Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I remember when everyone shouted into their cell phones and thought that their batteries drained faster when they made long distance phones. I remember when people (who now have cell phones) swore to me that they'd never have a cell phone. I remember when cell phones looked more like military radios. I think it's fine to gripe about technology, but I would warn those people who swear they'll never use a technology. Technology evolves and so do social norms.

We've been having a dialog recently about the relationship between social norms and technology. I think this is part of the same dialog. New technologies disrupt our habits and our norms and what we feel comfortable with. I am an early adopter type who uses every technology possible and I try to wrap my life around it all. Some people try the technology and point out the tensions. Some people ignore the technology. Technology evolves along with the social norms. When it works well, we end up with a technology that contributes to society in some way and becomes a seamless part of our social norms. When it doesn't work well it either damages society or does not integrate and is discarded.

Being the techno-utopian optimist that I am, I think that writing off Skype and IM as annoying is a big mistake. They are what military radios were to the cell phones of today. I think it's important to take what David Weinberger and danah have to say about the tensions they create and thinking about how to make presence more granular, how to make it easier to manage the emission of your presence information and control access to you. What DOES free VoIP really mean? Can it be a background thing that allows us to continue to focus on our work instead of being an interruption? I am very excited by IM and VoIP and think that the tensions and the annoyances they are creating is a good a reason as any to dive into the privacy, identity, presence and interop issues that we've been talking about for so long. The more annoying it becomes, the more people will care about these issues.

I don't know if it is just me or the entire service, but, my mail host/spam filter was down for about 11 hours yesterday and has been down most of today. (Still down.) It appears that it is bouncing my mail with a error 500. If you have sent me any important mail in the last day or two, please send it to jito(at) or IM me at joi_ito(at)

This is the first time I haven't had access to my mail server directly and BOY IS IT FRUSTRATING. I'm going to take a look at moving my mail back under my own control. This really sucks. Does anyone know someone at All I have is a silly support email for them. I wish they had IM support like Earthlink. Ugh.

UPDATE: I'm starting to get really upset now... Why don't they even have an outage statement on their web page or their support page. Hello!?!

UPDATE 2: First of all. Thanks to everyone for their constructive comments. I DO have backup routes to divert my email, but the problem is that the server kept going up and coming down so I never knew when to "throw the switch". I don't like to keep backups spooling my mail because I travel a lot and I can't afford to download redundant mail or allow mailboxes to overflow. (I guess I could auto-delete old backup mail... hmm...)

Also, in the comments people pointed out that their CEO, Phil Goldman, recently passed away and might have something to do with this. I feel very bad about this and didn't realize it at the time. For this reason I have decided to cut them some slack.

Anyway, although my email to support@mailblocks didn't get a response and a call at night didn't reach anyone, I just called and stayed on the line past all of the messages about entering the extension number of the person you want to reach (of course I know no one there) and that I should email support messages (I did several times), I reached a human being. She was nice and when I told her that I was having problems she said that she had heard people were having problems and agreed to pass me over to tech support. The tech support guy was a pleasant guy and he told me that app1, my server, was having hardware problems and that although they didn't know when it would be fixed, that they were working on it. I suggested to him that they have an "outages" page with ETA's of when things might be fixed so they could calm people like me down and help us figure out whether we should be waiting or diverting our email. He said he had received this suggestion from several people they were considering it.

So, my position right now is that I still like the service very much and will continue using it. I will put better backups in place. They seem to be nice people, but they need to provide better support and I hope they figure this out.

FINAL (I HOPE) UPDATE: Seems to be working now. Switching back...

An interesting theory that facial expressions affect blood-flow to the brain and are not just results of emotions. The assertion is that these blood-flows affect our emotions. So SMILE! :-)

Zajonc, R. B., Emotion and Facial Efference: A Theory Reclaimed, Scince, 1985, 288, 15-2

He also asserted that elation follows the smile, not the opposite. The blood flow changes caused by contracting the facial muscles in the smile alter cerebral blood flow and cause an emotional change. He extends this reasoning to account for all kinds of other bizarre facial habits associated with emotions -- wrinkled forheads, rubbing one's eyes, hand on forehead, pulling earlobes, licking lips, etc.

Via Jonas

I'm giving a speech about the future of the Internet tomorrow afternoon from 2:30pm-3:30pm JST. The speech will be at the Rakuten New Year party. (Rakuten acquired Infoseek Japan and I am now on the Portal Group advisory committee.) I'll try to stream it, but it will be in Japanese. My slides are in English and I've put my outline on my wiki. Please feel free to add comments or links to examples on the wiki. The outline just lists the topics I will cover, but not what I'm going to say. ;-)

I'll be giving live demos of #joiito and IM so if you're around, I might ping you.

I'll be using keynote exported to QT inside of Safari with my examples loaded in tabs.

The latest version of the Keynote QT is here.

GRIPE : Keynote doesn't let you put hyperlinks in presentations. They should either figure out some way to embed Safari inside of a Keynote presentation or allow hyperlinks. Apple Computer presentations use two machines, one for browsing and one for Keynote. Doh. Not very user-friendly.

I will be streaming this if I have enough bandwidth. Copy and paste this URL into QuickTime rtsp:// (Warning. Japanese.)

UPDATE: Sorry folks. Didn't have a Net connection so couldn't connect to IRC or get Hecklebot working.

Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten, Masuda, CEO of CCC/Tsutaya and me. Photo by Ms. Noumura.