Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Aaron and Daiji Hirata talking about UTF-8
Had lunch with Aaron Swartz.
Aaron Swartz is a teenage writer, coder, and hacker. In 1999, he won the ArsDigita Prize for excellence in building non-commercial web sites. In 2000, he co-authored the RSS 1.0 specification, now used by thousands of sites to notify their readers of updates. In 2001, he joined the W3C's RDF Core Working Group which is developing the format for the Semantic Web. In 2002, he became the Metadata Advisor to the Creative Commons. The rest of the time, he works on a variety of other projects.
He has a Weblog and also runs the Google Weblog. Larry sent me email to make sure that we met while Aaron was visiting Japan. Thanks Larry!

So, we talked a lot about RSS. RSS 2.0 isn't truely XML compliant, but even one of the co-founders of XML, Tim Bray, uses PERL regex to parse XML a lot of the time and doesn't bother with the formalities of running a true XML parser.

Now here's the dirty secret; most of it is machine-generated XML, and in most cases, I use the perl regexp engine to read and process it. I've even gone to the length of writing a prefilter to glue together tags that got split across multiple lines, just so I could do the regexp trick.
Well, if one of the founders of XML thinks that XML parsers are a pain, they probably are. Most RSS news feeders do not parse RSS as XML, but just clean it up and figure it out and doesn't reject non-XML compliant feeds. I have a feeling that these standards committees, while very important, are starting to get away from the original spirit of the Internet of "keep it simple, make it work".

Aaron, is a no-bullshit guy and who spent a lot of time with the W3C folks trying to get them to understand why RSS was so important. Well, I say, lets get on with it and just make it all work, even if it isn't formal XML. RSS is hot right now and wide adoption could revolutionize everything from digital cameras to DRM.

Photo copyright 2003 Jason Levine
The last time I saw Ben and Mena, I showed them the "the cork trick". It's a trick I learned from a teenager in Belgium. Basically, you take two corks, hold them vertically with your thumbs, grab the ends of the cork in the other hand with your forefinger and thumb with both hands and remove the corks. (impossible to explain without a demo or photos.) It's much hard than it looks and also very difficult by the time you have two corks. It's a great way to impress people.

It took me quite a while to be able to repeat it consistently, but apparently Mena, my cork prodigy, is much more talented than me. Anil sent me a link to Mena doing the cork trick at SXSW on Jason Levine's site.

So, it's April 1 in Japan and I was sitting around trying to think of something clever for my April Fool's blog entry. Then Xeni sent me a link to Joy of Being Ito Web. Haha. Very funny Jim.

I'm going to give up trying to write someting funny today... ;-p

Dan Gillmor has a short entry about the stupid new bill in Michigan that basically makes firewalls and VPN's illegal. According to Dan, "And guess whose greasy fingerprints are all over it? Right, the movie studios."

Magic Box Productions Logo designed by Susan Kare
What a blast from the past for me. I just read on Slashdot about Susan Kare's web page. She is the godess of User Interface Graphics. She did most of the original Macintosh Icons and a lot of the icons for things like General Magic, Windows 3.0, etc. When I was helping to set up a computer graphics company call Magic Box Productions that Hakubun Ito was running, Megan Smith introduced us to Susan Kare who did our logo. It's still one of my favorite logos of any of the companies I've worked for. The T-Shirts were great. ;-) Magic Box Productions was my late 80's early 90's short dabble in the computer graphics world before MacPPP and the web swept me back into computer networks. Magic Box Production is still run by Hakubun Ito.