Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

June 2008 Archives


We just wrapped up the Global Voices Summit in Budapest. I unfortunately missed the first public half of the Summit, but participated in the meeting afterwords for the authors, editors and the staff. It was amazing to see so many countries and regions discussing issues face to face in combinations that only the UN would come close to. It was a really great meeting everyone and the last session was tear-jerking, listening to everyone's stories.

Since the first Global Voices meeting in 2004, I've been peripherally involved, most recently as a board member. I'd seen the site growing and growing, but the scale, quality and commitment of the community involved in running this multi-national, multi-lingual blogging effort really hit me after attending this conference and I'm even prouder than ever to be able to part of this movement.

Global Voices is a super-important part in fixing what I call the "caring problem". There is a systemic bias against reporting international news in most developed nations. When pressed, many editors will say that people just don't want to read articles about other parts of the world. This is because most people don't care. They don't care because they don't hear the voices or know people in other countries. I think that by providing voices to all over the world, we have the ability to connect people and get people to care more.

I also believe that voice is probably more important than votes or guns. I believe that combating extremism is most effectively done by winning the argument in public, not by censorship, elections or destruction. I believe that providing everyone with a voice to participate in the global dialog is key. The ability to communication and connect without permission or fear of retribution is a pillar of open society in the 21st Century. Global Voices is the best example of this that I know of.

UPDATE: My photos and everyone's photos of the meeting are on Flickr.

This cartoon was featured on the gapingvoid cartoon widget today. What a blast from the past - a legacy from when my blog was actually widely read. ;-)

Thanks Hugh!

George Lucas and JJ Abrams - Photoshopped
Photoshopped version of my photo by unknown artist - I do not own the copyright to this derivative work

George Lucas and JJ Abrams
The original image

It was awhile ago, but someone sent me a photoshopped version of my photo of George Lucas and JJ Abrams. I can't seem to find the email. I'd like to contact the artist to ask for permission to use it and ask them to license it under a CC license. I'd also like to provide attribution. If you sent me the photo and are reading this, can you leave a comment or send me an email? If you know who did this, let me know too.


AT&T Online Billing

Ms. Suspicious has nothing to hide. Well, she has a little to
hide, but her love of Online Billing isn't one of them. She and the other
Online Liberation Movement(sm) members have all made online billing work for
them, whether they need simplicity, convenience, flexibility, or just peace
of mind.

In a recent marketing ad, AT&T makes a really bad joke poking fun at people upset about their warrantless wiretapping. Bad taste. I think I'm going to cancel my AT&T phone number.

Via Reading (for Dummies).

Dopplr recently released public profiles. Here's mine. There lots of nifty info on the page with code to link to or embed the various thingies.

One of my favorites is my velocity.

Done in typical groovy Dopplr style. Good job guys.

Disclosure: I'm a Dopplr investor.

Yvette Alberdingkthijm
Yvette Alberdingkthijm

WITNESS Appoints New Executive Director

June 25, 2008


New York, NY (June 25, 2008) - Today, the Board of Directors of WITNESS the international human rights organization co-founded by musician and activist Peter Gabriel, announced the appointment of Yvette J. Alberdingk Thijm as Executive Director.

Alberdingk Thijm has nearly two decades of experience in media and new technology. Most recently, she served as Executive Vice President of Content Strategy & Acquisition at Joost, the global online video platform formed by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, the founders of Skype and Kazaa. Prior to joining Joost, Alberdingk Thijm was Executive Vice President of Business Affairs for MTV Networks International (MTVNI), where she oversaw business affairs for all of its branded businesses and channels worldwide (outside the U.S.A.), including digital media initiatives, audiovisual co-productions, new business development, strategic partnerships and joint ventures.

Yvette is one of the coolest people I've met recently. I met her as a fellow board member on the WITNESS board and have been learning about the international broadcast scene from her.

Gillian Caldwell
Gillian Caldwell

After Gillian Caldwell, the super-ED who got me involved in WITNESS moved on to run 1Sky, WITNESS has been looking for an ED to fill her shoes. (Very hard shoes to fill).

Jenni Wolfson
Jenni Wolfson

During that time, the staff, lead by Jenni Wolfson has done an amazing job keeping everything running and improving and we're eternally grateful and impressed.

I think that recruiting Yvette from the board was a very clever move on the part of the committee in charge of these things and I'm so excited that Yvette was willing to take the role. (Board members becoming staff seems to be in fashion these days. *cough*)

Anyway, yay us!

A Flowgram about it...

My Seesmic video about it. I like Flowgrams better when I haven't had any sleep and look like crap, I just realized. ;-)

UPDATE: Here's the Seesmic plugin for MT.

Went to Aronia De Takazawa with Joshua, Roger and Oki last night. Here's a flowgram about it.

Here's my first Flowgram. It's in closed beta right now and I'm an adviser and an investor. It's lets you put audio narration over a bunch of links or photos. It's sort of like a podcast with bookmarks.

One thing I learned when using it was how crappy my microphones are. This is actually a good way to get people to upgrade their mics since most people don't really get to hear how awful they sound when they're talking on Skype. So apologizes about the sound quality on my first Flowgram. I'll work on getting a better mic.

Abhay Parekh
This is Abhay, the founder of Flowgram. I met him through Reid. I took this with my new Canon which has auto-focus. The good thing about auto-focus is that it's easy. The bad thing is that it often focuses on the tip of the nose instead of the eyes, where I want my focus. I guess I need to learn to use my camera as well. :-P

UPDATE: Oh, and the pages are "live". So you can hit "pause" on the Flowgram and click a YouTube video in a page to watch the video, and then "play" again on the Flowgram after watching the video to go back to my awesome narrative.

Creative Commons Press Release
Creative Commons Launches Global Case Studies Project

Jon Phillips, June 23rd, 2008

Brisbane, Australia & San Francisco, USA -- 2008 June 24

Today Creative Commons (CC), in association with Creative Commons Australia, officially announced the release of the Case Studies Project, which is a large-scale community effort to encourage all to explore and add noteworthy global CC stories. Creative Commons provides free tools to allow copyright-holders to clearly show rights associated with creative works, and now this project shows how notable adopters like author Cory Doctorow, web video-sharing company, and open film project "A Swarm of Angels" have successfully used CC licenses.

This is a very important initiative and I hope everyone will contribute and use this resource. In order to make CC ubiquitous, we need support from businesses to get it integrated into the tools and the infrastructure. We need to prove that CC is not only good for society and culture, but makes business sense too. These case studies will be very important to help drive home the fact that sharing is good for business in addition to being "the right thing to do" in other respects.

This also helps make the case to creators that you sharing makes sense for professionals as well.

This is a bit "horse-before-the-carriage" but I feel compelled to share and ask for support.

Since the end of last year, we've been working on a book called "Freesouls" based on portraits that I've taken in the last year or so. I promise to blog more about this soon.

As part of the book, we've asked a number of people to contribute essays. Recently, Isaac Mao introduced us to this great project called yeeyan. yeeyan is a translation community site. They have started working on translating the essays into Chinese. Sooo cool. They are about 30% through the translation process. They're looking for people to help proofread the translations. If you are fluent in Chinese and can help, we'd greatly appreciate it.

Firefox 3 supports color profiles, but you have to turn this setting on manually.

There are some great blog posts that describe this in detail, which you should read for more information, but this "feature" greatly improves the accuracy of the colors.

Color profiles provide a kind of map for your computer about what colors in an image should look like. Your camera, monitor and printer all have color profiles. The color profile of a image will allow your printer and monitor to accurately render the colors of an image by mapping the image colors to the profile of your printer or monitor.

What Firefox (and IE before IE 7) used to do was to ignore the color profile in images and just tell the OS that the profile was a generic color profile (sRGB). Roughly speaking, this is fine since MOST image files are sRGB. However, for anyone tweaking their saturation or color balance in iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom, etc. it was EXTREMELY frustrating because this often caused images posted on the Internet to look different (washed out and desaturated) from what they looked like in the image editor. Although "save as sRGB" got around some of these issues, it still caused problems in many cases. (Some color geeks helped me understand in a discussion on one of my Flickr photos.)

Anyway, I think that the esoteric discussions about color are interesting, but for most people, the bottom line is, if you turn color profile support "on" on Firefox 3, many images will end up appearing much closer to the color of the original and less washed out. You do this by typing "about:config" in the address bar of Firefox 3. Click thru confirmation page and find: gfx.color_management.enabled. Double click that until it says "true". Then restart Firefox 3.

There are a number of monitor color calibration gadgets and software packages like Eye One Match which will allow you to calibrate your monitor (and camera and printer). If everyone actually did this, we'd all be seeing the same colors. The problem is that many uncalibrated monitors show colors (even across the same brand of monitors) differently. That means that with uncalibrated monitors, the person creating the photo can end up with "warped" colors in the image which then get warped again when being displayed on another uncalibrated monitor. In the past the browser also added another level of "warpage" but with color profile support, you're one step closer to accurate color. To go all the way, calibrate your monitor.

Why doesn't Mozilla support color profiles by default like Safari does? (It is turned off by default on IE 7 too.) It appear to cause a 10-15% performance hit. I've had it turned out since I've been using it and it's not noticeable to me however. Anyway, I hear they are working on optimizing it and turning it on as a default in the future. For now, you'll have to void the warranty and hack Firefox.

Download Day

Tomorrow (and today in some places now I guess) is Firefox 3 Download Day. We're trying to set the world record for the most software downloads in a day. Do your part and sign up and download Firefox tomorrow (June 17th).

Also, I think it's the best browser around now. Here's Walt Mossberg proclaiming Firefox 3 the new browser champion on video.

UPDATE: The official download day starts at 10AM PST 6/17. If you sign up, you'll get an email with a download link... or you can just go to the and get it after it starts.

10 Corso Como Be@rbrick
The 10 Corso Como Be@rbrick

The 4th annual Corso Como Be@rbrick (Be@rbrick Wikipedia article) will go on sale tomorrow at the 10 Corso Como shop in Aoyama. Be@rbrick collecting is a HUGE rage in Japan. This 400% larger, limited edition Be@rbrick made as a collaboration with the select shop Corso Como and Be@rbrick will go on sale tomorrow and the manager of the shop, Mr. Yamazaki, expects people to start lining up for these sometime this evening and sell all 500 of the limited edition very quickly. Many of them end up on Japanese auction sites at huge markups, but most end up in the collections of Be@rbrick otaku.

Aoyama 10 Corso Como
People will be lining up in front of 10 Corso Como in Aoyama from this evening...

NHK, the Japanese public broadcaster and the largest broadcaster in Asia, will use Twitter for a live TV special called "SAVE THE FUTURE". Twitter will be used to connect the studio and the viewing public.

The Twitter account is: NHK_onair

Also, NHK recently started a YouTube channel. Go NHK! ;-)

Video by Mike Arrington - See Techcrunch for writeup.

Dave Sifry, founder of Technorati, launched Offbeat Guides today. It's a travel guide service that produces both printed and downloadable PDF travel guides for you on the fly from a variety of publicly available sources. It's customized based on questions it asks you about your upcoming trip.

Currently, my assistant (thanks Mika!) prepares a Socialtext wiki page for every trip I'm about to make with all of the various things that I need to know about my trip. I usually print this page along with the weather, power plug info, exchange rate and maps the day that I leave. I think Offbeat Guides will alleviate about 70% of this process and allow Mika to focus on the business documents instead of having to worry about the weather, maps, restaurant guides and tipping customs of each country I'm about to visit. Yay!

I'm looking forward to more integration with things like Dopplr so I can park all of my travel stuff in one place.

The other neat thing is that Dave has two people working on contributing to Wikipedia and Wikitravel called Travel Content Curators. Offbeat Guides draws on a lot of the free content on the Internet and Dave says that one of the key things he's working on is how to contribute back to the community. He assures me he working on the licensing for his content to be as free as possible.

Gratz on your launch Dave.

Disclosure: I'm an investor in Technorati, Socialtext and Dopplr.

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