Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

July 2004 Archives

Mike @ Wi-Fi Toys
New World Record for Bluetooth Link!

The date: Wednesday, July 28th 2004
The time: 12:00 PM PDT
The test: Connect to a low-power Bluetooth cellphone from a distance of 1 kilometer

The result: Success!

...With a slight cable modification, this test shows that, based on previous research in the area, bluetooth functions (and exploits) can now be performed from distances thought to be impossible.

Is this unprecedented or are they just trying to sell bluedriving kits?

via MyAppleMenu

I saw this picture on Boing Boing. It's a ancient (about 30 years old) hard disk that probably fit about 256K according to a Boing Boing reader.

This iDuck can hold 1000X as much as that disk drive.

And these little 0.2mm RFID chips hold 128K each.

I wonder when they will start selling memory at the drug store in Petabytes per gram...

Although the day has past in Japan, it is Sys Admin Appreciation Day in the US. System administrators are some of the most important and often least appreciated members of the team and this is a great opportunity to thank them.

I'd like to thank Kuri who does the brunt of my network admin, Boris who does most of my blog admin and pixel pushing, and Adriaan and Jim who help out when they can. Special thanks to Justin, for installing my first Movable Type installation.

Thanks to Peter, Adina and Ed for helping me out on my SocialText stuff, to everyone on #joiito for keeping the bots running. Although they're not really Sys Admins, to Jeannie and Suw for being the "strange attractors" on #joiito who keep it going.

I'd like to thank the team who started Eccosys: Cyrus, Sen, Shimokawa, Daishi and Jona, and kudos also to Ushioda who pitched in at Neoteny.

Thanks also to Scott Burns who kept The Meta Network running for all those years.

Finally, I'd like to thank all of the people who run the dns and other vital components of the Internet and keep it working.

The world would not work without you all.

(I'm sorry if I missed anyone.)

via Boing Boing

Thanks to Jim and Ado for setting up the BitTorrent tracker. Here is a torrent for Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture talk in Helsinki that I blogged about earlier.

Talking Points Memo

See CNN's Breaking News Alert: "Security forces have captured a high-level al Qaeda operative in a raid in central Pakistan, Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat said."

Then, after you see that, remember that we noted in May and then The New Republic reported out extensively early this month, that this White House has been telling the Pakistanis for months that they wanted to see a big-time al Qaida leader -- hopefully bin Laden -- produced during the Democratic convention.


via Glenn

I want to start playing with BitTorrent and integrating it into blogging more. I think I need a BitTorrent tracker. Can anyone recommend a respectable public tracker or does anyone have a machine they'd be willing to run a public tracker on? I want try to experiment with a variety of legal uses of BitTorrent.

Lawrence Lessig
no potential for a substantial noninfringing use?

Here's a BitTorrent file that will get you, p2p, the video of the Hearings on the INDUCE Act, prepared by Tom Barger. Watch, and blog the substantial noninfringing use.

BitTorrent is one of the most efficient p2p systems and is great for distributing movies and other large files. The Induce act is trying to make illegal basic technologies such as p2p which "could induce" people to break copyright law.

With more powerful cameras and PCs, video and Flash have become important mediums for free speech. They are increasingly being used for political action. The integration of blogs and p2p technology for sharing these videos like the BitTorrent link above from Lessig are a good example. I believe this is substantial non-infringing use.

BitTorrent is very smart and allows you to download from multiple sources. Thus, the more people downloading/sharing, the faster the download becomes and the less stress it puts on any one person. Anyone who's posted a movie file to a blog knows what this is like. I'm downloading it now with 3 peers. Come on everyone, join in the BitTorrent p2p fun and help me make the download faster! (while it's still legal)

Xeni interviewed a bunch of us for an article on social networking services and it's now online on MSNBC. The focus is whether these services are useful for business networking.

danah boyd has a good op ed on blogging and bloggers at the DNC on Salon. (Salon forces you to watch an ad to read it.)

This is a test message posted using Quicksilver and the Atom API Plugin.

Yesterday, I met Douglas Krone the CEO of Dynamism. (I forgot my phone at home so couldn't take his picture.) Dynamism is an awesome company that takes all of the coolest gadgets from around the world, localizes them into English and sells them on the Internet. They provide support for these devices. Most high-end gadget geeks that I know have at one time or another purchased stuff from Dynamism.

Anyway, we talked a lot about gadgets, blogs and Creative Commons. I got him to agree that it would make sense to put a Creative Commons license on his site so that people could use pictures of products and clips of his text to review products. I think that his stuff is PERFECT for blogs.

I ordered one of the low-end, but very popular iducks. ;-)

CC Weblog
Lessig's free book still racking in the sales

Stanford Magazine carries a story this month about our chairman and co-founder Lawrence Lessig's book which has just entered its third printing. This is interesting because the book is freely available online for download (under a Creative Commons license), and has been downloaded about 180,000 times. On the one hand an author can give away free content for folks to remake into audio books, translations, and other formats, and the author still gets paid through traditional book sales. Amazing how that works, and works so well sometimes. [via Copyfight]

It will be very difficult to "prove" that the Creative Common license and the freely downloadable aspect of Free Culture improved sales, but the book is selling and making it freely available has clearly not STOPPED sales. I wonder if it is possible to show that making books available for free electronically increases the sale of real books? I wonder if there are particular genres where this holds more true...

Here is the first CNN/Technorati daily blog roundup for the DNC by our very own Dave Sifry.

There a small, but well produced mp4 video of Lessig's speech about Free Culture and the Creative Commons that he gave when he was in Helsinki this May.

Thanks to Jyri at Aula for the link and for organizing the event.

UPDATE: Here is the link using an IP address if the link above doesn't work for you.

I've been using MoinMoin, a python based wiki because I thought I'd be able to hack it since I was learning python. It turns out that I haven't had any time to hack MoinMoin and frankly, it looks too difficult for me. The SocialText (I'm an investor and on the board) wiki software has become quite stable with some cool features so I've decided to switch my main wiki from Moin Moin to SocialText. The question I have is whether I should migrate pages from my old wiki and whether I should continue running the old wiki. If I am going to migrate the pages, another question is how to move the pages... Anyone have any thoughts?

Loic blogs about his experience with his customers and the French blogging community. This reminds me of when I got my bumps from the Japanese diary community about two years ago for trying to push blogging in Japan. We now have a very good relationship with the Japanese Net community, but it took a lot of work on the part of my team and the delivery on a lot of promises.

I think the DNC could turn into a key moment in the discussion about bloggers versus journalists. I've generally been rather low-key on this issue, taking a position that bloggers and mass media should work together and that bloggers and professional journalists had different strengths and weaknesses. I am getting a sense that an increasing number of professional journalists are beginning to feel threatened or at least seem to be trying to belittle bloggers as a source of news.

Jeff Jarvis addresses this question today by quoting Tom Rosenstiel on the question, what is a journalist?

Tom Rosenstiel - Boston Globe

- A journalist tries to tell the literal truth and get the facts right, does not pass along rumors, engages in verifying, and makes that verification process as transparent as possible.
- A journalist's goal is to inspire public discussion, not to help one side win or lose. One who tries to do the latter is an activist.
- Neutrality is not a core principle of journalism. But the commitment to facts, to public consideration, and to independence from faction, is.
- A journalist's loyalty to his or her audience, even above employer, is paramount.
Under this definition, a lot of what we are calling media or press is not journalism and I DARE any professional journalist to try to defend any big media company of sticking to the definition above without fail.

I've been interviewing a lot of professional journalists about "What is journalism? What makes a good journalist?" They usually talk about vetting sources, portraying things accurately, and other things that any blogger who is used to being ripped to shreds in comments by their readers on their blog do as second nature. My conclusion is that much of good journalism is just common sense, and I would even assert that compared to journalists who don't write in their name, have fact-check desks to do their fact-checking and editors to fix their grammar, bloggers are much more accountable and have to take it in the face compared to their anonymous counterparts in the mass media.

Is mass media more rigorous than blogs? Remember the "Rumsfeld bans phone cameras" story that UPI and AFP ran and all the media picked up? Xeni at Boing Boing called the defense department and debunked the story and I updated my entry as a lot of the mass media were still going to press with the story. Did they print any corrections? I didn't see any. And this isn't an isolated incident. I've seen many cases where blogs have fact-checked and vetted stories that the media have just passed over.

I'm not blaming the mass media for their lack of ability be as nibble as blogs, but characterizing bloggers as a bunch of amateurs with no news value is really silly. Particularly annoying are the articles that seem to be picking a fight with the blogs. Maybe as Mahatma Ghandi said, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Dan, maybe you and "We the Media" better get over here before the real fighting starts.

As always, I like David Weinberger's. perspective on this.

David Weinberger
For example, after the breakfast, the bloggers were swarmed by the media. "You know one difference between you and us," said a friendly guy from NPR, "We don't applaud for the speakers." But, heck, it was Howard Dean and I'll be damned if I'm not going to stand and clap for him.

Seth Godin
Are blogs backward?

This leads me to two thoughts:
a. a lot more blogs should be posted in chronological order, like books. If you're trying to chronicle something, it makes a lot of sense to start at the beginning, as long as you provide regular readers an easy way to just read the current stuff (That's what RSS is for, right?). No, this isn't right for gizmodo. But it makes a lot of sense for someone, say, chronicling her experience in a 12 step program.

b. we need Movable Type or someone to create a simple way to create "greatest hits" pages. Not an archive, but a simple way for a new reader to read the ten posts we want them to start with, in the order we want them read, before they dive in.

I know it's weird to read a chronological blog. It's worse, imho, to leave a great blog just because the last two posts don't make sense out of context.

I think that blogs are creating a new format that people have become used to reading. Regardless of whether it is the most effective format, people are now accustomed to seeing new posts on top, stuff in the sidebar, etc. Granted that many people are reading blogs for the first time, I think that there is too much momentum to make a dramatic shift in the way we present information on blogs without a lot of confusion.

I think that making a "greatest hits" page easier to create makes sense. I personally like wiki pages for that sort of thing, but I could imagine it being built into a tool. Another thing people do is to put a sidebar section of favorite items and permalink from there.

Or maybe there is a way to create another view that allows you to read a blog from the beginning. That should be that hard.

The CC team at OSAF: Nathan Yergler, Francesca Rodriquez, Mike Linksvayer, Neeru Paharia, Glenn Otis Brown, James Grimmelmann, and Matt Haughey.

Creative Commons has just moved into the Open Source Application Foundation space in San Francisco. Thanks for letting our team share the space with you Mitch. CC and OSAF together does make a lot of sense. I look forward to dropping by soon.

Poor poor FOX.

Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO, Fox News Network
Any news organization that doesn’t support our position on copyright is crazy. Next week, we could take a month’s worth of video from CNN International and do a documentary “Why does CNN hate America?” You wouldn’t even have to do the hatchet job Outfoxed was. You damn well could run it without editing. CNN International, Al-Jazeera and BBC are the same in how they report-mostly that America is wrong and bad. Everybody should stand up and say these people don’t have the right to take our product anymore. They don’t have a right to take a year’s worth of Dan Rather or Ted Koppel and edit it any way they want. It puts journalism at risk.
If someone thinks CNN or Al-Jazeera is doing a bad job, they should say it. Using clips of news programming to criticize a network is totally game I think. Although news has become entertainment, I don't think it should be controlled in the same way that creative content should be. I think that fair use should be applied liberally. The press and the news media should encourage critical debate. I think that a network that has a monopoly on millions of eyeballs should be fair game for documentaries like Outfoxed.

Via Lessig

Mark Pilgrim's Dive Into Python is now available as a printed book. This is the best tutorial for my favorite programming language. I wrote more about the book when Mark announced it back in September of last year.

Lessig writes an open letter to Bill O'Reilly from the FOX News show The Factor. Lessig has been blogging a lot about OutFoxed, Richard Greenwald's film criticizing FOX News. Lessig links to a clip from the film, the original interview with Jeremy Glick and the offending anti-war ad. He takes on point by point the series of false accusations that O'Reilly has been making about Glick in an unfair smear campaign against his Glick.

Lawrence Lessig
Mr. O'Reilly, please just stop.

Mr. O'Reilly,

You have declared a "war" on the New York Times. That's good for you, good for them, and good for our democracy: Strong opinions deserve strong spokesmen. Your battle will help sharpen a debate about matters important to the Republic.

But in waging this "war," you are continuing to abuse a man whom you have wronged, and to whom you owe an apology.

On February 4, 2003, Jeremy Glick was your guest on THE FACTOR. Glick had lost his father in the attack of 9/11. He had also signed an ad criticizing the war in Iraq. You were "surprised" that one who had lost his father could oppose that war. And so you had him on your show, presumably to ask him why. (Here's a clip from Outfoxed putting this story together.)

You might not remember precisely what you said on that interview, or more importantly, what Jeremy Glick said. So here's a copy that you can watch. Nor may you remember precisely what the ad that Jeremy Glick signed said. Here's a copy that you can read. And when you've watched what was actually said, and read what was actually written, I'm sure you will see that the statements you continue to make about Jeremy Glick are just plain false. Not Bill Clinton "depends upon what is is" false, but false the way most Americans learned growing up: just not true.

Please read Lessig's entire post.

I just received word that I have been admitted into the International Business Strategy Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program at the Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy. I was talking to them last year about possibly applying, since the Ministry of Education recently changed the rules so people could apply for a doctorate program without a masters degree. Unfortunately, I don't even have an undergraduate degree so it was tough nuggies for me. They changed the rules this year and let me apply again and I got in. I guess this makes me the least educated student to ever be admitted. hmm...

Anyway, the real reason I'm doing this isn't the degree, although that's nice. It's a very cool program where I will be able to use the resources of the university including research and the professors. My only deliverable is a book on the sharing economy. I don't have to take any classes and the topic really fits right in with Creative Commons, blogging and everything else I'm doing. I'm a big fan of many of the professors at the school and I am really psyched to be able to exploit them officially now. ;-)

Here is a PDF of my research topic description.


Doonesbury to be dropped from 38 newspapers.

Now you've really gone and done it Larry. Do you believe in conspiracies? Me either....


Welcome aboard TypePad Germany. Congratulations to the Six Apart team in Europe and special thanks to Heiko.

Suw Charman @ The Guardian
Listen to the flip side

New research suggesting that file sharing has no impact upon sales of CDs has, not surprisingly, angered the music industry. [our very own] Suw Charman reports

Suw has a good article in the Guardian about the paper (PDF) by Associate Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee of Harvard Business School in Boston and Professor Koleman Strumpf of the University of North Carolina where they assert that "Downloads have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero, despite rather precise estimates." It's an important first paper in the battle against the rampant idea that file sharing is destroying the music business and Suw does a good job introducing it and additional ideas to public in a more popular medium. Yay!

Sifry's Alerts
Technorati and CNN

A few minutes ago CNN announced that Technorati will be providing real-time analysis of the political blogosphere at next week's Democratic National Convention. I will be on-site in CNN's convention broadcast center, along with Mary Hodder, and I'll be providing regular on-air commentary on what bloggers are saying about politics and the convention. And on Sunday, July 25, we'll launch a new section of our site for political coverage: This site will make it easy for bloggers, journalists, and anyone interested in politics to see the postings of the most linked-to political bloggers, to track the ideas with the fastest-growing buzz, and to monitor conversations in thousands of other political blogs. will link to this site, and we'll be updating the CNN site with the latest from the blogosphere.

Great news for us at Technorati and hats-off to CNN for taking this leap. Hopefully this will help people view blogging as a more "legitimate" source of news.

It's interesting to note that it was CNN which broke the big 3 TV network monopoly on news editorial by feeding local TV the raw video feeds, allowing them to edit the news themselves. Similarly, CNN providing bloggers the ability to reach the public directly may have an impact on the way media edits their news.

Obviously, incentive to just be faster, isn't better. I think we're going to get a chance to see whether Technorati authority management and the ability for blogs to fact check and manage news will be able to provide viewers of CNN with additional insight.

UPDATE: Here's the press release from CNN.

Mark @ Boing Boing
Bill O'Reilly enjoys ordering his guests and others to "shut up"

This video commercial starts out with a quote from talk show host Bill O'Reilly making the claim that he has told a guest to "shut up" only one time in six years. The rest of the commercial shows clips of Mr. O'Reilly telling people to shut up. Link [Quicktime] (Via Horkulated)

This looks like a partial trailer or something for OutFoxed that Larry Lessig's been blogging about. I just ordered it on Amazon. Jon Lebkowsky talks about his experience watching it with friends.

A great flash animation by the ACLU simulating a pizza delivery call in a future where they're "plugged-in" in a Total Surveillance Society.

via Dan Gillmor

I think the "mystery creature" in Maryland (via Boing Boing) is just a lost Nigerian pet Hyena.

The mystery creature or "Hyote"

Nigerian pet hyenas and baboons

Seth Godin's new project, ChangeThis is a project to have interesting people write short "manifestos". Seth's working on creating a new form of literature. It's looks like something between a paper, a blog post and a marketing presentation with a message. It will be interesting to see how this takes off. It looks interesting to me. They have a blog, "Read and Pass".

Halley writes about it over on Worthwhile.

I just got email from an old friend who told me that one of my old friends who I haven't seen for years, Genesis P-Orridge has breasts now. There is a picture of him and his breasts on his site, which turns out to be a blog. Yay!

I first saw Genesis probably about 15 years ago when he came to Japan and performed a penis piercing on stage at at event that was sponsored by Sony, Silicon Graphics and a bunch of other big name companies. It was produced by Professor Mitsuhiro Takemura. Japanese companies sponsored a lot of sub-culture stuff back then...

I first actually talked to Genesis when I interviewed him for a Japanese magazine and he was in Japan for a Psychic TV concert. Later, we became friends. I remember going to stay at his house and thinking, as I slept on his sofa, that the sound of the dozens of the body piercings jangling as he walked around the house naked sounded a skeleton with chains in some movie or something.

Looking at his blog, I'm glad to see that it looks like he's doing well. I also just noticed that he looks a lot like Kiefer Sutherland. (I'm watching 24 right now.)

Anyway, if you see this, "Hi Gen!"

I'm posting this because I've often been asked if I am offended by the word "Jap". The answer is, yes. I am.

'Jap Road' to Get Name Change

BEAUMONT, Texas (Reuters) - A decade-long fight over a quiet country lane called "Jap Road" ended on Monday when local officials voted to change the racially charged name.


"It's our history, it's our heritage. I can remember when it was a dirt road, now it's being portrayed as a racial divide between us and the Japanese-Americans," Earl Callahan, born and raised on Jap Road, told the commissioners.


"People believe in this country that we're a bunch of racists. There's not a soul here that would call anybody a Jap," he said.

First of all, I still hear people using the word "Jap" and can't imagine that "not a soul" in Beaumont would use the word "Jap". I for one am glad there is no longer a street in Beaumont, Texas called "Jap Road" named after a Japanese. I was often called a Jap when I was growing up in Michigan and it was usually accompanied by emotional and sometimes physical abuse. This childhood experience probably created a very negative association in my brain, and I assume that many Japanese-Americans have had a similar experience to me.

Now, even when they are referring to the "Jewish American Princess" I still wince when I hear the word Jap. It's hardwired in my brain. So that's why when I hear:

But road resident Jason Marshburn, 31, disagreed.

"It feels like we're in the middle of a George Orwell novel. It's like me suing Keebler or Nabisco because the word 'cracker' is offensive to us white people," he said.

I think he's missing the point. If the word "cracker" made him wince when he heard it, it would be a parallel, but I can't imagine anyone in the US getting flashbacks to abuse when they hear the word "cracker".

Via KS

Boing Boing
Evidence for Hersh's claims of child sexual abuse at Abu Ghraib?

Following up to this BoingBoing post on allegations by journalist Seymour Hersh of rape and sexual abuse of minors at Abu Ghraib prison Iraq -- there appears to be evidence for those claims in supporting statements that accompany the Taguba Report.

What most of us have seen of the report are excerpts from the 50-page summary. In fact, there are well over 6,000 pages in the report itself, including statements by and interviews with witnesses. Among them, testimony from an Iraqi prisoner that would appear to substantiate Seymour Hersh's claims that boys were sodomized at Abu Ghraib. Maj. Gen. Taguba evidently found these statements credible -- they supported statements from interviews with soldiers and other witnesses.

Xeni has some excerpts in her post on Boing Boing and here is part 1 and part 2 (PDF) of the documents supporting this hosted on the Washington Post site.

wtmcoverNoticed a beta version of a blog for Dan Gillmor's new book We the Media in my Technorati cosmos. ;-)

I am expecting this blog to be required reading in the same way Smart Mobs has become for me. I think this idea of having blogs to keep the ball rolling after publishing a book is a great idea.


Are Blogs Ready for Prime-Time?

June 16, 2004

...A partial profile of blog readers reveals:

* 54% of their news consumption is online
* 21% are bloggers themselves
* 46% describe themselves as opinion makers

...As Henry Copeland, author of the report and CEO of Blogads, summed up: "86% say that blogs are either useful or extremely useful as sources of news or opinion. 80% say they read blogs for news they can't find elsewhere. 78% read because the perspective is better. 66% value the faster news. 61% say that blogs are more honest. Divided on so much else, blog readers appear united in their dissatisfaction with conventional media and their rabid love of blogs."

Interesting statistics derived from a survey of of over 10,000 blog readers. Also asserts that blog readers are older, smarter and spend more money that most people think.

via Smart Mobs

I'm on my way back to Japan. I thought I was going back to Japan yesterday, but AFTER I checked my bags through to Tokyo, I looked at my ticket and realized that I had a one night layover in San Francisco. I should have stayed in Aspen. The weather (the fourth time in the last year) grounded my flight to Denver, but I made it safely to San Francisco.

Anyway, thanks for all the wonderful thoughts from the people at Fortune Brainstorm 2004. It was GREAT. Once again, the small size and diversity of the people totally trumped any other conference I've been to in a year since the last one. See you next year. (hint hint David)

See you again in Japan.

I think fake IM conversations are becoming a new legitimate form of satire. Here is one of the classics.

via snowchyld

Michael Eisner is on a panel now at Brainstorm 2004. He was asked if he regretted not distributing Fahrenheit 9/11. He said no. Disney is not partisan and the movie was clearly political. Disney is an entertainment company. He said Rupert Murdoch said no for a completely different reason. Murdoch said he hated Moore and liked Bush. That's not why Disney didn't distribute the film.

When asked whether he liked the movie, Eisner said he loved it. It was like going to a rock concert. It was entertaining, hilarious. He loved it in a non-political way.

Boing Boing
Hersh: children raped at Abu Ghraib, Pentagon has videos

From Daily Kos' partial transcript of a video (link to stream) of Seymour Hersh speaking at an ACLU event. According to this transcript, Hersh says the US government has videotapes of children being raped at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

"The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror it's going to come out... a massive amount of criminal wrongdoing was covered up at the highest command out there, and higher."

Link (via Warren).

There's also a piece worth reading in this week's Newsweek about new allegations of rape and sexual torture at Abu Ghraib. Feature includes details on the identities of the Iraqi prisoners shown in those widely-circulated photographs -- including Satar Jabar (charged with carjacking, not terrorism), whose iconic hooded figure with wires attached is derisively described by many Iraqis as the "Statue of Liberty." Link

Ted Turner also mentioned something about sodomy at Abu Ghraib last night, I think. I wonder if this is what he was talking about.

Some good quotes from Wesley Clark...

Wesley Clark: The responsibility of Abu Ghraib does not lie in the men and women in the armed forces. It lies in with the commander and chief.

Q: Why isn't the administration being held accountable for this?

Wesley Clark: They will be held accountable in the elections.


Wesley Clark: You can't win the war on terror by killing terrorists. You have to cut of the recruitment. It doesn't involve killing people.

Ashraf Ghani is Afghanistan's finance minister. He was interviewed by David Kirkpatrick

Here are my notes.

Q: What's at stake in Afghanistan.

A: Positive and negative. Freedom from terror and freedom from drugs. Afghanistan can easily be turned into a mafia state. Afghan heroin has made it to California.

We have on our borders some of the largest energy producing states as well as nuclear states. The stability of Afghanistan could help stabilize this region.

Even people who's homes were accidentally bombed by Americans still welcome American soldiers. This is different than the rest of the Middle East.

We've been a trading people for a couple of thousand years. We thrive in networks, but not in hierarchies.

Q: Give us an update. The US media says Afghanistan is in quasi chaos.

A: Quasi chaos is quasi progress. US is not known for depth or understanding. They don't take push-back. They don't engage in debate.

Can't type fast enough, but he's giving a update on all of the great progress they are making.

Progress is good, but problem is expectations. Bush and Blair got up and promised a miracle.

70% of our people live under $1 a day. How do you convince people $1B is a small amount of money.

I'm not going to chase foreign aid and I want to get out of foreign aid in 10 years.

$1 of foreign investment is worth $5-$10 in foreign aid.

Kofi Anan is a great leader but the UN system doesn't work. There are lessons from Afghanistan that can help other countries.

Q: What is the prospect that you can get a grip on the drug mafia in Afghanistan.

A: They told me I had 0.1% chance of success. Cotton will not compete with poppy, but the T-Shirt will.

Poppy is a male crop. Women are not involved in the cultivation of poppy. What a family looks for is its overall income. How do we connect the women to the market. The management skills to get them to the value change.

Every drug producing center of Afghanistan is a center of cotton production. Tax incentives for textile companies would help. Security for textile cities.

Seasonal labor is the weak point of the drug industry.

They need to be given an assurance that things will get better.

It took Thailand 10 years. Afghanistan doesn't have 10 years because it could be taken over by the mafia before that.

Q: Moving companies to Afghanistan could help deal with this mafia issue which is putting the world at risk. They aren't coming because they are afraid?

A: July of 2002, there wasn't a single mobile phone in Kabul. Now my mobile phone from Afghanistan works here. The US spends $11B / yr security in Afghanistan. Security is not about spending money on military. It's about jobs.

Afghanistan is growing quickly. If it could be given a push....

Q: Are you optimistic long term with relationship between the region and the US.

A: The classic age of Islam needs to be understood. We didn't go through the medieval period. This is a confident culture. The extremists exist because of lack of open debate and dialog and this is because of the cold war. Most muslims are moderate. Go to muslim countries. You'll find people like you. We are in clashes. We are not focused enough on solutions.

I'll turn it around. Can you function without the Middle East? Can you exist without oil from the Middle East? If you can't exist without us, we need to focus on solutions.

The risk to my life is about 95% which is worth the risk of saving the millions of people of Afghanistan. I was educated by the people and it was a price I was willing to pay.

Q: You talked about the drug mafia but not about warlords? What do you do with the rest of the country where you can't protect people from the warlords.

A: The ministry of finance is collecting from every corner of the country and we have influence across the country. We need to look at diverse sources of power.

Up until now, monopoly of violence was the source of power. Rules are also power. These people are afraid. Human rights prosecution, etc. They are afraid. We haven't addressed these issues. 80% of Afghanistan has always been self-policed. Need to enhance the social capital of the regions. Communities that ensure security should get reconstruction assistance. Getting free of drugs should provide more assistance.

The answer is about understanding cold self-interest. We've rebuilt the country a hundred times in the past. We'll rebuild. But the rest of the world has to understand the issues to provide help.

Q: Are the terrorists working with the drug mafia.

A: Drug money is easy fast money. $4B in Afghanistan, $40B outside of Afghanistan. The ability for this to do harm is huge.

At least Kerry has good taste in computers.

via Markoff

Ted Turner dinner interview. It was a great interview and quite funny. Worth a read.

This was a dinner talk and it was quite noisy so my notes are a bit sketchy, but here are some tidbits. My notes may be a bit inaccurate...

Q: What are you doing now that you don't have a job.

A: I worked for 50 years. I'm a philanthropist and I don't have as money as I used to so I march. I march for the rights of women.

The nuclear arms in the US and Russia are still on hair-trigger alert and I'm working to disarm these weapons.

Q: Who would you want to become the president of the US?

A: I'm for whoever speaks to our survival not our demise.

Q: So Who?

A: Who do you think?

The invasion of Iraq was the biggest debacle in the history of the world... except maybe the AOL Time-Warner merger.

They can't even get Haiti right, how are they going to get Iraq right?

It cost $200B. $100B to bomb it and $100B to rebuild it. All just to find some guy hiding in a foxhole...

Wars may have worked in the past, but now we have pro-football. Before there wasn't anything to be excited about so War was exciting. War isn't fun anymore.

9/11 wouldn't have happened if I had been president. We were having a cold war with Russia when I went to Russia to produce the Good Will Games. A few years later, the Berlin Wall came down.

My net worth went from 10-11B to 1B and a half.

The AOL Time-Warner merger was bullshit.

Q: You were quoted as saying that signing was as good as having sex for the first time.

A: I was just being a team player. It wasn't really. It was the stupidest move I've ever seen. Almost as stupid as the war on Iraq.

It was good for me. I ended up with 10% of the stock in AOL/TW. I was friendly with two other people who owned 10% each so it was OK for me.

But I probably shouldn't have done it. Gerald Levine was like Rasputin. He was my enemy. But he said he was my best friend. I said to him, "Gerald, I've never been to your home." But I was a team player. I always pulled for the team.

Q: Can you start a new empire from now?

A: No. I'm too old/tired.

I'm doing Bison.

Q: Why Bison?

A: Why not? They are the original American cattle. The meat has 1/2 as much fat as beef. I am going into the restaurant business and philanthropy.

I thought I could make a difference. I don't have enough money so I make speeches and make appearances.

Philanthropy is important. It's not about giving to the local church or orphanage. You have to shift to more important things. I've also wanted to be a fire chief.

Rupert Murdoch is is a bad journalist. Sloppy journalist. He runs Britain. I asked Tony Blair why he was allowed to have so much influence and Tony Blair said, "I wouldn't have my job without Rupert." He wants to rule the world. He has Britain, almost has Australia and he would like the US. He has no interest in helping anyone, in charity. He won't even give you an interview. He's not interesting in whether what he is doing is right or wrong.

The $1M / yr I was getting as Vice Chairman was just hush money.

Q: What would you have said?

A: A lot. Not of your business.

I was in New Mexico and Gerald Levine called me and said "I'm replacing you." "The hell with your contract." "I can sue you." "All you'll get is your salary. No discussion."

I helped get Lord of the Rings made. I said yes. A $300M decision. You have to have guts, but you have to be right. The president's got guts, but he's wrong.

You also need vision. My vision comes from thinking. I don't watch TV.

We split the money with Jim Baker 50/50. We used to open the envelops together as they came in because we didn't trust each other.

Bjorn Lomborg

What if hospitals only dealt with patients who made the most fuss. That's what it seems like we do with global resource allocation for global problems. Why don't we prioritize? What if we had an extra$ 50Bn to allocate. What would you spend it on?

HIV aids?
Climate age?

We need rational basis on our spending.

The Copenhagen Consensus was a group of leading economists who got together to try to prioritize based on best information available.

What we would do:

1- Prevent HIV - $27Bn will save 29M lives
2- Micronutrients - $13Bn will help more than 1/2 the world
3- Free Trade - would create more than $2000Bn / yr
4- Treat Malaria - $12Bn could come back 10X or more

What we wouldn't do?

Kyoto (global warming) is not a good use of money

Focus on high benefit projects.

We now have the list. We have to get the rest of the world on board.

Bill Joy

I think there will be a crisis or catastrophic event that will take our attention away from terror or war and as a positive response may redefine our focus of the century.

A global pandemic/epidemic - the positive response: New found respect for natural systems and focus on health.

Environmental tip. A phase change with a irreversible climate change - the positive response: Understanding balance with natural systems.

Over self-consumption like the oil supply - the positive response: Might help wastefulness and make it a century of efficiency.

The Agency Costs of Overvalued Equity - Michael C. Jensen

Here are my notes. They are rough notes and may be a bit inaccurate or unclear.

Any time two or more people try to engage in cooperative activities, there is a cost because they never have the same preferences.

Stock options should be adjusted to dividends and cost of capital or their incentives are not aligned with shareholders.

If you as a manager find yourself in a situation where your stock is overvalued. It sets up pressures that cause people to destroy value. When an executive commits fraud to deliver market expectation, they know it's overvalued. 70bn peak but was worth 30bn for Enron. They had a choice of defending the 70bn or confess that it's really only worth 30bn. The board and the investors won't feel that it is value reseting, but rather value destruction and would fire the CEO and look for someone who could perform. No easy way to correct. Probably prevent from getting there. If you're there, you've probably lost your job.

Enron could have stopped the run-up, but they didn't see the downside of the run-up. "Charlie and I get just as uneasy when a company is selling for more than the intrinsic value than when it is trading at less." - Warren Buffet.

Overvaluation is managerial heroin. Feels good at the beginning, but turns out really bad at the end. The pressures of the market cause messing with the gray area of accounting. People raise money to buy companies and destroy more value. Funding of risky investment.

For every $1 in the purchase price, $2.31 is lost in the value of the firm for Nortel when investors realized that the acquisitions were not adding value. Companies destroy value with acquisitions. They con the market into believing that they can add value so it postpones the day of reckoning, but it eventually comes and comes bigger. Bad acquisitions were overwhelmingly with stock. Auctions with multiple irrational people increasing irrationality.

Throwing stock options in is like throwing gasoline on the fire. The solution is in the governance system. Can't solve all problems with incentive systems. You need honest and intelligent people who are monitoring. Unwinding constraints. Lockups after vesting.

Why did the shorts shut down shop at the beginning of the turn-around and didn't correct the problems.

95% of waste from stock options went to people lower than the top five officers. Some people think it is costless to issue options, but this isn't true.


Solution for not having stock overvalued. Communicate your strategy. Don't forecast earnings in value. Publish audit-able metrics for strategy. Stop producing short term earnings forecasts. Would not even do rolling 12 month earnings forecast. Managers should not be in business of forecasting.

Teresa Heinz Kerry: "If you leave children behind, it has been for naught." "People want America to be great again." The Republican party is totally different from the days of her late husband. Back then they used to even intermarry with Democrats. Back then they practiced the Socratic method.

Now is tutorial session: The decline in America's reputation - Keith Reinhard w/ Pattie Sellers - What imact does it have on the U.S. and American brands? Reinhard will speak about a major new study.

Here are my notes. They are rough notes and may be a bit inaccurate or unclear.

Most people associate America with American's brands. Interesting to note that Carly Fiorina said that she didn't think that she suffered from America's bad imaged in response to a question by Martin Varsavsky.

"If you must talk, can you at least lower the volume..." - advice by foreigner to American about their voice.

The presentation made it clear that people outside of America have many negative feelings towards America and that most American's didn't care. The question they are addressing is, what can businesses in America do?

Tools to help Americans behave seems to be one of the answers...

Singaporean participant : suggesting that it's not just behavior of individuals, but that financial and business decisions made in America impact people in other countries that also affects opinions about America.

It's not business that's the biggest problem, it's US policy. It's the people who can cause changes in US policy and the only way to get people to change is to get them to understand what people think of the US. Most people don't know.

Chinese participant : doing all this work to get US image back will never get the image back to the original big brother image of the US and maybe the goal should be to just become a global peer.

African participant : is there a way for cultural exchange that is less superficial than movies and brands. Maybe people are more similar than we think. How about exchange programs that allow people to live together.

Japanese participant : Q: To what extent does change of government affect how people hate America. A: Resentment has grown over a long period of time, not just during this administration. "Insensitive, arrogant and materialistic." These issues we can address without just government change. Business could address non-government issues and also influence government.

David Kirkpatrick, the man behind Brainstorm said I could blog this event. Rockin'! I'll post some of the notes from my wiki over here too.

Six Apart just acquired Loic's blog company, Ublog. Loic had been acting as our marketing partner in Europe, but now he's apart of Six Apart. (Mena has a good story about this.)

Andrew Anker who I met when he was running Hot Wired back in the day has also just joined Six Apart. (More about that on at Mena's Corner)

Last but not least, Barak Berkowitz who was once my boss at Infoseek, then later worked for me at Neoteny, is now taking over the role of CEO of Six Apart. (Mena's story about this)

Welcome aboard everyone. I think we're turning a new page in the development of Six Apart. I urge you to read Mena's posts for her view on all of this. I'm a proud VC today.

UPDATE: Cory on Mena's post.

I'm at Brainstorm 2004 which should be fun. It's my favorite conference of each year. I'm going to be taking notes and will encourage anyone else here wants to use the space to put notes on the Brainstorms 2004 page on my new public SocialText wiki. I'll also be hanging out on #brainstorm on Freenode on IRC.

Boing Boing
Japanese geek status hierarchy

Fascinating chart of the Japanese geek status hierarchy. Link (Thanks, Zed!)

Funny. ;-)

Japan: Schoolkids to be tagged with RFID chips

Japanese authorities decide tracking is best way to protect kids

The rights and wrongs of RFID-chipping human beings have been debated since the tracking tags reached the technological mainstream. Now, school authorities in the Japanese city of Osaka have decided the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and will now be chipping children in one primary school.

This reminds me of the lyrics to the Suicidal Tendencies song Institutionalized, "Wait, what do you mean, what are you talking about, we decided!? My best interest?! How can you know what's my best interest is? How can you say what my best interest is?"

I know people are going to scream "tin foil hat" at me again, but I really don't like the idea of tagging people and the idea of national ids. It really is a slippery slope which will always look rather innocent at the beginning but will lead to a stifling of freedoms and an ability to profile and control people. I believe this is true especially in Japan, there are not enough people who argue against the "oh it's going to just be so convenient" side of the argument.

Interestingly, the "oh so convenient" national ID card that I was protesting has only had a 0.2% uptake by the population in Japan so I guess if you give people a choice, they'd rather not waste their time, money and privacy.

Boing Boing
Fahrenheit 911 factchecks

Here are Michael Moore's extensive factchecking notes on Fahrenheit 911. Link (via Kottke)

What a good idea. Media sites should put factchecking notes online too.

Creative Commons is experimenting with using a wiki to discuss using a wiki to maintain a Wikipedia of sorts for Free Culture. Drop by and give us your thoughts.

I just found this very funny clip from David Letterman on David Weinberger's blog. (You need Real Player) So David, you may be the last person in America to see this clip, but at least not the last in the world. It's very funny. It's like a new twist to Stealth Disco.

I was chatting with AKMA the other day about my thumb. He's had thumb problems, and my thumb hurts. Ever since he got his hernia operation and my post about his Hernia operation became the top result on Google for a search of hernia operation, we've had this mutual medical support bond. (It's not #1 now, but still on the top page.)

Anyway, we were talking about thumbs, and that reminded me about Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins. Then I remembered that I liked Jitterbug Perfume better. AKMA said that he didn't have enough silliness in his life. (I can't really image that is true, but if a Reverend says he needs more silliness, it must be serious.) So I decided to send him the two books. Although I didn't remember the stories very clearly, I clearly remember they were both very silly and fun.

I had forgotten that Jitterbug Perfume and probably Tom Robbins in general tended to be a bit snarky about Christianity. I'd never read them from the perspective of a Reverend before. AKMA seems to have taken it in stride, but it's interesting how you can overlook things that suddenly become snarky in context. I feel like someone who had been laughing at a joke that isn't very funny for some of my friends.

This stream of consciousness impulse buy story was very helpful during my NPR reading series interview when they asked if I ever ready any fiction.

Thanks to Adriaan, Jace, Boris and Kuri for updating Joi Ito's Web to Movable Type 3 and moving it to Bloghosts, the new home for Joi Ito's Web. The load time seems about the same, but the rebuild time on the new servers seems much faster so I think trackbacks and comments should not be a problem anymore. Let me know what you think.

Also, I don't have the birthday script and other things running yet, but hope to get it going soon. We switched to Adriaan's Technorati MT plugin and are making some other changes. Boris is doing some design changes too as you can see.

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism. An amazing documentary about Fox News and the danger of corporations controlling news. There is a QT and a Windows Media trailer online. There is a New York Times article about producer Robert Greenwald's unique method of distributing the documentary, selling the DVD for distribution through political action groups.

As the Times article describes, Greenwald’s style for distributing documentaries may be the beginning of something new — political criticism, using interviews and clips, making a strong political point, distributed through DVDs and political action groups. (See some other examples here). On what theory does he, and others, have the right to use such material without permission? On the free culture theory we call the First Amendment: Copyright law must, the Court told us in Eldred, embed “fair use”; “fair use” is informed by First Amendment values; the values of the First Amendment most relevant here are those expressed in New York Times v. Sullivan. As with news-gathering, critical political filmmaking needs a buffer zone of protection against the overreaching of the law. And if the potential of this medium — now liberated by digital technology — is to be realized, we need clear precedents that establish that critics have the freedom to criticize without having to hire a lawyer first.

Stephanie writes about her collaborative note taking effort using SubEthaEdit and a wiki. We always talk about doing this, but I think this is the first successful case I've seen. Very cool.

SENT, "america's first phonecam art show" opens in LA's Standard Hotel Downtown tomorrow. The site looks great. Congrats Xeni, Sean and Caryn!

I arrived last night, made the mistake of eating a cheeseburger before bed and didn't sleep much and felt REALLY BAD this morning.

I crawled onto stage at Flash Forward this morning feeling very scattered and weak, but thanks to a strong topic and lots of funny movies to keep people awake, I was able to struggle through my talk. I talked about Creative Commons, Intellectual Property and the future of marketing. I channeled lots of Lessig and Godin. We did a Q&A session afterwards and I really enjoyed talking to the Flash community. Flash and Creative Commons makes SO MUCH SENSE together. The conference is extremely well organized and cool. I got to meet Stewart McBride and Lynda Weinman who really run a class act. Looking forward to figuring out some way to work with them on something...

After that, I went over to NPR and did a short interview about what I read. Blogs of course. ;-) I think the 20 min or so will be edited down to 3 min so I'm not sure what's going to end up in the interview, but I'll post a link once I know when it's going to air.

So no more public speaking until Apsen next week. Time to relax...

It was nice spending some time at home in Chiba, but I'm off to the US again. I'll be giving a talk at Flash Forward in NYC on Friday and then going to Brainstorm 2004 in Aspen next week.

Japan Today
Moore hopes 'Fahrenheit' will bring about regime change in Japan

NEW YORK — Controversial American filmmaker Michael Moore said Tuesday he hopes the global release of his documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" will usher in "regime changes" in countries like Japan and Australia.

In a press conference with foreign journalists in New York, Moore said his polemical movie should encourage people in all democratic countries that have supported the U.S.-led war in Iraq to vote their leaders out of office.

There is definitely less news and information in Japanese about the theories about why the US went to war. A lot of the stuff in the movie will be new to many Japanese. I'd be interested to see what the Japanese public reaction to the movie is. My sense is that we already have enough reasons to mistrust the government that people with probably sign numbly and not do anything. But I could be wrong.

Scripting News
"No one was listening," said the NPR...

"No one was listening," said the NPR announcer, as she introduced the guy who posted the note on Tuesday morning about the new Edwards decals on the Kerry campaign plane. No one was listening, except for the people who were.

Clearly no one reads blogs...

I'm going to be doing a Summer Reading Series interview for NPR this week. I should list all of the blogs people should read this summer. ;-)

OK. I promise not to boast about every 1M blogs Technorati adds, but it's an opportunity to quote some interesting facts.

Sifry's Alerts
Technorati tracks 3 million blogs

On an average weekday, we're seeing over 15,000 new weblogs created per day. That means that a new weblog is created somewhere in the world every 5.8 seconds.

Of course, not all weblogs that are created are actively updated. Even though abandonment rates are high - our analyses show that about 45% of the weblogs we track have not had a post in over 3 months we are still tracking a significant population of people who are posting each day. The number of conversations are increasing. We're seeing over 275,000 individual posts every day. That means that on average, more than 3 blogs are updated every second. The median time from when someone posts something to their weblog to when it is indexed and available for searches on Technorati is 7 minutes. And we're striving to handle the load. But to be perfectly frank, it isn't easy. We've had some bugs and some outages - and for that I am truly sorry. I don't think the service is fast enough or stable enough. So, stability and fast response time is job #1, over new features and product developments. It has to work, 100% of the time.


Dave. Thanks for giving me credit for the Edwards as VP rumor link. You could have linked directly, credited only Metafilter or anything really. Actually, this is something that I struggle with every morning when I open Net News Wire and go through my news feeds. Some people take the position that it's not important where you get the link. I don't think this is true. The dilemma happens when you find links to the same interesting article on several blogs. Do you credit the first link you see? Do you credit the first person who posted it? Do you credit the most authoritative? I notice most people don't usually credit Blogdex or Daypop. You can always go to Technorati and see who first linked to it and who is the most authoritative link.

I don't think we need any global standard for link credits, but it's nice when someone gives it to you and it's something I try to do when I can. So thanks Dave.

From an aviation forum site.

John Kerry"s 757 was in hgr 4 pit tonight John Edwards vp decals were being put on engine cowlings and upper fuselage. :up:

via Metafilter

Rock, Paper, Saddam! Pretty silly, but pretty funny.

via Metafilter

Sunday Herald
The activist, author and director told the Sunday Herald that, as long as pirated copies of his film were not being sold, he had no problem with it being downloaded. "I don't agree with the copyright laws and I don't have a problem with people downloading the movie and sharing it with people as long as they're not trying to make a profit off my labour. I would oppose that," he said. "I do well enough already and I made this film because I want the world, to change. The more people who see it the better, so I'm happy this is happening."
Interesting quote, but as Xeni points out, after the box office hit in the US, he can sort of afford to say that. If he felt this way, it would have been cool if he had put a Creative Commons license on it. Still, I think this is better than nothing. Xeni also points out the film's distributor is clearly against "sharing" of the film on the Internet.

via Xeni @ Boing Boing and Creative Commons Weblog

Last week I got my Sensaphonics ear molds for my E5cs and a set of ProPhonic Soft 2Xs. I just blogged about them on my stuff blog.

This week, I've been spending a lot of time in the yard. Today, we had neighbors over helping us fix our front entrance and the day turned into a community assisted day of heavy work and heavy machinery for me.

We recently fenced off an area of the yard for Bo and Pookie. The problem is, it is a dirt area and they get all muddy. Mizuka and I decided to make half of it grass and half of it gravel. I asked on DogReader about whether to use wood chips or gravel and I got good advice that I should use pea gravel. We went to the hardware store and bought some gravel. It was very heavy and expensive... (relatively speaking)

I got my wheel barrel and shovel out and was preparing to lay the gravel and the neighbors laughed at me. They said that I definitely didn't have enough gravel and that it would be too expensive to cover the whole area with enough of the pea gravel. They recommended that we get some cement gravel and lay it down first. It sounded liked a good idea.

One of the guys jumped into a truck and came back with a few tons of gravel. He looked at the fenced area and went and got another few tons. Sitting in our front yard was about 4 cubic meters of gravel, a wheel barrel and a shovel. I remember reading about how French farmers protest against the government by dumping tons of manure at the front gates of government buildings. It's the battle between those equipped with heavy machinery and those who are not.

As I started loading up wheel barrel after wheel barrel, images of forced labor flashed through my mine. "Put your back into it!" As I moved wheel barrel after wheel barrel from the front yard into the fenced area, the neighbors who were working on my front entrance watched me with pity.

"Do you know how to work a excavator?"

"Umm... No..."

"OK... wait a sec. We'll get someone to bring one over. He'll help you load up the wheel barrel."

Soon the beautiful excavator arrived and I was promoted from shoveler/barreler to barreler with excavator assistance.

After several hours of barreling, finally I had moved several tons of gravel about 20 meters and spread it out a bit.

"You're going to need to flatten it out a bit. Have you ever used a forward plate compactor?"

"Umm... No..."

"OK.. wait a sec."

Soon a forward plate compactor showed up.

"Here's the choke, here's the throttle. Wet the gravel a bit and use the compactor to flatten it down and even it out."

"Umm... OK..."

Soon, I found myself behind a roaring plate compactor. Lucky for me, I had my new Sensaphonic custom molded ER 9 ear plugs. I could keep my ears from being blown out and still hear what people were saying.

Anyway, I'm quite tired in a pretty healthy sort of way, but unfortunately, I'm too tired to blog. So instead of something political, all you get is this silly diary post. ;-)

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