Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

This week, I've been spending a lot of time in the yard. Today, we had neighbors over helping us fix our front entrance and the day turned into a community assisted day of heavy work and heavy machinery for me.

We recently fenced off an area of the yard for Bo and Pookie. The problem is, it is a dirt area and they get all muddy. Mizuka and I decided to make half of it grass and half of it gravel. I asked on DogReader about whether to use wood chips or gravel and I got good advice that I should use pea gravel. We went to the hardware store and bought some gravel. It was very heavy and expensive... (relatively speaking)

I got my wheel barrel and shovel out and was preparing to lay the gravel and the neighbors laughed at me. They said that I definitely didn't have enough gravel and that it would be too expensive to cover the whole area with enough of the pea gravel. They recommended that we get some cement gravel and lay it down first. It sounded liked a good idea.

One of the guys jumped into a truck and came back with a few tons of gravel. He looked at the fenced area and went and got another few tons. Sitting in our front yard was about 4 cubic meters of gravel, a wheel barrel and a shovel. I remember reading about how French farmers protest against the government by dumping tons of manure at the front gates of government buildings. It's the battle between those equipped with heavy machinery and those who are not.

As I started loading up wheel barrel after wheel barrel, images of forced labor flashed through my mine. "Put your back into it!" As I moved wheel barrel after wheel barrel from the front yard into the fenced area, the neighbors who were working on my front entrance watched me with pity.

"Do you know how to work a excavator?"

"Umm... No..."

"OK... wait a sec. We'll get someone to bring one over. He'll help you load up the wheel barrel."

Soon the beautiful excavator arrived and I was promoted from shoveler/barreler to barreler with excavator assistance.

After several hours of barreling, finally I had moved several tons of gravel about 20 meters and spread it out a bit.

"You're going to need to flatten it out a bit. Have you ever used a forward plate compactor?"

"Umm... No..."

"OK.. wait a sec."

Soon a forward plate compactor showed up.

"Here's the choke, here's the throttle. Wet the gravel a bit and use the compactor to flatten it down and even it out."

"Umm... OK..."

Soon, I found myself behind a roaring plate compactor. Lucky for me, I had my new Sensaphonic custom molded ER 9 ear plugs. I could keep my ears from being blown out and still hear what people were saying.

Anyway, I'm quite tired in a pretty healthy sort of way, but unfortunately, I'm too tired to blog. So instead of something political, all you get is this silly diary post. ;-)

3.5 hours until TypePad Japan is launchesd. Yay!

Student smashes SMS record

A Singaporean student looks to have smashed the world record for high speed text messaging.

Kimberly Yeo, 23, managed to send a 160-character SMS message in just 43.24 seconds.

It knocked more than 20 seconds off the official record of 67 seconds held by Briton James Trusler.

That's like 36 words per minute.

Do you still think this thumb keyboard is silly?

via Seth Godin

flickr, a photo management/social network/community/chat service just integrated Creative Commons so you can choose a license for a photo when you upload this. This is awesome. flickr integrates photos into your chat so that you can plop photos into a chat room from your shoe-box and copy photos into your shoe-box from a conversation. People can comment on the photos, etc. It's probably the best integration of photos in conversation that I've ever seen and now with Creative Commons, it should make feel safer and more fluid.

Nice job Stewart!

Last night, I attended an Izu Conference dinner and the guest speaker was Yasuhiro Yamashita. Yamashita is the former Japanese judoka Olympic gold medalist and he is currently teaching at Tokai University and is on the board of the International Judo Federation. He's quite a star in Japan and he talked about Judo and globalization.

He started off the talk by showing an interview with Vladimir Putin on Japanese TV. Putin talked about his love of Judo and how he had been a street urchin looking for a way to be tougher when he started Judo, but that Judo taught him "the way" and helped make him what he is today. Putin also mentioned how the art of using the strength of the opponent against themselves was an important method even in politics. There was footage of Putin at his Judo dojo at his home in Russia. Both of Putin's daughters are studying Judo as well.

Yamashita talked about how Putin's love of Judo was what helped break the ice for Koizumi's relationship with Putin and how they had met at the dojo before Koizumi's meeting with Putin in Japan.

Yamashita also mentioned that Chairman Okuda of Toyota was also a Judo enthusiast.

Yamashita urged people to support Judo. He said he was also a poorly behaved young man and that Judo helped him learn values and discipline. He jokingly said that although many of the young Judo students may look like misbehaved youths, just imagine how much worse it would be if they were in the streets.

The Izu Conference is an annual IBM Japan sponsored meeting/retreat. This dinner was kind of an alumni meeting. Here are some of my notes from last year's annual meeting where the topic was the US.