Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Firefox 3 supports color profiles, but you have to turn this setting on manually.

There are some great blog posts that describe this in detail, which you should read for more information, but this "feature" greatly improves the accuracy of the colors.

Color profiles provide a kind of map for your computer about what colors in an image should look like. Your camera, monitor and printer all have color profiles. The color profile of a image will allow your printer and monitor to accurately render the colors of an image by mapping the image colors to the profile of your printer or monitor.

What Firefox (and IE before IE 7) used to do was to ignore the color profile in images and just tell the OS that the profile was a generic color profile (sRGB). Roughly speaking, this is fine since MOST image files are sRGB. However, for anyone tweaking their saturation or color balance in iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom, etc. it was EXTREMELY frustrating because this often caused images posted on the Internet to look different (washed out and desaturated) from what they looked like in the image editor. Although "save as sRGB" got around some of these issues, it still caused problems in many cases. (Some color geeks helped me understand in a discussion on one of my Flickr photos.)

Anyway, I think that the esoteric discussions about color are interesting, but for most people, the bottom line is, if you turn color profile support "on" on Firefox 3, many images will end up appearing much closer to the color of the original and less washed out. You do this by typing "about:config" in the address bar of Firefox 3. Click thru confirmation page and find: gfx.color_management.enabled. Double click that until it says "true". Then restart Firefox 3.

There are a number of monitor color calibration gadgets and software packages like Eye One Match which will allow you to calibrate your monitor (and camera and printer). If everyone actually did this, we'd all be seeing the same colors. The problem is that many uncalibrated monitors show colors (even across the same brand of monitors) differently. That means that with uncalibrated monitors, the person creating the photo can end up with "warped" colors in the image which then get warped again when being displayed on another uncalibrated monitor. In the past the browser also added another level of "warpage" but with color profile support, you're one step closer to accurate color. To go all the way, calibrate your monitor.

Why doesn't Mozilla support color profiles by default like Safari does? (It is turned off by default on IE 7 too.) It appear to cause a 10-15% performance hit. I've had it turned out since I've been using it and it's not noticeable to me however. Anyway, I hear they are working on optimizing it and turning it on as a default in the future. For now, you'll have to void the warranty and hack Firefox.

Download Day

Tomorrow (and today in some places now I guess) is Firefox 3 Download Day. We're trying to set the world record for the most software downloads in a day. Do your part and sign up and download Firefox tomorrow (June 17th).

Also, I think it's the best browser around now. Here's Walt Mossberg proclaiming Firefox 3 the new browser champion on video.

UPDATE: The official download day starts at 10AM PST 6/17. If you sign up, you'll get an email with a download link... or you can just go to the and get it after it starts.

10 Corso Como Be@rbrick
The 10 Corso Como Be@rbrick

The 4th annual Corso Como Be@rbrick (Be@rbrick Wikipedia article) will go on sale tomorrow at the 10 Corso Como shop in Aoyama. Be@rbrick collecting is a HUGE rage in Japan. This 400% larger, limited edition Be@rbrick made as a collaboration with the select shop Corso Como and Be@rbrick will go on sale tomorrow and the manager of the shop, Mr. Yamazaki, expects people to start lining up for these sometime this evening and sell all 500 of the limited edition very quickly. Many of them end up on Japanese auction sites at huge markups, but most end up in the collections of Be@rbrick otaku.

Aoyama 10 Corso Como
People will be lining up in front of 10 Corso Como in Aoyama from this evening...

NHK, the Japanese public broadcaster and the largest broadcaster in Asia, will use Twitter for a live TV special called "SAVE THE FUTURE". Twitter will be used to connect the studio and the viewing public.

The Twitter account is: NHK_onair

Also, NHK recently started a YouTube channel. Go NHK! ;-)

Video by Mike Arrington - See Techcrunch for writeup.

Dave Sifry, founder of Technorati, launched Offbeat Guides today. It's a travel guide service that produces both printed and downloadable PDF travel guides for you on the fly from a variety of publicly available sources. It's customized based on questions it asks you about your upcoming trip.

Currently, my assistant (thanks Mika!) prepares a Socialtext wiki page for every trip I'm about to make with all of the various things that I need to know about my trip. I usually print this page along with the weather, power plug info, exchange rate and maps the day that I leave. I think Offbeat Guides will alleviate about 70% of this process and allow Mika to focus on the business documents instead of having to worry about the weather, maps, restaurant guides and tipping customs of each country I'm about to visit. Yay!

I'm looking forward to more integration with things like Dopplr so I can park all of my travel stuff in one place.

The other neat thing is that Dave has two people working on contributing to Wikipedia and Wikitravel called Travel Content Curators. Offbeat Guides draws on a lot of the free content on the Internet and Dave says that one of the key things he's working on is how to contribute back to the community. He assures me he working on the licensing for his content to be as free as possible.

Gratz on your launch Dave.

Disclosure: I'm an investor in Technorati, Socialtext and Dopplr.