Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

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I'm off to Michigan to visit ECD. I haven't been in Michigan since I was still on the board of ECD. I'm excited to see all of the new science and technology that must have happened since I was there last. A tour of ECD is like nothing else on earth. It's really like a trip through the future. I'll also be seeing a lot of old friends as well as my father who still works at ECD... If I can get my connection working, I'll blog stuff about it from Michigan.

Originally, it was just a trip to ECD and back, but I got the following email yesterday:POP2_header_2002_circle.gif

At 12:18 02/10/14 -0400, Megan wrote:
Joi,

Are you in the US Oct 18-20? I'm going to PopTech then --- www.poptech.com --- I got an extra ticket for my sister, but she can't come... so I was trying to sell it. It's an excellent conference up in Camden, Maine (leaves changing colors)...

hosted by John Sculley, Bob Metcalfe and others -- great themes each year and a great group. This year it's Artificial Worlds -- about communities and games and VR, etc etc etc. Lots of people you know are going. Any chance you'd be interested? Conference is mainly Friday, Saturday and Sunday am -- with an reception on Thursday night.

-- Megan


Howard Rheingold, Dan Gillmor, Linda Stone, Simson Garfinkel, Jaron Lanier, Amy Bruckman... Lots of people I know, plus John Sculley, Bob Metcalfe, Alexander Shulgin, Vernor Vinge, Stephen Wolfram... Lots of people I don't know. Camden, Maine... OK I'm there. Unfortunately, I can only go for one day...

windowsswitch.jpg VS macswitch.gif
I found this on David Farber's list. Aparently Microsoft tried to do a "switch" campaign like Apple did using "real people" to explain why they switched from Apple to Microsoft. Readers on Slashdot found the women in the ad in a catalog of stock photos and she is aparently not a "real person." Microsoft has since taken down their page, but Google has a cache.
Although it is flipped horizontally, it is obviously the same image as the image in the gettyimages database
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PSINet Japan's POP in my bathroom circa 1994
Found this old picture of my bathroom which sparked some old memories.

Back in 1993 IIKK, which was Japan's first commercial Internet connection, was looking for a place to put their POP. They were owned at the time by Intercon and they were unknown in Japan. No one would rent an office to them. I lent them my bathroom. A few months later PSINet bought IIKK. I was probably one of the first people in Tokyo to have a 128K leased line to their toilet.

Then, the founding Eccosys team gathered around the leased line. Cyrus, Shimokawa, Daishi, Sen, Jona and Yuki. We bought a used Sun SPARC 1+ over USENet and set up a server. When the NCSA web server came out in 1993 we were ready. We were bunch of kids with a lot of free time, a leased line and a UNIX server. We started one of the first web pages in Japan, "Tomigaya." Later, Yoon joined the team. (And turned out to be the best manager of the bunch.)

Eccosys merged with Digital Garage which went public in 1999 with Hayashi-san at the helm. (Several US Web companies offered to buy us. I'm glad we didn't sell.) Before going public Digital Garage created Infoseek Japan.I left Digital Garage and ran Infoseek Japan with Takao Nakamura as CEO and me as Chairman after it was sold to Infoseek Corp. Infoseek was acquired by Disney. (Reporting to the Disney was probably one of my more "rigorous" experiences...) Then Disney sold Infoseek Japan to Rakuten where it is sitting happily ranking third place after Yahoo and MSN in reach and is a nice profitable business. (I'm still on the board.)

I also ran PSINet Japan for about a year until I got them out of my bathroom and into a real office. ;-) PSINet Japan was sold to C&W as part of PSIX's bankruptcy liquidation. I was on the PSINet Japan board until C&W bought it. I think PSINet Japan was one of the few profitable units in the PSINet empire.

So nothing against my former parents... The Japanese kids somehow survived while the parents passed away. I loved them all... except some folks at Disney... oh... and a few from my Infoseek days. And now that you mention it, I keep in touch with only a few people including Barak Berkowitz, Bill Schrader, Ned Desmond and Michael Johnson, but many of the people from those days have faded away...

Well, this time at Neoteny I don't have a parent to fight with or blame. We only have ourselves. (I better stop blogging and get back to work...)

Now I'm working on charts of things that change. I don't have anything fancy like SOAP or even php running so I have to use web services that take input through the URL and output an image to IMG SRC... but you can still do a lot.

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Keigo pondering the notion of blogs...
Keigo "Cornelius" Oyamada is my cousin. Actually, he is my second cousin. But I think we are closer than our relative cousins. When my mother was going through a financially tough period, his family was as well and we ended up living next door to each other in a dumpy Love Hotel in Shibuya that was turned into an apartment building. At the time, he was always getting into trouble at his Jr. High and I was hanging around in Shibuya catching rats at the train station with my friends...

Anyway, since then, he has become a big rock star. He started out his career creating a band called Lollipop which later changed its name to Flippers Guitar. Flippers Guitar became quite famous, but eventually broke up and he parted ways with his partner Ozawa. He then started using the name "Cornelius" and preaching "Ape Shall not Kill Ape!" He again became a big hit leading the Japan indies movement. He was unique in that he wasn't a product of the Japanese mass media machine and really started his career on the street and in little clubs.

Anyway, now he has a kid and worries about his mother and stuff, but he still rocks. He just finished a tour of the US where he and his crew took a bus from city to city playing in a different town every night and sleeping in the bus and lugging his stuff around with the crew. He played at the Metro in Chicago where I learned how to party, DJ and worked briefly as a DJ. Later I brought a team from Metro/Smartbar to Tokyo to run XY Relax in Roppongi...

When I first started my web page back in 1993, we set him up with his first web page. I told him earlier this week that blogging was the biggest thing since then and told him that he should come over and let me explain it to him. I had just finished having Ryu Murakami and Ryuichi Sakamoto tell me "so what's so new about blogs..." so I was wary... I tried to explain to Keigo that the the important thing was the speed, that he could write himself and the network. He should not only have a fan site, he should encourage his fans to start their own blogs... I think he "got it." He promised to try it out.

This blog evangelism is quite difficult with people who 1) already have a mailing list, 2) already have a web page or 3) have a great web development team already. I find that people who don't want to learn html and have always felt frustrated in not being able to write stuff directly like Takemura-sensei are natural.

He current has a pretty cool official web page.