Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

September 2005 Archives

Second Life »

Inspired by Cory's talk at Accelerating Change, I've started Second Life. (Someone described it to me as a home for retired Warcraft players. ;-P) My name there is... Joi Ito. I'm still pretty confused, but if you have a character there, please give me a holler or tell me something interesting to do. Thanks! Update: Philip just flickr'ed a photo he took when I visited him in Second Life....

Does globalization exist? »

Posted by Thomas Crampton My experiences in changing cities five times and continents three times in the last 18 months have given me an insight into the shallowness of certain aspects of globalization from a consumer perspective. (My experiences are used merely as example I know well, not because I think they are of world significance. ) I first had an American Express card in Hong Kong, then in the US and now in France. When I applied for the new Amex card in the US and in France, I was assured that my membership date would go back to...

World of Warcraft update »

As you may have noticed, my blogging has been a bit light these days. This is partially due to the rigor in which I have taken on my research into the World of Warcraft (WoW). I'm still level 36 (out of a maximum of 60) so I am still a "newbie" but I thought I might share some of my observations. First of all, it is no wonder over four million people play WoW. It is by far the most interesting game I have ever played. I started online multi-user games with the original MUD (Multi-User Dungeons) back in 1984...

Global Voices Live Chat on Handbook for Bloggers & Cyber-Dissidents »

Global Voices Live Chat on Handbook for Bloggers & Cyber-Dissidents going on right now. Join us at #globalvoices on Freenode. For more information see the post on the Global Voices blog. Update: Just ending now. Will post link to transcripts when they've been posted. Update: The transcript of the IRC chat has been uploaded....

Off to Tasmania »

I'm at the airport on my way to Hobart, Tasmania to give a talk at the AUC "Evolution of the Species" conference. My apologies to anyone who cares for not posting very much lately. My travel has been getting continuously more crazy. However, I will be grounded for two week after this trip to renew my passport and hope to get thoughts and other things organized. Thanks a million to Thomas for picking up the slack on this somewhat neglected blog. I will admit that my (cough) research involving multi-user games online has also been taking up a little time....

Mobile Phone Sociology - Morocco »

Posted by Thomas Crampton In reporting stories in Casablanca this week I have faced a unique problem due to Moroccan mobile phone habits. More than any other country I have ever visited, Moroccans used caller ID. It seems to be part of the phone answering process to closely look at the number of the person calling before deciding whether or not to answer. Often they will let it ring if they can't figure out whose number it is. In most places people look at caller ID and then answer. From my point of view the result has been that my...

Plague on World of Warcraft »

ShacknewsHeres the skinny: Blizzard adds in a new instance, Zul'Gurub. Inside is the god of blood, Hakkar. Well, when you fight him he has a debuff called Corrputed Blood. It does like 250-350 damage to palyers and affects nearby players. The amazing thing is SOME PLAYERS have brought this disease (and it is a disease) back to the towns, outside of the instance. It starts spreading amongst the genral population including npcs, who can out generate the damage. Some servers have gotten so bad that you can't go into the major cities without getting the plague (and anyone less than...

Eroding freedoms »

BBCUS teens 'reject' key freedoms A significant number of US high-school students regard their constitutional right to freedom of speech as excessive, according to a new survey. Over a third of the 100,000 students questioned felt the First Amendment went "too far" in guaranteeing freedom of speech, press, worship and assembly. Only half felt newspapers should be allowed to publish stories that did not have the government's approval. It's a bit scary when "normal" shifts like this. Here is an old Encyclopedia Britannica Films video clip from 1946 (I think) about despotism that they showed to children in schools. Amazing...

Party with the Axis of Evil? »

Posted by Thomas Crampton North Korea, exaulted member of George W. Bush's axis of evil, just invited me to a festival, but I don't think I can make it. I have, however, attended three previous Kim Jong Il birthday party. Based on my experience, I can say that Pyongyang shows a declining level of party sense. The first I attended was the snazzy party at the Hong Kong jockey club in 2002 The pretty fancy birthday party in 2003 And the distinctly downmarket event party in 2005 (terrible wine!) For the record, I crashed the party each time. The North...

Fashion victims »

Posted by Thomas Crampton Been immersed in the world of fashionistas lately: 1- Writing about fashion: Hermès, belle of the ball, denies liaison 2- Attending a fashion party in Paris. Well, attempting to attend a fashion party would be more accurate. I went with a friend who works for fashion magazine W to the launch of Lanvin's Arpege for men cologne. I am not much of a cologne type myself, but thought it would be fun to go along. The event took place at the Ledoyen Pavillion on the Champs Elysees. Built in 1842 with a client list running from...

Accelerating Change 2005 »

Picture from last yearI'll be speaking at Accelerating Change 2005 tomorrow and the day after.Artificial intelligence ("AI"), broadly defined, improves the intelligence and autonomy of our technology. Intelligence amplification ("IA") empowers human beings and their social, political, and economic environments. As in previous years, a collection of today's most broad-minded, multidisciplinary, and practical change leaders will consider these twin trends from global, national, business, social, and personal foresight perspectives. Conference Brochure (PDF, 6 pages). One Sheet (PDF).If you're going, I'll see you there. It looks like they're sold out, but I'll try to blog some stuff. On the other hand,...

Will the Next Elections Save Japanese Democracy - by Karel van Wolferen »

Karel just sent me an article he wrote for the Asahi about the recent election. I've posted it on my wiki.Karel van Wolferen via emailDear Joi, The widespread -- and I mean truly widespread -- misconception that Japan has been pushed by Koizumi in a market-capitalism direction should teach us something about the function of the world's media as agents of ignorance. Like with subjects such as Iraq or Russia those who ought to know do not have a clue of what is actually going on. Herewith my article as it appears this morning in the Asahi Shimbun. best wishes...

Planning to be homeless »

I was in a cab in Tokyo last night having a interesting conversation about the recent elections and the future of Japan with a very educated and opinionated cab driver. The conversation turned to the pension system. He told me that he would be retiring soon and because of the of the way that he had done his pension, he would be retiring with a monthly payment less than enough money to pay for room and board. He told me that he was now designing his homeless shack. He figured he could afford an air-conditioner and some real panel, but...

Yahoo! goes hard gay »

Weird, very Japanese and funny. Yahoo! goes hard gay. UPDATE: I talked a friend of mine who has some elementary school kids. He said Hard Gay is all the rage and that all the kids walk around constantly doing the funny pelvic thrust that Hard Gay does....

Dan Gillmor's blogger meetup in Tokyo September 26 »

Dan Gillmor's in town and having a bloggers meetup at the Apple Store in Ginza from 20:00-21:00 on the 26th of September. I'm going to be out of town, but if you're around, it should be a lot of fun. More info here....

The LDP's landslide victory and Karel's distress »

I'm attending the STS Forum in Kyoto again this year and it turns out that the election date for the Japanese parliament ended up on the same day as the first day of the event. Prime Minister Koizumi was still able to make it to the meeting which is the brainchild of Koji Omi. I'm a great fan of Koji Omi. He's one of the only politicians I know who studies and actually reads everything people send him to read. He's a former bureaucrat who became powerful for his intelligence and analysis among other things. Last night, we were having...

Eating while travelling »

Posted by Thomas Crampton A friend is heading to Southeast Asia and asked advice on food. I find that travellers are often obsessive about the wrong things. They are very aggressive about - for example - making sure that the water has actually boiled in their soup, but then order a salad as a starter. Basically, I never eat anything that has been washed in tapwater (like lettuce) and avoid anything that has milk products (pies with cream or other milk products that can go bad in tropical heat) but you can eat almost anything that has been peeled (fruit)...

Chicago Smart Bar »

I'm in Chicago where I had a one night layover on my way from the East Coast to Osaka, Japan. Last night I hooked up with Jeff Pazen, a friend and former DJ in Chicago that I hadn't seen for over 10 years. (He makes MT websites now!) He took me to the Smart Bar, a bar/nightlcub that was one of key influences in my life. We hung around at the bar and talked about the old days and we both had what felt like a catharsis of memories. I remembered the first time I visited as a student and...

FEMA site requires assistance seekers to use Internet Explorer 6 »

MSNBCWant to file for aid online? Better run Windows FEMA site requires assistance seekers to use Internet Explorer 6 The good news: If you've survived Hurricane Katrina, the government will let you register for help online. The bad news: But only if the computer you're using is running Windows. Yes, it turns out that to make a claim with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Individual Assistance Center, your Web browser must be Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 or higher and you must have JavaScript enabled. It even says so right on the page itself. One problem: IE6 isn't available for Macintosh...

Vint Cerf joins Google »

Vint Cerf just left MCI to join Google. Congratulations Vint! Interesting in the context of eBay buying Skype... UPDATE: Google press release...

Heavy metals in Japan »

I spoke to the son of the man who died in or neighborhood. He told us that the doctor mentioned that it was possible that the cancer was caused by heavy metals. The doctor, the head of a hospital nearby, told him that there were dangerous levels of heavy metals in all Japanese water and that this information was being stifled by the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health in Japan is notoriously corrupt and have probably been under investigation for one thing or another for the last 30 years. I totally and completely don't trust them. I also...

The A380: Gamers in the sky? »

Posted by Thomas Crampton Wrote a story in today’s paper about the new section of Charles de Gaulle airport being built for the A380, the world’s largest airliner. Turns out that the aircraft is so big that it requires a reconfiguration of terminal and in some ways it could be good. The second floor of the aircraft, for example, means that you can have two almost entirely separate sections. For people flying business and first class – not me! - they would walk into a separate part of the airplane that could have separate style of reception. The airport created...

Village funeral »

3 days ago, we got a call informing us that the grandfather of the household two houses away had passed away. We knew him fairly well. We live in a small Japanese village with very strong traditional rural rituals. One of them is the funeral. Many of the adjacent homes have a special relationship called musubiai or kumiai, which means that they will do just about anything for their next door neighbor. In the case of a death in the family, it means 24/7 support through all of the necessary activities. For the rest of the village, it means nearly...

The underprivileged victims of Katrina »

I've been reading all of the news about Katrina and feeling more and more guilty about not being able to do anything to help and not blogging about it at all. I think Xeni and others who have been tirelessly blogging about and doing something about it are doing an amazing job. Each morning, I've been just choking up reading the front page of the newspaper, not even being able to make it past the first page. I really don't know what to say... so I haven't said anything. However, chatting with some people and reading some of the blogs,...

Odd smoking habits »

Posted by Thomas Crampton Did a story on the closure of the last factory producing the famed pungent Gauloises brunes cigarettes. In reporting, I noticed that many of the tobacco shops in Paris are called La Civette. I asked a French colleague and here is her theory. Disgusting footnote: People smoked musk? Sounds even worse than brown tobacco!!! A "civette" is a shop selling tobacco and especially cigars. The name comes from a famous, fashionable shop which was on the rue St Honoré in the XIX century. It is not clear why that shop was called La Civette. Either because...

Katrina Tech Resources wiki page »

We've been chatting on #joiito on Freenode to try to help coordinate technical support and resources for Katrina relief work. Please sign up on/edit the wiki page and join the conversation on IRC if you can help in some way....

We Know »

Decided to play a bit more World of Warcraft this weekend. Wandering around Darkshire, I met the first person so far with a sense of humor. (Also the first person over 30 who I don't know in real life.) His name is Illuminus and he's a 37 year old philosopher/bouncer who likes to play mages. Anyway, we decided to start our own guild. It's called "We Know". If you're on Khadgar and want to join us, sign up on the wiki and look for me on Khadgar. We're still in the process of getting people to sign the charter....

Technorati update »

I'm sure that people who use Technorati have been frustrated lately by Cosmos search (or URL search) timing out occasionally. Dave has posted an update on the work being done. Thank you for your patience....
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