Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

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