Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

September 2002 Archives

Suddenly a co-author of a book on the Japanese National ID »

I had asked Gosuke to ghost write a short article for the Tokyo Shimbun (newspaper) based on a discussion with me. It was about the problems with the National ID. (I DID review it.) Then, I was asked to write an blurb in a book about the National ID so I asked Gosuke to add some more of my thoughts to the aritcle and we gave it to the publisher. Before I knew it, with the mere contribution of a 2 page ghost-written article, I was the co-author of the book, my name on the front of the book...

Self-Censorship »

Jane wrote in the last item about self-censorship. Well, this morning I had a good chance to test it out. I had added a comment to the last entry about a wild night last night. It had some pretty graphic stuff like Takemoto-san giving Jun a big kiss, and was a BIT too much, so I deleted it. Obviously I was more drunk than I thought. It had the tell-tale bad spelling. Some of the worst emails I've ever sent were sent when I had had too much to drink. The REALLY SCARY thing is that you can really think...

Strange Dream at Maholova Minds »

This is a real picture from the guest information book in the room. "It's a great pleasure to stay with us." Ya... right. We arrived last night at Maholova Minds to have a weekend off-site about "the space." Chris and Barak flew in from the US. Michiel, our intern from Hitotsubashi was coordinating the event with Barak. I was in Europe when they were deciding the place, so while it is not my fault, I am also not blaming anyone in particular since I said I this place sounded fine. We are in a hotel sort of place dedicated...

Esther Dyson thanks us and makes fun of John Gage »

Cool! I was officially recognized as a "Japanese digital entrepreneur/venture capitalist" by Esther Dyson! Saw this article today for the first time. (Thanks Frank!) This about the Fortune Brainstorming Conference I blogged about. I brought everyone the MELCO Airstation. It is the smallest 802.11b access point that I know of. Recently, all port-a-demo pitches in Japan of network technologies involve one of these little guys. Esther Dyson - NYT Syndicate The Wi-Fi Warrior by Esther Dyson distributed by the New York Times Syndicate - August 07, 2002 excerpt THANKS FOR HELPING The system worked flawlessly for me, but somehow...

Justin Sneaks Past Immigration »

So I've been helping Justin try to get his Journalist Visa for Japan. I wrote a letter and helped him get one which got taken away the when he left Japan last time. Now he is applying for another one and I've written another letter. Justin Hall Update: They asked my sponsor, Joichi Ito, to call (because he is Japanese, he might "understand the nuance" they suggested). He did, from Europe. Nice of him. He reports, "They didn't ask me anything, but told me that the Tokyo office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was reviewing your case and that...

The new "Shorter" Oxford English Dictionary »

Another one from BoingBoing I truely love the OED and this new edition sounds cool. "bunny-hugger" in the OED is really something I must ponder tonight. I'm going to go to amazon now to buy this... AskOxford.com The essence of the Oxford English Dictionary 2002 is indeed an auspicious year. It is the first year that can celebrate a World Cup, a Royal Jubilee, and a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. In terms of frequency, a new Shorter comes between the other two events: it is almost ten years since the previous edition, and this is...

Information Security Seminar »

Now I'm sitting on a panel sponsored by the government about security. The panel is focused on the security of government networks. I am sitting on the far left and the guy in favor of the national ID is sitting on the far left. I just talked about the importance of privacy and the fact that privacy is different from security. I talked about how privacy is not only a right of citizens, but a necessary element for demcracy. I talked about how the OECD guidelines for privacy were written before the Internet and that we needed to look...

R&D Venture Project Team Committee Meeting »

So here I am sitting in the "Research and Development Venture Project Team" worrying about my Foma card intefering with the microphone again... They call it a team since it probably seems more "venture-like" than a "committee" but it is in fact a government committee. I THINK that this committee was mostly initiated through meetings that I had with the Minister of Education, Science and Technology Koji Omi after I gave a talk at the committee on business, academic and government cooperation. It was a very "high level" committee and I thought that it wasn't practical enough. Minister Omi...

Student busted for blogging »

Found this on David Farber's IP This is crazy, but very typical. Japanese schools have banned home pages of students because of "privacy concerns"... I guess students will be banned from using blogs in order to protect them from themselves... ;-p Leoville Use a blog, go to jail? One of the Leoville Town Square regulars, BEACHTechie, aka Sam, is a high school student in Virginia Beach, VA. He recently got busted by the school administration for blogging, of all things. They seem to think blogging from school is a violation of their acceptable use policies. Perhaps it is. Sammy will...

Save Amina From Death by Stoning »

I'm sure most of you have seen this, but here is an easy way to sign a petition or take more action to help save Anima Lawal. Amnesty International [UK] Merton Group Amina Lawal - Another woman facing death by stoning Back in October 2001, 35-year old Safiya Hussaini was condemned to death, by stoning, for allegedly committing adultery. International outcry led by Amnesty International ( the Merton Amnesty Group campaigned for Safiya - see campaign archive) helped save her life; she was acquitted on technical grounds by an appeal court. Now 30-year old Amina Lawal (right)faces the same...

Censorware funded by the Japanese Government »

Sakiyama-san is a co-founder of the Japan chapter of CPSR and one of the few privacy activists in Japan. He mentioned this issue at the last CPSR meeting, and I've been meaning to look into it. The perp of this whole thing, the Electronic Network Consortium, merged with the Internet Association of Japan (IAJ). I WAS a Councilor of the Internet Association Japan and was on their web page the when I check at the CPSR meeting, but I just checked and noticed that I am no longer on their web page. Hmm... I was going to threaten to quit...

Nigerian Money Laundry Scam Parodies »

I found a new form of parody of 419 Fraud letters ("Nigerian Money Laundry Scam") on BoingBoing. Here are excerpts from two. (Click the links to see the entire documents.) The first one is Dick Cheney and the second one is Mrs. GW Bush. Eschaton To: Abba_Abacha@aol.ng From: dick_cheney@whitehouse.gov Subject: Please help Dear Sir or Madam, I am Mr Dick Cheney a special adviser on Petroleum and economic matters to the Head of State of The United States of America. Because of my strategic position in the former Government, and also being a close confidant of the Head of State,...

Smartmobs Weblog Open! »

Howard just opened him weblog about Smartmobs. Cool! Smartmobs A Website and Weblog about Topics and Issues discussed in the book Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution by Howard Rheingold Smart mobs emerge when communication and computing technologies amplify human talents for cooperation. The impacts of smart mob technology already appear to be both beneficial and destructive....

Memories of General Magic »

found this in Marc Canter's Blog Scripting News Memories of General Magic A long time ago I offered to develop for a hot startup called General Magic. I was going to do the work for free. I wanted to explore a new platform. They turned me down, saying they already had enough developers. Yesterday they announced they are shutting down the company. Now no one knows if one developer's software would have made the difference, but it's been known for a long time that exclusive platforms die and inclusive ones have a chance. It's why the Mac worked and...

Product Placement on The Sims! »

first sighted on BoingBoing posted by Cory Reuters on MSNBC Happy Meals, Pentiums coming to video game world Detailed terms of EA’s multimillion-dollar deal were not available but it will allow Intel’s familiar jingle, its product logo, and computers using its Pentium 4 processor to appear in the game. Players in the game also will be able to buy a McDonald’s kiosk and sell the company’s branded food products, earning ”simoleans,” the game’s currency. Eating that food will also improve their standing within the game. I remember when I was on the Sega "dream team" to think about how to...

Markoff on the Nakamura/Nichia suit and a quote from me »

John Markoff quoted me in his New York Times article (thanks John!) on the lawsuit between Shuji Nakamura and the company he was working for when he did the research on and filed the patents for the blue LED. This is a landmark suit for Japan and should have some interesting reprecussions in the relationship between Japanese corporations and its researchers. The New York Times A Rebel in Japan Is Hailed as an Innovator in U.S. By JOHN MARKOFF SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 17 — Ordered to stop the scientific research he thought extremely promising, Shuji Nakamura hid the work from...

Setting up GPRS on Menorca »

I'm going to write about setting up GPRS in Menorca because: 1) The line is so slow I can't read other people's blogs or my mail easily for new things. 2) I have nothing else to write about really... 3) This MAY come in handy for someone who is struggling like me....

Menorca »

I've uploaded some photos of Menorca. I put them on photos.yahoo.com 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...

Make way for Flash »

I 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...

Some Photos from Linz »

I'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 photos.yahoo.com 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...

Sick off the Music Industry »

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...

Connectivity Blues »

So I'm in my hotel room using an analog dialup connection to an Austrian Earthlink POP that is flakey. I've got a Sony-Ericsson phone that isn't doing gprs properly and I've got a Siemens phone that whose gprs is working, but I don't have the right cable. My VPN client isn't working so I can't read my email... I have connectivity blues... I've taken a lot of pictures and have a lot of blog material, but with the tiny screen on my Sony C1MRX and this tiny pipe... blogging is a totally different experience. Anyway, these are all excuses for...

Decentralization, Community and Reputation »

In case you missed this in my Toshio Yamagishi entry... There is an interesting discussion going on in a Yahoo Group called Decentraliation. Rich Persaud made an interesting comment. I responded. People asked me to post Toshio Yamagishi's paper so I got permission and here it is. Toshio Yamagishi Dear Joi, I have sent the paper out for review--it will take some time for the paper to get published. Yes, I'm happy that it is widely distributed. You may do whatever you want to do with the paper. Best regards, Toshio Improving the Lemons Market with a Reputation System: An...

Travel to Europe »

Mizuka and I will be leaving in 8 hours for the airport to go to Europe. We'll be going first to Linz, Austria where I will be giving a talk at the Prix Ars Electronica on Identity and Privacy in a Globalized Community. We'll be staying at the Wolfinger on the main square and I know already they don't have modular phone jacks in the room. So unless I wake up early tomorrow morning, my next blog will probably be from the Ars Electronica Center in Linz. After Linz, we'll be going to one of Martin's houses on his farm...

Larry Wall on God »

Found this on BoingBoing. In an interview on Slashdot, Larry Wall, the legendary inventor of Perl is interviewed and asked about God. Larry Wall You can't please God the way Enoch did without some faith, because those who come to God must (minimally) believe that: A) God exists, and B) God is good to people who really look for him. That's it. The "good news" is so simple that a child can understand it, and so deep that a philosopher can't. Now, it appears that you're willing to admit the possibility of bit A being a 1, so you're almost...

EnvironMission Incredible Solar Thermal Power Station »

Hirata turned me on to the EnvironMission site. EnvironMission EnviroMission owns the exclusive licence to German designed Solar Tower technology in Australia. Our first project will focus on developing this revolutionary technology into the world’s first large-scale solar thermal power station capable of generating enough electricity to supply 200,000 typical Australian homes. The technology involves a huge solar heater with a tower that takes the hot air and pulls it up through the tower and spins turbines. This SO sci-fi sexy and SO Australia... The tower will be the, "largest engineered structure ever proposed for construction." There is a...

Stewart Alsop on GoodContacts »

Stewart Alsop (who I met recently at the Fortune Brainstorm 2002) writes in his column in Fortune Magazine about GoodContacts. When Barak was visiting a few weeks ago, he was raving about it as well. GoodContacts is basically a contact management package that talks to Outlook or Act! and spams them with email and asks people to update their info. The good thing about GoodContacts is that they don't keep your contact list, they just enable you to spam from your computer. That's why I thought about using it until I realized I would have to switch to Outlook. (and...

Japander.com - American stars doing silly Japanese commercials »

I had breakfast on Monday with a entertainment lawyer who used to book a lot of these expensive Japanese ads using foreign talent. She said it has decreased significantly due to lower budgets and lower popularity of foreign talent in Japan. So these clips on Japander.com are probably going to end up as priceless gems, a genre that died with the Japanese bubble. Justin on Chanpon Japander.com hosts video clips of American stars who have advertised in Japan, from Brat Pitt to Stevie Wonder, with Luc Besson and Harrison Ford thrown in between. Some of the clips are amusing to...

Being fasionable in Japanese business society »

The picture is from the shoene (Cool Suit) Page.Yesterday was probably one of the hottest most uncomfortable days I've ever had from a fashion perspective. We were all wearing suits and ties from 9am to 8pm sitting in the same room of a Japanese government building with the themostat set at the official 28 degrees (which is 82 degrees fahrenheit) for government buildings. This energy saving policy is a good thing from a tax paper perspective, but pretty tough for someone like me who isn't used to it. This policy prompted a whole line of energy saving suits. Former Prime...

Japanese workers least loyal to firms »

The Japan Times Online Japanese workers least loyal to firms, survey discovers LONDON (Kyodo) Japanese corporate workers harbor the lowest level of loyalty toward their employers among the world's 10 major economies, according to a British survey released Tuesday. Only 50 percent of Japanese respondents to the survey, which features the views of 362,950 employees, said they would wish to stay with their current firm or would recommend it as a good place to work. Researchers attributed the findings to a "Westernization" of Japanese attitudes toward the workplace and the nation's stagnant economy. Japan's figures rated poorly when compared with...

Giving METI Money to University High Tech Ventures »

Hirata and I will be spending the day at Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI) judging the business plans of dozens of high tech venture business plans from university/industry programs. The TLO/venture program is part of a huge METI project to try to get ventures to grow from universities. The problem, after reading most of the plans, is that just giving money to these guys will not a venture business make... I am worried that this is going to be a huge waste of tax money... I think it is OK to fund basic research with government money, but...

TEPCO lied over cracks at nuke plants »

Mainichi InteractiveTEPCO lied over cracks at nuke plants Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) repeatedly lied when the government questioned the firm about cracks at its nuclear power plants, sources said Tuesday.Mainichi InteractiveHeads to roll over reactor cracks Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) president and chairman are set to resign over the covered up of cracks at three nuclear power plants, sources said Saturday.I heard a rumor which I will investigate that 10100 people knew and covered it up. The person who blew the whistle was an American. There was a new law in place that was create to encourage...

Tanaka reelected Nagano gov. »

Mainichi InteractiveTanaka reelected Nagano gov. NAGANO -- Former Nagano Gov. Yasuo Tanaka, who lost his position in July after the prefectural assembly adopted a no-confidence motion against him, was reelected in Sunday's gubernatorial race, according to early vote counting. Today I sent Tanaka-san a Doraemon Telegram congratulating him on winning the election. The telegram comes stuck in the head of a stuffed Doraemon doll under the whirly thing on his head. Anyway, after writing the rather pitiful introverted item about conspiracies, I realized that I was a wimp. Tanaka-san became governor, fought against the whole prefectural assembly about stopping...

Conspiracy Theories and the Nature of Power »

As a child, I really liked stories. I read all of Robert Anton Wilson's books and HOPED that the stories were true. Stories like the fact that the number 23 was magic and that Timothy Leary had been contacted by aliens -- The Starseed Transmissions. When I met Timothy Leary on my 24th birthday, he told me that the stuff about the number 23 along with the story about the aliens was not true. It was a joke. The more I talked to him, the more I realized that most of the stuff that Robert Anton Wilson had written was...

Jabber hits critical PR mass »

I first saw this on Marc Canter's page, but he got it from Doc Searls Weblog who got it from Wesley Felter on Hack the Planet 2.0 who saw it on cnet.Doc Searls Jabber hits critical PR mass, interop finally hits IM News.com: Out with AOL, in with Jabber. It had to happen eventually. Now it has. The non-interoperative closed doors on IM systems from AOL, MSN and Yahoo are now fated to open. The sooner those companies realize this is a Good Thing that their customers have always wanted, they better off they'll be. Apple shoud take the lead...

Blog Rolling »

So I'm starting to understand a bit about "blog rolling". I first saw the term in the sidebar of Dan Gillmor's blog. It's the list of blogs that you read often and link to from your page. I found a cool tool called Blogrolling. It does various things all at once. You can create a sidebar in IE (Mac and PC) that lists the blogs in your blog roll. You can create php, javascript or rss code in your web page so that your blog roll shows up on your web page. Because it uses style sheets, it integrates seamlessly...
Whiplash by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe

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