Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

timedangerpoll.jpg
Saw this on David Farber's IP list.


The Biggest Threat To Peace
Which country really poses the greatest danger to world peace in 2003? TIME asks for readers' views

YES! Cory also puts his money where his mouth is. Good for him!

Cory Doctorow’s brilliant novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, is out today. Buy it early and often. Cory’s book is also the very first to be offered initially both for sale and under a CreativeCommons license. That means you can also download it for free. As Cory describes it,

“The entire text of my novel is available as a free download in a variety of standards-defined formats. No crappy DRM, no teasers, just the whole damned book.”

But as he (and I) expect, once you start the book, you’ll see you want it in its bound form. So again, you might as well buy it too.

I think we're at a very exciting point in the history of the future. Dave wrote a great essay to kick of the year just as I was trying to collect my thoughts. Let me also be a bit optimistic for a moment and share with you what I WISH will happen. Consumer electronics and mobile devices are where computer networking was before TCP/IP. Nothing talks to anything else and everything is vertically integrated and "intelligently" organized. TCP/IP changed that for telecom/computer networks. We all know the story.

Same thing with consumer electronics. It's a very different market with lots of different constraints like power consumption, price, etc. There are a lot of people working on various layers trying to standardize with mixed results. Apple is clearly making the move into consumer electronics. Sony is trying very hard to integrate network services into its hardware. It still doesn't work well. They're too "smart". The Tivo Rendezvous support is an example of a step forward and shows the potential of open standards in this space. Apple's Safari which is based on KHTML, from KDE's Konqueror open source project is also an interesting example as well.

So, here's what I think. We all know that the network should be stupid. Network providers will be a basic utility like electricity, but they'll still make money if they stick to the network. Where is the next focus? In the hardware, content and tools. If the hardware companies are smart, they will support open standards and let the users create the content, let the community create the tools and provide API and support for open standards. Yes, they will give up some control and yes they will eventually become more of a commodity like the network, but the scale will increase and they will make money.

So here's my offer. I'll focus on trying to pitch the hardware companies in Japan to look at the MetaWeblog API and other standards that we are developing. I will TRY to invest the rest of the $15mm I have into companies that develop things are end-to-end stupid network oriented, open standards compliant, blog community supportive, non-proprietary OS based and generally un-evil. I will also try to get others to invest with us. I'm going to try as hard as I can and still be fiduciarily responsible to my investors. I want everyone else to try very hard too. Let's see if we can make this happen. Think twice before going to work for you-know-who. If you go work for you-know-who, try to get them to support open standards. If you can choose, choose something open. If you can buy/license something from the developer community vs. building it do so. And most importantly, now that we have blogs to talk on, engage us in the dialog and try to break open mobile devices and consumer electronics platforms and get them to take advantage of the most talented group of unemployedself-employed developers since before the bubble. Let's convince the consumer hardware guys to open up and focus on their strengths and benefit from this just like IBM and others were able to benefit from the Internet by supporting and embracing the developer community.

I know this is rather obvious and I'm probably preaching to the choir, but I'm serious. ;-)

I'd like to ask Joi to tell us all, how his moblogging implementation works. What is the mechanism of getting that photo from the phone, to the PC and then into a blog. I know you use Moveable Type. Do you send the photo as an email attachment or some other form? Do you completely bipass the 'mobile carriers' or simply pay for he usage/bandwidth time? If your scenario is other than email, then what routing, access or commercial gateways do you have to navigate through - to get data onto the net?
We use email. Email is received and processed by a Python script. The script stores the attached jpg image in a directory and renames it with a unique name. It then posts the entry to MT using the MetaWeblog API to create an entry with the subject of the email as the title and puts the body of the email and an img src link to the jpg in the entry wrapped in div tags. Pretty simple. It would be easier if someone added more image handling in the API. Take a look at the Python script for more details.

We pay the carrier for the transmission of the email. Wish it were flat fee, but it's by the packet. Need to find a less "intelligent" network.

The results of the poll asking whether people liked the new big font style were: YES=40 / NO=46 even though most of the comments in the item were supportive of the bigger fonts. I've set up the big font style sheet as the default, but have added the option to select either the polite (big font) style sheet or the cool (small font) style sheet. If you accept cookies, it will remember your preference once you've set it. Also, I stopped the poll because we discovered that the micropoll script was not checking its input which is a security risk.