Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Most recently in the Cool Web Sites Category

I've just been registered as a Performer on Eventful. If you'd like me to participate in some event, try using the "Demand me!" feature on the site. I've been messing around with Eventful a bit and it looks quite interesting. I'm going to try posting my public events using this performer interface.

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

Posted by Thomas Crampton

Wrote a story in today’s paper about the new section of Charles de Gaulle airport being built for the A380, the world’s largest airliner.

Turns out that the aircraft is so big that it requires a reconfiguration of terminal and in some ways it could be good. The second floor of the aircraft, for example, means that you can have two almost entirely separate sections. For people flying business and first class – not me! - they would walk into a separate part of the airplane that could have separate style of reception.

The airport created a first-ever virtual visit of the new section for us to put on our website.

I wonder what other innovations could come of having such a large number of passengers in the sky? Massive online gaming within the aircraft?

Global Voices has undergone a redesign. Nice look. Congrats to all involved.

The other day, I met with the guys doing Tokyo Art Beat. Tokyo Art Beat is probably the most comprehensive art event site for Tokyo in both English and Japanese. Interestingly, even though they are both French, the site is not yet available in French. Anyway, I know at least a dozen people who have pinged me that they are going to be in Tokyo over the next few weeks so I would recommend this site to find cool things to do when you are in town.

Frode and his team at Liquid Information have launched a demo of Hyperwords. Hyperwords is a very big idea about tools that make the web a lot more linky and contextual. For now, the demo allows you to load a web page through Hyperwords and mouse over and select various functions from a menu including looking up the definition, searching for on search engines including Technorati and highlighting. The cool thing about the highlighting is that the info is added to the URL so you can copy paste the URL to someone to give them your highlighting. Anyway, I know Frode is looking for feedback so give it a try and let him know what you think.

This blog piped through Hyperwords

Demo page for Hyperwords

UPDATE: Interview with Frode

UPDATE 2: Frode has released a new version:

demo page

This site viewed through version 4

To the page where you can make any page live

Plazes has just added a tracking features that uses IndyJunior maps to visualize where you've been based on locations from which you have logged into Plazes. Plazes is a cool site that allows users to register access points to physical locations.

This is my Plazes tracking for the last 90 days.

Just finished my RSS feed and didn't find anything I felt I needed to comment on so I'll give you my two favorite links from today.

From the mistress of the cute/cool thing, Andrea Harner, comes

Warren Ellis over at die puny humans informs us that:

Warren Ellis
It's a glum day for optimists. After 24 years of community service, the Quakertown Optimists Club is calling it quits. They're holding their last meeting on Thursday, citing declining interest.

"I feel sad," club president Bernard Kensky said.

"Four or five people would come to meetings and only two or three people would help out with the activities. I don't know why people stopped getting involved."

IM is sweeping the world but it's a whole new vocabulary. Feeling old and out of touch? Try the AOLer Translator.

via Sean
OK, this is so going to blow up...

Go to CNN to find this page:

once there, you'll find a page like the one below. Snapshot archived for posterity after CNN wises up.

Snapshot Cnn1-1

now right-click, control-click or whatever on the Bush/Laura image. Select "Open Image" or the equivalent. And observe the image name.

Yes, this is not a fake. As of right now, November 3rd, 2004, 21:23 PST this is the frontpage. My world just got a little brighter. Pizza, Canadian beer, and watching "Strange Brew" contribute, too.

The name of the image file is asshole.jpg. Nice catch Jonas.

UPDATE Sean blogs that The Register ripped off the article without giving credit to Jonas. Schmucks.

UPDATE2 Now WorldNetDaily is writing as if they found it.

UPDATE3 has also just ripped off the images without attribution.

UPDATE4 Jonas had an attribution-ShareAlike license on his blog...

You're actually just a ball in a pachinko game in the grand scheme of things. Friendster Pachinko.

Via Xeni and Waxy

Striking a Lessig.

The source...

via Xeni @ Boing Boing is a cool new site that lists video ads supporting Kerry, Bush and Nader. Although the site was launched by known Kerry supporters and currently there are only ads from the Kerry campaign and some of's Bush in 30 Seconds ads, there is a tab for Bush and Nader and are soliciting ads from them. They also ask people to submit their own ads. The idea is that the site would be a non-partisan site that allows you to view ads of the candidates and email links to the ads to friends. The ads are hosted by the Internet Archive and licensed under a Creative Commons license. The "p2p" here stands for people-to-people or peer-to-peer but is not p2p as in the file sharing protocol. This site is a volunteer effort by J Christopher Garcia and Aaron Swartz, "with some ideas by Lawrence Lessig" and support from the Internet Archive.

Esther scooped me and announced that she is investing in flickr. So am I. I haven't been blogging about flickr too much, even though I'm addicted because I wanted to wait to announce this first. I'm just a passive investor, but wanted to disclose this relationship.

You can see my photos on my flickr photo page. You can even subscribe to it in RSS 2.0 or Atom. Remember to check out the Tags page. There is also my personal tags page. Things have been getting very taggy around here ever since I started using

Thanks for the opportunity to invest Stewart and Caterina.

During Ars Electronica in Linz, I got a chance to hang out with Michael from I would have blogged about this earlier, but they have been having server problems and they wanted me to wait until they had stabilized the situation. has been around for awhile now and they've even been covered in Wired so many of you may already know about them. It is a music site based on collaborative filtering. Using one of the many Audioscrobbler plugins, you can set your music player to upload the titles of the music you are playing to their site. This starts to create your profile. You can also go to the site and browse songs and artists and add them to your profile. It will recommend similar artists and also show other fans of those artists. You can browse the profiles of those fans as well. Eventually, you will have enough songs in your profile for it to calculate your neighborhood. These are other members with similar taste. It's quite uncanny how similar some people's taste in music can be. You can visit these people, see what they are listening to, send them messages or add them as friends.

Once you have a healthy neighborhood and profile, the next thing you do is start listening to the radio. is MCPS/PRS registered and has a paid license to broadcast music internationally from the UK. Only music registered with MCPS/PRS or registered directly with will be streamed, but you can listen to your own music collection, anyone else's music collection or your profile neighborhood as an mp3 stream. The web based player window will show the name of the artists, the track, the cover art, the person who's profile it is coming from and a button for "love", "ban", "skip". Anything you like will be added to your profile.

You can configure to use your local You can buy most of the albums you browse on Amazon. In addition, labels can sign up on and sell music directly via downloads. Labels can set their own price. The collaborative filter allows labels to target new songs into the clusters that are most likely to be receptive to a track and the collaborative filter takes over after that.

I think this is an amazing synthesis of traditional business models from the music industry and collaborative filters. I also love how your music becomes your identity. My page shows what I'm listening to and what I kind of music I like most.

DISCLOSURE: I don't have any official relationship with yet, but I'm currently talking to them a lot and giving them my feedback and thoughts.

Michael, let me know if I got the facts right.

Christoph Wimmer asks where I got my "I )( Wi-Fi" bumpersticker. I got it from It's a very cool site with lots of great bumpersticks. Part of the money is donated to a variety of non-profits. This bumpersticker benefits Creative Commons.

The "I )( Wi-Fi" bumper sticker can be found on the Tech Culture page.

Ars Electronica , the oldest, largest, and most prominent art and technology festival in the world, today launched a web site inviting participants to make predictions about the next 25 years, year by year, and to vote on predictions already posted.
Looks interesting. Give it a try.

Since I can't get onto the GW site, I guess I have to settle for the site. The NRO?

National Reconnaissance Office
The NRO designs, builds and operates the nation's reconnaissance satellites. NRO products, provided to an expanding list of customers like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), can warn of potential trouble spots around the world, help plan military operations, and monitor the environment.

As part of the 14-member Intelligence Community, the NRO plays a primary role in achieving information superiority for the U. S. Government and Armed Forces.

So what is NROjr? It's a "A fun site to engage children in the wonders of science, math and space in a fun and interactive manner," brought to you by the NRO. (Make sure you have your sound turned on to enjoy the full experience. And all this time I thought Ernie actually worked for Sesame Street... although I guess he was recently heard singing Orkutworld.)

via Karl

I blogged earlier about the sale of 25% of the stock of Craigslist to eBay. Out of context, some people might not understand why this requires explaining or someone with a casual understanding might think Craig sold out. Here's some more context. (And no, Craig has not "sold out".)

Craig is a very unique individual and this interview and his site are a testament to that. In March, on the way to SXSW, I was with a group which had an airline nightmare at SFO. Craig negotiated with the extremely unhelpful Mesa Airlines for the whole group of us and was amazingly effective. I was moved by how he insisted that we were a group and was not willing to settle for anything that left anyone behind.

Cory Doctorow @ Boing Boing
Craig of Craigslist interview
Wired Magazine ran an interview this month with Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist and an all-round mensch:

Google's touchy-feely corporate mantra is "Don't be evil." What's yours?

Give people a break.

A break from what?

A break from how difficult our lives are. It's like, if you're walking out of your apartment building and somebody is coming the other way with an armful of groceries, you hold the door. It feels good - it's the neighborly thing to do. And our species survives by cooperating.

What poses the major threat to that survival?

Kleptocrats and sociopathic organizations that have the almighty dollar as their only goal.


The first ChangeThis manifestos are up. They're definitely worth reading and commenting on. I have the honor of being one of the advisors who gets to read them and make comments before they come out.

eBay Acquires Minority Interest in craigslist

SAN FRANCISCO & SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 13, 2004--eBay, The World's Online Marketplace (Nasdaq:EBAY) (, and craigslist, an online community featuring classifieds and forums (, announced today that eBay has acquired a preexisting minority ownership interest in craigslist of approximately 25%. The resulting relationship will allow eBay and craigslist to share expertise, resources, and creativity on behalf of online communities everywhere.

Craig shares his account of this about it on his blog. Craig mentions on his blog that it was a former employee who sold his shares to eBay and that the company was not sold or money invested into craigslist.

I can imagine some people complaining about this, but I think this is a good direction for craigslist to go. Congrats to all involved. I look forward to seeing how these communities will interact and how eBay helps craigslist and vice versa.

I want to start playing with BitTorrent and integrating it into blogging more. I think I need a BitTorrent tracker. Can anyone recommend a respectable public tracker or does anyone have a machine they'd be willing to run a public tracker on? I want try to experiment with a variety of legal uses of BitTorrent.

24 Hour Dotcom
Creating a Dotcom in 24 Hours

Right now we are at the Wizards of OS conference in Berlin to make a performance art/business project. The mission is to create a dotcom business from scratch in 24 hours. That means designing and programming a complete and useful web application, recruiting people, doing marketing, creating investment programs and much more. After 24 hours, the complete business will be sold on an eBay auction, and everyone involved will be rich!

Funny real-time project going on right now. ;-)

Wired News Leaves Door Open -- a site that both hosts independent music and uses a peer-review process to identify hot bands -- is offering the Creative Commons Music Sharing License to artists who want to distribute their tunes for free, the company said Monday.

Nice. GarageBand is one of the biggest legal mp3 sites and it's cool that they are offering a CC license to their artists. Alternative distribution of music using CC licenses is clearly a good idea and helps people understand the whole Free Culture concept. I really do believe that the issue will become more and more about how to gain attention, not how to charge for delivery. It is changing from a delivery problem to a discovery problem as storage and bandwidth become commodities. Discovery is cheap only when you have a monopoly on people's attention. Obviously, media companies like Clear Channel are trying to keep that monopoly, but I think users are going to dump those locked up modes as new modes of discovery become available. I think that the main way to get attention will be to become part of the conversation and you can only do that if you promote active sharing of your music and content.

I blogged about a woman taking a motorcycle through Chernobyl and her web page. It looks like it was a fraud.

Neil Gaiman
A fraud exposed, and a true thing...

Found this on the forum - thought you might find it interesting. You'd wonder why somebody would go to the lengths to fake something like this.

Chornobyl "Ghost Town" story is a fabrication TOP
e-POSHTA subscriber Mary Mycio writes:

I am based in Kyiv and writing a book about Chornobyl for the Joseph Henry Press. Several sources have sent me links to the "Ghost Town" photo essay included in the last e-POSHTA mailing. Though it was full of factual errors, I did find the notion of lone young woman riding her motorcycle through the evacuated Zone of Alienation to be intriguing and asked about it when I visited there two days ago.

I am sorry to report that much of Elena's story is not true. She did not travel around the zone by herself on a motorcycle. Motorcycles are banned in the zone, as is wandering around alone, without an escort from the zone administration. She made one trip there with her husband and a friend. They traveled in a Chornobyl car that picked them up in Kyiv.

This sucks. It was such a cool story. One thing that I realized when thinking about this is, how do you fact check the fact check on something that so far away... Is there anything other than this post to e-POSHTA debunking this story?

via Xeni @ Boing Boing


This robot solves the 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube®.

I started to think about this problem in about August of 2000. In Jan 2001 fellow Mindstorms forums user 'agiecco' announced his intention to work on a robotic solution and, simultaneously, I saw that Rubik's Cubes were on sale at So I bought a couple of cubes and started getting down to business...

I produced a 'late beta' version in mid-April 2001 that was a little clunky. The final version (presented here) is smooth and fairly reliable.


via Brian

Another funny example of scamming a scammer. This time on eBay. (PDF file of the scam | Web Site)

via user0

UPDATE: The links above seem to be blocked now. Maybe they got too much traffic. I'm uploading the PDF here.

The winners of the Prix Ars Electronica have been announced.

I was on the Digital Communities jury this year for Ars Electronica. Thanks to the two jury pre-selection and final jury process, we were able to spend a lot of time on the 60 or so entries that were selected from hundreds of submissions by the first jury. We had an awesome jury. The final jury was me, Andreas Hirsch, Shanthi Kalathil (co-author of Open Networks, Closed Regimes: The Impact of the Internet on Authoritarian Rule), Jane Metcalfe (co-founder of Wired), Dorothy Okello (Coordinator of the Women of Uganda Network), Howard Rheingold (the Smart Mobs guy ;-) ) and Oliviero Toscani (The guy who made the controversial Benetton ads). We gave our two Golden Nica cash prizes to Wikipedia and The World Starts With Me. I'm sure everyone knows Wikipedia. The World Starts With Me is a project from Uganda.

"The World Starts With Me" is a sex education and AIDS prevention project that simultaneously gives young Ugandans the opportunity to acquire Internet and computer skills. The program is aimed at school children and young adults. To reach this target group, 52 "Telecenters" (facilities equipped with IT infrastructure including PCs with Internet access) have been set up throughout Uganda. The program focuses particularly on 12- to 19-year-olds, with the objective of improving their understanding of sexuality. The website features a very attractive, inviting design and takes a playful approach to mediating complicated content, which is presented in a way that enables young people to recognize situations confronting them personally in their everyday lives. This program is very popular in Uganda and is being used in many schools and institutions.
Now if only "The World Starts With Me" would make a wiki page...

Creative Commons won the Net Vision Golden Nica. Yay! (I wasn't involved in that jury and this was a pleasant surprise.)

We gave our four Awards of Distinction (also cash prizes) to:
Dol2Day, Krebskompass, Open-Clothes and smart X tension.

Our honorary mentions were:

A web site by a women who races her motorcycle through the Chernobyl "Ghost Town." Amazing photos.

about town where one can ride with no stoplights, no police, no danger to hit some cage or some dog..
via Markoff

A cool site with TV clips from the 60's.

via Markoff

I'm a Nominating Judge in The Webby Awards Community Category. Help me out by suggesting cool community sites.

Community: Sites creating and facilitating online community, connectedness and/or communication around shared interests. These sites can target either a broad-based or niche audience.

Please use this web form to submit your suggestions to me.

Gapminder is a truly amazing site of visualizations of stunning facts and statistics.

Thanks for the link David!

Very cool work by Cassidy Curtis.

Graffiti Archaeology is the study of graffiti-covered walls as they change over time. The project is a timelapse collage, made of photos of San Francisco graffiti taken by many different photographers from 1998 to the present.

Using the grafarc explorer, you can visit some of San Francisco's classic spots, see what they looked like in the past, and explore how they have changed over the years.

via danah boyd (her site is down right now)

I just donated to Wikipedia. If you haven't, you should too. While you're at it, donate to the EFF and Freenode too. ;-)

Delicious is a social bookmarks manager. It is still pre-pre-alpha, but it's already become quite a useful part of my daily routine. You bookmark sites as you surf and you can subscribe to bookmarks of your friends and receive them as RSS feeds. It all started during a rare productive discussion between tangra and _joshua on #joiito. The two of them came up with the idea and _joshua coded it.

_joshua is aka Joshua Schachter and is also the developer of memepool and GeoURL.

If you want to subscribe to my bookmarks, I'm joi_ito on Delicious.

The Dean for Iowa Game just went online. It's cute and fun and captures the spirit of being a supporter. I'm glad to have played my own little part in making this happen. The game was developed by Ian Bogost and his team at Persuasive Games. Ian contacted me through LinkedIn. LinkedIn routed his request for contact via a mutual friend, Ian McCarthy who vouched for Ian Bogost. I took that request and forwarded it to Britt Blaser who is working with the Dean campaign. Britt is "Mr. Execution" and before I knew it, The Dean for Iowa Game happened. Congratulations to all involved!

I've blogged about Joe before, but he's an old buddy of mine from "back in the day." He made Starship Warlock, one of the coolest CD ROM games during that period. Recently, Joe's been doing Flash animations/stories with music. The last series he did, Radiskull and Devil Doll rocked. It really defined a new style. Now he's got a preview of his new series, Dicky & Jackie online. Thanks for coming to the CC party Joe. Now you've got to release some stuff under CC. ;-)

A great QT Movie of the Ginza Apple store opening.

Via Markoff

I met Jean-François Maïon in Helsinki last week. We were talking about blogs. I think I helped get him over the hump to start a blog. Nice photos.

I've been getting more and more email with links to flash animations. I'm going to have to try making my own flash animations again. What's interesting is to think about flash in the context of creative commons and how people are sharing their tricks and their code. Here are a few new ones and a list of some of my other favorites.

UPDATE: gansta gollum via Accordian Guy via Betsy - awesome

Oh! And don't forget the Creative Commons flash animation contest. Deadline is Dec 31. First prize is a dual CPU Apple G5.

Seyed Razavi has announced that he has shut down Blogshares. As Jeff Jarvis says, "It was fun while it lasted."

Look forward to seeing what Seyed is cooking up next that's kept him too busy to run Blogshares...

Thanks for the heads up Jason

Speaking of turtles... don't forget the badgers...

Rael Dornfest just launched MobileWhack.

MobileWhack is all about that mobile handset, palmtop, hiptop, ipod, or laptop in your pocket, purse, briefcase, or dangling from your utility belt. It's about squeezing every last ounce of mobility out of your mobile device.
Looks cool!

It's daytime here, but I'm watching the eclipse on the web.

Thanks for the link Victor!

Ryuichi Sakamoto sent me an email asking me to make people aware of a movement to get Aya's Shoyo-Jurin, an Evergreen Oak forest in Japan selected as a World Heritage site and help protect this very important forest. Check out the web page if you're interested in forests. It's an amazing place that I hope to visit soon.

A fascinating experiment ideaviruses, permission marketing and cows.

Worth a look, regardless of your politics:

Very Seth. Very interesting. ;-)

Weird image that tricks your eyes and your mind...

On design media via Boris who just quit his job so he can blog on...

IBM has a very cool project called "History Flow" that visualizes the evolution of documents and the interactions of multiple collaborating authors. There are many interesting views. They are using wikis for this.

Thanks for the link Clay!

Brendyn has created a page that lists the online/offline status from jibot as titles and links to all of the recent blog entries of the regulars on #joiito from their RSS feeds. Very cool!

Technical synopsis from Brendyn

Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn has just gone through and responded to many of the points raised in the LinkedIn wiki page. If you had posted comments and were waiting for him to respond, please go check out his comments. He has interspersed his comments in dialog in wiki style. Thanks to the people who posted comments and thanks to Reid for all of the thoughtful responses. Now my wiki is much smarter. ;-)

Reid Hoffman, former COO EVP of Paypal, co-investor in Six Apart, good friend and generally smart guy has launched LinkedIn today. He and his team have been working in stealth mode and I've been anxious to use their service after all of the discussions with Reid about it.

There have been a bunch of networking sites launching these days like Ryze and Friendster. LinkedIn is more focused on business networking and has a bunch of innovations to make it more useful for connecting when you are trying to network seriously (vs dating sites).

Anyway, I have no direct financial interest in LinkedIn, but I may invest if I have the opportunity in the future. Reid is a business associate so this is somewhat a shameless plug for a friend. Having said that, I like it a lot so far.

UPDATE: The discussion has moved to the the wiki

So, it's April 1 in Japan and I was sitting around trying to think of something clever for my April Fool's blog entry. Then Xeni sent me a link to Joy of Being Ito Web. Haha. Very funny Jim.

I'm going to give up trying to write someting funny today... ;-p

Magic Box Productions Logo designed by Susan Kare
What a blast from the past for me. I just read on Slashdot about Susan Kare's web page. She is the godess of User Interface Graphics. She did most of the original Macintosh Icons and a lot of the icons for things like General Magic, Windows 3.0, etc. When I was helping to set up a computer graphics company call Magic Box Productions that Hakubun Ito was running, Megan Smith introduced us to Susan Kare who did our logo. It's still one of my favorite logos of any of the companies I've worked for. The T-Shirts were great. ;-) Magic Box Productions was my late 80's early 90's short dabble in the computer graphics world before MacPPP and the web swept me back into computer networks. Magic Box Production is still run by Hakubun Ito.
Listed on BlogSharesBlogshares just went beta. It is a site where you can trade shares of blogs using fake money. The price is based on trading and a valuation of sorts is derived from links weighted by how valuable the links are. (Kind of like google page rank.) This price/value spread is sort of a P/E. Obviously, this fuels the "popularity content" aspect of blogging. Having said that, it's fun. I wish I could short sell blogs. ;-) It will be interesting to see whether the blog prices predict new popular blogs accurately since people should buy blogs that are new and cool but people don't know about yet.
A roundup of hilarious satire blogs. Blogs by GW Bush, Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il.

Kim Jong Il Live Journal link via woj@MetaFilter

A Japanese guy (site in Japanese but great pictures) with long hair cuts his hair to make a chonmage. Chonmage's are now only worn by sumo wrestlers and actors in samurai movies. This guy goes out to dinner and even gets his picture taken for his drivers license with his new 'doo. Chris, you should try this next.

TouchGraph GoogleBrowser V1.01 is a cool Java tool to let you see your Google neighbors. Uses Google API. Reminds me a bit of the Blogstreet visual neighborhood.

Via Werblog

soufle_logo.gifAlbert just sent me a link to their new site which allows registered users to save bookmarks in folders and browse and search each other's sites. It reminds me a bit of OpenCola, but this is server based and is integrated with Google using the Google API. You need to register and it is still very early stage, but worth a look if you like new stuff. I suggested that they needed to work on buddy lists and grouping. They're working on some of this stuff this week.

Yesterday, I had dinner with Robert Kaye. He is the founder of Musicbrainz. Musicbrainz is a metadata project that is creating a database of album artist, title and track information similar to how CDDB used to do it when they were not a corporation. Many people were upset by CDDB's move use the commons created by the community for commercial purposes. Robert was so angry with this betrayal of the community that he started Musicbrainz. Musicbrainz will be set up as a non profit and Robert swears that he will never "sell-out". In fact, we talked about using some sort of emergent democracy that would allow the users to force a way to take shift control in the event that something like this might happen. We talked about the value of such escrow agents of perhaps the DNS and domain name with some sort of tool to allow the users to discuss and trigger a shift in control. This could be a way to force projects like this to stick to their original principles and help build trust at the same time.

Robert seemed like an extremely dedicated, smart and visionary guy and I think his focus and commitment to deliver this service is extremely admirable.

His service is unique in many ways. He is using a sound fingerprint key method to identify the songs. (He got beat up a bit on slashdot because he was using patented technology for this, but I think this is fine. He can always switch later if someone decided to make an open source version.) Basically, his client software scans all of your mp3's looks them up on his database and fixes all of your bad tags. If you have data that isn't in his database, you can submit it. It is a much more automatic and viral approach to what CDDB does.

So far it is only available on Windows, but he's working on an OS X version now...

Ever since the Wired article came out, his server has been swamped so you may not be able to access it... But keep trying and donate some money so he can buy a new server. Thanks for the intro Lisa!

I'm a Webby Judge in the "community" category. We're nominating sites first. If anyone has suggestions, please post them here and I'll take a look. Thanks!

habbo_hotel.gifNeeraj just launched Habbo Hotel Japan. I wrote about it before, but it is a cool 2.5D chat space where you can build your own room and play games as well. It's a shockwave and it takes about a minute to set up an account and it's free. It's less sophisticated than Sims Online, but maybe better because it focuses more on the community aspect. I sometimes have difficulty with Sims Online because the balance between gameplay and socializing is kind of difficult. Sometimes it feels like you're "in the way" of Sims trying to make money doing stupid repetitive tasks. Habbo (maybe because it's free) has a younger and more social population, generally speaking, although I HAVE met some nice people on Sims Online.

I'm Joi and Neeraj is NikoNiko in Habbo.

Saw a cool trick on Boing Boing. If you search for "http" on Google, the results are sites ranked by page ranking. As Boing Boing notes, the tops sites are search site., the online news paper is number one and that most of the top Japanese sites are mass media sites. I love that tabi no madoguchi makes it into the Top 10 in Japan. It's a great site and is all about conversation on the living web come true.

Top 10 Overall
1. Yahoo!
2. Google
3. Microsoft Corporation
4. Adobe Systems Incorporated
5. AltaVista - The Search Company
6. My Excite
7.'s Biggest Selection
9. Lycos Home Page
10. MapQuest: Home

Top 10 in Japanese
2. Yahoo! Japan
3. Tabi no madoguchi (a travel site with customer feedback)
4. Fresheye
5. Nikkei Net
6. goo
7. Yomiuri Shimbun
8. Microsoft Japan
9. NHK Online
10. Recruit ISIZE

Floor of temple in Koyasan taken while listening to a speech by a monk about the mandalas
I'm really getting into I had been using it mostly for the discussion forums, but recently I created a profile and set up a portfolio. It tracks all of my equipment all the way down to the serial numbers. I scanned a bunch of my 6x6's into Pro Photo CD's and uploaded them to the site. I even got positive feedback on one of my photos! which I think was started by Philip Greenspun is obviously a site built by geeks for true enthusiasts and is a real pleasure to use after trying all of the "commercial" photo sites. I think I've found my online home for my photography.

Eric Myer Photography Stereotypes

A very cool site that lets you build faces from a variety of stereotypes.

found this on boing boing


Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Wallace and Gromit film premières

Oscar-winning animated duo Wallace and Gromit have returned after a six-year absence in a series of short films - and BBC News Online has exclusive footage.

Maker Aardman Animations has produced 10 one-minute movies featuring Wallace and his canny pet dog Gromit, entitled Cracking Contraptions.

The films launched on Tuesday with the world exclusive première of the first short, Soccamatic, on BBC News Online. The film is downloadable and free to view.

I love Wallace and Gromit. This is really cool. Governor Tanaka of Nagano is probably really excited to. He loves Wallace and Gromit. He has two cell phones. One of them has a Gromit cover. It is a stuff animal typed cover for the phone which looks like Gromit's head. You open the mouth and talk. I love it. The other one is the lamb that is in one of the Wallace and Grommit movies. I always love it when Tanaka-san's assistant comes running across the room with Gromit with a urgent call and Tanaka-san is talking very seriously into Gromit's mouth. Tanaka-san also has a Gromit diary.

We also have Gromit and lamb dolls...

Neeraj is my only buddy so far...
AOL-Docomo the Japanese joint venture between Docomo and AOL Japan asked Neeraj of imaHima to make a Java aplet for the new Java enabled i-mode phones that allows you to use Aol Instant Messenger on your phone. They launched it last week. It's great! You can have multiple conversations at once and it is integrated with the PC based IM. I think this is a first. (There are many IM for messaging between phones.) The only thing that sucks is that you have to sign up for AOL's service any pay a monthly fee to use it. It took me almost 30 minutes on the phone to sign up...
habbohotel_thumb.jpg Neeraj showed us Habbohotel today.

Hirata found it on IP. It is very cool. I think the best avatar style space I've seen so far. The only thing is, the site is in the UK and I can't buy credits to furnish my room. If anyone else is a member, My Habbo is "Joichi"...

Hat's off to Dan who wrote about this a year ago!

Dan Gillmor
From: Gillmor, Dan To: Dave Farber Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2001 18:53:11 -0400

HELSINKI -- Buying virtual furniture for a virtual hotel room may seem likan odd enough exercise. Now add this: You pay by mobile phone.

That's how it works at online chat sites Hotelli Kultakala and Habbo Hotel, operated by a small Finnish company called Sulake. And people, mostly young people, are paying -- with real money -- by calling a special phone number, entering a few digits and having the cost of virtual furniture added to their next month's phone bills.

Across town, meanwhile, Riot Entertainment is getting ready to beam messages from Frodo the Hobbit to the mobile phones of ``Lord of the Rings'' fans. The messages from Frodo and other denizens of Middle Earth will be part of a movie marketing campaign when the first of three Rings movies opens later this year.

Some of the most intriguing ideas about tomorrow's mobile communications and commerce are coming from the people of this small Nordic nation, whose influence on the world's telecommunications stage has long outweighed the size of its population.

Howard just opened him weblog about Smartmobs. Cool!

A Website and Weblog about Topics and Issues discussed in the book Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution by Howard Rheingold

Smart mobs emerge when communication and computing technologies amplify human talents for cooperation. The impacts of smart mob technology already appear to be both beneficial and destructive.

logoars.GIFI was interviewed yesterday by NHK to talk about the Net category winners and the jury process this year. I talked about how in the early days, we approached the category from a media theory perspective. Derrick deKerkhove and Mitsuhiro Takemura were both on the first jury and they are both very media theory oriented. The jury, over the last seven years has swung around a bit, but we had always tried to look beyond the interface to find the "webness" or the community beyond. We always used to look at flashFlash animation sites as superficial and thin.

At this year's jury meeting, I said something about flashFlash being superficial, Joshua got really mad and argued that flash could do everything Java could do but better. He said that flash talked xml and could be used to do just about everything. He said that it got a bad rap because people thought it was a design tool developed by Macromedia. He said that he hated "old school" guys like me that kept the Net from moving on and getting to the next level. I have to admit, I underestimated flash, but Joshua's religious ferver was also pretty interesting. Joshua won last year with his site, Praystation, which is an amazing flashFlash site that makes flashFlash examples available and has lots and lots of great examples of how to make flashFlash do cool things.

Later, at the ORF studios, I saw Joshua "the first guy to ever call Joi Ito 'old school'" Davis. He was nice and acted almost like he felt sorry about being mean to me. Maybe it's because he's coming to Tokyo next month. ;-p Anyway, I like Joshua and he really opened my eyes to flash so now I'm anxious to learn flash. I told him that I was having difficulty figuring out how to get started with flash and that I wanted to have someone help me build a flash interface to blogs. He said he would help. Cool.

So, to get back to the NHK interview. I told them that we are now seeing artists drawn into the expressive flexibility of flashFlash, finding that they can dig into content using xml and other tools and that there is a meeting of the political, "old school" Internet and design people causing greats sites like They Rule and projects like Carnivore to be born.

stewart.jpgStewart Alsop (who I met recently at the Fortune Brainstorm 2002) writes in his column in Fortune Magazine about GoodContacts.

When Barak was visiting a few weeks ago, he was raving about it as well. GoodContacts is basically a contact management package that talks to Outlook or Act! and spams them with email and asks people to update their info. The good thing about GoodContacts is that they don't keep your contact list, they just enable you to spam from your computer. That's why I thought about using it until I realized I would have to switch to Outlook. (and why I am still drooling) It is viral, useful and cool. It triggered a "flashbulb moment" for Stewart.

Stewart Alsop

And that leads me to the flashbulb. Imagine that we all have one phone number and one e-mail address that knows where we are. Imagine that the network keeps track of our location and our personal data, and automatically updates anyone who might be interested. Imagine that we don't have to think about whether the right phone number or address is stored in the network or our PC or our PDA or our phone. Imagine that all these little details of personal life are just handled. Yeah, yeah, I'm dreaming. But if that stuff happens, it will start with dumb little programs like GoodContacts. That's enlightening.

boldface added by Joi for emphasis

I have great respect for Stewart and all this SOUNDS good, but the lightbulb that flashed for me was. OUTLOOK? PERSONAL DATA? Ack! I would like something with similar functionality. It would be great, but I still can't imagine using a Microsoft product for contact management considering all of the security and privacy problems they have. I also would HATE for all of this information to ever end up not being local. Be careful when you ask "the network" to do stuff for you. I envision something similar, but a much different architecture.

Think IM buddy lists. Everyone should be able to have identities that are separate from their "entities". (see my paper about for more thoughts about this) You should be able to have multiple identities for the various roles. Each identity would be attached to different attributes such as memberships, age, corporate roles, or writing pseudonyms. Locally, you would be able to attach current information such as shipping address, home address, current phone, voicemailbox, etc. to each of the identities, being able to manage which identity was "active" or capable of routing to you at any given time. At work you would want your personal phone calls screened, your business contacts on. At home, you could reverse them.

Managing our identities and personal information in this age of privacy destruction will be essential. I truely believe that privacy underpins democracy and that "viral" solutions that give people like Microsoft or their software, access to our contact info should be watched carefully. Peer to peer, multi-vendor, multi-id, hash/digital signature based connectivity is much more interesting for me.

But maybe Stewart was going to get to the architecture next. I think it's a great idea, but the architecture discussion has to happen NOW.

So I'm starting to understand a bit about "blog rolling". I first saw the term in the sidebar of Dan Gillmor's blog. It's the list of blogs that you read often and link to from your page. I found a cool tool called Blogrolling. It does various things all at once. You can create a sidebar in IE (Mac and PC) that lists the blogs in your blog roll. You can create php, javascript or rss code in your web page so that your blog roll shows up on your web page. Because it uses style sheets, it integrates seamlessly into the page. (See the blog roll on this page. It is created dynamically from Links that say "fresh" before them have been update in the last 24hrs.) Pretty cool idea. I've also been experimenting with several RSS readers, but haven't found one that I like. I think this idea of having a list of news feeds/blogs that you can read seamlessly and then being able to share these links is obviously the right idea. I guess the question is, is it easier to do it in the browser, in an opencola sort of p2p environment or in some dedicated RSS reader... I like this blog rolling idea because it shares your blog roll to people outside of your "network", people who don't have special software (like opencola) and to people who haven't been "turned on" to RSS and blogging yet...

Sighted on WERBLOG

BlogStreet is a database of blogs that lets you enter the URL for a blog and it finds other blogs in your "neighborhood". Cool idea, but not completely sure how useful it is. Or maybe it's just useful if your blog is famous and highly linked to and maybe I just don't understand the algorithm. When I entered my blog, mostly I just got a list of blogs that I link to on my top page. It ranked my blog 6479 out of 10259 blogs, which is probably not bad for a 2 month old blog, but not really stellar. More than half the blogs around are more famous than mine. ;-p Interestingly, it ranked the web archives of David Farber's list also as 6479. How can we both be 6479? Since I just started blogging and David Farber's list is much more interesting, linked and older, it would seem strange that we are ranked the same. Justin was ranked 828, which seems pretty good. Anyway, worth a look.

From BlogStreet web page
What is Blog Neighbourhood Analysis?
Given a blog URL, the neighbourhood analyser gives the related blogs based on its blogroll, using what we have called the Commoner method: take the most common blogs from all the friends blogrolls and give out a most common list of blogs, in addition to myblog friends, as related. That is if a blog appears among the highest number of times in all friendblog's blogrolls then it is treated as related.

I still don't understand what Blog Neighbourhood Analysis is... Do you? I THINK I just figured it out...

SatireWire has closed down! Oh no! It was one of my favorite sites.

In memory of SatireWire, which will stay online as an archive, here are a few of my favorites:

In Grand Scheme of Things, Your Hard Work, Diligence, Found to Mean Squat

London, England ( - In an unprecedented study, British and American researchers have concluded that despite what you've been told at work, you really don't make a difference, and are not remotely integral to your company's success.

"In our research, we found that you've been encouraged to believe that your hard work and contributions are substantial, and that you are a significant member of the team. But what we discovered is that in your particular case, there's no way," said Neil Romsby of the London School of Economics.

Major Corporations Turning into 'Swat Shops'

NEW YORK, N.Y. ( - Frustrated by a tight labor market that has forced them to make unprecedented concessions to employees, several dozen American companies have instituted "employee-slapping" policies, allowing managers to slap workers pretty much whenever they damn well please.

Widely hailed by supervisors as a great equalizer, the random slapping of employees has, not surprisingly, come under fire from many lower-level workers. But even some senior-level managers have voiced complaints.

"I, for one, don't like it a bit," said Marcia Pepperstein, vice president of sales at Motorola. "I'm a vice president, and I get slapped. I think there should be a ceiling somewhere, just below me, so that I don't get slapped, but I still get to slap. That, to me, would be an acceptable system."

mp-fro1-w240.jpgKenji Eno ( Justin wrote about him ) is guest blogging on my Japanese blog.

translated by me from Kenji Eno's entry

In 1987 JALECO (which PCCW Japan reverse merged into) made a game called "Moero!! Pro Baseball" for the Nintendo Famicon. It was an amazing game. At the time, Namco had a very popular game called Famista which sold very well. Morero!! Pro Baseball tried to make a very realistic game to compete against the very popular, but rather game-like Famista. The graphics were the only part that was realistic. You could bunt home runs, the strike zone was a complete mess... It was a horrible game. There was something twistedly special about the game that you really couldn't experience anywhere else. One could only love how bad it was. So I don't know if this guy is one of these types of fans, but this guy collects these 15 year old game cartridges of this game. There are many maniacs in the game community, many people buy 10 of their favorite games. That pales in comparison to this guy. So now you have to see his web site. "The agony!!MoePro Getters"

Read and Release at just sent me email about this site. This is very cool. It is a book club with 60,000 readers and 30,000 books. The idea is that when you finish reading a book, you tag it and leave it on a street corner, coffee shop or what ever and post it on the site and the next person can find it and read it. When you find books and read them, you add journal entries which become part of a huge database of over 10,000 reviews and recommendations. Sounds pretty cool to me. I'm going to sign up today. This reminds me a bit of, the gps scavenger hunt site...

Frank, who told me, "Oh No. Now all you'll be thinking about is whether something will be material for your blog," when I told him about my blog, has started his own blog. I met Frank through our mutual friend Hiroshi Lockheimer when they both worked for Be Inc. Frank was in charge of marketing and communications and they asked me to be on Be's advisory board. I was the first and last advisory board member I think. Anyway, since then we've kept in touch and Frank co-founded AirEight with his old pals from Vertus. I'm on the advisory board for AirEight as well. Looking at the web page, you might think that all they do is sponsor race cars, but they are actually doing some cool things. ;-)

Frank has a very geeky style that is really my favorite part of the US technology entrepreneurship thing, but he seems to feel a bit self-conscious about it. Another mutual friend we have is Michael Backes who David Smith describes as the only person he knows with terminal ADD. They both worked at Virtus. There something about people who worked at Virtus that I can't put my finger on... They are all have kind of a wacky sense of humor and seem to be part of some big long drama that reminds me of the Hitch Hicker's Guide to the Galaxy or something.

Anyway, Frank's blog should be fun. I look forward to tracking it. You saw it here first. My first scoop. I blogged a blog first.

If you haven't seen this, it's a great site. We gave it a Golden Nica this year at the Prix Ars Electronica.

From the Prix Ars Electronica web page:

Golden Nica Josh On, Futurefarmers (USA): "They Rule" Database visualization is an important area of interactive design. "They Rule" is an excellent example of this kind of project. It attempts to demonstrate the relationships between some of America's most powerful corporate executives by visually showing you which companies they are involved with, and how these companies might gain from such a relationship.

The interface, once you get it, is pretty easy. There was a map of the Trilateral Commission, it's members and the boards that they sit on. (Here is a speech I gave at the Trilateral). You can see all of the board members of a company, other boards they sit on, donations they have made, all mined from public sources presented in an elegant design.

A true gem found on BoingBoing. A web page of a law firm which is hilarious. According to Jun, the legal community in Denver always looks forward to their regular emails. From their web page:

The firm is composed of lawyers from the two major strains of the legal profession, those who litigate and those who wouldn't be caught dead in a courtroom.

Litigation lawyers are the type who will lie, cheat and steal to win a case and who can't complete a sentence without the words "I object" or "I demand another extension on that filing deadline." Many people believe that litigation lawyers are the reason all lawyers are held in such low esteem by the public. Powers Phillips, P.C. is pleased to report that only four of its lawyers, Trish Bangert, Tom McMahon, Tamara Vincelette, and JoAnne Zboyan are litigation lawyers, and only one of them is a man.

Lawyers who won't be caught dead in a courtroom are often referred to in the vernacular as "loophole lawyers," underhanded wimps who use their command of legal gobbledygook to scam money from the unsuspecting, usually widows and orphans. Many people believe that such "loophole lawyers" are the reason all lawyers are held in such low esteem by the public. Powers Phillips, P.C. is pleased to report that only four of its lawyers, Myra Lansky, Kathy Powers, Mary Phillips, and Jay Powers, are such "loophole lawyers" and one of them, Jay Powers, hardly does anything at all anyway so he doesn't really count.

I met Tim Leary in 1990. He was a great inspiration to me and introduced me to many of the wonderful people that I know. One of the things we did together was talk about the web in its early days. He was very excited about the web and wanted him own web page. He had a great young team called Retina Logic who wanted to build the site so our company, Digital Garage funded part of the development. When the site won Cool Site of the Year in the personal web page category, it was great. Since Tim has passed away, the site has continued to grow. Thanks to the efforts of Chris the web master has continued to serve as a digital legacy to that I think Tim had in mind when you decided to get the site going.

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