Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

October 2002 Archives

So Steve Sakoman pulled it off. $11mm in stock for Be Inc. was a good deal for Palm. Great news for BeOS fans, although most have already moved on. Too bad my Be Inc. stock options aren't worth anything though. :-) Good luck Steve!

PalmOS 6 details emerge
By Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco
Posted: 10/30/2002 at 14:20 EST

PalmSource has offered us a glimpse of the next milestone for PalmOS, version 6.0 due for release next year.

Version 6.0 will be as dramatic a change for the platform as OS X was for Apple, or NT was for Microsoft, and represents the culmination of work from the former Be team Palm acquired last year.

The new OS will feature multimedia and graphics frameworks drawn from BeOS, PalmSource's Michael Mace told us. Mace says this is real BeOS code, but Steve Sakoman, the team's former leader at Be Inc, and now PalmSource's "chief products officer" has denied that Be code would be incorporated into the new OS. More likely, we suspect, the new OS will inherit some algorithms and architecture from BeOS.

WiFi eyes better wireless LAN security

By Stephen Lawson
October 30, 2002 11:37 am PT

THE WIRELESS ETHERNET Compatibility Alliance (WECA), which certifies IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN products with the WiFi label, on Thursday will announce a new set of mechanisms to combat the security problem that has plagued wireless LANs.

A WECA official did not provide details of the mechanisms but said they are intended to replace the current security system based on WEP (Wireless Encryption Protocol).

WEP, which is built in to products that use the IEEE 802.11b and 802.11a standards, is easy for intruders to break into, according to many analysts and other observers. A task group within the working group that administers 802.11 in the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Inc. (IEEE) is developing a new security specification that would require equipment to support several different strong algorithms for encrypting traffic. That work is not done yet, and products using it are not expected until the second half of next year.

Duh... This is a pretty big problem. People think that having a WEP key is actually secure. You can crack normal WEP keys in a few minutes by sniffing traffic and using programs such as wepcrack which is available on the web. There are some chipsets out that have better security, but most of the AP's we all use are completely vulnerable. On the other hand, if you aren't worried about people hijacking traffic and if you encrypt everything you do internally, you're fine. Just don't for a moment think that just because you set a WEP key that you're secure. (Kudo's to Chris for telling me about wepcrack. ;-) )

You may have seen this, but this is great news. Yet ANOTHER service I have to sign up for. m.m.m.more...

T-Mobile in Wi-Fi pact with United, American and Delta

By Juan Carlos Perez
October 30, 2002 1:10 pm PT

MIAMI -- MIAMI (10/30/2002) - T-Mobile USA Inc. plans to add so-called Wi-Fi hot spots for high-speed wireless Internet connectivity in about 100 U.S. airport clubs and lounges over the next year through an agreement with Delta Air Lines Inc., United Air Lines Inc. and AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, the wireless carrier announced Wednesday.

Elizabeth Lane Lawley writes about her thoughts on the aoling of blogspace. What a scary thought. What a likely scenario.

Looks like "reaching critical mass" is becoming synonymous with "succumbing to the great unwashed masses."

Had another breakfast of the World Economic Forum Blueprint for Japan 2020 team. I suggested that we meet at 7am every week since I doubted most people were busy at 7am. People grumbled, but I was amazed at the turnout. We had a lively discussion. It was sort of funny sitting in the Hotel Okura Orchid Room (a famous power breakfast place for the Japanese elite) discussing radical reform in English. Yu decided to conduct all of the meetings in English because the English language is more clear than Japanese. Which is fine with me and probably helps prevent the establishment from overhearing our radical views. Or maybe it draws more attention to us... hmm... Anyway, we're obviously not going to be able to hide so I guess no use trying.

A poll done by Oki Matsumoto and Monex shows that 86% of people polled support Takenaka. The LDP, the opposition, the banks and the Japanese media are picking on Takenaka. The foreign are focusing on the "injection of public funds" rather than the most important point which is the fact that Takenaka is trying to force banks to mark down their bad debt. He's getting it from all sides and I don't think Koizumi is sticking up for him enough. The amazing thing is, the public (at least those who go to Monex's site) supports him. It is so typical for the Japanese media to be taking mean swipes at him and making him look weak and stupid when he is really the main person trying to get people to face their problems. I hate to say this, but if all of the people who voted on the Monex site had blogs, maybe the media wouldn't be able to get away with the horrible spin doctoring. How can they say people don't support him when at least one poll shows him having major public support. Bah!

crm_logo.jpgWe talked about spam filters earlier. I use TMDA which is based on whitelisting. The controllable regex multilator is a technical filtering technology. These technologies keep getting smarter. It sort of reminds me of the convolutions we used to go through at Infoseek to get rid of spam sites from our indexes. I remember that some site used to produced different pages to the infoseek search bot by looking at the id... Anyway, this "CRM114" looks interesting.

CRM114 - the Controllable Regex Mutilator
CRM-114 is a system to examine incoming e-mail, system log streams, data files or other data streams, and to sort, filter, or alter the incoming files or data streams according to whatever the user desires. Criteria for categorization of data can be by satisfaction of regexes, by sparse spectra, or by other means. Accuracy of the sparse spectra function has been seen in excess of 99 per cent, for 1/4 megabyte of learning text. In other words, CRM114 learns, and it learns fast .

Erik Bloodaxe... how Chris USED to look. ;-)
Chris Goggans posing next to the safe in my office. (The little Samurai thing is Jun's)
Had drinks last night with Chris. Chris used to go by the name of Erik Bloodaxe and was one of the co-founders of the "Legion of Doom", a notorious group of hackers, many of whom ended up getting arrested. He was also the editor of Phrack, a journal by and for hackers. Chris and I met at "Hacking In Progress" in 1997. Lucky Green convinced me to go and I think Chris was there with Bob Stratton. HIP was quite exciting. It was this amazing hackers conference with thousands of hackers in the middle of a forest near Amsterdam hacking in tents with ethernet strung around the whole place. We didn't have enough water, but there was IP everywhere... Anyway, Chris was there and it was the first time I met a hacker with real groupies...

Since then Chris and I have kept in touch and worked together several times where he broke into computers for me. (With permission of course.) He's become a regular in Japan since we started working together and now I get to see him a lot more. He has become quite well known in Japan for his practical manner and his skill. He has a great balance between being extremely professional and loving to break into computers. It's hard to find Japanese with this combination. It's either usually professional with no imagination or childish and imaginative... but I guess Chris is not entirely "unchildish"... Let's call him... "neotenous."

Anyway.. we go drinking occasionally and talk about "the old days", breaking into computers and other things that old hackers always talk about...

Having said that, both he and I have settled down QUITE A BIT since we first met. He's married and sits around watching movies and stuff... ;-)

A blog referrer spam site... from Veer

And I thought blogs were going to be a solution to spam...

Welcome to Mastodonte Referrer Advertising

You are seeing this page probably because your found us among your weblog's referrers or because a blogger linked to us as a result of our ongoing referrer campain.

We are doing referrer marketing: adding your URL as a referrer in the logs of thousands of weblogs. If you are seeing this page, referrer advertising worked with you.

You might also see it as a PR tool for bloggers.

Q: How many weblogs can you reach?
A: We are currently reaching 56,000 weblogs, more being added every hour.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: The cost of a referrer broadcast is CAN$ 1500, which converts roughly to US$ 1000. We accept Visa and MasterCard.

Interested? Contact us:

Opt-out? Send us your URL:
We think it's our customer's best interests to keep our database clean of blogs that prefer not to receive our ads.

Governor Domoto
Posing in front of the prefectural headquarters elevator hall with my daikon
Went to Chiba and had lunch with Governor Domoto of Chiba with whom I've become quite friendly lately. Chiba is the prefecture where William Gibson's Neuromancer starts out. Narita International Airport and Disneyland are also in Chiba. It is kind of a long train ride out, but I was able to pass the time having an IM chat with John Patrick on my i-mode AIM client that Neeraj made.

Domoto-san was her usual energetic self. I talked about some ideas I had for projects in Narita and Makuhari. I talked to her about ECD and renewable energy. Domoto-san is an environmentalist and she got very excited about the idea of the Hydrogen Economy. I also talked about blogs. Domoto-san was an independant who won with a rather grassroots election effort that leveraged the Net. She liked the idea of blogs and promised to try it out. I promised to dispatch someone from the Neoteny Blogging Team to help her out.

I often talk to her about how Mizuka and I only eat organic vegetables now. She gave me an organic daikon (Japanese Radish). It was a bit strange carrying it in the crowded train back to Tokyo... I'm looking forward to eating it. ;-)

Click play... you need flash...

Saw this on Marc Canter's Blog.

Rick Lehrbaum (updated Sept. 11, 2002)
Intel embeds Linux in home digital media adapater
A key component of the Extended Wireless PC Initiative's media distribution architecture is a new PC peripheral called the digital media adapter, which provides an appliance-like link between PCs, TVs, and stereos. The device, which is based on an XScale microarchitecture PCA210 'applications processor' and runs an embedded Linux operating system, receives digital media from the PC via 802.11 wireless networking and UpnP technologies, and connects to TVs and stereos using standard audio/video cables -- much like a DVD player. Using a simple remote control, consumers navigate through menus on a TV screen, selecting the PC digital media they wish to receive.
Marc Canter
The 'magic sauce' is something called UpnP (universal plug and play) which was originally designed for plugging cards into a PC bus or USB devices (such as keyboards or mice.) But now they have a 'stack' to route A/V info to the Digital Media Adapter. I wonder is UPnP can sense out I.P. addresses like Apple's Rendezvous (otherwise known as ZeroConf) and make setting up Home LANs easy to do?
vis_site02.jpgThis reminds me of my SliMP3 that I wrote about earlier, but that doesn't have wireless or video. It also reminds me of my Sony Airboard which has 802.11, ethernet, dialup Internet, TV and a browser. The Airboard is less of a "hub" and more of an "all-in-one". I guess the key to the Intel thing will be low cost and open standards. If they can help orchestrate a bunch of devices without trying to make their device do everything, it might work. I still don't like the idea of "fat" home servers. I am hoping that, at least in my house, I can use everything I already have. My PC hard disk, my audio amp and speakers, my plasma display and my digital satellite dish... Having said that, there may be a market for small all-in-one's...


Eric Myer Photography Stereotypes

A very cool site that lets you build faces from a variety of stereotypes.

Photo from Mainichi Shimbun
When politicians who speak up against corruption get stabbed to death in front of their homes, you know you are in trouble. I NEVER trust the press on this sort of thing. We'll see what they end up saying REALLY happened. Japanese politicians are regularly pushed around by the media and gangsters. How can we expect politics to get better if the job of being a politician in Japan is so un-rewarding and so high-risk? There are some politicians who are smart and honest, but most end up becoming merely a mouthpiece for some ministry or local interest. How do you get people to play in a game where the bad guys win?

Governor Tanaka has shown that you can win, for now. I think his case is really important in getting more people to have the courage to stand up. I think the Ishii case is a blow in the other direction. We really need to support good politicians and punish the media when it does not report the truth.

I don't know if the Ishii case is as simple as they say or whether there is more behind it, but I do know for a fact that the media often covers up murders committed by the powerful. I once heard that 50% of deaths reported as suicide are actually murders. The media is often used by politicians and bureaucrats to strip opponents of their public image. I think that the corruption of the mass media in Japan is directly responsible for a great deal of the corruption in Japanese society, but I don't really know how we're going to change this. Blogs?

I'm sorry if this entry sounds like media bashing or if it sounds like I'm questioning the reporting of this particular murder. I have no idea whether the reporting of this incident is correct. It just reminded me to beware of the media on issues like this.

Anyway, Ishii-san, may you rest in peace.

Articles from Mainichi Shimbun:

All of the pictures of Shanghai Crab that I could find that were good were on people's diary's and I felt guilty "fair using" them so I decided to grab this kind of ad-like one from I should have taken my camera...
Today Mizuka and I had Peking Duck and Shanghai Crab for lunch. On the last trip to Beijing, Mizuka had Peking Duck and Shanghai Crab with Yanai-san. She discovered that in Beijing, they put minced garlic in the Peking Duck and it tasted great. Today, we asked for minced garlic in our Peking Duck and it did indeed enhance the flavor immensely.

As for the Shanghai Crab... YUM! It's become quite popular in Japan. I don't know how well known it is in the US. The best Shangai Crab comes for a specific lake near Shanghai. It is very round and small and the best part is the egg inside of the female crabs. It is quite expensive. One chef, when asked what the difference between good Shanghai Crab and no-so-good Shanghai Crab was answered, "the price." Crabs that look the same can be totally different weights. Good crabs are stuffed with yummy egg. The meat is also very good, but it takes a good 30 minutes to get the approximately two mouthfuls of crabmeat out of the crab. The season for Shanghai Crab has just started so I look forward to some more during the months ahead.

dietcoke.jpgGosuke sent me this interesting link. It is about the dangers of Aspartame. Nutrasweet in the US and "Pal Sweet Diet" in Japan are Aspartame. Aspartame is an active ingredient in Diet Coke which I drink A LOT of. I am going to definitely take dive into the links on this page. If what this page says is true, I probably should stop drinking Diet Coke today...

I have attached some of the highlights from the page below, but I would go to their page which has a lot of links if you currently drink a lot of diet soda products.

Here are some highlights from the page:

Aspartame is poison!
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet is not very sweet in itself, that may be why Equal puts Dextrose (sugar) and maltodextrin as the first ingredients, so that it tastes sweet.
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet is a brain drug that stimulates your brain so you think that the food you're eating tastes sweet. If you pay attention you'll notice that when using Aspartame/Nutrasweet, everything you eat at the same time also tastes sweet! This may be why Aspartame/Nutrasweet causes you to crave carbohydrates. Hence, you won't lose weight using it.
    BTW, cyclamates got pulled off the market in the 70's in the US (but not Canada or the rest of the world) because the sugar industry saw too much of their market disappear.
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet (aspartylphenylalanine-methyl-ester) breaks down to its poison constituents at 86 degrees (Aspartic Acid 40%, Phenylalanine 50%, and Methanol 10%). Remember your stomach is at 98.6 degrees! Therefore you should never use Aspartame/Nutrasweet in hot beverages or cooked foods such as Jello. How the FDA allows this remains a mystery. There is mounting evidence that the "Burning Mouth Syndrome" experienced by the Desert Storm troops was actually Methanol poisoning from the Diet Coke they drank lots of, after being exposed to desert temperatures.
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet's 10% Methanol appears in the body quickly and is the same alcohol (wood alcohol also in lacquer thinner), that your mother correctly warned you could make you blind. Many skid-row alcoholics had major problems with this cheap but deadly form of alcohol.
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet's 40% Aspartic Acid is an "excitotoxin" in the brain and excites neurons to death, i.e. it kills brain cells and causes other nerve damage.
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet triggers Migraine Headaches This even happened to me!. The Usenet is filled with posts by people who have pinned their migraines down to aspartame/Nutrasweet consumption.
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet's breakdown products attack the bodies tissues and create Formaldehyde which builds up in the tissues forever. Remember the smelly, eye watering fumes from the frogs you dissected in school? They were preserved with Formaldehyde! Formaldehyde is thought to cause cancer.
    The American Bottlers Association did not want the FDA to approve Aspartame/Nutrasweet because of what the test report showed. But the FDA approved it anyway!
  • Airline pilots stay away from Aspartame/Nutrasweet because they are well aware of the documented dangers.
  • Aspartame/Nutrasweet also breaks down to diketopiperazine [DKP] which is proven to cause Brain Tumors! Brain Tumors used to be rare. Several of the rats in the original study formed brain tumors during their Aspartame/Nutrasweet exposure. The researchers surgically removed the tumors and returned the rats to the study and discounted the tumors.

Barak said, "but let's not call it blogging..." and Frank said, "but they won't call it blogging." What is it about this word? I think we will call it blogging. I often say, "wait, I'm blogging" or "I just blogged that" or "did you see my blog entry about that?" It is an activity that is new and can't be called anything else easily ("wait, I am posting an item to my web page about this...?") and it is taking up a significant share of time and minds of people who are addicted. So, my bet is that we will call it blogging even after 10 year old kids are doing it in the backseat of their parents cars...

I'm at Casio right now trying to get them excited about blogs... Casio makes such great digital cameras and digital cameras are SOOO important for blogs... Pleeeze give me a blog-camera.

I can't believe Japan is #29. I think it should be lower... but I guess they don't kill reporters in Japan... they just co-opt them. I guess it depends on what you call "press freedom"...
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is publishing the first worldwide press freedom index
Reporters Without Borders is publishing for the first time a worldwide index of countries according to their respect for press freedom. It also shows that such freedom is under threat everywhere, with the 20 bottom-ranked countries drawn from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. The situation in especially bad in Asia, which contains the four worst offenders - North Korea, China, Burma, Turkmenistan and Bhutan. The top end of the list shows that rich countries have no monopoly of press freedom. Costa and Benin are examples of how growth of a free press does not just depend on a country's material prosperity. The index was drawn up by asking journalists, researchers and legal experts to answer 50 questions about the whole range of press freedom violations (such as murders or arrests of journalists, censorship, pressure, state monopolies in various fields, punishment of press law offences and regulation of the media). The final list includes 139 countries. The others were not included in the absence of reliable information.
Rank Country Note
1 Finland 0,50
- Iceland 0,50
- Norway 0,50
- Netherlands 0,50
5 Canada 0,75
6 Ireland 1,00
7 Germany 1,50
- Portugal 1,50
- Sweden 1,50
10 Denmark 3,00
11 France 3,25
12 Australia 3,50
- Belgium 3,50
14 Slovenia 4,00
15 Costa Rica 4,25
Rank Country Note
- Switzerland 4,25
17 United States 4,75
18 Hong Kong 4,83
19 Greece 5,00
20 Ecuador 5,50
21 Benin 6,00
- United Kingdom 6,00
- Uruguay 6,00
24 Chile 6,50
- Hungary 6,50
26 South Africa 7,50
- Austria 7,50
- Japan 7,50
29 Spain 7,75
- Poland 7,75

This is yet another example of where things are headed. Although this is a "mistake" on eBay's part, the natural direction of the copyright laws and technologies is to make it difficult or impossible for individuals or independants to share their content using the tools provided to us by corporations against public domain. This "chilling effect", I believe, will just drive artists and consumers further and further away from these channels. Hopefully, blogs and other non-mass media will help other forms of entertainment to become popular which have more liberal attitudes towards copyright. I hope that stuff like The Sims continue to support and nurther fan sites and the idea of public domain "skins". They are so much more clued in to the needs of the market...

Wired News
Band Can't Sell Own Music on EBay
By Brad King
02:00 AM Oct. 24, 2002 PDT

George Ziemann didn't have delusions of grandeur when it came to selling his band's CD.

He just wanted to promote the album -- and hopefully sell a few copies -- on a higher-traffic site than his own. So he turned to eBay, the Net's largest marketplace.

But the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a law meant to limit people from distributing content illegally over the Internet, foiled him.

The reason? He used recordable CDs (CD-Rs) to distribute his albums.

The discs allow people to record data files -- music and movies, for instance -- and they are often used to record and sell pirated wares.

As a precaution against enabling thieves to sell stolen merchandise on the site, eBay launched its Verified Rights Owner program, which allows copyright holders to send eBay take-down notices for auctions that violate copyright laws.

The problem in Ziemann's case, he said, is that he's selling his own music.

(AP Photo)
A dark shadow passes over the land as the forces of evil group and unite in the war of the copyright
The Associated Press
Microsoft, Disney Unveil Release of Upgraded MSN Internet Service Stocked With Disney Content

Utsumi's wife Fujiko just had a baby girl! Congratulations! I got the blow-by-blow from Reiran via IM. ;-)

Utsumi is one of my best friends and the CEO of Genec. He also made the Halloween JOI ITO WEB logo...

IM with Reiran
reirannihei: hi there
Joi: Hi Reiran
reirannihei: hi
reirannihei: fujiko chan just began to feel labor pains this morning
reirannihei: tanoshimi desu!
Joi: Yes. Definitely!
reirannihei: it's a girl !!!!
reirannihei: ....ojama shimashita.....
Joi: Wow! Great! Thanks for the news!
reirannihei: you're welcome!

Veer just added a RSS feed discovery feature on blogstreet. You can search for a blog and it gives you the RSS URL and shows the RSS feed. It's very cool. RSS feeds are really significant I think. They tie so many things together... They also make banner adds sort of irrelevant. ;-)

Veer Bothra
RSS Discovery

Launched today is a new feature on BlogStreet called RSS Discovery. It finds the RSS feed of a blog if its mentioned in the blog page and then parses the RSS to display it in HTML. This can serve two purposes.

Many times for not-so-tech-savvy users finding the RSS feed of a blog for adding it to a RSS aggregator becomes difficult. RSS Discovery can take care of this by finding the feed for that blog.

Another use can be to read the RSS feed of a blog in HTML from the web when the RSS Aggregator is not available. Of course you can directly go to the blog and read it but you cannot post to your blog then. You will be able to do that using Blogger API from BlogStreet shortly.

RSS Discovery becomes the first in a series of features planned to make BlogStreet a utility provider in this space.

Today was the regular press conference of the New Business Conference. The New Buiness Conference is an organization affiliated with the small and medium sized company section of the government. I am a director and chairman of the New Business Forum Committee. I was called to the press conference to make a presentation about this year's forum. This year, the conference will be December 2 at the Tokyo International Forum. The Keynote is the Kawabuchi-san, the head of the Japan Soccer Association. A lot of my good friends such as Mikitani-san of Rakuten, Oki Matsumoto of Monex, Takeuchi-sensei of Hitotsubashi, Hasegawa-san of Global Dining, Matsui-san of Matsui Securities, Kanemaru-san of Future System Consulting and Kurokawa-sensei of Tokai University will be speaking. The opening address will be given by Prince Takamado. I am a bit nervous since I have to introduce him using Imperial formal Japanese which is only used to address royalty and I can't screw it up...

The press conference today was very disturbing. Even though I am a director of this organization, I didn't know that they were going to issue a position statement. I disagreed with one of their statements which said that the government should give $160,000 to 10,000 companies and that "experts" should distribute the funds. This sounds like pork barrel politics to me. I can't imagine that these so-called "experts" will distribute the funds fairly or intelligently and can only imagine abuse. Also, these statements were most likely prepared by bureaucrats and caused some how to be announced by the NBC so that they can say, "See, we need budget..." Phewy. I don't want to be associated with such random stupidity and possible corruption. I'm going to announce my resignation after my responsibility to deliver a good conference. Ooops. I just blogged it.

Eno-san and Moriguchi-san meet for the first time...
Today, I went to see Eno-san and talk about blogs and other things. My good friend Hiroko Moriguchi was there working on a project (secret for now...) with Eno-san. It was the first time they had met. I love it when two people I really like meet for the first time. ;-)

Hiroko Moriguchi is very smart and very funny. It will be interesting to see what happens when we mix her taste with Eno-san who is weird, funny and smart in his own way as well. I look forward to seeing how their project goes.

Eno-san promised to help me recruit bloggers and to work on his own blog. I think we should get Hiroko to do a blog too. I didn't get a chance to talk to her about this, but next time I see her I will...

Today was the second meeting of the WEF Blueprint for Japan 2020. Oki and I reported on our presentation in Geneva.

Richard Koo, the chief economist of Nomura Research Institute talked about some of the macroeconomic issues regarding the Japanese economy which was really staggering to think about. 85% of the value of the land disappeared after the bubble. This is 3 years of GDP. That's huge when you consider that the great depression in the US was only 1 year of GDP drop in assets. The savings and loan problem in the US was only a 20% drop in the value of assets. The scale of the Japanese problem is gigantic and unprecedented. On the other hand, this could happen to any country such as Taiwan, Thailand, China or even the US. The huge drop in asset value is causing another very unique situation where 70%-80% of companies are paying down debt when interest rates are basically 0% because they are so highly leveraged against assets that have lost so much value. The fact that the economy is even functioning is amazing.

We talked a lot about the issues and how to communicate our point. We decided to focus on how diversity enables markets and democracy since this point of view is rather unique and core. We decided to start a blog about this project. ;-)

fiorella_thumb.jpgHad lunch with Dr. Fiorella Terenzi. She is an Astrophysicist / Recording Artist / Author. She recently created a line of jewelry based on astrophysical phenomenon. She is selling them on QVC. She said that some of her colleagues mocked her, but that reaching the masses and trying to appeal to them about the beauty of science was an important mission. I totally agree. I admire Fiorella and her desire and courage to break out of the ivory tower of academism and try to communicate. I feel that the art community, the science community and academic community in general shuns the popularization of their fields. I think that with the communications technologies of today, it is an utter waste to not try to communicate to the public, what is going on in art and science. It takes a great deal of courage, but I think people like Fiorella should be encouraged and supported by both the public and people in their respective fields. Fiorella has made space the theme of her music and other forms of public expression that she has been engaged in and is truly an ambassador from the field of astrophysics.

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.

pwn_logo.gifDaniel Lubetzky of Peaceworks joined our session at the GLT summit, "Rebuilding Modern Politics: Can the System Fix Itself?" and talked about his project. Peaceworks is an amazing group working on empowering people and the "moderate" voices in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. They use Internet, newspapers, telephones and a variety of technologies to get the voice of the people, which is much more moderate than the extremists who currently control poltics. I think the strategy of Peaceworks of using technology to short circuit the legistlature which is so heavily influenced by extremists is a great idea that may even be relevant in the US. You you can't change politics directly, go around them. After you get the "moderate voice" aired, it becomes easier to for the moderate politicians to take a moderate stance. A stance that they can't take when the voices of the exteremists are the only ones that are heard.

Take a look at the overview. There is a good flash presentation as well.

I spent the day at Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD)As always, the tour was amazing. I hadn't been to ECD for maybe 4 years or so... Since I left the board. A lot of things we were talking about, as usual, were now being built. Since I left, ECD has started a joint venture with Texaco (now Chevron) to commercialize the hydrogen storage systems, ECD has started working with GE to make the first roll to roll low-cost RW optical disks that don't require the high-cost low-speed injection molding process, ECD has moved forward in the joint venture with Intel to make a low cost alternative to Flash called the Ovonic Universal Memory (OUM), continues to build photovoltaic plants that produce better amorphous solar cells faster and in more volume and continues to develop the NiMH batteries which now have the same energy densities as Lithium Ion without the risks...

What do all of these things have in common? When Stan Ovshinsky founded the company in 1960, he set out to solve the world's problems by creating technologies that solved the energy problems with renewable energy. End the dependence on fossil fuels and take carbon out of the energy process. People are finally talking about the "hydrogen economy" today. I saw a photo of Stan in 1960 with a picture on the board of photons from the Sun splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen and the hydrogen being the storage method to transport the energy. The energy was converted later into electrons. Photons->Hydrogen->Electrons... The basic elements of the universe. In the photo, he has a canister of hydrogen and is demonstrating how this will work!

Finally people are talking about the relationship of information and energy. Stan was talking about this in 1960 and in 1981, he minted these commemorative coins with information on one side and energy on the other.

By pioneering the field of amorphous and disordered materials and thin films, Stan was able to pioneer the field of NiMH batteries, the first TFT displays, fuel cells, the first EEPROM (Intel was the foundry for the project back in 1970 when he build the first devices), amorphous photovoltaics, optical disks, and many more technologies in both energy and information using the basic principles of creating new materials to convert and energy, information just being a form of energy...

Anyway, I saw some stuff I can't talk about that shows me that ECD continues to push the envelope. As it enters it's fifth decade and with Stan turning 80 this year ECD continues to gain more momentum.

When I visit ECD I always feel like I've been abducted by aliens who show me the future... The thing is, Stan had already envisioned this in the 1960...

I just posted the following in Doc Searls Weblog.

I was talking to Veer of Blogstreet the other day in the context of blog rolls. I think it is about developing networks of trust. If disclaimers and disclosures help your readers trust you. Great. Do it. It is all part of building trust. If people understand what type of person you are and what your ehtics are through reading your blog, I think there is great value. If someone is doing it for fun and is VERY personal, I think that disclosures are less important. If you write in a very objective style, you may need to disclose more to earn the kind of trust you are looking for. I don't formally disclose much in my blog about my conflicts, but I write about almost everything I do in sort of a diary form and even blog about the conflicts I have as part of my content. (Joi's Co-option Ceremony)

I think that the way blogs create and manage trust between bloggers and between bloggers are readers is more dynamic than the way formal journalism does it. I think you just need to find a style that adds the most value to yourself and the people you talk to and stick to it. I need to think about this more, but "trust" is a very key word. Blogs enable the creation and management of trust outside of centralized brands and authority...

It is part of an interesting discussion going on right now about Blogging Ethics.

Dan Gillmor
Posted on Tue, Oct. 15, 2002
Blogging Ethics Discussion
Posted by Dan Gillmor

Via Dave Winer: Doc Searls has posted a Blogo Culpa, responding to Mitch Ratcliffe's essay. Important stuff.

UPDATE: Nick Denton, whose Gizmodo site's disclosure started off the discussion, weighs in further, and Mitch Ratcliffe has this new posting.

found this on boing boing


Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Wallace and Gromit film premières

Oscar-winning animated duo Wallace and Gromit have returned after a six-year absence in a series of short films - and BBC News Online has exclusive footage.

Maker Aardman Animations has produced 10 one-minute movies featuring Wallace and his canny pet dog Gromit, entitled Cracking Contraptions.

The films launched on Tuesday with the world exclusive première of the first short, Soccamatic, on BBC News Online. The film is downloadable and free to view.

I love Wallace and Gromit. This is really cool. Governor Tanaka of Nagano is probably really excited to. He loves Wallace and Gromit. He has two cell phones. One of them has a Gromit cover. It is a stuff animal typed cover for the phone which looks like Gromit's head. You open the mouth and talk. I love it. The other one is the lamb that is in one of the Wallace and Grommit movies. I always love it when Tanaka-san's assistant comes running across the room with Gromit with a urgent call and Tanaka-san is talking very seriously into Gromit's mouth. Tanaka-san also has a Gromit diary.

We also have Gromit and lamb dolls...

I went to see Tim Collins. I hadn't seen him since I sat next to him at the Trilateral Commission meeting. He was in his hotel room drinking Diet Coke (I am a Diet Coke addict.) and smoking his cigar. A well known Japanese guest was leaving as I came in. Tim is really amazing. He knows everyone. More interesting is that he knows everyone in Japan. He is able to meet with, communicate with and convince so many important people in Japan without losing any of his matter-of-fact, cigar-smoking American style. The boards he puts together read like a who's who politically and commercially. Maybe it is because he has bet on Japan and is one of the few foreign investors whose interests are very much aligned now with the Japanese people. His firm, Ripplewood is famous for the buy-out of the Long Term Credit Bank of Japan (now called Shinsei Bank), the hardware and music divisions of Nippon Columbia and Sea Gaia. They are all doing much better than people expected.

Unless the Japanese economy recovers and consumers start to spend the market for the companies he has invested will not be very exciting. Tim is much more knowledgeable about many aspects of the Japanese government than I am and has very practical thoughts on reform. We talked about the various probable scenarios and our wishful-thinking scenarios and they were virtually the same. Again, he impressed me with his thoughtfulness.

As I struggle with trying to keep myself from being co-opted, I think Tim struggles to make sure the Japanese believe he is on their side. We struggle from somewhat different positions, but end up at many of the same conclusions. (And at some of the same parties.)

Terrie writes about Ripplewood this month in Terrie's Take.

I'm off to Michigan to visit ECD. I haven't been in Michigan since I was still on the board of ECD. I'm excited to see all of the new science and technology that must have happened since I was there last. A tour of ECD is like nothing else on earth. It's really like a trip through the future. I'll also be seeing a lot of old friends as well as my father who still works at ECD... If I can get my connection working, I'll blog stuff about it from Michigan.

Originally, it was just a trip to ECD and back, but I got the following email yesterday:POP2_header_2002_circle.gif

At 12:18 02/10/14 -0400, Megan wrote:

Are you in the US Oct 18-20? I'm going to PopTech then --- --- I got an extra ticket for my sister, but she can't come... so I was trying to sell it. It's an excellent conference up in Camden, Maine (leaves changing colors)...

hosted by John Sculley, Bob Metcalfe and others -- great themes each year and a great group. This year it's Artificial Worlds -- about communities and games and VR, etc etc etc. Lots of people you know are going. Any chance you'd be interested? Conference is mainly Friday, Saturday and Sunday am -- with an reception on Thursday night.

-- Megan

Howard Rheingold, Dan Gillmor, Linda Stone, Simson Garfinkel, Jaron Lanier, Amy Bruckman... Lots of people I know, plus John Sculley, Bob Metcalfe, Alexander Shulgin, Vernor Vinge, Stephen Wolfram... Lots of people I don't know. Camden, Maine... OK I'm there. Unfortunately, I can only go for one day...

windowsswitch.jpg VS macswitch.gif
I found this on David Farber's list. Aparently Microsoft tried to do a "switch" campaign like Apple did using "real people" to explain why they switched from Apple to Microsoft. Readers on Slashdot found the women in the ad in a catalog of stock photos and she is aparently not a "real person." Microsoft has since taken down their page, but Google has a cache.
Although it is flipped horizontally, it is obviously the same image as the image in the gettyimages database
PSINet Japan's POP in my bathroom circa 1994
Found this old picture of my bathroom which sparked some old memories.

Back in 1993 IIKK, which was Japan's first commercial Internet connection, was looking for a place to put their POP. They were owned at the time by Intercon and they were unknown in Japan. No one would rent an office to them. I lent them my bathroom. A few months later PSINet bought IIKK. I was probably one of the first people in Tokyo to have a 128K leased line to their toilet.

Then, the founding Eccosys team gathered around the leased line. Cyrus, Shimokawa, Daishi, Sen, Jona and Yuki. We bought a used Sun SPARC 1+ over USENet and set up a server. When the NCSA web server came out in 1993 we were ready. We were bunch of kids with a lot of free time, a leased line and a UNIX server. We started one of the first web pages in Japan, "Tomigaya." Later, Yoon joined the team. (And turned out to be the best manager of the bunch.)

Eccosys merged with Digital Garage which went public in 1999 with Hayashi-san at the helm. (Several US Web companies offered to buy us. I'm glad we didn't sell.) Before going public Digital Garage created Infoseek Japan.I left Digital Garage and ran Infoseek Japan with Takao Nakamura as CEO and me as Chairman after it was sold to Infoseek Corp. Infoseek was acquired by Disney. (Reporting to the Disney was probably one of my more "rigorous" experiences...) Then Disney sold Infoseek Japan to Rakuten where it is sitting happily ranking third place after Yahoo and MSN in reach and is a nice profitable business. (I'm still on the board.)

I also ran PSINet Japan for about a year until I got them out of my bathroom and into a real office. ;-) PSINet Japan was sold to C&W as part of PSIX's bankruptcy liquidation. I was on the PSINet Japan board until C&W bought it. I think PSINet Japan was one of the few profitable units in the PSINet empire.

So nothing against my former parents... The Japanese kids somehow survived while the parents passed away. I loved them all... except some folks at Disney... oh... and a few from my Infoseek days. And now that you mention it, I keep in touch with only a few people including Barak Berkowitz, Bill Schrader, Ned Desmond and Michael Johnson, but many of the people from those days have faded away...

Well, this time at Neoteny I don't have a parent to fight with or blame. We only have ourselves. (I better stop blogging and get back to work...)

Now I'm working on charts of things that change. I don't have anything fancy like SOAP or even php running so I have to use web services that take input through the URL and output an image to IMG SRC... but you can still do a lot.

Keigo pondering the notion of blogs...
Keigo "Cornelius" Oyamada is my cousin. Actually, he is my second cousin. But I think we are closer than our relative cousins. When my mother was going through a financially tough period, his family was as well and we ended up living next door to each other in a dumpy Love Hotel in Shibuya that was turned into an apartment building. At the time, he was always getting into trouble at his Jr. High and I was hanging around in Shibuya catching rats at the train station with my friends...

Anyway, since then, he has become a big rock star. He started out his career creating a band called Lollipop which later changed its name to Flippers Guitar. Flippers Guitar became quite famous, but eventually broke up and he parted ways with his partner Ozawa. He then started using the name "Cornelius" and preaching "Ape Shall not Kill Ape!" He again became a big hit leading the Japan indies movement. He was unique in that he wasn't a product of the Japanese mass media machine and really started his career on the street and in little clubs.

Anyway, now he has a kid and worries about his mother and stuff, but he still rocks. He just finished a tour of the US where he and his crew took a bus from city to city playing in a different town every night and sleeping in the bus and lugging his stuff around with the crew. He played at the Metro in Chicago where I learned how to party, DJ and worked briefly as a DJ. Later I brought a team from Metro/Smartbar to Tokyo to run XY Relax in Roppongi...

When I first started my web page back in 1993, we set him up with his first web page. I told him earlier this week that blogging was the biggest thing since then and told him that he should come over and let me explain it to him. I had just finished having Ryu Murakami and Ryuichi Sakamoto tell me "so what's so new about blogs..." so I was wary... I tried to explain to Keigo that the the important thing was the speed, that he could write himself and the network. He should not only have a fan site, he should encourage his fans to start their own blogs... I think he "got it." He promised to try it out.

This blog evangelism is quite difficult with people who 1) already have a mailing list, 2) already have a web page or 3) have a great web development team already. I find that people who don't want to learn html and have always felt frustrated in not being able to write stuff directly like Takemura-sensei are natural.

He current has a pretty cool official web page.

the service that delivered the joke...
This is a bit old, but I HAD to share this. ;-p I found it on BoingBoing
Wired News
Kiwi Symphony's Errant Scat Music By Kim Griggs 02:00 AM Oct. 11, 2002 PDT

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- They had been expecting Wagner; instead, they got "Wee on My Face."

When subscribers to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra used Internet-based media players to listen to CDs sent to promote the orchestra's musical offerings next season, the playlist was not exactly classical music. "I have received a give-away CD from the (orchestra) a few days ago called Season 2003," one subscriber wrote to complain. "However, the names of the pieces were (so) hard to handle that I cannot type (them) on this e-mail."

The titles of the eight tracks on the CD, the album's name and the name of the artist displayed on media players all revolved around urination and defecation. "Maybe I Fart on Your Face" was not what the classical fans had been expecting.

I promise that this blog isn't going to continue to revolve around urination and defecation.

It turned out that one of the 8,000 subscribers who received the promotional CD was a university student in the southern New Zealand town of Christchurch. And he'd used an Internet-based media player to listen to the tracks.

"He received the NZSO promotional CD, put it into his computer and then he was prompted to put the titles in," said Constable Todd Webley, to whom the student unburdened himself when the titles became news.

"He's on his girlfriend's computer, and he was mucking around being stupid and thinking it's just going into that computer alone and not realizing that it's going to be sent into cyberspace."

ibmtoilet.jpgSpotted on slashdot


IBM flushes restroom patent
By Troy Wolverton
Staff Writer, CNET
October 11, 2002, 2:28 PM PT

IBM has quietly eliminated a patent it received on a method for determining who gets to use the bathroom next.

The computing giant received a patent for a "system and method for providing reservations for restroom use" in December. But the company later decided to renounce all of its patent claims after a petition was made against it, according to documents released this week by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Recently, I had been telling people that even though the market has collapsed, the number of patents being filed continues to increase. This, I had been saying, was an indicator that people were now focusing on building technology instead of their stock options and that we should look forward to great technologies ahead.

This article makes me wonder... ;-p

Spotted on David Farber's IP

Australian IT
Phone system could have your number
Kate Mackenzie
OCTOBER 07, 2002

A SINGLE telephone number doubling as an email address could soon be available in Australia despite fears the technology could become a de facto identification number.

Under the ENUM system being analysed by the Australian Communications Authority, one number could track down a person via a home or mobile phone number, or an email or website address.

This is SOOO bad. Where is my favorite Australian privacy expert Roger Clarke?

In Japan the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (who brought us the National ID system I've been protesting) also controls all of the phone numbers. This is yet another stupid idea that links identity to some sort of government number. Why can't we all have a variety of screen name/email addresses and dump phone numbers all together. Why don't we just phone email addresses? This whole idea is backwards...

I can understand the desire to trace everything to a physical body, but don't they understand that it means that ANYONE with a PC and a brain will be able to trace stuff back to us? The risks, I believe, outweigh the benefits.

Recently Cory blogged about his bad experience with Expedia. The discussion thread afterwards got pretty heated and soon a bunch of Expedia employees jumped in. What was interesting to me was that this anonymous discussion by employees about their own company in a public place is one of the things that fuel one of the most popular sites in Japan, 2ch. On 2ch anyone can start a thread and anyone can post as anyone. About 90% is noise, but there are occasionally interesting things. One of the interesting effects is that the threads about companies often end up being flooded by posts from insiders arguing with each other. Some companies take this very seriously and try to stop it, but obviously this usually just aggravates the situation.

2ch has become quite an interesting phenomenon in Japan. I'm hoping that blogging will help channel some of this "yearning to post" energy away from anonymous back-stabbing to more productive blogging. I think 2ch proves Japanese want to express themselves in public, but the question is whether they will want to be accountable.

I will never ever look at Expedia the same way....I work for them. I am a Supervisor at Expedia. I still work for this company and they burn people everyday. In order to make money we charge stupid fees and no one cares for the customer. They give you cases to make you wait for nothing. In the end we keep your money. Cases sit in queues for weeks, and all agents are trained to give you the runaround. The managers and director are paid to sit in meetings on wednesdays and do nothing to help. They often talk of other call centers doing better in calls, they only care about calls answered not helping the customer. Managers do nothing, answer no calls, and render no solutions. The director is a fat guy who scratches his back on doors and brags about his chili beans! The company is a joke. They sell rooms when the hotels are over booked and will use any excuse in the book to not refund you. All supervisors are no help, we are purposely paid to send calls to other agents posing as supervisors, they call themselves customer care. Our customer advocate team is a joke, all day they email each other and do not resolve cases....but I need the money so I stay....sad but true. Expedia is a joke, please use travelocity.
I am an OSR agent for and have to admit. I have to say I am ticked that Expedia's employees are here bad mouthing. Expedia does not do anything illegal.

If the customer is not willing to read the rules and still books the reservation they are totally responsible for the bill.

Honestly, there are way too many people out there that should not use the computer. It would make our jobs easier.

Oki striking a pose...
Had dinner last night with Oki Matsumoto, Yu Serizawa and Yasukuni Ichikawa and his brother Takayoshi Ichikawa... We ate at Kanayuni, one of my favorite restaurants that I've been going to since I was about 13 years old...

It was kind of a wrap-up and what do we do next meeting after the Blueprint 2020 presentation Oki and I did in Geneva. Yu works for the World Economic Forum and is organizing this whole thing. Yasukuni Ichikawa did a lot of research for the presentation and prepared it for us. His brother was tagging along. ;-)

Oki Matsumoto is the CEO of Monex, an online brokerage firm. He and I were the only Japanese "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" who went to the Geneva Summit. I asked Oki what he thought about the market. He didn't think it would go down to 6000. I think we all agreed that Japan was a bit different than Argentina in that it has been able to keep people and it's GDP from fleeing. (So far.) The biggest short term problem was the balance sheet and Oki thought that with the right reforms we could fix that. The "flow" problem was a long term problem and the "stock" problem was a short term problem. I'll leave the "stock" problem up to the bankers and the economists. I'm very worried about the long term "flow" problem. Ageing, competition in manufacturing, political, military, education, media, etc.

ryu_thumb.jpgRyu Murakami is one of Neoteny's advisory board members, the author of "Coin Locker Babies" and won the Akutagawa award for "Almost Transparent Blue". He visited our office today. In "In Coin Locker Babies" he wrote about two boys who are abandoned in coin lockers and grow up and gassed Tokyo. (This is before the Ohm Shinrikyo subway event.) His last book "Exodus in the Hopeful Country" is about junior high school students who help cause a revolution in Japan with the help of the Internet. We talked quite a bit before he wrote this book and that discussion along with his discussions with other people before he wrote the book also became a book...
Internal Exodus
Novelist Murakami Ryu sees a dim future

The year is 2001. A CNN news crew in northern Pakistan finds a Japanese teenager in the midst of a band of Muslim guerrillas. In a TV interview, he declares: "There is nothing in Japan. It is a dead country." His words strike a chord with Japanese children his age. Across the country, middle-schoolers stop attending classes. They organize across the Internet, form a video image distribution agency named Asunaro that beams their message across the world, and start a variety of new businesses. Summoned to Parliament, the youngsters' leader tells stunned adults that Japan has everything but hope. Meanwhile, the yen collapses and the nation slips to the brink of bankruptcy. Asunaro moves to the northern island of Hokkaido where the kids establish an independent state.

One of the leaders is named "Joichi". ;-) So we talked a bit about his NEXT book. Stay tuned. It should be good.

Neeraj is my only buddy so far...
AOL-Docomo the Japanese joint venture between Docomo and AOL Japan asked Neeraj of imaHima to make a Java aplet for the new Java enabled i-mode phones that allows you to use Aol Instant Messenger on your phone. They launched it last week. It's great! You can have multiple conversations at once and it is integrated with the PC based IM. I think this is a first. (There are many IM for messaging between phones.) The only thing that sucks is that you have to sign up for AOL's service any pay a monthly fee to use it. It took me almost 30 minutes on the phone to sign up...

I'm testing a photo album blog... Thanks for your help Justin and Hirata.

I was talking to a fairly well known CEO of a securities firm. He told me that the Nikkei would hit the 8000 range last year. Today he said that he thought foreign investors were going to dump Japanese stocks and that it might hit 6000 in the next 3 months and that it would probably most definitely hit 7000. He said that the branch manager of a fairly large branch of Nomura Securities told him that 10 of his top 20 accounts recently liquidated ALL of their equity holdings. He also said that many of the major banks would probably soon come under government protection/control through the Bank of Japan. Argentina, here we come!

This is the "young" group of the Association of Corporate Executives which is probably the most prestigious association of CEO's in Japan.

We started out talking about the rights of women. One of the men said that all of the women he asked didn't want a career and that it was just a few professional women who were trying to push their agenda. I said that it was like the abducted Japanese in North Korea saying that they didn't want to go back to Japan. They either didn't know better or they didn't want to say... I remember when Shima-san, the former chairman of NHK was told that most people in the company didn't like him. He went around asking people if they liked him and everyone said, "yes". He told me, "so obviously the survey is wrong."

We're talking about the ageing population problem in Japan. Taxes in Japan for inheritence are very high and crush families. Someone mentioned that monogamy from the view of some women is a system that allows weak men to get their fair distribution of women and don't give women enough choice. The idea is that maybe women should be free to choose who they get their seed from and that society should support all children. Japan has one of the highest abortion rates in the world. If Japan culturally accepted divorce or single women and allowed them to have children and society helped support this, maybe the people would have more kids.

I told everyone that someone who was visiting from the US asked me if Mizuka and I were planning to have kids. When I said, "not yet," she said to Mizuka, "you know you can have kids without his approval. I have some left in my freezer if you want any."

Interesting thoughts, but probably not something the elders of the Association of Corporate Executives would understand.

Excellent! Ray Ozzie is talking about one of my favorite papers by a guy named Granovetter's called the "Strength of Weak Ties" which talks about how weak ties between distant nodes are more valuable than the strong ties within tight groups. I can go on for hours about this idea, but Ray also talk about another VERY important thing that I think we're all thinking about. Are blogs an extension of email and can blogs get rid of spam, most email, bulletin boards and all sorts of things in one huge P2P swoop! That WOULD be cool.

Ray Ozzie
Jon, your talk about mail brings up a discussion that I had with someone lately about email, linking, and transparency. One of the unfortunate aspects about "googling email" is that there are really no inbound links except those that can be reverse engineered through threading. But in social systems, those are the "strong ties" - the obvious relationships. What is more interesting, I believe, are the "weak ties" that would emerge if people outside of your social group started pointing into an interesting message of yours. (Weak Ties are precisely why I read blogs!!) Imagine the field day that Google could have if 1) all email files had access controls removed, and 2) people started surfing each others' email messages.

Unrealistic, right? Well, think again. Why have we grown so accustomed to the social norm that email should be private? Think about it. Start small. And remember that your company owns your inbox and outbox. What if all engineers within a company were given a new email address when they started, and were told "just use it for business" and "please note that everything that you do in email is in public view. In order to prevent embarassing moments, please keep matters of your personal privacy OUT of your assigned email box; use Groove for private matters. Oh, and by the way, here are the URLs of all of your team members' mailboxes, in case you care. Oh, and by the way, here's a site where you Google across all of them. Oh, also, I should mention that we never delete any email, by policy."

OK. We're getting serious now... ;-p We've just set up the Official Neoteny Blogging Team (as in the Jamaican Bobsled Team), the first blogging team in Japan that we know of. We're going to get serious about messing around with stuff like using mobile phones, recruiting interesting bloggers, trying to build a photo album/blog, integrating IM and lots of other cool things. If you know of or run a cool service like that we can integrate, let me know. I'll be integrating stuff into my site as we get it going. Also, if you have have a cool blog idea that you would like hosted or would like to participate or contribute in some way let me know.

When I first told Jun that "neoteny" meant the retention of childlike attributes in adulthood, he told me he thought it meant giant tadpoles. Iwrote an entry earlier about the meaning of Neoteny.

Since then, the business press has been using the word to discuss leadership. There is a great piece from Harvard Business School about it. I'm glad I have ;-)

HBS Working Knowledge
Are Business Schools Really Important "Crucibles of Leadership?"
HBSWK Pub. Date: Sep 30, 2002

by Jim Heskett

The new book Geeks and Geezers by Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas, argues that all the leaders they studied, whether "geeks" (under thirty) or "geezers" (over seventy), have the ability to engage others in shared meaning; a distinctive and compelling voice; a sense of integrity; and "neoteny," a trait that makes them "addicted to life" and able to recruit protectors, nurturers, and believers through a long and productive leadership career.


Think... think...
I was supposed to see Lawrence Lessig a few weeks ago, but he cancelled the meeting because he was busy preparing his argument for the U.S. Supreme Court. I forgive you Lawrence. ;-) This is a very important case for the future of copyright. As the digital world and all of our blogging and links show that copyright is less important when everything is live, the copyright manufacturers are trying to push the law in the other direction. All hands on deck to prevent a serious step backwards in the way we think about information.

1790.gifI am doing my part in Japan organizing study groups and lecturing, but the US laws always tend to be "globalized" so I think the real battlefield is the US at this point.

This site collects material related to the constitutional challenge of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which extended by 20 years both existing copyrights and future copyrights.

Eric Eldred is the lead plaintiff on the case (for other plaintiffs, click here), and on May 20, 2002, opening briefs were filed in the Supreme Court. Arguments will be heard October 9th, 2002, and a decision is expected next spring. Watch here for the latest news, and click on "how you can help" to join our (e) campaign.

Saw this on Scripting News.

Larry Lessig admits it: he’s nervous.

Marc's Voice
Here's one kind of a Multimedia Conversation

This is how it started....I created a series of posts related to various AOL T-W issues. These posts prompted responses, counter arguments and related statements from several different bloggers.

Each point and counter-point can now be revisted - with viewers adding their own synopsis, opinions and counter-points - at anytime. Anyone can come into a 'conversation' - at any point in the conversatiin - at any time.

But what makes it a 'multimedia conversation?'

HHhhhhmmm - let's see.......

Click here to see the actual multimedia conversation.

Just one thought...

The problem I see with the current blog format is that it still has to sort of end up making sense in one place. Shouldn't each block of text or multimedia only have to exist in one place. One of our guys says we need "text src". Basically, what I want is a way to embed stuff from other people's sites or a way to just cluster little windows into other people's sites instead of having to write all the links up in a story. I really like your format/style Marc, but two things. I still have to click on the links and jump to the sites and YOU still have to write some redundant content. It would seem better if you could really just open little windows and arrange them, adding only your own stuff...

Or am I dreaming?

Marc Canter
From: "Marc Canter"
To: "Joichi Ito"
Subject: RE: Design review - feedback requested
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 16:02:30 -0700


Ted nelson called that 'transclusion' and Marc Barot has that working NOW! So what you're asking for is to 'transclude' other sites, or chunks of info - and build it INTO the conversations.

YES! We got that working NOW!


I just received - and I think he were cc:ed (and the rest of the recipient list - oooops) this from Marc Barot:

Marc Barot
From an interface point of view, I would like the links not to disrupt the flow by replacing the current window's content, instead sliding neatly in place, below their calling paragraph. Sure - that would be a formatting option. I think they'll be a bunch of different ways to 'view' this stuff - including entirely in an outline form. Launching second windows, different sized titles, doing 2 way links, trackback, occluding images, media embedding - the issues go on and on. But I had to start somewhere :-)

We have these investor types who actually are getting serious - so me spelling out - in umpteenth details - was what spurred me onto this 'mockup'

[[[Marc's insert here - I think everyone will end up with their own formatting solution which works. We may find that easily going back (maybe gesturally based) between display formats - is the way to go. CERTAINLY we'll have to make it obvious and intuitive how one can CHANGE and adjust the way the conversation is displayed (and we'll need lots of pre-fabbed display solutions - as well.)

It's clear from the first five comments I've received - that EVERYONE has their OWN idea as to what works. In less than an hour I received almost 10 reply's - out of a list of 30+ That's 33% interest level!

So this to me - defines a system which can flexibly display:
- linked pages
- transcluded entries (from elsewhere)
- media
- faces
- some sort of an outline structure
- even collapse unto itself - allowing readers to compartmentalize sections....

And ties to:
- IM - email
- Outlining
- Blogging
- your PIM info
- your media (stored in your private cloud)
- your Home LAN (and your traveling cyber existence)
- and your devices

is in order.

This is what "Hubbie" would output. I think you can see how the activieOutliner (or WebOutliner as Doug refers to it) is along the trajectory towards Hubbie.

[[[Marc's insert here - "Hubbie" is the code-name for our big magilla-cutty product, WebOutliner is a first step, on-line outliner that..... well you can imagine. WebOutliner will also be part of a Radio 'sweet suite' collection of tools and customizable Home Page. We then will investigate creating 'sweet suites' of add-ons for Blogger, LiveJournal, Moveable Type, Grey Matter.

We think integrating blogging with media with your Home LAN is key. We'll start our concentric circles strategy with bloggers and move out from there towards the Home LAN owners who have devices........]]]]]]

I know I'm an outline nut, but I really appreciate the ability to keep everything in perspective, that is within the same flow of conversation.

Certo (that's Italian for 'sure!')

[[[Marc's insert here - or in Japanese they say "Gam baht ai - Kurd usai!"

This is why I love 'elision' (those collapsable paragraphs with a wedge) and 'transclusion' (insertion of the linked contents in place).

ah yes, yet another new term........

[[[Marc's insert here - Marc Barot has true transclusion working on activieOutliner - RIGHT NOW! So expect translcusion in these conversations - FOR SURE!

From a structural point of view, I guess we can achieve this with any kind of Xpath explorable, XML hierarchical structure as the supporting format. OMPL, with more specialized attributes, comes to mind. So does RSS for referred conversations.

think GIANT XML OPML extension........

[[[Marc's insert here - the original usage of the term 'MacroMedia' was as our own compound document architecture.]]]]]]



and even more Marcs

Marc Barrot
IT Consultant
Precision IT Management,Inc

We will be announcing later today the establishment of Neoteny Venture Development Co., Ltd. which will be lead by Hidehiro Matsumoto as its CEO. Neoteny Venture Development is a spin-out of the consulting business of Neoteny Co., Ltd. which has been in development for a year. Neoteny Venture Development Co., Ltd. will be a subsidiary of Neoteny Co., Ltd. The team has delivered five consulting engagements to large Japanese companies. NVD will focus on corporate venture consulting, entrepreneurship support and corporate spin-out consulting. Neoteny Co., Ltd. will focus on venture investing in information technology businesses. Neoteny will update its web page tonight. (It will be a blog ;-) )

I will of course continue to be CEO of Neoteny and current am focused on investing in personal communications technologies and networked consumer electronics and enabling technologies and services...

habbohotel_thumb.jpg Neeraj showed us Habbohotel today.

Hirata found it on IP. It is very cool. I think the best avatar style space I've seen so far. The only thing is, the site is in the UK and I can't buy credits to furnish my room. If anyone else is a member, My Habbo is "Joichi"...

Hat's off to Dan who wrote about this a year ago!

Dan Gillmor
From: Gillmor, Dan To: Dave Farber Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2001 18:53:11 -0400

HELSINKI -- Buying virtual furniture for a virtual hotel room may seem likan odd enough exercise. Now add this: You pay by mobile phone.

That's how it works at online chat sites Hotelli Kultakala and Habbo Hotel, operated by a small Finnish company called Sulake. And people, mostly young people, are paying -- with real money -- by calling a special phone number, entering a few digits and having the cost of virtual furniture added to their next month's phone bills.

Across town, meanwhile, Riot Entertainment is getting ready to beam messages from Frodo the Hobbit to the mobile phones of ``Lord of the Rings'' fans. The messages from Frodo and other denizens of Middle Earth will be part of a movie marketing campaign when the first of three Rings movies opens later this year.

Some of the most intriguing ideas about tomorrow's mobile communications and commerce are coming from the people of this small Nordic nation, whose influence on the world's telecommunications stage has long outweighed the size of its population.

Earlier I wrote about suicides in Japan. I also recently wrote about the relationship between life insurance and murders. I found an interesting article in the Mainichi covering all of these issues.

This article is interesting because it points to life insurance as the cause of many suicides where life insurance is the only way to get out of debt. I guess the choice is either to kill yourself or someone else. ;-p They actually let you use your life insurance as collateral for home mortages in Japan..

MDN: WaiWai
From kamikaze to hara-kiri, Japanese just can't stop topping themselves

By Ryann Connell
Staff Writer

September 30, 2002

Any wonder, then, that Sunday Mainichi (10/6) refers to Japan as the suicide capital of the world -- a dubious honor also recently bestowed by the World Psychiatric Association.

"Considering that both Japanese men and women have the world's greatest longevity, it came as a shock to learn that we're also number one for suicides," psychiatry Assistant Prof. Kazuo Yamada tells Sunday Mainichi.

National Police Agency figures released earlier this year showed that 31,402 people committed suicide in Japan last year, 915 more than in 2001. It was the fourth consecutive year that deaths by suicide had topped the 30,000 barrier and has prompted calls that the Japanese government isn't doing enough to help its people. Men in their 40s or 50s account for about 40 percent of all Japan's suicides, with health and financial problems the main reasons why Japanese are taking their own lives.

Yet another interesting aspect of Japan's suicide rate is revealed by its skyrocketing since 1998.

"That year the unemployment rate also rose rapidly and people were suddenly getting laid off in large numbers. Suicides became prevalent particularly in 40-something or 50-something guys. Life insurance companies were thrown into a panic. The amount of life insurance payouts the companies had to pay in 1998 threw the entire industry into a crisis. The companies responded by doubling the waiting period before they'd make payouts on suicides. That stemmed the flow of people taking their own lives a little bit," Yamada tells Sunday Mainichi.

Industry figures agree with the claim.

"Usually, payouts aren't made in cases where the cause of death is clearly suicide. And it is true that the decision that companies made in 1999 to extend periods before payouts are made was based on the rising suicide rate," a spokesman for the Life Insurance Association of Japan says.

Indeed, life insurance payouts seem to be a vital factor in Japan's suicide rate. So much so, it seems, that they can almost be rated along with depression as one the major reasons people take their lives.

"Guys in their 40s or 50s, the one's who're most likely to commit suicide, have got kids and home loans, yet when they lose their jobs they have no idea how they're going to cope. All they can think about is how much harder things are going to get each year when it comes to paying their mortgage or for education," psychiatry professor Yamada tells Sunday Mainichi. "Eventually, they come to believe that the only way they can fulfill the responsibilities they have toward their family is to commit suicide and ensure those relatives who remain are set up financially for life."

The EFF is one of the few organizations fighting on the issues of copyright and privacy in the US courts. They need our support more than ever. I just sent my contribution. If you care about the Net shouldn't you?

existing or found everywhere

Had lunch with Justin and Jane. I met Jane for the first time and it was cool to be able to start talking about stuff right away since I read her blogs and she reads my blog. We were "synched" and ready to go. She was very cool and just like I imagined.

And Justin... I was once called ubiquitous by someone and I remember looking it up in the dictionary. Justin is ubiquitous. Not only does everyone know Justin, everyone has just recently seen him. Another ubiquitous person I know is Gohsuke Takama. I used to see him at every rave, walking in front of my car in Berkeley, under the table of an art exhibit I was judging for the Interactive Media Festival as "techno-shaman Gohsuke". Phil Zimmerman has signed Gohsuke's PGP key and he is always everywhere at once. Both Gohsuke and Justin are globally ubiquitous.

The other day, Barak told me I was like Forest Gump. (I didn't like this comparison of course.) I'm always around when big things happen, but not necessarily at the center. I was Pierre Omidyar's classmate in college. We were setting up Yahoo's server in Japan before Softbank invested in Yahoo. I was with Timothy Leary the night before he died... the list goes on. Being ubiquitous is very different from being a power broker or the center of things that happen. I think some people are nodes. Some people are hubs. Howard, for instance is a big node. Howard connects to a lot of things, but also does a lot of sitting and thinking. I may have been semi-ubiquitous, but I'm more and more a hub linking nodes I think...

Anyway, I was busy today, wanted to post at least one thing and all I could manage was this stupid comparison between human beings and computer networks. Sorry!

The Japan Times
MINISTRY SECRECY DRAWS SPOTLIGHT Even victimized divided on death penalty

Staff writer

Masaharu Harada was stunned when he found out that the man who murdered his younger brother had been executed on Dec. 27 in Nagoya.

He wondered why authorities felt they had to kill such a remorseful man.

Toshihiko Hasegawa was one of two convicts hanged in December. He was convicted of killing Harada's brother and two other people in a murder-for-insurance scheme between 1979 and 1983. His death sentence was finalized in 1993.

Harada had petitioned the Justice Ministry on Hasegawa's behalf to stay his execution. He believed letting Hasegawa live so he could express remorse was the only way for him to atone for his crime.

This issue about lack of transparency and the debate about capital punishment are important and something that should be part of a public debate, but one thing that I noticed was that the crime committed by this "remorseful man" was another "murder-for-insurance" crime. There have been a quite a few of these crimes and I'm beginning to wonder if it such crimes might be committed by people who are driven to this from debt. The Japanese prime interest rate are very low, but the consumer loan business booms with interest rates in the 15-20+ percent range. There has been a crackdown on loan sharking, but I think the interest rates for consumer loans is higher than the US for instance. Many of the taxi drivers I talk to are driving taxis because of loan/debt problems.

Mainichi Interactive
Indebted man charged for ex-lover's murder 2002.08.18

TSURUGA, Fukui -- A indebted man has been slapped with charges of murdering the former girlfriend he is detained for having illegally buried her body, police said Sunday.

Yoshiyuki Senda, 23, a resident of Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture, admitted to having stabbed Yoshiko Yamaguchi, 23, a company employee of Suita, Osaka Prefecture, whose charred body was found in Tsuruga, according to investigators.

"I owe about 1.1 million yen to eight consumer credit companies. I have no money (to repay my debts) because I lost my job in June. I murdered her to get her money," he was quoted as telling police.

It would be interesting to see the relationship between consumer loan interest rates and crime...


Seiji Ozawa conducted a performance of Giacomo Puccini's Madame Buttefly as part of the 30th anniversary. I was completely tired so I admit I nodded off a few time at the first half, but generally it was great. It was a Chinese chorus, Japanese orchestra, Japanese conductor and a global team of performers. The curtain call involved former Prime Minister of Japan Mori going on stage with everyone else and taking pictures together. I guess Mr. Mori was here because Koizumi-san, who was a co-organizer of the event got un-invited because he went to Yasukuni Shrine and honored the war dead. That still seems pretty stupid to me. Are a few right wingers more important than our relationship with China? I guess to the LPDLDP they are... Anyway...

tvcamera_thumb.jpg mizmakikotv_thumb.jpg tvgroup_thumb.jpg

The town hall styled panel discussions were held in the military guarded studios of the national TV station CCTV. Narita is much more fortified, but the guards at CCTV stood at attention much better than the guard at Narita...

The first panel was three Chinese whose names I don't have and Okuda-san of Toyota, Miyauchi-san of Orix and Idei-san of Sony from the Japanese side. The panelists for the second panel had to sit on stage but not say anything for 2.5 hours. Several of of our panelists fell asleep. I closed my eyes briefly, but didn't sleep, and at least I didn't snore. Idei-san was great and overall it was good, but a bit bland and the translation was bad. There was kind of a weird anti-Japanese feeling, but it might have just been me... The news caster who was the moderator asked the audience to smile more when they clapped and made us practice. It was kind of... strange. The Chinese side always clapped when anyone praised China. Also, when the Chinese audience were asked to raise their hand if they liked Japanese food, only two of them raised their hand. Then the moderator interviewed one of them about why she didn't like Japanese food. I bet that if we apologized sincerely instead of denying the mass murders, it would get a lot better. As the war vetrans die, it's really our last chance...

As I reported earlier, Yanai-san of Pia ended up taking Mari Matsunaga's place on our panel and Iemoto-san, a 20 year old entrepreneur from Japan was also on the panel with us. The Chinese side was James Ding of AsiaInfo, Victor Want of GWcom Inc. and the CEO of Alibaba China. Victor and James both went to Stanford so at lunch I got to talk to them in English. They were great. I got to get my comments in although I'm not sure how they went over in the translation. Idei-san who also joined our session had some great things to say.

I thought this was going to be live, but it looks like they will edit it before they broadcast it. It will be broadcast nationwide in China and on Channel 1 in Japan on NHK. I wonder what's going to happen in the edit.

As usual, my blurb about how we should unite forces and fight Microsoft together by creating a lot of open source code got a good response. ;-)

Mizuka and Makiko-san were sitting in the audience...

I got to sit next to Idei-san in the bus and we had a good chat. I had heard a rumor that the design center of Sony had been shut down. I asked him about it. He said, "which one? We haven't shut down a design center..." So I guess that was a bad rumor. We talked a lot about the future of Sony, Japan and Sony's strategy vis a vis ventures. He think that partnerships with venture businesses can help Sony be more innovative. That's great news for me/us!

I started this morning with a Motorcade. There was a super-VIP motorcade with lots of flashing lights and fancy police cars and a mini-VIP motorcade that I was in. There was one car, translator and driver per person, but the cars were a bit dumpier and no armed guards. They were fairly organized. All of the cars had their hazard lights on when driving and this warned other drivers not to cut into the motorcade. Seems pretty efficient. Never seen this before. They must do motorcades a lot in Beijing.

Someone (was it you Stephanie?) had a theory that it was the motorcades that slowed down Koizumi. The idea was that Koizumi was ready to do a bomb dive into the LDP, but then he started getting used to the motorcades. Something about motorcades makes you feel important. Jets... Motorcades... Something about vehicular excessiveness that drags you into the dark side... I watched "Lorg of the Rings" on the plane. Something like that...

So it's boarding time, but they told me to sit tight in the lounge. At least there are plugs and a view and diet coke. Some of the guests were complaining that the view and plugs are in only the smoking room... Oops. BUSTED... ;-)

"ANA regrets to announce that flight 955 will be slightly delayed for preparation. The new departure time will be announced as soon as it is available."

I can hear someone's voice over someone's radio giving much more detailed information about what is going on. I wonder if they sell radios in Akihabara to listen to the control tower. That would be extremely useful about now. I see some planes arriving though so I guess the landing/takeoff freeze is off. But the sky continues to get uglier.

I see a plane taking off at a very steep angle. Probably in a hurry to get through the clouds... I remember Martin boasting about how quickly his Lear jet could climb and how he could avoid turbulence...

Hmm... No plane yet. Weather getting worse...

"The plane has been rerouted to Kansai International Airport due to the weather, we will announce the new arrival time..."

This sucks. Maruchan just double booked me on the 5:25 ANA flight, but I bet that's at risk. I better get hustling to figure out what to do instead of sitting here blogging...

The biggest hurricane since WWII is about to hit Tokyo. It was supposed to hit this evening, but it is speeding up. My flight on Air China is delayed. I'm sitting in a sushi shop in Terminal 2 (my non-favorite sushi shop terminal) drinking a beer munching on some hokkigai. Anyway, I just wanted to blog in because when I checked into Air China, they asked me if I wanted a smoking seat. (Apologies to those who hate smoking or already know there are smoking seats on Air China.) I thought they had banned all international smoking flights! So... To be a bad boy... I just bought some cigarettes just so that I can smoke on the flight and see what it's like. I hope I don't sit next to a chain smoker who makes me PAY for this little experimental experience. The other funny thing is... I probably wouldn't have bought the cigarettes if I hadn't thought it MIGHT make blog material. Hmm... Blogging causes cancer?

I just got my photo CD of the pictures I took on Menorca with my Hasselblad. This is the first time I had my 6X6's scanned. They turned out nice. I posted them on imagestation and Yahoo Photos. The pictures are nice though so please take a look if you have time. I'll add captions when I get back from China I think.

I was a bit suprised when I read the morning paper and found that Koji Omi was replaced by Hiroyuki Hosoda as minister for Okinawa, Northern Territories and science and technology policy. I had been working closely with Mr. Omi on high tech ventures. I hope Hosoda-san turns out to be good. I don't know him personally. The head of science and technology policy is quite important in my view.

Mr. Katayama, the minister of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications who I had been battling with on the National ID issue suprised me and retained his position. They say it is because Koizumi-san is counting on him to push forward the postal reforms. Actually, Koizumi-san said he was in favor of the National ID so they probably agree on that. I wonder who is giving him that bad advice. Well, now I'm stuck working with the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications on trying to get them to think more about privacy so I will have to figure out how to communicate with Mr. Katayama I guess.

Finance czar gets shove in Cabinet reshuffle

Heizo Takenaka, who was reappointed as minister for economic and fiscal policy, emerged victorious in his bitter power struggle with Yanagisawa after he was ordered to double as financial services minister to replace Yanagisawa.

I think Takenaka-san is a good guy and quite smart. I get along with him quite well. Having said that, I think that people have criticized him for being a bit academic and macroeconomic oriented. He is being put into position to dump government money into banks which I think is generally a bad idea. On the other hand, I'm not a macroeconomist so what do I know...

I was invited by Idei-san the Chairman of Sony to be on his panel the day after tomorrow in Beijing. It is one of two panel discussions that are part of an event commemorating the 30th anniversary of relations between Japan and China. The town-hall style panel will be held in a TV studio and broadcast nationwide in China. Idei-san is the moderator and there will be 3 Japanese and 3 Chinese. I'm going to talk about how Japan is still competitive in consumer electronics, but China will probably take over manufacturing. I think that Japan can add value in branding and marketing devices, but might need the help of Silicon Valley to build the architecture and the software to connect the services with the devices. After the panel, there will be a big reception and a performance of Madam Butterfly conducted by Seiji Ozawa. Mizuka went with Yanai-san and Makiko-san the day before yesterday to Beijing. Yanai-san is head of the PR committee of the event. Idei-san is the Chair of the entire event. I'm leaving tomorrow morning so I don't know if I will be able to blog from Beijing. (Maybe they've banned my site. ;-p ) If not, I'll be offline until Thursday.

We had a joint dinner tonight with Enjin01, a group of cultural leaders that I co-founded and the Cultural Design Forum, where many of the people from Enjin01 had defected from. We talked about possibly merging the groups back again. There was a basic disagreement. The Cultural Design Forum wanted to continue to have big annual meetings and basically talk about stuff to the public. Enjin01 has seminars, but Saigusa-san explained that we are pro-actively trying to pushing reform forward.

I drove Saigusa-san home and I told him that it was time to be active, not just vocal. I remember I said something similar at dinner last night, but this is such a unique time in Japanese history... When I am in San Francisco, it is almost boring because they let you do anything you want. This horrible government, the pressure and the oppression give me a sense of purpose. It is almost exhillerating. It is the same feeling I have when I watch movies about revolutions. I am not an anarchist, but maybe I enjoy anarchy. There is such an opportunity to create value and impact history when stuff is so screwed up... I really think that good timing, the Internet and some organizational skills might wake up the Japanese people. This is possibly a once in a century opportunity to see an awakening of a country...

Or maybe I'm being too optimistic. Well, it is probably not a bad thing to be optimistic when everyone is running the other direction...

Category Archives

Monthly Archives