Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I spilled juice on my phone and had to get a new one. I got a F900iC. It's the first 3G phone with the new FeliCa contactless IC card built in. I just set up my Edy account and downloaded some money to it from my credit card. I think they will let you get money from your bank as well. I can wave it at the garage machine at Tokyo station, or at the cash register at AM/PMs or in a bunch of places inside of the Marunouchi building where I'm hanging out a lot lately. Not sure how nationally rolled out it is. Edy is a e-money system spearheaded by Sony and NTT-Docomo. (Some people joke that "Edy" sounds like a play on "Idei" the Chairman of Sony.) I used to carry an Edy card around with me, but the biggest problem was that I had to go to "charging stations" to put cash into it, and I couldn't check how much money I had left. Now I can see how much money I have and download more money on the phone. Yay! Also, this mobile wallet of mine allows me to create accounts with other systems like Suica. Suica has not yet launched on the phone, but will soon. Suica is run by JR. I currently have a normal plastic Suica that I use for the gate entry/exit and shops inside of JR stations. This Felica system uses a different technology than the contactless IC card that the government was pushing for the national ID system. This is good news to me. The idea of having a bunch of different ID cards in one place but all issued by different commercial vendors sounds better from a privacy perspective that having vendors use your national ID card for digital cash.

My phone also has a nifty fingerprint thing that actually works. It's really fast. To access secure features, instead of punching a pin, I just swipe my finger across a fingerprint pad. It also has the standard 2 screens, 2 cameras, mini SD and a QVGA TFT display.

As a side note, I noticed that when I turned on my Nokia 7600 the other day, both J-Phone and Docomo showed up as available networks. I was able to send and receive SMSs internationally using my US T-Mobile SIM card in my Nokia while in Japan. Some SMSs took days to get to me so it's not perfect yet, but what a change! We have a multi-operator 3G network that allows foreign SIMs and phones! It looks like I have SMS on my Docomo Foma phone, but I can't seem to figure out how I can send international SMSs. Does anyone know how to do or if I can do this?

UPDATE: Reading the manual, it says that I can only send SMSs to other Foma owners only. Which is weird, since my Nokia roaming on the Docomo network using a US T-Mobile SIM lets me send international SMS. Go figure. I wonder what happens if I put the US SIM in this Japanese phone...

Moblog picture by Hello Kitty
Copyright Sanrio Co., Ltd.
Hello Kitty has a blog. It looks like she's been blogging since July. Unfortunately, it's in Japanese. The press release says that it is a joint project between Sanrio and NTT Data, but according to the blog, Hello Kitty is writing it herself. She asserts that this moblog picture was taken herself. Maybe that's why she's a bit out of focus. She should have had someone take the picture for her. Anyway, welcome to Blogging Kitty-chan.

via Andrew and Springveggie

This morning I feel like an IM switchboard operator.

"Hey, ABC is hitting us 30 times a sec and our system is getting DoS'ed"

"OK, let me IM the VP Engineering at ABC"

"Here's his nick, he's waiting for your IM"


"Hey, I can't seem to reach XYZ."

"Hmmm... OK I found him. He says he'll IM you in 10 min so please hang on."

Don't get me wrong. I love being useful and the IM introductions and switch-boarding is a very high return on time for making connections. Much more efficient and useful than email stuff. It just feels funny. I feel like an operator answering calls like, "Hello Operator? Please get me the police!"

Jonas and Shelly have taken exception to the somewhat inflammatory headline "fired for blogging" in a previous post. To be honest, I stole the headline from Loic without thinking and I probably should have said "blogger suspended without pay" or something like that.

I've scattered comments around about my response to their responses, but I'll consolidate some of points here:

Accusation - Bloggers are attributing everything to blogging and being typically self-important. It wasn't about blogging, she broke company rules by posting the photos.

Response - The company rule was about using uniforms in photos. She says in the BBC interview that others had done so without being reprimanded. She did have a blog and the picture "outed" her identity and that of her employer. The fact that the blog was an anonymous semi-fictional account of a flight attendant until the photo probably didn't help. I would assume that blogging had something to do with it and the rule about the pictures was the technical reason. Also, blogs make it much easier to "post your picture on the Internet" and easier for people to find them. Therefore, I don't think it's silly to talk about blogging. More importantly, it's a good wake-up call for companies to be clear about blogging policy since more and more people are doing it.

Accusation - She broke a company rule. What's wrong with her being reprimanded for it?

Response - Companies have lots of rules that are broken every day. Companies need to think of what is in the best interest of the company and for their stakeholders. If a company does something that looks unfair or produces bad publicity, it's stupid whether it's a rule or not. It reminds me a bit about people who talk about "breaking copyright law". It's not like a speeding ticket. You don't "break copyright law". People use copyright law to go after people who are hurting their business. I think Delta should think about whether going after people who post pictures of themselves in uniform hurts their business or not and whether shutting these people down hurts them more.

UPDATE: She was fired. From the comments:

Queen of Sky @ October 31, 2004 10:41 AM

Actually I WAS fired yesterday, so Loic was correct.

The only reason given for my dismissal was "inappropriate pictures in uniform on the Web."

I have combed through Delta's HR manuals and found no rule against this.

The only rule is that they can fire you for anything they deem "inappropriate" behavior. Sounds rather arbitrary to me.

-Q of S

Rebecca MacKinnon is a the former bureau chief for CNN in Japan and now a fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society. She's one of the people I turn to when trying to understand the future of journalism and she writes about some of the difficulties Wikinews will have and provides some thoughtful suggestions.