Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Recently in the Consumer Electronics Category

Conversation with Adafruit »

I recently visited and had a conversation with Limor "Lady Ada" Fried and Phil Torrone of Adafruit. I first met them about ten years ago at SxSW. Limor is an MIT grad that we're super-proud of and Phil is an amazing pioneer in communications, hacking and many other things. Phil and Limor are two of my most favorite people and I aways get giddy just getting a chance to hang out with them. We discussed making, electronics, business, manufacturing, hacking, live video and more. They've been doing live video daily for the last 10 years or so and are...

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at D »

Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher interview Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. John Markoff wrote a New York Times article about this interview. They used my photo. w00t! A few notes of my own that I posted on Flickr: Bill: "I'd give a lot for Steve's taste." Steve: "Bill was much better at partnering than Steve Wozniak and I were." We've kept secret that: Steve: "We've been married for 10 years." [It was actually: "We've kept our marriage secret for over a decade now."] Bill: "I'm not the Fake Steve." Quotes from memory. Exact text may be wrong. UPDATE 2:...

Steve Jobs at All Things Digital »

Just finished watching Walt Mossberg interview Steve Jobs. It was a lot of fun. Both of them were very funny. At one point, Walt asked Steve how many copies of iTunes there were out there compared to the number of iPods. Steve said several times. Since there are 100 million iPods, that there were something like 300 million. They discussed that some people say it is the most popular software product on Windows. Steve said that he received cards and stuff from people saying it was their favorite Windows application. Walt asked him how it felt and Steve said,...

Mobile Phone Sociology - Morocco »

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

Open letter to Sir Howard Stringer »

Hi Howard, Congratulations. I have great respect for Mr. Idei and wish he could have completed his mission, but I'm sure the decision for him to resign was something that was thoroughly thought through. Personally, I'm glad that they chose you to run the company. I think you understand Sony and have many of the things that Sony needs to become the global company that Mr. Idei wanted it to be. My main concern is that you are quite immersed in the entertainment side of the business and I really believe that Hollywood is taking an unreasonably strong position on...

My new Sony PSP »

I went to Akihabara last weekend with Gen, Jim and Boris looking for a PSP. There are rumors of production problems in China. In any event, they are in very short supply. I had heard that they could be found in some of the alleyways in Akihabara. We walked around for quite awhile but couldn't find one. Finally, Andrew came to our rescue and emailed me directions to a tiny shop in an alley that said on their web page that they had some in stock. After a bit of wandering around, we found the shop and I got...

Doraemon iPod mini »

Only in Japan. This had to happen. There is a Doraemon everything in Japan. For those of you who don't know Doraemon, he's the weird alien cat thingie anime character that has lot of weird magical things in his pouch. NTT once made a Doraemon phone. Now there is a Doraemon iPod mini. I still like the Doraemon telegram the best. I use it a lot. I sent on the the Governor of Nagano when he won the re-election. via Andrew...

$1500 to read "Sony Talks about PSP"? »

Seth's BlogIs there a future in selling digital words? Sanj points me to Amazon.com: e-Books & Docs: Just in Time: Sony Talks About PSP [DOWNLOAD: PDF]. This is a special "flash report" from a reputatable firm. It costs $1,500. According to my favorite review: If you were stunned by the shocking twist ending of "No PSP for the Holidays," well, you haven't seen anything yet! Quite possibly the best sequel ever written, "Sony Talks About PSP" takes everything you THOUGHT you knew about its predecessor and turns it on its head. One page of data for $1,500.... certainly there is...

Off to the Sony Open Forum »

I'm off to Hawaii to the Sony Open Forum. It's a very small gathering of Sony executives, academics and business people who meet during the Sony Open in Hawaii, a PGA tournament. This is the third year I've been invited to go. I really suck a golf. I think I'm the only participant who isn't going to participate in the pro-am tournament. The first year, I promised I would learn to golf by the next year. Last year I made the same promise. I'm returning again, not a single step closer to being good enough to participate. I've been asked...

Off to Sony Open Forum tomorrow »

I'm off again to the Sony Open Forum tomorrow. It's an annual event. The main event is Sony's sponsorship of a golf tournament, but there is also a small forum where Chairman Idei invites executives of Sony and several other people to discuss some of the key topics for the year. Last year I was invited to speak about the future of Japan. This year I'm going to be talking about media consumption and the future of media. My talk will kick off a discussion session. The conference itself is not public, but I'm assuming my comments are. I've put...

Dvorak explains why Americans are behind on cell phone culture »

So here's someone who has "social norm tensions" around gadgets and cell phones.John C. DvorakCell Phone Hegemony - PC Magazine Let me walk you through my tale of woe. First, picture this gathering: New York Times reporter John Markoff, San Jose Mercury News columnist Dan Gilmore (sic), Andrew Orlowsi from The Register, author Gregg Pascal Zachary, blogger/investor Joi Ito, lyricist/pundit John Perry Barlow, and me. Everyone there had some relationship to the computer scene, and we were about to have dinner at a pseudo-swanky San Francisco eatery. Each reveler was political, opinionated, and outspoken. What transpired made my flesh crawl....

Broadcast Flag Bad »

Cory and the EFF have been leading the charge to stop the broadcast flag proposal. Lessig chimes in. The broadcast flag is a bad thing which is anti-end-to-end. Fight for the Stupid Network!If this entry is cryptic to you, you need to learn more about the broadcast flag and why it is bad. Click on the links.

Thoughts on micro-content, metadata and trends »

My investors, my readers and a variety of other people keep trying to get me to explain what I'm interested and why I'm interested in it. Here's a first shot at this. Thanks to Steph, Kevin Marks and others on #joiito for a first pass edit. I've put it on the wiki as well so we can continue to work on this.

Chatting about Open Standards with President Ando of Sony »

Went to see President Ando of Sony. He is second in command under Chairman Idei and is more and more in charge of representing Sony in the US. He gave the speech at CES this year and some some very interesting things. First he pushed open standards.ZDNetOne of the major obstacles for Sony and others looking to establish networks and make content more widely available has been the relatively slow adoption of broadband access, but Ando noted that broadband is becoming more popular in countries such as Korea and Japan and is beginning to pick up subscribers in the United States. Ando said Sony will also work to use open standards in future products to make it easier for consumers to more widely access content on devices and urged other companies to help to establish these standards to help the industry progress. Then he complained about the difficulty of the current record label business.Steven LevyAfter the keynote, Ando unwound at a dinner for a few journalists, where talk turned to the knotty problem of digital rights. He startled everyone by speculating that in the long term, given the nature of Internet copying, record labels may not have a future. "When you have a problem like this," he says, sighing, "I really wish we were a simple hardware company."My kind of guy. We talked about blogs (of course) open standards and how cool it would be for Sony to really embrace open standards and let the blog tools and services talk to Sony products through open standards that we worked on together.

Regarding recent blogging about Sony »

Nice summary and a question on Marc's Voice about whether Sony is the answer to everything.Sony may be the one to change all this. They certainly have the most to gain - even more than us plain old customers. What makes it REALLY interesting is that they own a label and studio. Which side are they on?Sony is like a an ecology of competing components. Everyone is very proud of Sony and there is definitely a Sony DNA that keeps it all together, but it is not dictated top-down as you would imagine. Idei-san is almost like a coach, I think. In the Newsweek article, Idei comments on Kutaragi:Kutaragi is the perfect example of Sony old and new. A fiercely independent engineering visionary, he created PS1 and 2 - and ran his division with cavalier disregard for the suits at headquarters. "He's kind of a symbol for Sony, how the rule breaker can survive with the rule maker," says Idei, who has tried to make Kutaragi more of a team player by giving him broader responsibility. "And now," says Idei, "the rule breaker has become the rule maker."Idei-san definitely provides a vision a creates rules that guide the company, but it's the people like Kutaragi's that break that rules that create the breakthroughs at Sony. Sony is very good at allowing competing agendas to co-exist because of their structure. I think that where they suffer is that it's hard to connect a bunch of competing parts. Now that connectivity is the name of the game, Idei-san is changing the company to try to preserve the the Sony spirit of invention and leadership, but to network everything. What's really interesting to me about this process is that Sony is a microcosm of the basic software, standards and architecture issues that the world has.So to answer Marc's question... They're on all sides. When the answer becomes clear, they will obviously lean towards that direction, but while the jury is still out in their minds, I think they will let competing business units compete. And they can compete harder because they are bonded together with the Sony DNA and there is constant communication at the executive level.

The future of moblogging and open standards »

I think we're at a very exciting point in the history of the future. Dave wrote a great essay to kick of the year just as I was trying to collect my thoughts. Let me also be a bit optimistic for a moment and share with you what I WISH will happen. Consumer electronics and mobile devices are where computer networking was before TCP/IP. Nothing talks to anything else and everything is vertically integrated and "intelligently" organized. TCP/IP changed that for telecom/computer networks. We all know the story.Same thing with consumer electronics. It's a very different market with lots of different constraints like power consumption, price, etc. There are a lot of people working on various layers trying to standardize with mixed results. Apple is clearly making the move into consumer electronics. Sony is trying very hard to integrate network services into its hardware. It still doesn't work well. They're too "smart". The Tivo Rendezvous support is an example of a step forward and shows the potential of open standards in this space. Apple's Safari which is based on KHTML, from KDE's Konqueror open source project is also an interesting example as well.So, here's what I think. We all know that the network should be stupid. Network providers will be a basic utility like electricity, but they'll still make money if they stick to the network. Where is the next focus? In the hardware, content and tools. If the hardware companies are smart, they will support open standards and let the users create the content, let the community create the tools and provide API and support for open standards. Yes, they will give up some control and yes they will eventually become more of a commodity like the network, but the scale will increase and they will make money.So here's my offer. I'll focus on trying to pitch the hardware companies in Japan to look at the MetaWeblog API and other standards that we are developing. I will TRY to invest the rest of the $15mm I have into companies that develop things are end-to-end stupid network oriented, open standards compliant, blog community supportive, non-proprietary OS based and generally un-evil. I will also try to get others to invest with us. I'm going to try as hard as I can and still be fiduciarily responsible to my investors. I want everyone else to try very hard too. Let's see if we can make this happen. Think twice before going to work for you-know-who. If you go work for you-know-who, try to get them to support open standards. If you can choose, choose something open. If you can buy/license something from the developer community vs. building it do so. And most importantly, now that we have blogs to talk on, engage us in the dialog and try to break open mobile devices and consumer electronics platforms and get them to take advantage of the most talented group of unemployedself-employed developers since before the bubble. Let's convince the consumer hardware guys to open up and focus on their strengths and benefit from this just like IBM and others were able to benefit from the Internet by supporting and embracing the developer community.I know this is rather obvious and I'm probably preaching to the choir, but I'm serious. ;-)

Beyond PC's »

Today I was hanging out with Leonard Liu, one of my good friends, investors in Neoteny and advisory board members. He was once the chief architect for hardware and software at IBM and architected SNA and SQL. He later became the chairman of Acer and is now the chairman of the ASE group which is one of the biggest IC testing and packaging companies in the world. Anyway, he is one of the most energetic and thoughtful computer scientists I know who can actually run companies. He said an interesting thing that is sort of obvious, but quite exciting. He...

Intel's digital media player »

Intel's digital media playerSaw this on Marc Canter's Blog.This reminds me of my SliMP3 that I wrote about earlier, but that doesn't have wireless or video. It also reminds me of my Sony Airboard which has 802.11, ethernet, dialup Internet, TV and a browser. The Airboard is less of a "hub" and more of an "all-in-one". I guess the key to the Intel thing will be low cost and open standards. If they can help orchestrate a bunch of devices without trying to make their device do everything, it might work. I still don't like the idea of "fat" home servers. I am hoping that, at least in my house, I can use everything I already have. My PC hard disk, my audio amp and speakers, my plasma display and my digital satellite dish... Having said that, there may be a market for small all-in-one's...

Casio »

I'm at Casio right now trying to get them excited about blogs... Casio makes such great digital cameras and digital cameras are SOOO important for blogs... Pleeeze give me a blog-camera....

Memories of General Magic »

found this in Marc Canter's Blog Scripting News Memories of General Magic A long time ago I offered to develop for a hot startup called General Magic. I was going to do the work for free. I wanted to explore a new platform. They turned me down, saying they already had enough developers. Yesterday they announced they are shutting down the company. Now no one knows if one developer's software would have made the difference, but it's been known for a long time that exclusive platforms die and inclusive ones have a chance. It's why the Mac worked and...

Who Owns My Living Room? »

So who owns my living room? I have projectors, displays, satellite tuning boxes, various amplifiers, CD players, DVD players, remotes, universal remotes, a home PBX trying to do VoIP to the office, a plasma display, a home security systems, 802.11, a Sony Airboard, 100MB fiber Internet acccess, a few PC's and Mac's, a cars with a car navigation system that rips CD's and talks to the Internet, a car with GSM built in that doesn't work in Japan... None of this stuff talks to each other. In my basement I have boxes full of firewire, ethernet, power, coaxial, optical fiber,...
Whiplash by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe

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