October 2003 Archives

Cory Doctorow
Boing Boing has been down for a couple of days. We're having server problems and working on them -- I hope to be up in a day or so again, but it's exacerbated by my crazy travel schedule.

Please direct your friends to this note, and ask for their forebearance in sending email asking what's up with Boing Boing. I'm getting several hundred of these a day, and it's gotten so that answering those messages is actively interfering with my efforts to reestablish service.

In the meantime, we're still blogging, and the mailblog still works:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/boingboing-mailblog/

Thanks

Cory

Just posted some photos from Disney Sea.

Spent part of the day at Disney Sea with Mizuka for her birthday. There were lots of lines and lots of crowds. When we encountered crowds I realized that my behavior was a bit different than most of the people, but obviously not unique. I would avoid crowds and try to go in the opposite direction of crowds. If I noticed I was near the front of a crowd or ahead of a crowd, I would accelerate and try to stay ahead. Otherwise I would change course or go the other direction. If there were lines, I would choose the shortest one.

I saw some people doing exactly the opposite. Even though there were ticket windows open, they would go to where people were lined up. If there was a crowd, it often attracted more people. Even if people were ahead of the pack, they walked slowly and were engulfed by the crowd.

I think investing and business development is a bit like a theme park where new rides are opening and various things changing, with the crowds rushing from one area to another. I think you should focus on trying to find cool things to do in less crowded spaces. Don't be worried because there's no one there yet. You should try to stay ahead of the crowd if the crowd is headed in the same direction. If you see the crowd coming your way, get your business done quickly.

The social software space is starting to feel a bit crowded. ;-) I think we're still near the head of the crowd, but pretty soon it's going to feel like a crowded Disneyland ride I think... This doesn't mean I'm going to start running in the opposite direction, but there are lots of things we need to do before the follow-the-pack'ers all arrive.

Although Joseph Urbaszewski's blog shows a blogger beating the mass media, I think we should stop picking on professional traditional journalists. I think that if journalists need help from their editors to write, (in the case of Japan) want life-time employment, need someone to protect them in court, need paper boys to reach their readers and need a brand to provide legitimacy, I think they should be allowed to do this. I think it's mean to pick on them too much...

Joseph Urbaszewski, a teacher who lives near the fire is blogging about the fire and has become a clearinghouse of information. It appears to be more up-to-date than the mass media.

There is also a live scanner feed where you can listen to the overworked, heroic firemen fighting the fire.

Kevin Barron
heard on the scanner -- "some people are refusing to leave
their homes despite mandatory evacuation"

response from the base station? "get their name, date of
birth, and the phone number of their dentist"!!

Thanks for the info and links Kevin, and hope you are safe.

Don't mind the bots with $ sign heads behind Mickey and Minnie please
Halley, David Weinberger and Dan Bricklin blog about Microsoft using Visicalc to show the backward compatibility of Longhorn. The irony is Dan's comment that the only reason that he, an author of Visicalc, has a working copy is because someone had made an illegal bootleg copy of it.

In May, I blogged about Brewster testifying about why the DMCA is preventing him from breaking copy protection on old software which he wants to archive. I think this is an important issue. Old films are decaying in the cans, books are decaying. Current copyright law combined with the DMCA prevent archivists from preserving most of the content created in any form. Mickey lives on in Disneyland at the expense of the wilting commons.

IRC, or more specifically, the #joiito channel on the Freenode network has become a very important part of my life. I use it during conferences, meetings, when I'm thinking, when I'm trying to find some information... It's become one of my main modes of keeping in touch with people. What I sometimes forget, and what most people don't even realize is that Freenode is actually not "free". It's run by real people who fight denial of service attacks, set up servers and keep this incredible network running. There are many IRC networks, but Freenode is the one we use.

I've tried to promote Freenode by mentioning it in interviews I've done recently, but "chatting on #joiito on Freenode", usually gets abbreviated to "chat". ;-)

So this is an official request and a plug for Freenode. Freenode is a service of Peer-Directed Projects Center, an IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation. If you've benefitted from Freenode at a conference, at home or have started hanging out on #joiito, think about donating some money to the organization that keeps this going. Lilo, the director of Freenode is too humble/proud to ask for money on the channel, but I'm going to do it here.

Freenode Donation Page

I am not involved in running Freenode and obviously since it is a non-profit, I have no financial interest in Freenode

Shannon's just blogged about a song that I asked her to write for Ben and Mena for their birthdays. (In case you've ever wondered, the reason their company is called Six Apart is because they're birthdays are six days apart...) Shannon went above and beyond the call of duty and did a most amazing job. In order to get the humor/wit balance just right, she read everything Ben and Mena had ever blogged and probably knows more about them now than even the most dedicated stalker.

She ended up with a song called "Your Own Dot Org." I love it. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0 deed of course.

Thanks again for this great work and welcome back, wherever you've been Shannon. Your new site looks great. Now come and hang out with us again on #joiito. ;-)

Lyrics follow.

Your Own Dot Org - Shannon Campbell
Money, fame, and the tiki room
but all it took was a domo kun
now you have more than just donations
board of directors, new location

baseball cards, edgar allen poe
by now we've read enough to know
we never need to hear you speak
just read your archives every week

you're unbelievably adorably cute
benevolent, witty, and brilliant to boot
you're a stupid fool with your own dot org
you're a day late and a dollar short

always together and never apart
never mind the ridiculous rumors it sparks
even four days alone reveal this is true:
ice cream... is so sad... without you

you're unbelievably adorably cute
witty, benevolent, and brilliant to boot
you're a stupid fool with your own dot org
you're a day late and a dollar short

It's been a long, long time since high school halls
Friday nights & notebook scrawls
and you still watch each other move
like no one's watching you at all

the world has watched you build your dreams
prey to hype and drama queens
and sometimes you still lie in bed
and wonder where the old days went

you're unbelievably adorably cute
benevolent, witty, and brilliant to boot
you're a stupid fool with your own dot org
you're a day late and a dollar short (x2)

I had a really interesting IM chat with Gary this morning. He's writing an article for Wired about the Internet side of the Dean campaign. He's blogging about it as well. Very cool. It looks like he's having a lot of interesting conversations. A must read blog entry, which will probably lead to a great article. Like Dan Gillmor and Jeff Jarvis, he is another journalists who seems to understand the value of blogging. And... free fact checking. ;-)

I had a weird dream last night. I had a dream that I was spinning records and I had a little chart. On one axis was the record label and on the other was the record player. When ever I played a record, I had to check the label and cross it with the record player to know what the right speed setting for the record was. In real life, I remember being annoyed when records didn't have 45 rpm or 33 rpm on their labels when I was a DJ.

Anyway, a few observations. I'm totally losing it because I remember thinking in the dream, "oh, I should blog this..." Which, I think, is a bad sign. This dream was probably partially triggered by my discussion with James Seng yesterday about identifier standards (which I will blog about later when I understand exactly what we talked about) and partially triggered by thoughts about CSS incompatibilities when trying to redesign my blog. (Which luckily Boris is handling for me right now.) The little chart I had in the dream reminded me of the CSS/browser support charts in the O'Reilly CSS Pocket Reference.

Anyway, isn't it great when we have standards that work and really ugly when we have bad standards or no standards at all? I'm not trying to take a political stand here, just observing and paying homage the the necessity of good standards.

When I mentioned on my post about ego-surfing Amazon that I wished I could see more context around where my name showed up in the books, Andy Baio pointed out in the comments that you could click on the page number and see the actual page. (Although RIO points out later that Amazon needs your credit card number before they let you do that.)

Anyway, I was looking at the various pages and found this picture taken by Philip Bailey of John C. Lilly with Barbara Lilly, Kazuo and me in The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography by John Lilly. I'm sporting Anarchic Adjustment threads which were hip at the time and I was helping to distribute in Japan. If I remember correctly, they were having a conference about John C. Lilly's work in Tokyo. I remember lots of academics talking on and on about John Lilly and his work. When John was asked to make a comment at the end, he said, "you all know much more about me than I can remember so I don't have much to add. My forgetery is much bigger than my memory." I remember thinking that was very funny. John Lilly was a very smart and very funny man. I miss him.

It's kind of strange thinking about the path that this photo has taken. I remember Philip taking it, I think I remember seeing a print. Then it got published, printed, scanned, searched, downloaded and now blogged. I assume the copyright holder is Philip Bailey and I assume he doesn't mind me posting this.

PS: Philip, I can't seem to find your email address or your web page. If you see this, can you email me?

Lauren Weinstein has a great mp3 Fact Squad Radio rant on the Versign Site Finder issue.

Mark Pilgrim just posted a tour of Panther, the new Mac OS X release. I'm supposed to be getting in the office today so I'll be spending the weekend doing a fresh install and reading Mark's guide.

Update: Since Panther shipped today for many people, it appears that Mark's site is receiving a self-inflicted denial-of-service attack...

You've all probably read by now, but Amazon has added a feature that allows you to search the full text of over 120,000 books. Totally amazing. Now tell the truth everyone (so I don't look totally vain), how many of you have ego-surfed Amazon already? I searched for "joichi ito" and "joi ito". I got 8 results for "joichi ito" and 1 for "joi ito". The weird thing is that other than Timothy Leary's book and John C. Lilly's book, I have never heard of any of the other books. Also, the few books that I do know I'm mentioned in did now show up. I wonder if they are scanning books that don't sell well first. ;-) I DID find out that I have the honor of being in a "For Dummies" book.

Excerpt from page 170 of Digital Aboriginal
. . . voice to the radicals. Japanese information pioneer and digital artist Joichi Ito tells a great story about the CIA." An operative told . . .
How can I NOT buy this book to find out what they said about me. Ack!

The Financial Times
Google considers online IPO auction

By Richard Waters in San Francisco

Google is considering holding a massive online auction of shares early next year in an initial public offering that investment bankers predict could value the internet search-engine company at more than $15bn.

Holy cow. Does anyone have any more information on this?

I wonder if it's going to be a Dutch Auction IPO?

Welcome back Pete... We missed you.

A new Japanese book on blogging is about to come out called "Bloggers! Vol. 1" which you can pre-order on Amazon.co.jp. The action heros on the cover, especially the guy with the poopie thing on his head, are a bit weird, but the authors and the publisher, Shoeisha are reputable in Japan. (I hope the yellow guy with the poopie mark isn't supposed to be me...) I haven't seen the actual book yet, but I'll get a few extra copies to bring to ETech. ;-) There's a dialog between Howard Rheingold and me (I had totally forgotten about this. It was a taped dinner conversation...) , and an interview with "the developers of Movable Type". It looks like there's an article about Blosxom as well.

I just did a search on "Joi Ito" and got this as the first link. In fact, all the links on the page had a redirection component in the result links. Normally, Google gives the link to the website directly. Looks like they may now be starting to track clickthroughs. I repeated the search on a few other keywords, and I didn't find it again, so I guess it is one of those Google experiments.
Hey! Stop that!

Reading the comments on Rajesh's blog, it appears that Google does this regularly. I hope it's not personal, and I hope it doesn't have anything to do with Homeland Security. ;-p

via ejovi. Original is here. It appears to be a real billboard.

Governor Domoto greeting some of my neighbors
Governor Domoto visited our house after her lecture at the new health hall opening in Inba. We told the neighbors that she would be visiting and that they were welcome to come and meet her. Many of the neighbors brought vegetables and other gifts. They seemed genuinely pleased to meet her. We took a group photo and Governor Domoto told them that I was a good friend of hers and asked them to be nice to me. I OWE you Domoto-san. Thank you. ;-)

Domoto-san loved the house. She explored every little bit and said it was perfect. The neighbors explained that they had all contributed their best pine trees to the house and that the house was very important to the community. I promised everyone that we would fix the place up (No one has lived here for over a year and it needs a lot of work.), and I promised to invite Domoto-san back when we have it all done. Pressure... Pressure...

Cory and the EFF have been leading the charge to stop the broadcast flag proposal. Lessig chimes in. The broadcast flag is a bad thing which is anti-end-to-end. Fight for the Stupid Network!

If this entry is cryptic to you, you need to learn more about the broadcast flag and why it is bad. Click on the links.

The piece says he rubs shoulders with Timothy Leary . Ooops. Did I read that correctly? Leary died in 1996 and if he's rubbing shoulders at all it's with the fishes.
Actually, Tim lives on in cyberspace and I rub shoulders with him there. ;-)

UPDATE: Metroactive article about Tim living on in cyberspace. Thanks for the link Bill!

PS: Special thanks to Chris and everyone at leary.com for keeping Tim and his site alive.

Wired just ran an article casting me as "The Tokyo Node". Clay is "The Tech Node" and Linda Stone is "The Valley Node". I'd say that's pretty good company. It says we secretly run the world. It's not true. Really.

A few clarifications... I didn't "head" the "Blueprint for Japan 2020" this year but was just a rather big node in a team and I wouldn't call Creative Commons a "digital archive and copyleft think tank". Also, it was Tony Kobayashi who took me to the Trilateral Commission Annual Meeting to repeat my Davos Japan dinner rant later that year although Idei-san invited me to the Sony Open Forum to rant on.

Anyway... details details... Thanks for the nice write-up Jeff.

UPDATE: I was first mentioned in Wired in an article in Wired 1.03 about MUDs in 1993 by Howard Rheingold.

schwarz4.jpgThe entry on Bopuc's blog about Japander.com reminded me of my blog entry about my favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger commercials in Japan for energy drinks. This is also relevant to the entry about Lost in Translation since Bill Murray's role is probably what Arnold had to go through. Anyway, definitely worth a look if you haven't seen these commercials already. They're great.

My original blog entry about Trevor's fiance Beate's treatment when trying to enter the US is starting to sink into my archives, but the dialog continues. Both Beate and Tervor have commented. Trevor's brother Dan has a blog. Dan Gillmor's blog and the British Expats blog also have extensive comments.

Both in my blog and Dan Gillmor's blog, people have made sort of insensitive comments about the couple before the couple commented. Important lesson: People you think about in third person can read blogs and have a voice. "They" are real people. I think it's great that we're able to have such an open dialog about stuff like this with the people who were actually involved. I know many people at the embassies read blogs. What do you folks think? You should chime in. ;-)

Socialtext announced the released version 1.0 of their workspace package. It's groupware thingie for enterprise. I'm using it for a lot of my workgroups. It's basically a wiki with a blog-like feature that sort of looks nice and has login, which makes it not really a wiki, but not a blog... I guess it's a workplace. Anyway, as you know, I love this kind of alchemy.

They also announced Kwikspace based on Kwiki as an open source project.

Disclosure: I'm an investor in Socialtext

I emailed Governor Domoto yesterday to let her know I moved in and became a Chiba resident. She emailed me back and said she was going to be in the neighborhood and would drop by our new house the day after tomorrow. Yikes! Nothing like a little pressure to unpack and clean up the house. I wonder what the protocol is with the neighborhood. This is like some kind of Japanese protocol adventure game...


I was noodling around trying to organize "the space" in my head and put this picture together. The x axis is the "context". IE low context is stuff like CD's and books which don't change, are worth approximately the same amount to most people and don't have much timing or personal context. The far right is very personal, very timing sensitive, high context information such as information about your current "state". Then there is everything in between. The top layer is the type of content sorted by how much context they involve. The next layer is how they are aggregated and syndicated. Below that are substrates that are currently segmented vertically, but could be unified horizontally with open standards. Anyway, just a first path. Thoughts and feedback appreciated.

UPDATE: Changed color to red and edited the examples to be brand agnostic.

The Japan Time
'REGAINING PUBLIC SAFETY' - Cops to sniff out illegal foreigners in Tokyo

By HIROSHI MATSUBARA, Staff writer

Immigration authorities, police and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Friday they will take joint action to halve the number of foreigners without visas in the capital within five years.

The Justice Ministry's Immigration Bureau, the bureau's Tokyo branch, the metropolitan government and the Metropolitan Police Department issued a joint statement saying they would cooperate more closely toward this goal.

They believe that half of the estimated 250,000 undocumented foreigners in Japan live or work in Tokyo.

"An increasing number of visaless foreigners engage in serious crimes, and it is pointed out that the problem is closely linked to organized crime by foreigners," Justice Minister Daizo Nozawa asserted during Friday's news conference.

This is all part of Governor Ishihara's ethnic cleansing of Tokyo thing. He's blaming all of the horrible crimes on "foreigners" and using that to ramp up police force and will probably lead to increased intrusions of privacy.

I do know that there have been increased activity of foreign organized crime groups in Japan, but his talking about "criminal DNA" in foreigners is horrible and will just help justify people in looking away when heavy handed police tactics are used on foreigners in Japan. Bad bad bad...

Loic, a French entrepreneur blogger writes about his experience starting companies. Good stuff. I totally agree with the importance of execution over ideas. That's why, although I find my "competition" reads my blog, it's better if people know what I'm doing as long as I'm moving fast enough. ;-)

Yesterday Mizuka and I went to visit our new neighbors bearing simple gifts. Our house is in the center of the village and was owned by the head family of the village until they had financial trouble and had to sell to our previous owners. Almost all of my neighbors are spin-off families of the same household. It's quite a small, tight community. It appears that we have have to join the community. This means semi-annual drinking feasts with the neighbors, help with funerals and weddings and a lot of socializing. Since all of the neighbors have the same last name, they are all called by their role in the community or their job. Everyone seems to know what everyone else is doing and there really isn't any privacy. On the other hand, everyone seems to look out for each other and are always available to help. No one locks their doors and there are eyes everywhere.

One of the women we met was the widow of the man who built our house and cried when she talked about how much effort was made by him and the community in building our house. There seems to be a great deal of history that we're stepping into and Mizuka and I have to be very sensitive not to screw up our entry into this community.

It's quite a shift from the anonymous existence one leads in Tokyo, but it feels like a microcosm of the rather closed community culture of Japan. Comfortable if you conform, but quite difficult if you don't...

Everyone has been very supportive in helping me deal with the comment spam issue. Thanks everyone.

We've installed MT-Blacklist plug in for now. I'm generally against blacklist type filters, but it looks like the best solution for now. I will wait for MT Pro to deal with it in a more elegant way.

I thought my troubles were over when I got two comments just now with "interesting..." and "page-rank?" on my last two post. The links were to a casino site. These comments were probably not machine scripted like the other comment spam, but they added no value to the comments and the casino site URL made me feel that they had posted the comments for the purpose of trying to steal page rank on Google. I have a feeling some bloggers also post comments on my blog just to get links to their sites.

My current policy on this issue is, if you post something on my blog that clearly adds no value to the conversation and if your URL is a gambling site, a porn site, a pharmaceutical site or some other obviously spam friendly commerce site, I will delete the post and add you to the blacklist. I will discourage bloggers to post opinion-less or off-topic posts just to get links. I continue to encourage people to post their opinions whether they are supportive or critical and of course I will not delete critical comments.

My policy may change, but this is it for now.

A few days ago, I asked Nanjo-san if he could give a few of us a special tour of the new Mori Art Museum before it opens this Friday. Lisa has some notes and photos on her new blog. This Art Museum will be largest in Japan. It's quite amazing what they've done and what they plan to do. Look forward to visiting often.

I wrote about page slapping in August in the context of IRC. Grant just chumped that Wired Jargon Watch just listed it in the context of email. I wonder who coined the word.

Last night was my first night in our new home in the countryside. We have well water and no city water. We have a septic tank and no sewage. We have a propane tank for energy (hope to replace soon with solar). I do have ADSL and wifi though. ;-)

This morning I woke up to the sound of song birds and insects. In fact, the sound of insects is non-stop. There are lots and lots of bugs. There are huge spiders and things jumping and crawling all over our lawn. This morning Mizuka pointed out a preying mantis. She said there were two of them hanging around until yesterday. I found the remains of papa Mantis on the floor. It's probably time for Mrs. Mantis to lay her eggs. Next year we will have a zillion baby Mantis's around.

I used to love insects (at least most insects), but I had grown used to not seeing too many of them in Tokyo. I'm going to have to get used to this total insect immersion. On the other hand, it is so quiet here, I slept better last night than I have in months.

We just had another earthquake. I'm glad I'm in my new house in Chiba surrounded by big trees and a bamboo forest. Researchers in Japan says that Tokyo is overdue for THE BIG ONE soon. Kevin Marks says it's all powerlaws and they're not periodic. You can keep your powerlaws. I'm glad I moved out of Tokyo. I'll wait until it's flattened again before I move back.

Ryuichi Sakamoto sent me an email asking me to make people aware of a movement to get Aya's Shoyo-Jurin, an Evergreen Oak forest in Japan selected as a World Heritage site and help protect this very important forest. Check out the web page if you're interested in forests. It's an amazing place that I hope to visit soon.





Dan
Turned Away at Border

The love story of Trevor Hughes and his fiancee began in an elementary school in the Himalayan foothills.

They were "global nomads." He was a diplomat's son. She the daughter of missionaries. They lived in Asia, attended school together, fell in love and want to get married in June.

But when Hughes' fiancee, a German national, tried to visit him on a six-month tourist visa Monday, she was detained in Atlanta, handcuffed, jailed--even stripped of her diamond engagement ring.

Then, after 20 hours without food, she was put on a plane and shipped back to Stuttgart.

Horrible story. I was also harassed at the border this time, much worse than I've ever been. I have a zillion stamps in my passport and it's obvious that I travel frequently to the US, but the questions were quite relentless. The Homeland Security officer was really tough on everyone and when it was turn for the Japanese woman in front of me to go up, she was so frightened, she was shaking and couldn't even speak. He kept asking her name and she opened her mouth and nothing came out. I haven't seen anyone so scared.

Anyway, for anyone traveling to the US... It's TOTALLY different now. I may have just hit a particularly tough guy, but the mood is totally different now. The questions are totally different now. Be prepared to explain everything about your trip, your history, your nationality and your job in great detail. My guy this trip didn't know what a venture capitalist was so I had to explain that too...

I think I'm going to start cutting back my travel to the US. I definitely don't want to end up in some jail with no food for 20 hours... The US might as well put up a sign saying, "your trip may be randomly terminated for security purposes..."

via Boing Boing

Spent the weekend in Kyoto "offline" with Loic and a few other friends. I decided to focus on the logistics and not spend time trying to blog. Loic's got some stuff on his site about the trip. I've got a bunch of stuff that I need to blog from my trip in DC, etc. Hope to get it all up here in the next day or so.

I'm on my way to Kyoto.

See ya later USA... and thanks for all the fish.

Ross Mayfield rants about the problems of direct democracy and the difference between emergent democracy and direct democracy. This was one of the points that I had difficulty making during the Harvard Law School class. Rojisan and I talked about it last night too. Emergent democracy IS NOT the same as using technology to scale direct democracy. Emergent democracy is about leadership through giving up control, activating the people to engage through deliberation and action, and allowing emergent order to grow from the grass roots. It's the difference between a couch potato clicking the vote button and a group of people starting their own Dean coalition group.

That's the difference between the Dean Campaign and what just happened in California. They may both be symptoms of people unhappy with the current regime, but they are very different types of democracy.

Dive into Python 4.4 is out. I learned Python by reading Dive into Python and it is the best tutorial I've ever used. Dive into Python is in the process of becoming a book.

Last year, I saw Liz Lawley link to an Apron with an Apple Base Station that said "All Your Base Station Are Belong To Us." I thought it was really funny and bought one for my sister. Ever since then, I've seen references to, and have used myself on occasion, this funny grammatically flawed assertion.

Last night, Rojisan asked me if I knew where this phrase came from. I didn't. He told me that it came from a mistranslation in a Japanese video game. ??? This morning I saw a link on RageBoy's page to an ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US flash animation. (My first exposure to the images from the actual video game.) A quick Google produced a Wired News article explaining that the game is called Zero Wing from 1989 for the Sega Genesis.

"I'm obviously the dorky kid coming late to the party."

After listening to me talk about the virtues of IRC, Rageboy sent me a link to something he wrote in 1996 about IRC and the future of discourse. As you can imagine, it's very funny.

The FCC says it's OK to say "fuck" on TV. So it is OK to broadcast, "fucking USA" ?

Via MetaFilter and Boing Boing

I'm a mercilessly ip banning comment spammers until I figure out a better solution. If you try to post and I've banned a dialup IP address that you get stuck with, send me email and let me know.

The script to add your birthday to my birthday roll was broken. Sorry about that. It's fixed now.

“[T]he masked Englishman who calls himself Angle-Grinder Man … has been trawling London for four months dressed in a homemade superhero outfit, complete with gold lamé underpants and cape, removing the security boots from people’s illegally parked cars.

Funny entry on Making Light about superheros of our times.

Via Kevin Marks on IRC

UPDATE: The official Angle Grinder Man site

With all of the Schwarzenegger coverage on CNN yesterday, the only good news was the great Mena and Ben interview. Congrats on the launch and the coverage!

Welcome back Larry. We missed you!

And nice to meet you, Willem.

Jim Moore deconstructs what Orlowski's trying to do and sheds some light on what his point is.

Introspective note to self follows...

I spent the day before yesterday with Jim and Boris talking about everything. About life and world views. The world is in an important transition, the Net is in an important transition and my life is in transition. The venture market is turning from a buyer's market to a seller's market. I'm moving from Tokyo to a home in Chiba with no city water, city sewage or gas. I'm in a point in my life where I am thinking deeply about what I really want to do, how I want to live my life and what matters to me. The discussion with Jim and Boris was really helpful.

Later, I talked to Sarah, who is a lawyer, but also someone who is studying Sufism. She pushed back on my model and presented an amazingly thoughtful view on giving and receiving.

I went to bed early and woke up at midnight. It reminded me of Bill Murray in Lost in Translation. I turned on my computer and tried to connect to the Internet through the hotel network and I got the message, "Sorry! Internet service is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later."

I sat in bed thinking... Then I remembered the DVD of My Dinner with Andre that Jim had given me, so I popped it into the Powerbook. Amazing. It was an inspiring movie about a dinner conversation about life and being alive.

And here I am. Thoughts swirling in my mind. Completely disconnected. Thinking about myself, my family, my friends, democracy, the world, and the laws of physics. Thinking about ethics, virtue, love, responsibility and life.

Memories that are triggered:

My Tai Ji teacher Chungliang Al Huang asking us why we're all in such a hurry. Why we love efficiently and speed so much. If the end of the game is death, the most efficient thing to do is die. The point is to live.

"...and look at your house. You would see what an alien from another planet would see. You would see that you're living in the home of an insane robot." - Timothy Leary

I don't want to be an insane robot...

It's amazing how highly contextual thoughts become when you think without goals. How everything you hear seems to fit into your model yet pull things apart. I'm not going to try to explain what I'm thinking and I'm not sure if I'm going to post this entry. This is really a note to myself to remember this moment.

The ultimate outrage: Rusty Lewis of VeriSign says this is a test for the Net, to see whether the infrastructure can be innovated. It's a threat: Let us do what we want or we won't invest in upgrading infrastructure, he implies.

In response to a question, he bascially indicates that ICANN doesn't have the power to keep VeriSign from doing what it's done. The company will have a dialogue with whoever wants to talk, but it plans to "reintroduce" Site Finder.

I think VeriSign has already won the key part of this war. It has persuaded reporters to call Site Finder a "service" instead of what it truly is, a misuse of its monopoly.

This sounds really bad. How can a company that tries to sell trust act in such a blatantly untrustworthy way...

Telemarketers are suing the National Do Not Call Registry in the US, which is a place where you can register to block telemarketers from calling you. 50 million households have signed up. I think this is a good idea, they obviously don't.

In his column, David Barry of the Miami Herald published the phone number of the American Teleservices Association, a telemarketing company.

It turned out that a lot of you were eager to call up the telemarketing industry. Thousands and thousands of you called the ATA. I found out about this when I saw an article in a direct-marketing newspaper, the DM News, which quoted the executive director of the ATA, Tim Searcy. Here's an excerpt from the article:

"The ATA received no warning about the article from Barry or anyone connected with him," Searcy said. ". . . the Barry column has had harmful consequences for the ATA. An ATA staffer has spent about five hours a day for the past six days monitoring the voice mail and clearing out messages."

That's correct: The ATA received NO WARNING that it was going to get unwanted calls! Not only that, but these unwanted calls were an INCONVENIENCE for the ATA, and WASTED THE ATA'S TIME!

I just hope nobody interrupted the ATA's dinner.

Ha! This is great. The hypocrisy and the irony are truly monumental. The ATA changed their phone number, but the new one is 317-816-9336. Maybe I'll call them and ask them if they know about Stealth Disco...

Via The Daily Irrelevant

I think Heath Row has the best notes from Bloggercon.

On another note, I have the IRC logs of #joiito during my session. Would anyone be against me posting them on my blog?

Bloggercon was fun. It was great meeting so many of the bloggers I read and finding them just as interesting in person as I could ever have hoped. I'm not going to make a list of people who I met because I'm going to forget to mention someone if I try. If this were Japan, I would have a business card from everyone I met and could easily make a list. I wonder why the business card thing hasn't become more ubiquitous in the West...

Anyway, thanks Dave and everyone else who made bloggercon possible.

To make my point here, I have first admit that I often go to the Technorati top 100 page to see where my blog is ranked. I admit that it goes against my negative feelings about the power law, etc. and is a bit self-absorbed.

Anyway, when Technorati added Live Journal and surged in indexed blogs, my ranking dropped enormously and I was barely still on the list. Lately, I've slowly crawled back up. Recently I've been neck to neck with a blog called ":: i don't give a shit what you think :: ". It felt weird seeing, "I don't give a shit what you think Joi Ito's Web." ;-) I just noticed that I finally passed it. The funny thing about this list is that I seem to have (in my mind) a relationship to blogs close to me in ranking. I tend to read them to see who they are. I see some blogs slip down the list, and some others shoot up. I try to find what causes their rise and fall by looking at their Technorati cosmos.

Am I weird?

I was messing around surfing Google, trying to test something Dave Sifry told me about. The theory was that you actually couldn't get to all of the thousands of results Google says it has when you search for something. I searched for stuff and simply paged forward and found that in fact you did reach an end of search results rather quickly. The number varied so I tried it with "repeat search with omitted results." I found that you can get to exactly result number 999 and no results show after that. I felt like Jim Carrey in The Truman Show...

UPDATE: According to Adam Hill on IRC, it was on the Google Weblog too, but I can't seem to find the entry.

I will be speaking about emergent democracy at the Digital Democracy class at the Harvard Law School Tuesday. Thanks to Ethan and Andrew for setting this up. Looks like a lot of fun.

UPDATE: We'll have IRC on the screen so drop by #joiito if you want to participate. We'll also try to set up a video feed from Boris's Mac. It's at the Berkman Center (Baker House) from 5pm-7pm.

Here is a wiki page we can use.

During my session at Bloggercon, I got Stealth Disco'ed by Halley Suitt.

Via AKMA

Who took the video?

I will be facilitating a session today on community at Bloggercon at 1:30pm. I'll be on IRC so drop by if you're free. Some talking notes here.

UPDATE: Thanks for everyone that dropped in. It was a lot of fun. Special thanks to Kevin Marks for the tech and other support. Picture on Bloggercon page.

Ant's Eye View
Rushkoff on "Open Source Democracy"

Douglas Rushkoff, in cooperation with UK think-tank Demos, is publishing a short book next week called "Open Source Democracy". He's giving away a PDF version of the book for free, though, with permission to republish it in whatever format you like, so go nuts. Those of you in the UK can also attend a lecture Rushkoff will be giving in London on the subject.

Looks cool. Creative Commons license and everything. I'm going to read this on the plane back to Japan...

After ICANN's formal letter asking Verisign to shut down Site Finder, VeriSign has temporarily shut the service down. They don't sound very happy about shutting down a "service has been well received by millions of Internet users". Good job on this one ICANN.

Via Lauren Weinstein's Blog

Russell Beattie, Jason Kottke, Cory and Aaron blog about the new Terms of Service for Google AdSense. AdSense is a way to allow you to sell advertising space on your own site to advertisers using Google AdWords. It's a cool service for blogs with lots of traffic to allow people to earn a little money.

The new Terms of Service allow Google to easily cancel your account and several people have complained that they have been shutdown unfairly. More importantly, the new terms do not allow you to talk about AdSense in public or to contact any of the advertisers directly. This seems to go against Sergey Brin's Google rule #1: "Don't be Evil."

I think I remember Google saying at the beginning that they wouldn't do advertising... I guess I remember when Infoseek used to charge the user to search. ;-) Things change... But I hope Google realizes that stifling free speech about part of its service is evil and also stupid.

I just saw Lost in Translation. It was strange watching it in Boston just hours after leaving Tokyo. It was like looking at my moblog... I knew the sushi chef from Ichikan in Daikanyama and the guy who played the producer of the photo shoot, Maki-san. I knew almost every location they shot. Everything was so familiar. It was strange thinking that it must seems so weird to people who haven't been there. It was like being back in Tokyo, but in Boston...

I loved the story and Bill Murray was great.

It captured Tokyo very well. I thought it was really difficult to get permits to shoot movies in Tokyo. I wonder how they pulled it off.

UPDATE: Good post by Jane and a discussion about Lost in Translation on Chanpon. You should read the discussion. Many good points raised. After reading the comments I realize I'm just a sucker for Hollywood movies. ;-)

Off to Boston for Bloggercon. I'll be there until Wed. My sidekick will be AIM enabled. Ping me at joichiito on AIM if you want to hook up. I'll be p-timing.

Good rant from Ray Ozzie on the death of email.

Ray Ozzie
As time goes on, though, you'll only visit eMail as a low-priority background task, much as you do when sorting through your physical mail at home. You'd never do important work through your home mailbox, would you?
Exactly.

Email is breaking, breaking, broken. Adriaan has a neat graph.

Ray links to Clay and Ross who link to Gelernter and Hornik on the issue.

Lauren Weinstein, Co-Founder of People For Internet Responsibility (PFIR) and the moderator of PRIVACY Forum just started a blog. He's not sure whether blogs are a good thing yet, but lets hope he keeps it up. He's one of the important mailing list guys that I've been try to convert to blogging. Dave Farber and Declan are two others. ;-)

Tim Oren rants about how metadata is NOT the next big thing. He quotes Cory's 2001 often cited Metacrap rant. Both good rants. But I disagree. I think that blogging tools allows the producer of the content to enter metadata about the micro-content much more easily than ever before. If you're writing about a book, you'll enter the ISBN number because you want to get the cover art and the affiliate link to Amazon. You'll insert the GIS info into a picture you take on your camera phone because it's just one button away. You'll create your FOAF file so you can search for friends of friends near you. I agree that the discussion about the name spaces and the semantics is messy, but I think it's silly to write off metadata as a pipe dream. Have been to All Consuming lately? How do you think that works? MusicBrainz and Creative Commons are also non-metacrap metadata projects.

Reading about AKMA's hernia operation reminds me of my own hernia operation. My scar stings with the memory like Harry Potter's scar. This also reminds me of my tonsillectomy. I remember after the operation thinking, "this hurts WAY to much for it to be worth it. Note to self: remember how much this hurts." The funny thing is, I don't remember how much it hurt. My theory about anesthesia is that it's probably just as much about making you forget your pain as it is about making you not feel it. Would you choose to have more pain, but not remember it, or choose less pain but perpetual memory of it? I guess most people would choose no pain... ;-p Which reminds me of the Jack Handy quote, "I'd rather be rich than stupid." Enough associative memory fun...

I hope you feel better AKMA. I'm still going to SD you. Actually, looking forward to SD'ing everyone this weekend in Boston. muahahaha!

Fortune's David Kirkpatrick just posted his story on social-networking sites. My obsession with LinkedIn is cited in the story.

AP
Amazon.com invades Google's turf with Silicon Valley startup

MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Business Writer

(09-25) 17:13 PDT SAN FRANCISCO (AP) --

Amazon.com Inc. is invading Google's turf with a new online search engine company that hopes to pluck some of the profits pouring into the rapidly growing sector.

Seattle-based Amazon has dubbed its search startup "A9" and set up offices in Palo Alto, not far from Google's Mountain View headquarters. A9 hopes to launch in October with 30 employees and grow much larger as it develops a search engine that will be licensed to other Web sites, said spokeswoman Alison Diboll.

I wonder if this is going to be an html scraper or a web service/feed aggregator? I wonder if it will be the mother-of-all referral/affiliate marketing aggregators... but how can they do search and not compete with the business model of "all roads lead to Amazon"? I wonder if A9 means it's their 9th try...

In any event, writing a search engine from scratch at the dawn of real web services sounds like a lot of fun.

Via Google Weblog

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