Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

An article in the BBC News about hikikomori a common form of mental illness in Japan where kids lock themselves up in their room and don't come out. They say it is a unique Japanese phenomenon. I think we should look at the mental illness issue in Japan generally. As I keep writing here, suicides are among the top in the world as well. Many people have the misconception that just because Japanese sing karaoke and go drinking a lot, Japanese don't have stress. But it's the "don't worry... just try harder..." speech during these drinking sessions that drive people into mental collapse. There is a word in Japanese, gambatte, which doesn't have an equivalent English term, but means something like "work harder" but with a nuance that you will be rewarded with praise if you do. This word is an example of the "work harder" ethic which I think is a problem. Working harder doesn't necessarily lead to working smarter. In fact, many people who work hard avoid thinking or making hard decisions and end up in a mess. I call it kurushimi no bigaku or "the aesthetic of suffering" which makes everything OK if you tried hard enough. Bah!

BBC News
Sunday, 20 October, 2002, 19:50 GMT 20:50 UK Japan: The Missing Million By Phil Rees Reporting from Japan for Correspondent Teenage boys in Japan's cities are turning into modern hermits - never leaving their rooms. Pressure from schools and an inability to talk to their families are suggested causes. Phil Rees visits the country to see what the "hikikomori" condition is all about.

This is totally amazing. An open source, P2P, email, IM, calendar... total personal information management system with "The Dream Team." Even Andy Hertzfeld is on the team. We've been talking about how cool something like this would be for years. Finally someone is doing this. Where do I sign up? This totally relates to blogs as well. Dan told me about it this weekend, but I waited until his article came out before I blogged it. The Web Site for the Open Source Applications Foudation has more information.

Dan Gillmor

Posted on Sun, Oct. 20, 2002
Software idea may be just crazy enough to work
By Dan Gillmor
Mercury News Technology Columnist

this is an excerpt from the middle

If the software lives up to the developers' plans, it will have wide appeal. It should be highly adaptable to personal tastes, with robust collaborative features. I'm especially hopeful about a feature to build in strong encryption in a way that lets users protect their privacy without having to think about it.

The Chandler architecture builds on other open-source projects. These include Python, a development language and environment that's gaining more and more fans among programmers, and Jabber, a communications infrastructure that started life as an instant-messaging alternative but has evolved into a robust platform of its own.

One of the Chandler developers, Andy Hertzfeld, is volunteering his services. Hertzfeld is well-known in the software community, partly for his key role in creating Apple's original Macintosh and Mac operating system. An open-source company he co-founded a few years ago, Eazel, died during the Internet bubble's immediate aftermath.

``I hope we make a great application that I love to use myself, and that eventually millions of people will enjoy using,'' he says. ``Hopefully, we'll be able to make e-mail a lot more secure, without encumbering the user with technical detail. We can make accessing and managing information of all kinds more convenient if we're lucky. And we'll be helping to pave the way for free software to displace proprietary operating systems at the center of the commercial software industry.''

A statue from the days of the "Great Rebellion"
An amazing certificate from 1910 welcoming Henry J. Cole as a companion of the Red Cross, Knight Templar and Knight of Malta of St. John of Jerusalem

So I'm sitting here in the "business center" of the Portland, Maine airport plugged into a "PowerOasis". I was about the be stranded in Camden because there were no cabs or limos available to drive me the 2 hours from Camden to Portland at 4am in the morning to catch my early flight out of here to go to Newark where I would transfer onto a flight to Tokyo. Dan Gillmor came to the rescue. He drove Amy Jo Kim and me to the airport in the middle of the night/morning. I am glad I didn't get stranded in Camden, although it was a nice town.

I stayed the last night at the Lord Camden Inn. On the wall outside of my room, there was a framed certificate from 1910 from the Knights of Templar. The Knights of Templar come up in Robert Anton Wilson's book "Cosmic Trigger" as the order who were the protectors of the secret of the longbow I think... Anyway, I thought it was fake until I saw this amazing certificate on the wall of the Inn...

Outside of near the opera house, there was a statue with an engraving referring to the "great rebellion." I wonder when the started calling it the "Civil War." So I guess that used to "spin" even back in the old days.

Veer of Blogstreet just IM'ed me and told me that they had added search to Blogstreet. He's blogged this. Blogstreet continues to enhance the idea of neighbourhoods and the context of how blogs are connected. I've been bugging Veer to work with and so that your blog rolls are also included in their database. Currently, your neighbourhood is defined only by crawlable links on your page...

User Radioland now has an ExplorerTool that lets you browse other bloggers RSS feed subscriptions. This context is very interesting to me. This community space is what is the difference between blogs and POWP's (Plain old web pages). It is CONTEXT, TRUST, COMMUNITY. This is NOT a static medium. The way the blogs and readers relate with each other, this distributed, decntralized network of trust and referrals is where a lot of the value...

John Sculley on stage introducing the panel.
POP2_header_2002_circle.gifFinally made it to Poptech. I'm here at the conference in the opera house in Camden. Of course there is 802.11. It's really great so far... I'll post stuff here.

Right now Paul (He wrote "PopPuff the Magic Dragon") of Peter, Paul and Mary is on stage and he is playing a midi guitar connected to his computer using error messages on PC to make music. He calls it "Itza Jungle I/O There." It's really funny. There is a sample of Bill Gates talking about how how he hasn't wavered from his vision and how when there is a problem on your computer, a human being will pop up on the screen, and then Paul plays the "jang!" sound of the PC when it is rebooting. ;-)

Now we're doing a sing-a-long... About a parallel universe...

Of course there are a lot of other bloggers here. ;-)

PopTech The Blog by J.D. Lasica and Buzz Bruggeman
Poptech 2002 by Ernie Svenson
Dan Gillmor's running notes on Poptech

Now Alvy Ray Smith is now on stage. He is saying that he doesn't think that there will be a computer graphics actor in our lifetime, but that there WILL be a full live action movie done by computers, but that the characters will be controlled by human actors.