Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

May 2005 Archives

Sniffing around in Yongsan with Dan »

I just got back from a short trip to Yongsan with Dan Gillmor. Yongsan is one of two electronics districts in Seoul. One of the larger buildings full of shops was closed for some reason and there weren't very many shoppers around. This made walking around easier, but probably didn't give us the full effect. In Tokyo, we have an electronics district called Akihabara which many people compare Yongsan to. There were more similarities than I expected, but some differences. I found in Yongsan, and Seoul in general, places are more spacious than the equivalent areas in Japan. Shops generally...

Open Source Radio »

Listening to Open Source Radio right now. Excellent......

International Campaign Against Extremism »

Daniel Lubetzky @ One VoiceInternational Campaign Against Extremism After a successful pilot in Chicago with talks at four universities, OneVoice decided to roll out this fall an International Education program. The program aims to counteract polarization on campuses and communities worldwide - sending Israeli and Palestinian OV representatives with nationalist credentials from each side to college campuses plagued with divisions. They will discuss OV's work and methodology and expose students and community leaders to the imperative alternative of working together pragmatically to support their leaders' quest towards conflict resolution. The program was conceived after the realization that extremist groups...

Inside Google News »

I just heard an excellent presentation by Krishna Bharat of Google News. He explained how Google News works. It basically crawls news sites, finds "story clusters", ranks the sources, figures out how prominently each source is running the story, figures out whether its a big story or a little story, figures out geographic references, and builds the pages for the various geographic and language editions. He was talking to an audience of editors so there were many questions about how the "editing" process worked and many people couldn't seem to believe it was algorithmic. Some people seemed afraid that Google...

Brain Region Linked to Metaphor Comprehension »

3quarksdailyBrain Region Linked to Metaphor Comprehension From Scientific American:Metaphors make for colorful sayings, but can be confusing when taken literally. A study of people who are unable to make sense of figures of speech has helped scientists identify a brain region they believe plays a key role in grasping metaphors. Vilayanur S. Ramachandran of the University of California at San Diego and his colleagues tested four patients who had experienced damage to the left angular gyrus region of their brains. All of the volunteers were fluent in English and otherwise intelligent, mentally lucid and able to engage in normal conversations....

Technorati.jp beta launched »

After months of work by the teams at Digital Garage and Technorati, we are happy to launch the Technorati Japan beta site. I noticed that some of the Japanese bloggers had already discovered our alpha site and some of the the feedback from the blogs have been incorporated into the new version that we launched today. Check out the Japanese news talk, book talk, Japanese top 100 and other features and let us know what you think. We are still working on finding all of the bugs and figuring out exactly what the Japanese blogging community would find the most...

Seoul »

I just arrived in Seoul for the World Editors Forum. I'm on a panel tomorrow to talk about blogging. This is my first time in Seoul. It's amazing to me that I've never been here before. Korea is very close to Japan. I have had a great deal of interaction with Koreans and feel a fairly strong bond with Korea. The Akasaka district where my office is is primarily Korean getting much more excited about Korean Soccer victories than Japanese. My aunt is Korean and I believe that we have Korean ancestors on my mother's side of the family. For...

Lessig's ghosts and what you can do »

In the May 30, 2005 issue of New York Magazine there is a story that included details about Lawrence Lessig being repeatedly molested by the choir director when he was a choirboy. The article covers the history and the current lawsuit where another former choirboy, John Hardwicke is suing the school with Lessig's help. As a friend of Larry's, it was painful to read the article and it was even more painful trying to figure out what to say to him. Larry blogged about it initially a few days ago and there were a stream of supportive comments. Today, he...

CC in Yahoo! Advanced Search »

Creative Commons: weblogCC in Yahoo! Advanced Search Yahoo! Search for Creative Commons is now part of the Yahoo! advanced search Way to go Yahoo!(Now close to 16 million pages linking to a CC license.)Now it's official. Thank you Yahoo!!...

Roooomba! »

The day before yesterday, I sat next to Colin Angle the co-founder and CEO of iRobot at dinner. I've had been looking for a way to get a Roomba and I asked him how I could get one in Japan. He told me that they are in fact selling them in Japan with a somewhat limited distribution and asked me for my thoughts. I said I'd have to try using one before I could give him good feedback. Japanese houses are a bit different from the US. He said he happened to have a Roomba with him that he could...

My CNN interview today »

I went to the CNN office on Sunset in LA today to record an interview for a program that Aaron Brown is doing. I talked about the evolution of media, Global Voices, spectrum deregulation, Gillian Caldwell and WITNESS, Creative Commons, BitTorrent and all of my favorite topics. It will be interesting to see what survives the editors. It's suppose to air Friday next week. It's likely that I will be out of CNN reach although it should be running internationally. If anyone sees it, let me know how it went. Thanks. UPDATE: Regarding on-air timeScheduled to air this coming Friday,...

ccSouth-Africa: "Commons-Sense Conference" »

Lessig BlogccSouth-Africa: "Commons-Sense Conference" So day two of a fantastic conference at Wits, in South Africa. Sponsored by the LINK Centre, the conference celebrates the launch of Creative Commons South Africa. The conference is being covered by 15 students and a couple staff members from the New Media Lab at the Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies. The site has moblog, video links, blog, pictures and audio -- basically one of the best examples of real time conference coverage that I've seen. What they've done would be amazing enough in the core of Silicon Valley. But in this...

Internship at Seth Godin's »

Seth GodinMy Secret Project and the Bounty I need your help. I'm looking for three special people this summer to work on a secret project. No, I can't tell you what it is. Yes, I can tell you about the internships: Seth's Summer Intern Project. Find me someone I successfully hire and you get $1,000 and the perverse satisfaction of knowing that you made a good match. Find me two and you get twice as much!Seth is one of the smartest and most interesting people I know. If I were looking for an internship, I'd jump on this. Seth, if...

Masters of Remix - The Humpback Whale »

I sat next to Dr. Roger Payne at lunch. He talked to me about the songs of the Humpback Wales that he has been recording for decades. He is the authority of this field. He explained to me that Humpback Whales sang beautiful songs. They copy from each other, remixing the songs and add to the songs. These songs evolve over time and riffs get passed from whale to whale across the world. The songs have lots of interesting variations and even have rhymes. He made an interesting observation that the whale songs of the 60's were much more beautiful...

Prix Ars Electronica 2005 Awards Announced »

The winners of the Prix Ars Electronica 2005 awards have just been announced. I was on the Digital Communities jury this year. We gave the highest prize, the Golden Nica to Akshaya, an Indian ICT development project. The two awards of distinction went to the alternative media movements NewGlobalVision/Telestreet in Italy and the Free Software Foundation. We also gave a special prize to BitTorrent as an enabling technology. The honorary mentions were: Upmystreet (UK), E-Democracy.Org (US), Wikimedia Commons (US), The Sout-East Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Blog (IN), Kubatana (ZW), Sistema de Información Agraria vía Internet para Agricultores del Valle de...

BitTorrent Search Launched »

BitTorrent have just launched a search service. It allows you to search for legal Torrents. Someone slashdotted the secret URL before it was launched and they moved it about an our later. The amazing thing is that someone wrote a Firefox search extension in the hour it was up. ;-) Anyway, this launch is official. It looks like they underestimated the interest and the site is really slow right now, but give it a try in a bit. I would also like to disclose that I am in discussions with BitTorrent about joining their advisory board. It's not inked yet,...

Second draft of Anonymous Blogging Guide »

Ethan Zuckerman @ Global Voices OnlineSecond draft of Anonymous Blogging Guide I posted, some weeks back, the first draft of a technical guide to anonymous blogging. I've gotten great feedback from folks all over the world and have just posted a second draft of the guide on the Global Voices wiki, inviting collaborators to help me improve it. If you're interested in the suject of anonymous blogging, please visit the guide and lend a hand in improving it. (If you're going to participate in editing this document, two requests: One, create an account on our wiki, so we can keep...

Wikipedia Stealth Disco article »

I just noticed the Stealth Disco article on Wikipedia recently had an {{explain-significance}} slapped on it. This means that if we can't explain why it is significant, it will be nominated for deletion. Stealth Disco reminds me of the fun we used to have and it would be a pity to see Stealth Disco disappear from Wikipedia. Anyone have any good Stealth Disco stories or developments we can use to expand the article? My first Stealth Disco Stealth Disco'ed by Halley UPDATE: Link to original Stealth Disco video from mhegge. (wmv) Must See....

Off to the California »

I'm off to the US today. I will be stopping by San Francisco on my way to attend Future in Review in San Diego. I'll be on a panel about Japan. Meeting Karel van Wolferen the day before yesterday was helpful since I feel a bit out of touch with Japan these days. On the other hand, I felt that my views were just reinforced by a "kindred spirit", but this gives me the confidence to state my opinions firmly....

Autoblogger »

You thought I had blog-block? Actually, my autoblogger was just broken....

Dinner with Karel van Wolferen »

The night before last I had dinner with Karel van Wolferen at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. This was a very appropriate place to meet. Karel van Wolferen is the author of The Enigma of Japanese Power. Although it was written in 1990, it remains one of the best books in understanding the way the Japanese government works. I recommended this book in addition to Alex Kerr's Dogs and Demons as two essential books in understanding the dilemma the Japanese face today. Karel said that, in a way, Dogs and Demons is a followup book to The Engima of...

Becoming boring »

I just read through my daily dose of blogs in my aggregator and scanned the email from people asking / telling me to blog stuff. I realized that there are a great number of things that I would have posted to my blog a year ago, but I won't now. I have argued a number of times that this is my blog and if you don't like it don't read it. However, as I read criticisms in the comments and on other blogs about what I write, I have become increasingly sensitive about what I say here. The criticism is...

BitTorrent Goes Trackerless »

I'm sure everyone knows what BitTorrent is, but it is the most popular peer-to-peer file sharing protocol for sharing large files. Before you had to have a tracker to create "torrents" which coordinated this sharing, but now you don't. This should make it even easier for people to make BitTorrent enclosures in blog entries and otherwise use BitTorrent to share files. Having said that, there are value added trackers like Prodigem which I'm sure people will use to charge for and otherwise track their files.BitTorrentBitTorrent Goes Trackerless: Publishing with BitTorrent gets easier! As part of our ongoing efforts to make...

Public To Do list »

I had a public To Do list on my old wiki, but never set one up on my new one. I just set one up. My inflow of email consistently overruns my ability to act on them and I am feeling increasingly guilty about stuff that I miss. If you're waiting for me to do something or would like to suggest that I do something, please feel free to add it to my public To Do list on my wiki. You'll have to register in order to edit the page if you haven't already. This doesn't guarantee that I'll do...

A few changes at Creative Commons »

Press Release: Creative Commons Expands Internationally & Restructures Its Key Management Team We have just established Creative Commons International based in the UK to provide support internationally. Neeru is stepping in for Glenn who recently left to join Google. Paula Le Dieu, former Project Director for the Creative Archive project at the BBC and Mia Garlick have recently joined the team. Welcome to all of the new team members. See the press release for the details. UPDATE: More on Larry's blog here and here....

Ten Million Blogs Tracked »

Sifry's AlertsTen Million Blogs Tracked This weekend Technorati tracked its 10 Millionth Blog. It is a chinese blog, on mblogger.cn, and it appears to be a blog talking about glassblowing, with some really cool pictures. Unfortunately I don't read Chinese so I can't tell...Sorry for horn tooting, but that's a lot of blogs....

ICANN Call for Submissions of Interest for Leadership »

ICANN's Nomination Committee has begun their process to nominate more members to various boards, councils and committees of ICANN. This is the process by which I was elected to the board last year. Contrary to what some people may think, these positions should not be taken to try to gain some privilege or power. These are positions of responsibility and require a lot of work for no tangible return except possibly the opportunity to meet other very interesting people. (OK. They MIGHT give you a t-shirt.) I think about my role at ICANN like I would think about jury duty....

Bayosphere »

Dan Gillmor has just launched his grassroots journalism site. "Bayosphere ...of, by and for the Bay Area." Congratulations Dan!...

Yokohama Committee for the Protection of Identification Information »

Today was the City of Yokohama Committee for the Protection of Identification Information Committee meeting. I was appointed to this committee in 2003 in the wake of their decision to allow their citizens to opt out of the Japanese Basic Resident Code database. I was reappointed again today. I joined a number of these government committees to try to help protect rights, prevent stupid decisions and change bad laws, but I am increasingly frustrated by the Japanese bureaucracy and the ability to cause any change through these committees. (Although local government committees are clearly more sincere than central government committees.)...

Off to Japan »

Sorry about the light blogging. I've been pretty busy this short trip. I'm off to Tokyo again today. I'll be back in California in a few weeks....

Meeting Mitchell Baker »

I don't think I've written a "yay I just met so-and-so" post in awhile, but today I met Mitchell Baker the president of the Mozilla Foundation. I'm a huge fan of Firefox and amazed by the Spread Firefox campaign. It's fun when someone turns out to be what you thought/hoped they would be like and it was this way with Mitchell. She has the excitement and the look of someone who is doing something great and proving many people wrong. People said browsers were dead, people said open source software couldn't be popular with average users. At 8:58 AM...

Congratulations Gillian and Angelina »

For those of you who haven't been following Gillian's blog that I blogged about earlier, their trip to Sierra Leone was successful and Gillian has done a nice job capturing the trip on her blog. Congratulations Gillian and Angelina and everyone else who was involved! Gillian says she's going to continue blogging. Yay!Technorati Tags: globalvoices...

Off to SF »

I'm off to SF again for a very short trip. Giving Ethan and Tantek a walk around my yard today, I realized how stupid it was that I didn't spend more time at home... See you on the other side. Thanks to Boris, I have my Plazes map page to remind me where I am when I forget....

The movies this week »

The Negotiator, a Japanese movie which I helped with came out on Saturday and is currently ranked #1 beating Shall We Dance. I haven't seen it yet. I hope the stickers we all collected ended up in the movie. I don't think I'm going to get a chance to see it for a few weeks since I'm away again from tomorrow and running around until the end of the month. If someone has seen it, please let us know how it was. In other movie news, I went to see The Downfall with Larry when we were in Australia. It...

Global Voices Online Daily World Blog Updates »

Rebecca MacKinnon has started doing daily summaries of Global Voices oriented stuff on blogs all over the world. They're really great. They're on the Global Voices blog and are also a separate category if you just want to see the Daily World Blog Updates....

Extreme Democracy published »

Extreme Democracy, a collection of papers including "mostly" my Emergent Democracy paper has now been published thanks to the hard work of Jon Lebkowsky and Mitch Ratcliffe....

Fandom shows that file sharing can create "gained fans" not "lost customers" »

While preparing for my talk in Melbourne, I was IM'ing with my sister who I steal a lot of my material from these days. We were talking about Naruto, which I blogged about earlier in the context of the Naruto Matrix Reloaded AMV. On the site, the author says, "To clarify, it's as much of a Naruto advertisement as it is a Matrix parody" (emphasis added) We were talking about the amazing fan community around Naruto. If you go to the site that lists the BitTorrent files of Naruto, you will see that fans have subtitled the episodes into a...

Gillian Caldwell's new blog »

Gillian Caldwell, the executive director of WITNESS just left for Sierra Leone with Angelina Jolie to deliver recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) to the government. WITNESS is an important effort using video for human rights advocacy. (I blogged about it in more detail in Sept 2003.) In Davos in 2004, Ethan and I cornered Gillian and tried to get her into blogging. At the same time Ethan and Gillian tried to get me interested in Africa. (Since then I've been to Africa once and have two more trips planned this year. Note that Ethan is the key...

Off to Japan »

I'm off to Japan again. This time only for one night. Ugh. Australia's been great. The talk was fun and the giving a talk right after Larry forced me to work on a new argument and new material which was good. The audience was diverse and interesting and I spent the day meeting individually with some of the people and have had some stimulating discussions. Lots to think about. If you notice that this site is slow, that's because the last RSOD post was slashdotted. Hopefully the traffic will let up soon. For the last few hours, it's been pinned...

BSOD upgrades to RSOD in Longhorn »

Microsoft Longhorn has upgraded from the "Blue Screen of Death" to the "Red Screen of Death". Nice new look. Via Michael Kaplan via Willl UPDATE: Willl's friend noticed that "execution" is spelled "exectuion". Either this is a hoax, or they haven't spellchecked Longhorn. Can anyone out there confirm this RSOD? UPDATE 2: It appears that Michael is an employee of Microsoft. He also informs us that the RSOD is not an "upgrade". Longhorn still has BSOD. RSOD is for really bad errors....

Off to Australia »

I'm off to Melbourne, Australia today to speak at the Alfred Deakin Innovation Lectures series. I'll be there for about two days. Too bad it's during the best season in Japan... the spring before the rainy season....

Creative Commons and BzzAgent »

Several months ago Dave Balter who runs BzzAgent approached Creative Commons about offering their services free of charge. BzzAgent is a word of mouth marketing company and Dave and I have a number of mutual friends who all speak very highly of him. I wasn't familiar with the details of how BzzAgent worked, but getting the help of someone who understood word of mouth sounded good to me at the time. Last week, Creative Commons announced a partnership with BzzAgent on the blog. This caused a rather fierce reaction from a number of bloggers. Many people argued that BzzAgent was...

Creative Commons lecture mashup »

I was spending part of my mind thinking about my talk next week in Australia in Melbourne for the Alfred Deakin Innovation Lectures. The topic of the talk was "The Creative Commons: intellectual property & public broadcasting & opportunities for common sense & public good". I was looking at Larry's schedule to try to see when I might be able to talk to him about some ideas and I noticed that he was scheduled to be in Australia too. Then I realized that he was speaking at the same conference. I looked at the site and realized that we were...

Weird Bugs »

Click on image to see bigger picture.I found these weird bugs on my favorite tree. Does anyone know what these are? Are they "good bugs" or "bad bugs"? They look evil. Especially with that queen-like one in the middle...Technorati Tags: bugs...

Going UTC »

This week is a national holiday for Japan and I am home trying to "rest". I was hoping to recover from jet lag, exercise, catch up on some reading... and install Tiger. Once I installed Tiger, I decided to take my increasingly complicated schedule and put it into iCal. iCal allows you to enter your time zone so your meeting are synchronized globally. Many of the regular meetings that I had been missing because I wasn't tracking properly now fell neatly into place in absolute time with iCal's pretty sophisticated repeating meeting mode. Obviously, I'm not the first person to...

Earthlink R&D shows that IPv6 can be easy »

Mr BlogPractical IPv6 We finally released a project we've been working on in EarthLink R&D for some time now. I was not the lead engineer on this project but it's perhaps one of the most exciting things we've done in R&D to date, if not the most exciting thing. Basically it's a demonstration of a practical IPv6 migration strategy. There is a sandbox that allows users to obtain their own /64 IPv6 subnet of real routable addresses (Goodbye NAT -- YEAH!) Here's how it works: Simply get an account at http://www.research.earthlink.net/ipv6/accounts.html to get your own personal block of 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 IPv6...

Takenoko »

We spent the day yesterday waiting for email to import and hunting for, digging up, preparing and cooking takenoko (bamboo shoots). It's nearing the end of the season, but there were still enough in our backyard for a few meals worth. Last year I blogged a longer entry about the process. This year I focused on the photos. We also used a slightly different recipe and did it without relying on our neighbors. I've posted the pictures as a flickr photo set.Technorati Tags: food, japanese_culture...

Interview in NeoFiles »

While I'm still importing my mailbox on my main machine, I thought I would metablog by linking to an interview I did for NeoFiles. The interviewer is R. U. Sirius who I met back in the Mondo 2000 "Birth of Cyberpunk" days. I once wrote an article for Mondo 2000 and R. U. Sirius was my editor. He got me to write the weirdest thing I've ever written in my life. This time, he kept telling me I wasn't being interesting enough and triggered a "how would you have explained it to Timothy Leary?" kind of rant. ;-) It reminded...
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