Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

June 2006 Archives

Some other bloggers at Brainstorm:

Ross Mayfield, Dan Gillmor, Rebecca MacKinnon, Gary Bolles

UPDATE: Diego Rodriguez is also blogging the event.

I just saw a screening of the film "The War Tapes", a documentary about soldiers in Iraq by soldiers in Iraq. The director Deborah Scranton is telling the story now. She was asked by the National Guard to do a documentary as an embedded journalist. Instead, she suggested that they give cameras to the soldiers and let them shoot the film. Soldiers were given cameras and she directed coordinated the editing via IM and email. The result is an amazingly candid and real film and it gave me a better view of what it is like to be a soldier in Iraq than anything else I've ever seen. Regardless of whether you support the war or not, I suggest you see this film.

It also gives me another perspective on the soldiers and the spouses of soldiers that I have met in our World of Warcraft guild...

UPDATE: She directed the film by IM and it was edited when the soldiers returned from Iraq.

They just announced that the conference is on the record (yay!) but there are no photos allowed (boo!). They cited security reasons. I have a feeling maybe this had something to do with it. (disclaimer: I had nothing to do with the "derivative work")

I'll be hanging out in #brainstorm on for IRC backchanneling for this conference.

A belated "gratz" to my friend and co-investor/partner in most of my angel investments, Reid Hoffman for become a Rank 22 important person.

Business 2.0
The 50 people who matter now

Rank: 22
Reid Hoffman
Angel investor and CEO, LinkedIn

Why He Matters: Want to launch a Web 2.0 startup? Be prepared to kiss Hoffman's ring. In his day job, Hoffman is the co-founder of LinkedIn, the online haven for business networkers. But on the side, he's also an angel investor with a knack for spotting young companies with big potential. Thus far, he's supplied insight and investment money to a remarkable number of successful startups, including Digg, Facebook, Flickr,, Six Apart, Technorati, and Wink. And while the cash is nice, Hoffman's imprimatur has become even more important if you want to be seen as a player in today's Internet game. If he likes your idea, good fortune is likely to follow. If he doesn't, it may be time to rethink your business plan.

Fortune Brainstorm 2006 starts today in Aspen. I've been to all of them so far and was bummed when they didn't have one last year. This is my favorite conference because of the diversity, the small size, and the rich content. I used to be one of the few bloggers that covered this conference. This year there are many other bloggers and Fortune has their own blog. I used to feel sort of sneaky posting pictures of Michael Eisner wearing a Mickey Mouse T-Shirt or scooping the Ted Turner talk. This year, they took their revenge by outing me on their blog as a warmup I think.

Anyway, I'll try to cover some of sessions with the pressure of more competition this year.

Brazil's Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil partakes of "Free Beer" - brought to him at the iSummit in Rio de Janeiro June 2006.
There were a bunch of cameras rolling when Gilberto Gil got his free beer at the iCommons Summit. All of the video was licensed under a CC Attribution license so Justin was able to edit together a multi-camera video of the Minister and his beer.

It's up on under a CC Attribution license.

There has no Internet connectivity at this hotel for the last 2 days and I've had no Internet. Luckily I was surrounded by lots of smart and interesting people to distract me, but I would like to apologize to anyone who has been trying to reach me the last few days. I'll try to catch up on email over the next day or so. I'm about to embark on another longish series of flights from Rio to Aspen via Sao Paolo, Washington DC and Denver...

Thanks to the colossal effort on the part of Nevin Thompson for the translation and transcription and the overtime work by Thor at dotSUB getting this posted, the MXTV show that I blogged earlier is now available with English subtitles. The show was directed by Shuichi Fujiyasu, "Peacedelic'ed" by Hiroyuki Nakano (who just won a Canne Young Critic award this year for his short film "Iron") and produced by Digital Garage. A lot of the video is just about me and stuff I'm interested in, but there is also a bunch of stuff about Creative Commons. Since it's on dotSUB, anyone who is interested can sign up and translate it into other languages. I'm slightly self-conscious posting a video which is mostly about me, but I think that parts of it are very cool and worth seeing. Shuichi Fujiyasu and Hiroyuki Nakano also did a very cool job of annotating the attributions for the attribution license. Of course, this version is also licensed under a Creative Commons attribution 2.5 license.

Anyway, thanks for all the help.

PS : The Nakano films still need more help on the translation if you happen to have time. ;-)

In a last ditch effort to get my computer operational I reformatted what appeared to be a corrupt disk and borrowed an external disk to boot from. My OTHER MacBook Pro is in the shop and I had wiped it clean before sending it in. This SECOND MacBook Pro was the backup so the only backup I have is a backup backup which is about 6 months old.

Erasing the disk that possibly had the only copy of 6 months worth of data on it was an interesting thing. I knew that if I sent it to some service or used some tool that I might be able to recover some or all of the data. However, I imagined the time, stress and grief that it would cause me to engage in such an activity. I tried to take inventory of what I had done in the last six months and what items were unique and what I could recover from other people or from the Net. When I clicked "erase" on the Disk Utility, it was actually extremely liberating. Like decided to "let go" after dwelling on a loss in the family or something...

I realize this may sound a bit high drama, but I'm sure I'm not the only one whose brain shuts down to almost all outside input during a broken computer incident. Now I'm running on a fresh install with very little baggage and it actually feels quite nice. This also means no World of Warcraft and possibly more blogging. ;-), Microsoft has released a free Office plug-in that enables you to mark Office documents (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) with Creative Commons licenses. This has been in the works for a while, and is an extremely cool development. The plug-in will modify the FILE menu, adding an item “Creative Commons” and then when selected, link the user out to the CC site to select a license to be inserted into the license. The first document licensed with the tool is a speech by Brazil’s Culture Minister and supercool musician, Gilberto Gil, about tropicalism. (en) (pt).
This plug-in is for the Windows version of office only and doesn't work on the Mac. However, this is a great step in the direction of mainstream software recognizing and integrating Creative Commons and I would like to thank everyone who made this happen. As Larry states in his blog post, Microsoft has been on the right side of a number of issues and should be commended when they are.

I've started having a weird problem on my MacBook Pro. It hangs in a mode where the mouse moves and all of the applications are basically frozen. It process stuff in bursts every once in awhile. It doesn't show weird CPU activity on the activity monitor and I have about 10G of disk space free. It happens when I only have a few applications open. I've done an fsck and a permissions fix with Disk Utility. Does anyone know what the problem might be? When I reboot, it gets better, but the starts to degrade again after running for awhile...

On another MacBook Pro note... My first one is in the shop because my fan started to rattle and my CD bay and the delete key broke. This is a "backup" that I bought and it's already broken while the first one is in the shop.

OK, one more gripe. The MacBook Pro draws more power than the airline seats are designed for so the breaker on the seat will pop as soon as the MacBook Pro starts charging while on or even with the battery out, you run something that taxes the CPU. A laptop that doesn't work with airline power really cramps my style.

So although the speed is addictively fast, I'm not sure it's worth all of the problems that I've been having with it.

Anyway, I'd be very grateful if someone could help me with my most recent problem. ;-)

I am waiting to board my flight to Rio, Brazil right now. When I checked in, I found out that my flight to Dulles airport in Washington DC stopped in Los Angeles and that my flight to Rio stopped in Sao Paulo. So instead of the 2 flights I thought I was taking, I'm taking 4. I heard from a friend that there is a nice flight on JAL that goes from Tokyo to New York to Rio. Looking closely at my flight itinerary, I just realized that I should have that a flight to Washington DC from Tokyo shouldn't take 17 hours and a flight from there to Rio shouldn't take 13 hours. In the past, I thought they showed "# of stops" or something in your itinerary, but on mine it just shows total hours... Note to self: read flight info carefully before booking tickets.

And since my MacBook Pro sucks too much power for airline seat power outlets and United doesn't have wifi anyway, I'm going to be doing the sleep/charge/work cycle for about 30 hours. Yuk.

Loic was lugging a one-man-video setup around when we met in Helsinki. He talked me into doing a conversation so he could show off his gear. ;-) He posted the video and audio on his blog.

Loic has been interviewing amazing people for his blog. Unfortunately for me, the interviews are mostly in French. Maybe he should use dotSUB...

Hiroyuki Nakano and his team posted some video messages from him for the iCommons Summit. I added the English subtitles and now they've been translated into Italian, Romanian and partially in Arabic in less than 24 hours. Pretty amazing.

Videos on dotSUB.

I blogged about the movie An Inconvenient Truth after I saw a screening of it. I think that EVERYONE should see the film. There is now a site dedicated to getting more people to see it. Please take a look and direct people to it if you can.

The Nokia guys showed me WidSets yesterday. It's a very cool service that allows people to make simple widgets which get sent to your phone and run on your phone. They are similar to OS X widgets and do various things like read RSS feeds, show flickr images for a particular tag, or show a Technorati feed. It's still in Beta, but seems to work well. It works on Java phones so will work on non-Nokia phones as well.

I just got a new Vodafone Japan phone to mess around with the network. In particular, I'm curious about how SMS evolves or fails to evolve in Japan.

So here's what I tested. I have a T-Mobile US SIM in a Nokia phone and was able to send and receive SMSs over both the Vodafone 3G network and the NTT DoCoMo 3G network. I was able to send an SMS to my Vodafone Japan phone, but not to my NTT DoCoMo phone. However, I was NOT able to reply to the SMS. As far as I can tell, but Vodafone Japan and DoCoMo disable sending SMSs to any other network than their own, but Vodfhone Japan allows you to receive an SMS from outside the network. This is for people with accounts on those networks. Their networks DO allow people who roam on their networks to send and receive SMS freely.

I am going to Finland tomorrow so I will try to use my Vodafone Japan phone there and see if it still blocks my SMS. I have a feeling that since the SMS server is probably where they block it, that it probably won't change anything.

The good news is that the 3G networks in Japan allow 3G phones and 3G subscribers from outside of Japan to roam on the Japanese networks. The bad news is that the Japanese networks are bringing their old-fashioned closed network philosophy and crippling connectivity between their networks. How stupid.

I wrote an article about the World of Warcraft for the last issue of Wired as part of the 2006 Rave Awards section. It is now available on their site.

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