Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.


Panelists: Cory Doctorow, EFF; Sean Ryan, Listen.com; Morgan Guenther, Tivo; Media Venture Advisors

Cory is talking about the broadcast flag issue that he has been quite active in resisting. He blogged about it on Boing Boing, but it is basically a flag that can be set in broadcast video to prevent redistribution of it on the Net. The idea is to get commodity hardware and software companies to implement this. The broadcast flag is part I in a three part plan. Part II is to force all analog to digital converters to have technology to sense for watermarks and disable the conversion of anything that had a copywritten watermarks. Part III is to redesign the Internet so that every packet is examined for infringement and discard them.

Sean thinks that the media industry has been bashed so much recently that things are much better than the past. He thinks that there is a viable model that allows people to rip and discover music...

Morgan says that Tivo will be profitable next year... Customers are "happy as clams..." Morgan is talking to the advertising industry about how to use the "real estate" in the living room where families in the US spend 7 hours a day. Wrestling with lots of issues such as copying content between Tivo's. The idea of attacking this without support of the industry didn't make sense to Tivo.

Ben and Mena Trott
Had lunch with Ben and Mena Trott, the founders and developers of Movable Type who were here for the Supernova conference. I'm a great fan of theirs because Movable Type was my introduction to blogging and I am very happy that I chose Movable Type as my blog software. (Thanks to Justin for making this decision for me.) Hirata in my office worked on the Japanese language kit for MT and we talked about some of the issues involved in localization and about the blogging landscape in Japan...


Slipped out of the conference to see Jean-Louis Gassée. I met Jean-Louis when he was running Be Inc. I was the first and last advisory board member of Be. Jean-Louis is a legend in Silicon Valley from his days at Apple and all of the cool stuff he's done afterwards.

He is currently an Entrepreneur in Residence at Allegis and is on the board of PalmSource and EFI. We talked a lot about personal networking technologies and shared our thoughts and vision in this area. He's such a cool and charming guy and I think Allegis is a PERFECT thing for him.

Barak and Minami joined me in the meeting and it was interesting because Barak had worked with him at Apple and Logitec so they had a lot of history... Frank got me back in touch with him. Frank used to work with Jean-Louis at Be and now works at and helps run one of our portfolio companies, AirEight.


Just sat down at Supernova. Supernova was organized by Kevin Werbach. This is the first one. The focus of the conference is decentralization. Topics include blogging, 802.11, network architectures, open source. It's a small conference with an amazing group of speakers and attendents.

The group blog is online and a great example of trackbacks. I think this conference probably has the highest density of bloggers of any conference I've ever been to.

Brewster showing us the Bookmobile
Brewster instructing us on how to print and bind the books
The Connection Machine at the Internet Archive data center
A rack of PC's running Linux at the Internet Archive data center
This morning I went to the see Brewster Kahle at his office in Presidio. Neal Stephenson had been trying to get us together and it finally happened. I was very excited to see/hear the whole thing. We started by seeing the Bookmobile which is this amazing thing that Brewster and his team did. They have 1,000,000 books from the public domain available in their database on the Internet. The Bookmobile cruises around and lets kids print the books and binds them. It costs a dollar to print one of these books so they can give them away. The Bookmobile has cruised around the US and was there during Larry Lessig's argument at the Supreme Court on Eldred v. Ashcroft. The Bookmobile is part of a much bigger project of Brewster's which involves creating a library that archives EVERYTHING. Music, the Web, video, everything. This is called the Internet Archive Project.

This amazing project involves archiving everything using low cost technology. The Connection Machine in the data center was originally running, but now it all runs on PC's with UNIX. There are over a 150 terabytes of data in the data center. There is room for a petabyte. Brewster is on the board of the Library of Congress and is also working with the Library of Alexandria in Egypt on this project. He is trying to recruit other libraries to swap content and mirror the archives. It is such a huge and important project that I couldn't HELP MYSELF... I'm involved. I'm going to try to figure out how to get Japan involved.

Brewster, for those of you who don't know him was one of the founders of WAIS (a great pre-web tool for indexing and publishing information that I used A LOT on my Mac) and Thinking Machines that created the Connection Machine, a massive parallel processing computer. He's quite a legend and it was a great honor and a lot of fun to meet him.