downloading if some were prosecuted and received sentences of 33 months or longer, like the defendants in the DOJ's Operation Buccaneer. "I think it'd be a good idea to go out and actually bust a couple of these college kids," Carter said. "If you want to see college kids duck and run, you let them read the papers and somebody's got a 33-month sentence in the federal penitentiary for downloading copyrighted materials."

So totally ridiculous it verges on insane. So, is this the first step in the trying to get Larry Lessig arrested as a terrorist?

Found on Dave Farber's IP list. Couldn't find a link to the actual article, so linked to the article in the IP archives. If someone sends me the link to the IDG page, I will put it up... Thanks Milad!
Update: "file sharing" in title changed to "file trading". Thanks Emile. Fixed the tag.

Great article in Wired about the Hydrogen Economy by Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall.

Wired
How Hydrogen Can Save America
The cost of oil dependence has never been so clear. What had long been largely an environmental issue has suddenly become a deadly serious strategic concern. Oil is an indulgence we can no longer afford, not just because it will run out or turn the planet into a sauna, but because it inexorably leads to global conflict. Enough. What we need is a massive, Apollo-scale effort to unlock the potential of hydrogen, a virtually unlimited source of power. The technology is at a tipping point. Terrorism provides political urgency. Consumers are ready for an alternative. From Detroit to Dallas, even the oil establishment is primed for change. We put a man on the moon in a decade; we can achieve energy independence just as fast. Here's how.
I wrote about the hydrogen economy before. I first learned to use computers at, was on the board of and am currently an advisor to management of one of the pioneering companies in the hydrogen economy, Energy Conversion Devices. The founder Stan Ovshinsky has been talking about the hydrogen economy since 1955 and the company, when founded in 1960, was founded in large part to solve many of the issues discussed in the article. It's amazing to see a "buzz" that takes almost 50 years to come around. I'm glad that at 80 years old, Stan can see a lot of his his vision unfold.

Sébastien Paquet quotes Tom Munnecke's comments on Dee Hock's letter, Dee Hock's article leader-followers and the World of Ends and has an "ah ha" moment about why David and Doc's vision is difficult to implement.

Reading this helped me pin down precisely what makes me uneasy about David and Doc's World of Ends piece. They're trying to do exactly that, make current executives and the ilk streamline themselves, instead of targeting, giving hope to, and helping organize those who have little to lose. I suspect that the attitude shift that David and Doc are hoping for is only going to materialize once this groundwork alternative organization effort is well underway and pretty much everybody has woken up and smelled the coffee.
Yes... my precious... This is what I was trying to talk about in my entry about the lust for power. It is really difficult to ask the people who have power to give it up. Even if they are your friends. Telling them may even tip them off to your strategy and allow them to more easily resist it. How do you organize a more grassroots, "lets just get on with it" attitude? It is important to have a message and a framework that is easy to understand, but we have to make sure that we target the people and empower the people instead of targeting power and trying unpower them. (Not trying to say here that World of Ends is wrong. It is just that some people are asking, "who are you talking to?")

Looks like I missed a great party. The Blogger/Google party that is. Chris has a posted lot of pictures with some very funny captions.

Jon Lebkowsky
Whuffie in Links

The Emergent Democracy tribe's been discussing a possible enhancement of href links. Since Google's page ranking uses the number of times a page is linked as part of its algorithm, it might make sense to include other information about your evaluation of a page when you link to it. The idea is to contribute your assessment of the whuffie (reputation) of the link, so that you wouldn't assign more credibility to a bogus page if you linked to it for some reason. Broad implementation of a method like this could improve Google's assessment of value, and it might have other uses as well.

There's a debate about the best way to implement something like this. My opinion is that you would add an attribute called "whuffie," after Cory Doctorow's term for reputation in the imagined future of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. Whuffie could have a value of -10 to 10, so you might have <a href="http://www.weblogsky.com" whuffie="10">.

This is a great opportunity to identify the blogroll from the entry. Various sections of your blogroll indicate a static vote of confidence about the blogs they point to, whereas entry links are more about the articles they point to. Blogstreet should look at only the blogroll, Blogdex, only the entry links and Technorati a combination of both. I guess the URL tells you, in a sense, if you are pointing at the entry or the blog, but you could make it explicit in the tag.

This meme reached mailing list escape velocity in only one day! Almost missed it. ;-)

I did an interview about IT and venture businesses in Japan for Glocom. Video streams just went online.

I'm sitting in the Councilors meeting of the Internet Association of Japan. This is a foundation and the "process" is rather stuffy and official. I was thinking of speaking up against their rating and filtering system, but the "mood" is quite formal and not too conducive to "speaking up." I think I'll contact them privately and ask them to explain it to me in detail before making any official statement.

A custom that is common in Japan is that instead of the US style "motion", "second", "all in favor say..." process, many Japanese boards clap to vote yes. There isn't a clear way to show your lack of support for an issue other than not to clap. From a governance perspective, this clap to vote method seems to lack... robustness. ;-p

Oops. Almost missed another motion... clap clap...

soufle_logo.gifAlbert just sent me a link to their new site which allows registered users to save bookmarks in folders and browse and search each other's sites. It reminds me a bit of OpenCola, but this is server based and is integrated with Google using the Google API. You need to register and it is still very early stage, but worth a look if you like new stuff. I suggested that they needed to work on buddy lists and grouping. They're working on some of this stuff this week.

;-) I can't image the French ever liked Americans calling fried potatoes "french fries" anyway. In Japan, which is not known for its good sense in naming things in English, we call these things "fried potato," which sounds like an extremely practical position in this debate.

CNN
House restaurants change name of 'french fries' and 'french toast'
Anger over France's position on Iraq

Tuesday, March 11, 2003 Posted: 11:21 AM EST (1621 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The restaurant menus in the three House office buildings will change the name of "french fries" to "freedom fries," a culinary rebuke of France, stemming from anger over the country's refusal to support the U.S. position on Iraq.

Alexa shows us that of the top 5 websites in the world, 2 are Korean and they rank above Google which is 5th. Korea's new President is a self-proclaimed Internet president. Howard Rheingold sends the Korean cyberspace generation a message. The message has four main points, the first one sounds almost like it was written to me. ;-) Although his message is to the Korean cyberspace generation, his points are broadly applicable and are very relevant to the emergent democracy discussion.

Howard Rheingold
First, do not mistake the tool for the task. The democratization of publishing, communication, and organizing that is afforded by PCs, the Internet, and wireless mobile devices is indeed an important tool for grassroots activism. But it is the knowledge, intentions, and actions of people in the real world — where ballots are cast, political decisions are made, wars and demonstrations take place — that empowers democracy. Netizens must have more in common than their technical expertise in order for them to conduct discourse rather than flame each other, to act collectively in the physical world rather than sit in front of keyboards and type all the time. Long-term political organizing is hard work.

Click here to see the status of the situation on Iraq.

Thanks Rebecca!

Aron Atkins has updated mail2entry, the PERLPython script that Sen wrote for posting email with attached pictures to MT.

This version includes:

  • parsemsg.parse supports multiple image attachments; the content of each image is returned in a list.
  • Added saveimage.py, which takes that list of image bodies and either saves them to disk or posts them via newMediaObject.
  • Move parsing of sys.argv out of main() -- this avoids the import * warnings.
  • Template changes in settings.py which allow for multiple images. supports both
  • JPEG and GIF image types.

His site is at here and the code is here.

Also, I have been talking to Karl Dubost about taking over the management of the code and he is also working on a new version. If you guys could coordinate, that would be great. ;-)

Thanks to both of you for continuing the effort!

I just finished version 1.3 of the emergent democracy paper. I think this will be my final revision for now and I will focus on new work. This revision includes edits from Chris Case (Thanks Chris!), softening of my stance on a variety of issues vis a vis direct/representative democracy, the point that these tools can enable bad things as well as good things, addition of quotes from Dee Hock's email, re-write of the conclusion to make it clear that we are focusing on the tools for now to try to create some examples, and admitting that we needed to address the necessity to cause action and that this paper was focused primarily democratic dialog/debate. Left the ant stuff in although that seems to be an issue. I tried to add a bit after the weblog part so that it sounded more like weblogs being similar to ants rather than human beings being similar to ants.

Larry has lifted his self-imposed gag order. He had filed a petition to have the case reheard, but it has been turned down so he will now need the support of the public to take this debate to the next level. Lets give him our support!

Irony alert:

Lawrence Lessig
when yesterday the Court refused a request to rehear the case (totally expected), I learned the news while drinking coffee from a Mickey mug.

Very early on, Howard warned me not to blog about the news that people will see in other places. I think this is very good advice generally. I've gotten some feedback about some of the stuff I've posted which seems to be heavily blogged already (showing up on Daypop and Blogdex). It appears many people haven't seen it yet and appreciate pointers to important stuff, even if it is a bit late. So, I'm going to write short "roundups" of links to things that bloggers seem to think are important. Heavy bloggers can ignore these.

Comments on the format and this idea would be appreciated.

Mitch Kapor quits Groove because Total Information Awareness is using Groove. John Markoff reports at the NYT

Bush Sr warning over unilateral action. Times Online reports.

US diplomat resigns over Iraq war plans CNN reports

Identity theft leading to victims being arrested. MSNBC reports. Via via Boing Boing

Salam Pax blogs from Baghdad. He seems legit and he is a regular guy with a sense of humor. Definitely worth checking out. His blog is called "Where is Raed?".

Thanks for the link John!

Dave quotes MacArthur and says, "I shall return." I'll use a more modern quote... "I'll be back." Thank you Silicon Valley for getting me buzzed again. I will definitely be back soon. (I'll throw another party too.) In his latest essay, Dave says, "These days the Japanese are our friends. Partners in economic misery. Moore's Law continues to rage, but somehow our economies are stuck. I think I know why, it's because intellectually we have gotten lazy." I'm on my way back to Japan today. I will try to wake everyone up and start a buzz there too.

Lets wake up and move on.


Just had drinks (diet coke) with Kim Polese. She says, "The buzz is back." I agree. People are buzzing in Silicon Valley and you can feel it.

Dee Hock, the founder of VISA and well known for his work on leadership and "chaordics" wrote me an very thoughtful email in response to my emergent democracy paper. He talks about blogging, the Internet, VISA, culture, democracy, power, corporations, leadership and many issues that are relevant to our current discussion.

Dee Hock
From: Dee Hock Date: Sat Mar 8, 2003 1:46:34 PM US/Pacific To: jito@neoteny.com Subject: Blogging, and your paper related thereto.

Joichi:

How nice to hear from you and how kind of you to take time to send your paper on Blogging, a singularly uncharming term, but none the less interesting. I have read it several times with considerable interest, for it deals with a number of subjects in which I am deeply interested, such as democracy, scaling, the failure of the Internet to fulfill its promise, and the ability to perceive and honor differences without losing perspective of the parts as inseparable from one another and from the whole. To distinguish without dividing is a state of mind badly needed in the world today.

As you may know, I have been arguing for a decade that the Internet was fatally flawed and would go the way of the telegraph, telephone, radio and television as far as its promise of elevating ideas and discourse, advancing democracy, enhancing liberty or facilitating economic and political justice. I have lived long enough to remember the claims that were made at the advent of radio and television, and read enough of the history of the telegraph and telephone to realize that the claims made by the messiahs of those forms of communication were not dissimilar from the claims made by aficionados of the Internet. The reason, from my perspective, is not complicated.

Culture brings us together, usually at a very small scale through mutual belief, trust and common interest. It educes, not compels, behavior. Culture codified is law. It is as inevitable as the day the night that as scale increases, law increases. Law enforced is government. Government does not, in the main, educe behavior, but compels it. Democratic or otherwise, rarely, very rarely, does any concentration of power or wealth desire to see subjects well informed, truly educated, their privacy ensured or their discourse uninhibited. Those are the very things that power and wealth fear most. Old forms of government have every reason to operate in secret, while denying just that privilege to subjects. The people are to be minutely scrutinized while power is to be free of examination.

Unless new cultures are able to consciously visualize, create and implement new forms of governance (remember, that means the codification and regulation of its new relationships and values), the old forms of corporate and political governance will assert themselves, penetrate the new culture and turn it to the same old ends. The Internet culture was too enthralled by new toys to pay attention to such mundane matters as governance. It failed to "Institutionalize its deinstitutionalization." That is, the architects of the Internet failed utterly to see the need for a new form of commercial and political organization that emulated and capitalized on the principles inherent in its technology. structure and capacity. It is, therefor, completely unable to deal with its own excesses, to enhance the quality of its communication or to resist the onslaughts of commercialization. The evidence is everywhere about. I gave up arguing such things with Internet aficionados several years ago, for the vast majority were so intoxicated by their new toys that they defended its emergence and lack of governance with zealotry bordering on religious. Do you think many have sobered up enough to raise their heads from computer screens and enlarge their perspective?

The failure of democracy to scale is also not complicated to understand. The founding fathers of this country, the "egalitie, fraternitie and libertie" of France and most other liberals that moved society toward freedom and liberty in the 1700's could not have been expected to visualize the growth of populations, radical evolution of science, vast increases of technology and incredible increases in mobility of information, money, goods, services and people. Nor could they know or visualize the topography of countries such as the United States, Canada and China, or continents such as Africa, Northern Europe, Russia or Latin America. They laid out such vast topography to the best of their ability on grids that bore no resemblance to the reality of the environment or to the huge increases in scale of population commerce and government. In the main, they did not foresee a need for the right to self-organize -- to adjust scale and degrees of separation as such increases occurred. At every scale, organizations were vested with the power to prevent smaller scales from forming and thus distributing power. That which was properly within scale for the time and technology rapidly became out of scale as everything increased in size and complexity and our power to interfere with nature mushroomed.

They were giants for their time, but their time has come and gone. Except for a notable few, one of whom was Abraham Lincoln, they could not imagine that corporations, once a creature of nation states, would so expand while ridding themselves of social responsibility to the point they could hold virtually any government to ransom for the priviledge of their presence. Today, nation states and elected politicians are more creatures of corporations than corporations are creatures of nation states. Unfortunately, while it was democracy and liberty corporations needed to reach their present dominance, in the main, their governance is the antithesis of democratic, free and just. I do not think it bodes well for the future of democracy.

It is futile to directly challenge such institutions, political or commercial, for they have an oligopoly on power, money and instruments of compulsion. Nor do they hesitate to use them if threatened. However, they will prove to be vulnerable, rusted out hulks if confronted with new and better ideas of organization which transcend and enfold them. Ideas that excite the very people they expect to remain passive. What they cannot resist is the searchlight of informed public opinion. Once the public begins to withdraw relevance from them they are helpless, as Gandhi so ably demonstrated in India. While I don't begin to understand Blogging, your paper set something turning in the back of my mind that whispers it may be one of the keys to the puzzle.

I wonder if you realize that a dozen or two people like yourself with the right combination of communication, technological and organizational skills could design and implement a global government without the consent of any present form of organization and provide it with the neural network to insure its success. A government that could continually evolve to ensure that no matter affecting the public good or the health of the planet fails to be disclosed, examined and understood. Or that any existing organization could escape being confronted with synthesized opinions and alternatives that would swiftly emerge. Such an organization based on rights of participation and withdrawal and consent of the participants could be something entirely new in this tired world. Now that would be something truly worthy of the best within us and the best among us. And a great deal of fun in the bargain! It would, in the fullest sense, be far from democratic since the Internet remains largely a tool of the privileged and technologically savvy. That, we can hope, will change in time. One must always begin somewhere, remembering that the sages tell us our responsibility is to succeed in the world as we find it if it is ever to become the world we wish it to be.

Please accept my apologies for this over-long reply to your message. Young people have their desires, middle aged people have their enterprises and old men have their dreams. My son, Steven, now fifty, and I have been working for some time on these ideas as well as with new concepts of organization in such industries as health care and food systems. We realize, as Machiavelli pointed out, that nothing is more hazardous or uncertain of success than to take the lead in a new order of things. The time has passed when I am capable of leading such an effort, but were it to begin you may be certain I would not miss the party.

With all best wishes and appreciation that you would take time to share your thoughts,

Dee Hock

PS: I have attached a file that will give you a picture of "blogging" called Visa. At the heart of it is a communication network linked in an unimaginable number of ways. Consider that a resident of a small town in Japan can appear at random anywhere on the globe, say a resort hotel in Venice. He presents his card to the cashier who swipes it through a terminal providing information which excites a neuron of code in the terminal to recognizes this information will be exciting to a neuron of code in the computer of the hotel and passes it along. The neuron of code in the hotel computer recognizes the message will be exciting to a neuron of code in the computer of Bank America d Italia in Rome, which enrolled the merchant and holds its bank account, and passes it along. There, another neuron of code is excited to realize the message will excite a neuron of code in the central computer of the Visa European center in Blasingame England. That computer recognizes the message will excite code in the central computer of Visa in San Mateo California which realizes the message will excite a neuron of code in the computer of the Asia Pacific Region in Japan, which recognizes it will excite a neuron of code in the central computer of Sumitomo Bank where another neuron of code recognizes that it will excite code in the Branch of the Bank with issued the card to its customer and holds his bank account. That neuron recognizes that its response will be exciting to the chain in reverse order and instantly provides information of acceptance or rejection. Along the path, other neurons of code are excited to provide language translation, currency conversion and net settlement between the parties at a system wide agreed rate, protection from fraud and counterfeiting and a host of other activities. Every neuron trusts the other neurons to perform in an acceptable manner which results in the trust between cardholder and merchant that is essential to the functioning of the system. Multiply this single transaction by twenty thousand banks, 220 countries, millions of merchant locations and more than a billion card holders and you have a whole hell of a lot of excitement. Imagine what such a system would look like if its currency were ideas and concepts rather than money. Is this what you mean by blogging?

Had dinner last night with Robert Scoble, Maryam, and Dave Winer at Dave's favorite Thai restaurant. Really fun discussion, albeit a bit geeky. Dave explained that Robert was a "local boy" who grew up in Silicon Valley. Through the dinner, I could tell that Robert was very proud of Silicon Valley. The dynamic between Dave and Robert was great and very educational for me in understanding the spirit of Silicon Valley.

After dinner, Robert took me to see the "birthplace of Silicon Valley." As the plaque says, it was the garage where Hewlett and Packard started their business instead of going to the East Coast to work for a big company. The plaque mentions Dr. Terman, a Stanford University professor who encouraged his students to set up their own companies instead of going to work for big East Coast firms. The plaque was in front of a rather ordinary house and it took us a while to find it. ;-)

From left to right: John Vasconcellos, Brian Murphy, Mitch Saunders, Susan Hoffman
California State Senator John Vasconcellos is an old friend and my mentor on many issues. He helped make self-esteem an important part of modern politics and is currently working on the Politics of Trust. When I am trying to think of new things, I often go to him for advice. I assumed he would know something about democracy so I sent him my emergent democracy paper and asked him for his thoughts.

He invited a few of his friends, Mitch Saunders, Brian Murphy and Susan Hoffman to join us in a brainstorming session of emergent democracy.

The discussion was quite fascinating. We started talking about the republic and representative democracy. It was pointed out (sorry, I took notes, but not always about who said what....) that the republic was not formed for the sake of efficiency but out of a more elitist attitude that certain people were more fit to govern and that it would be impossible for an uneducated mob to rule. In that sense, it really wasn't just a more efficient democracy. I asked John what he thought about the current representative democracy and he said, "not functioning well, but functioning barely". He said the people are "so busy, distracted and spoiled". I agreed with them that a direct democracy in our current environment was not feasible, but that maybe our thoughts on emergent democracy might, in the short term, be a great tool for supporting a the "not functioning well, but functioning barely" representative democracy that we have today.

I think we all agreed that weblogs could support change through a competition of ideas. It was mentioned maybe we should also think a bit about the formation of ideas as well.

I expressed a point that Antoin made earlier about the dissemination of ideas only being half of the problem and that execution was key. We talked about leadership. Mitch is a leadership consultant/coach, having coached some of the most impressive people I know of. We talked about trust and self-esteem and how to activate people into becoming more active citizens and how to grow good leaders. I talked about Liz Fine who wrote that the web opened her eyes and that she has become addicted to research and questioning what is put in front of her. I explained how that "conversational" nature of weblogs was a key element of activation. Once activated, I think many people can grow to become leaders so that we don't have to rely so much on professional politicians whose power spans generations and where politics is more about power for the sake of power and less about "representation."

We talked about the target for the paper. John suggested that the paper should target, me, the toolmakers and then the outside. I talked a bit about how many of the problems with the Net today is because the toolmakers didn't have a vision that included some of the problems that would come up such as spam, security and privacy. I said that I would like to engage the toolmakers to think about democracy as the tools are developed and that the Net can so easily cause harm and the architecture of the tools can have an effect on the future of democracy. We agreed that the next version of the paper should probably present more of a balanced view including the risks of emergence and the Net such as emergent terrorism or dumb mobs and explore how tools might encourage good over bad.

Had lunch with Ross Mayfield yesterday. Ross wrote a piece called The Ecosystem of Networks which described the three different networks: the political network, the social network and the creative network. This piece provided an essential framework for my paper on Emergent Democracy. (To give credit where credit is due, Ross coined the term "Emergent Democracy" here.) Ross and the SocialText crew also provided much of the essential infrastructure for the first "happening" on emergent democracy. Those of you who want to hear more about SocialText will probably hear more about it at the PC Forum.

Ross has a political science background which is very helpful in our discussions. We talked about emergent democracy and about what the next version of my paper should address. We talked about the idea of "The Journal of Emergent Democracy" and how I probably shouldn't blog about it until we thought it through some more. ;-p We talked about doing another happening and testing emergent democracy on the process of discussing emergent democracy. He promised that he would release version 2.0 of his Ecosystem of Networks soon. I better work on my next release Emergent Democracy soon as well. Maybe I can write it on the plane back to Tokyo.

Anyway, it was the first time to spend time on-on-one with Ross and great to meet a person who has a healthy balance of academic, public sector and business interests. Something I strive to balance myself.

This has already been blogged to death so I apologized to the heavy bloggers, but I have some readers who don't read other blogs so...

Here is some required reading:

Doc and David

World of Ends

What the Internet Is and How to Stop Mistaking It for Something Else.

by Doc Searls and David Weinberger

The Nutshell
1. The Internet isn't complicated
2. The Internet isn't a thing. It's an agreement.
3. The Internet is stupid.
4. Adding value to the Internet lowers its value.
5. All the Internet's value grows on its edges.
6. Money moves to the suburbs.
7. The end of the world? Nah, the world of ends.
8. The Internet’s three virtues:
a. No one owns it
b. Everyone can use it
c. Anyone can improve it
9. If the Internet is so simple, why have so many been so boneheaded about it?
10. Some mistakes we can stop making already

roogle.gif
A RSS search engine, Roogle. What a great idea!

Went over to Google to hang out with Larry Page. Larry is one of the smartest people I've met and I wanted to get his opinion on some theories I had about where personal communication devices were going. We had started the discussion in Davos and were following up. Larry is a World Economic Forum "Global Leader for Tomorrow" and was also at Paul Saffo's Annual Geeks Dinner in Davos. I had met Larry a few times in the past, but it wasn't until we started talking about technology that we started to communicate in earnest. Sergey dropped in for awhile and we hung out in an office that looked more like a living room with lots of gadgets and toys. Definitely a great environment to work.

Had breakfast with Noah Glass. He's the guy who made audblog. Audblog allows you to post voice/sound blog postings to Blogger from a cell phone. I told him that I WANT IT FOR MOVABLE TYPE. He's working on it. ;-) It's a great idea. Here is a192K .wav file of him explaining why he thinks it's cool.

We agreed that a lot of people were knocking it without trying it and that it had huge potential in markets like Japan where the cellphone penetration greatly exceeded PC penetration.

Noah seemed like a great guy, focused, vision. Another great member of the Society of Open Standards Tool Builders...

I first met Stewart at the Fortune Magazine's Editors Invitaiton conference in Aspen last year. I knew of him from his column in Fortune Magazine, which I love. I like Stewart because he's a real gadget otaku, a great writer (can explain why things are exciting to non-techies) and is a successful venture capitalist. He is my role model in a sense. He seems to have a great time doing all of the things he is passionate about. Also, I find that he is such a nice guy that I sometime forget he's a venture capitalist. Maybe because I've been an entrepreneur longer than I've been a venture capitalist, or maybe because I don't know all of the best ones, but my stereotype image of venture capitalists is more arrogant... like Hollywood studio execs. Stewart, totally breaks that mold. Maybe that's why he's so busy and in the middle of everything. He doesn't scare everyone away...

We had an interesting discussion of the state of things. I did try to get him to think about blogging personally, but as with many professional journalists, he seemed to like the format that he has now. As we spoke, he introduced us to two companies on his blackberry and within a few hours I had meetings set up with them using my Danger Sidekick from the car. Gadgets rules...

Went to see The Woz. As I reported before, he's working on some cool new technology at Wheels of Zeus. The Woz has a bunch of Segways and he is getting a license to be a Segway trainer. I got notice from Amazon that I should call them and prepare to receive my Segway. The Woz said he would give me my training course.

The Japanese government just turned down my request for a special waiver to allow me to ride my Segway around in certain parts of Japan, even though the Prime Minister said that all of the waivers should be approved. Anyway, we're going to try to file again in the next round of applications in June.

Until then, maybe I'll keep my Segway in the Valley and cruise around with The Woz. ;-)

mimi2.jpgSo this is my sister. My younger sister. (Many people think she's older, because she's smarter than me.) She chose an academic career where I dropped out of college twice and because an entrepreneur. Our paths went in wildly different directions, but has recently begun to converge as I have begun to dabble in amature academism and her research focuses on the technology and the social issues surrounding the stuff I'm interested in.

Recently she wrote the following article for Japan Media Review. Last night I heard that she had come to give a talk at Stanford about this as well. (She never tells me these things...)

Mizuko Ito
A New Set of Social Rules for a Newly Wireless Society
Mobile media are bringing sweeping changes to how we coordinate, communicate, and share information.

[...]
Just as Weblogs are distributing journalistic authority on the Internet, mobile media further de-centers information exchange by channeling it through networks that are persistently available to the mobile many.
She quotes Howard and Justin. She talks about the mobile phone culture from the perspective of an anthropologist who has been studying the cultural aspects of mobile media for a long time. Lots of cool observations.

I recently talked to one of the vendors involved in i-mode and they told me that Japanese girls have around $300 dollars of disposable income a month. $100 goes to food, $100 goes to clothes and $100 goes to their cell phone. The target average revenue per user (ARPU) for i-mode is around 7000 yen ($50). It's amazing...

John Markoff introduced me to Scott Love over the Net. He is the man behind the amazing outliner NoteTaker. Markoff is using NoteTaker. I have this funny thing with Markoff because he won't blog. I think Markoff's sense of finding cool people and cool technologies is amazing though. He was the one who gave me MacPPP when it first came out and it was one of the key elements in dragging me back into networked computing again after a lull in the late 80's. Anyway, when John tells me I "need to meet" someone, I do.

Scott is great. So is NoteTaker. First of all, I have become TOTALLY addicted to NoteTaker. I throw EVERYTHING into it. Photos of people, sounds, URL's, clippings, PDF's, etc. I can sort them, organize them, annotate them, index them, create to do's and publish them in OPML, as web pages or as mail attachments to others using NoteTaker. So, when I met the man behind NoteTaker via email and eventually in person, I realized that this was no ordinary piece of software but something written by someone who had a big plan, but was willing to take a lot of feedback and build it into the product. I've been talking to Scott about a lot of feature requests and thoughts on where things might go. Suffice it to say that he "gets it."

So, I'm excited that maybe NoteTaker will be a way to get some convergence between us and the non-blogging world. NoteTaker has a great interface and does many things... If you haven't tried the product, take it for a spin and IMAGINE... ;-)

PS I do not have any financial interest in the company and am writing from the point of view of an enthusiastic paid customer. ;-)

Had dinner tonight with Lawrence Lessig to talk about emergent democracy and other things. Larry pointed out some interesting work called deliberative polling being done by Professor James S. Fishkin. Since polling forces people to vote on something they don't really know too much, the data may be statistically accurate, but is not necessarily the best way to promote a democratic system. Deliberative polling takes a diverse group of people, forces them to discuss the issues in small group, in large groups, small groups, over and over again for a fairly lengthy process until everyone has a pretty good idea of the issues and a balanced and educated position. Polls are conducted through the process to track how people's opinions change. Afterwards, many of the people who have participated become much more active citizens. I think that this is similar to the emergent democracy idea that we have. Maybe we can try to do this deliberative polling using the online tools that we have.

Deliberative polling turns to the representatives to execute on these opinions. Antoin was the first to point out (many others have pointed this out later) that my paper misses an important part of the democratic process. The execution. It focuses on the deliberation part. Maybe emergent democracy should focus on those interesting moments in history where the people wake up and change government. Larry talked about how there were three such instances in the US. When the framers went against the bill of rightsarticles of confederation in writing the constitution, during the civil war and during the "new deal." Each of these involved a deviance from constitutional democracy because of a huge swell in the opinion of the people. Maybe emergent democracy enables the people to force an issue when it become important enough to engage the public to rise up. Sort of an information militia. We can rely on the experts in the representative democracy when this are running smoothly and the people are not engaged... Anyway, still very malformed thoughts, but a lot to think about.

Yesterday, I had dinner with Robert Kaye. He is the founder of Musicbrainz. Musicbrainz is a metadata project that is creating a database of album artist, title and track information similar to how CDDB used to do it when they were not a corporation. Many people were upset by CDDB's move use the commons created by the community for commercial purposes. Robert was so angry with this betrayal of the community that he started Musicbrainz. Musicbrainz will be set up as a non profit and Robert swears that he will never "sell-out". In fact, we talked about using some sort of emergent democracy that would allow the users to force a way to take shift control in the event that something like this might happen. We talked about the value of such escrow agents of perhaps the DNS and domain name with some sort of tool to allow the users to discuss and trigger a shift in control. This could be a way to force projects like this to stick to their original principles and help build trust at the same time.

Robert seemed like an extremely dedicated, smart and visionary guy and I think his focus and commitment to deliver this service is extremely admirable.

His service is unique in many ways. He is using a sound fingerprint key method to identify the songs. (He got beat up a bit on slashdot because he was using patented technology for this, but I think this is fine. He can always switch later if someone decided to make an open source version.) Basically, his client software scans all of your mp3's looks them up on his database and fixes all of your bad tags. If you have data that isn't in his database, you can submit it. It is a much more automatic and viral approach to what CDDB does.

So far it is only available on Windows, but he's working on an OS X version now...

Ever since the Wired article came out, his server has been swamped so you may not be able to access it... But keep trying and donate some money so he can buy a new server. Thanks for the intro Lisa!

At the party, Gnome Girl, Chris and I were talking about how it would be cool to have personal icons in the blogroll. We went over to Jason of Blogrolling.com and begged him to include it. . Mr. 150 MPH Chris, made me a favicon "J" which, if you are using a compliant browser, should be visible. Thanks Chris! I don't remember for sure, but I think it was Gnome Girl who suggested that maybe icons should also show up when you post on other people's blogs... Everything I talked about at the party is a bit blurry... Anyway, this is fun. Thanks for my "J" Chris!

François Granger just finished translating my Emergent Democracy paper v 1.2 into French. Thanks François!

Cristiano Siri translated Ivan the meme into Italian. Thanks Cristiano!

Coming to Silicon Valley is always a good excuse to throw a party. Last time I came, Kara Swisher and Megan Smith hosted the party at their house and it was great. (Thanks again Kara and Megan!) This time, I decided that I should probably invite more people so we had it at a restaurant called Zibibbo in Palo Alto.

I think about 150 people showed up. The criteria for invitation was that I invited old friends, friends who came to the spectrum conference at Stanford and new friends I have met over my blog. People were also allowed to invite their friends. Interestingly, 150 is the magic number from The Tipping Point of how many people you can have a real social relationship with...

Anyway, it turned into a great party because not only did many of my old friends and new friends show up, but I made even more friends because everyone brought their friends. So... where do I put all of these new friends?

I just revamped my blogroll. I dumped blogs which were not being updated frequently, blogs I wasn't reading and obvious sites that I don't have a personal relationship with. I added blogs that I have recently begun to read and blogs of my new friends I've met either physically, in the comments section of my blog or through the emergent democracy happening. Now my blogroll reflects my network of friends instead of some ranking of popular blogs. You can go to Technorati for that.

I would like to apologize to anyone who I forgot to invite. I have a very bad memory and this was sort of an emergent party. I'm sure I'll have another one soon. If you want to get invited, just post comments on my blog a lot. ;-)

There are some bloggers who have written about the party: Chris Pirillo, Gnome Girl, Jason Defillippo here and here, Dave Winer, Marc Canter here, here and here, Kazuya Minami, Frank Boosman, Robert Scoble, Ross Mayfield, Kevin Marks, Doc Searls, Andrew Kimpton

But... parties are never as fun to read about when you weren't there, I know...

Special thanks to Amy and Barak for the flawless planning and execution

Chart of weekly server requests since I started using Movable Type on June 25, 2002. I wish I could plot traffic vs. hours blogging. It would probably be a flat line...
I have never published my site stats before, but my March 1 analog run just finished, I'm sitting in a hotel room with nothing to blog and nothing to do, so might as well...

These stats exclude accesses from any of my own networks. ;-)

Program start time: Mar 1, 2003 06:34
Time of first request: Jun 25, 2002 11:56
Successful server requests: 4,185,420 Requests
Successful requests in last 7 days: 292,830 Requests
Successful requests for pages: 628,324 Requests for pages
Successful requests for pages in last 7 days: 61,250 Requests for pages
Distinct hosts served: 101,928 Hosts
Distinct hosts served in last 7 days: 14,541 Hosts

Some interesting referrer stats:
Radio newsAggregator 45,215, NetNewsWire 28,650, Google 21,453

Update: If you have an opinion about whether posting stats is in poor taste, please read the comments and let me know your thoughts.

mecorca4.jpgI just published my pictures from Menorca on .mac so you can finally see them without a password. Sorry, old news, but published well for the first time. I had them on Yahoo, but I guess Yahoo requires you to have an account. That's silly.

The photos were taken with my Hasselblad 205 FCC and a FE 60-120 Lense, scanned into a PhotoCD and uploaded to .mac from iPhoto.

Kevin Werbach did a kickass talk. Interesting, packed with info, passionate. But the rest of these guys are part of a fraternity, they talk about things that mean nothing to me. I'm a stranger here. I don't get it. Kevin came from this place to software. This is where he shines.
I feel this too. As Dave mentioned, Kevin is someone who left the FCC and came to the software world.

Someone from the FCC just said that they were part of the physical layer. Maybe it's this physical layer attitude, maybe it's the proximity with the government... There's something about the smile on Kevin's face and the sparkle in the eyes of the software guys clashing with the bit more serious looking and complicated arguments from the FCC guys which makes this feel more like a struggle between a community of software people vs. a community of physical layer folks.

Cory the uber-notetaker/blogger
Matthew Haughey of Metafilter taking pictures of Cory's low-res Sidekick camera with his super-high-res camera
Just finished lunch. We were at a table with 10 people. There was one iBook and seven PowerBooks. I think everyone had digital cameras. So... Why do conferences sponsored by Intel and Microsoft about wireless technologies attract bloggers with Macintosh computers? I don't know.

I sat between Cory from Boing Boing and Matthew Haughey of MetaFilter. We listened to some presentations about wireless, Cory vigorously took notes and I tooks some pictures and thought about how to turn the lunch into a blog entry...

So here I am at a conference with some of the best minds in the world in wireless. We are discussing whether spectrum should be made available to "the commons" or distributed in a property owership sort of method. I'm not an expert, but the arguments for the commons seem to make the most sense. It seems that the main barrier is that the FCC has to protect "the dinosaurs." So, many people from the FCC are here. They should "get it" after this discussion. If the FCC embraces the thoughts being discussed here and opens up the spectrum to the commons, US vendors working in the US market could have a HUGE advantage over vendors in countries where local regulators either don't "get it" or are more hand-tied by the dinosaurs. I guess the question is how much the FCC needs to protect the dinosaurs.

BTW, Cory on Boing Boing is doing such a great job on notes, that I'm just going to post opinions. ;-)

I'm at the Stanford Law School conference on Spectrum. I just set up a Topic Exchange channel for the conference.

U.S. plan: Threat level for every flier ACLU objects, calls background checks unconstitutional

Friday, February 28, 2003 Posted: 1:55 PM EST (1855 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Civil liberties groups are objecting to a government plan for a new system that would check background information and assign a threat level to everyone who buys a ticket for a commercial flight.

This affects everyone in the world.

There already exists a Global Regulatory Information Database (GRID) which tracks potential criminals globally based on a variety of profiling techniques. It would be seem natural to expand this international database.

Recently, the US and Canada have created the Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Records (API/PNR) database on "high-risk travelers" traveling between US and Canada. The API/PNR system will in place Spring 2003. Citizens won't know how they get on this list so they won't know how to get off. You don't have to be a criminal to get on this list. You just have to fit the profile.

As the world starts to create blacklists based on various profiling techniques, the databases held by a variety of countries will contain data about citizens from other countries, who by default, have no rights Even if you have rights in your own country, this doesn't help you much when you find yourself at some airport in some other country on some blacklist for some reason which you have no access to.

I wonder if this blog post increases my "threat level"...

even more stupid dsico mashups, remixes and pop destruction: even better than the real thing
I recently discovered this new form (Feel free to tell me that this is old news and I'm totally out of it. I have no idea...) of remix on Takemura-sensei's blog. These are remixes which mash together weird combinations of artists making a totally strange, but really cool new version. There are two site dsico and ritmic which have a bunch of these remixes that you can download. Have no idea who "owns" this stuff, but totally weird and cool and great for testing my new E5c's. ;-)

Here are some examples:

Celine Dion+Sigur Ros
Whitney Houston+Kraftwerk
Eminem+Britney Spears
Kylie Minogue+New Order

e5c_leftbar1.jpg I wrote that the Shure E2cs were the best headphone/earphones I've ever had. Well, today I just got my E5cs and they're better. There's this amazing feeling when you think you're in heaven and you find there is something better. I've had similar experiences with wine and Chinese tea. When you taste the good stuff, you can't go back and then you start wondering if there is anything better.

Anyway, the details...

The E5cs main difference is that it has a cross-over circuit and fits 2 drivers in each earphone so you get an amazing dynamic range. The bass reverberates through you head like you're in a disco or something. The E2cs were great on the high ends, but these E5cs do the whole range amazingly well.

The cord is shorter and lighter, not exactly sure why. You can use the triple-flange sleeves which seem to go deeper into your head. They feel a bit weird, but I think I'm going to like them better than the normal flex sleeves.

The only thing is that they're $500 vs. $100 for the E2cs. Are they 5X better than the E2cs? Well, think of the power law and wine. It costs more and more as you get closer and closer to the peak. It's a matter of your priorities I guess. I don't think that they will be worth $500 to some people, but I'm happy. You could get a round trip ticket between SF and Tokyo for $600 or you could go and buy a few expensive Japanese musk melons. it all depends on what makes you happy I guess. ;-)

You can buy them on Shure's site. And, no, they don't pay me to do this. ;-p

UPDATE: Matt from Shure has started a blog. Check it out!

UPDATE: I've started a new gadget blog called Joi Ito's Stuff

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