Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

A picture of the Prince that I took with my P504iS just several hours before he passed away
As many people know already, H.I.H. Prince Takamado Norihito passed away the day before yesterday. I had just visited the Prince that day around 5 hours before he passed away. He had a heart attack while playing squash at the Canadian Embassy. He was only 47 years old. Several of us had visited him to thank him for accepting our request to give the opening speech for the New Business Forum which he had accepted every year for many years now. I was the vice-chairman of the Forum last year and the chairman this year. It is the role of the chairman to invite the Prince and the introduce him at the forum.

The Prince was a very approachable, intelligent and kind man. He liked technology and gadgets very much. He had recently published a book of his own photographs of his travels. Last year, in his speech he talked about cells phones and "wangiri". (Wangiri became a big problem this year. Wangiri is when people call and let the phone ring once and leave their caller ID on your phone to get you to call them back. It has become a type of spam.)

The day before yesterday, I was showing him my new P504iS phone with the two cameras and we discussed what sort of possible uses there might be for having two cameras. I showed him my phone and took this picture of him, which might be the last picture taken of him.

His death is a great loss to Japan and I will personally miss him very much.

Mainichi article

Yikes. I'm glad I stopped smoking. We were just talking yesterday about smoking in Japan.
Gen Kanai
Update on Japan smoking

LA Times - The Land Cigarettes Call Home
In Japan, half of all men smoke, and lung cancer is a leading killer. But then, the government owns 67% of the big tobacco seller.

The Finance Ministry owns 67% of Japan Tobacco, or JT, which until 1985 was a government monopoly. In an era of tight budgets, tobacco contributes $19 billion a year to government coffers in taxes and dividends, making it among the largest revenue sources. The ministry, not health authorities, controls tobacco policy, and promotion of the industry is an explicit national goal.
Japan's warning label is among the world's weakest: "Please remember to follow good smoking manners. As smoking might injure your health, please be careful not to overdo it."
The greatest source of industry clout is the Tobacco Business Law, one of a string of related measures dating to 1904. The law says the government must own at least 50% of JT in perpetuity and, as a matter of national policy, "promote the healthy development of the tobacco industry and ensure stable revenue in the interest of a sound national economy."
In contrast to the Finance Ministry's large tobacco section, the Health Ministry doesn't have a single full-time official working on smoking issues ・even though smoking accounts for the nation's highest level of premature deaths, triple the number of suicides and nine times that of traffic fatalities.
The national health budget this year for anti-smoking awareness is $180,000, for a practice that kills 95,000 Japanese a year. By comparison, the budget for the prevention of AIDS, which kills approximately 45 people a year, is $94 million.

Horrific stuff- gruesome. I don't even know where to start pulling it all apart.

Today I was hanging out with Leonard Liu, one of my good friends, investors in Neoteny and advisory board members. He was once the chief architect for hardware and software at IBM and architected SNA and SQL. He later became the chairman of Acer and is now the chairman of the ASE group which is one of the biggest IC testing and packaging companies in the world. Anyway, he is one of the most energetic and thoughtful computer scientists I know who can actually run companies.

He said an interesting thing that is sort of obvious, but quite exciting. He said that we still have mainframes, but everyone writes stuff for PC's because there are several orders of magnitude more PC's. Game machines are built cheaper and better because there are a lot of them too. Networked consumer electronics will probably exceed PC's in number and a similar effect of application developers shifting to these CE devices may happen. We talked about how this might happen in the next two years. Will Intel and MS be able to keep up? Will a completely new architecture win? For some reason, it sounds more convincing when Leonard says it...

There is a cool site in Japan that sells a great aluminum case for G4 Powerbooks. I just ordered one. Hirata turned me on to these...

Our guys just upgraded our server to MT 2.5 and I just installed Kung-Log on my Mac. It's nice with all kinds of pull down menus and stuff. It makes up for the fact that one click URL'ing doesn't work in MT on the Mac.