Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

November 2005 Archives


Extracts from my article
on how the top six Paris hotels were caught fixing prices.

Fines ranged from 258,000 euros for the Hotel de Crillon to 55,000 euros for the Hotel Meurice. The Hôtel George V was fined 115,000; the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, E106,000; the Hôtel Ritz, E104,000; and Le Bristol, E81,000.

Email featured prominently in the government's case:

"I have the pleasure here of sending you our results and await yours," a sales coordinator at the George V, identified only as Madame X, said in an e-mail dated Feb. 2, 2001, sent to counterparts at the Hôtel Ritz, the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, the Hôtel Meurice, the Hôtel de Crillon and Le Bristol.

The e-mail included a chart showing levels of occupancy, average room prices and revenue information for the previous December.

They were not very happy to have us reporting on this story.

In the gold-festooned lobby of the Hôtel de Crillon, housed in a building constructed for Louis XV on the Place de la Concorde in the middle of Paris, the communications director declined to make any comment on the fines and insisted that a reporter attempting to speak with guests leave the premises immediately.

Some were not surprised by the price fixing.

A frequent guest at the Hôtel Meurice, an opulent hotel that is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, said he was not surprised by the collusion. "In this level of hotel you can always negotiate the level of prices anyways," said Luc Janssen, a Belgian who stays at the hotel often.

In what other sectors is price fixing likely or highly suspected?


Highlights from my story on Lunarstorm, the giant Swedish online community.

Claiming a youth audience three times larger than MTV in Sweden, two times larger than the entire readership of all of the Swedish evening newspapers combined and more members logging on daily than the total number of young Swedes watching almost every television show, Lunarstorm has become an accidental media titan here.

Lunarstorm's impact on Swedish youth is widely recognized. Church leaders used the community to console young people in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami that killed more than 500 Swedes. Meanwhile, concerns over the safety of minors prompted creation of a full-time security staff of six to scour the site for predatory behavior.

The site's question of the day - polling for anything from your favorite potato chips to political parties - garners an average of 150,000 respondents, more than any poll in Sweden apart from the actual national elections themselves.

Can closed garden communities survive - even if free - or are they Compuserves amid a more broadly emergent digital lifestyle?

Wiki site about ICANN. (ICANNWiki)

I will be a panelist in a public roundtable discussion at the Vancouver ICANN meeting entitled "Welcome to ICANN, Here’s What It Means To You." The roundtable is scheduled for Wednesday, 30 November, 10:30 - 11:30, at the Columbia's Westin Bayshore.

The purpose of the roundtable is to introduce ICANN -- its community and its work -- to the local and regional community and press. The roundtable will feature members of the ICANN community in an informal, moderated discussion of what ICANN does, why ICANN is important to various stakeholder communities, what the ICANN community will be doing in Vancouver, why you volunteer your time with ICANN, and how people can get involved.
If you're coming to an ICANN meeting for the first time, I would suggest you come to this meeting.


Recent thread on the types of blogs highlighted something that bothers me: The term Blogging has hit the use-by date.

Face it, the word "blog" does not have a beautiful sound.

More to the point, however, there are so many types of blog-like interactions that it is way too generic.

In the thread we arrived at three styles of blogging (they can be mixed in a single blog, of course):

1- Talk - distributed conversation that reaps ideas

2- Inform - links to interesting things

3- Opine - Puts forward viewpoints

Sam Tresler highlighted many uses for blogs:

- Organizational

- Personal

- Business

Can anyone think of a better term than blogging to describe what we are talking about?

I wonder why Dubai is blocking Flickr. Aren't they trying to become the center of media in the Middle East? More info on Metblogs Dubai.
Icann Van Head Logo
I'm at the ICANN meeting in Vancouver this week. You can often find me on the #joiito IRC channel. I need to give the face to face meeting priority, but I'll try to provide background and contextual information for anyone who is attending or watching the webcast and is interested.
Calling Abbi in the studio to coordinate...
Abbi from the Situation Room emailed me just as I was about to leave Croatia asking me to join Rebecca MacKinnon on a segment for the Situation Room today. (This is the second time. The first time was in August.) We just finished recording. It will air on CNN Domestic 7 PM Eastern Time on Saturday and 1 PM Eastern Time on Sunday. Rebecca talked about global voices and I talked about blogs being conversations. Nothing new to readers here, but felt good having a chance to say it on CNN. I also quoted Thomas Crampton's post about how the IHT only gets 30 letters to the editor while we often get more comments on blog posts.

Abbi who runs the segment that we were in reads our blogs and is totally into blogs and new technology. CNN is lucky to have her. Her segment has a refreshing style and is something new... something we didn't have last year as far as I know. At least some of the main stream media is working well with us. I just realized that I was on CNN talking about what Thomas from the IHT was saying on my blog. Holy MSM remix. That's a lot of progress from last year... at least from my perspective.

I've accepted an invitation from my old friend Martin Varsavsky to be a fonero and an advisor to FON. Cory blogged about this in October, but FON is a cool P2P WIFI service which allows users to share their WIFI networks with each other eventually creating a global roamable network. They're launching first in Spain but plan to push out worldwide.

I've just spent five days in Croatia visiting Zagreb and Dubrovnik. The trip was organized by the Creative Commons Croatia dynamic duo, Marcell and Tomi with the support of CARNet. CARNet is the Croatian Academic and Research Network and I gave a keynote at their 7th Internet Users Conference in Dubrovnik.

After Dubrovnik, I went to Zagreb and gave two presentations organized by Marcell, Tomi and the mama team. mama is a very cool media center, library, community center that is the meeting place of a number of really interesting communities in Croatia. One of the communities that hangs out there is the anime community who I had a chance to meet. They were extremely organized, fun and knew everything about Japanese anime. I learned a lot from them and renewed my feeling that a stronger relationship between anime publishers and their fans would be a win-win.

While I was in Dubrovnik, Marcell drove me to Montenegro and gave me a full day talk on the history of the region and many of the issues. A lot of the news that I had been skimming in the past about the war in the region and the struggle of the people all sort of fell into place. The scenery was beautiful with a mix between ancient towns and cool new restaurants and bars. Although I'm sure Marcell is slightly biased, it was a great opportunity for me to learn about an area of the world that until this trip has been filed in my brain under "Eastern Europe". As I mentioned earlier when writing about my friend Veni from Bulgaria, I am going to make an effort to visit and learn more about Eastern Europe and make up for my embarrassing lack of knowledge of the region and I think this was a good start.

Thanks again for the hospitality and for sharing your culture with me.

I've uploaded a few pictures from the trip.

I'm posting this from my flight to Vancouver where I will be attending the ICANN meeting.


Spent yesterday reporting on debate about a French law that increases the means of high tech surveillance.

Besides getting a chance to see the sumptuous interior of the Assemblee Nationale (where the press room has gold festooned napoleonic decorations) I got a chance to look at the French attitude towards police power versus individual liberties.

New provisions:

* Increased video surveillance around public buildings, companies, places of worship and transportation centers like train stations and airports. Current restrictions on such surveillance mean that France employs fewer than 100,000 cameras; Britain has more than four million.

* Police officials and prosecutors in France would also have easier access to the data supplied to obtain car registrations, driving licenses, identity cards and passports.

* Internet cafés that allow anonymous surfing would be required to keep a record for up to one year of all sites visited.

Such information collection has raised concerns at the government-financed National Commission for Data and Liberty.

Is this intrusive or necessary for safety?


In studying blogs I have come to notice there are relatively few styles of postings.

In descending order of difficulty, they are:

Conversational: Asks for a response, implicitly or explicity. Often gets no responses but occasionally it hits a home run with a great discussion.

Informational: A "neat-o" style of posting that tells information but does not really encourage discussion. These tend to get links without comment. BoingBoing, Engadget, etc are very successful blogs of this sort.

Polemical: A posting that takes a strong opinion. These tend to get both responses and links. The responses, however, tend to be opinions. Can be dull unless you use it like a drunk leaning on a lamppost: More for support than shedding light.

Additions and comments welcome


Interesting post on the blog of PR man Richard Edelman about the future of media.

Extracted highlights:

* The largest 50 Web companies are attracting 96% of the ad spending on line.

* 9.5 million homes in the US now have TiVo or another digital video recorder. 64% of DVR users skip all ads and an additional 26% skip through most ads. The number of homes with DVRs is expected to triple in the next five years.

* Every dollar coming out of print advertising revenue for newspapers is replaced by only 33 cents online.

Changes to the media landscape are dramatic. I think many in the media industry have not yet internalized these numbers.

Heather Ford and her crew in South Africa have launched 'Copyright, copyleft and everything in between'.
The Learning Commons
'Copyright, copyleft and everything in between' is a multimedia curriculum on copyright alternatives in South Africa. It covers the social and economic impact of technology from an African perspective, focusing specifically on the origins of copyright and the impact of open source software and open content on African development. The materials have been released under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike South Africa licence which enables you to freely copy and share the files, make derivatives (including translations) - even for commercial use (as long as you attribute us and licence the derivative under the same terms)! Download it here, order the published copy or contact us for more details.
I think educational tools are a great application for Creative Commons, and they've done a brilliant job. Between Heather Ford's work with Creative Commons with Mark Shuttleworth's worth with Ubuntu Linux (It's still running my Asterisk install.), South Africa is quickly becoming one of the coolest places on the planet. Thanks for this Heather.

Congratulations to the whole Global Voices team for winning a Best of the Blogs award from Deutsche Welle. The won the Best Journalistic Blog in English. (More information posted by Ethan on the GV Blog.) It's been almost a year since we posted the Global Voices Covenant, which at the time was really a mission statement for Global Voices. I remember Rebecca and Ethan were worried about whether it was feasible to take on such a broad mission. Clearly, they have succeeded driving this forward and continuing build the team and to foster the community into something really important.

Here is the manifesto again. (Wiki translation effort on the GV wiki.)

We believe in free speech: in protecting the right to speak -- and the right to listen. We believe in universal access to the tools of speech.

To that end, we want to enable everyone who wants to speak to have the means to speak -- and everyone who wants to hear that speech, the means to listen to it.

Thanks to new tools, speech need no longer be controlled by those who own the means of publishing and distribution, or by governments that would restrict thought and communication. Now, anyone can wield the power of the press. Everyone can tell their stories to the world.

We want to build bridges across the gulfs of culture and language that divide people, so as to understand each other more fully. We want to work together more effectively, and act more powerfully.

We believe in the power of direct connection. The bond between individuals from different worlds is personal, political and powerful. We believe conversation across boundaries is essential to a future that is free, fair, prosperous and sustainable - for all citizens of this planet.

While we continue to work and speak as individuals, we also want to identify and promote our shared interests and goals. We pledge to respect, assist, teach, learn from, and listen to one other.

We are Global Voices.


A 30-minute business idea in globalizing the many eBay sites around the world.

While it may not work for my bathroom sink on sale now in Paris, if you found items that were cheaper in one market than another and the shipping costs were low, you could safely bid in one country's ebay to sell in another.

This is something that you could automate for certain objects.

The idea was suggested by Mahesh Murthy at the SIME conference in Stockholm last week and I cannot see anything against it.

The only hinderance is if eBay started offering such a service.


Dear All,

As happened in previous posting, I am happy to revisit the issue of my guest blogging on Joi's site.

Why blog with Joi?

As Joi mentioned, I am trying to fast-forward into new media. Whether covering war, disease outbreaks or eathquakes, I always head for the frontlines.

The frontlines in blogging include the readers of Joi's blog. Great ideas have emerged in discussions here on how to combine blogging with more traditional media.

If you want to shape traditional media's interaction with bloggers, please join the discussion. If not, excuse us and rest assured that I will not be here forever (see next question).

How long will I blog here?

I blog here at Joi's invitation and would never impose on his kindness. I will be launching the first-ever blog-based column of the IHT in the coming months and will migrate the bulk of my postings over to that blog over time.

Is someone here paid by the International Herald Tribune?

Absolutely yes! I am a full-time employee of the IHT/NYT and have been for more than a decade. (Details at Other than my salary, no money changes hands.

Back to topic: Blogs and Traditional media

Funny self-observation: Just realized that in my postings I have dropped the Posted by Thomas Crampton in favor of By Thomas Crampton. That makes my online byline similar to my print byline.

Also, my blogging style has changed over time. Specific quesitions get more useful responses than general ones broad ones. You need to know what you are looking for.

What other tips to encourage discussion?


What options to refer to bloggers quoted in the International Herald Tribune blog-based technology page column?

- Shorter references make it easier on the reader
- Longer references make it easier for readers to track the person making comments and encourage the conversational-style that will hopefully develop

BUT Hyperlinks are not yet possible in the printed edition (sadly).

So options include:

- Use only the first name of the blogger (as many comments appear)
- Use the Blog/web address
- Include first name and blog address
- First name, blog address and a qualifying reference (author of XX book, etc)

What would make people more likely to participate? Concrete examples preferred.

PS: In preparing for the blog-based column for the International Herald Tribune I have spent vastly more time brainstorming and discussing issues here in Joi's blog than inside the newsroom. Thanks!


Been asking around the newsroom of the International Herald Tribune as to why we don't have a podcast of our best story of the day.

Problem: We don't have the in-house expertise right now to do podcast editing, but we came up with the concept of dial-in podcasting.

Business idea: Our far-flung reporters - and others eager for high quality podcasts - would call in their stories from the field (like we used to do to the recording room) to a high quality editing service that would splice together the best version and put a standard intro on the start and finish of each podcast. The podcast would then be automatically posted on our website. (Sounds ripe for an enterprising outsourcer!)

Any ideas?

The Nikkei
10:31 13Sep2005 NIKKEI Hakuhodo Teams Up With Russian Ad Agency

Note: I couldn't identify the Russian firm. This is just a guess. KMD

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Hakuhodo Inc. formed a business partnership Monday with Russian advertising agency Prior Advertising, joining the growing ranks of Japanese automakers, consumer electronics firms and other businesses moving into the country to tap its developing economy.

Through its partnership with Prior, Hakuhodo aims to secure orders from
Japanese companies operating in Russia.  The Russian firm, meanwhile, will handle accounts on Hakuhodo's introduction.

Through this joint effort, the partners will aim for sales of 500 million yen over the next year.

Prior, an independent advertising company, recorded sales of about 65 million dollars, or roughly 7.1 billion yen, in the year ended December 2004.

Dentsu Inc. (4324) in August reopened its Moscow branch, which was temporarily closed.  Through its collaboration with Prior, Hakuhodo aims to compete with Dentsu in the Russian market.

The Russian advertising market is continuing to show growth.  In 2004, it was worth about 420 billion yen, up 30% from the previous year.
     (The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Tuesday morning edition)

"Note: I couldn't identify the Russian firm. This is just a guess. KMD"? This sounds like a message from the reporter to the editor. Oops. ;-)

The Nikkei is one of the largest newspapers in Japan. I guess even they screw up sometimes... or maybe they're trying to make it sound a bit more "bloggy".

My friend Kenji Eno was reminiscing about how cool the old 128K Mac was. He Googled around looking for pictures and had a hard time finding one. He was going to sketch an illustration of one, but ended up making a cut-out paper craft version of it that you can download as a PDF. Today, one of his clients called and said they saw this blog post and asked him how their project was going... I'm going to send him a World of Warcraft CD tomorrow...

(He made a paper video iPod too...)


Looking for a model to follow in the IHT blog project and want to figure out what works.

The Guardian newspaper has a tech blog (check out their pipe-smoking tech editor).

But Technorati ranks Boing Boing the most popular blog by far. (Kudos, guys!)

Why do you read Boing Boing?

a - The frequent postings (up to 33 in one day, by my count)
b - The focus of stories?
c - Boing Boing should improve by . . .
d - Blog X is better than Boing Boing because . . .


Funny clash of perspectives in the International Herald Tribune newsroom!

In planning for my blog-based column, I chased down the actual number of letters to the editor we receive each day.

We receive at the IHT roughly 30 letters per day, of which 10-15 are usable, the letters editor said. We end up publishing roughly six.

Historical footnote: We formerly only accepted letters via post, then we accepted fax letters (by early 1990s) and now we almost exclusively receive letters via email.

For a daily newspaper printed in 31 print sites around the world and distributed in more than 150 countries, 30 letters per day struck me as very low, but several colleagues thought it was "a lot".

I sometimes get more than 20 responses - many publishable - for a single posting on this blog.

Once the blog-column is up and running I will be interested to see how many letters to the editor we can inspire. (For the newspaper as a whole, not just for the column.)

If you feel strongly about an article or issue, the email is and please mention this blog so we can get a sense of the level of blogger input.


Pitch to the editors of the International Herald Tribune about launching the paper's first blog-based column went well!! (Incorporating many of the ideas from this blog.)

Sounds like I might be the first-ever official blogger of the IHT.

Still wrestling with a variety of details - technical and editorial - for version 1.0. It will be rudimentary to begin with (and quite labor intensive for me).

Thanks for further ideas and I will be counting on readers here participating through this blog (or directly on the IHT site.)

How would you prefer to give submissions:

a- I edit them from a blog-like discussion?

b- People have a limited space (100 or 50 words) to give their take on something?


Wrote a story about Burda, a German media company that has embraced blogging.

The CEO (grandson of founder) says he never plans to ever open a new printing plant!

Stock analysts fear they may be ahead of the curve in terms of going digital too soon.

This may be old news, but I just saw FlightAware for the first time. It tracks flights in the US that the FAA manages including general aviation. You find a private plane and then drill down to past flights that the plane has made. Quite amazing. I wish they could do this internationally.

via Rodney

One opinion expressed by a member with samurai ancestry was that the Emperor should have committed seppuku (Japanese ritual suicide) immediately after the end of the war. Several people agreed. Others suggested that this would have caused a mass seppuku. They cited that under the Japanese bushido code, this would probably have been appropriate. I wonder what would have happened if Emperor Showa had committed seppuku after the war and whether he ever considered this. I assume that although he was technically bound by bushido, he was probably not educated in a strict bushido way...

There were other opinions that included someone pointing out that the Emperor did not choose to be the Emperor whereas Tojo and other military leaders chose their positions and should be more responsible for their actions.

Per a request in the comments of my previous post, let me post a few more of my notes about Yasukuni Shrine.

First of all, it is an independent religions organization not directly affiliated with the government. Over 2 million soldiers are memorialized in Yasukuni. The votes of these relatives have value, but it isn't since the Koizumi days that the media have started picking it up as a big deal. Koizumi ran for office three times before he was successful. The first two times, visits to Yasukuni were never part of Koizumi's campaign, but starting with the third try against Hashimoto, he promised to visit Yasukuni as Prime Minister to try to take this swing vote from the Hashimoto faction. Some believe that this was key to his winning the fourth election. There appears to be some "logic" in domestic politics for his action. However, I think there is a consensus that it makes no sense from a foreign policy perspective and even the US which has been rather neutral on the issue in the past seems to be concerned. On the other hand, some polls show the Japanese public divided on the issue. The Sankei newspaper is currently the only newspaper supporting Koizumi's visits the Yasukuni Shrine. The Yomiuri, which once supported his visits, now criticizes them. Some people believe that maybe there is some secret plan to use this as a bargaining chip with China in the future. However, most people believe that even if this ends up happening it was not particularly planned by Koizumi.

One expert in Japanese religion at this meeting pointed out that the original Nara Buddhism does not memorialize the dead or believe in heaven. He argued that the religious underpinnings of the necessity of memorializing the war dead didn't make sense under real Japanese Buddhism and that we should stop making such memorials in Japan... that Japan should go back to Nara Buddhism where once you died, you were dead. Full stop. Another person commented that there is a division of state and church under the Japanese constitution and these visits are a violation.

This is reiterating the obvious, but the two main point are the class A war criminals memorialized there and probably the war museum. The war museum tries to argue that the WWII was justified.

I'm at a mountain retreat with a 40 or so "leaders" of Japan. I blogged about my first trip and the discussion we had two years ago. It's a cross-sector group of people that get together every year to discuss some big topic. The topic this year is the future of Japan. This is one of the few Japanese meetings of this sort that I continue to attend because of the diversity of the group and the frankness of the discussion. It always feels like I'm peering into the heart and soul of Japan.

We covered a number of issues including Japan's relationship with Asia and the US, the aging population and the decreasing population and the economy. As usual the opinions were all over the spectrum and the debate heated and emotional. As most of you already know, the Japanese economy is recovering, but mostly because of the increase in the Chinese market. Interestingly, it's things like cement and construction in China that is helping to revive the Japanese economy fueling the dying public works industry in Japan. Most people agreed that Japan needed to work with China, but HOW to interact with China and the rest of Asia was a point of considerable debate. I am happy to report that most people thought that we needed to deal with the war history and that it was a bad idea for Koizumi to be going to Yasukuni Shrine. However, many Japanese thought it wasn't the business of China or any other country to tell Japan what to do. In fact, it was the opinion of several experts that Koizumi was going in part to spite China as evidenced by his going to the Shrine right after meeting with the Chinese delegates, etc.

One issue I brought up was how unhappy I was about Tokyo Governor Ishihara's anti-Chinese comments. (I blogged about this before.) One surprising response I got was that at least one person in the group thought he should be allowed to say what he wanted and that they didn't find such comments particularly annoying. I was pretty flabbergasted. Even some of the rather moderate people shrugged and pointed out that he was a net positive because of some of the fiscal policies he has pursued. After my rant at Davos I heard a rumor that he told at least one industry head that I was a "public enemy". I think it's something like pointing to the crazy uncle, and it is clearly unpopular to point out our Governor's faults. I did make the point that we can act as friendly as we want but as long as the two most powerful politicians of Japan were making clearly anti-Chinese gestures, whatever the reason, we would never have harmony with China.

We tried to get down to the reasons. One reason people gave for Koizumi's shrine visits was that the percentage of the population whose family have died in war feel strongly that the government should acknowledge them. There were two people who has ancestors in Yasukuni, but both of them felt the visits were inappropriate and felt that they should remove the war criminals. Various people gave Shinto practices and other things as reasons, but I didn't feel they were very strong arguments.

Then we talked about Ishihara and plain old-fashioned racism. A university professor pointed out that it was a problem, and described his theory on what may be one of the causes. Japan imported single-race nationalism as a unifying concept from Germany during the Meiji period. The Japanese word, minzoku, which refers to its people comes from das volk. Japan forced a national dialect and basically centralized control and stamped out a great deal of diversity in order to empower the central government under this process. Before this, Japan was more diverse and more tolerant. Later, this would blow up as a working philosophy in Nazi Germany and Japan. However, as a strategy of combating the threat of communism in Japan, the US occupation and the Japanese government allowed these nationalists and the sense of racial purity to remain and fester in modern Japan in order to fight the more liberal emerging left-wing of Japan. Most people agreed that Japanese needed to increase immigration to deal with the population and aging problem, but that with this latent racism and intolerance for diversity immigration would not work well.

I realize this post is getting a bit long and I have one more day at this retreat. I'll try to post anything else that comes up in the discussions.

One member of our group pointed out that there was a discussion among G8 members about dropping Japan from the G8. One of the possible reasons is that Japanese foreign minister is often the only one who doesn't speak enough English to participate directly in the conversations. Several of us pointed out that it was bad policy in this day and age to appoint people who don't speak any English as Foreign Minister. One surprising comment was another member asserting that there was nothing wrong with a non-English speaking Foreign Minister. Doh. It's this sort of block headed pride/nationalism that gets us into trouble. English is currently the primary language for international diplomacy like it or not. I think we should have Foreign Ministers who speak English, French and Chinese.

It reminds me of when I was interpreting for the chairman of NHK (The Japanese public broadcast company) in a meeting with Jack Valenti. He told me to tell Jack that "the more English a Japanese speaks, the less power he has." He was pointing out the fact that traditionally people focused their energy on gaining power in Tokyo and people who lost political battles were typically sent overseas as punishment or to get them out of the way. This was over a decade ago and things have changed, but this insular thinking continues in part because as the world's second largest GDP it is still possible to pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist. sigh...

10 Most Powerful Women in Blogging


8. Joi Ito of Technorati ( ) has her hands in a lot of Web 2.0 companies, some you might not even know about yet. This makes her damn powerful. Often times the one you don’t know that well is the most powerful. My personal favorite because she seems to help people get shit done.


Sorry about having a ambiguous name, but I'm not a woman. I've been mistaken for a women by various bloggers, but this is the first time I've made it on a 10 most XYZ Women in ABC list. ;-P

via Jeff via Gothamist


On Monday the Tech editor and I will pitch the blog column idea to the top editor of the International Herald Tribune.

Great suggestions when we discussed it here earlier.

Current thinking:

The Column: Of about 700 words will appear occasionally (until we can be sure quality is high enough) in the tech pages of the newspaper.

The Title: Lessons Learned; Digital Conversation; Any other ideas? (Actually, any other ideas might be a good name!)

The Form: Could be broken into three sections of roughly 200 words or one long column if interesting enough.

The Content: Would come from you. Best, I think, to ask people to submit 100 words on a given topic. That would enforce tight writing and avoid the impossible task of trying to summarize a blog discussion. People could submit multiple items, but none longer.

The Ideas: Would come from you. But the topic would need to stay relevant to the issue of technology, since that is where the column appears.

Any thoughts? I need a strong pitch for Monday morning!!!


In France bloggers have been investigated by police for inciting the riots.

Also, my audiocast on the riots for the New York Times website. (My first podcast-style effort)

Blogs and sms messages were apparently used to coordinate violent action on a large scale.

What should authorities do?

Is there an alternative to censorship?

I will again be going to the Chaos Computer Congress organized by the Chaos Computer Club in Germany. You know. THE Chaos Computer Club. They are one of the oldest hacker clubs in the world and they have an annual meeting. This will be the 22nd annual meeting. Last year I attended and gave a talk about free culture and Creative Commons. This year I'll be speaking about their theme, "private investigations" and am an "ambassador at large." I will work on my talking notes on my wiki. (Nothing there yet.)

If you're in Berlin December 27th to 30th or anywhere close, I definitely urge you to attend. There are thousands of hackers participating in an incredible conference that rounds 24 hours a day. Activities range from the computer art to parties to a go (the Japanese game) lounge to serious academic presentations. As usual, I hear the Wikipedians will be there as well.

The conference has a web page and they also have a blog.

Holy we the audience Batman! Dan's on the cover of Aera. Aera is probably Japan's biggest news magazine. Congratulations Dan! Although I will take credit for giving a copy of the book to Mr. Hattori at Asahi, many thanks to Asahi for getting Dan's book out in Japanese and giving him great coverage here. Seeing Dan on the cover of Aera really made my day. Maybe Japan's not that bad after all.

Posted by

After spending several days in the Paris suburbs and filing stories non-stop all day today, a few things struck me.

I have written about the first incident that sparked the riots and today's latest news (more violence already starting tonight and plans by French government to use curfew.)

The underlying feeling I got from the young people in Clichy-sous-Bois - where the troubles began - is total despair with no way out.

Seems there must be CK Prahalad opportunities for these young people to make a fortune - or at least a living - if they are given half a chance.

What ideas for businesses or projects that can bring hope to despairing young people in a high rise ghetto?

Are there successful models of what can be done?

I'm at the San Francisco airport and after a long wait in line at security, a big grumpy-looking security officer looked at the Rock Lee sticker on my PowerBook. (My sister bought it in Akihabara for me.) He beamed and said, "hey! Rock Lee!" We smiled at each other and had a Japanese Anime moment.

Rock Lee is probably my favorite Naruto character. He is pretty uncool, has no magic and wins by just trying very hard. His teacher is also very uncool and they wear these matching silly green jumpsuits. It's interesting to see who people's favorite characters are in Naruto since they're all pretty weird and very different.

The nomination committee (NomCom) of ICANN announced today they have chosen Njeri Rionge from Kenya for another term on the ICANN board and has added Susan Crawford to the board. I'm glad to be working with Njeri who I met on the ICANN board. Susan's one of the people who helped me understand ICANN in the before I joined the board and I'm psyched to be working with her. If you're interested in ICANN you've probably been following her blog, but if not, you should. It's one of my must read blogs.

The NomCom has also announced a number of other important ICANN positions today:

ccNSO Council - Slobodan Markovic (Serbia and Montenegro, Europe)
GNSO Council - Avri Doria (USA, North America), Sophia Bekele (Ethiopia, Africa)
Interim At Large Advisory Committee - Jacqueline Morris (Trinidad and Tobago, Latin America/Caribbean Islands), Alice Wanjira (Kenya, Africa), Siavash Shahshahani (Iran, Asia/Australia/Pacific)

The word "nomination" is a bit confusing. There is a process before they are officially board members, but for all practical purposes, they have been chosen. Congrats and thanks to the new members and to the NomCom who have been working VERY hard.


Here's a home video clip a friend sent that claims to show Paris police shooting in the suburbs. Fairly strong stuff.

Disclaimer: I do not know anything further about the site or the clip.

Google has just launched a "Usage Rights" category in their advanced search. It uses Creative Commons license to allow users to search for works which either "allow some form of re-use" or "can be freely modified, adapted or built upon". This is a great step forward and will hopefully increase the adoption of Creative Commons (CC).

On the other hand, I don't see CC mentioned on the page and having only two choices is limiting, considering the various other licenses that people are likely to use. Yahoo advanced search already has two radio buttons instead allowing you to choose "Find content I can use for commercial purposes" or "Find content I can modify, adapt, or build upon". This actually allows three choices (depending on how you count) and they have a CC logo and a link to an explanation.

I realize it takes a lot for Google to add this and I appreciate all of the work that went into getting this done. Yahoo and Google are both probably testing this feature to some extent. It would be great if you could all spread the word, try to service and give feedback to Yahoo and now Google so they continue to integrate Creative Commons into their offerings.

In addition to Google and Yahoo, there are many other services that have begun integrating Creative Commons. See the web page for more info.

20051102 03
photo from The Mirror
[004] Snowly of The World of Warcraft (Xinhua) A young girl nicknamed "Snowly" died last month after playing the online game "World of Warcraft" for several continuous days during the national day holiday. Several days before Snowly's death, the girl was said to be preparing for a relatively difficult part of the game (namely, to kill the Black Dragon Prince) and had very little rest. She told her friends that she felt very tired. A big online funeral was held for Snowly one week after her death (see photo from The Mirror).
With 4.5M users there are bound to be deaths in the World of Warcraft and gauging by the relationships I'm building with fellow gamers I can definitely see how an online funeral would be a very big deal. I often see players playing until they pass out, especially when they are questing in a group where their participation is required for the group to hold together as a team. (I've passed out a few times as well.) There is also a lot of pressure to catch up if you drop behind a group of friends in order to play your role in the quests.

However, I don't see this as a reason to bash these games. Clearly the addictive nature of these games are a risk from a productivity and health perspective, but I think that the sense of responsibility and teamwork that is built by the games exceeds this cost. I've seen a lot of coaching of young players by older players about behavior, responsibility, sharing and kindness that is crisp and makes a lot of sense in the game context, but might be lost in a conversation in the real world. Players typically stay up all night helping other players, not out of peer pressure, but out of a sense of teamwork and comradarie. The structure of the game and the rules make it very easy to measure the value of this teamwork and when a team isn't working. Most of the difficult quests require a very large group of people training and working together. It's hard to describe the sense of responsibility players gain to people who don't play, but I urge people not to discount it with playing.

I feel sorry for Snowly and everyone else whose lives are taken or ruined by games, but I think there is a social benefit. Like all new things, I think we will have to work on ways to support people who play to mitigate risks and manage addiction, but there is so much there that I hope news like this doesn't cause parents to prevent their kids from playing online games.

via Boris via Rebecca

Posted by

Defining the poor is common (The World Bank's one dollar per day level, for example)

But who are the rich?

If you can read this posting, you are likely rich.

Anyone with a university education and an income at or above the lower-middle class level for an OECD country is rich, I would argue. Being rich is more about having time and freedom to make choices about your life than bagfulls of money.

Joi's latest posting may suggest a way to measure wealth through a Technorati rating!

What is the best metric to define someone as rich?

My Technorati ranking has become #104 and I've officially fallen off the Technorati top 100. Powerlaw, schmowerlaw. If you don't blog often or maintain a stream of interesting content your ranking will quickly drop. Even at a lower level of output, my ranking has gone from my previous 40's and 50's to below 100. Obviously blogs that continue to be interesting like Boing Boing keep the #1 position, but the amount of churn at the lower levels is encouraging. Although I didn't conduct this experiment on purpose, it's interesting data. On the other hand, it would be interesting to see how much sheer number of posts vs interesting posts can increase rank and traffic. More posts means more pages to view as well a higher likelihood that someone will link to you.

Gnome News is Good News
SoftGnome is out of the bag

Our latest PhoneGnome add-on, SoftGnome, is now available for testing by PhoneGnome owners.

SoftGnome let’s PhoneGnome owners take their home phone service with them wherever they go (wherever there is an Internet connection).

I've been waiting for this for awhile. This will let me mess around with my PhoneGnome a bit more. David's been focused on getting the easy to use part of it working first, for geeks SoftGnome is an important piece.

Disclosure: I'm an investor and advisor.

Lessig Blog
buttons galore
becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png becomeacommoner.png fundraiserbutton.png supportthecommons.png

So some smart folks suggested we start passing out buttons for the CC fundraising campaign. We like smart folks (or at least some smart folks), and so we did. Go here to get a button. Please. Pretty please. Or whatever form of please will get you to go.

So please... support Creative Commons. As a wise old man once told me... "Never beg... unless it helps."

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