Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I've uploaded some photos of Menorca. I put them on because their multi-photo upload feature is GREAT when you have a flakey, slow line.

So I'm standing in on the bed sticking my head out of the North facing window with my Vaio sitting on the window. This sort of works. I wonder what I am doing though. I feel like an alchoholic trying desperately to get drunk off of a wimpy drink through a straw or something. This narrowband experience must be some kind of punishment for having such a heavy index page on my blog. Or maybe it is to prove to me how addicted I am to connectivity... Anyway...

Menorca is beautiful and amazing. It is a little island in the Mediterranean and is part of Spain. Martin has a huge farm with several houses on it. He is letting us stay in one of the houses that was recently restored. The room I am in was originally built in 1770. It is all stone with whitewashed walls. The house is amazingly cool while it is sunny and warm outside. On the farm are sheep, cats, mules and horses. Manolo, who doesn't speak English is showing us everything. It is quite an experience getting the history of Menorca by scribbling stuff in the dirt with a stick and waving our arms. He is working on the restoration. He knows everything about the land and brings us everything from cactus fruit to fresh shrimp. I cooked spaghetti and sautéed the shrimp last night. Mmmm... The restaurants on in the harbors have great seafood as well.

Everything is slow and I'm getting a chance to sleep 10 hours a day. I just discovered that with everything moving so slowly and with a good night's sleep, the book on the history of Japanese politics that I can never concentrate on is suddenly easy to read and exciting. I've also found myself reading faster than I usually do. Or maybe it just feels faster.

Anyway, this is the first long vacation away from civilization... since... ever.

Actually, this is pretty civilized. I guess it just feels pretty "natural" since I've never stayed on a farm before.

logoars.GIFI was interviewed yesterday by NHK to talk about the Net category winners and the jury process this year. I talked about how in the early days, we approached the category from a media theory perspective. Derrick deKerkhove and Mitsuhiro Takemura were both on the first jury and they are both very media theory oriented. The jury, over the last seven years has swung around a bit, but we had always tried to look beyond the interface to find the "webness" or the community beyond. We always used to look at flashFlash animation sites as superficial and thin.

At this year's jury meeting, I said something about flashFlash being superficial, Joshua got really mad and argued that flash could do everything Java could do but better. He said that flash talked xml and could be used to do just about everything. He said that it got a bad rap because people thought it was a design tool developed by Macromedia. He said that he hated "old school" guys like me that kept the Net from moving on and getting to the next level. I have to admit, I underestimated flash, but Joshua's religious ferver was also pretty interesting. Joshua won last year with his site, Praystation, which is an amazing flashFlash site that makes flashFlash examples available and has lots and lots of great examples of how to make flashFlash do cool things.

Later, at the ORF studios, I saw Joshua "the first guy to ever call Joi Ito 'old school'" Davis. He was nice and acted almost like he felt sorry about being mean to me. Maybe it's because he's coming to Tokyo next month. ;-p Anyway, I like Joshua and he really opened my eyes to flash so now I'm anxious to learn flash. I told him that I was having difficulty figuring out how to get started with flash and that I wanted to have someone help me build a flash interface to blogs. He said he would help. Cool.

So, to get back to the NHK interview. I told them that we are now seeing artists drawn into the expressive flexibility of flashFlash, finding that they can dig into content using xml and other tools and that there is a meeting of the political, "old school" Internet and design people causing greats sites like They Rule and projects like Carnivore to be born.


Ars Electronica 2002 Program

Plug-In VII: Global Conflicts - Local Networks
Rüdiger Wischenbart / A, Joichi Ito / J, Alex Galloway / USA, Derrick de Kerckhove / CDN, Lori Wallach / USA
Brucknerhaus, 12.9.02, 10:30 - 13:30

The Internet utopias have evaporated into the reality of our society. Nevertheless, there is evidence of the political power that actively network-linked communities can bring to bear ... not perfect, but a good start.

Suhair Mohamed Khair Al-Zahabi/Qatar. Journalist, Al-Jazeera.
Lori Wallach/USA. Director of Public Citizens’s Global Trade Watch.
Joichi Ito/J.
Alex Galloway/USA. Member of
Rüdiger Wischenbart/A/D. Journalist and consultant.

Interesting panel. I was going to talk mostly about privacy, identity and community, but I ended up spending most of my time talking about my blog. I forgot to say a few things I was meaning to say, but we only had 30 minutes for the initial presentation so I had to fit a lot in...

I talked about Lessig and Code and how code is law and architecture is politics. I talked about Roger Clarke's notions on how identity and entity are different and that an architecture that allows us to keep our identities separate from our entities would be a good thing. I discussed how privacy underpins democracy and that we need to work hard to create architectures that protect our privacy. Then I showed everyone my blog and showed how the architecture of blogs was inside out. You went to get information from individual blogs that were connected. You didn't need to segregate, filter or blog since it you were pulling, not being pushed to (except for my update spam) and since you weren't stuck in a tiny common space, people weren't forced to confront each other...

It was interesting meeting someone from the Al-Jazeera. The questions and dialog inevitably drifted towards Osama Bin Laden and Islam. I got to quote the King of Jordan and sound a bit educated about the Middle East. ;-p

squarebanner_thumb.jpgI've put some photos from Linz on Yahoo Photos. In wonder if this is the best photo site. Branding works. The first place I went to look for a photo album online was and there it was. Right now I am using an OSX server and we can't seem to get perl module installed to let me do thumbnails in Movable Type. Also, doing titles and captions was a pain so I wanted to try an album site. On the other hand the photo titles and the layout in Yahoo Photos seems to suck as well. Maybe I haven't figure it out properly... Anyway, here are the photos:

Linz Fall 2002

Dan Gillmor
Music Industry's Death Wish

Dan Bricklin has looked closely at the numbers in the music industry, and suggests that the record companies are killing themselves by stamping out music downloads. He makes a compelling case in this essay.

His bottom line: "Given the slight dip in CD sales despite so many reasons for there to be a much larger drop, it seems that the effect of downloading, burning, and sharing is one of the few bright lights helping the music industry with their most loyal customers. Perhaps the real reason for some of the drop in sales was the shutdown of Napster and other crackdowns by the music industry."

I don't expect the music companies to pay attention to inconvenient facts. That would be out of character.

Interesting perspective. I am feeling very sick of the music industry. They can keep Britney Spears and their lawyers. I actually have really cut back on buying CD's generally. When I see a CD, I see don't an artist selling music, I see an enslaved artist boxed up in a the shrinkwrap of a industry trying to protect itself by choking the customers and the artists that it is meant to be serving.

No, now I get my musical kicks from open air concerts, ring tones in on my cell phone and cool flash sites like Joe Sparks and his Radiskull and Devil Doll.

Do I need the record industry to enjoy music? Hell no.

One interesting thing to note is that the karaoke industry used midi files to play back music on synthesizers inside of karaoke machines. This lead to a huge industry of midi files. They decided to do a flat fee payment system to simply the billing for the little bars that played the music. Then, when ring tones became popular for cell phones, they used the same flat fee model to license the music. THAT is why ring tones are a huge money making business in Japan. Simple billing, cheap billing and no record companies.

(Apologies to my record company exec friends and to my friends who sell CD's... but you guys suck these days.)