Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Recently in the Books Category

Conversation with Virginia Heffernan »

I first met Virginia in 2015 when she and I were on a panel with Fareed Zarkaria at the Connecticut Forum. Late last year, she and Panio from Heleo reached out to see if I'd join Virginia in a conversation over Skype. Heleo "curates compelling, candid conversations between writers and thinkers about their work, research, and interests." You can see their great summary of the conversation on their website. After the conversation, I asked if I could repackage the audio as a Podcast which you can find on iTunes and SoundCloud. Virginia and I had recently gotten each other's...

Conversation with Seth Godin »

Seth Godin has taught me so much about communications, leadership, publishing and life that I thought that it was important to stream my conversation with Seth. As usual, it was a great conversation. Seth is on the Media Lab Advisory Council. I streamed it to Facebook Live and posted the video to YouTube and audio to SoundCloud and iTunes....

My foreword to "Writing My Wrongs" by Shaka Senghor »

Shaka just released his book, Writing My Wrongs that you can buy on his website. It's an amazing book and an amazing story. I just attended the book launch party earlier this week and have posted some photos on Flickr. Shaka is one of the MIT Media Lab Director's Fellows, a Knight Foundation BMe award winner and one of the most inspirational friends I have. I was honored to write the following foreword to the book. -- On July 1, 2012, the MIT Media Lab announced that we would be creating an Innovators Guild-a team of scholars, executives, and...

Time to get cranking on our book »

Jeff and I spent the day cranking on our book. Feeling good about the structure of the book and we made a lot of progress. One of the things I decided I need to do is to get my blog voice back so - hello! We still don't even have a real title for the book, but we're close. Watch this space for more about the book as we get rolling....

DAEMON »

A few weeks ago, Stewart Brand emailed me asked if I was still playing World of Warcraft and if I had read DAEMON. I was still playing World of Warcraft and hadn't read DAEMON. A few days later, thanks to Amazon, I was reading DAEMON. Years ago, I remember thinking about Multi User Dungeons (MUDs) and how much they affected people in the real world. I knew people who were obsessed with MUDs, the first Multi-User Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs). I was obsessed. (I think the first time I ever appeared in Wired was in 1993 when Howard...

Cory Doctorow's Little Brother »

When I was in London, Cory gave me a copy of his new book Little Brother. I read it mostly on the plane and while traveling through London, Hong Kong, Macao and Tokyo airport security. The book is about a future where there is a terrorist attack on San Francisco and DHS in the US gets overzealous and starts abusing their power. The hero of the story is a teenage hacker who decides to declare war on the DHS and take back his civil liberties. It's a great story about teenagers, net culture, security, activism and politics and was a...

The Future of Web 2.0 - The Sharing Economy »

Impress, a Japanese publisher, just released a Mook (magazine/book) called The Future of Web 2.0 - The Sharing Economy based on presentations at the Digital Garage New Context Conference last year in Tokyo. The book is in Japanese. There are excerpts from presentations by Mitchell Baker, John Buckman, Tantek Çelik, David Isenberg, Lawrence Lessig, Jun Murai, Hiroyuki Nakano and Cory Ondrejka. I've got some words in it including a translation of my DBA thesis proposal. (I really do need to work on this more...) A really cool thing about this is that Impress has decided to release this mook under...

BookMooch »

On Friday, I met John Buckman. He runs Magnatune, a record label that uses Creative Commons. I've been a huge fan of Magnatune and had been looking forward to meeting him. At the meeting he told me about BookMooch which just launched today. BookMooch is very cool. It reminds me a bit of BookCrossing, but the approach is different. BookCrossing is a way to leave books for people in public places and allow people to find these books. You get to track your book and has a neat book-as-artifact element. BookMooch is more systematic. On BookMooch, you register your books...

Dialog - Ryu Murakami X Joichi Ito »

Ryu Murakami (WP) and I spent the last nine months or so meeting occasionally to chat about Japanese culture, politics, media and the economy. Creative Garage and Diamond Shuppan transcribed our conversation and published it as a book. (You can buy it on Amazon.co.jp.) The book came out last week and climbed to #6 on the Amazon.co.jp book rankings and is slowly settling back down. (It's #14 at the time of this posting.) That was pretty exhilarating. Having said that, Ryu Murakami is "the name" on the book. Anyway, thanks to everyone who helped on the book and especially to...

Dan on the cover of Aera »

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....

Used tape »

I remember someone telling me a story about the delivery of the first copy of MS DOS to Japan. (I don't know if this story is true, but it's a good story.) The shipment contained a copy of DOS on paper tape and a blank roll of tape. They taxed just the blank one because the one with DOS on it was "used". So... Does this make Amazon.com a "used comment salesman" and Six Apart a seller of "new comment space"? I'm of course mostly joking, but I think this represents two completely different views on the "media" business. You...

Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life »

My sister, the smarter half of the Ito family duo is an expert on Japanese youth culture and mobile culture. Her book just came out from MIT Press. I've been running around in a scatterbrained fashion all my life trying to reach into academia. She has been immersed in academic rigor but has been reaching out to the public from the inside. Recently, we've begun to cross paths more and more. This book is another step in bridging our worlds. Anyway, I'm totally biased and very proud of my sister, but you should still take my recommendation and buy this...

Poor Harry Potter... »

The new Harry Potter books has been pirated and posted online in 24 hours and there is a video of man spoiling the ending for people standing in line to buy the book. via Boing Boing and MetaFilter...

New Harry Potter embargoed in Canada »

Raincoast BooksRaincoast Books Obtains Injunction Against Early Disclosure and Reviews of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [...] Madam Justice Gill of the Supreme Court of British Columbia granted to Raincoast Books Distribution Ltd., Bloomsbury Plc and JK Rowling, a John/Jane Doe injunction against the copying or disclosing of all or any part of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince or any information derived therefrom including without limitation the story, plot or characters of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to any person prior to 12:01 a.m. local time on July 16th... IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL HARRY POTTER FANS [...]...

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...

All Marketers Are Liars »

Seth Godin sent me a a copy of his new book, All Marketers Are Liars. It's excellent. As usual, it's very provocative and typical Seth Godin. In a way, it's like Cluetrain Manifesto written by someone who speak Madison Avenuese. He writes about how people buy products because of stories and how these stories fit into their worldview. The products and people behind the stories have to be authentic, but people pay for these stories. These stories sell the products, not facts about the products. Most of these stories are not completely true. It reminds me of my Moleskine notebook...

Amazon's tail was a bit shorter »

Chris updates some figures from his original article where he had written that "57% of Amazon's book sales are of books not available in stores". He writes in an update, "I've now spoken to Jeff Bezos (and others) about this. He doesn't have a hard figure for the percentage of sales of products not available offline, but reckons that it's closer to 25-30%. That would put it in line with Netflix's and Rhapsody's figures." There is an interesting discussion going on in the comments as well....

The Long Tail the book and the blog »

Chris Anderson is writing a book about The Long Tail which started as one of my favorite articles that he wrote for Wired. He has also started a blog about the Long Tail. The original article is online at Wired....

Google adding major libraries to database »

New York TimesGoogle Is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database By JOHN MARKOFF and EDWARD WYATT Google, the operator of the world's most popular Internet search service, plans to announce an agreement today with some of the nation's leading research libraries and Oxford University to begin converting their holdings into digital files that would be freely searchable over the Web. It may be only a step on a long road toward the long-predicted global virtual library. But the collaboration of Google and research institutions that also include Harvard, the University of Michigan, Stanford and the New York Public Library is...

Will the tail wag? »

So the big question for me after reading Chris Anderson's excellent article, The Long Tail is... Will there always be producers and consumers of music and other content, or does the amateur revolution really take off and completely blur the consumer and the producer of content? Will amateur and nearly free Creative Commons style content become the primary content that people consume? Will most consumers create content as well? In other words, will the long tail wag? I've heard many theories about this and it is probably different for text, audio, photos and video, but I think this is an...

Google Print »

GoogleWhat is Google Print? Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Since a lot of the world's information isn't yet online, we're helping to get it there. Google Print puts the content of books where you can find it most easily; right in Google search results. To use Google Print, just do searches on Google as you normally would. Whenever a book contains content that matches your search terms, we'll show links to that book in your search results. Click on the book title and you'll go to a "content page," where...

The Long Tail »

Fantastic article in Wired by Chris Anderson titled The Long Tail. You MUST read it. Physical distribution limits the number of titles of books, music, DVDs that can be stocked. He explains that online sales show that the market size of stuff below the break even threshold for physical distribution is often larger than the market for the "hits" that make it into stores. He calls this "The Long Tail". We can essentially double the market for most content by figuring out ways to help people find the stuff they are looking for in the long tail and deliver it...

NPR summer reading series interview »

I did an interview for NPR's summer reading series where we are supposed to talk about books to read over the summer. I ended up talking mostly about blogs. ;-) It's about a month old. What do YOU recommend we read this summer? UPDATE: Here are my notes on Orientalism by Edward Said, thoughts after reading Science In Action by Bruno Latour, and my short review of We the Media by Dan Gillmor....

IM from Markoff re We The Media review »

"The New York Times is my blog" Markoff just IMed me with this funny comment from Slashdot about Dan Gillmor's We the Media. I would have gotten more defensive if it weren't so funny. Anyway, keep laughing Markoff. Just you wait and see. ;-) Yes... I did photoshop out the end of his AIM nickname....

Creative Commons We the Media ready for download »

Dan Gillmor's , We the Media was published under a Creative Commons license. You can download the entire book in PDF format on the O'Reilly page. It's an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 License. Excellent!...

We the Media hits the shelves »

Dan Gillmor's We the Media has hit the selves. O'Reilly, the publisher, has created a blog for it. I just posted my review on Amazon.com......

Freely downloadable Free Culture going into third printing »

CC WeblogLessig's free book still racking in the sales Stanford Magazine carries a story this month about our chairman and co-founder Lawrence Lessig's book which has just entered its third printing. This is interesting because the book is freely available online for download (under a Creative Commons license), and has been downloaded about 180,000 times. On the one hand an author can give away free content for folks to remake into audio books, translations, and other formats, and the author still gets paid through traditional book sales. Amazing how that works, and works so well sometimes. [via Copyfight]It will be...

Dive Into Python the book »

Mark Pilgrim's Dive Into Python is now available as a printed book. This is the best tutorial for my favorite programming language. I wrote more about the book when Mark announced it back in September of last year....

AKMA and Jitterbug Perfume »

I was chatting with AKMA the other day about my thumb. He's had thumb problems, and my thumb hurts. Ever since he got his hernia operation and my post about his Hernia operation became the top result on Google for a search of hernia operation, we've had this mutual medical support bond. (It's not #1 now, but still on the top page.) Anyway, we were talking about thumbs, and that reminded me about Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins. Then I remembered that I liked Jitterbug Perfume better. AKMA said that he didn't have enough silliness in his...

Jet lagged, but Flashed Forward »

I arrived last night, made the mistake of eating a cheeseburger before bed and didn't sleep much and felt REALLY BAD this morning. I crawled onto stage at Flash Forward this morning feeling very scattered and weak, but thanks to a strong topic and lots of funny movies to keep people awake, I was able to struggle through my talk. I talked about Creative Commons, Intellectual Property and the future of marketing. I channeled lots of Lessig and Godin. We did a Q&A session afterwards and I really enjoyed talking to the Flash community. Flash and Creative Commons makes SO...

If you're reading this, according to NPR you are "no one" »

Scripting News"No one was listening," said the NPR... "No one was listening," said the NPR announcer, as she introduced the guy who posted the note on Tuesday morning about the new Edwards decals on the Kerry campaign plane. No one was listening, except for the people who were. Clearly no one reads blogs... I'm going to be doing a Summer Reading Series interview for NPR this week. I should list all of the blogs people should read this summer. ;-)...

Ray Bradbury's Bizarre Complaint »

Dan GillmorRay Bradbury's Bizarre Complaint Ray Bradbury is one of the great science fiction writers. But in his advancing years he's also acting in a fairly petty manner. The author of the brilliant novel "Fahrenheit 451" is claiming to anyone who'll listen (AP) that Michael Moore has somehow committed an act of intellectual theft by naming his new movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" without asking permission.Don't you hate it when your favorite writers do, write or say stupid things? This reminds me of the horror of reading Orson Scott Card's homophobic essay, "Homosexual "Marriage" and Civilization"....

We, the Media by Dan Gillmor »

Just finished reading the Galley Proof of We, the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People by Dan Gillmor. O'Reilly is the publisher and it should be coming out mid-July. The book will be published under a Creative Commons license and you will be able to download it free for non-commercial use. Dan is one of the few professional journalists that really understands the impact of blogs and other new technologies on journalism. It's amazing how many professional journalists I know pooh pooh blogs and keep on chugging like nothing is changing. We, the Media is a excellent...

Orientalism by Edward W. Said »

Just finished reading the famous introduction to Orientalism by Edward Said. Said was a professor of comparative literature at Columbia University and was a well known Palestinian scholar who died in September of last year. Orientalism was written in 1978, but probably continues to become more relevant.Basically, he argues that the whole notion of the "Orient" or "Orientalism" is a body of culture, academic work and politics that tries to identify the East as "them" in terms that have evolved through Western imperialism. He makes the point that even work that doesn't appear immediately political had political impact and was part of the larger process of the development of Orientalism. Reading it brings back memories of Trader Vic's and pictures from British Museum exhibits of "Headpiece from dead savage."He points out some important issues which ties into the racism as stereotype discussion we had about Lost In Translation. The simplistic stereotypes and the images of the the East leads to a kind of fascination with the Orient, but also creates a false sense of understanding and fake academics upon which many ignorant, racist and imperialistic political decisions are made.A version of the introduction is available on The Guardian Unlimited Books web site so I'll give you a few quotes from there.Edward W. Said...Orientalism is very much a book tied to the tumultuous dynamics of contemporary history. Its first page opens with a description of the Lebanese civil war that ended in 1990, but the violence and the ugly shedding of human blood continues up to this minute. We have had the failure of the Oslo peace process, the outbreak of the second intifada, and the awful suffering of the Palestinians on the reinvaded West Bank and Gaza. The suicide bombing phenomenon has appeared with all its hideous damage, none more lurid and apocalyptic of course than the events of September 11 2001 and their aftermath in the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. As I write these lines, the illegal occupation of Iraq by Britain and the United States proceeds. Its aftermath is truly awful to contemplate. This is all part of what is supposed to be a clash of civilisations, unending, implacable, irremediable. Nevertheless, I think not.I wish I could say that general understanding of the Middle East, the Arabs and Islam in the US has improved, but alas, it really hasn't. For all kinds of reasons, the situation in Europe seems to be considerably better. What American leaders and their intellectual lackeys seem incapable of understanding is that history cannot be swept clean like a blackboard, so that "we" might inscribe our own future there and impose our own forms of life for these lesser people to follow. It is quite common to hear high officials in Washington and elsewhere speak of changing the map of the Middle East, as if ancient societies and myriad peoples can be shaken up like so many peanuts in a jar. But this has often happened with the "orient", that semi-mythical construct which since Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in the late 18th century has been made and remade countless times. In the process the uncountable sediments of history, a dizzying variety of peoples, languages, experiences, and cultures, are swept aside or ignored, relegated to the sandheap along with the treasures ground into meaningless fragments that were taken out of Baghdad.[...]The major influences on George W Bush's Pentagon and National Security Council were men such as Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami, experts on the Arab and Islamic world who helped the American hawks to think about such preposterous phenomena as the Arab mind and the centuries-old Islamic decline which only American power could reverse. Today bookstores in the US are filled with shabby screeds bearing screaming headlines about Islam and terror, the Arab threat and the Muslim menace, all of them written by political polemicists pretending to knowledge imparted by experts who have supposedly penetrated to the heart of these strange oriental peoples. CNN and Fox, plus myriad evangelical and rightwing radio hosts, innumerable tabloids and even middle-brow journals, have recycled the same unverifiable fictions and vast generalisations so as to stir up "America" against the foreign devil.[...]Think of the line that starts with Napoleon, continues with the rise of oriental studies and the takeover of North Africa, and goes on in similar undertakings in Vietnam, in Egypt, in Palestine and, during the entire 20th century, in the struggle over oil and strategic control in the Gulf, in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Afghanistan. Then think of the rise of anti-colonial nationalism, through the short period of liberal independence, the era of military coups, of insurgency, civil war, religious fanaticism, irrational struggle and uncompromising brutality against the latest bunch of "natives". Each of these phases and eras produces its own distorted knowledge of the other, each its own reductive images, its own disputatious polemics.My idea in Orientalism was to use humanistic critique to open up the fields of struggle, to introduce a longer sequence of thought and analysis to replace the short bursts of polemical, thought-stopping fury that so imprison us. I have called what I try to do "humanism", a word I continue to use stubbornly despite the scornful dismissal of the term by sophisticated postmodern critics. By humanism I mean first of all attempting to dissolve Blake's "mind-forg'd manacles" so as to be able to use one's mind historically and rationally for the purposes of reflective understanding. Moreover humanism is sustained by a sense of community with other interpreters and other societies and periods: strictly speaking therefore, there is no such thing as an isolated humanist.[...]Speaking both as an American and as an Arab I must ask my reader not to underestimate the kind of simplified view of the world that a relative handful of Pentagon civilian elites have formulated for US policy in the entire Arab and Islamic worlds, a view in which terror, pre-emptive war, and unilateral regime change - backed up by the most bloated military budget in history - are the main ideas debated endlessly and impoverishingly by a media that assigns itself the role of producing so-called "experts" who validate the government's general line. Reflection, debate, rational argument and moral principle based on a secular notion that human beings must create their own history have been replaced by abstract ideas that celebrate American or western exceptionalism, denigrate the relevance of context, and regard other cultures with contempt.[...]The terrible conflicts that herd people under falsely unifying rubrics such as "America," "the west" or "Islam" and invent collective identities for large numbers of individuals who are actually quite diverse, cannot remain as potent as they are, and must be opposed. We still have at our disposal the rational interpretive skills that are the legacy of humanistic education, not as a sentimental piety enjoining us to return to traditional values or the classics but as the active practice of worldly secular rational discourse. The secular world is the world of history as made by human beings. Critical thought does not submit to commands to join in the ranks marching against one or another approved enemy. Rather than the manufactured clash of civilisations, we need to concentrate on the slow working together of cultures that overlap, borrow from each other, and live together. But for that kind of wider perception we need time, patient and sceptical inquiry, supported by faith in communities of interpretation that are difficult to sustain in a world demanding instant action and reaction.Humanism is centred upon the agency of human individuality and subjective intuition, rather than on received ideas and authority. Texts have to be read as texts that were produced and live on in all sorts of what I have called worldly ways. But this by no means excludes power, since on the contrary I have tried to show the insinuations, the imbrications of power into even the most recondite of studies. And lastly, most important, humanism is the only, and I would go as far as to say the final resistance we have against the inhuman practices and injustices that disfigure human history.I just picked out some paragraphs there were particularly interesting to me, but the whole thing is really interesting so I suggest you read the intro in its entirety.

Fixed in translation »

My current friend and former nemesis, Hiroo Yamagata and I were on a panel with Larry Lessig last week. He casually mentioned that he had decided to translate Das Kapital into Japanese. He is one of the best translators in Japan and has translated Lessig, Leary, Krugman and many others. Anyway, he said that all of the existing translations were related to the Japanese communist party in some way and were edited and filtered. For instance, violence and other things were omitted. He remembered someone in college who argued Marx with him based on a faulty translation and in retrospect,...

Reading "Free Culture" »

AKMALet’s Start Something Anyone feel like recording a chapter of Lawrence Lessig’s new book?What a great idea! Maybe someone can make some music for it too. Anyway, I better read the book first. ;-p...

"Free Culture" is »

Lawrence Lessig“Free Culture” is Thanks to the lessons explained by others (Cory), and the courage of a great publisher (Penguin), Free Culture launches today with a free online version of the book, licensed under a Creative Commons license. You can get the book here, though at the moment, only the bittorrent version is apparently up. Later today, there will be a direct download available from the Free Culture site, and from the Amazon site. Sorry, a bit late in blogging this......

Three birds with one stone - what a deal! »

Larry needs to get rid of these books, you REALLY need to read this book, Creative Commons needs the money. Do the right thing. If you haven't read Future of Ideas, donate to CC now and get a copy of Larry's last book now.Lawrence LessigAs I just said, I’ve got a new book coming out in about ten days. To clear the shelves, and to thank blog readers, I’ve got a few hardcover copies of my last book, The Future of Ideas, that I’ll happily send to anyone who makes a contribution of at least $5 to Creative Commons. To...

Just in Tokyo released under CC license »

Justin Hall's guide to Tokyo, "Just in Tokyo" has just been released under a Creative Commons license. It's great for people who want to just dive into Tokyo. Thanks Justin!...

We may owe our speech and our existence to dogs »

In my pursuit to understand Bo better, I'm reading a book that Barak gave me called How to Speak Dog. It's really a great book about how to to communicate with your dog. Stanley Coren makes an interesting assertion about our co-evolution with dogs.Stanley CorenIt is well established that the primitive humans who survived to become our forefathers formed an early relationship with dogs. Compare our success to that of the Neanderthals, who never got along with dogs, and who ultimately died out. Some evolutionary theorists have suggested that the survival of our ancestors had to do with the fact...

G. Pascal Zachary on "mongrels" »

G. Pascal Zachary on "mongrels"....

John Dvorak and Chris Prilillo's new book »

John C. Dvorak and his new bookRounded up some of the the local capital "J" journalists last night and had an interesting dinner. Mostly we just played with gadgets talked politics, but it's always fun to hear journalists talk shop."Oh, what are you working on these days." "I'm working on a few scoops." "Oh! Like what?" ;-)Reminds me of sitting next to Dave Weinberger at a conference where we kept looking over each other's shoulders when we were blogging.John Dvorak dropped in briefly to plug his new book.

I hope my cosplay didn't start all of this... »

Andy Baio pointed out that maybe my costume party influenced the cover of the bloggers book. Hmm... What a scary thought. At least that would make Kuri-chan the guy with the poo-poo on his head...

Spider Jerusalem »

Speaking of Journalists, Spider Jerusalem from the Transmetropolitan series rocks. Thanks to Warren Ellis for making him and Cory for turning me on to Transmetropolitan.

Ego-surfing on Amazon search inside the book »

You've all probably read by now, but Amazon has added a feature that allows you to search the full text of over 120,000 books. Totally amazing. Now tell the truth everyone (so I don't look totally vain), how many of you have ego-surfed Amazon already? I searched for "joichi ito" and "joi ito". I got 8 results for "joichi ito" and 1 for "joi ito". The weird thing is that other than Timothy Leary's book and John C. Lilly's book, I have never heard of any of the other books. Also, the few books that I do know I'm mentioned in did now show up. I wonder if they are scanning books that don't sell well first. ;-) I DID find out that I have the honor of being in a "For Dummies" book.Excerpt from page 170 of Digital Aboriginal . . . voice to the radicals. Japanese information pioneer and digital artist Joichi Ito tells a great story about the CIA." An operative told . . . How can I NOT buy this book to find out what they said about me. Ack!

New Japanese book on blogging »

A new Japanese book on blogging is about to come out called "Bloggers! Vol. 1" which you can pre-order on Amazon.co.jp. The action heros on the cover, especially the guy with the poopie thing on his head, are a bit weird, but the authors and the publisher, Shoeisha are reputable in Japan. (I hope the yellow guy with the poopie mark isn't supposed to be me...) I haven't seen the actual book yet, but I'll get a few extra copies to bring to ETech. ;-) There's a dialog between Howard Rheingold and me (I had totally forgotten about this. It was a taped dinner conversation...) , and an interview with "the developers of Movable Type". It looks like there's an article about Blosxom as well.

Beyond Fear by Bruce Schneier »

Just started reading Beyond Fear by Bruce Schneier. He write a lot about actual risks versus perceived risks.Bruce Schneier - Beyond FearIn America, automobiles cause 40,000 deaths every year; that's the equivalent of a full 727 crashing every day and a half -- 225 total in a year. As a society, we effectively say that the risk of dying in a car crash is worth the benefits of driving around town. But if those same 40,000 people died each year in fiery 727 crashes instead of automobile accidents, you can be sure there would be significant changes in the air passenger systems. (I don't mean to harp on automobile deaths, but riding a car is the riskiest discretionary activity the majority of Americans regularly undertake.) Similarly, studies have shown that both drivers and passengers in SUVs are more likely to die in accidents than those in compact cars, yet one of the major selling points of SUVs is that the owner feels safer in one.This really illustrates how subjective people's feelings about risk are. Looking at and talking about risk statistically compared to how we mentally deal with risk is interesting. Media coverage of human rights issues based on the closeness of the culture to ours is similarly subjective. The fact is, mentally, the value of a life depends on the context. We are all very subjective. Acting like we aren't clouds the issues. Journalists who say they are impartial and politicians who represent "everyone" all run this risk. Bruce's book takes a very pragmatic approach to risk, trying to describe the actual quantifiable risks, but also describing all of the factors that are involved in the decisions about security methods to deal with those risk.I'll post more about this book as I continue to read it. (I read slowly...)PS It's interesting to note that traffic accidents account for about 10,000 deaths a year in Japan compared to 30,000+ deaths due to suicide. You're 3 times more likely to commit suicide than get in a deadly traffic accident in Japan.

Neal Stephenson launches a Wiki to explain his new novel »

Neal Stephenson launches a Wiki to explain his new novel Quicksilver. Very cool.via Boing Boing via Jeremy

Dive Into Python the book »

Mark Pilgrim (aka f8dy on #joiito) blogs that Dive Into Python is going to be published as a book. James Cox (aka imajes on #joiito) will be the editor. This is great news. Dive Into Python is how I learned Python. I've read several other tutorials, but Dive Into Python is the best I've seen. It's also interesting to note that f8dy and imajes met on #joiito. I was when I was reading Dive Into Python that I went to the #python on Freenode for help. This inspired me to start #joiito. Kind of circular karma. ;-)

Email experiments confirm six degrees, Milgram didn't »

Khalid on #joiito pointed me to the following article.New ScientistEmail experiment confirms six degrees of separation Despite enabling almost instantaneous global communication, email appears not to have made the world a more close-knit community.It's an interesting article about how an email six degrees experiment shows we are no closer than when Milgram did his famous experiment in 1967. (Milgram did an experiment which resulted in the assertion that we are only six hops away from anyone else in the world.) I referred to Milgram's famous experiment in my Emergent Democracy paper. When the paper was being reviewed by Shumpei Kumon, he referred me to Six Degrees by Duncan J. Watts and pointed out to me that Watts writes about Judith Kleinfeld who found that Milgram's experiment was flawed. I removed the reference in my paper. Milgram's six degrees experiment is so widely referenced that it has become almost an urban legend, but it DID NOT show that the world was connected by six degrees, it just got us thinking about it. I think the phenomenon is real and the "small-world problem" is a very interesting field, but people should stop quoting the Milgram study as fact. The email experiment referred to in the article is being conducted by Duncan Watts as well and he has a web page with more info.

Speed up your site - on my radar »

I just read about "Speed Up Your Site" by Andrew B. King on a klog apart who links to an entry in meryl's notes. Sounds like a cool book. I think I saw some references to it in some email I got, but I thought it was spam. It's kinda scary how my brain has associated certain words with spam so it filters phrases such as "speed up your site". On the other hand, I'm glad that my RSS feed can help those catch those things that fall through my inbox.

Help Dan Gillmor write his book »

Everyone should help Dan Gillmor write his book.

Amazing new photography book available online about Iraq »

I just received this email and downloaded the book. It's great.

Ejovi Nuwere »

Had lunch with Ejovi Nuwere today. He's a friend of Ken who used to work for me and they did some security work together. Ejovi has a new book, Hacker Cracker which was picked up in Wired News recently. It's an amazing story about Ejovi who grew up Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy and how a tech oriented kid used computers to build his life. He's lived in Japan and is now here writing some articles getting more and more into policy and privacy related issues. We had a lot of interests in common and it's great to meet a like-minded person from a very different background. He's got a blog and a site for his book.

Lessig's Code changes bureaucrat's views »

A bureaucrat that with whom we have had numerous debates suddenly visited my office today wanting to talk. Gohsuke had told him to read Lawrence Lessig's book, Code. The bureaucrat read the book over the holidays and wanted to see me right away to tell me about it. (Today is the first day of work after the Japanese holidays. He said he, "got it." He liked the book very much and finally realized the scale and the context of the issues we had been debating and now understood what we were talking about. This story has several lessons... Focusing on specifics before you share a framework is futile; a well written book by an important person (the bureaucrat insisted on confirming the social status of Lessig) can change everything; the "meta-discussion" is less threatening than specific issues with responsibilities and associated budgets. ;-) Anyway, thanks Larry!

Hiroo Yamagata's translator's notes for The Future of Ideas »

Hiroo's notes are worth reading. It's a good summary and frames the issues in Japan well. Activism in Japan died with the student activists of the 70's. It's quite "un-cool" to be an activist. If Larry can get people like Hiroo to become activists and support important issues, I think we still have a chance.From Larry Lessig's blog.Larry LessigThe Future of Ideas has been translated into Japanese. As sometimes happens, the translation improves the book. Not only is the title better ("Commons", which the American publisher vetoed), but it also has a great and revealing introduction by the translator, Hiroo Yamagata. As always, the translator reveals as much about the work he translates as the world he translates into.

The Future of Ideas »

I am embarrassed to admin that I had scanned The Future of Ideas by Lawrence Lessig, but had not READ it carefully. I find I do this with books where I know the author's position quite well in an area I know something about. I KNOW that the book is worth reading, but it feels like patting myself on the back. I tend to like reading books written by the enemy. ;-) Anyway, enough lame excuses. Tomorrow, I have a magazine article discussion with Larry and the translator of The Future of Ideas Hiroo Yamagata, who as I've said...

Books about Japan »

Dogs and Demons by Alex Kerr. Click on image to go to the Amazon.com entry.The Enigma of Japanese Power by Karel Van Wolferen is also still very relevant. It is about the power structure behind Japan.I was already feeling pretty bad about Japan and the job ahead of us, but after Dogs and Demonsby Alex Kerr, I feel worse. I feel like moving to an island somewhere or killing myself. The most difficult thing about the book is that it's probably all true. Alex Kerr is a Japanologist who talks you through the problems with modern Japan from the viewpoint...

Suddenly a co-author of a book on the Japanese National ID »

I had asked Gosuke to ghost write a short article for the Tokyo Shimbun (newspaper) based on a discussion with me. It was about the problems with the National ID. (I DID review it.) Then, I was asked to write an blurb in a book about the National ID so I asked Gosuke to add some more of my thoughts to the aritcle and we gave it to the publisher. Before I knew it, with the mere contribution of a 2 page ghost-written article, I was the co-author of the book, my name on the front of the book...

The new "Shorter" Oxford English Dictionary »

Another one from BoingBoing I truely love the OED and this new edition sounds cool. "bunny-hugger" in the OED is really something I must ponder tonight. I'm going to go to amazon now to buy this... AskOxford.com The essence of the Oxford English Dictionary 2002 is indeed an auspicious year. It is the first year that can celebrate a World Cup, a Royal Jubilee, and a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. In terms of frequency, a new Shorter comes between the other two events: it is almost ten years since the previous edition, and this is...

Smart Mobs »

Howard Rheingold, one of my mentors, friend, and former editor of the Whole Earth Review who has written some of my favorite books about the mind and thinking recently writes books about "the next big thing" in technology starting with Virtual Reality, Virtual Communties and now Smart Mobs....

Meeting with Jiro Kokuryo and Masakata Morita »

Readings for this meeting: K. Arrow, The Limits of Organization Ronald Coase, The Firm, The Market, and The Law Chester Barnard, The Functions of the Executive Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenburg Galaxy...

It's tough being a revolutionary in a Democracy ;-) () »

An old favorite quote from Alexis de 's "Democracy in America" written in 1835. I found this in college, but now it seems more and more relevant......

The Nature of the Firm - R.H.Coase - Notes »

Coase comes up with a definition of the "firm" as an organization that defines employer and employee, master and servant which satisfies the "plain man's" definition of the firm....

Notes on The Sciences of the Artificial, Third Edition by Herbert A. Simon »

Simon has many very interesting models that he develops for thinking about and describing things. In his words, he describes interesting "states" and interesting "processes"....
Whiplash by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe

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