Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

The New York Times
State Department Link Will Open Visa Database to Police Officers

January 31, 2003

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 - Law enforcement officials across the country will soon have access to a database of 50 million overseas applications for United States visas, including the photographs of 20 million applicants.
Critics also point to what they call the unwelcome precedent of foreign-intelligence sharing with local law enforcement, even if the intelligence community's initial contribution to the new system may seem somewhat innocuous. That component is the Open Source Information System, a portal where 14 agencies pool unclassified information. Such material in the new system will includes text articles from foreign periodicals and broadcasts, technical reports and maps.

Cool. Ranger Joe will be able to read my blog on his PDA!

This sort of thing is difficult to "turn off" once it gets going. I think you should read "Law Enforcement officals across the country" to mean "just about anybody willing to bribe a cop." Scary scary scary.

e2c_leftbar1.jpgThe Shure E2c "in-ear" headphones are the best headphones I've ever used. They come with foam earplug style or rubber sleeves. They fit right inside of your ear like a hearing aid and the wire slips over your ear and down behind your back. There is no electronic noise cancellation, but the earplug-like sleeves shut out all outside sound and give you incredible sound with no outside noise. Absolutely incredible. My ipod experience just got one notch closer to a religious experience.

Thanks Barak!

UPDATE: Matt from Shure has started a blog. Check it out!

UPDATE: I've started a gadget blog called Joi Ito's Stuff

From: Bettina Anagnostopoulos Date: Thu Jan 30, 2003 05:01:08 Asia/Tokyo To: "''" Subject: Dayton Ohio Japanese Business Tutor needed

I just saw your web site while searching for Japan + Dayton Ohio on google. I hope you may be able to assist me in networking...would you know of professionals who are interested in teaching Japanese to a U.S. executive moving to Tokyo?

Thanks for your help!
Bettina Anagnostopoulos
Senior Language Training Specialist

One amazing phenomenon of blogs is that because of all of the linking going on they end up with fairly high google rankings. At Supernova, Cory of Boing Boing talked about how people email him asking about things he blogs because his blog entries show up on the top of Google results. Also at Supernova, Sergey Brin co-founder of Google talked about how important the ranking and results algorithms were for Google. For instance, first result for "suicide" can have a life or death impact on someone depending on whether it is a page to help you decide not to commit suicide or a page about how to commit suicide. I am the second entry for "Japan + Dayton Ohio" and #3 for "Takenaka media" for instance. At Davos, I talked to Larry Page, co-founder of Google about the phenomenon. I explained that I was very excited that my entry about how the media failed to report the public support of Takenaka showed up before the media reports. I mentioned that maybe it was the way blogs created a lot of pages and linked to each other a lot and how this was giving them unfair juice. Larry said he thought that blogs were getting higher rankings because they were becoming a more important part of the Internet and implied that he felt the high rankings were fair. Cool. I was beginning to feel a bit guilty about the high rankings and worried that Google would "figure it out" and start lowering the rankings for blogs. If Larry says they're fair, I'm assuming they're fair and I don't have to worry about a "correction" in my page ranking.

So, if anyone knows of a good Japanese teacher in Dayton, please send email to Bettina. She gave me permission to post her email...

So I was talking to Zai on the way to the Zurich AirportUnique and told him that I had heard that Munich Airport was closer to Davos than Zurich and that maybe I should have gone that way. He said that ever since the Swiss changed the name of the Zurich Airport to Unique, people mistake it with Munich. Why did they change it in the first place? Zurich Airport sounds just fine to me. Now, they are chaning Swiss Air to just "Swiss". Pretty confusing. What is the point? Monorom sent me a funny web page about all of this.

So people are getting fired for blogging.

The Register
Man sacked for blogging
By Tim Richardson
Posted: 28/01/2003 at 12:11 GMT

A Brit living and working in the US has been sacked from his job for running a blog.

Many of us are criticized for spending time "saving Japan" or blogging instead of working. "How do you have time to blog so much?" people say. Well, I get up at 4am and blog in the morning. I usually eat lunch at my desk and blog. The most important thing is that I have stopped going out drinking with Japanese businessmen. I do dinner, but I find that there is a point of diminishing return after dinner and that drinking and carrying on and calling it businesses is basically crap. If you need to get inebriated to "bond" you've got a psychological problem. (This is my personal opinion.) So, if you took all of the drunken businessmen in the 75,000 bars and restaurants in Tokyo (I saw this figure many years ago in Time Magazine.) and made them go home and blog, the revolution in Japan might happen much more quickly.

If they're not firing you for the time you spend on your blog, then they are firing you for the content of your blog. Remember that "the press" when the US Constitution was written meant individuals with printing presses printing their opinions, not big media companies. Freedom of the press is about the right to blog, not about the rights of some media conglomerate.

Thanks for this link Dirk!