Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I am considering buying an island on Second Life so I can donate land to various non-profit projects that I'm involved in. I've set up a wiki page for this. I will also probably set up a set for shooting video for video blogging and my TV show. If you're interested in participating in this project or have thoughts, please contribute to the wiki.

I was recently approached by a publisher who wants to translate my Chinese Anti-Japan Protests post and some of the comments into Japanese and publish them as a book. This site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license so legally they can do this without asking permission. However, I am worried that some people might be posting comments on this blog without being aware that their comments are also covered under this license. If you have contributed to the post and would not like to have your comments translated into Japanese and reprinted, please let me know. Any royalties or fees I might receive for this I will donate to Global Voices, which is the most relevant project to this post.

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Very interesting story on CNET about how distributed computing helped crack one of the last remaining dispatches using Germany's Enigma code from World War II.

Check out the original coded message and the translation here.

The codebreakers, the M4 Message Breaking Project, worked by enlisting volunteers to downloaded the codebreaking software into the background of their computers.

What other historic mysteries could distributed computing help solve?


Note: I may cross-post comments on the IHT blog and they may be reproduced in the paper for publication.

MX TV and Digital Garage approached me about hosting a TV show on MX TV's new terrestrial digital high definition broadcast channel. The market is quite small, covering only Tokyo and only viewable by people who have terrestrial digital tuners, but the good thing is that I'd be free to do just about anything I want. Starting July, they will broadcast to mobile phones with the proper tuners as well.

Originally, the plan was to start in April, but I'm arguing that we should push the launch back to July when we have the mobile phone viewers. This will also give me a bit more time to organize this. I've hosted TV shows in the past and I'm not particularly fond of them, but it sounded like I would have a lot of freedom and since it looks like they will agree to allowing me to license all of the content under a Creative Commons BY license, we could all use the footage for other stuff and maybe I could launch a video blog.

I just set up a wiki page where I will be posting thoughts and ideas. Justin Hall will be helping me shoot some footage for the show at SXSW as well. If you're interested in participating in this project in some way, sign up on the wiki or comment here. It's still basically wide open at the moment, but here's what I have in mind.

- Weekly live broadcast for 30 min, Sat night 10 PM JST broadcast on MX TV as well as the net

- Show and B-Roll material available for download

- Active integration of #joiito IRC channel for feedback and participation

- Japan blog roundup using Technorati Japan

- Interviews of bloggers and other people by pre-recorded video and video conferencing/iChat AV

- Feature Global Voices stories

- Feature Metroblogging bloggers

- See if I can do interviews in Second Life or World of Warcraft

- Feature amateur and viewer content and try to collaborate with schools and artists to make cool stuff

- Video blog format output of show

Anyway, we have a few more week before I have to start actually committing to the format so any thoughts on what would be cool would be greatly appreciated.

I'm sitting in an airport lounge remembering a story I should have blogged earlier. A few weeks ago when I was in the city of Aizu in Fukushima, Japan, there was a panel discussion which included the mayor of Aizu. Aizu is famous for being one of the places of the final resistance against the anti-samurai Meji government after Admiral Perry triggered the opening of Japan. It's a famous story involving young solders watching their castle fall after a long siege and committing ritual suicide. It also involves betrayal by their former allies, the Satsuma clan. The story also involves the Choshu clan which lead the rebellion against the Shogunate/Bakufu. At the time, the Choshu clan had been terrorizing Kyoto, bombing the imperial palace and trying to "steal the Emperor". The history of this period is way too complicated for me to describe in a short post, but suffice it to say that the people of Aizu feel that the people of Choshu are enemies since the days when the Aizu clan was trying to protect the Emperor from the Choshu clan and that the Satsuma people were turncoats.

The panel discussion involved a letter from the major of the city that would have been the capital of Choshu asking the governor of Aizu whether they could forget the past and just get along. The incidents were over 130 years ago. There was a heated debated that involved a lot of cheering and jeering from the audience, but it was clear that Aizu would not forgive these two clans and that most people in the audience didn't even trust many of the politicians such as Koizumi and Abe because they were from Choshu and Satsuma. The panel pointed out that it was it was the victim that should reach out for peace, not the aggressors. One of the panelists pointed out that Koreans have mentioned that it will take 200 years to forgive Japan for its aggression. Considering the fact that Aizu still can't forgive the Choshu after 130 years, I can understand why the Chinese and the Koreans still can't forgive the Japanese.

The conclusion of the panel was that there would be no "forgiveness" but that "dialog" should continue. It was interesting for me to see how much animosity and local patriotism still exists in a country that appears so homogeneous to the outside. It is probably important for outsiders to understand these sorts of things and for reporters to discuss them as well.

Another anecdote that was mentioned several times was that the bodies of the Aizu soldiers were left for months on the battle ground before they were tended to and in the end were not buried in Yasukuni Shrine with other Japanese war dead. Therefore the Aizu people have a much different opinion about the prime minister's visits to the shrine and still hold the "new government" of Japan in disdain.