Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

December 2003 Archives

Mizuka and I are off to Munakata shrine, the local Shinto shrine for the New Year count-down. We'll be celebrating it with our new neighbors. See you all on the other side!

Halley, thanks for having #joiito over to your party. Thanks also for sharing your interaction with your wine bottles after the party. I'll be doing a lot of the same over the next few days. Ever since I noticed that I am now the top result for a google search on "quit drinking" I have this sense of responsibility to myself as well as others to show my/our resolve and share this.

I was talking on the phone today with someone trained as a professional in treating addiction. It's interesting to note that when AA was started in the 60's 30's, it was difficult to find other people who would be supportive during the process of trying to quit drinking. There was also quite a bit of social stigma associated with recognizing an addiction and trying to deal with it. It is much more common today and with chat, email and blogs, it's easier to find people to talk to about this.

Nothing against AA and I am fascinated by it, but I think that this cross-blog support network we are creating for people who have chosen to quit drinking is really amazing and it will be interesting to see where this leads. If anyone else wants to join Halley, dav and me, this is a good a chance as any. ;-)

I just donated to Wikipedia. If you haven't, you should too. While you're at it, donate to the EFF and Freenode too. ;-)

Halley, can #joiito come to your Dean New Year Party? Can you like project us on the wall or something?

Good idea Lisa

Ever since I saw a $30K digital back for my Hasselblad, I've been waiting for digital photography to come to REAL cameras. The guy at the store said, "some day they will be cheap enough to be worth it." Then I saw the article about the Digital-Modul-R digital back for the Leica R8/R9, I decided that I was going to go that route. I have a whole R8 system with many many lenses and this just made sense to me. Yesterday I went to a camera shop and asked when they would have them. "Oh, probably about a year from now." !!! I broke down and bought the Canon EOS "Kiss" Digital or a 300D as they call them in the US. I'm very happy with it. It's reasonably priced and just works. I was getting really frustrated with crappy digital cameras and using the 300D just feels right.

I'll still use my Hasselblad and my Nikon Coolscan 8000 film scanner for medium format work, but I think I'm going to dump 35mm photography and switch to digital for awhile and see how it goes.

Yesterday, I played with my camera and posted more pictures of the house and of Bo. Still messing around...

So here's someone who has "social norm tensions" around gadgets and cell phones.

John C. Dvorak
Cell Phone Hegemony - PC Magazine

Let me walk you through my tale of woe. First, picture this gathering: New York Times reporter John Markoff, San Jose Mercury News columnist Dan Gilmore (sic), Andrew Orlowsi from The Register, author Gregg Pascal Zachary, blogger/investor Joi Ito, lyricist/pundit John Perry Barlow, and me. Everyone there had some relationship to the computer scene, and we were about to have dinner at a pseudo-swanky San Francisco eatery. Each reveler was political, opinionated, and outspoken. What transpired made my flesh crawl. Everyone, with the exception of me, like beings possessed, pulled out one, two, or maybe three cell phones, and while collectively drooling, began the macho 21st century showdown game of "who has the coolest cell phone?" It was horrible. I left, nauseated and shaken after witnessing this cult-like phone-features feeding frenzy. When I was a kid, we talked about football.

Since this dinner was officially "off the record" I didn't blog much about it, but you can imagine it how it could have been a rather awkward dinner. It was part of my "round up the journalists" dinner that we occasionally organize. It's amazing how gadget talk seems to bond most geeks (except for Dvorak) regardless of what they think of blogs or techno-utopias. We kicked off the evening with cell phone talk and had a great time.
John C. Dvorak
I've complained previously about idiots on cell phones in public, but I've given up.
Cell phones now rule the world's collective unconscious in untold ways. What astonishes me about all this is the sociology that has crept up on us. Why do we have this incessant need to chat on cell phones all day long all of a sudden?
I do agree that different countries seem to have different manners, the Finns seem to have some of the best manners. Maybe it's because American learn to talk on their cell phones when they are in cars... but you're right. Many Americans tend to shout into their phones.

But Dvorak... Why are you freaking out about cell phones man? Why don't you freak out instead about why American's can't seem to figure out how to use them or make them. ;-p

Richard showed me how to put my style sheet (Which Boris made) in my feeds (RSS 1.0/RSS 2.0). Take a look at it in your news reader and tell me what you think. Also, if you think this is "funky" please let me know why. It is sort of a weird thing, but at least in NetNewsWire, it looks pretty good.

Richard describes how to do it on his blog.

A few days ago, I quoted Wendy Seltzer in a entry about building norms together with the technologies.

I wondered at first if privacy tensions would ease as more people became more technically sophisticated, but I'm inclined to think that gaps in understanding will just move with the tech, and social norms will follow still further behind.
danah responds with an interesting point.
I think it is quite dangerous to believe that social norms are "falling behind." Social norms aren't behind; they're baffled at the direction in which things are going. They're pushing for a different direction and they aren't being heard. People are using technology to meet their needs, but they are not prepared for how the architecture is pulling them in a different direction.

Arguing that social norms can fall behind suggests that there is a hierarchy to the four points of regulation. Those points are valuable in discussion because they provide tensions. Social norms pull in different directions than the market, the law or the technology. This does not mean that it is behind. Quite often, social norms leapfrog everyone else. For example, social norms pushed Napster into creating an architecture that challenged the market and the law. It wasn't that the market was behind, but that it was pulling in a different direction and with a new tension, things need to be worked out.

Thus, rather than thinking about how social norms are behind, i truly believe that we should be understanding why social norms are pulling in a different direction. What does this say about the population being served by the technology?

This is a good point. A agree with danah that it is probably not a hierarchy. Sometimes there is a tension and sometimes norms drive technology.

I am reminded of the days when pagers were really popular among the youth in Japan. Back in the day, the pagers only sent numerical codes so kids came up with special codes to mean a variety of things such as "I love you" or "see you at 6pm". There were eventually code books published with a variety of numerical codes for phrases. You would see kids touch typing with two fingers encoded messages on public phone REALLY FAST. This was a technology being pushed beyond the limits of the designers by a need in society and a whole social norm built around a pretty skimpy architecture. These pagers eventually became alpha-numeric and when text messaging became available on cell phones, kids switched to cell phones. It is this pager culture from which the text messaging culture emerged and it was this youth culture that the carriers were tracking and designing their products for.

Mizuka and I went to Kyoto yesterday to celebrate Mameyoshi becoming a geisha. Mameyoshi was a maiko until recently. Maiko are young girls who live in okiya and are in training to become geisha They generally start when they are 15-16 and can be identified by their long flowing obi and the fact that they use their real hair for the hair styling. Typically maiko become geisha and become independent when they are 18-20 years old. There are two types of geisha. Geisha who perform with musical elements and geisha who are focused on dancing. Usually, geisha who perform with musical instruments are not maiko first, but Mameyoshi took the irregular path of going from maiko to geisha. They do a ritual called erikaishi where they change their kimomo style and switch from their real hair to wigs. Mameyoshi became a shamisen player and performed for us yesterday. The two maiko dancing are Teruyuki and Terukoma. The first dance is kagamimochi and the second one is gion kouta (one of my favorites). Apologies for the noise in the background. There was a fire engine outside.

I've uploaded a 55M QT movie of the performance. Here is a torrent of the file.

Gen Kanai points to the Gross National Cool article by Douglas McGray in Foreign Policy which triggered a serious of articles along the same idea. The thrust of the article is that although Japan's economy is in the dumps, the export of trendy culture like anime is strong and that Japanese biggest asset is it's "cool". I like the original article and I think McGray makes some good observations. Tony Kobayashi mentioned this in his remarks at the Japan Dinner at Davos last year and many people have begun to talk about this -- so many people, that the Japanese government has taken notice and begun to pursue this line of thinking in ernest.

I'm not as cool as some, but I'm cooler than many. From my experience hanging out with the cool people in Tokyo, my observation is that they are cool DESPITE government and other un-cool people. In fact, I would assert that in most cultures, it is the oppression and stifling of freedom that often allows a strong counter-culture to form. This counter/sub-culture is often the basis of "coolness". I think that the government's efforts to "support" and fund coolness in Japan could be disastrous. Just like most funding of venture business by government ended up going to people with "connections," I believe that an organized effort by the bureaucracy to make Japan more cool will have to opposite effect. I think that the government should focus on supporting the traditional culture and arts of Japan which are dwindling because of lack of support. They are more used to interacting with the establishment and I believe that the root/heart of a healthy pop culture is a strong base in historical culture.

Mizuka, Zuiko-san and Kaoru
Mizuka, Kaoru and I visted Sanji-Chion-Ji temple today. Zuiko is the lone abbotess who takes care of this temple. I met her through an introduction of a Monk the last time I was in Kyoto. She was once a politician but decided to throw away her career and become an abbotess. She is now 60 years old, but she has a beaming smile and does not look 60. She welcomed us and gave us a tour. The temple was built during the Oei Period 1394-1428 when the Irie Gosho, an area inside the Kyoto Imperial Palace was moved here. Unmarried daughters of the Imperial Family lived here and became abbotesses. It is now in the care of Abbotess Zuiko who has become of a friend. The temple is closed to the public and it's a great honor to be able to visit Zuiko-san and see the wonderful treasures and garden inside. There are around five such Imperial Abbotess temples in Kyoto.

I have some photos in my photo album.

Japan officially bans imports over U.S. mad cow disease case

TOKYO — The health ministry officially banned imports of U.S. beef and beef-processed products Friday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Thursday that a British laboratory confirmed initial U.S. test results indicating the first U.S. case of mad cow disease.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare notified the quarantine stations across Japan of the decision. On Wednesday, Tokyo halted imports of beef products after the USDA revealed the discovery of the case in Washington State. (Kyodo News)

I remember when Japan was first warned that we may have a BSE risk. I read about it in the Japan Times but didn't see any of the Japanese media covering it. Several months later, the first case in Japan was discovered. The country went into a panic, the government coverup machine went into overdrive but the issue punched through layer one. The had to act like they were going to do something about it. They implemented nationwide testing and tracked of the cows.

The meat packing industry is one of the most "organized" industries in Japan. I'm sorry, but I have absolutely no faith in the Japanese government's claim that they have checked all of the cows. The Japanese are claiming that since they check all of the cows, Japan is the safest in the world. The Japanese bureaucracy has rarely shown itself to be trustworthy on self-regulatory issues. For instance, the health ministry has been under investigation for some sort of ethical issue almost continuously ever since I was born.

I saw one ripple in the fabric when talking to a source I can not reveal here. Although they are supposed to tag and track all of the cows that are born and shipped around Japan, in fact the networks are prefectural and do not track the cows as they cross prefectures. When said acquaintance complained about the ineffectiveness of such a system, he was told to look the other way and move on. They said that it was a "dangerous area" he was treading in. I have no idea whether they fixed this system, but I doubt it.

So please excuse me if I laugh when the health ministry so proudly claims that Japan's beef is safer than American beef because of all of the effort they have put into this.

danah has a good rant in response to Cory's thoughts on technologists that create technologies which cause awkward social situations.
danah boyd
So, in fleshing out Cory's call to technologists, i'd ask all technologists to consider not only what problems a technology solves, but what new ones could emerge. Start thinking like a writer or an abuser of technology. Imagine how people could misuse a technology to hurt others. Consider who gains and loses power from such technology. It's a fascinating exercise and far more fulfilling than just thinking about who benefits from something. And besides, then you won't always be thinking "but the users shouldn't do THAT with this technology."
I commented on her blog.
Joi Ito
I agree with your point danah. On the other hand, a lot of the consequences of technology are not predictable and emerge as the technology develops and is adopted widely. I think that in addition to trying to have a vision about the negative effects of technology (which I agree is important) and trying to design around the issues, I think that identifying tensions as they arise and providing feedback to the toolbuilders is important. One of the problem of commercial enterprise is that technologists are often forced to sweep these tensions or problems under the carpet for the better good of profits or commercial interests. Also the cost of changing a design or an architecture often makes such change difficult. I think designing systems to assume they will need to be changed is important. This does get difficult as technologies mature. This is why I think the social software / blog space is interesting. We can still change a lot of the basic architecture of this space. So although I agree it is important to call our to technologists to think, I think that the dialog between technologists and people like you and Cory is more important.
In response to my thoughts on people inadvertently collapsing context because of a lack of understanding of the technology, Wendy Seltzer blogs about Technology and Norms of Publicity.
Wendy Seltzer
I wondered at first if privacy tensions would ease as more people became more technically sophisticated, but I'm inclined to think that gaps in understanding will just move with the tech, and social norms will follow still further behind.
When I am posting a photo album, I think about the situation, the people and decide whether to post a picture, ask permission or not even bother. I'm making a very deliberate decision based on my understanding of the technology and the social norms. The technology and the norms are evolving and the understanding of both is spotty. We WILL have tensions. I guess the key is to identify the critical irreversible risks and work just as hard in developing social norms as we are in developing technical solutions.
Justin's post from his Christmas in Japan last year describes the Japanese Christmas experience well. Here is my entry about brining, which is the key to the turkey he talks about. As I was opining to MG the other day, it's all in the bringing. MUST brine the turkey. Innovations in cooking are much more interesting than any of this social software stuff. {{gobble}} {{gobble}}

Welcome to our world Esther. Sorry it's not in very good shape. Hope to get around to fixing it up a bit more before we pass it on to you.

Congratulations Kevin!

Delicious is a social bookmarks manager. It is still pre-pre-alpha, but it's already become quite a useful part of my daily routine. You bookmark sites as you surf and you can subscribe to bookmarks of your friends and receive them as RSS feeds. It all started during a rare productive discussion between tangra and _joshua on #joiito. The two of them came up with the idea and _joshua coded it.

_joshua is aka Joshua Schachter and is also the developer of memepool and GeoURL.

If you want to subscribe to my bookmarks, I'm joi_ito on Delicious.

Adriaan, the developer of the award winning blogging client Kung-Log now works for me and has re-written it from scratch and renamed it ecto.

Halley just posted a song about Barlow sung to the tune of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Soo good. Now I can go to sleep with Christmas cheer in my head. ;-)

And Halley sings it for us.

Suppose Gov. Dean were to record a message like the following and make it available for download on the campaign Web site:


Hello. ____[suitably long pause]_____ have agreed to let me answer their phone. I'm Howard Dean and if you elect me president, I'll answer your phone, too. Now, here's the beep.

Knowing David, who IS the Campaign's Senior Internet Advisor, he'll probably suggest this to Howard Dean. ;-)

I just posted some pictures from the Creative Commons Anniversary Party. Thanks to Jonas and Cory for contributing their photos.

It was also my first party since my sobriety and I enjoyed myself very much.

PS: If anyone has any other pictures that would be willing to contribute to this photo album, please email me or post a link here. Thanks!

Armed with his hotel alarm, a docomo picture phone, a clie and a pocket pc, Philip just finished 3 weeks of moblog madness.

Philip Torrone
what would it look like taking 1 picture, every 30 minutes, every hour, for 24 hours, 7 days a week, for 3 weeks, no matter what. click here to view.
An update for those who wonder what he did when he was supposed to be sleeping:
JoiIto : How did you wake up in the middle of the night?
ptorrone : i had 3 alarms
ptorrone : one for each 30 min
ptorrone : i'd wake up, turn on light, snap pic, fall asleep
ptorrone : i don't sleep that much, so it wasn't a big deal

Jonas has a good blog entry in response to Marc's comment about the 12 steps. Interesting and thoughtful deconstruction of obsessive-compulsive disorders and curing and managing addiction. The only place where I would disagree is that I actually do exhibit a variety of symptoms of addiction and that's why I've chosen to stop drinking.

Update: Jonas comments on the 12 steps. I have never been to an AA meeting, although I've ordered the book and intend to try going, but the comments from Jonas are... sobering. Any thoughts from people who swear by the 12 steps?

The Gary Wolf article, "How the Internet Invented Howard Dean" in Wired Magazine that I blogged about earlier just came online. As David Weinberger says, it's a covers the theoretical side of the campaign and is a good addition to Ed Cone's article on the operations and the NY Times Magazine article about the spirit of the campaign.

Merry Christmas everyone. Many years ago, I stopped sending Christmas cards. Last year, I stopped sending out traditional Japanese New Years cards and sent email instead. This year, I'm going to stop sending email greetings as well. I hate to be a scrooge, but firing up my bulk mailer, importing my address book and spewing forth my seasons greetings feels way too much like spam.

Thanks to my birthday script, I have a way to spread greetings to my friends across the whole year instead of having to pack it all into one day. (By the way, if I don't know you, you're not going to get a personal greeting...) So please excuse me if you don't get a electronic greeting card from me for the holidays. As Seth says, I think this is one more treasured tradition that has become roadkill along the information super-highway.

On that note, does anyone know who decided that in Japan, Christmas was the day that you were supposed to go on a date with your honey and end up in a hotel room? Every restaurant has a special Christmas menu tonight for couples and ALL of the hotel will be booked by couples for a romantic evening.

Did you know that Japanese families will be lining up in front of Kentucky Fried Chickens today to get their chicken for Christmas? I DO know where this comes from. When my friend Shin, introduced KFC to Japan, the ad campaign showed wealthy American families all eating friend chicken for their holiday feast. KFC was marketed as an upscale food of the privileged in America. This triggered a tradition in Japan for families to eat friend chicken on Christmas.

(I'm on a roll now...)

And you DO know that in Japan only men receive chocolates on Valentine's Day and that women receive their chocolates on "White Day" one month later. (This notion was introduced by the confectionary industry in Japan.) People are encouraged to give chocolates widely and these chocolates are called giri choko (obligatory indebtedness chocolates) in Japanese.

So, although I'm a sucker for ritual, this is all getting a bit crazy for me. I think I'm going p-time on this whole situation and will give people gifts and greet people spontaneously and in a load-balanced way so I don't get thrown out with the spam.

UPDATE: No room at Japan's Love Hotels at Christmas - BBC
Thanks for the link Khalid

How many people who blog know that many blogs automatically send trackbacks or send pings to pingers sites like How many bloggers know that these pings trigger services like Technorati to include their posts in an index and that any mention of my blog in their private diary cause a link to their diary to show up in my sidebar within minutes? One of the things that some of us forget is that it's not all about attention. Most people want a little more attention than they get, but they usually want it from the right people and only when they feel like it. One of the problems of using the "big time bloggers" to design the technology is that we often forget that many people would rather NOT have their contexts collapsed.

I've recently had the experience of receiving inbound links from people who write very personal diaries. I struggled when trying to decide whether I should comment, link to them or otherwise shed attention on a conversation or monologue that appeared to be directed at someone other than me or my audience. A lot of people will say at this point that posting on the "world wide web" is publishing to the public and information wants to be free, yada yada... I would disagree. The tools are just not good enough yet. Live Journal has a feature that allows you to post entries that only your friends can see. I would love to be able to add special comments interspersed in my blog posts for only my close friends.

I know the point is to keep it as simple as possible, and I can already hear the arguments, but wouldn't it be useful if there was a way to manage your audience better on a blog by blog or a post by post basis? It might also make sense to be a bit more explicit to new bloggers/journalers about what the consequences of pinging/trackbacking is.

I remember a message board where activists were preparing to march in protest against the wiretap law in Japan. This message board showed up in search engine results. A well-meaning policeman dropped into the message board and mentioned that they might want to get a permit. The community was in flames about being "wiretapped". So this isn't a new problem. Just bigger. What technology actually does and what people expect it to do are very different so the "technically speaking" answer is not always the real answer. Also, the tensions caused by the technologies should be viewed as opportunities for the innovators.

I'll be at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference February 9-12 in San Diego. It looks like I'll be doing a session with Ethan Zuckerman on the Emergent Democracy Forum day February 9th and a session with danah, Mimi, Howard, Scott and others on the 10th about mobility, identity and culture. Hope to see you there.

The panel members are not "final-final" so they are not on the web yet. I'll post the description of the sessions and the final-final members here when we get everything confirmed.

The Dean for Iowa Game just went online. It's cute and fun and captures the spirit of being a supporter. I'm glad to have played my own little part in making this happen. The game was developed by Ian Bogost and his team at Persuasive Games. Ian contacted me through LinkedIn. LinkedIn routed his request for contact via a mutual friend, Ian McCarthy who vouched for Ian Bogost. I took that request and forwarded it to Britt Blaser who is working with the Dean campaign. Britt is "Mr. Execution" and before I knew it, The Dean for Iowa Game happened. Congratulations to all involved!

Warren Ellis, author of Transmetropoitan and "die puny humans", asked some of us to do something for his blog on thinking about the coming year. I took the opportunity to expose the "die puny humans" facet of my identity. It's a slightly different persona than the one I use here so it was fun to write. Warren's got quite an interesting roundup of people.

Actually, I guess the technical term is, "yo duuuude."

Well maybe those days are over, but there's one thing for sure - Joi will have a drink - again.  Maybe on New Year's Eve - maybe 20 years from now - but once an addict, always an addict.  I mean that in a nice way.

We can try and intellectualize our way out of our problems, manipulating our actions and behavior to suit our health - mental, physcial or economic - but you'll always go back to being - just you. 

I would beg to differ on this point Marc. Since I announced that I would stop drinking, I've been contacted by a lot of people who have chosen to stop drinking and that was the end of that. I realize that it's quite difficult and you can't go back to NOT being addicted, but that doesn't mean you have to end up drinking again or that you don't have a choice.

As for:

Marc Canter
So as Joi dumbs down his persona, going for only the lowest denominator, he'll still pick his battles, stand his ground and make his point on all the right issues.  But he'll be doing that less and less.
I'm not sure I'd use the phrase "dumb down"... I'm not dumbing myself down for my blog, just performing for a more public audience. It's not about "smart/dumb". In fact, I'd suggest that I'm having to be a lot smarter in some ways and am filtering crap that only my close friends would let me get a way with.

Anyway, I know you didn't mean any disrespect Marc. I just want to clarify my position on these two points.

Barlow and I did an audio IChat AV session yesterday. Barlow has some interesting thoughts about this on his blog. When I was in Helsinki, Matt Jones also talked about how he kept Skype on all the time in the background with his partner who was in another country and felt her presence through the ambient sounds. Another person told me about how he listened to his daughter's piano practice on Skype.

My sister calls it "ambient virtual co-presence" in her paper (pdf) about Japanese mobile culture. She talks about this in the context of texting and talking on the mobile phone. She discusses how the value was not always in the content being exchanged, but in the fact that people felt connected when they were constantly exchanging traffic. The "connection" can be IM, voice, text messages or just about anything that allows you to feel someone's presence.

Over a decade ago, Barlow blew my mind with his essay, "Selling Wine Without Bottles: The Economy of Mind on the Global Net" I think the next one is, "It's not the wine, it's the company" or something.

As Barlow points out, when all this stuff becomes literally free, we can do it "always on" instead of being so m-time "hello/goodbye" about phone calls. I do think audio will become a part of presence. My sister focuses on how mobile computing is a seamless part of our real world instead of the traditional "real life/cyberspace" notion of something we are either in our not. I think combining these two things is an area that will really change the way we live our lives for better or for worse.

Reading Jill's comments over on misbehaving reminded me of a game that some people play in Japan. (I learned it from Eno-san.) It originated with business cards, but has moved to mobile phones. There are three people: two players and a judge. The two players pick someone from their address books and reveal them to each other simultaneously. The judge decides which one is more famous or important. The loser has to shred the business card or in the case of mobile phones, delete that entry from the address book. It's quite funny because you try to play important people to beat the other person, but if you lose, you lose a valuable phone number. The judge's perspective of what sort of person is important also comes into play in an interesting way.

It's no fun when you have backups of your phone numbers, but in Japan, where most people don't backup their mobile phone numbers, it's often for keeps.

Don't try this at home.

I know this is comparing apples and oranges, but that's what I've got: apples and oranges.

The Nokia 6600 has a 65,536 color 176 x 208 pixel display and a 640 x 480 pixel camera whereas the Sony SO505iS has a 262,144 color 240 x 320 display and a 1280 × 960 pixel camera. Both displays are bright, but the Sony display and camera win.

They're about the same size and weight, but the 6600 feels much more comfortable in my hand. Warm, round and buttons in the right place. The SO505iS is cold and a bit awkward (as if a digital camera and a phone got merged in the machine in "The Fly"). Having said that, the SO505iS is much better than the SO505i that it replaces. It's thinner and generally better designed. (The antenna doesn't stick out of your chin, the camera turns on when you open the camera cover, etc.)

The SO505iS runs J2ME and Flash applications whereas the 6600 runs J2ME and Symbian applications. The UI on the 6600 is utilitarian and simple whereas the Sony sports an animated background and a OS X sort of zooming icon wheel. The Sony has a two speaker stereo system and a stereo mini-plug for headphones where you can listen to music and watch videos from the proprietary memory stick in their proprietary media format. (You can record your favorite TV shows onto your memory stick and watch them on the train.)

The biggest difference is that you have to be a rocket scientist to figure out all of the message and data modes on the 6600. The blessing and the horror of the open system is that 6600 has to deal with all of the carrier inconsistencies and trying to figure out how to get online with the 6600 reminded me of just how screwed up the telco standardization process is. The SO505iS, on the other hand comes from the dictatorship of Docomo so what it lacks in flexibility and openness, it benefits in simplicity. Shoot a photo, click and send. Moblog away. I have yet to be able to send a picture via email from my 6600.

Both phones have lots of applications, but the Symbian applications are impressively Internet aware. There is an IRC client and IM client. Docomo, with it's rather closed architecture regarding networking has some cool applications, but they are really focused on providing content and services.

I would probably have a different opinion if I still used my Vaio, but the SO505iS really doesn't want to have anything to do with my Mac. The 6600 on the other hand, loves my Mac, talking to it in Bluetooth and even happily becoming a gprs modem for it. Zooming in a cab in San Francisco with my 6600 in my pocket and my PowerBook on my lap online was a great feeling. (Thanks for showing me how to do this Rael!)

Having said that, this is a totally useless review because you can't use the 6600 in Japan because we don't have a GSM network and you can't use the SO505iS anywhere outside of Japan because it uses Docomo's proprietary PDC network, or rather Docomo uses the SO505iS. Thus apples and oranges.

Emily - Smartmobs
«Intexicated»: Texting under the influence

The Sunday Mail reports that the problem of texting under the influence has become so common, it has been given a name; «intexicated».

According to research by Virgin Mobile, out of the 60 million texts sent daily in December, 15 million of them are sent by people who have had one too many.

Virgin said that two thirds of women who text while drunk send messages to former lovers and some text the wrong person.

A public relations officer in London sent a sexually explicit message to dad instead of boyfriend Dan after hitting the wrong button.

Lucky for me I don't drink anymore. I can see how intexicating could seem fun at the time, but could be trouble.

danah points out the gender bias in the article.

I've had blogger's block lately. As more people read my blog, I realize that I am writing for larger and larger audience. Just about every time I post something, I get thoughtful comments and email from a variety of perspectives. I realize that post early/post often is probably the best policy for blogging, but the rigor in which entries are discussed and the increasing percentage of people who I meet who have read my blog cause me to try to blog about things which are interesting yet not likely to cause me to spend a lot of time defending myself. The fact is, I'm becoming more and more conservative about what I blog.

danah boyd often talks about the collapsing of the facets of our identity. (As I continue to collapse her context by linking to her constantly.) She quotes an article about "Mom Finds Out About Blog". This relates to Erving Goffman's "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life" where he talks about how we perform differently to different audiences presenting different facets of our identity. The problem with many blogs is that the audience includes so many different communities of people that it collapses the facets of one's identity and requires you to choose a rather shallow facet which becomes your public identity. For instance, I know that people in the US State Department, friends from my Chicago DJ days, my employees, my family, thoughtful conservatives from Texas, cypherpunk friends, foreign intelligence officers, Japanese business associates and close friends all read my blog occasionally. In real life, I present a very different facet of my identity to these different communities, but on my blog I have to imagine how all of them will react as a craft these entries. None of them get the depth that I am able to present when I am performing for them directly. So, although I am exposing many personal thoughts such as my decision to quit drinking, the depth of my identity is becoming shallow because the context is collapsed. Most of the truly thoughtful comments I have received about my drinking have been in email and IM and I am sure my blog will not help me discover my inner goofball.

Halley writes about intimacy. What does it mean? I think intimacy relates to the Robin Dunbar's magic number 150. At this moment there are 87 people hanging out on #joiito and 216 people in my instant messenger buddy list (some are the same people). On the other hand, I have 490 connections in LinkedIn, have 510 phone numbers in my cell phone and get about 1000 new years cards. On my blog, I get about 13,000 unique sessions (30,000 page views) per day. Today, I attended a fund-raising meeting for a non-profit, and a political campaigner said that generally, one was expected to have to shake 50,000 hands to get elected.

Ross Mayfield broke the networks down into political, social and creative at 1000's, 150 and 12, but my feeling is that the political layer is 10's of thousands and next layer is business at 500 and social at 150 and creative at 12. This is not scientific, but just my personal observation. If this is true, this blog is approaching the political layer which explains why I feel that I get more business done on LinkedIn, but I feel much more candid and happy on IRC and Chat and why I still really love dinner conversations most of all. I think that if you can manage the audience size and composition on your blog, you can tune it to any of these layers. Mena often talks about how blogs are more about normal people blogging with their friends than about pundits competing against the media. I would agree and think this may be more rewarding at an emotional level than taking your blog to the political level. What you have to be careful of is that you never know when you might suddenly become popular or when your mom might drop into your blog and your context will collapse around you. Managing your audience and the facets of your identity is a very difficult thing and navigating this has and always will be one of our biggest challenges both in the real world and online.

Blogging about not being able to blog...

Ars Electronica, which is always on the cutting edge of expression using new technologies and has created a new category called "Digital Communities". I will be on the jury with Howard Rheingold, Jane Metcalfe and several other people I'm looking forward to meeting.

Among the projects, phenomena and fields of activity subsumed under the heading Digital Communities are:

social software
eDemocracy, eGovernment, eGovernance
emergent democracy
collective weblogs, social networking systems
filtering and reputation systems
social self-support groups
learning and knowledge communities
computer supported collaborative processes
gaming communities
digital neighborhoods, community networks
free net initiatives, wireless LAN projects
digital cities, urban development projects
citizen involvement initiatives, citizen conferences


Total: 40,000 Euro

2 Golden Nicas
10,000 Euro each

4 Awards of Distinction
5,000 Euro each

Up to 14 Honorary Mentions

Please see the web page for more details, but I look forward to seeing your submissions.

I'll be leaving for a few hours to return to Japan. This trip was an abnormally long trip for me (over 1 week). Almost enough time for me to adjust to the time zone. Met a lot of people, but not everyone I had hoped to meet. Apologizes to those who I missed this time around.

John Perry Barlow has started a blog!

The Meatrix. A parody flash animation with a political message. Nice.

The governor of Nagano ordered an security audit of their network with a focus on the Basic Residents Registry system of the central government. I was asked to take a look at the audit and provide a 3rd party opinion. Since I am on the central government panel working on the security of the Basic Residents Registry, my letter has become a bit controversial and apparently my phone is ringing off the hook right now in Tokyo. Lucky for me I'm in the US...

I'm not looking forward to returning to Tokyo.

The central government denies security problems and I am going to have to deal with this when I return to Tokyo...

The audit is not yet completed and my audit of the audit is an opinion based on incomplete information. I will be meeting with both sides when I return to Tokyo and will probably be required to write another opinion after the final results of the audit have been submitted and I have heard the arguments from the central government.

Mainichi reports some of this in English

Here's the letter.

December 11, 2003 Governor Yasuo Tanaka

Dear Governor Tanaka:

I have reviewed in detail the security audit that your outside auditors conducted on three towns in Nagano. I reviewed their process, data and analysis. I also interviewed the key members of the team for several hours and discussed their methodology and conclusions.

Generally speaking, the security level at the sites was below average and a variety of personal information about your citizens is at risk of being stolen and modified.

The team conducted audits from the Internet and from inside the local government offices. The team was given very limited time to conduct their audits. The penetration test from the Internet was not successful. The tests from inside the government offices were quite successful. The audit was limited to computers inside the local government offices, so the Jyukinet was not attacked directly. However, the computer that connects directly to Jyukinet, the “CS server” and the “Reams server” which is inside the local government network both have databases of the Jyukinet data of the citizens living in the city. Both of these servers were vulnerable and the audit team was able to take control of them. This would theoretically allow them to edit, delete and create new citizen records. It was not tested, but it is likely that editing this database would cause these false records to be sent to the central Jyukinet system.

In addition, there were numerous files containing sensitive personal information unrelated to Jyukinet accessible on the local government network with no protection.

Although it was not possible to penetrate the local government network from the Internet, there were dialup accounts for remote offices that allowed users to connect to the local government’s network. It is possible that these dialup accounts could be exploited to allow someone to dial into the network. In addition, the library in one city was directly connected to the network. As anyone can use the library’s machines or connect their computer to the network, anyone can download the sensitive files being “shared” on the machines without any “hacker skills”.

Breaking into the CS Server and the Reams server, which contained Jyukinet data for the local citizens, was quite easy. They were running systems that had not been properly updated with security patches. The passwords were very obvious on the system as well as on the database and were quickly cracked. The software running on the server was written with “buffer overflow” vulnerabilities that show a lack of understanding of security by the developer of the code. I recommend a third party security audit of the software running on these systems. A computer engineer using freely available tools would be able to exploit any of these vulnerabilities to gain access to the Jyukinet data.

In summary, I believe that the security level of the networks were below average and any average computer network engineer could break into and steal or damage a variety of personal information including Jyukinet information. The people working in the office and in particular, the vendors providing the system security are not sensitive to security and privacy issues. The servers have not been maintained properly and the selection of passwords (many had default passwords or easily guessable passwords) was irresponsible and showed a complete lack of attention to security. I strongly urge that the priority on security for privacy purposes be increased significantly, both in local government offices and vendors providing solutions to these local governments. I believe that the citizens and the people responsible for protecting their information are significantly at risk.

Best regards,
Joichi Ito

John C. Dvorak and his new book
Rounded up some of the the local capital "J" journalists last night and had an interesting dinner. Mostly we just played with gadgets talked politics, but it's always fun to hear journalists talk shop.

"Oh, what are you working on these days." "I'm working on a few scoops." "Oh! Like what?" ;-)

Reminds me of sitting next to Dave Weinberger at a conference where we kept looking over each other's shoulders when we were blogging.

John Dvorak dropped in briefly to plug his new book.

So far so good...

I haven't had a drink since I quit drinking. It may just be the novelty, but I'm enjoying myself greatly. I slept 10 hours last night (the most I can remember sleeping in years), I feel great and interestingly I don't feel and physiological withdrawals. I have the momentary, "boy, I need a drink" at the beginning of dinner, but once I get over that, I seem to be fine. Maybe it's that I'm surrounded by interesting people. Also, I realize that I can now work productively after dinner and my conversations during dinner are lucid and more intelligent. Anyway, I know that the "when you least expect it, expect it" rule applies here, but I think I'm off to a good start thanks to all of your support. Thanks everyone.

PS If anyone catches me staring longly at a bottle of wine, feel free to smack me.

The other day, in #joiito, a pretty hardcore troll dropped into the channel. The funny thing was, everyone was like, "weeee a real live troll, lets play with the troll!" The troll was sufficiently outnumbered by our band of merry IRCers and I think the troll figured out that at then end, the joke was on him/her. It's nice when you have a community that can deal with trolls at a meta level and even have fun with it.

They showed a great flash animation explaining Creative Commons and giving an update. It's a 7 meg flash file. They will post a smaller version of it on the CC site later. Just wanted to post this for people who missed yesterday's party.

There is a credit roll at the end of the animation. Thanks to everyone who worked on this.

via Larry

Anil introduced me to rebecca blood of rebecca's pocket last night at the CC party. I remember reading rebecca's ten tips for a better weblog when I was starting my blog. They were my guiding principles. If you're starting a blog and are trying to figure out how and what you should write about, I'd start there.
Tip #3
Know your intended audience. You conduct yourself differently with your friends than you do with professional associates, strangers, customers, or your grandmother. Knowing for whom you are writing will allow you to adopt an appropriate tone.
This is the difficult question that many of us deal with because sometimes we end up with unintended audiences or our contexts collapse. danah and I have been discussing this issue a lot in the context of Goffman and managing the facets of your identity. rebecca's ten tips are a good place to start because you'll never be able to manage developing a facet of your identity unless you have enough passion about what you are writing to do it frequently and rigorously enough to make your blog interesting. If you focus on your passion, it's likely you will attract the audience you are looking for. Having said that, sometimes contexts do collapse and you get unintended audiences. This can tend to cause a chilling effect and make it difficult to write freely. If your blog becomes popular, this is inevitable. Having said that, it often adds more rigor and forces you to research more thoroughly before posting, which is a good thing.
I've blogged about Joe before, but he's an old buddy of mine from "back in the day." He made Starship Warlock, one of the coolest CD ROM games during that period. Recently, Joe's been doing Flash animations/stories with music. The last series he did, Radiskull and Devil Doll rocked. It really defined a new style. Now he's got a preview of his new series, Dicky & Jackie online. Thanks for coming to the CC party Joe. Now you've got to release some stuff under CC. ;-)

I'd like to put together a photo album on TypePad of last night's Creative Commons party. If you have any photos you wouldn't mind sharing under a CC by-nc-sa license, please send them to me. I will play editor and select photos and add my own captions, but if you have captions, especially names of people in photos, that would be helpful. If you've posted the pictures yourself, please either post links here or trackback.

Thanks for all of those who showed up. It was a great party!

I've been trying to "cut back" on my drinking, but it doesn't work. I got drunk last night and I regret it. So, I've quit drinking. If you're my friend please be supportive and don't offer me alcohol please.

Thank you.

UPDATE: We have set up a group blog called "We Quit Drinking". Please take a look.

I'm in SF for the Creative Commons board meeting and I'll be at the CC party Sunday. Drop by if you can.

PARTY -- You are invited!

Why: One Year Anniversary of the Creative Commons tools and licenses.
When: Sunday, December 14, 6:00 - 9:00 pm.

Where: 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna Street, San Francisco, CA. (View Map).

  • An address by Lawrence Lessig
  • The sequel to the first Creative Commons animated hit, "Get Creative"
  • Special guests
  • CC Tunes
  • Appetizers & Drinks
Space is limited, so RSVP, please! --

And if you are one of my "cool SF friends" you WILL be there.

A great QT Movie of the Ginza Apple store opening.

Via Markoff

The J-Wave interview was a blast. We must have said "blog" 50 times in 30 minutes. It was especially fun because everyone there were recent blog addicts. We tried very hard to explain it to people who had never blogged before, but I think a few times we probably got a bit hardcore. Anyway, I think if nothing else, we were able to convey our excitement and people will at least try to learn more about blogs. J-Wave is the 3rd largest radio station in Japan and has a lot of reach so I hope we have some impact. We got a lot of email from people during the show.

Anyway, thanks Sachi and Nonaka-san!

Here's the 32 meg mp3 of the show. (It's in Japanese.)

I'm trying to order a Treo 600 for my next trip to the US. There is a problem processing my web order. I get an email that has a phone number in the US and says, "PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL AS IT WAS AUTO-GENERATED". I'm still on hold and have been on hold for about over an hour. Soon my phone bill will be more than the cost of the phone.

What's going on when ATT has 1 hr phone queues and doesn't take support question via email. Blah. I'm going to have to get ready to go to a meeting and will lose my place in line.

"Your call IS important to us. We value your business and appreciate your patience."

Well, if you value my business, get more support staff and let me reply to your email! Ugh.

I don't have time for this. I'm hanging up. Bye bye ATT Wireless.

Dan Gillmor blogs about Al Gore's endorsement of Dean and explains why it makes so much sense. Nice one Dan. I hadn't thought about it that way, but it makes total sense.

I've just decided on a new policy for myself...

Everyone knows that you can google bomb or google wash terms by writing your post in a way that emphases certain keywords people will probably search for. I've been writing about Goffman, gender, and lots of other things I really don't know anything about. I'd hate for some of the entries I'm writing to end up with too much google ranking.

I'm going to make a point to have cryptic titles for entries where I'm talking to my regulars and not to Google.

I'm going to be on the Japanese FM radio station J-Wave tonight talking about blogging. I just got a technorati inbound instant message from my technorati script telling me that I just received a link from Sachiko who will be interviewing me tonight. She blogged about meeting me today. She blogs! How cool is that. Look forward to meeting you!

It's from 21:15 on J-Wave if anyone is interested, but if you're reading this, you probably don't need to listen. ;-)

If you go to google and search for "miserable failure" you get bio of George W Bush. This is a bloggers' google bomb.

Newsday article on the topic

Thanks Kev for the clarification

I had lunch with Willem Dakota Neuefeind Lessig and his parents Larry and Bettina. Willem is still three months old but gets around quite a bit. He was visiting Tokyo this week and invited me to lunch with his parents. Apparently Willem and Larry have a game they play where they take turns mimicking and repeating what the other says. One time Larry cheated and repeated the phrase twice instead of one time according to the rules. Willem was very upset by this and questions Larry's understanding of the rule of law.

I met Jean-François Maïon in Helsinki last week. We were talking about blogs. I think I helped get him over the hump to start a blog. Nice photos.

I feel like a proud dad. Six Apart's Movable Type got 5 stars, TypePad got 4 stars and an Editors' Choice and Socialtext Workspace got an 4 stars and an Editors' Choice in the recent PC Magazine's Editors' Choice Awards.

Good work folks!

Larry is using a white-list spam filter called Mail Blocks. I used to run a server side white-list spam blocker but people got upset so I stopped. Now people are upset because of false positives and just getting buried in my email. I think I'll try this for awhile. Bear with me. You will probably get a challenge/response the first time you send me email again.

I've been getting more and more email with links to flash animations. I'm going to have to try making my own flash animations again. What's interesting is to think about flash in the context of creative commons and how people are sharing their tricks and their code. Here are a few new ones and a list of some of my other favorites.

UPDATE: gansta gollum via Accordian Guy via Betsy - awesome

Oh! And don't forget the Creative Commons flash animation contest. Deadline is Dec 31. First prize is a dual CPU Apple G5.

I was thinking about Frank joining Tim Leary and my other friends on the other side. I was also thinking about how my new friend Bo entered my life as another one left. Then, I remembered Bojangles Leary. Bojanges, or "Bo" was Timothy Leary's dog (I knew it sounded familiar... I must have associated it sub-conciously.) Bojanges was a really friendly dog that always made me feel at home at Tim's house. Remembering Bojangles reminded me of one of my favorite Bojangles stories.

One day when Genesis P-Orridge and his family were staying at Tim's house, a big stretched limo drove up to Tim's house. The driver came to the door and asked for Bojangles Leary. Genesis, said, "Who?" "The dog sir..." The driver was picking up Bojangles to go play with Tony Scott's dog (I can't remember his name). They were good friends and they had a date on the beach. Tim's house was such an amazing mix of sub-culture, Beverly Hills and just about anything else that wandered into Tim's house where the doors were always open... I miss Tim too.

Frank Burns, founder of the Meta Network passed away yesterday. MDG Japan, a company I set up to distribute the Meta Network's online conferencing package, Caucus in Japan was the first company I ever started. Frank was one of the first people who believed in me. I was just a crazy teenager, but he treated me like an adult. He took me under his wing. I learned a lot from Frank. He was a great mentor and a great friend. I will miss him dearly, but he will live on in the connections between all of the wonderful people who were inspired by him and continue to inspire each other. So long Frank... See you on the other side.

Our neighbor's dog had puppies and we went over to see them today. We ended up coming home with a puppy. She doesn't have a name yet and she looks really scared and sad. Poor puppy. Anyway, we need to think of a name for her and start her potty training. Yikes!

UPDATE: She's relaxing a bit now...

I'm on my way back to Tokyo from Helsinki. It's been a great trip. So long and thanks for all the fish!

Seyed Razavi has announced that he has shut down Blogshares. As Jeff Jarvis says, "It was fun while it lasted."

Look forward to seeing what Seyed is cooking up next that's kept him too busy to run Blogshares...

Thanks for the heads up Jason

Speaking of turtles... don't forget the badgers...

The TypePad powered Cocolog offered by Nifty just launched and the CEO, Mr. Furukawa has started his own blog. Blog on Furukawa-san! (Sorry, it's in Japanese.)

Rael Dornfest just launched MobileWhack.

MobileWhack is all about that mobile handset, palmtop, hiptop, ipod, or laptop in your pocket, purse, briefcase, or dangling from your utility belt. It's about squeezing every last ounce of mobility out of your mobile device.
Looks cool!

From left to right. whiskey rings at Hvitträsk, Elk "Wallenberg" receipe, the childhood home of Tove Jansson, ice breakers
Amazing Finnish day yesterday. Started the morning meeting Marko's mom and dad. Then we went to Hvitträsk.
Hvitträsk was built 1901–1903, by three architects, Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen. The main building, designed in National Romantic style, built of logs and natural stone, was both a common studio and a home for Eliel Saarinen and Armas Lindgren. Gesellius lived in the courtyard building. The Saarinen home is a museum today, and the courtyard building has a restaurant and a café. Hvitträsk and the garden in English style are surrounded by beautiful nature.
Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen were basically three young and really smart architects from Helsinki Polytechnic, graduating just 8 years or so after the first architecture program there. They lead the field of architecture in Finland and paved the way for generations to come. It seems like they were an edgy, hyper-motivated team trying to change the world through their lifestyle. It reminds me of etoy. Everything from the furniture to the clothing was design by the team. One funny thing was the "Whiskey Rings" in the main living/party room. If you had too much whiskey where you couldn't stand on one leg while holding on to a whiskey ring, you had to go to bed.

In the evening we went to Keitto Kokka, a famous restaurant in Helsinki. We had a "Game Food Course". We cooked our own wild game meal while being tutored on wild game, cooking and wine. I worked on the Elk. We also had hare and pigeon. It was absolutely amazing and fun. The passion of the chef and the sommelier was also completely contagious. Unfortunately, as the evening went on, my jet lag kicked in an I almost passed out at the end. Apologies to the other guests. ;-)

During dinner, Lisa took me out on a short break to see some sites near the restaurant. I got to see the impressive ice breakers, sitting in the harbor waiting to be called out to break lanes in the ice as the ice starts to form in the sea.

We also passed the childhood home of Tove Jansson. She is the author of the Moomin series which was my main memory of Finland growing up as a child. I loved to watch Moomin on TV in Japan. Lisa told me that Tove was said to be a lesbian and that she was not allowed to read Moomin growing up as a child. Tove supposedly lived on a loft hanging over the main room that her father had built and wrote about the wild parties that her parents threw that would leave her loft swinging. I didn't know anything about the author of the Moomin series so this connection to a childhood memory was very interesting.

Thanks Marko et al!

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