Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Reading Jill's comments over on misbehaving reminded me of a game that some people play in Japan. (I learned it from Eno-san.) It originated with business cards, but has moved to mobile phones. There are three people: two players and a judge. The two players pick someone from their address books and reveal them to each other simultaneously. The judge decides which one is more famous or important. The loser has to shred the business card or in the case of mobile phones, delete that entry from the address book. It's quite funny because you try to play important people to beat the other person, but if you lose, you lose a valuable phone number. The judge's perspective of what sort of person is important also comes into play in an interesting way.

It's no fun when you have backups of your phone numbers, but in Japan, where most people don't backup their mobile phone numbers, it's often for keeps.

Don't try this at home.

I know this is comparing apples and oranges, but that's what I've got: apples and oranges.

The Nokia 6600 has a 65,536 color 176 x 208 pixel display and a 640 x 480 pixel camera whereas the Sony SO505iS has a 262,144 color 240 x 320 display and a 1280 × 960 pixel camera. Both displays are bright, but the Sony display and camera win.

They're about the same size and weight, but the 6600 feels much more comfortable in my hand. Warm, round and buttons in the right place. The SO505iS is cold and a bit awkward (as if a digital camera and a phone got merged in the machine in "The Fly"). Having said that, the SO505iS is much better than the SO505i that it replaces. It's thinner and generally better designed. (The antenna doesn't stick out of your chin, the camera turns on when you open the camera cover, etc.)

The SO505iS runs J2ME and Flash applications whereas the 6600 runs J2ME and Symbian applications. The UI on the 6600 is utilitarian and simple whereas the Sony sports an animated background and a OS X sort of zooming icon wheel. The Sony has a two speaker stereo system and a stereo mini-plug for headphones where you can listen to music and watch videos from the proprietary memory stick in their proprietary media format. (You can record your favorite TV shows onto your memory stick and watch them on the train.)

The biggest difference is that you have to be a rocket scientist to figure out all of the message and data modes on the 6600. The blessing and the horror of the open system is that 6600 has to deal with all of the carrier inconsistencies and trying to figure out how to get online with the 6600 reminded me of just how screwed up the telco standardization process is. The SO505iS, on the other hand comes from the dictatorship of Docomo so what it lacks in flexibility and openness, it benefits in simplicity. Shoot a photo, click and send. Moblog away. I have yet to be able to send a picture via email from my 6600.

Both phones have lots of applications, but the Symbian applications are impressively Internet aware. There is an IRC client and IM client. Docomo, with it's rather closed architecture regarding networking has some cool applications, but they are really focused on providing content and services.

I would probably have a different opinion if I still used my Vaio, but the SO505iS really doesn't want to have anything to do with my Mac. The 6600 on the other hand, loves my Mac, talking to it in Bluetooth and even happily becoming a gprs modem for it. Zooming in a cab in San Francisco with my 6600 in my pocket and my PowerBook on my lap online was a great feeling. (Thanks for showing me how to do this Rael!)

Having said that, this is a totally useless review because you can't use the 6600 in Japan because we don't have a GSM network and you can't use the SO505iS anywhere outside of Japan because it uses Docomo's proprietary PDC network, or rather Docomo uses the SO505iS. Thus apples and oranges.

Emily - Smartmobs
«Intexicated»: Texting under the influence

The Sunday Mail reports that the problem of texting under the influence has become so common, it has been given a name; «intexicated».

According to research by Virgin Mobile, out of the 60 million texts sent daily in December, 15 million of them are sent by people who have had one too many.

Virgin said that two thirds of women who text while drunk send messages to former lovers and some text the wrong person.

A public relations officer in London sent a sexually explicit message to dad instead of boyfriend Dan after hitting the wrong button.

Lucky for me I don't drink anymore. I can see how intexicating could seem fun at the time, but could be trouble.

danah points out the gender bias in the article.

I've had blogger's block lately. As more people read my blog, I realize that I am writing for larger and larger audience. Just about every time I post something, I get thoughtful comments and email from a variety of perspectives. I realize that post early/post often is probably the best policy for blogging, but the rigor in which entries are discussed and the increasing percentage of people who I meet who have read my blog cause me to try to blog about things which are interesting yet not likely to cause me to spend a lot of time defending myself. The fact is, I'm becoming more and more conservative about what I blog.

danah boyd often talks about the collapsing of the facets of our identity. (As I continue to collapse her context by linking to her constantly.) She quotes an article about "Mom Finds Out About Blog". This relates to Erving Goffman's "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life" where he talks about how we perform differently to different audiences presenting different facets of our identity. The problem with many blogs is that the audience includes so many different communities of people that it collapses the facets of one's identity and requires you to choose a rather shallow facet which becomes your public identity. For instance, I know that people in the US State Department, friends from my Chicago DJ days, my employees, my family, thoughtful conservatives from Texas, cypherpunk friends, foreign intelligence officers, Japanese business associates and close friends all read my blog occasionally. In real life, I present a very different facet of my identity to these different communities, but on my blog I have to imagine how all of them will react as a craft these entries. None of them get the depth that I am able to present when I am performing for them directly. So, although I am exposing many personal thoughts such as my decision to quit drinking, the depth of my identity is becoming shallow because the context is collapsed. Most of the truly thoughtful comments I have received about my drinking have been in email and IM and I am sure my blog will not help me discover my inner goofball.

Halley writes about intimacy. What does it mean? I think intimacy relates to the Robin Dunbar's magic number 150. At this moment there are 87 people hanging out on #joiito and 216 people in my instant messenger buddy list (some are the same people). On the other hand, I have 490 connections in LinkedIn, have 510 phone numbers in my cell phone and get about 1000 new years cards. On my blog, I get about 13,000 unique sessions (30,000 page views) per day. Today, I attended a fund-raising meeting for a non-profit, and a political campaigner said that generally, one was expected to have to shake 50,000 hands to get elected.

Ross Mayfield broke the networks down into political, social and creative at 1000's, 150 and 12, but my feeling is that the political layer is 10's of thousands and next layer is business at 500 and social at 150 and creative at 12. This is not scientific, but just my personal observation. If this is true, this blog is approaching the political layer which explains why I feel that I get more business done on LinkedIn, but I feel much more candid and happy on IRC and Chat and why I still really love dinner conversations most of all. I think that if you can manage the audience size and composition on your blog, you can tune it to any of these layers. Mena often talks about how blogs are more about normal people blogging with their friends than about pundits competing against the media. I would agree and think this may be more rewarding at an emotional level than taking your blog to the political level. What you have to be careful of is that you never know when you might suddenly become popular or when your mom might drop into your blog and your context will collapse around you. Managing your audience and the facets of your identity is a very difficult thing and navigating this has and always will be one of our biggest challenges both in the real world and online.

Blogging about not being able to blog...

Ars Electronica, which is always on the cutting edge of expression using new technologies and has created a new category called "Digital Communities". I will be on the jury with Howard Rheingold, Jane Metcalfe and several other people I'm looking forward to meeting.

Among the projects, phenomena and fields of activity subsumed under the heading Digital Communities are:

social software
eDemocracy, eGovernment, eGovernance
emergent democracy
collective weblogs, social networking systems
filtering and reputation systems
social self-support groups
learning and knowledge communities
computer supported collaborative processes
gaming communities
digital neighborhoods, community networks
free net initiatives, wireless LAN projects
digital cities, urban development projects
citizen involvement initiatives, citizen conferences


Total: 40,000 Euro

2 Golden Nicas
10,000 Euro each

4 Awards of Distinction
5,000 Euro each

Up to 14 Honorary Mentions

Please see the web page for more details, but I look forward to seeing your submissions.