Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

March 2004 Archives

I just arrived in Canne. I'm giving a talk tomorrow and will be on a panel the day after for Milia...

Ze Frank, who was on my panel yesterday has a hilarious movie. MUST See. Makes fun of Friendster, Orkut and Wallop.

And Ze is a VERY funny guy. Check out his web page.

You silly French. I love this picture of Loic. ;-)

I'm looking forward to going to Cannes tomorrow.

Seth Godin
The New Google

Google changed their UI today. The scary thing is how wrong it feels. Obviously, the small changes aren't wrong, but the fact that you notice them is a testament to how spectacular the marketing of the "original" Google was.

The funny thing is... When I was chairman of Infoseek Japan, we would do user surveys every time we changed the UI, and almost EVERY time we did it just about 50% of the people hated the new UI. It was always big let-down after spending so much time re-doing the UI. I think people get used to their tools and hate it when you muck with the design, even if it makes it better... at least unless it really sucked before the change.

Wet talked last night with Linda Stone about her idea of continuous partial attention. She says it is different from multi-tasking.

Linda Stone

It's not the same as multitasking; that's about trying to accomplish several things at once. With continuous partial attention, we're scanning incoming alerts for the one best thing to seize upon: "How can I tune in in a way that helps me sync up with the most interesting, or important, opportunity?

This is really relevant to some of the thoughts I've been having about the UI of mobile devices and how they fade in and out of your attention rather than being on or off like computer screens. Yes, you do this a bit with computers, but not nearly as seamlessly as mobile phones are integrated in the real world by advanced users.

Also, the IRC back channel at conferences or the multi-modal distance learning projects where you have a video of the speaker, the power point presentation, the chat, the wiki and the back channel going at the same time. It CAN be very overwhelming, but I think it's because we are conditioned to think that we need to understand all of the information that is being transmitted.

I think an interesting metaphor might be the difference between loss-less and lossy compression technology. There is so much information being transmitted and it doesn't matter if you everything exactly (or if you are getting exactly the same bits as someone else). You can glean from the fire-hose in the mode that makes the most sense for you. The trick is to get a picture of what is going on from a perspective that makes sense for you in a format that compresses well for you. I think that if we stop trying to "catch it all" which we are conditioned to do, and think more in terms of lossy compression and surfing parallel streams and multi-modes, maybe it is easier.

Also, we discussed last night now human brains are adapting to these changes and how probably younger generations will continue to grow up differently and interfaces and modes will adapt again to this new generation. This has a lot to do with the discussion on ADD.

Good entry in Smartmobs with more links.

Dan Gillmor
Valenti, Right and Wrong, Is a Man to Respect

How I wish Jack Valenti had been on our side in the copyright war.

Valenti will soon retire from his decades-long post as president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the industry's enormously effective lobbying arm. I'm going to miss him.

I recently met Jack at a conference last year but I first met Jack when I was working in Hollywood and was a translator at a meeting between him and the chairman of NHK, the Japanese public broadcasting company. I also worked with Jack's son, John, on Indian Runner. Jack always struck me as smart and charming and I have the same impression of him that Dan does. Jack gave Creative Commons a video message endorsement when Creative Commons launched. I agree with Dan that although I disagree violently with many of the things Jack stands for, I will miss him and wish all of our opponents were so gracious.

I've been thinking about finding interesting use of content sharing "in the wild" and trying to codify and transplant them. For instance, the dojinshi comics in Japan are fan derivative works of commercial comics. They are tolerated and sometimes even looked upon favorably by publishers in Japan because they are part of a positive fan community and sort of promote the originals.

Many forms of Japanese poetry are based on derivative works and often allow people to republish them as a part of the norm. This provides a very vibrant community of sharing and "commons building".

Both have functioning business models that thrive from increasing "commons" and active creative participation by the "audience".

Do people know of other examples in other countries?

Isn't it funny/interesting that Wallop, Microsoft's social networking project is built using flash, xml and sql while Orkut, Google's social network project is built using .Net and C#? Microsoft avoids being locked into the Microsoft platform while Orkut is completely locked in. hmmm... What does this mean?

A web site by a women who races her motorcycle through the Chernobyl "Ghost Town." Amazing photos.

about town where one can ride with no stoplights, no police, no danger to hit some cage or some dog..
via Markoff

I'm at Narita airport now on my to Seattle for a thingie at Microsoft. I hate the immigration at Seattle. I've had more bad experiences there than any other US port of entry I've ever been to. I've seen fathers deported because the checked "tourist" and mumbled something about visiting company friends and have had friends grilled for hours. I have also been treated rather poorly several times. I heard from someone that they trained immigration officers in Seattle. In any case, I'm not looking forward to it. I know my friends in the US State Department read this blog. {{waves to State Department readers}} If you don't see me blogging about landing safely in Seattle, do you mind giving Seattle immigrations a call to see if I'm stuck? Thanks.

Anyway, I'll probably see you soon from Seattle.

UPDATE: I took my chances with a sort of mean looking officer, but he turned out to be a gas. "Who are you here to see?" "Microsoft" "Why would you want to see THEM? [sarcastic smile]" "They asked me to speak" "Well, have a few sakes for me before you go on stage. hehe."

Unfortunately, he was so busy entertaining me that he forgot to stamp my customs papers and I got turned away at the exit and had to go back and get the stamp from him.

But it was funny and pleasant so I eat my words. I don't hate Seattle airport... right now.

Cory blogged about this, but beware if you are buying music on iTunes and are prone to buying new Macintosh computers. You can only authorize three machines to play your iTunes purchased music. I recently bought a new machine and gave my old one to a friend. I have a desktop and my original PowerBook is being used by my aunt. So I had to track down my friend and have him log in as me and "deauthorize" the machine before I could authorize this machine. Which basically means, you have three lives. Lose/wreck/give away/sell three Macs and your iTunes library is no longer available, although there appears to be a "contact customer service" method of dealing with deauthorizing computers you don't have access to. Anyway, like Cory, I feel like I'm being punished for buying lots of Macs and lots of iTunes music. I can see their point, but this is yet another example of how DRM will always suck from a user experience point of view.

My current friend and former nemesis, Hiroo Yamagata and I were on a panel with Larry Lessig last week. He casually mentioned that he had decided to translate Das Kapital into Japanese. He is one of the best translators in Japan and has translated Lessig, Leary, Krugman and many others. Anyway, he said that all of the existing translations were related to the Japanese communist party in some way and were edited and filtered. For instance, violence and other things were omitted. He remembered someone in college who argued Marx with him based on a faulty translation and in retrospect, this pissed him off. He decided to make a more accurate translation. Hiroo is kind of a weirdo, but it's because of people like him that some things that are lost in translation actually get fixed. Blatant censorship is pretty scary, but this reminded me how dangerous intentional mistranslations can be as well.

Correct Me If I'm Wrong...

...but I can't remember any current high-ranking member of the Bush Administration ever saying anything like what Richard Clarke said today:

Mr. Clarke began his testimony before the bipartisan, 10-member panel, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, with an apology to relatives of the 3,000 people killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

"Your government failed you," he said, his voice close to breaking. "Those entrusted with protecting you failed you, and I failed you."

"We tried hard," Mr. Clarke went on, "but that doesn't matter, because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask -- once all the facts are out -- for your understanding and your forgiveness."

If the President, any member of his Cabinet, or any other high-ranking political appointee of his has apologized for allowing the 9/11 attacks to take place on their watch, I'd like to know about it.





If I could so much ask, I would like to suggest others who own typepad sites and other blogs to put a note on theirs as a means to spread the word.

So until TypePad blogs are unblocked, you will all have to bear with this ugly black border around my blog.

Pass it on.

Via North Korea zone

UPDATE: I'm removing the black background because it seems to mess up some browsers and loads slowly for some reason. I have begun discussions with people who might be able to help us get unblocked. I will keep you updated if there is any progress.

Let’s Start Something

Anyone feel like recording a chapter of Lawrence Lessig’s new book?

What a great idea! Maybe someone can make some music for it too. Anyway, I better read the book first. ;-p

Xeni of Boing Boing writes in Wired News about Congress moving to criminalize P2P.
Read the full text of Senator Hatch's remarks describing children as "human shields against copyright owners and law enforcement agencies," and the "piracy machine designed to tempt them to engage in copyright piracy or pornography distribution," here.

Human shields my ass. These kids are customers who are being treated like criminals. I know this is dead horse kicking, but I've learned about and subsequently purchased more music online since I started sharing music files. As a DJ, when I made mixed tapes, I was promoting these bands to people who didn't know about them. Music sharing is a natural and essential method of promoting new artists. It's a small number of very famous artists who feel gypped by how easy it is to copy music. For must artists, the ability to copy and share music should be as important as promoting their music on the radio and through DJs.

I personally think that Creative Commons can solve a lot of these problems by allowing artists to select what type of copyright they would like for their music and allow P2P services to mark content with the proper copyright notice. Remember that even though Jack Valenti endorsed Creative Commons, at an operational basis, we (Creative Commons) have received resistance from the legal departments of the record companies when their artists have tried to choose Creative Commons licenses.

Lawrence Lessig
“Free Culture” is

Thanks to the lessons explained by others (Cory), and the courage of a great publisher (Penguin), Free Culture launches today with a free online version of the book, licensed under a Creative Commons license. You can get the book here, though at the moment, only the bittorrent version is apparently up. Later today, there will be a direct download available from the Free Culture site, and from the Amazon site.

Sorry, a bit late in blogging this...

I've been talking a lot about the Full-Time Intimate Community lately. I comes from work that Misa Matsuda is doing at her lab and I heard about this from my sister who is doing a lot of work in this area. It's a study about the mobile phone email communications of people in Japan and how people seem to keep in close contact with four or five people using a constant stream of messages. The point is that the content of the messages aren't as important as the fact that the people in this "Full-Time Intimate Community" are aware of the current state (awake, in bus, at school, happy, sad) of each other. It's a Granovetter "strong tie" community. Granovetter talks about how more valuable content flowed over "weak ties" and talked about the "strength of weak ties", but in the FTIC, it's not the "content" but rather the intimacy that is being transmitted. (Help me out here academics. I'm getting in a bit over my head. ;-p ) It's very much part of my "context vs content" rant about how presence and context is, in ways, more interesting than content and that content is just the carrier signal or substrate upon which community is built.

The fact that Glenn picked up "Full-Time Intimacy" as his title for the blog entry about the NPR SXSW audio postcard by Mary Bridges and Benjamen Walker makes me think that this word/meme has legs. ;-)

Loic blogs about and starts a wiki page on Emergent Democracy in Europe.

This should be a cool event. I'll be participating remotely in some way, but if you can make it, you should. I'm on the program committee.

Subject: Int'l Workshop on Inverse Surveillance: Camphones, 'glogs, and eyetaps

Call for Participation:
International Workshop on Inverse Surveillance:
Cameraphones, Cyborglogs, and Computational seeing aids;
exploring and defining a research agenda

Date: 2004 April 12th.
Time: 12:00noon to 4pm, EST (a working lunch will be served)
Location: Colony Hotel (1-866-824-9330), 89 Chestnut Street, Toronto


* Camera phones and pocket organizers with sensors;
* Weblogs ('blogs), Moblogs, Cyborglogs ('glogs);
* Wearable camera phones and personal imaging systems;
* Electric eyeglasses and other computational seeing and memory aids;
* Recording experiences in which you are a participant;
* Portable personal imaging and multimedia;
* Wearable technologies and systems;
* Ethical, legal, and policy issues;
* Privacy and related technosocial issues;
* Democracy and emergent democracy (protesters organizing with SMS camphones);
* Safety and security;
* Technologies of lifelong video capture;
* Personal safety devices and wearable "black box" recorders;
* Research issues in "people looking at people";
* Person-to-person sharing of personal experiences;
* End of gender-specific space (e.g. blind man guided by wife: which restroom?);
* Subjectright: ownership of photograph by subject rather than photographer;
* Reverse copyright: protect information recipient, not just the transmitient;
* Interoperability and open standards;
* Algebraic Projective Geometry from a first-person perspective;
* Object Detection and Recognition from a first-person perspective;
* Computer Vision, egonomotion and way-finding technologies;
* Lifelong Image Capture: data organization; new cinematographic genres;
* New Devices and Technologies for ultra miniature portable cameras;
* Social Issues: fashion, design, acceptability and human factors;
* Electronic News-gathering and Journalism;
* Psychogeography, location-based wearable computing;
* Augmented/Mediated/Diminished Reality;
* Empowering children with inverse surveillance: Constructionist learning, creation of own family album, and prevention of both bullying by peers and abuse by teachers or other officials.

IWIS 2004 will be a small intimate discussion group, limited to 25 participants.

Email your name, the name of your organization, and what you might add to the meeting, as part of a one page extended abstract, outlining your position on, and proposed contribution to the theme of inverse surveillance. Submissions should be sent by email to hilab at Alternatively, authors may email up to four pages, in IEEE two column camera-ready format that address the theme of inverse surveillance. Prospective participants wishing to submit a full paper may also contact the workshop facilitators prior to submission.

All participants (accepted papers or extended abstracts) will have the opportunity to contribute to the published proceedings.

There is no workshop registration fee. There is no submission deadline; reviews will continue until there are sufficient numbers of high quality theme-relevant contributors.

* Dr. Jim Gemmell, MyLifeBits (lifetime data storage) project with Gordon Bell; author of various publications on lifelong personal experience capture.
* Joi Ito, Japan's leading thinker on technology; ranked among the "50 Stars" by Business Week; commended by Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications; chosen by World Economic Forum as one of the 100 "Global Leaders of Tomorrow"; Board member of Creative Commons;
* Anastasios Venetsanopoulos, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto; author on hundreds of publications on image processing.
* John M. Kennedy, Chair, Department of Life Sciences, UTSC; author of Drawing and the Blind: Pictures to Touch.
* Dr. Stefanos Pantagis, Physician, Hackensack University Medical Center; Geriatrician, doing research on wearable computers to assist the blind, and clinical work on brainwave EyeTap interfaces for Parkison's patients.
* Steve Mann, author of CYBORG: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer; 30 years experience inventing, designing, building, and wearing devices and systems for personal imaging.
* Douglas Schuler, former chair, Computing Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR); founding member SCN.
* Stephanie Perrin, Former Chief Privacy Officer of Zero-Knowledge Systems; Former Director of Privacy Policy for Industry Canada's Electronic Commerce Task Force; responsible for developing domestic privacy policies, new technologies, legislation, standards and public education; recipient of the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award.
* Dr. Jason Nolan, Senior Fellow, Mcluhan Program in Culture and Technology
* Dr. Nina Levent, art historian, Whitney Museum; works with visually impaired; collaboration on using EyeTaps and wearcamphones in museum education.
* Elizabeth Axel, founder, Art Education for the Blind, Inc. (AEB); collaboration on using EyeTaps and wearcamphones in museum education.

ORGANIZERS: S. Mann; S. Martin (; and J. Nolan.
IWIS 2004 arises from planning over, the past 2 years, at Deconference 2002/2003.

ADMINISTRATION: PDC, 416-978-3481 or toll free 1-888-233-8638

I just got email saying that TypePad is being blocked in China. Can anyone else confirm this?

Umm... thanks Betsy. But I would rather have been superman. But I guess it's better than this.

My photoshopping has definitely gotten better since I've started blogging.

Lucky for MT users that images in comments are turned off by default now.

New Technorati beta launches. New looks, new features. Go to to give it a whirl.

60 Minutes
Did Bush Press For Iraq-9/11 Link?

"Rumsfeld was saying that we needed to bomb Iraq," Clarke said to Stahl. "And we all said ... no, no. Al-Qaeda is in Afghanistan. We need to bomb Afghanistan. And Rumsfeld said there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan. And there are lots of good targets in Iraq. I said, 'Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with it.

"Initially, I thought when he said, 'There aren't enough targets in-- in Afghanistan,' I thought he was joking.

via Dan Gillmor

8.7MB movie about... an iPod race.

via Markoff

The blogs have created another Dave. Now don't get me wrong. Some of my best friends are Daves, but we definitely have too many Daves.

Dr. Seuss
Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave
Had twenty-three sons, and she named them all Dave?

Well, she did. And that wasn't a smart thing to do.
You see, when she wants one, and calls out "Yoo-Hoo!
Come into the house, Dave!" she doesn't get one.
All twenty-three Daves of hers come on the run!

This makes things quite difficult at the McCaves'
As you can imagine, with so many Daves.
And often she wishes that, when they were born,
She had named one of them Bodkin Van Horn.
And one of them Hoos-Foos. And one of them Snimm.
And one of them Hot-Shot. And one Sunny Jim.
Another one Putt-Putt. Another one Moon Face.
Another one Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face.
And one of them Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate...

But she didn't do it. And now it's too late.


Loaf is a way to share your address book without abandoning your privacy.
Yet another cool idea hatched on IRC by Joshua and Maciej with help from Peter and Dan. It's a distributed email hack that uses Bloom Filters to allow you to check whether mail is from people you know, partial strangers or complete strangers. Lots of obvious applications in spam filters and social networks. Good stuff.

Check out the web page.

Six Apart announced TypeKey. It's a user login system that can among other things, help prevent comment spam. It will work with Movable Type 3.0 and TypePad.


via danah

Not that most of you will care, but we have three dogs now. Our friend moved to a new apartment and couldn't keep her dog, Dino. Dino's a bit stressed from being in quarantine at Narita for a month. We got Pookie from another neighbor. Anyway, Bo, Pookie and Dino are running around the house right now like the cartoon Tasmanian devil.

Dishonest Dubya. Funny.

via Peggy

Orkut's "my friends" window seems to put the most recently active users on top. In other words, the people in your friends window are probably recently online. I have begun to use this method to find active people on IM, email or IRC.

Speaking of racial stereotypes... Here's a cartoon of bloggers writing about the the impeachment in Korea from a Korean newspaper. On the other hand, at least they're reading the blogs.

via dda on IRC

When I was flying into Austin from Tokyo, I had a connection in SFO. When I arrived, there were a bunch of friends waiting to board the flight to Austin to go to SXSW. They told us there were maintenance problems with the flight and they kept delaying the flight until finally, 3 hours later, they cancelled it. There was a mad rush to the gate agent who booked us onto a Continental flight to Austin through Houston. In Houston, there were two flights to Austin and we were randomly distributed between the later flight and the earlier flight. The earlier flight was fully booked so Craig (of Craig's List) used his negotiating skills to get them to treat our posse as a "unit" and get us on the earlier flight. Yay Craig. No wonder why it's called Craig's List. We had decided not to leave any man behind. We all boarded the flight, but once we were on, we realized that Matt Haughey had made it down the jetway, but wasn't on the flight. Ooops. We failed our oath.

Apparently, the same flight was cancelled the next day too. Ev was on that flight and missed a day of SXSW.

Now, I'm here in Austin, waiting for the reverse flight from Austin to SFO to go back to Tokyo. I turns out, the crew isn't here. In fact, it's exactly time to take off and they just told us that the crew is still at the hotel. They didn't know they were supposed to be on this flight. Ooops.

At least I'm sitting with a bunch of cool friends. I'm also glad that I decided to take the later flight out of SFO. On the other hand, who knows when we're leaving Austin. I know most of you don't care about my travel woes, but I'll keep you updated anyway.

Mesa Airlines is a United Airlines partner. "#1 On Time" Sha... Right.

UPDATE: "We are still looking trying to locate several of the crew members..."

UPDATE: 8:20AM - "We have located the crew. They are on their way to the airport." (The flight was supposed to leave at 7:45AM)

UPDATE: 8:45AM - "We're shooting for a 9AM departure... but the crew's not here yet."

UPDATE 9:30AM - "The flight attendants have arrived."

UPDATE 9:35AM - "We are boarding in 5 minutes."

See ya later Austin and thanks for all the steak!

Larry needs to get rid of these books, you REALLY need to read this book, Creative Commons needs the money. Do the right thing. If you haven't read Future of Ideas, donate to CC now and get a copy of Larry's last book now.

Lawrence Lessig
As I just said, I’ve got a new book coming out in about ten days. To clear the shelves, and to thank blog readers, I’ve got a few hardcover copies of my last book, The Future of Ideas, that I’ll happily send to anyone who makes a contribution of at least $5 to Creative Commons. To qualify for this special offer, either click on the PayPal logo, or send a check to Creative Commons at 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Palo Alto, CA 94305. If you’d like the book defaced with my signature, then send an email after you order to llynch at

Angle-Grinder Man is back.

His web page is here.

Video clip of Rumseld on Face The Nation

Face The Nation
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this. If they did not have these weapons of mass destruction, though, granted all of that is true, why then did they pose an immediate threat to us, to this country?

Sec. RUMSFELD: Well, you're the--you and a few other critics are the only people I've heard use the phrase "immediate threat." I didn't. The president didn't. And it's become kind of folklore that that's--that's what's happened. The president went...

SCHIEFFER: You're saying that nobody in the administration said that.

Sec. RUMSFELD: I--I can't speak for nobody--everybody in the administration and say nobody said that.

SCHIEFFER: Vice president didn't say that? The...

Sec. RUMSFELD: Not--if--if you have any citations, I'd like to see 'em.

Mr. FRIEDMAN: We have one here. It says "some have argued that the nu"--this is you speaking--"that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent, that Saddam is at least five to seven years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain."

Sec. RUMSFELD: And--and...

Mr. FRIEDMAN: It was close to imminent.

Sec. RUMSFELD: Well, I've--I've tried to be precise, and I've tried to be accurate. I'm s--

Mr. FRIEDMAN: "No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world and the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."

Sec. RUMSFELD: Mm-hmm. It--my view of--of the situation was that he--he had--we--we believe, the best intelligence that we had and other countries had and that--that we believed and we still do not know--we will know.

via Steven Johnson via Center for American Progress

While I'm at it...

This reminds me that I was moved by Colin Powell's speech in Davos about WMD and he spoke convincingly about his belief in WMD. I was almost convinced about the need to go into Iraq based solely on the WMD argument.


Here is a trailer from The Truth Uncovered of a video they are making for distribution about this topic.

via Wirefarm

One more panel...

Wireless and Grassroots Innovation

Tuesday, March 16
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

WiFi is a grassroots phenomenon where innovation is driven by the DIY gestalt that is so much a part of Internet and Open Source development. What are the latest grassroots developments and how do they relate to the future of wireless?

Cory Doctorow , Outreach Coord - Electronic Frontier Foundation
Dan Gillmor , Columnist - San Jose Mercury News
Brad King , Author
David Weinberger - Small Pieces Loosely Joined
Joichi Ito , CEO - Neoteny
John Quarterman , CEO

I haven't seen John Quarterman since there were only a few hundred nodes or so on his map of the Internet. ;-) Look forward to seeing you John.

Administration sources tell TIME that employees at the Department of Homeland Security have been asked to keep their eyes open for opportunities to pose the President in settings that might highlight the Administration’s efforts to make the nation safer. The goal, they are being told, is to provide Bush with one homeland-security photo-op a month.
They should just give him a moblog and have him do it himself.

via bopnews via American Footprint

Ecto now supports It allows me now to take any URL using in a blog post and submit it to (the URL bookmark exchange) with one click from inside of Ecto (my blogging client). You can see all of these URLs under the delicious tab in my sidebar. You can also subscribe to the URLs in my delicious feed as an RSS feed.


"Beware the Ides of March"
Monday, March 15 8:00 pm
El Sol y La Luna, 1224 S Congress Ave

It's time for the annual cyberactivist jam honoring the exceptional work of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and EFF-Austin, joined this year by our friends from Creative Commons and Common Content!

A plethora of delicious Mexican munchies from El Sol y La Luna will be served... Right in the heart of Austin's uber-cool SoCo district.

Electronic music by Thomas Fang, Gift Culture, and David Demaris. Video art by mc squared. ABSOLUTELY NO COVER! Party coordinated by EFF-Austin.

And get there early, as this celebration (traditionally during SxSW-interactive) tends to get very crowded very quickly!

2004 EFF-A T-shirts will be on sale.

Please help us order enough food by RSVP'ing via email to rsvp at

Sponsored by EFF, EFF-Austin, Creative Commons, Magnatune, Polycot Consulting, Midas Networks, Joi Ito, Andrews Kurth, and Artificial Music Machine.

We'll have #effaustin on the screen so even if you're not in Austin, you're invited.

Looks like the date for the first supercomputer flashmob has been decided. Someone moblog this please!

The University of San Francisco is sponsoring the first FlashMob Supercomputer on

- Saturday, April 3, from 8 am to 6 pm,

in the

- Koret Center of the University of San Francisco.

We're planning to network 1200-1400 laptops with Myrinet and Foundry Switches. We'll be running High-Performance Linpack, and we're hoping to achieve 600 GFLOPS, which is faster than some of the Top500 fastest supercomputers.

We need volunteers to

- Bring their laptops: Pentium III or IV or AMD, minimum requirements 1.3 GHz with 256 MBytes of RAM
- Be table captains: help people set up laptops before running the benchmark
- Speak on subjects related to high-performance computing

For further information, please visit our website

Peter Pacheco
Department of Computer Science
University of San Francisco

via Markoff

Wired News just ran an article by Xeni exposing a draft letter circulated by Bill Lockyer, California attorney general slamming P2P. The metadata on the Word document shows that it has been edited/reviewed by the Motion Picture Association of America. Another example of Hollywood using the US government to push its agenda to blame and limit technology which it views as a threat.

It is me, or is this pretty "smoking gun"?

I'm on two panels today. I am moderating this panel:

Mobile Gaming and Entertainment
Monday, March 15
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Mobile applications that succeed as commercial products require careful planning and evolution to work with cellular networks and operating systems. What are the steps leading to successful commercialization?

Joichi Ito , CEO - Neoteny
Art Min - Metrowerks
Mario Champion , Chief Creative Officer - team smartypants inc

Dave couldn't make it to SXSW so I'm taking Dave's place on this panel:
Ridiculously Easy Group Forming
Monday, March 15
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Ridiculously easy group forming is what happens when "everyone is empowered to create open channels where any blogger can contribute content," according to internet hippie Gary Murphy. This panel offers perspectives on group forming and information sharing via the latest social software tools.

Adam Weinroth , Pres - Easyjournal
Tantek Çelik , Diplomat - Microsoft
David Sifry , CEO - Technorati Inc
Pete Kaminski - Socialtext
Sam Ruby

Hope to see you there.

I'm the the following panel today at SXSW.

Weblogs and Emergent Democracy
Sunday, March 14
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Traditionally, popular will in democracies is interpreted and applied to decision-making processes indirectly through representatives--legislators, lobbyists, activists, media, etc. Will expanded growth of weblogs and social networks, as well as tools for analysis of content and connections, bring us closer to the ideal of direct democracy?

Adina Levin - Socialtext/EFFAustin
Joichi Ito , CEO - Neoteny
Jon Lebkowsky , CEO - Polycot Consulting LLC
Mitch Ratcliffe - Internet/Media Strategies Inc.
Zack Rosen

If we say anything interesting, I'll post notes here later.

There is a "no photography or videotaping" policy for the sessions. If I had known, I wouldn't have lugged my Canon Digital Rebel with me...

There is also a $90 fine for using any of the power outlets in the halls or in the session rooms. What do they think we're going to do, plug Marshall amps into the power outlets and start playing in the halls?

Pretty blogger unfriendly...


The Austin conference center has changed its tune about its policy forbidding attendees from using the AC outlets. Jon Lebkowsky says, "They changed the rule - people can plug in. They just told me to announce it on my 11am panel. Yay!"

UPDATE You can take pictures now too.

The only restriction on pictures/videos/recording is that they must be for personal use.

Kudos to Cory for the call to arms.

Chinese being frozen out of student visa process - The Japan Times

A poll by the Japan Times shows that the Japanese Government is making it hard for Chinese to receive student visas. Out of 3,818 Chinese applicants polled, only 27.1% were granted visas, compared to 87.6% of the 2,332 non-Chinese applicants polled. The paper quotes a Tokyo Metropolitan Police official saying, "In particular, heinous crimes committed by Chinese make up 65 percent of the total, showing an exceedingly high percentage compared with other nationals."

This trend of bashing the Chinese for criminals in Japan is a trend lead by Mayor Ishihara of Tokyo. Statistics may "show" this trend, but being unfriendly to the Chinese is not going to increase the quality of Chinese applicants. I think that in an environment where we need to increase communication with our exceedingly powerful neighbor, this policy of calling them criminals and shutting out their students is just plain stupid.

Future Now
Black boxes for taxis

According to dottocomu, Japanese taxi firm "Nihon Kotsu has announced it is to introduce "flight recorders" to its fleet--a device that will record video as seen from the driver's seat for 18 seconds spanning before and after an accident."

via Ross

Off to Austin for today SXSW and the Wireless Future conference. I'll be there until the 17th.

Logistics are on the wiki. I will be moderating a panel on wireless gaming on Monday from 15:30 and participating in a panel on Wireless and Grassroots Innovation on Tuesday from 15:30.

If you're in Austin, lets hook up.

Isaac Mao
The biggest ever block on blog in China, one of the biggest blogging service in China, has been ordered to shut down it's service from noon today.

In case you're just waking up and reading blogs before reading the news. There has been a terrible terrorist incident in Spain.

News on

The last count I saw was over 170 192 people dead. Several commuter trains in the early morning to Madrid. Government says it was the ETA.

Victor has compiled a lot of information on the attack.

New York Times on the Finnish character and comment about similarity to Japanese. So why do these are these two cultures full of repressed emotion, alcoholism and suicide also (sort of) lead the world in mobile phones? What's the connection? Hmm...

via Gen Kanai

Buzz2Talk is a Symbian application that lets you push-to-talk and use SIP to talk over gprs. What this means is that you can use the data channel on your phone to do voice over IP instead of making voice calls. This means that if gprs becomes flat rate (IF) then you will be able to call your friends without using the carrier telephone circuits. This looks like yet another extremely useful application for mobile phones that really throws the whole billing structure of mobile phone operators through a wringer. Does voice become free? Should they charge more for different kinds of traffic on gprs? Won't people build work-arounds?

Symbian is great because it is an open platform and allows software developers to develop obvious things that carriers won't build because of their "optimized" billing structures.

Today I met with Nathan Grey and Michael Mitchell of the American Cancer Society. Nathan is working on building their International network and Michael is in charge of the Futuring and Innovation Center. Randall Moss, who I met at ETech pointed them my way.

My mother had cancer for decades before she passed away and my sister and I struggled much of our lives her cancer in the family and dealing with a variety of issues: financial, social, medical and psychological. I remember using the American Cancer Society web page when I was looking for help online. The idea about using blogs and social networking tools to provide more access, dialog, information and support for people who are suffering from or are helping people who are suffering from cancer is such a great idea. The idea of trying to get more people active in campaigns to push policy issues is also very interesting.

I promised to noodle about some thoughts and get back to them, but if anyone has any good ideas or links to resources or blogs about cancer that might be useful too look at, that would be great.

I already gave them the basic advice, make their site more permalink/blog friendly, ping a pinger sites when they update, try blogging themselves, etc.

I think this is old news on the Net, but the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force has produced an ad that is has begun to show on big screens at major intersections now and will soon be on TV. It's a bit embarrassing as a Japanese, but I guess it makes us look less threatening...

via Wirefarm

See the JMSDF site for the movie.

I have decided to take on an additional role outside of Neoteny working with Technorati's team heading their exploration of opportunities in the mobile and international realms.

I will be splitting my time between Neoteny, Six Apart and Technorati as my primary responsibilities with board positions on SocialText, Creative Commons and a few other companies and non-profits as additional roles.

I have decided to discontinue additional investments from Neoteny and focus on supporting its current portfolio of companies. In particular, I believe that Six Apart has enormous potential and most of Neoteny's resources, including me will be focused on helping to make Six Apart a success.

Mailblocks was working well for me ever since it it failed on my in January. At the time, I told them that they should have an outages page so that users could find out why mail wasn't working and when it might be back up.

This time, I can access the mailbox, but I haven't been able to receive any new mail for about 8.5 hrs. So if you're trying to reach me urgently, please email me or leave a comment here.

They don't have any information on their page or replied to the email I've sent. hmm...

I am joi_ito at on AIM.

UPDATE: FYI. Mailblocks was acquired by AOL.

Justin Hall's guide to Tokyo, "Just in Tokyo" has just been released under a Creative Commons license. It's great for people who want to just dive into Tokyo.

Thanks Justin!

When I was traveling in Europe this trip, I heard the default ringtone of the Nokia 6600 everywhere I went and it was confusing because I always thought it was my phone. I mentioned this to someone and they said, "that's the sound of market share." ;-)

PS Does anyone know where / how to get a mp3 of the Nokia 6600 default ring tone?

"What a convenient world we live in - for the management, that is." A union member at a South Korean credit-card company that sacked 161 employees via mobile-phone text messages.

As the thought of paying $3500 for a month of gprs sinks in and I think about the speech I'm going to give at MILIA to the carriers and content providers in the audience, I'm thinking more and more about how I think it might be a bad idea for the carriers to get into the content business.

I think that as broadband becomes a standard part of households, more and more people will fill up their iPods and mobile devices with all the content they need from their flat-fee low-cost pipe. Most content isn't THAT time sensitive. I don't see any reason to have to download content on-the-go over expensive gprs when devices can talk wifi or bluetooth and have enough storage to allow you to carry content around.

The main value that always-on provides is presence information, short messages and time sensitive stuff like news. I don't really see the need to have broadband to do that. I think the carriers should focus their energies on stuff like identity, payment systems, IM and presence and leave the content business up to people who know how to move large volumes of bits around at low cost. The problem with most telephone companies is that they have spent their whole lives worrying about quality of service, but moving large volumes of data around is not about quality of service. You can afford to drop a few bits if they're not time sensitive and it's a completely different game than the circuit business.

I realize that 3G networks are supposed to provide us with a cheaper way to provide mobile broadband, but I just can't imagine the cost of all of the roaming deals, the metering systems and the BigCo overhead ever being able to compete with the simplicity of the Internet and wifi. I am not convinced that there is a market for broadband mobile content.

This may seem obvious to Internet folks, but I think the mobile operators are seriously considering broadband content over mobile phone networks as "the next big thing".

See ya later Zell am See and thanks for all the wienerschnitzel. Sorry about the sparse blogging the last few days.

Dan Gillmor's organizing a Tokyo bloggers meeting. Unfortunately, I will be in Austria, but Tokyo bloggers, please sign up and show him a good time.

Dan Gillmor
Tokyo Blogger Gathering?

Arrived in Tokyo last night for a few days. Considering a blogger gathering on Tuesday evening, probably in Akasaka. Shoot me an e-mail, or post a comment below, if you think you can make it.

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