Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I was grounded for 2 weeks for passport renewal and another week with a sprained foot, but I'm back on the road again. I seem to notice new things when they're not in front of my all of the time. One thing I noticed this trip is how stupid the flight map software on the plane seems to be getting. Before, it was pretty simple and had all of the important information. Time to destination, time at destination, etc. Now (at least on United) they've added a stupid trivia quiz among other things. It takes longer for it to page through all of the pages to get to the page you want to see. The most distressing thing is that they've removed "time at destination" but seem to think "outside temperature" when you're flying is more important.

To the designers of this software: I only watch the map page to get information. If I had time to be doing a trivia quiz I would be listening to music, watching a movie or working on my laptop. Also, NO ONE that I know of cares what the temperature is outside when you're flying but almost EVERYONE I know cares what time it is at the destination.

Posted by Thomas Crampton

Interesting venture launching in a few weeks by a group of Mainstream Media journalists in a blog. It is called Pajama's Media and has contributors from a number of mainstream outlets.

I think a cooperative blog is a good model - www.boingboing.net style - and would like to explore those possibilities myself. Seems to me the key is finding the right mix of people and then letting them loose.

My company - the International Herald Tribune and The New York Times - is not moving into the blog sphere as quickly as I would advocate.

That said, some colleagues are blogging on their own: Howard French in Shanghai, for example. Don't know of others.

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Dave has new numbers about the state of blogs based on Technorati data. He has his presentation from Web 2.0 online as well as a lengthy blog post. Interesting stuff. Take a look.

Posted by Thomas Crampton

Three questions regarding the Committee to Protect Journalists today naming online journalist Shi Tao as a winner of the International Press Freedom Award.

His 10-year sentence to a Chinese prison came partly due to a disclosure about him by Yahoo!.

1- Do employees of Yahoo! feel responsible for/comfortable with this man going to prison? (Will they, for example, send care packages or join a letter-writing campaign petitioning the government of China for his release?)

2- How do users of Yahoo! feel about the company's privacy policies? (Or privacy policies of other Internet companies, for that matter.)

3- As a journalist who has had many police encounters in countries with nasty authoritarian dictatorships, I am always very concerned about the safety of those with whom I interact. Does online interaction lead to a sense of diminished responsibility? Do we need to see someone's face or visit their family at home to feel their pain?

AKMA just blogged something that triggered the following thoughts...

When I visited AKMA in Chicago we talked about music. I met up with my old DJ friend, Jeff Pazen after seeing AKMA. The mission was, how do we talk about music and share our musical tastes. Jeff is a godlike figure in my DJ past and I really wanted to sync up with him on what he was into and remember some of the great tracks we used to listen to together "back in the day." I also wanted AKMA to understand what music was like back when I hung out with Jeff a decade ago. Technology finally allows us to do this. Jeff could give us each a Nano with playlists of his music and we could listen to it... like would have listened to a mixed DJ tape a decade ago. This is how we shared our knowledge of music.

The problem is that it has become so easy that fear has taken over and there are laws and technologies that prevent what I personally believe is one of the fundamental ways that good new music spreads. Like AKMA, I'm not against professionals getting paid, but I think that the broken business model and the industry's reaction to it is hurting the business more than they imagine.

Although AKMA and I are clearly not "normal", I think we are typical "consumers" in many ways. I've been bored by the music around me and don't listen to it as much. If someone like Jeff could "turn me on" again, I'd probably "get back into music". I'm quite sure I would spend more money on music if I was "into it" again. (Although the hardware guys will get their healthy share.) And no. Clear Channel and MTV will not turn me on.

I realize I don't make a constructive argument in this post and many of the points have been raised over and over again, but I think this is timely in the context of the Nano and the idea that you could/should be able to "make a Nano" for someone with your favorite music and "turn them on." How cool would that be. (If as AKMA points out, things like the Nano finally become cheap enough to toss around.)