Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

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Photo by Daderot [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

When I was first appointed as the director of the MIT Media Lab, The New York Times said it was an "unusual choice" - which it was since my highest academic degree was my high school diploma, and, in fact, had dropped out of undergraduate programs at both Tufts and the University of Chicago, as well as a doctoral program at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo.

When first approached about the position, I was given advice that I shouldn't apply considering my lack of a degree. Months later, I was contacted again by Nicholas Negroponte, who was on the search committee, and who invited me to visit MIT for interviews. Turns out they hadn't come up with a final candidate from the first list.

The interview with the faculty, student and staff went well - two of the most exciting days of my life - although quite painful as well, as a major earthquake in Japan occurred the night between the two days. In so many ways, those two days are etched into my mind.

The committee got back to me quickly. I was their first choice, and needed to come back and have meetings with the School of Architecture + Planning Dean Adele Santos, and possibly the provost (now MIT president) Rafael Reif, since I was such an unorthodox candidate. When I sat down to meet with Rafael in his fancy office, he gave me a bit of a "what are you doing here?" look and asked, "How can I help you?" I explained the unusual circumstance of my candidacy. He smiled and said, "Welcome to MIT!" in the warm and welcoming way he treats everyone.

As the director of the Media Lab, my job is to oversee the operations and research of the Lab. At MIT, the norm is for research labs and academic programs to be separated-like church and state-but the Media Lab is unique in that it has "its own" academic Program in Media Arts and Sciences within the School of Architecture + Planning, which is tightly linked to the research.

Since its inception, the Lab has always emphasized hands-on research: learning by doing, demoing and deploying our works rather than just publishing. The academic program is led by a faculty member, currently Pattie Maes, with whom I work very closely.

My predecessor, as well as Nicholas, the lab's founding director, both had faculty appointments. However, in my case, due to the combination of my not knowing any better and the Institute not being sure about whether I had the chops to advise students and be sufficiently academic, I was not given the faculty position when I joined.

In most cases, it didn't matter. I participated in all of the faculty meetings, and except for rare occasions, was made to feel completely empowered and supported. The only awkward moments were when I was mistakenly addressed as "Professor Ito," or after explaining my position to academics from other universities had to endure responses like, "Oh! I thought you were faculty but you're on the ADMINISTRATIVE side of the house!"

So I didn't feel like I NEEDED to be a professor. When I was offered the opportunity to submit a proposal to become a professor, I wasn't sure exactly how it would help. I asked a few of my mentors and they said that it would allow me to have a life at MIT after I was no longer Lab director. Frankly, I can't imagine ever leaving my role as director of the Lab, but that was a nice option. Also, becoming a professor makes me more formally part of the Institute itself. It is a vote of confidence since it requires approval by the academic council.

I am not interested in starting my own research group, but rather have always viewed the entire Media Lab itself my "research group," as well as my passion. However, as I help start new initiatives and support faculty, from time to time, I have become more involved in thinking and doing things that require a more academic frame of mind. Lastly, I have begun to have more opinions about the academic program at the Media Lab and more broadly at MIT. Becoming a faculty member would give me a much better position from which to express these opinions.

With these thoughts in mind-and with advice from my wise mentors-I requested, and today received, appointment as a member of the MIT faculty, as a Professor of the Practice in Media Arts and Sciences.

I still remember when I used to argue with my sister, a double PhD, researcher, and faculty member, calling her "academic" as a derogatory term. I remember many people warning me when I took the role as the director of the Media Lab that I wouldn't fit in or that I'd get sick of it. I've now been at MIT approximately five years - longer than I've been at any other job - (and my sister, Mimi, is now an entrepreneur.) I feel like I've finally found my true calling and am happier than I've ever been with my work, my community and the potential for growth and impact for myself and the community in which I serve.

So thank you MIT and all of my mentors, peers, students, staff, and friends who have supported me so far. I look forward to continuing this journey to see where it goes.

I've posted the research statement that I submitted to MIT for the promotion case.

The appointment is effective July 1, 2016.

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Our website circa 1996

Thanks to Boris Anthony and Daiji Hirata for helping to upgrade and clean up my blog.

We upgraded the platform to Movable Type Pro 6.2.4. (Yes, I still use Movable Type!) Daiji and Boris got Facebook Instant Articles working inspired by Dave Winer and with the help from folks over at Facebook. (Thanks!) Boris cleaned up the design of the blog and also made it responsive - much more mobile friendly.

What's amazing to me is how well the design has held up over the years.

We (the founding team of Eccosys) set up our web server in 1993. I have a feeling this thing dated July 1, 1993 is the first journal-like thing I posted on the Internet: "Howard Mentioned me in Wired!" In 2002, with Justin Hall's help, I converted my static website to a "blog." I had a journal on my static website, but this new "blogging" thing made updating much easier.

Boris took over my blog design in the summer of 2003 and we relaunched the site in July of 2003. In 2008, we did a major redesign including a shiny new logo from Susan Kare.

It is quite amazing to me that with all of the various changes in technology, that most of the content on my website has been able to migrate through all of these upgrades. I'm also happy that keeps archives of this site with its original designs and which preceded it, although the very first versions from 1993 are lost as far as I know. The web and its standards are very robust and I hope they stay that way.

Wow. An amazing blast from the past. Saw this on Facebook yesterday.

This is from when I was spending a lot of time with Timothy Leary. I was his adopted "God Son" and was working on a book with Tim called "The New Breed" which we never finished. The book was about the new generation of tech-empowered young people who were trying to "tune in, turn on, take over" instead of "tune in, turn on, drop out," a famous Timothy Leary quote.

This is footage from a bus ride when Tim was visiting Japan for a conference. Zack Leary remembers watching the the fall of the Soviet Union on TV during the trip so we guess it's probably 1991. This is also the first time I met Marvin Minsky and his wife Gloria. I remember translating a "debate" between Marvin and Tim where they were arguing about whether humans had a soul. Tim said yes and Marvin said no. "The Society of Mind" had just come out in Japanese. To Marvin's dismay, it turned out that in Japan, the word for "mind" and "soul" were the same and were closer to the definition of "soul." The Japanese publishers had translated the title of his book "Society of the Mind" to "Society of the Soul" and Timothy poked Marvin with glee. Tim and Marvin had a very playful and fun relationship with clashing world views - but their interaction was always fun and enlightening to listen to.

The video also shows an embarrassingly young and naive version of me still struggling to translate Tim's words into Japanese and little Zach Leary as well!

We were such troublemakers. I guess we still are.

PS Tim mentions VR (this was during VR boom #1), Hyperdelic Video and Anarchic Adjustment.

PPS David Pescovitz just posted the video over on Boing Boing as well.

When I became the director of the MIT Media Lab three years ago, my previous primary "occupation" was investing in and advising startup companies. I invested in mostly Internet-related software and service companies (e.g., Twitter, Flickr, Kickstarter). Joining the Media Lab and MIT was bit of a "pivot"-academia was a fundamentally different model for impacting the world, focused more on fundamental science and technology that wasn't as easily commercialized.

In order to focus on the Media Lab after joining, I decided I would stop investing in startup companies. (I invested in Media Lab alumni companies, Littlebits and Form Labs, before I officially started at the Lab.) As I immersed myself in learning about the Lab and MIT, I continued to learn and think about how different types of science and technology made their way into the world. In particular, I was intrigued by how biomedical research, which has a major impact on human health, seemed to have an extremely different profile, requiring a great deal of upfront investment. I knew very little about biomedical research but was very interested.

Even before I arrived at MIT, I had heard about Bob Langer. He is famous for his impact on commercializing biomedical research, and for helping to substantially advance the field of bioengineering. He has 1,050 patents and a group of dozens of researchers. Bob is one of the 11 Institute Professors at MIT who are recognized by the Institute for their outstanding contributions and who report directly to the provost and not a dean.

Last June, David L. Lucchino, a former student of Bob's who had run a startup coming out of Bob's lab, invited me to my first Red Sox game together with Bob Langer and a few of his friends. I got to sit next to Bob and he offered to teach me about his field and show me how to do things at MIT. Since then, Bob has become a true mentor and now has an affiliation at the Media Lab, working with the Center for Extreme Bionics, an Institute-wide initiative based at the Media Lab to work on a wide variety of technologies focused on eliminating human disabilities.

Recently Bob told me about a related project that he has been working on as a co-founder and senior partner at a company called PureTech. PureTech focuses on taking science and engineering, primarily in the healthcare area, and developing innovative products and companies. It provides a base for researchers and funds the early development of both the technologies and the companies.

A team of senior partners, researchers, and entrepreneurs is currently working on 11 projects at various stages of development. The company is run by Daphne Zohar, its founder and CEO. On the surface, it looks like an incubator, but it really is a new model in many ways. There is actual translational research going on within PureTech, where the PureTech team is actively both acting as founders and also operating labs and running experiments.

Bob told me that more and more of the PureTech companies had software and Internet elements, and that they were looking for more expertise in that area on the board. This sounded like the perfect opportunity for me-participating in conversations about healthcare, bioengineering and biomedical technology with the best in the field while being allowed to contribute an area of business where I had some experience.

Healthcare is universal: we are all patient-consumers on some level and the patient will increasingly be at the center of healthcare decision making. We will also be immersed in technology that can measure our physiology in real-time as shown by the emergence of wearables. As technology and clinical practice converge, digital technologies will also increasingly enter the world of mainstream medicine, creating an entirely new area increasingly being referred to as "electronic medicine," which has the potential for incredible growth. Vast amounts of data that Internet and tech companies use to make decisions can also be leveraged for healthcare, opening opportunities for real-time disease monitoring and new targeted patient engagement opportunities.

I recently joined the board and PureTech announced a new funding round today. I have been working on two companies in particular, Akili - a cognitive gaming company that aims to diagnose and treat cognitive problems, and another cross-disciplinary digital health project that is still in stealth mode.

I think that healthcare and bioengineering are exciting spaces that are growing quickly, and thanks to many amazing labs in this field in the Kendall Square/Cambridge area, we have a regional advantage. I hope that PureTech can help create an effective pathway to impact health in new and positive ways, and that I can help contribute to this while continuing to learn.

Photo: via Alkili

I remember my 24th birthday very clearly. It was 1990. I had just finished working as the associate to the executive producer on the film The Indian Runner. I was running a nightclub in the Roppongi district of Tokyo at the time together with my team fromThe Smart Bar in Chicago. Madonna had just released "Vogue," Chicago House music had evolved into Acid House and the rave scene was going strong. It was a fun and tumultuous time in the world and in my life.

I met Timothy Leary for the first time through a mutual friend, David Kubiak, the editor of The Kyoto Journal at the time. I remember being very excited about meeting Tim because the rave scene had caused a revival of many 1960s themes. I had been reading books about consciousness and the mind - trying to chart my own journey along a path where Timothy often appeared as a central figure. Most recently, I had read a book by Robert Anton Wilson called Cosmic Trigger in which the author first tells the reader that everything in the book is a lie, and then proceeds to weave a story about one of the most wonderfully elaborate conspiracy theories every described. In the book, Wilson explains that "23" is a magic number and also explains that Timothy Leary had received "transmissions" from aliens. I wasn't sure what to believe, if anything, but at the time, I was convinced that the world was full of secrets and I wanted in on them.

I remember standing with Tim at the main Roppongi crossing called "Almond's" at the time named after the venerable coffee shop on that corner where everyone met up on their way into town at night. As we stood there talking about the budding Cyberpunk scene and how it was unfolding in Japan, I remember explaining to Timothy that I had just turned 24 and that I had hoped something magical would happen when I was 23 since it was the "magic number." I also asked him about the "Starseed transmissions" described in Cosmic Trigger. I remember Timothy's laugh vividly, as he told me that the whole thing was a joke. He said that everything in that book as well as most of the stuff that those guys talked about was one big joke and that I shouldn't believe any of it. In one instant, Timothy, the guru of the particular shrine that I was worshiping, knocked me whirling off my path.

Later, Timothy told me another joke.

A bunch of hippies go to India looking for the meaning of life. They travel for years climbing mountains and looking everywhere for the guru who knew the answer. They finally find the guru who was said to know the meaning of life. They ask the guru, "What is the meaning of life?" The guru says, "Wet birds don't fly at night." The hippies say, "They don't?" The guru says, "Do they?"

This was one of the most important spiritual lessons that I ever learned. That evening, I took Timothy on a whirlwind tour of the Tokyo nightlife scene introducing him to the Japanese kids who he later called "The New Breed" - a new youth culture that was technically and culturally savvy and wanted to take over instead of drop out. Tim modified his "Tune in, Turn on, Drop Out" slogan to "Tune in, Turn on, Take Over." He recruited me as his God Son explaining to me that the role of a God Son was to teach the Godfather. We started writing a book together and did public events around this theme.

Timothy always told everyone to "Question authority and think for yourself." I remember after an event where he and I spoke, a bunch of kids came up to Tim and said, "so what should we do?!?!" and Tim shouted at them, "Think for yourself!!" What I realized as I spent time with Tim was that people wanted gurus and that the more you tried to explain that you weren't a guru, the more many people became convinced that you were in fact a guru and that they wanted in on the secret. People wanted "answers" and wanted to get to some kind of goal. The thing is, there is no answer and there is no goal. You don't "win."

Ever since being knocked off of my original "path to enlightenment" by Timothy Leary, I've dabbled in various spiritual and mindfulness investigations and pursuits with a curious but skeptical stance. In retrospect, I think that Timothy probably believed that there was a spiritual path, but that the particular version of the path that I was on and the naive way that I was thinking about it was best completely destroyed so that I could start again with a more questioning mind.

I've tried very hard to avoid the pull of gurus or being mistaken for some kind of guru myself. I've had many teachers and have tried a variety of meditation and mindfulness techniques, but I still consider myself a novice. I am very happy with my journey and with relative consistency, each year of my life brings more happiness and becomes more interesting and I thank Timothy for the trajectory correction at a key point in my life.

Last year, in an email exchange, Pierre Omidyar, an old friend from my short stint at Tufts University, mentioned that I should look up Tenzin Priyadarshi. Tenzin runs the Dalai Lama Center at MIT and when we met, we decided we should teach a class together. Remembering the adage that the best way to learn is to teach, I jumped on the opportunity to teach a class where I could learn more about mindfulness and work on my practice.

Tenzin and I decided to call the class "Principles of Awareness".

What is awareness? Is self-awareness a "default" state or is it cultivated? Can it improve performance and wellbeing? What role does technology play in promoting or hindering awareness? Is there an ethical framework for our capacity to be aware? Can self-awareness be linked to happiness? The course will be set in an experiential learning environment where students/ participants will explore various theories and methodologies around awareness. Students will be required to keep an open lab book documenting methods and evaluations. Students will present their findings and observations regularly during class sessions. The final project will consist of evaluating various tools, techniques, and interfaces around awareness targeted towards "performance" and "wellbeing."

Class meetings (virtual and real) will consist of practice, lectures, and discussions with invited speakers/experts. Some of the talks will be open to the public. And the practice will range from meditation to hacking.

The first class last Wednesday was fascinating. We had a wide range of students, some students had never meditated, some engaged in regular prayer (a form of meditation) and others were experienced in many forms of mindfulness practice. In the conversation about awareness, Tenzin and I talked a lot about meditation. One of the students asked me, "so what's the 'there' you keep referring to?" I realized that I used "there" to refer to the "place" that you get to when you meditate - the place where you connect to true nature and depending on your skill and style of meditation, "there" can be a place of bliss. "There" can also be "enlightenment". Tenzin quickly jumped in and explained that we should not focus on getting "there" because everyone will want to get "there" and that wasn't the point.

I totally agree. One of the best comments I've heard about Qi Gong, a form of Chinese energy movement and meditation is that you shouldn't be goal oriented. You can't "win" at Qi Gong. The purpose wasn't to get better, although you will, but that the purpose was just the practice. I find the exact same thing about meditation. The point is not to "win" against yourself or anyone else. I find that even writing this blog post smacks of boastfulness and "know-it-all-ness" which is so not the point of the exercise. One will get better at any form of practice the more you do it and feeling good about progress isn't a bad thing, but the whole point of mindfulness and meditation is being present in the "Now" and NOT being goal oriented, egotistical or focused on the future or the past.

I find it off-putting to hear people boast about their meditation practice and in the past, I've mostly only talked about meditation and mindfulness with small groups of people where we were sharing our own experiences. However, now that I'm "teaching" a class about awareness where I'm asking my students to share all of their experiences as well as keeping an open log of their experiences, I thought I should share as well.

I hope to be posting more updates in the coming weeks about some of my experimentation and observations.

I first heard about Synbiota at SXSWi this year, when they won an Accelerator Award. According to the announcement, "Synbiota is a virtual collaboration site that connects scientists, researchers, universities and others from around the world to solve complex problems using genetic engineering." That week they announced the world's first Massive Open Online Science (MOOS) event. Called #ScienceHack, hundreds of researchers from around the globe (some as clueless as us!) would use a new "wetware" kit to produce prohibitively expensive medicine at a fraction of the price.

A month later I got this email:

From: Connor Dickie
To: Joi Ito
Cc: Kim de Mora
Date: Apr 17, 2014, at 11:12
Subject: ML alumni wins SXSW prize for SynBio startup & Invitation to #ScienceHack

"I'm writing to invite you to participate in #ScienceHack, our distributed science effort to make real medicine for just a fraction of current costs using Synthetic Biology and the Synbiota platform. O'Reilly Radar recently called #ScienceHack the most ambitious distributed science project, and knowing your interest in biotech, I thought I'd reach out to you with a cool opportunity to learn with us.

Participation is easy - I'll ship you one of our "Violacein Factory" wetware kits, and connect you with Kim de Mora at iGEM HQ (CC'd) who is not only interested to build one of the kits, but also has the required wet lab skills. It will take about an hour and a half for the in-silico design and build of the actual DNA part. Kim would handle the incubation etc. You would then come back to his lab in about 5 days to look at the results.

We recently built a Violacein Factory kit here in Canada, and more recently at Genspace in NYC, and everyone learned a bunch and helped us make significant advances towards our goal of an optimized violacein-producing organism.

I'll be in Boston/Cambridge on the 27th-through-30th as part of a Canadian trade delegation, and will have some time to meet you and chat about the opportunity in person if it interests you.

With regards,

Connor Dickie

I knew about iGEM. It was the spinout from MIT that brought high school and college students together to hack DNA much in the same way that robot competitions bring together kids interested in robots to hack and learn and compete. What's amazing is that iGEM, now bringing together over two thousand students at their Jamboree, takes the state of the art of synthetic biology and brings it to the masses.

Violacein is a natural purple compound made by Chromobacterium violaceum, a bacteria that is found in the soil in the tropics such as the Amazon. Violacein is created by the bacteria as a natural defense against amoebic creatures that try to eat it and is viewed as a potential anti-parasitic. It also appears to show promise as a treatment for cancer. The problem is that it currently costs $356,000 per gram because of the difficulty of harvesting it in the wild.

An opportunity to learn synthetic biology through doing it (my favorite way to learn) was too good to turn down so I immediately accepted the challenge. I started by taking the required safety courses for playing with recombinant DNA : General Biosafety for Researchers, check. Bloodborne Pathogens: Researchers, check. Hepatitis Information form, check. General Chemical Hygiene (web) and Managing Hazardous Waste (web). Check and check.

Then I started hunting for a place to do the actual work. That turned out to be a bit more of a challenge. Although the kit and process provided by Synbiota were basically safe and non-toxic, work with recombinant DNA and bacteria required a proper wet lab at MIT which are in short supply and used for more important things than the Media Lab director messing around with street bio.

After discussing with the team and looking at what we needed, we decided that my kitchen would be the least disruptive place to do the work.

On July 27, the Synbiota team and Kim from iGEM gathered at my house with a rag tag team of researchers from the Media Lab and elsewhere to work on the Violacein Factory #Sciencehack. We started with a briefing on what we were actually doing.

Our mission was to be one of the hundreds of teams participating in trying to innovate on developing the most effective method of synthesizing Violacein using synthetic biology.

Scientists have determined the metabolic pathway in Chromobacterium violaceum that converts tryptophan, a common amino acid, into violacein. This pathway involves five enzymes and various genetic sequences for their production. These "parts" of genetic code can be positioned differently in the DNA molecule and each combination has different attributes and tradeoffs - the optimal sequence and combination being currently unknown.

Synbiota kit parts

The #ScienceHack Violacein Factory Kit co-designed with Genomikon which develops synthetic biology kits, had vials of all of the various genetic "parts" and the other materials needed to assemble these parts into a plasmid. According to Synbiota:

This Kit includes everything you need except:

• pipettes, nitrile gloves, petri dishes, PCR tubes, lab coats (for the full biotech experience, but any ol' trench coat will do!)
• ice buckets and ice
• 42 C water bath with epi tube floaty blanket
• 37 C incubator

All the above can be found around the house, from online suppliers, at your local university lab store, or in a friendly scientist's stash.

Kim from iGEM brought everything from the iGEM lab. He walked us through the kitchen version of the protocol for using all of the equipment safely.

Synbiota, in addition to putting together this amazing #ScienceHack project has developed a suite of online tools to publish and share lab books online (I guess I don't need that fancy paper notebook I bought!), design DNA using a very nice graphical interface and provide researchers with a whole suite of tools to do synthetic biology as a community. Everything was very well designed and worked well.

First, I created an account on the Synbiota website and logged into our notebook. Justin explained the violacein pathway and explained how we can use the online gene editor, GENtle3, (video) to design the gene sequence online.

In GENtle3, we were able to drag and drop any of the genetic parts that came in the kit into our sequence and as long as we followed the basic rules of which parts could be connected to each other. The sequence I designed was Anc-ABEDDDC-Cap, where A, B, C, D, E represent the enzymes that make up the violacein metabolic pathway. (Visit the sequence tab in the Sciencehack project to view this and other designed sequences.)

The sequence had to start with the Anchor--Origin-X' part because that was the part that was attached to the magnetic bead. One of the keys to being able to do all of this amazing work in a kitchen had to do with this innovation.

In the kit were tiny sub-micron magnetic beads with the anchor part - a strand of DNA attached to it. What this meant is that we could use a small but very strong external magnet held to the side of the container - the epi tube - to pull all of the genetic material we were working with to the side of the epi tube allowing us to insert and extract liquids from the container using pipettes while leaving our working material secured to the container.

What we needed to do after designing our sequence was to assemble it. We did this putting the beads in a epi tube, adding a "wash", removing the wash, adding a genetic part from a color coded tube that corresponded with the next link in our design, adding the T4 DNA ligase, the "genetic glue" to attach that new part to the strand on the bead, removing the excess material, washing again, and then repeating until we had added each part in order to the bead. Theoretically, we should now have a long strands of DNA attached to each bead representing our version of the DNA sequence (plasmid) that we designed.

The last step was to use a buffer to remove the bead from the strands and we had a little drop of genetic material that when inserted into a living bacteria should create all of the enzymes necessary to produce violacein from tryptophan.

The next step was what was called "transformation" which is the process that takes our plasmid and inserts it into a bacteria, in our caseE. coli. The "competent" E. coli designed for easier transfection were created at iGEM. The process we used for transformation was called "heat shock" which involved adding our genetic material to a salt solution with the E. coli and then rapidly heating it which caused the genetic material to be absorbed into the E. coli. The device used for heating, I noticed, had a sticker from the "MIT Property Equipment Office" on it. Definitely a bit punk rock. After the "shock" we added liquid material with nutrients and minerals that "rebooted" the E. coli, waking it up and preparing it to be incubated for execution of the DNA code we just inserted.

The E. coli were then spread onto petri dishes with Jello-like "food" as well as an antibiotic, chloramphenicol. The chloramphenicol would kill all other bacteria on the dish except our own because we had cleverly included a chloramphenicol resistance building genetic part in our sequence.

Heat shocker

We then sent the petri dishes back to iGEM for incubation. The results were not perfect, but none-the-less, it looks like violacein and other molecules from the pathway were created (some other got different colours). The images of my petri dish show a kind of blackish zig-zag smear which are billions of bacteria producing metabolites because the executed DNA I designed and created. At this point I don't know for sure whether violacein was created - I need to do more verification and experimentation, but for a first go at building a complex metabolic pathway, not too shabby. Something else that is cool, is that my intended DNA design was very long, 12,000 base pairs, the next #ScienceHack step is to verify that the entire code I designed was actually assembled properly. We shared our designs, protocols and procedures with the rest of the teams. The next step was to look at the work of the other teams and try to find out what we could improve and try again.

In two half days of work, we were able to do in our kitchen what would have been Nobel Prize winning work a decade ago. We designed a sequence of genes, actually assembled the genes and then injected them into a bacteria and rebooted the bacteria.

Also, unlike traditional labs where one team would do the work and publish a paper and then other teams would try to replicate the work, we worked as one large team of parallel labs sharing our work as we went along, iterating, innovating and discussing.

I think that there is a good chance that one of the hundreds of teams will discover an efficient way of synthesizing, extracting, and purifying violacein and that soon we will have something that will probably initially look something like a homebrew beer brewing contraption producing the extremely rare compound for researchers with instructions on how anyone can build one of these violacein factories.


Disclosure : After this experience, I was so excited that I donated to iGEM and decided to invest in Synbiota.

On May 24, together with Nate Silver, Caterina Fake and Kahlil Gibran Muhammad, I will receive an honorary doctorate from The New School. Thanks to Nancy Lublin and everyone at The New School for making this happen.

It turns out that I'm actually an alum of The New School. Back in the fall of 1985, I took and completed two online courses - "Artificial Intelligence & Life" and "Propaganda: Lit Science" which were part of a batch of the first fully online graduate school courses for credit. (MOOC schMOOC!) It used a pre-World Wide Web system called EIES. I remember these courses fondly, especially the Propaganda course. They were really engaging and involved a lot of peer learning.

With all of the excitement about massive open online courses (MOOCs), it's interesting to reflect that we've been doing versions of these since the 80s.

Last year, MIT asked me to walk with the faculty during commencement, but I didn't have a academic robe. MIT offered to let me wear an MIT robe, but I felt it would be "grammatically incorrect" for me to wear a robe posing as a college graduate so I opted not to attend the official commencement. This year, I'll be able to walk with the faculty proudly wearing my gown from The New School. ;-)

And no, I won't make you call me "Doctor Ito". Ha!

Ulrike Reinhard posted a nice "best of" video of our DIY Video panel. The panel was a lot of fun. The moderator was Howard Rheingold and the panelists were John Seely Brown, Yochai Benkler, Henry Jenkins and me.

Loic and Geraldine listening to talks at Le Web

The second day of Le Web 3 is starting today, but I unfortunately have to leave in a few hours to go to San Francisco to attend the Creative Commons board meeting and the 5th anniversary party later this week.

Le Web 3 was the best conference of its kind I attended this year. Great venue, great team and awesome speakers. Loic, Geraldine and team, super job. Thanks! Interestingly, my favorite talks were the two non-web people: Hans Rosling and Philippe Starck. Everyone else was great too. Ev gave an thought provoking talk about the importance of less features. (I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently too…) The “Kevin Rose - DIGG in conversation with Sarah Lacy - Author” was funny too. Anyway, I’m not positive, but I assume they will end up online. Worth taking a look. I talked about the World of Warcraft and Creative Commons. Yes. I managed to make a connection. ;-)

The only bad thing that happened to me was my file system melt-down that caused me to lose a bunch of stuff. The conference team was able to get me a copy of Leopard that I installed which allowed me to restore enough of my functionality to do my presentation.

However, as I was messing around around with it this morning, I managed to erase 5 gigs of original RAW images from trip. :-\ I was able to salvage some and have posted them on a set on Flickr.

Märt Saarepera Mart explaining architecture

I just returned from a trip to Tallinn where I completed the paperwork to invest in GuardTime, an electronic archive and log authentication system using cryptographic time stamps.

The idea was developed by the founder of the company, Märt Saarepera and his collegues in Estonia when Mart was in Japan. Mart started out as an academic and a researcher, but became an entrepreneur in residence at my company Neoteny back when we were still incubating businesses. At the time, our team thought that the business was too early and passed on the investment and Mart set off on his own with support of his friends and family and some minimal support from myself.

Years later, it looks like the market is finally ready for Mart and his product. His idea has also developed from a rather theoretical idea to something they can show and ship.

Mart has raised money from a group of investors including the Ambient Sound Investments (ASI) founded and run by some of the Skype founding technical members.

Because of securities laws in Estonia, I needed to visit Estonia personally to open an account at a bank there. The banking in Estonia is really advanced, having been built from scratch after the Internet existed already. They use hardware password generators for their online banking and offer more services through the Internet than any other bank I’ve ever seen. Also, because they don’t have a lot of legacy crap like banks in Japan, they are very profitable and lean.

Tallinn was a very cool city. It is the capital of Estonia with a population of about 400,000. In many ways it reminds me of Helsinki except smaller and with Skype as the anchor IT global brand instead of Nokia.

The old town where I stayed was a beautiful district with the old architecture preserved and the random Russian government buildings scattered around typical of this former USSR region. Embedded in this old-architecture are very nice restaurants, shops and hotels built in the cool super-minimalist style of Nordic Europe that I love so much. I stayed at a hotel called Three Sisters and it was the best small hotel I’ve stayed in recently.

Another cool thing about Tallinn was that there was free wifi everywhere. The hotel, railway station, offices and airport all had free wifi. The Internet was faster than in Frankfurt airport, the Frankfurt Sheraton, in fact faster than just about anywhere that I’ve been recently other than my office in Tokyo.

I don’t know if it is the Estonian culture or Mart’s community, but everyone I met at GuardTime and Skype seemed happy and smart. There was a buzz of a strong culture and good work being done. I miss think sort of feeling “pure” feeling these days.

I’ve uploaded my photos in a Flickr set.

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Shibuya Center gai Shibuya Center Gai

I spent High School in Japan. I lived in Shibuya and went to The American School in Japan in Chofu.

I grew up in Shibuya. Back then, in the early 80’s, Shibuya was a hot area of Tokyo. Brands like Van Jacket, Domon, Jun, etc. and the “Shibuya Casual” or “shibukazi” scene were getting a lot of attention. Shibuya was full of bars, clubs, restaurants, clothing shops and places to just hang out on the street.

As a teenager, I spent a lot of time “on the street” buying liquor from vending machines, chasing rats and going to game centers and clubs. Back then, it didn’t really matter if you were underaged and the discos were packed with Jr. High School aged kids. I went to my first nightclub in 9th grade. You could buy bottles of whiskey, Suntory White, in vending machines.

During summers I hung out in the fashion buildings, sometimes helping in the shops and always going out with the designers, shop staff and hair dressers after work. The Japanese bubble was just getting going and everything felt like an endless drunken party and a explosion of consumer brands and excess.

Later, after I first dropped out of college, I returned to Shibuya to run an after hours club at the end of Center Gai. That’s where I met Hyperdelic Video and a lot of my “crew”, many of whom I still work with. I also met Keith who was running Tower Records at the time. I used to have him let me put my club flyers there. I was probably just a scrappy little kid to him then.

When we first moved to Shibuya, we lived in a fancy house paid for by my mother’s employer, ECD. Later, we had to move to a dumpy little two room apartment made from a converted love hotel. That’s when I hung out the most with Keigo (Cornelius) who was living with his mother in the same apartment building.

Walking around Shibuya at 7AM this morning brought back memories of all-nighters and the craziness of my teenage years in Tokyo. I shot some photos and uploaded the set to Flickr.

Joi with Timothy Leary terminus
Me with Timothy Leary's terminus made of his mortal remains

As Timothy once said, "everyone out there gets the Timothy Leary they deserve". WAV File

Today, I did an interview with agent etoy.Monorom and agent etoy.Silvan for their Mission Eternity project. My job was to channel Timothy Leary who is one of the test pilots of the project. The project involves a terminus made from the mortal remains of Timothy which are connected to a sarcophagus installation. It keeps track of and maintains a network of volunteer angels who keep his archival identity parts alive on the Net. In many ways it is still a work in progress and I was contributing in my own way.

I had told etoy that several of us had had experiences in the past where Tim asked us to channel him. When he was busy or needed to do other things, I would be asked to play his role by answering questions and explaining thoughts. I was working on a book with him at the time and would talk about the ideas from our book, The New Breed. Most silly questions looking for an answer were responded to with a, "think for yourself!" In the past, I did these interviews in chatrooms with Tim often in the next room so it wasn't that hard to imagine what Tim would say. Now 10 years after his death, I had to think a deeply about what Tim would think about the current state of affairs and try to play this role.

It was a lot of fun.

While I was preparing for this, I reflected on Wikipedia where someone edited a comment on my Wikipedia article from "Ito is Timothy Leary's God Son." to "Ito has claimed that he was one of Timothy Leary's so-called 'God Sons'". Someone nice edited it back eventually. Also, somewhere along the line, my name was also scrubbed from Timothy's article as well. I realize that to some people my relationship with Tim is not notable or interesting and possible annoying. I don't really feel like being greedy about it at all. It just feels a bit sad that something I said on my blog has been reduced to a claim that looks like some kind of heavy name dropping...

As I thought about this more, I remembered the quote from Tim. I also remembered that Tim touched people deeply and made them feel special. I think EVERYONE he touched directly or through his work came up with their own Tim. I don't feel I have any right to take away from that. However, I think that it would be great if we can understand Tim as the aggregate of all of our Tim's and somehow come together to help him come back to life through our memories. I really think that this is what etoy is trying to do with Mission Eternity and that makes me happy.

What's amazing to me now is that as more and more information becomes available online and we are able to talk to each other about our memories... Tim can come back to life instead of fading and through us, maybe he becomes much larger than what he could be if he were all in one piece right now. I look forward to working together to bring back his spirit instead of bickering over the pieces and the details of the past.

Update: Chris found a video of Timothy calling me his godson. Thanks Chris!

Tom Coates Tom Coates

Fiona and danah Fiona and danah

I’m at one of my favorite meetings of the year - the Microsoft Research Social Computing Symposium.

It’s being streamed here: - open in VLC as MMS

We also have an IRC back-channel on

Also hanging out on #joiito as usual…

Uploading photos in a Flickr set.

Gerfried Stocker
Gerfried Stocker

Other than being 7 degrees celcius and raining most of the time, Ars Electronica this year was a lot of fun. It was packed full of work for me this week with five talks and ten media interviews, but with Sandra, Elizabeth and Fumi's help, everything went smoothly and I survived. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to see all of the installations or talk to as many artists as I would have liked, but I had more than enough interesting conversations to make it great.

I went to Ars Electronica this year together with the MOGA unit which is a collaboration between Professor Inakage's lab, Joi's lab (mostly Fumi) and Hiroyuki Nakano's Peacedelic team. MOGA set up the "Jump" installation in Linz. Yuichiro Katsumoto, also from Professor Inakage's lab presented Amagatana. It was fun seeing the students I had been working with in the Ars Electronica context.

I think that most of the talks will end up online somewhere, but I'm not sure where. ;-) I did see one video interview on

The theme of this year's Ars Electronica was privacy.

The first session I participated in was with the Austrian Association and Judges and members from the Ars Electronica community. I talked broadly about the generation gap and the how the behavior and use of the technology was very different among the new users of the Internet and how difficult it was, yet how important it was, for the older generation to try to understand the way the new generation used the new medium. I was really impressed in the conversations with some of the judges and how forward looking they were. I also talked about the importance of Global Voices in the future of global democracy. I suppose that federal judges can think more long term about democracy and things like the cost of privacy than their politician brothers. Having smart judges is a great thing as the recent ruling by the 10th Circuit Court in the US shows.

Summer Watson
Summer Watson

The second session I participated in was a discussion about future trends with some of corporate executives. It was a good group with a number of interesting presentation. The presentation that was the most interesting to me was Summer Watson, a British soprano opera singer, who announced that she is going to ski the last degree (from 89 to 90) of the North Pole and sing an Aria at the North pole as a call to action on environmental issues.

I had coffee with her afterwards and we talked a lot about Creative Commons and online identities and was inspired to start the Summer Watson Wikipedia article.

I also did a session about WoW which I think you can imagine without me going into too much detail.

Volker Grassmuck
Volker Grassmuck

I did a session with Leonard Dobusch to talk about importance of Free Networks and Free Knowledge. Again, I'm sure readers of this blog can imagine what my position was. Leonard, who is also the son of the Mayor of Linz, had some interesting perspectives on the role of municipal governments in supporting public access. He had co-edited a book recently where they discussed many of these issues. He cited an article by Volker Grassmuck where Volker argued that having a public space for hosting content on the web was important.

Finally, I was on a panel as part of a awards ceremony and a kick-off meeting for Fair Music. The idea behind Fair Music was sort of a music parallel for the Fair Trade mark. Whereas the Fair Trade mark tries to identify products where the production meets basic Fair Trade parameters and requirements, Fair Music marks were awarded to companies and projects where the artists and consumers were treated fairly. Fair in this context means a number of things including the artist receiving a fair share of the remuneration or the project promoting diversity against the bias of "Northern" dominance in the music business.

I mostly talked about the need for new business models and the role of Creative Commons in this context.

I uploaded my photos a Flickr set.

Although I still haven't decided which camera to take with me, I'll be leaving for Linz in a few hours to attend the Ars Electronica Festival. According to my bio page on the site, this is the 10th year that I've participated. Most years I've gone twice - once for the jury and once for the festival. I think that makes Linz the city I've visited the most in Europe.

I love Ars Electronica and all of the people involved and I'm excited to going back after missing last year. I'll be giving a few talks and will be on a number of panels. A few of them are linked from the speaker page. Otherwise I will probably be wandering the installations and the talks with my camera.

See you there!

Just got home from Aspen and Taipei. Thanks to everyone for all the fun.

Shona Brown
Shona Brown in Aspen

Benjamin Mako Hill
Benajamin Mako Hill at Wikimania 2007 in Taipei

I've uploaded my photos as Flickr sets - Aspen Institute 2007 and Wikimania 2007.

Mizuka and Kaoru
Mizuka and Kaoru 2007

When I was born in Kyoto my father was still at Kyoto University studying under the late Kenichi Fukui. My grandparents on both sides had been against their marriage - my father a merchant class boy from Kansai shunned as lower-class by my mother's noble family from Northern Japan. My father's family wanted him to marry someone who was healthier and more likely to be a hard-working member of their family. Because of this, my parents were rather poor, lacking any support from their families. We lived in a dumpy home and they struggled to make ends meet.

Kenichi Fukui's wife, Tomoe, had a brother who knew people in the Geisha district, Gion. Through this connection my mother was able to get a job teaching English to geisha and maiko in Gion. They called her "Momoko-sensei". She taught at a geisha teahouse called Minoya.

Later, we moved to the US. Kaoru, the teenage daughter of the mistress and owner of Minoya wanted to visit the US. My parents agreed to let Kaoru come and stay with us for six months or so in exchange for baby-sitting. Kaoru was 18 and I was 3.

Joi and Kaoru Grand Canyon
Me and Kaoru at Yellow Stone National Park

We were so poor that my father once scolded Kaoru for eating too much food. ;-) Kaoru returned to Kyoto and eventually took over the family business of the geisha teahouse which she continues to run today.

I kept in touch with Kaoru over the years and I have made a habit of popping down to Kyoto whenever I can to see her and my other friends there. Kaoru is my guide and interface to Kyoto. She reminds me that when I visit a famous philosopher's house, that I should NOT, even when asked twice, actually accept the invitation for tea. She tells me how to deal with restaurant owners, geisha, maiko and monks... without her, I would never be able to navigate the exceedingly complex social system of Kyoto.

She still treats me like a 3 year old boy sometimes and embarrasses me to no end by continuing to call me by my baby name, "Jon-bon"... which as a result is my name among all of the geisha of Gion. The benefit, however, is that many of the geisha and maiko are like family. Even though I only lived in Kyoto as a baby, Kaoru and my geisha and maiko friends in Kyoto really help me continue to feel like Kyoto is my home. They provide me with an essential culture backbone to my Japanese nationality.

Inside Gaudi apartments

I'm at Frankfurt airport getting stuck in elevators during fire alarms and stuff...

I just posted photos from Barcelona on Flickr.

Front yard on hazy morning

Jet lag woke me up again at 3AM so I watched the Adobe Lightroom stuff on Lynda. I learned how to control more things in post-processing so I went out into the foggy and hazy sunrise to take some photos in the yard to play with in Lightroom. I still have a lot to learn, but I think I have a better handle on how to deal with overcast lighting... Which is good since it's rainy season in Japan right now and overcast a lot.

I also learned how to fix chromatic aberration which I used today on one of the images.

I thought about whether I should go back to a more journal-like form for my blog or start writing more stuff on Flickr. I seem to be spending more time responding to comments on Flickr these days than on this blog. I suppose my online presence needs an overhaul.

As I prepared to answer a rather long list of questions for a Macedonian newspaper, I realized that I would be motivated to write more thoroughly and spend more time on the answers if I knew I would be publishing them on my blog. I chatted with the journalist and he agreed. Thanks Vlado.

So here are my answers to some questions about the Internet, CC and Mozilla. Not that new for those of you who know this area, but if you're going to ask me some basic questions, you can start here. ;-)

Maybe I should be plopping this stuff onto a wiki...

Here are the questions:

1. What is Creative Commons license?

From the website:

How does a Creative Commons license operate?

Creative Commons license are based on copyright. So it applies to all works that are protected by copyright law. The kinds of works that are protected by copyright law are books, websites, blogs, photographs, films, videos, songs and other audio & visual recordings, for example. Software programs are also protected by copyright but, as explained below, we do not recommend that you apply a Creative Commons license to software code or documentation.

Creative Commons licenses give you the ability to dictate how others may exercise your copyright rights—such as the right of others to copy your work, make derivative works or adaptations of your work, to distribute your work and/or make money from your work. They do not give you the ability to restrict anything that is otherwise permitted by exceptions or limitations to copyright—including, importantly, fair use or fair dealing—nor do they give you the ability to control anything that is not protected by copyright law, such as facts and ideas.

Creative Commons licenses attach to the work and authorize everyone who comes in contact with the work to use it consistent with the license. This means that if Bob has a copy of your Creative Commons-licensed work, Bob can give a copy to Carol and Carol will be authorized to use the work consistent with the Creative Commons license. You then have a license agreement separately with both Bob and Carol.

Creative Commons licenses are expressed in three different formats: the Commons Deed (human-readable code), the Legal Code (lawyer-readable code); and the metadata (machine readable code). You don’t need to sign anything to get a Creative Commons license—just select your license at our ‘Publish’ page.

One final thing you should understand about Creative Commons licenses is that they are all non-exclusive. This means that you can permit the general public to use your work under a Creative Commons license and then enter into a separate and different non-exclusive license with someone else, for example, in exchange for money.

2. Can you explain the concept of CC?

From the website:

Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved."

We're a nonprofit organization. Everything we do — including the software we create — is free.

Creative Commons helps you publish your work online while letting others know exactly what they can and can't do with your work. When you choose a license, we provide you with tools and tutorials that let you add license information to your own site, or to one of several free hosting services that have incorporated Creative Commons.

3. I have a blog. Why should I use CC license?

If you do not use a Creative Commons license, it is not clear to people reading your blog what rights they have to reuse your work. Other than "fair use" or other narrow uses permitted under the laws of various countries, people will have to ask specific permission to reuse photos, text and screenshots of your blog. With a Creative Commons license, people can know if they can use things from your blog without asking permission. The CC license also stipulates that they must give you attribution so that when they use things from your blog, they are required to put your name on it.

For most bloggers who are looking for an audience and to join the conversation, allowing people to use your work and share your knowledge increases the likely hood that you would be quoted on other blogs. If you choose the most liberal license, CC-BY that allows commercial reuse, you are more likely to show up in a newspaper, magazine or TV show. As a blogger, you should weight the "cost" to you of someone using your work in a commercial way, with the attention you would receive by being shown on TV, etc.

Many main stream media publications already quote and use material blogs without permission, but CC allows them (and non-commercial users like bloggers) to know your intent which is important for the ethical and legally conscious sites and shows.

4. You said that now days there is a change of the consumer profile and consumer needs. Can you explain this? (The example of Pepsi and ITunes)

The Internet has enabled a dramatic change in the way we interact with content. We no longer have to be passive consumers, but can be participants in the global dialog of media. The problem is that new technologies and the capability to do things doesn't mean people will. Most new forms of media initially mimicked the old. For instance, photography was for a long time, just like paintings in form. TV shows looked like radio with pictures. Similarly, most people who are in charge of deciding how the Internet is used from a legal or corporate perspective still use the Internet and consume media as if they were in the broadcasting era.

The key to understanding business and the law in the future is to look at the behavior of the young people not as crime, but rather as a new behavior that the world will have to adapt to.

5. Can you explain the concept of Professionals vs Amateurs?

When the cost of the distribution of content was very high, the business of the manufacture and distribution of content was very similar to the industrial manufacturing process. Because of the high cost, most content was created by professionals and the tools for creation and distribution were not available for amateurs. The notion that professionals were high quality and amateur meant low quality sort of made sense in this era.

However, amateurs do things for the love of it. Amateurs do things for no pay not necessarily because they are lower quality. The problem was that in the past, to even make films or TV or music, it was a requirement to be a professional.

Now with low cost creation and distribution technology, the amateur is again part of the creativity world and this notion that professionals are better is less valid. People don't work on Linux because they aren't good enough to work at Microsoft and people don't write blogs just because they aren't good enough to be professional.

What Creative Commons is doing is trying to provide a license and choices for more types of creators than just the industrial professional - for people to whom the sharing is part or all of the reason that they make things. The current application of copyright is skewed mostly for the broadcast manufacture, distribute, consume, model of the world.

6. You said that, now days, more and more people choose happiness over pleasure. How this reflects on Internet?

I think that money can buy pleasure, but money can't necessarily buy happiness. I think that more and more people are choosing to do things in order to become happy instead of doing things just for the money. I'm not sure that there are more people making this choice, but I think that the Internet enables a new kind of sharing and collaboration that allows people who pursue happiness to produce things together. Yochai Benkler would call this Commons Based Peer Production. While I don't think that happiness is the only incentive to collaborate and produce on the Internet, I think that choosing happiness over pleasure / amateur over professional is a core driving element of open source and open content that is becoming exceedingly important on the Internet.

7. Is Internet a initiator of this process?

I'm not sure what this means...

8. How do Hollywood and other major industries accept CC?

There is a mixed response. I think that because the core values of CC involve Free Culture, I think that often this is misinterpreted to mean anti-copyright. In fact CC is not anti-copyright. It is just asking to allow artists to make choices based on what they would like to do.

I think that the enlightened people in the industry know, like and use CC. Some have even begun to understand the commercial benefit of using CC for marketing lesser know artists or for promotion already well know artists. I think that as new business models that involve sharing evolve, people will find that sharing actually makes business sense.

I think that we are struggling to make this case because for most people any change is frightening and disruptive. I am confident, however, that we will wind the hearts and minds of most people in Hollywood.

A good example is the Internet. Initially the Internet (or TCP/IP) was at odds with what most of the worlds companies and standards bodies wanted to do. it was considered rogue and illegal in some countries. Pushing the Internet was a political statement. Now everyone uses it. Some people would like to make it more closed and some of us fight to keep it open, but for the most part, people see its value and realize now that open is better than closed. I think that CC might follow a similar path.

9. What is for you a REMIX, an what an ORIGINAL?

Very little of what is created is truly original. Almost every kind of derivative work involves creativity. I personally believe that culture and ideas and our role is really as participants in a vast evolution of information passing from the past to the future. In that sense, I don't think that it is very wise to differentiate remix and original works too much.

For instance, this article that involves and interview with me... is this original or a remix? What parts of it are original? In fact is it a collaboration between us. I think that you can collaborate in your mind with things you have heard or have inspired you in the past, you can collaborate with books or images that you find, you collaborate with people are you talking to... but in the end, most things we do involve other people and in that sense it is remix.

10. How does technology reflects on low?

Sorry, I'm not sure what this means.

11. What is the concept of Science Commons license?

Science Commons is not a license, it is a new project.

From the website:

Science Commons works on these problems: inaccessible journal articles, tools locked up behind complex contracts, socially irresponsible patent licensing, and data obscured by technology or end-user licensing agreements. We translate this into projects, with work in three distinctly different project spaces: publishing (covered by copyright), licensing (covered by patent and contract) and data (in the US, covered only by contract). We work on agreements between funders and grant recipients, between universities and researchers and between funders and universities—all in the service of opening up scientific knowledge, tools and data for reuse. We also promote the use of CC licensing in scientific publishing, on the belief that scientific papers need to be available to everyone in the world, not simply available to those with enough resources to afford subscription fees.

12. Is CC a left wing oriented movement?


I think that a lot of the ideas about sharing and Free Culture on more left than right, but I think that as CC becomes more ubiquitous, it is becoming more and more neutral. Again, I would suggest looking at the Internet. The open and free nature of the Internet resonates deeply with the people who are in the left wing, but is incredibly important and central for the military and the right wing.

There is definitely a left wing component of the CC movement, but to be successful, CC will need the buy-in and support of everyone.

13. How is CC different from Copyright?

CC builds upon copyright and doesn't replace it. CC licenses are licenses that use copyright law in various countries to describe how people want to share, very similar to how open source software licenses use copyright to make software shareable.

14. Tell us more about your work in Mozzila foundation?

The Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organization that is working for the public benefit. There are no shareholders and the board is not paid.

One useful reference for this might be the Mozilla Foundation manifesto:

In it, we pledge:

The Mozilla Foundation pledges to support the Mozilla Manifesto in its activities. Specifically, we will:

* build and enable open-source technologies and communities that support the Manifesto's principles;
* build and deliver great consumer products that support the Manifesto's principles;
* use the Mozilla assets (intellectual property such as copyrights and trademarks, infrastructure, funds, and reputation) to keep the Internet an open platform;
* promote models for creating economic value for the public benefit; and
* promote the Mozilla Manifesto principles in public discourse and within the Internet industry.

Some Foundation activities–currently the creation, delivery and promotion of consumer products–are conducted primarily through the Mozilla Foundation's wholly owned subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation.

15. In Macedonia the most famous Mozzila product is Firefox. Why is Firefox, and bunch of other products, free of charge for costumers?

Firefox is Open Source. Since Mozilla is a public benefit and we are trying to offer value for the public, we have decided that providing it for free helps the users and the Internet the most.

16. What is the future of Internet?

;-) Well hopefully Macedonia plays an important part of the future. The future is what we make it and we all need to work together to keep the Internet open and promote tools that provide voice to and empower the people.

I blogged a decision to become vegan on December 13, 2006 which is approximately six months ago. I'm happy to say that it was the right decision and that I've never been healthier or happier as long as I can remember and I intend to continue being a vegan.

Other than some allergies, I've gotten rid every one of half-a-dozen or so chronic conditions including obesity, fatty liver, high uric acid (gout), heartburn/ulcers/stomach acid, nervous tension, sleeping problems and rising cholesterol. I also have more energy than I've ever had.

I've lost approximately 18 kg (40 lb) or so and have been stable at this weight for about the last two months. Most of the weight fell off during the first few months and my weight loss has slowed to a basic equilibrium. Other than the slightly scrawny look I have now, I think most people think I look healthier.

The experience is not a scientific experiment. I started exercising almost every day, quit smoking and quit excessive drinking. Each of these things seems to help the other, but I don't think it's just the diet.

When I started this diet, I thought that it would be a sacrifice and that I would be trading good health for less fun. I am happy to say that I enjoy eating as much or more than when I was eating meats and fish. Since going vegan, I've really started getting into my garden and my composting. I spend hours and hours in the garden when I'm home. I dream about my garden and my compost and have really internalized the cycle of waste/compost/plants/food.

Now when I encounter a fresh tomato in a lonely airplane, I get a burst of joy as I imagine where this tomato has been, the soil that it came from and where the soil got the nutrients to allow the tomato to grow. When I eat local vegetables in my travels, I imagine what sort of local farms or hills the veggie came from and enjoy the image of the chain of events before I received it. In addition to the wonderful bursts of taste that I now appreciate much more, I also get the happy feeling of participating in this wonderful natural cycle. Mindfully eating a breakfast plate of grilled veggies and fresh fruits is really a joy.

Clearly, your milage may vary and I don't intend to proselytize or judgmental of those who aren't vegan. However, if you've thought about being a vegan for any reason, I suggest you try it. It isn't as hard as it sounds.

We're still working on getting more contributors for the Vegan Wikia if you're interested.

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I'm reading The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. In it, they suggest that we should focus on pursuing happiness as our goal in life and the we should be careful to make a distinction between happiness and pleasure. Doing crack, drinking alcohol and even enjoying nice weather are mostly pleasures and not real happiness.

One of the core elements of happiness, according to the Dalai Lama, is compassion. Cutler describes how many psychologists will argue that man is inherently greedy and that the first thing that babies try to do is look for a nipple to suck milk - an inherently greedy desire. However, Cutler argues that babies also have a basic instinct to connect with people and illicit a smile or compassion. Babies will stare at you and smile and this makes you feel good and care about the baby. This basic social behavior is an important instinct for babies in addition to the sucking for milk. The argument is that compassion is also a basic human behavior and not something that you have to learn after you are older.

The Dalai Lama describes ways of increasing compassion. One exercise he suggests is to meditate or think deeply about someone or something (like an animal) and think of that person or animal suffering. You could imagine a lamb in fear before it is about to be slaughtered or a friend in some deep pain. As you imagine this, a feeling of compassion emerges. The Dalai Lama explains that one should be able to feel compassionate towards everyone and everything.

In general, I'm a fairly compassionate person, but I do have people and things that annoy me. Recently I've started to practice meditating on those things that annoy me and building compassion and understanding. I still find it difficult at times, but as I do it more and more, I'm finding that I'm becoming happier and happier.

We then realize that we need to develop patience to build compassion. Our patience grows by being challenged by annoying or hurtful people and events. It is these people and events that ultimately are our teachers. We should learn to cherish and be thankful for these annoying things, because without them we would not grow and become even happier. (So thank you all of you annoying people! ha!)

Compassion vs greed is something that we've been talking a lot about in the context of amateur vs professional. I think that compassion and the happiness one gains from giving and sharing is one of the fundamental driving forces of the sharing economy just as greed and the "economic man" are fundamental elements of capitalism and neo-classical economics. I think that in order to really understand how the sharing economy works, we need to understand how happiness works and what makes people choose compassion over greed.

We often make decisions which involved trying to decide which decision will make us happier. We often mistake pleasure for happiness and make the choice that may be more pleasurable instead of the choice that would provide more long-term happiness. The Dalai Lama says that just framing questions to yourself in terms of what will give you more happiness and making a distinction between happiness and pleasure will help us make the right decisions.

It often takes self-control or will to choose happiness over pleasure. As I become more conscious of my happiness, I realize that awareness of this distinction and awareness of your happiness helps to reinforce and provide feedback for your decisions. This feedback makes it easier and easier to make the "right" choice.

Update: Added "patience" in paragraph about teachers.

Just when I thought I had come home, I'm off on a longish trip again.

I'll be going to Switzerland, Germany, Croatia, Macedonia, US and Puerto Rico. Haven't been to Europe in a few month so looking forward to it, but not looking forward to being away from home for so long again.

I just offset 300,000 miles of flying with 60 tons of wind energy carbon credits at NativeEnergy. Should last me for a bit.

See you on the other side.

I'm at All Things Digital again. This year features, among other things, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs on stage together in a joint interview. This should be interesting. It seems unclear whether the video will be released so I'll try to be there to blog it.

Anyone else here?

I just arrived in San Francisco from Tokyo. My room's not ready at the hotel and there were various complications, but I'm really happy and calm. I feel almost like I do when I'm meditating. I don't know if it's the drawing, all of the reading/talking about Kriya Yoga and Buddhism or just the great weather, but I can't really imagine anything that would stress me out right now.

/me knocks on wood

On the other hand, I better not jinx myself. I'm SURE there are things that could happen right now that would stress me out. Ha!

Also, apologies to my SF friends, but I'm in town for less than one day this trip and won't have much chill-out time. I have to go back to Tokyo tomorrow morning.

Breaking the 10% rule...
Chart from Nike
Partly because I've always wanted to try a mini-Triathlon and partly because I'm beginning to get minor wear and tear on my body from exercising every day, I've started cycling, swimming and running. It's easier to follow the 10% rule that way too. (Don't increase your exercise routine more than 10% a week.)

My current exercise media of choice for the 3 are:

Running - Podrunner with Nike+ and iPod Nano (just donated to Podrunner)
Swimming - Ambient music on my SwiMP3 (taking a rest while my shoulder repairs)
Cycling (Stationary) - Lost, 24 and other TV episodes and videos on iPod Video.


I'm so sick of time zones and daylight savings and my blog posts being all funky because of it. I've tried it before, but haven't been able to do it well. I'm going to try it again. I'm setting the clock on my computer to UTC and would like people to tell use UTC with me when appropriate. For instance, when scheduling telephone calls.

It actually makes it much easier if you convert to UTC for me. There are too many moving parts otherwise. In the southern hemisphere, the daylight savings goes the opposite direction of daylight savings in the north. In addition, different countries switch on different days. Then there are countries like Japan that don't observe daylight savings. So when people try to tell me to do something in some country, it sometimes requires two lookups - any adjustments in my country and any adjustments in the original country. Using UTC reduces the chance of error by forcing people to only track the +/- UTC in their own time zone. At least that's the theory.

Time and and The World Time Server are good sites for checking what time it is anywhere and Aion is a good OS X menubar thingie to show you all of the times in various time zones. Haven't tested for the preciseness of the daylight savings switches, but seemed OK the last time around.

UPDATE: Does anyone know of a good authoritative list of time zones and daylight savings switchover dates?

Generation Gap
Generation Gap
Today, I experimented with taking pictures of strangers. I'm always impressed by Jim and iMorpheus' photos of strangers and I figured that the best way to get better at it was just to start doing it.

I had been practicing portraits on people I knew and thought that portraits of strangers should be fun. It was definitely harder than I had expected. I had asked a number of people their "secret". Some people asked before shooting, some people people fooled people into thinking that they were shooting something else, others were stealthy. I felt a bit "dirty" taking pictures of people sneakily. On the other hand, I didn't have the guts to go up to people and ask if I could take their picture. Some of the photos turned out OK, but it was a lot of work.

I am still not sure what my ethical position on photographing strangers is. Personally, I don't mind if people take my picture without asking. On the other hand I'm a weirdo. I've read a number of articles an essays about this topic and I still don't have a very good sense of whether it is cool or not to do it. I definitely think it's OK if you ask. My question is whether it is cool to shoot photos of people and post them to Flickr or our blog if they didn't give you permission. As far as I know, in most countries it's legal to do this.

Playing Wataridori
Mizuka and I went to see my second cousin Keigo and his band (he's aka Cornelius) perform in Shibuya today. These Tokyo shows are sort of a family gathering and we got to see little Milo who had gotten a lot bigger and my aunt who appeared to be doing well.

The show was great as always. He played Wataridori which is one of my favorite songs and the song that he released under a Creative Commons license for the Wired CD.

He had some really cool videos using lots of low light photography and photo animation.

There was a bit where he had lots of old cheesy Elvis Hawaiian movie footage with Elvis' head/face covered by an animation of a sea anemone. It was really funny. Then he started playing "My Way" on his theremin.

There was also a lot of audience interaction and he took a group photo with the audience. He also took live video footage of the audience and did some video "scratching" a few times with it.

I had seats on the second floor and I was using a 90 mm lens hand-held so my shots of the stage are a bit crappy. I've posted my photos in a Flickr set.

I'll blog more of the upcoming events that I'll be attending at SXSW, but here's an important one.

We challenge you, our community, to raise $6000 for Creative Commons by subscribing to GOOD Magazine and having a drink with us at the famed South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, TX. All it takes is for 200 people over the next 2 weeks to subscribe to GOOD. No, my math skills are not wrong. If you subscribe in the next 2 weeks your $20 bucks will be generously matched by Six Apart for up to $2000. So you won't just raise $4000 for CC but $6000.

Since July 2006, Creative Commons has been one of the 12 non-profits benefitting from the Choose GOOD campaign. GOOD magazine was started by some innovative people who have taken a non-traditional approach to promoting their magazine - and have experienced unbelievable success. The folks at GOOD have been traveling around the nation hosting parties and more importantly raising money and awareness for the non-profits that they support.

Over the past 7 months they have sold 11,899 subscriptions generating over $200,000 which in turn is gifted to 12 non-profits that are doing new, innovative, and great things. CC is one of them and since July GOOD has raised over $11,000 for us!

We need your help to make GOOD Magazine's SXSW party honoring Creative Commons the most successful party they've hosted to date. Cover charge is the $20 subscription fee and we strongly suggest emailing your rsvp to

If you want to help support CC and attend one of GOOD's infamous parties but do not reside in the Austin, TX area don't worry - your subscription fee gets you into any of the upcoming GOOD parties. And yes all parties are open bar.

By subscribing to this awesome new magazine you gain entrance to the biggest GOOD/SXSW party to date and you're helping us raise $6000 for CC. That money will support what we continue to do best - enable a participatory culture.

SXSW GOOD Party details:
with Special Guest Joi Ito, CC Chairman
VJ Phi Phenomenon
DJ Filip Turbotito
Ima Robot
ex Junio Senior

Monday March 12th
Uncle Flirty's
325 E. Sixth St. (on corner of Trinity and Sixth)
Austin, TX

This Event is for GOOD subscribers only

I'll be in SF tomorrow and will at the CC Salon. Come by if you have time. Here's the Eventful listing. Here's the info from the CC Weblog:

Creative Commons Salon SF Next Wednesday: Joi, John, Heather and Jim

Please join us for the first CC Salon of 2007 at on Wednesday, February 21, from 7-9 PM in San Francisco. It will be major! And, yes, please note, we are not doing this event monthly now, but every other month to maximize the impact in SF!

The line-up for the evening:

* John Wilbanks, Executive Director, Science Commons
* Joi Ito, Web Entrepreneur, Chairman of Creative Commons Board
* Heather Ford, Executive Director, iCommons
* Jim Sowers, Calabash Music and National Geographic, Musical Guest, Discussing state of Digital Music and DJ’ing


The event is free and open to the public. Quick presentations begin at 7 PM and go until 9 PM, but if you’d like to have an informal meeting or get a good seat, get there a bit early (We open the doors at 6 PM). So don’t worry if you’re late; there will be stuff happening all night at Shine, 1337 Mission Street between 9th and 10th Streets. Shine has free wi-fi and a super cool Flickr photo booth. Note: Since Shine is a bar, CC Salon is only open to people who are 21 and older.

Also, plug this event into your digital life on our posting.


CC Salon is a free, casual monthly get-together focused on conversation, presentations, and performances from people or groups who are developing projects that relate to open content and/or software. Please invite your friends, colleagues, and anyone you know who might be interested in drinks and discussion. There are now CC Salons happening in San Francisco, Toronto, Berlin, Beijing, Warsaw, Seoul, Brisbane, and Johannesburg. Read about the first Jo’burg salon on

PS I'm still trying to figure out what to talk about. Any suggestions?

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.

I really wasn't sure what to expect in India with respect to my strict vegan diet. This was my third time, but my first time to visit as a vegan.

I am very sensitive to infections through the water and I ALWAYS get a bad belly, even when others don't. I've gotten a tummy ache every single time I've visited SE Asia including my two trips to India and my trips to Thailand and Bali. Because of this, I'm overly sensitive to drinking non-bottled water or things washed in non-bottled water.

This made it rather difficult for me because that ruled out salads and un-peeled fruits and veggies.

The net-net is, I ended up eating some not 100% whole wheat and rice products and consumed a bit of butter and cream as well. Also, some of the dishes were a bit oily. Having said that, I was able to find a number of dishes that seemed right on target and the fruit was great. I think my deviation was probably not that nutritionally significant.

What was the most shocking for me was how amazing everything tasted. I think this is in part because our vegan recipe repertoire is still rather limited and I tend to wolf things down with no seasoning at all when I'm busy. Every dish I ate was like an explosion of flavor in my mouth that sent me off on some sort of gastronomical journey. I don't think I ever appreciated Indian spices this much.

The menus almost always had more veggie dishes than carnivorous dishes and often 1/2 of group at any meal was vegetarian. They told me that some flights only serve vegetarian meals and some apartments don't lend to people who eat meat. Wow.

I am seriously considering whether there is some way for me to spend enough time among the microbes to build up an immunity to "enriched water" and eat in Indian with abandon.

Venkatesh was also explaining his meditation to me, which sounded great. I'm going to try to find some place to study.

Maybe I better go buy a tie-dye t-shirt and some Birkenstocks too. ;-P

John Brockman's EDGE asks a tough question every year. For 2007 the question was "What are you optimistic about?" My answer was:

Emergent Democracy and Global Voices

I am optimistic that open networks will continue to grow and become available to more and more people. I am optimistic that computers will continue to become cheaper and more available. I am optimistic that the hardware and software will become more open, transparent and free. I am optimistic that the ability to for people to create, share and remix their works will provide a voice to the vast majority of people.

I believe that the Internet, open source and a global culture of discourse and sharing will become the pillar of democracy for the 21st Century. Whereas those in power as well as terrorists who are not have used broadcast technology and the mass media of the 20th century against the free world, I am optimistic that Internet will enable the collective voice of the people and that voice will be a voice of reason and good will.

There are other answers from other people on the website.

Happy New Year.

I'm at Narita Airport waiting for my flight to Berlin via Frankfurt to attend the 23rd Chaos Communications Congress aka 23C3 as well as the iCommons board meeting. This is the third year that I've attended. It's one of my favorite conference with thousands of hackers converging on the Congress Center in Berlin. This year Digital Garage will be a sponsor of the conference and I will have a small team of folks including the MXTV BlogTV team covering the evening and doing some interviews. As always, the content will be released under a Creative Commons Attribution License and will be uploaded to You Tube and other places.

I'll be in Berlin until the 31st and travel back to Japan on New Years Eve just like last year. My big question is whether New Years Eve is including in the "end of the year" through which the in-flight Wifi is supposed to work.

This is the first flight I've taken since I started my ETL program and it's rather weird. Thinking about the logistics of getting tons of vegetables in Berlin feels almost upside down from the last time I went too. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but it's a bit disorienting.

I am going to be flying on Lufthanza to go to 23C3. If I'm lucky I'll have Flynet (Boeing Connexions) wifi on both legs. It's suppose to terminate on the day I return from Berlin. However... I don't have enough Watts. The Lufthanza seats (as with most airlines) only do 70 Watts. My MacBook Pro takes 85 Watts and My Dell XPS M1710 130 Watts. Arggh! This is so frustrating... If you haven't experienced trying to draw more wattage out of an airline plug, it's a pain. It looks like it's working for a minute, but it will just shut down and the LED turns red when you try to draw too much power.

It may be because of all of the complaining from people like Larry, but Apple released an airline power cable for the MacBook Pro which allows you to plug it into DC Power connectors which most US airlines use. It doesn't recharge the battery and appears to solve the problem. However, this solution doesn't help you on the airlines that just have an AC power outlet. (Most of the rest of the world.)

I wonder if it's possible for the airlines to increase the maximum power on the seats. I sure hope so.

Yesterday Creative Commons celebrated its fourth birthday with parties around the world as well as in Second Life. Larry was in Portugal and I was in Japan so we hooked up with the party in Second Life. Board members Hal and Jimmy also joined us there together with a great mix of SL visitors and regulars.

In Second Life, Larry took the opportunity to pass me a digital torch as part of a ritual where he handed on the Chairman position to me after four amazing years as the founder-Chairman of Creative Commons.

When I joined the board in 2003, the licenses had been launched and the movement already had a great buzz of activity and good will around it. A the time, some products like Movable Type had already integrated Creative Commons licenses, but for the most part, CC was a movement of like-minded people with a vision. Since then Creative Commons, thanks to everyone who has supported us over the last four years, has become a standard feature in major search engines, web services, software tools and content libraries. In four short years, Creative Commons has grown from an idea to a basic part of the technical and business infrastructure of the Internet and the sharing economy.

One thing that needs to be clear is that I'm succeeding Larry, not replacing him. That's impossible. I'm jumping into the movement to try to help where I can and contribute to the leadership that Larry started. Larry remains fully committed as CEO. I'll try to give Larry more time to focus on his unique contributions to Creative Commons while I bring my own.

Creative Commons was and always will be a cultural and social movement which empowers people to share and promote free culture. In every way, it is "the right thing to do." However, Creative Commons has a new group of supporters. Many people now use Creative Commons because it makes business sense. The corporate world needs to hear this in a language they understand. I speak their language.

While I hope that Creative Commons T-Shirts will still get you free drinks in San Francisco, I think that Creative Commons will become a regular topic of conversation in board rooms, government policy meetings and living rooms of "normal people". As we lay claim to ubiquity, we need to step up as an organization and as a movement. I hope you will all join me in pressing on with renewed confidence and energy to make CC such a success that, as Larry hopes, people will look back and think that what we are saying now should have been obvious.

Please read Larry's post for his perspectives on this.

Finally I need to thank everyone for your support over these four years. It is through the broad grassroots support that CC has been able to port to over 70 countries, convince major companies to adopt the licenses and change their practices and become a key enabler of sharing and free culture. It takes real work and real money to build a movement like this. And the movement continues. Please continue to support CC and if you aren't already a supporter, it's a good opportunity to start. We've got $100,000 left to raise to meet our $300,000 goal for this fund raider. Your participation is essential to our success and contributing to our funding is an important part of this support. Thanks. CLICK HERE TO GIVE

UPDATE: Press Release

I just sent a bunch of joke gifts to people from Now it thinks I'm a weirdo/nerd who buys Devo hats and obscure programming books. Too bad I don't have any more crazy friends that I need to harass.

So a word of advice to those who plan on sending joke presents for the Holidays. Don't use your main Amazon account. ;-P

My Plazes profile page (if you click the My World tab) now shows average speed. It shows that my average speed is 1880 km/day. That's 78.33 km/hr or 48.68 miles/hr. Isn't there some Muslim wisdom that your soul can't travel faster than a camel? (I think Barlow told me this.) I wonder how fast camels can run. I'd hate to be moving faster than my soul.

UPDATE: After my last flight, my average speed went up to 2153 km/day. w00t! I think...

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

Business 2.0
The 50 people who matter now

Rank: 22
Reid Hoffman
Angel investor and CEO, LinkedIn

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

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

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

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

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

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

I realize this may sound a bit high drama, but I'm sure I'm not the only one whose brain shuts down to almost all outside input during a broken computer incident. Now I'm running on a fresh install with very little baggage and it actually feels quite nice. This also means no World of Warcraft and possibly more blogging. ;-)

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

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

Photo 1995 at Timothy Leary's home
Timothy Leary passed away 10 years ago today. I was with him the evening before he died and I still remember his humor even in his final hour.

I met Timothy Leary in Tokyo in the summer of 1990. Tim was excited about virtual reality and had told his friend David Kubiak in Kyoto to help him track down "young Japanese kids who know about virtual reality". I wasn't a VR expert, but I was into computer graphics, games and the rave/club scene. I had also just opened a nightclub in Tokyo. David, who lived in Kyoto, directed Tim to me and several others in Tokyo and we hooked up with him at a bar.

I hijacked the situation. After dinner I grabbed Tim and took him on a whirlwind tour of the Tokyo club scene. His visit happened to coincide with the time in my life when I was more tuned in to the Tokyo club scene than any other time in my life being the operator of one of the weirder nightclubs in Tokyo. I tried to explain how the Japanese youth were interpreting the rave and cyberpunk cultures. Tim got excited and we continued our dialog. He called these new funky Japanese kids "The New Breed". He changed the "tune in, turn on, drop out" to "tune in, turn on, take over." We talked a lot about neoteny, the retention of child-like attributes in adulthood, which he felt was exhibited in the culture of the Japanese youth at the time.

When I met Tim, I had been exposed to a lot of his work through his early writings and through the writings of people like Robert Anton Wilson. When I asked him whether he had actually talked to aliens as Robert Anton Wilson says in Cosmic Trigger, Tim explained that it was all a joke. A big joke. All that stuff about magic numbers and talking to aliens was a joke. Tim had an interesting relationship with the New Age culture that he helped create in the 60's but his interests had moved on to cyberspace and the next generation of youth. Tim was practical and analytical while also being an amazing performer and communicator. Above all, he was almost always very funny. He called himself a "performing philosopher."

When my mother moved to Los Angeles and I decided to base myself partially out of LA, Tim picked us up at the airport in LA and immediately threw a party for us at his home in Beverly Hills. That weekend, he insisted that we (mom, sister and myself) drive with him to San Francisco so he could introduce us to his friends there. He called Queen Mu, the publisher of Mondo 2000 and asked them to organize a party at the Mondo house. At that party, my sister met Scott Fisher, who she eventually married. We also met Mark Pauline of Survival Research Labs and probably 80% of the people I know in San Francisco. I have a feeling I might have met John Perry Barlow there as well. Tim also took me to the offices of The Well and introduced me to Stewart Brand. In one week, Tim had introduced us to his amazing network and had "plugged us in". I would not be where I am today if it were not for Tim's generosity in making his entire network available to us.

In LA, I spent a lot of time with Tim working on a book and producing a TV show in Japan called "The New Breed" based on our conversations. He enlisted me as a "God Son" which he has been known to do from time to time to people he considered family. I continued to meet people through Tim. Tim's house was always open to anyone and was a crossroads where Hollywood stars, hippies, technologists, academics, artists and just about any other kind of person you could imagine would come and hang out and enjoy his hospitality and share thoughts. I miss Tim very much and I miss the network of people he helped bring and keep together. I am still in touch with many of the people from those days but it's obviously not the same without him. However, I believe his influence and legacy lives on and every day I say my favorite words of his: "Question Authority and Think for Yourself." That is the motto that I live by.

I just got this from Zack Leary, Tim's son.

Zack Leary

Ten years ago on this very day Timmy worked up every last bit of strength he had and plopped his cancer ridden vessel into his electric wheelchair. He did his morning ritual of barking at someone to make his coffee and to get his newspaper while he wheeled around the house to then soak up the sun outside on the Sunbrook Drive porch. This day felt different, however. The morning ritual never did go smoothly, but this day it seemed like it was just to much god damn trouble to begin with. He knew that too. After a sip or two of coffee he basically said “fuck it” and got what was left of his ass back in bed. There were not many words left – his fantastic world class verbosity was no longer. His tall proud gorgeous physique was long gone. His mental dance and history lesson of teaching us how to die was complete – it was time to cash in his few remaining chips.

It’s funny when you know that a specific day is going to be THE day someone dies. We all knew that May 31st, 1996 was going to be the day that Timmy was going to die. As he sat in his bed, the kind hospice people calmed his body down to a tranquil enough state for the rest of the crew to go ahead make the necessary arrangements. From about 10 a.m. until midnight many friends made one last trip to the foot of the bed to say their last goodbyes. The gracious republican landlords from next door, some of the wait staff from Mortons, old friends from Hollywood, team members, some family were all there to make good on his dying wish. What a day it was!

I think the only people who were truly freaking out were the rest of us, he was fine. His grace into death was legendary. As the day went on, he treated us to a spontaneous death rap called “Why? Why not” as about a dozen of us sat there laughing and crying. And then sometime very very late he said his last word “beautiful” and then drifted away.

As the coroners came to pick up the stiff we sat in the living room at Sunbrook freaked out and passed out. They wheeled his body out on the gurny and as he was approaching the doorway we have him one last rousing round of applause. A life well lived.


“And then one day you’ll find ten years have got behind you...No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.”

-Roger Waters

“Everyone will get the Timothy Leary they deserve.”

-Timothy Leary

I received this from Michael Gosney.
Michael Gosney
Timothy Leary died exactly 10 years ago today, on May 31, 1996.

Here's a nice selection of his writings, online:
And the WIKIpedia on Tim:

He was really just one of us, living a meaningful, full life...thriving in exemplary ways... making his unique contributions to our evolution...standing up when no one else would, telling stories along the way: fantastic tales, modern parables, simple foibles, profound insights, hilarious episodes...

Dr. Tim died on May 31, 1996. And on that day I would venture that the backplane of our planetary mind, the spirit world if you will...was vastly enriched with the new edge of human experience that Timothy's life so powerfully embodied. He was a modern hero with whom millions resonated, and whose mind and spirit opened many evolutionary pathways.

Tim was a friend and great inspiration to many. We remember and honor him as the human journey continues!


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 The book came out last week and climbed to #6 on the 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 Ryu.

The book is in Japanese and currently we have no plans to translate it.

I'm at D4 today and tomorrow. Anyone else here?

I'm a Japanese citizen/resident. I use the Visa Waiver program to get into the US which is a green form that gives you a 90 day visa for entry into the US. The US DHS officer will staple the departure card half of the visa form into your passport that they collect when you leave the country.

When I was leaving LA for Toronto a few days ago, the agent looked at the visa and said, "OK. You have a visa and it is valid through your return." She didn't take the card and sent me to a 1 hour wait security screening line... anyway.

I just past through pre-sreening in Toronto on my way to the US. With Canada to US flights, they do customs and immigration when you leave Canada. A US officer frowned when he looked at my passport.

"You need to return this visa waiver when you leave the US."

"The gate agent didn't take it when I left."

"It is YOUR responsibility to return your visa card. The airlines do it out of courtesy to you, but it is YOUR responsibility."

"But... where..."

"It is YOUR responsibility. Although it visa SAYS you have 90 days, you must return the card and get a new one each time."


"It is YOUR responsibility, not the gate agent."

(stern look from officer)

"Yes sir.. no sir.. yes sir... OK..."

I've had gate agents not take my card when I exited in the past. I don't know what the penalty is, but for anyone traveling on Air Canada to Canada from the US. If they don't take your thingie from your passport, I recommend you insist that they do.

UPDATE: Although... according to the FAQ it says that you can travel and come back when you are on the Visa Waiver Program to Canada or Mexico. So if you have to give your stub back, I wonder what you give back when you're leaving the second time. I doesn't say. Hmm...

Q: Can a VWP applicant for Admission Be Readmitted To the United States Follwing a Short Trip To an Adjacent Island, Canada, or Mexico?

* Generally, VWP applicants admitted under the VWP may be readmitted to the United States after a departure to Canada or Mexico or adjacent islands for the balance of their original admission period. This is provided they are otherwise admissible and meet all the conditions of the VWP, with the exception of arrival on a signatory carrier, in which case the inspecting officers have the discretion to grant the applicants entirely new periods of admission.
* The VWP applicant is admissible and may be readmitted to the United States under the VWP after a departure to Canada or Mexico or adjacent islands provided the person:

1. Can identify an authorized period of admission that has not expired,
2. Plans to depart the United States prior to the expiration date of their period of admission,
3. Presents valid, unexpired passports which reflect admission to the United States under the VWP, and
4. Continues to meet all criteria set forth in 8 CFR 217 and section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (Act), with the exception of arrival on a signatory carrier.

I had lunch today with Jonathan Aronson, the Executive Director of The Annenberg Center for Communication of the University of Southern California (USC).

The Annenberg Center for Communication of the University of Southern California (USC) supports leading-edge interdisciplinary research on the meaning of the new networked information age. Projects focus on drivers that will shape the future and on the impact of new communication and information technologies on politics, society, and innovation.
I've spoken at the center twice in the last year or so and have really enjoyed the interactions. My sister Mimi is a Research Scientist at the Annenberg Center. Among other things, she is interested in Anime, Otaku and... gaming.

So... when Jonathan asked me to become a fellow and I happily agreed. As a fellow, I am just required to drop in when I'm in town and talk to them about stuff I'm excited about and to participate in their conversations on things they are excited about. Sounds like a win-win to me. In addition to the nepotistic happiness of working with my sister I am officially able to make the World of Warcraft an academic research field for myself. ;-)

Of course, gaming is not the only thing they are working on here. Emergent Democracy, Creative Commons, consumer generated media/blogging and some of the experiments in video seem like things I may be able to work on with people at the Annenberg Center.

Thanks for the invite Jonathan and look forward to working with you all.

We are in the final planning stages of the iCommons Summit which will be June 23-25 in Rio de Janerio, Brazil this year. We have international Creative Commons/iCommons and other friendly projects converging at this meeting. I hope you can join as well, either as a participant or a sponsor. Gilberto Gil, Minister Culture, Brazil, our fearless leader Larry Lessig, our iCommons director and star from South Africa, Heather Ford, board member and free culture leader from Brazil, Ronaldo Lemos, Wikipedia founder, iCommons and Creative Commons board member, Jimmy Wales, Creative Commons board member and free culture guru James Boyle, James Love, the man behind the A2K movement and WIPO lobbying for cheaper AIDS drugs and many other interesting people will be there. I will be there as well.

Visit the site, take a look around and hope to see you there.

Also, don't forget to check out the iCommons Summit Bag Awards.

iCommons Summit Bag Awards
Inspired by the SXSW Big Bag Competition, iCommons and Creative Commons announces a competition to design this year’s iCommons Summit bag. With the theme of this year’s event: ‘Towards a Global Digital Information Commons’ and workshops on open creativity, knowledge, science and innovation, we’re looking for designs that are creative, visually arresting and informative. The winner will receive a scholarship to attend the June iCommons Summit, so get your friends and communities involved and they could be attending this amazing event in Rio de Janeiro. Read the contest rules and submission details here.

I'll be giving a talk today at the SDForum in Mountain View. This section is called: Virtual Worlds---The Rules of Engagement.

My talk is 4:00pm - 4:45pm Keynote - The Future of the Metaverse

Not sure exactly what I'm going to talk about, but I'll probably be bopping around IRC, Second Life and World of Warcraft so maybe see you in one of the places or at the conference.

The last time I was in Shanghai was in 1981 as part of a Nishimachi International School field trip. So... things have changed in 25 years. ;-)

The architecture and the restaurants reminded me of stuff in Japan during the bubble. Everything was experimental, well designed and executed. Although it reminded me of some of the "bubble era" architecture of Japan, much of it had more class.

I visited Augmentum, Leonard Liu's software company. (I wrote about Leonard before.) The company is only just over 2 years old, but it's booming and was in the Red Herring Asia's Top 100 this year. He has hundreds of people working at Augmentum, most of them fresh out of college. Leonard has been recruiting the best and brightest from Chinese universities and it shows. Since most of their customers are currently in the US, everyone speaks English in the office. It was great seeing how motivated, proud and focused everyone was. Considering the difficulty we have finding great people in the US for the various companies I work with, seeing all of these bright people ready to go made me quite envious. Leonard is an amazing and natural leader and his guru-like presence together with these eager minds made me feel like I was watching the beginning of something really big. Anyway, you can tell I was impressed. ;-)

I also met up with a bunch of old friends as well as CEOs of some very cool startups, the food was excellent and overall I now see how people kept telling me to go to Shanghai. I'm sure I'll be back there soon. Thanks to everyone for all of the hospitality!

One of the guys I met at Augmentum took me to the airport on the Maglev. I takes 7 min to go 30 km and hits a top speed of 431 km. Japan has a Maglev, but it's still running as a trial. This one in Shanghai is the first production one I think. Many people say that the reason the Chinese chose not to buy the technology from Japan was because of the political tension between Japan and China. I could imagine that being true. Having said that, I don't really care. It worked and it was great. I took some video. (m4v / avi).

Justin and Merci shot some video for my upcoming TV show and did a on-the-road quick cut of the first night and uploaded it to [Note: Try the YouTube or Vimeo link. The 200MB one will take ages, but if you want to mess with the video, feel free to download.] We'll put up a torrent soon, but you can see some of the people I met last night wandering around Austin.

Thanks for the help Justin and Merci!

UPDATE: Sorry it's a bit large. I thought made smaller versions of it. We'll try to upload a smaller version tomorrow for people who don't feel like downloading 200MB. ;-P

UPDATE 2: I just uploaded an 8.5M version. Please do not deep link this since it is not a permanent location, but I just wanted to save people from having download 200MB+ just to hear us ramble. Also, the credits say "Creative Commons Share Alike", but the CC license used is CC Attribution 2.5 license. (I just realized that I uploaded a slightly older version with crappier sound and the mistake at the end with the license. We'll update this once Justin wakes up. ;-) )

UPDATE 3: The Director's notes:

One evening's interviews with people in Austin, Texas for South by Southwest: Interactive. Here Joichi Ito interviews Eric Steuer of Creative Commons; Wagner James Au, of Second Life; Mike Hudack of; Trei Brundrett with Forward Together (Mark Warner); Doc Searls; Halley Suitt of The camerawork and editing by Merci Hammon and Justin Hall. This is the first experiment taping Joichi Ito's travels and conversations in technology culture.

UPDATE 4: On YouTube and Vimeo.

UPDATE 5: Thanks to Justin and Merci we have hours and hours of excellent footage. They're dumping onto disk now. All of the footage is originally shot in HD format. The uploaded video is a rough cut of just one of the eight tapes or so that they did overnight just to try the "field editing" thingie. Hopefully we'll have a steady flow of stuff as we get more of the footage edited. Stay tuned...

Ever since I met Gillian Caldwell the executive director of WITNESS in 2003 I've been fascinated with their work. WITNESS is is an organization that "partners with human rights defenders, training them to use video to document abuse and create change".

Witness Mission Statement

WITNESS advances human rights advocacy through the use of video and communications technology. In partnership with more than 150 non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders in 50 countries, WITNESS strengthens grassroots movements for change by providing video technology and assisting its partners to use video as evidence before courts and the United Nations, as a tool for public education, and as a deterrent to further abuse. WITNESS also gives local groups a global voice by distributing their video to the media and on the Internet, and by helping to educate and activate an international audience around their causes.
I'd been talking to Gillian about using the Internet and blogs more for their work and last year we set up a TypePad blog for her when she went to Sierra Leone with Angelina Jolie to deliver recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) to the government. The blog was a big success. Since then, I had been trying to provide advice and support and recently they allowed me to join their board. I'm very excited to be working with them and any thoughts on how we can make WITNESS better would be greatly appreciated!

I'm about to leave for San Francisco for a Mozilla board meeting before heading over to South by Southwest. I've set up a wiki page to coordinate stuff I'm going to do at SXSW. Let me know if you're going to be there or if there are any events I should know about. See ya!

I'll be in SF briefly for a Creative Commons board thingie this weekend. I'm arriving on the 16th and if I'm not too tired, I'll try to make it to the Supernova Party. Maybe see here there.


Thursday, February 16
5:30-9:30pm (come whenever you can)
Cha-Am Thai, 701 Folsom St. (at 3rd), San Francisco

Cost is $20 per person, which includes a full Thai dinner and non-alcoholic drinks. RSVP and pre-payment details at the wiki URL above.

UPDATE: A dinner meeting ran late and I'm too sleepy to go tonight... I'm sorry.

I spent part of the day today in court. I was defending myself against the landlord of a friend of mine who has been unable to pay rent. I am the guarantor on the lease and the landlord has decided to come after me for the money. This is probably the fifth time that I've had debt collectors of various sorts come after me because of guarantees that I've made. I'm sure people wonder why the hell I keep guaranteeing things. The odd thing is that it is so common in Japan. It is as good as required for any significant transaction such as renting an apartment or borrowing money from a bank. Even government affiliated loans require personal guarantees by people other than the principles.

My first experience with these guarantees was back when I was just starting to work in Japan over 15 years ago. I signed a document that listed a transaction breakdown between two affiliated companies. I thought I was a witness. Later, when one of the companies closed down, the other company (owned by the same parent company) came after me as the guarantor of the transaction. I quickly learned what "to guarantee" means and ended up having to pay.

Since then, briefly as the headmaster of a small school, as the CEO of various companies and the friend of people starting companies, I've been asked to and have signed as guarantors for various contracts. The really horrible thing about this Meiji era practice is that it is so common. People seem to think nothing of asking for it and without it it is almost impossible to function. I've spoken with various people in government and business about the damage that this system causes and most people agree. However, I don't see any changes.

When Digital Garage was still not public, the bank required the two founders including myself to guarantee all loans. At one point I had millions of dollars of guarantees outstanding. The crazy thing was that the bank made me sign a "and all lines of credit in the future" form. Even after I left Digital Garage to be chairman of Infoseek Japan, I was still a guarantor for Digital Garage and was only released at the IPO.

One of my portfolio companies failed several years ago. As the lead investor, I went around to the other investors and explained the situation. Two of the other investors asked me to PERSONALLY cover their loss. Both of these companies were public Japanese companies. I didn't pay of course, but they seemed to think that it would have been nifty if I had. I've never heard of such a thing happening in the US.

As I blogged before, this is a major source of suicides since bankruptcies cause a cascading serious of bankruptcies to friends and family. The shame often drives entrepreneurs to suicide. It is no wonder that entrepreneurship isn't very popular in Japan.

Anyway, I was reflecting on this and remembered that this was on my list of "one of the things we need to change here" as I sat before the judge trying to defend a case that I know I have no chance of winning.

I blogged earlier that I had joined the board of my junior high school, Nishimachi International School in Tokyo. Yesterday was our first board meeting. I hadn't been to the principal's office there for over 20 years. We had the board meeting in the library. The last time I sat there, I was probably 3 feet tall. I know from my wrestling weight class that I weighed around 101 pounds at the time. I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland after she drank that potion that made her into a giant.

It was a weird experience talking about my former homeroom teacher who had just retired and looking at the budgets of all of the activities that I was involved in when I was there in 1981. The school seems to be in great shape with a cool headmaster and a good board. Of course I can't influence admissions or hiring, but I'd recommend the school to any elementary or middle school teachers or students who are in, or want to be in a great school in Japan. The school is unique because it focuses on diversity and a multi-lingual environment and I was impressed at the energy that goes into maintaining the perfect balance.

Also, if you're an NIS alumnus and you're out of touch, let me know. We're going to be working on more and more alumni activities.

MAKE and #joiito Macworld meetup at Moscone Center SF!

Come to the MAKE and #joiito IRC channel MacWorld Meetup, Thursday, January 12, 2006 (12:30 PM - 2:30 PM). Moscone Center, San Francisco, Ca. The plan is to meet at the O'Reilly Media Booth #1017 where we'll will be hacking iPods and showing how to get DVDs and videos on your iPod - then we will all migrate from there." Link. If you need a free pass to get in, here's a PDF.

I won't be there, but I expect a full report. Have fun. I'll try to be online if I can.

Dan Gillmor has launched his Center for Citizen Media. According to his post on Bayophere, "Starting in 2006, I'll be putting together a nonprofit Center for Citizen Media. The goals are to study, encourage and help enable the emergent grassroots media sphere, with a major focus on citizen journalism." I have joined his board of advisors. Good luck Dan! I think this direction is perfect for Dan.

As many of you know, I've been spending most of my free time in World of Warcraft. We started the guild on September 3 and the guild is now 67 accounts and 109 players big. I've hit level 60 which is currently the maximum level for the game. My sister pointed out to me that most people really aren't that interested in the details of what goes on inside these games, but I thought I'd give you a short update.

It turns out that although it's quite a struggle to get to level 60, it's really just the beginning when you get to this maximum level. After that, there are several tiers of better equipment that you need to get in order to be tough enough to do the more difficult quests. Each item you need requires doing quests with groups of trusted friends. One of the difficulties at this level is that the groups of trusted friends you need to complete quest increases from five, to ten to twenty to forty. To do a forty person raid, you either need a very large guild or alliances with other guilds. I find myself spending a great deal of time networking with other guilds and players to try to put together the dream team while trying to grow our own guild. One of the tensions in growing a guild is that on the one hand, you want a small, friendly and social guild. On the other hand, you want a guild with enough diversity and number of high level players to go on quests together. We are slowing running into the growing pains of any growing community. However, like the #joiito community, which seems to have hit a stable size and culture, I'm confident that our guild will be fine considering the quality of core people we have.

I'm going to stop talking about Warcraft too much on my main blog. If you are interested, I suggest visiting Jonkichi's blog where he will be talking about his adventures. (Jonkichi is my character in WoW.) For other interesting blogs, I would suggest Kazpah's blog and Bastiana's blog.

I'm off today to attend the 39th annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii. I will be giving a keynote at the conference. Not sure how my connectivity will be but hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures or something.

I did a postcast with Tim Pritlove at the 22C3 meeting. He had an incredible podcast setup which I think I'm going to try to copy exactly. He's been doing radio for years and it shows. He's uploaded the podcast. Most people who read this blog won't find much new stuff in the interview, but it's on Tim's site. It starts with a German intro, but the interview is in English. I should say that it was a slip when I said that "my teachers in High School were mediocre" when I was talking about one of my incentives for using the Internet. I should have said, "some of my teachers were mediocre". ;-)

If you speak German, I suggest checking out the Chaosradio Podcast series.

I just returned from Berlin on LH710. LH710 is one of the long-haul Asian flights that is supposed to have the new Boeing wifi connection. I took an early flight to Frankfurt so I would have time to use broadband in the lounge. I arrived in the lounge with several hours before my flight and I found a lounge full of very frustrated businesspeople unable to log into the wifi network. The landing page wasn't even showing up. The customers were irate, but the staff in the lounge just sort of shrugged. (I'm not blaming them...) I was able to find the Vodaphone hotline. It was "conveniently" a German toll-free number which didn't work from my mobile phone. I borrowed the phone at the reception and called. After about 10 minutes of waiting and 15 minutes of convincing the first tier support guy that it wasn't a problem with my computer, (He kept saying that English language Macintoshes had problems sometimes) I was connected to the next tier guy. He was much friendlier and he explained that Frankfurt sucked for them because they had to go through the airport network once and it often caused problems. He said he'd try to figure out the problem and call me back. Two hours later, there was no call and I was beginning to get withdrawal symptoms. However, I knew I would have broadband on the plane so I was able to bear it. I read a newspaper.

The plane was practically empty since it was new years eve. I anxiously waited for the plane to it cruising altitude. As soon as the fasten seatbelt sign went off, I had my computer plugged in and started searching for the connection. I couldn't find it. I asked a flight attendant about it. She said that the plane wasn't equipped. HUH? There was a USB port and an ethernet and instructions on connecting in the seat pocket. In the past I've connected from LH710. I was in shock. What was I going to do for the next 10 hours? I did email, watched a movie and slept.

As we were landing, the flight attendant came and asked me if I enjoyed the flight and if I had any feedback on their service. I just stared at her. It reminded me of the one-line joke: "Other than that Ms. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?" Looking at the happy face of the flight attendant, I realized that non-addicts probably couldn't imagine my frustration. I also reflected on how one year ago wifi on a plane was still a dream for me. I thought about how much progress had been made in the last year. I also reflected on how addiction and obsession will never be satiated.

I just finished my keynote for the 22C3 conference. I'd been mulling over what to talk about from about 2AM or so this morning. After reading the program and the amazing breadth of the 150 or so talks and imagining the 3000 leet hackers that I would be talking to, I decided to put together a brand new talk hitting a lot of the points that often skip because they are controversial or difficult for me to discuss. I was a bit nervous kicking off what I think is one of the most important conference I go to. I am happy to report that it was the best crowd ever. ;-)

Although there is a bit of preaching to the choir, (I got cheers for just saying "open network"), judging from the hallway conversations I had afterwards, it was a smart and motivated crowd and I'm honored and happy that I was able have people's attention to allow me to talk about some of what I believe are the most important things going on right now.

The Syncroedit guys set up an instance for my talk where you can see my notes and things others have said. (Use Firefox please.) Please feel free to add stuff. It's still a test install and fragile so please don't try to break it. It's not a challenge. ;-)

Anyway. Thanks much to everyone at 22C3 for the invite and look forward to spending the rest of the week hanging out with everyone.

A video of the presentation should soon be up at

This blog is moving to a new machine tonight. I'm updating the DNS now. You may experience some slight problems in accessing it. Apologies in advance. Thanks.

I'm going to Berlin for the 22nd Chaos Computer Congress. I'll be in Berlin the 27th-30th of December. I'm going to be working on my notes for the talk on my wiki. I also made a page for my schedule. If you'd like to get together or can recommend events that I should attend, please add them to the wiki. Thanks!

Dec505 Gala Frontcvr-1
Last night Mizuka and I attended the Focus For Change gala benefit for WITNESS in NYC hosted by Peter Gabriel and Angelina Jolie. I first became interested in WITNESS when I met Gillian Caldwell the Executive Director in Davos in 2004. I started talking to her about blogging then. I helped Gillian get her blog set up when she and Angelina Jolie were headed off to Sierra Leone to deliver the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations to the government in May. The blog was a success. We've been talking about other ways to use the Net. She invited me to attend the Gala last night which was an amazing event.

The videos and comments from Peter Gabriel, Angelina Jolie and Gillian were awesome and inspiring. However, the main event for me was Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier from Sierra Leone. He talked about how his life started as a happy kid who played soccer in the streets. As the war swept across the country, he survived the loss of his family and fled from village to village as he watched them being ravaged by the war. He eventually ended up being recruited as a child soldier. He was able to leave the military and attended college and appear before us last night to express his hope for lasting peace in Sierra Leone. It was an extremely well delivered and moving speech and really highlighted the strength of the words of a witness.

The festivities were also great. There were a number of great performances, but my favorite part was when Nile Rodgers and CHIC rocked the house with their classics. They did an auction with some pretty cool things. The only thing I bid on was the Nano programmed by Lou Reed, but I wasn't able to keep up and didn't get it in the end. ;-)

In total, the event was the best fund-raiser gala sort of event that I've ever attended. It had a clear and moving message and vision, it was fun and it was extremely well executed. Congratulates to everyone involved.

I was recently appointed to the board of directors of Nishimachi International School. I attended NIS 9th grade. I had just moved to Japan from Michigan with my mother and sister. It was a turning point in my childhood. I had been attending a public school in the suburbs of Detroit as the only Japanese kid in the school. It was a somewhat miserable experience where I often regretted being Japanese. At Nishimachi I joined a small but extremely diverse group of students and teachers that rebuilt my self-esteem and taught me the value and possibility of tolerance and diversity. My one year at Nishimachi was the most significant year at any school I've ever attended. I think the school produces an incredible group of mixed culture citizens who can really contribute to global communications. I'm excited to be able to participate in working on this important institution.

When I got off the plane in Zagreb, Croatia, my phone rang. "Hello? Mr. Ito?" "Yes?" "Are you in the US, this is Richard." "No. I'm in Croatia, who's this?" "I sent you an email about speaking at a meeting about the "Knowledge Economy in Paris on the 1st of December." "I'm sorry, I can't be there. I'll be in Vancouver for an ICANN meeting." "Oh, will you have an Internet connection?" "Yes." "Will you be available at midnight?" "Ummm... I guess so." "Great. I will send more details by email. *click*"

Of course, I'm probably free at midnight, but I wasn't sure if that was great. After a bit of juggling around I got everything set up with a pretty neat presentation client they were using. I was all ready to go at 11PM for the sound check etc. "Ah, we will start one hour late. At 1AM. Please take a break." Take a break? I forgot that even though I was in Vancouver, the conference was actually in Europe and it wasn't CNN. Hmmm... I was a bit sleep and a bit cranky from lack of sleep, but I was able to give a short talk to 600 people in Paris from a conference room in a hotel in Vancouver and interact with them. All of this was coordinated with a few casual phone calls and an "umm, yeah, I guess I'll be free at midnight." It's 1:30AM now and I have to be up in another few hours.

Just "dropping in" is becoming very easy and on the one hand you don't have to travel all the way to participate in things. On the other hand, you end up on "global time" and have perpetual jet lag. I'm not sure if I like this trend, but one thing for sure, I'm sleepy. Good night.

I've just spent five days in Croatia visiting Zagreb and Dubrovnik. The trip was organized by the Creative Commons Croatia dynamic duo, Marcell and Tomi with the support of CARNet. CARNet is the Croatian Academic and Research Network and I gave a keynote at their 7th Internet Users Conference in Dubrovnik.

After Dubrovnik, I went to Zagreb and gave two presentations organized by Marcell, Tomi and the mama team. mama is a very cool media center, library, community center that is the meeting place of a number of really interesting communities in Croatia. One of the communities that hangs out there is the anime community who I had a chance to meet. They were extremely organized, fun and knew everything about Japanese anime. I learned a lot from them and renewed my feeling that a stronger relationship between anime publishers and their fans would be a win-win.

While I was in Dubrovnik, Marcell drove me to Montenegro and gave me a full day talk on the history of the region and many of the issues. A lot of the news that I had been skimming in the past about the war in the region and the struggle of the people all sort of fell into place. The scenery was beautiful with a mix between ancient towns and cool new restaurants and bars. Although I'm sure Marcell is slightly biased, it was a great opportunity for me to learn about an area of the world that until this trip has been filed in my brain under "Eastern Europe". As I mentioned earlier when writing about my friend Veni from Bulgaria, I am going to make an effort to visit and learn more about Eastern Europe and make up for my embarrassing lack of knowledge of the region and I think this was a good start.

Thanks again for the hospitality and for sharing your culture with me.

I've uploaded a few pictures from the trip.

I'm posting this from my flight to Vancouver where I will be attending the ICANN meeting.

10 Most Powerful Women in Blogging


8. Joi Ito of Technorati ( ) has her hands in a lot of Web 2.0 companies, some you might not even know about yet. This makes her damn powerful. Often times the one you don’t know that well is the most powerful. My personal favorite because she seems to help people get shit done.


Sorry about having a ambiguous name, but I'm not a woman. I've been mistaken for a women by various bloggers, but this is the first time I've made it on a 10 most XYZ Women in ABC list. ;-P

via Jeff via Gothamist

I will again be going to the Chaos Computer Congress organized by the Chaos Computer Club in Germany. You know. THE Chaos Computer Club. They are one of the oldest hacker clubs in the world and they have an annual meeting. This will be the 22nd annual meeting. Last year I attended and gave a talk about free culture and Creative Commons. This year I'll be speaking about their theme, "private investigations" and am an "ambassador at large." I will work on my talking notes on my wiki. (Nothing there yet.)

If you're in Berlin December 27th to 30th or anywhere close, I definitely urge you to attend. There are thousands of hackers participating in an incredible conference that rounds 24 hours a day. Activities range from the computer art to parties to a go (the Japanese game) lounge to serious academic presentations. As usual, I hear the Wikipedians will be there as well.

The conference has a web page and they also have a blog.

I'm at the San Francisco airport and after a long wait in line at security, a big grumpy-looking security officer looked at the Rock Lee sticker on my PowerBook. (My sister bought it in Akihabara for me.) He beamed and said, "hey! Rock Lee!" We smiled at each other and had a Japanese Anime moment.

Rock Lee is probably my favorite Naruto character. He is pretty uncool, has no magic and wins by just trying very hard. His teacher is also very uncool and they wear these matching silly green jumpsuits. It's interesting to see who people's favorite characters are in Naruto since they're all pretty weird and very different.

I guess there's something about online games and the Year of the Rooster. I just remembered that the first post of this blog is a link to an article that Howard Rheingold wrote about my addiction to Multi-User Dungeons (MUD) back in 1993 in Wired Magazine. (The post is dated the publish date of the magazine article, not the date the post was written. This post dates back to before my blog when I organized various links on my web site.) Groundhog Day! It's 2005 and I'm doing the same thing. Eek.

I remember that trying to get onto the MUD server at Essex University was what got me to learn X.25. (A little more than KDD wanted people to know.) It was the people who I met on the MUD that got me an account on the University computer where I was first able to access APRANet. I learned more about computers from other players in MUD than anywhere else during my high school days.

I wonder what I'm learning playing World of Warcraft...

I'll be speaking at USC tomorrow.

Can you tell we're in LA?

Speaker: Joi Ito
Time: Wednesday, October 19, 6-8pm
Location: USC's Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts (RZC), Room 201 Zemeckis Media Lab (ZML)
3131 South Figueroa Blvd./2nd Floor

UPDATE: The image above wasn't created by the folks at USC. It was discovered on hard disk. Does anyone know the source? We want to give proper attribution for this (cough) artwork.

UPDATE 2: Gene is the creator of the mashup.

UPDATE 3: The talk will be streaming in a few minutes. You need Windows Media Player 9. Here is the URL Join the AIM chat room imd

I was grounded for 2 weeks for passport renewal and another week with a sprained foot, but I'm back on the road again. I seem to notice new things when they're not in front of my all of the time. One thing I noticed this trip is how stupid the flight map software on the plane seems to be getting. Before, it was pretty simple and had all of the important information. Time to destination, time at destination, etc. Now (at least on United) they've added a stupid trivia quiz among other things. It takes longer for it to page through all of the pages to get to the page you want to see. The most distressing thing is that they've removed "time at destination" but seem to think "outside temperature" when you're flying is more important.

To the designers of this software: I only watch the map page to get information. If I had time to be doing a trivia quiz I would be listening to music, watching a movie or working on my laptop. Also, NO ONE that I know of cares what the temperature is outside when you're flying but almost EVERYONE I know cares what time it is at the destination.

Veni, a fellow ICANN board member and a good friend asked me to post a plug for The Optimist - The Story of the Rescue of the Bulgarian Jews from the Holocaust. I had to ponder what the context of my posting such a link would be, but then I read Larry's post and realized that I should blog about Veni and Bulgaria to provide context.

In addition to being on the ICANN board, he is the founder of the Bulgarian Internet Society, is on the board of THE Internet Society (ISOC) and is on the board of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR).

What is interesting about Bulgaria? It is technically a developing nation, but an odd one. First of all, the new Prime Minister of Bulgaria is a member of the Internet Society. In fact, many of the politicians there are. (I think in great part thanks to Veni.) The Bulgarian sumo wrestler, Kotooshu, is all the rage in Japan and almost became the first European to win the Autumn Sumo Title. Veni, as a participant in many of the The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) meetings helps from the perspective of a developing nation that is more Internet savvy than most developed nations.

The other day, I heard Veni and Desiree talking to each other in Serbian and I realized that I knew NOTHING about Eastern Europe. In an effort to alleviate this blind spot in my knowledge, I've accepted a speaking gig in Croatia next month and have been asking Veni to "turn me on" to Eastern European culture. Although I have a feeling that high volume of weird jokes may be Veni-specific, I am learning a great deal and it is in this context that I introduce a story about how the Bulgarian Jews were saved by the Church in Bulgaria. Hopefully, I'll be able to share more first hand stuff when I visit Croatia, my first "real" visit to an Eastern European country.

UPDATE : More information from Veni.

The new world chess champion Vesselin Topalov is a Bulgarian.

In April and May this year Richard Stallman and Larry Lessig visited Bulgaria to make sure the country is on the right track in developing a great Free and Open Source Movement ( and is part of the global CreativeCommons project. The new CC v2.5 will be released in Bulgarian very soon.

The country is also one of the not-so-many which has solved the problems with the Internet Governance and the control of the IP address alocation and DNS, which is in the midst of the WSIS. You can see what the Bulgarian government has to say about this at the WSIS PrepCom-3.

I'm at the airport on my way to Hobart, Tasmania to give a talk at the AUC "Evolution of the Species" conference.

My apologies to anyone who cares for not posting very much lately. My travel has been getting continuously more crazy. However, I will be grounded for two week after this trip to renew my passport and hope to get thoughts and other things organized.

Thanks a million to Thomas for picking up the slack on this somewhat neglected blog. I will admit that my (cough) research involving multi-user games online has also been taking up a little time.

Anyway, see you one the other side.

Picture from last year
I'll be speaking at Accelerating Change 2005 tomorrow and the day after.
Artificial intelligence ("AI"), broadly defined, improves the intelligence and autonomy of our technology. Intelligence amplification ("IA") empowers human beings and their social, political, and economic environments. As in previous years, a collection of today's most broad-minded, multidisciplinary, and practical change leaders will consider these twin trends from global, national, business, social, and personal foresight perspectives. Conference Brochure (PDF, 6 pages). One Sheet (PDF).
If you're going, I'll see you there. It looks like they're sold out, but I'll try to blog some stuff. On the other hand, I'm notoriously bad at blogging conferences...

UPDATE: I showed up a bit late, but caught the tail end of the first day and also did a rant. Great audience and great program. Cory Ondrejka of Linden Lab talked about the positive benefits of video games. It was an excellent talk. It will be online later so I won't go into it here, but it was the first time I didn't feel guilty playing World of Warcraft while listening to a talk. ;-)

I'm in Chicago where I had a one night layover on my way from the East Coast to Osaka, Japan. Last night I hooked up with Jeff Pazen, a friend and former DJ in Chicago that I hadn't seen for over 10 years. (He makes MT websites now!) He took me to the Smart Bar, a bar/nightlcub that was one of key influences in my life. We hung around at the bar and talked about the old days and we both had what felt like a catharsis of memories. I remembered the first time I visited as a student and how I got to know the staff and how they took me into their family.

Around 1988, I was going to the University of Chicago studying physics. I was bored and generally unhappy. One day someone brought me to the Smart Bar. I had been pretty familiar with cool clubs since night-clubbing was a big part of my high school experience in Tokyo, but the Smart Bar was special. It was an eclectic mix of goths, rock and rollers, industrial music fans and a variety of other alternative musics types. The head DJ was Mark Stephens who listened to EVERYTHING and knew every cool track whether it was Madonna, the latest underground deep house unit, or some obscure German band. I practically lived in Mark's DJ booth where he'd chat about music with us.

What was particularly inspiring for me about the Smart Bar was the community. I had lived in Japan and had experience with family, but had never seen such a vibrant community. Smart Bar and other nearby clubs like Medusa's were very inclusive and lots of people who needed a place to go ended up joining these communities. AIDS was just getting into full swing and there were people with a variety of problems and needs. (AIDS eventually took Mark's life and Jeff and I got a little teary eyed talking about Mark... Mark was our mentor and a star...) What was surprising to me was how much the community took care of those in need while still maintaining a fun and edgy style. It was a contrast to the formal and forced interactions that I was having with most of my college professors and fellow students (Sorry folks!). The struggle and the issues faced in college also seemed petty compared to the things people in the Smart Bar community were dealing with. This contract became unbearable and I dropped out of college (again) and became a DJ. My late mother, realizing that I needed to "get something out of my system" was generally understanding and supportive.

Mark helped me land a regular gig at the Limelight and let me spin records at Smart Bar occasionally. To this day, that year or so as a "professional" DJ was probably the most fun I've ever had.

Several years later, with the support of co-owner and "father" of Smart Bar, Joe Shanahan, I invited several of the Smart Bar crew to help me run a nightclub in Japan. This was probably second on my list of the most fun periods of my life. (For a short period I was a "player" in the Tokyo nightclub scene which lead in part to my relationship with Timothy Leary. Tim kicked off my relationship with San Francisco. I'll write more about this some other time.) Jeff had been Mark's first pick of DJs to invite to Japan, but for various reasons Jeff hadn't been able to go and we talked about how things would have been different if he had.

Anyway, even though I'm not going to be in Chicago for even 24 hours this time, seeing AKMA briefly and hanging out with Jeff at Smart Bar reminded me that Chicago is still my favorite city. I need to figure out a way to get back here more.

Decided to play a bit more World of Warcraft this weekend. Wandering around Darkshire, I met the first person so far with a sense of humor. (Also the first person over 30 who I don't know in real life.) His name is Illuminus and he's a 37 year old philosopher/bouncer who likes to play mages. Anyway, we decided to start our own guild. It's called "We Know". If you're on Khadgar and want to join us, sign up on the wiki and look for me on Khadgar. We're still in the process of getting people to sign the charter.

Apologies (if anyone actually cares) about my stalled blog. This is probably the longest I've gone without writing. I'm a bit travel weary and extremely busy with lectures/talks every day for the next few days. I'm going to try to catch my breath over the weekend and I hope I feel a bit more inspired then. ;-)

(And NO. I haven't been playing World of Warcraft.)

I'm off to the US again for a longish trip. Will be going first to Utah to hang out with some friends. After that, I'll be bouncing around the Bay Area until the end of the month. Not sure how the connectivity will be in Utah, but I'll probably be able to moblog. See you on the other side.

Plazes has a cool new feature called "Where is". So you can see "Where is Joi Ito?". It relies on Google maps which is a bit sketchy with addresses for Japan, but otherwise it seems to work quite well. On the other hand, it doesn't show the routing as well as the old map using IndyJunior.

OSCON was surprisingly one of the best conferences I've been to in a long time. I learned a ton of new stuff, met a bunch of great people and found everyone to be extremely friendly and fun. This is definitely going to be on my list of regular conferences to attend. Thanks everyone! I'm on my way back to Tokyo now. See you on the other side.

I'm at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland. Perfect weather, nice town, good conference, good folks. This is my first time in Portland (I think), and my first OSCON. Having recently joined the OSI and Mozilla Foundation board, I'm getting to know the open source community and I am enjoying it very much. I have always had a respectful, but slightly distant relationship with the community having found it a bit intimidating. I'd always been a supporter, promoter and friend, but now I am becoming a participant. I saw Steve Gillmor and Doc Searls wandering the halls of OSCON together and they were totally in their medium.

For now, I think my contribution to this community will be help with the international perspective and help with some of the non-profit organization issues. It is amazing how many of the same issues many of these non-profits face, particularly on international issues. Desiree, Veni and I have been talking about making a "starter kit" for new countries. It would have instructions on how to set up local presences for CPSR, ISOC, Mozilla, OSI, CC, Wikipedia and a variety of other Open Source/Internet/Free Culture movements. More so than in the US, the people involved in these movements in the smaller countries are often the same people.

My grave
As I've blogged before, I spent years fighting the Japanese national ID system, pushing for a 3 year moratorium on the bill to allow privacy and security to be fully considered before rolling the system out. Even though our movement had majority support among politicians, the public and even the media, the system rolled out "because it would have caused too much confusion to stop it," according to one senior policy oriented politician. Afterwards, I had a choice of either continuing to protest a running system from the outside, or work on the inside trying to point out issues and watch over the deployment. I ended up on various government oversight committees where I have continued to point out issues and still argue that they should shut the current system down.

To my surprise, my hometown Mizusawa has the second highest proliferation of the national ID cards at 10% and hosted our Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications study group today. As the local government officials discussed their system proudly, I felt some pain as I pointed out some of the risks. They knew that I was local so they asked my support for their initiative in that local family style... Scenes from The Godfather cross my mind. It reminded me a bit of the scene in Godfather II during Michael Corleone's trial where they bring the brother of key witness Pentangeli from Sicily to the hearing. All it takes is one look from the brother to change the Pentangeli's position. OK. It's wasn't that bad, but it reminds me of the same thing.

My family has been building and running schools in the town for the last three generations and we just rebuilt our nurse school, which at some point I will have to "run". Until recently, our family funded the schools, but now relies partially on government support. As with most semi-public endeavors in small towns, it requires "community support." Thus The Godfather reference above.

After the study group meeting at City Hall, I visited our family grave. I took a look at where my name will at some point be etched as the 19th family head of the Ito family. I took the opportunity to grill my uncle a bit more about the specifics of our history since I'll be the custodian of this information at some point. I also had him collect up various family history documents. It appears that the first Ito, moved into our current home about 400 years ago and was some kind of union of a 25th descendent of Emperor Kanmu, the 50th Emperor (we're on #125 now), and Kawatari Fujiwara. I can't understand the old-fashioned Japanese text to understand the details of the arrangement. I believe Kawatari Fujiwara was from the Fujiwara family that lived in our region until they were defeated around 400 years ago. The only thing left from this period of the Fujiwara estate/castle is a golden pagoda and mummies in Hiraizumi. Anyway, the story I heard from my mother was that after their defeat, the survivors fled and started their own families in the region, and took the character "Fuji" from "Fujiwara" and changed their names to "Saito", "Goto" and "Ito" which all use "Fuji" character for the "To" part of the names. Anyway, I'm not positive about the details so I better find out more before I have to take over the family and my children start asking me all kinds of questions.

As always, staring at the place on the gravestone where my name will be etched along with all of the previous family members makes me feel like a mere blip in history and is humbling and strange.

All I wanted to do was forward my telephone calls. I decided to dive into Asterisk. I realized that all of the "easy configure" setups were limited for my purposes. Then I realized I should probably get my head around what Asterisk is actually doing and play with Linux. Before I knew it, the folks on #joiito had convinced me to install Ubuntu Linux. I finally routed my first call from my bottom-up install of Asterisk.

What a Yak shave.

So... what's the best laptop for running Linux?

Spain was beautiful. Dry and sunny. Last night Paris was a bit wet, but nice. I landed today in a hot, muggy Tokyo lined up for a direct hit by a Typhoon. (Technically, I think it's a tropical storm.) I am about to head out to go to a Ryuichi Sakamoto concert where my cousin Cornelius will be joining him. I am trying to figure out the route that is least likely to get shut down. Various trains routes have been shut down. I can already imagine the frustrated crowds of Japanese office workers stranded in Tokyo, sloshing around in the hot wetness with broken umbrellas.

I wish I could shutter my house and just stay home, but tonight is the last night of the performance. Anyway, the show should be great and the trip... interesting.

I am on the island of Menorca attending a friend's wedding. Right now, all I can seem to connect to is expensive gprs. My apologies if my blogging is a bit light and email responses slow and terse. I'll have real connectivity again on Monday on my flight back to Japan. ;-)

Until then, I'll try to moblog some pictures.

One hour left of my Connexion service. I was using my PHS and Narita Airport wifi before I boarded the flight and they were both slower than this connexion service aboard this flight. I have a feeling Frankfurt airport will be about the same, but it will be more expensive. (I only paid $30 for 12 hours of access on this flight.) I'm on my way to Menorca for a friend's wedding, where the last time I was there, even GSM was spotty. Anyway, gprs roaming, as I found out awhile ago, is ridiculously expensive. Connectivity, at least for this trip, will be better in the air than on the ground... It's a very strange feeling to think, "I can't wait for my flight where my connectivity will be good and cheap." ;-)

UPDATE: Here is a list of airlines and flights that offer the service. Quite impressive.

I just Skyped from the plane using the Boeing Connextion system. It worked. ;-) It was a bit laggy and I probably should use a better headset, but it works. Yay!

Sorry about the light blogging the last few days. It's been a tough week at the ICANN meeting and it's finally over. I would like to express my appreciation to everyone in the community who took the time to explain their issues and gave us the opportunity to try to address these issues. I think we took a step in the right direction, but we have a large number of outstanding issues still left to address. I appreciate everyone's continued participation in the process. My commitment will be to deliver on the various promises that I have made this week. I look forward too seeing everyone again in Vancouver. For anyone who is new to ICANN but interesting in learning more, the next meeting is in Vancouver on November 30 - December 4. Everyone is welcome to join the meeting and I'll be happy to provide a guided tour. ;-)

I'm leaving Luxembourg for Tokyo today.

This widget suddenly become a bit more interesting...
Lufthansa just upgraded the plane they use for LH711, the flight from Tokyo to Frankfurt. This is the flight that I use for nearly all of my European travel. The new seats are nice, but more importantly, they now have they have Internet on the flight as well as a multi-standard AC plug. Many of my friends have already been on flights with wifi, but this is my first time. I'm also excited because LH711 is probably one of flights I take the most. It's $29.95 for the whole 12 hour flight. See you online!


A few observations. I'm online right now when normally I would probably be sleeping. I usually try to crunch through my email flagged for followup during the flight. It's a bit slower now since I'm not as focused, but I just realized that the mad rush to sync my email when I land will be gone. It is going to be odd getting off of the plane without, "where should I connect to the Internet" being the main thing on my mind...


I also just realized that my habit of staying up late the night before doing a lot of work and sleeping on the plane is now a out-dated practice. I should sleep at home and work on the plane...


I unfortunately didn't bring my headset or I would have tried Skype. Warcraft worked, but was showing a red alert for latency. I transfered a fairly large mp3 to someone over iChat without much trouble. (Sorry, didn't check the speed.) I'm trying BitTorrent now, but it doesn't seem to be finding peers... Pings to Google are taking about 770 ms and it takes 11 hops to get out of Boeing and 14 hops to get into Google. Bandwidth Speed Test says I've got 137.7 kilobits per second of bandwidth.


I lied. The first thing I did when I got off the plane was look for wifi...


I reviewed a picture I took of the jacks and it is 110V 60Hz power. It also seems to have a USB plug in addition to the ethernet plug. I wonder if you can mount the plane as an external device...

If you're wondering why I haven't been blogging the last few days... I've been at the Creative Commons Summit with this amazing group of people.

Nukazuke is a type of Japanese traditional pickling that requires a special kind of mash that is made from rice husks and a number of other ingredients. This mash is called nukamiso. Some nukamiso is very old and it requires a special touch and constant mixing to maintain the special flavor. Vegetables are typically stuck in the nukamiso overnight or for the day.

I wrote a Nukamiso guide was which I last updated in April 1999. Since then, I have moved twice and in the process, killed my poor nukamiso. My original nukamiso seeded from three 50 year old nukamiso's and a 25 year old nukamiso, two from Kyoto and two from Tokyo. Killing it was an unforgivable sin. Since then, Mizuka and I have felt so guilty, that it took a lot of courage to decide to start up again. The trigger was receiving a batch of the best eggplant nukamiso that I've ever had. The container contained a healthy amount of the nukamiso in addition to the eggplant and the instructions suggested that you could seed your nukamiso with this. We tried some vegetables from our garden and it was excellent, so we went and got a cedar tub today.

In the past, we lived in western houses so one of the challenges was keeping the nukamiso as cold as possible in the summer. This was partially the cause of the demise of our last nukamiso. This time, we now live in a traditional Japanese house has an opening to the space under the kitchen. Japanese houses typically store pickles and other things that need to stay cool in this space. Unlike doing nukamiso from purchased vegetables, we will be able to feed our nuka-chan with fresh home grown veggies.

I just Flickr'd some of the pictures.

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Sorry about the light blogging around here. I had to take a short-notice trip to the US and was away for awhile... but another major distraction has been World of Warcraft. Although I love video games, I had banned them from my life because I decided I didn't have time for them. However, I decided I needed to try one of the new multi-user games myself for *cough* research.

Anyway, I'm playing now if anyone wants to hook up. I'm on the North American World of Warcraft in the Khadgar realm. I'm a Gnome/Mage and my name is Vfd.

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I just got back from a short trip to Yongsan with Dan Gillmor. Yongsan is one of two electronics districts in Seoul. One of the larger buildings full of shops was closed for some reason and there weren't very many shoppers around. This made walking around easier, but probably didn't give us the full effect. In Tokyo, we have an electronics district called Akihabara which many people compare Yongsan to. There were more similarities than I expected, but some differences. I found in Yongsan, and Seoul in general, places are more spacious than the equivalent areas in Japan. Shops generally seemed cleaner and the districts a bit better organized than in Akihabara. Speaking of smells, many of the smells oddly familiar from Tokyo, although there were some different ones. One thing which contributed to the difference in smells was that there were food markets such as fresh vegetables and grilled meats interspersed in the market, which Akihabara doesn't have.

Dan was prowling for cheap memory, but either because we didn't bargain, or because we didn't know where to look, we didn't find any.

It was a lot of fun, but it would probably have been more fruitful with a seasoned guide. I would say that overall, there were maybe more shops than Akihabara, but a bit less diversity. (We didn't see a single Macintosh.) Having said that, I'm not sure we were able to explore the whole thing so my view may not be accurate.

I just arrived in Seoul for the World Editors Forum. I'm on a panel tomorrow to talk about blogging.

This is my first time in Seoul. It's amazing to me that I've never been here before. Korea is very close to Japan. I have had a great deal of interaction with Koreans and feel a fairly strong bond with Korea. The Akasaka district where my office is is primarily Korean getting much more excited about Korean Soccer victories than Japanese. My aunt is Korean and I believe that we have Korean ancestors on my mother's side of the family. For some reason, I grew up generally believing that Japan and Korea were quite friendly. I do know that there is some bad history and the extremists on both sides are unreasonable.

As recently as March, Korean protesters chopped off their fingers in a rally protesting Japanese claims over some disputed islands. Clearly this represents some strong anti-Japanese feelings. I have recently been interacting with my Chinese friends about their anti-Japan protests and am in the process of trying to develop some projects together with them to try to address some of the issues. I am eager to talk to my Korean friends to find out how strong the anti-Japanese sentiments are and what might be done to address them as well.

I've heard a lot about the highly connected, high tech Korea and have participated in a number of Japanese corporate meetings where executives were being briefed on how Korea is leading in so many ways these days. I have also heard that blogging is quite active, but in a very different style than the US and Japan. Heewon is organizing a bloggers dinner and I look forward to finding out more about the scene here.

Unfortunately, my GSM phones don't work here so I don't think I'll be able to moblog.

I went to the CNN office on Sunset in LA today to record an interview for a program that Aaron Brown is doing. I talked about the evolution of media, Global Voices, spectrum deregulation, Gillian Caldwell and WITNESS, Creative Commons, BitTorrent and all of my favorite topics. It will be interesting to see what survives the editors. It's suppose to air Friday next week. It's likely that I will be out of CNN reach although it should be running internationally. If anyone sees it, let me know how it went. Thanks.

UPDATE: Regarding on-air time

Scheduled to air this coming Friday, June 3.  10 pm edt is start of our broadcast. Could be aired anytime before 11 pm edt. Don't know precisely.

Seth Godin
My Secret Project and the Bounty

I need your help.

I'm looking for three special people this summer to work on a secret project. No, I can't tell you what it is. Yes, I can tell you about the internships: Seth's Summer Intern Project.

Find me someone I successfully hire and you get $1,000 and the perverse satisfaction of knowing that you made a good match. Find me two and you get twice as much!

Seth is one of the smartest and most interesting people I know. If I were looking for an internship, I'd jump on this.

Seth, if anyone gets referred through me, please do not give me the money. Please donate it to the EFF, Creative Commons, the Metabrainz Foundation and OSI in equal parts.

Now for you tax wizzed out there. If this were to happen, is this a taxable event for me?

I'm off to the US today. I will be stopping by San Francisco on my way to attend Future in Review in San Diego. I'll be on a panel about Japan. Meeting Karel van Wolferen the day before yesterday was helpful since I feel a bit out of touch with Japan these days. On the other hand, I felt that my views were just reinforced by a "kindred spirit", but this gives me the confidence to state my opinions firmly.

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 Japanese Power. We both agreed that Japan has changed a great deal since he wrote the book, but that most of the basic arguments in his book are still valid today. Japan still lacks one of the fundamental requirements of a healthy government - political accountability. We both agreed that people don't understand how the Japanese system works, including the Japanese.

Although Karel is a professor at the University of Amsterdam, he spends a great deal of time in Japan, writing for various publications, debating Japanese politicians and working very hard to try to help Japan. He had read some things that I had written and I was happy to have Karel say I was a "kindred spirit."

We discussed the history of postwar Japan and how Japan had missed an opportunity to build a more functional democracy because of the focus on fighting communism driven in large part by the American occupation. The US Occupation helped fund the conservative "Liberal Democratic Party" which co-opted or crushed most of the so-called "left-wing" liberal groups that were trying to emerge. A particularly unfortunate victim of this effort was the The Japan Teachers Union. Many teachers in postwar Japan felt a great deal of guilt for having taught children Imperialist warmongering based on the right-wing central government produced texts of the time. There was a strong desire among teachers to turn this guilt into something constructive. The Teachers Union confronted the LDP and the Ministry of Education and pushed for decentralization of education and fought against textbook censorship. The conservatives attacked them and marginalized them, effectively crushing the effort. In light of the recent discussion on Japanese historical revisionism and the festering right-wing, it is really a pity that this movement was crushed since it could have become a positive movement to help face the facts of Japanese Imperialist history. (The union still exists, but is taking a much more moderate stance on reform.)

We talked about the Internet and Wikipedia and how facts and history are being collectively created online. One interesting problem that he has is that many people spell his name as "von Wolferen" instead of "van Wolferen". Even editors of major newspapers consistently "correct" the spelling and change it to "von". It has gotten so bad that there are more results for the wrong spelling than the correct one on Google. It's funny to imagine people who are so sure of their spelling that they would change the spelling of someone's name without checking.

We promised to keep in touch and try to collaborate in the future.

I had a public To Do list on my old wiki, but never set one up on my new one. I just set one up. My inflow of email consistently overruns my ability to act on them and I am feeling increasingly guilty about stuff that I miss. If you're waiting for me to do something or would like to suggest that I do something, please feel free to add it to my public To Do list on my wiki. You'll have to register in order to edit the page if you haven't already. This doesn't guarantee that I'll do it, but at least I won't forget it or lose the email. Sorry to push this burden on you and I realize that I SHOULD really do this myself, but it will help me track stuff and be a bit more responsive. Thanks.

Sorry about the light blogging. I've been pretty busy this short trip. I'm off to Tokyo again today. I'll be back in California in a few weeks.

I'm off to SF again for a very short trip. Giving Ethan and Tantek a walk around my yard today, I realized how stupid it was that I didn't spend more time at home...

See you on the other side.

Thanks to Boris, I have my Plazes map page to remind me where I am when I forget.

I'm off to Japan again. This time only for one night. Ugh.

Australia's been great. The talk was fun and the giving a talk right after Larry forced me to work on a new argument and new material which was good. The audience was diverse and interesting and I spent the day meeting individually with some of the people and have had some stimulating discussions. Lots to think about.

If you notice that this site is slow, that's because the last RSOD post was slashdotted. Hopefully the traffic will let up soon. For the last few hours, it's been pinned at something like "29.5 requests/sec - 273.8 kB/second - 9.3 kB/request". Amazing. (I bow to the power of slashdot...)

I'm off to Melbourne, Australia today to speak at the Alfred Deakin Innovation Lectures series. I'll be there for about two days. Too bad it's during the best season in Japan... the spring before the rainy season.

I was spending part of my mind thinking about my talk next week in Australia in Melbourne for the Alfred Deakin Innovation Lectures. The topic of the talk was "The Creative Commons: intellectual property & public broadcasting & opportunities for common sense & public good". I was looking at Larry's schedule to try to see when I might be able to talk to him about some ideas and I noticed that he was scheduled to be in Australia too. Then I realized that he was speaking at the same conference. I looked at the site and realized that we were speaking... TOGETHER. So if Larry is the domain, I'm the sub-domain. He's my inspiration and his talks are the Queen's English to my Engrish. With respect to my talks about Creative Commons, what often happens is that people end up getting me when they can't get Larry. For this reason, my standard CC talk is a remix of what Larry says. (Although I have contributed thoughts and material back to the source as any good open source participant.) So now I'm at the same time thrilled to see Larry to do something together, but suddenly in the awkward position of having to jam with someone who plays the same instrument... better. Anyway, I'm looking forward to the experience and I'm sure we'll be fine but I sure hope we end up being better than the sum of the parts.

UPDATE: Larry tells me that the organizers claim I suggested that we be on a panel together. I probably did. I discussed the talk with Jonathan Mills the Director last year and I probably forgot. Oops. Sorry.

Click on image to see bigger picture.
I found these weird bugs on my favorite tree. Does anyone know what these are? Are they "good bugs" or "bad bugs"? They look evil. Especially with that queen-like one in the middle...

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This week is a national holiday for Japan and I am home trying to "rest". I was hoping to recover from jet lag, exercise, catch up on some reading... and install Tiger.

Once I installed Tiger, I decided to take my increasingly complicated schedule and put it into iCal. iCal allows you to enter your time zone so your meeting are synchronized globally. Many of the regular meetings that I had been missing because I wasn't tracking properly now fell neatly into place in absolute time with iCal's pretty sophisticated repeating meeting mode. Obviously, I'm not the first person to have to work with people in multiple time zones but with the low cost of VoIP and my instinct to try to fit everything in, I just realized that iCal created a time-zone agnostic view of what I should be doing and it's quite distressing. No matter what time zone I flip to, I have things scattered throughout the day and night almost every single day. I just realized that I have jet lag even though I'm staying in one place.

Rereading my post, I realize this probably sounds pretty stupid, but somehow it took iCal and this time zone feature for me to realize what a mess I'm in. Eek.

I just installed Tiger on my computer and it's now importing all of my email to Apple Mail from Entourage. It's been importing for about 24 hours, but it's still only about half way through. I don't feel like reading and writing on a slow machine so I'm going to take a blog break until my new Tiger machine is running properly... See you on the other side.

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.

Had a wonderful time yesterday at Les Blogs in Paris and enjoyed meeting all of the new people as well as old friends. I haven't been to many blogger conferences for awhile so I found the presentations and discussions a good way to catch up on what people were doing and thinking. Thanks for organizing this Loic.

Take a look at the lesblogs tags on Technorati and Flickr for pictures and posts from the conference.

I'm off to Tokyo today for some meetings and eventually a few days off next week.

Tomorrow I will be going to Paris to attend Les Blogs the day after tomorrow organized by Loic. Many friends will be there. I'm looking forward to it after going mainly to conferences outside of the blogging community these days. Wired News has a nice article on it.

Although I missed two years or so, today marks ten years since I started working with Ars Electronica. I think this is my 16th time in Linz, Austria and for this reason I know Linz better than any other European city. I know taxi drivers, hotel staff, shop owners and it feels sort of like coming home when I visit now. I was on the first World Wide Web category jury in 1995 and we gave Idea Futures the Golden Nica that year. I remember getting a lot of "that's not art" feedback which marked the beginning of my struggle to forge my own definition of "art". The year after that we gave the award to etoy which continues to lead the way in the alternative digital art scene and with whom I continue to have a active relationship since meeting them at Ars Electronica. Last year Ars Electronica started a new category with the leadership of Howard Rheingold called Digital Communities and the two Golden Nicas went to Wikipedia and The World Starts With Me. I met Jimmy Wales and many of the Wikipedians for the first time at this Ars Electronica and we've become good friends since then. I've met many amazing people through this process and there are many people I ONLY see during the jury or the festival of Ars Electronica.

This year I am on the Digital Communities jury again and I've just started looking over the hundreds of projects we will be reviewing over the next few days. The jury is really hard work, but it is always a great way for me to catch up on all of the cool things going on on the Net and engage in rigorous discussion with fellow jury members about all of the projects. I both dread and look forward to this and imagine I will be drinking a lot of strong Austrian coffee.

I have a flickr set that I'll be adding to with photos.

Sleeping with Bo

Mizuka took this awhile ago. Just found it on my camera.

I'm off to Kuala Lumpur today. I've been invited to give a talk at a Philips meeting tomorrow. I will be meeting up with some bloggers tonight in KL. Sign up on the wiki if you'd like to join us.

UPDATED: I uploaded the pictures, but I need help with people's names. Sorry. Can someone help me?

I just saw this cool image in my 1001 flickr stream... which lead me to Comic Life which turned into this and this. I really should be packing. I'm off to Japan today. Special thanks to Master Willem and his team for letting me stay at their chateau.

I'm in Berkeley at the Institute for the Future 10 year forecast retreat. Tomorrow I'll be doing a breakout session and a talk with Howard Rheingold on the Sharing Economy. I'm not sure what the blogging policy is, but if it is allowed, I'll try to blog something tomorrow.


Jerry Michalski to Steven Weber: "If you started a Linux project you could call it SWINUX and use a pig as a logo."

Thanks to everyone who showed up in Mar del Plata to participate in the ICANN meeting. I thought that the discussion was healthy and productive and although we moved forward on a number of things, we are left with a lot of work to do based on the feedback we received on the strategic plan, the board governance guidelines, .pro, .net, IDNs, transparency, process and a number of other topics. Special thanks to staff for running such a great meeting in the absence of our CEO Paul Twomey. I think you did an excellent job.

Thanks to everyone who showed up for dinner last night and special thanks to Mariano for organizing everything. It was great to meet the Argentine bloggers. I'm sorry I was late. Our bus from Mar del Plata broke down and we had have them send a new one.

Thanks to Mookie letting me stay at his place in Buenos Aires.

I'm off to San Francisco today to do my usual rounds and to go a Institute for the Future retreat.

Since my flight doesn't leave until this evening, I hope I can do a bit of moblogging in Buenos Aires.

I'm meeting some bloggers in Buenos Aires at 20:00 on April 8, 2005. Please take a look at the wiki for more information and sign up if you can come. See you there!

UPDATE: Señor Mariano

I was IM'ing with Boris yesterday and he said an interesting thing. "He lives on in our media... Forever remembered as the first super mediatized Pope ever. There is more documented evidence of his existence than any Pope ever before. He will NEVER die... as long as we have storage memory..."

I worked with Tony Verna several times back in my MSM days. Tony is the inventor of the instant replay and one of the people behind Live Aid. I learned more about television from Tony than just about anyone else. I remembered Tony telling me an interesting account of his work with the Pope. I remember thinking about the impact of mediatizing the Pope when I heard the story. I decided to email Tony and ask him to share a story about his role in mediatizing the Pope.

Tony Verna
April 2,2005

Hi Joi,

Thank you for contacting me regarding my thoughts about the passing of the Holy Father, John Paul II.

As you may recall, in 1986, I created “Prayer For World Peace,” a one-hour live TV broadcast for Pope John Paul II that I also produced and directed. The program was viewed by a billion people worldwide.

I had directed Live Aid and Sport Aid for Bob Geldof and that made me cocky enough to present the Vatican with the largest satellite telecast of the time.

My idea was to have the Pope lead a worldwide congregation of worshippers on five continents in the rosary, a devotional prayer, where he could alternate the first part of the prayer in one of several languages… and then cut live to that part of the world for their response…

e.g. Paris or Dakar for French, Knock or Calcutta for English, Lisbon or Rio for Portuguese, Mexico City or Madrid for Spanish, and Frankfurt or Marizell for German.

I had worked with Mother Teresa and knew her well enough to ask (impose on) her to do an inspirational intro (from were she was visiting her nuns in Czestochowa, Poland) that would lead to the live presentation from Rome. Mother Teresa was a wonderful woman whom I can’t say enough about.

My reputation was good in Europe due to the Geldof projects plus I had already written 2 of my books that the American communications archbishops had read.

They were anxious to hear my idea even though they warned me that the Pope didn’t do programs other people have created.

Undeterred I moved on, and finally met with the Pope in his private chapel. My wife, Carol, was a devout Lutheran and she was ready to bolt out of the chapel at the sight of the Pope. I calmed her down and when the Pope came over to us, he was very attentive and cordial. He held our hands and gave me his blessing to proceed with my idea.

I was hoping for such, since I knew he was a communications Pope and that he knew the power of the medium.

Later, I addressed the College of Cardinals as a formality and then proceeded.

The live one-hour was done for Global Media Ltd and was possible in part by a grant from BIC. The budget was high at 2 million due to the satellite pickups in 16 locations on 5 continents, Luzan, Argentina; Marizell, Austria; Rio, Brazil; Quebec, Canada; Lourdes, France; Frankfurt, Germany; Bombay, India; Guadalupe, Mexico; Caacupe, Paraguay; Manila, Philippines; Fatima, Portugal; Dakar, Senegal; Zaragoza, Spain; Czestochowa, Poland; Knock, Ireland; and in the United States, Washington DC. All of which was cited and documented on the July 8, 1987 Congressional Record of the House of Representatives

In addition to the hundred plus cameras I had stationed around the globe, I arranged for the congregations (live on monitors) to greet the Holy Father, before and after reciting the rosary with him.

Then the problems began. The religious big shots told me I couldn’t place monitors by the Pope. I objected and told them that the Pope should decide. The next morning the Pope gave me his permission, overruling his big shots.

The insurance company (to cover the $2m) said that the Pope and I both had to take a physical. I took the physical and explained that the Pope wouldn’t. They backed down

Next, RAI television (a bunch of men in suits) said I couldn’t do the pickup from the Vatican. They claimed I was a one-timer and not welcomed. I left Rome determined not to give up.

So…I directed the show from London, England (thanks to the EBU) with the incoming feeds coming to me live from Rome. Strange but true.

The show went off without a hitch. The VCR and DVD are still available.

Another problem was that the church worked in centuries so back in ’86 I gave the Pope his first fax machine…as can be attested to by Archbishop John P. Foley.

Before leaving for Rome to do the show I stopped by Washington DC and had dinner with David Brinkley and others curious on how I could pull off such a complex live telecast.

I felt quite honored by the attention.

As I mentioned, a billion people saw the show, and afterwards the Pope invited my wife, and I back to the Vatican to thank us personally.

It was a delightful visit.

Then another strange thing happened.

After blessing us the Pope moved away but suddenly he backed up to give my wife a second blessing.

Joi, my wife converted to Catholicism but I think the Pope gave her a second blessing because she has to put up with someone like me.

That’s my recollection…… in a jumble.

Best Regards,


AKMA’s Random Thoughts
What Then Of Boasting?

Pippa continues making wonderful images with paint and pen and keyboard (Margaret and I cherish her email messages). At F2C, Dave isenberg brought out a t-shirt he'd been given by his print shop; it read in big letters, "God Bless America," with an American flag imprint. He reckoned that the clergy delegate was the right conferee to get the shirt, so he threw it out to me. (This story does get back to how proud I am of Pippa.) I sat with the shirt displayed beside me through Thursday's program, and brought it home, uncertain of what should become of it. When I explained the situation to the family, Pippa quickly pointed out some of the theo-political problems with the shirt; her first reaction was that it should be a prayer, but that instead it reads as a command. But she volunteered to take it, perhaps to wear inside-out or use for her painting shirt. Fifteen minutes later she came back. . . .

Pippa Fixes Her Shirt

I'm so proud of them, it makes my heart pound. What, as Dick Leonard says, did I do to deserve this? [Don't worry; you probably don't know Dick. But he always used to say that when he lived with us, so the family always quotes him.]

Great dad begets great family. Usually.

Long trip ahead. I'm off to Mar del Plata, Argentina today for the ICANN meeting. It's a long trip involving flying from Tokyo to Chicago San Francisco, Washington DC, Buenos Aries, then meeting some people there and taking a car for 400 km or so...

UPDATE: I picked the fastish looking line coming through immigration out of Tokyo. The extremely efficient agent looked familiar and I confirmed from her stamp that she was agent 1128 that I had when I was departing in January as well. Kudos agent 1128.

I was in Taiwan for one day and am at the airport on my way back to Tokyo now. Even though the bloggers at the bloggers meeting probably came mostly for the iPod Shuffle give-away, it was a great turnout and it was a treat to meet the vibrant Taiwan bloggers community. The talk the next day to the somewhat more sober, but venerable TWNIC audience was also interesting. It was great to meet Paul Wilson from APNIC and listen to John Klensin who was almost as convincing on video as he is in real life.

Special thanks to Ching Chiao for organizing a wonderful trip and the excellent meals. Taiwan is right up there with Italy now in my "best food overall" category.

I'm off to Taiwan today. Tonight I'm giving a talk at the TW Blogger BoF and tomorrow morning I'm giving a talk at the TWNIC Annual Seminar. I haven't been to Taiwan for over 20 years so I'm looking forward to visiting, albeit briefly.

UPDATE: Video of Jedi, the father of Taiwan blogs. (312K .3gp taken with my Nokia 7610) I have no idea what he is saying.

UDPATE 2: They gave away 3 1G iPod Shuffles at the end. No wonder so many people showed to the talk. Maybe I should make it a condition of future speaking engagements. I'll speak if you give way 3 iPod shuffles at the end of my talk. ;-)

I'm in New Delhi airport on my way back to Japan. It will be nice to be home but unfortunately, I'm only going to be home for three nights and then I'm off again to Taiwan... I'm sorry to miss the Holi Day today where people throw paint colored water at each other, but I need to get home. New Delhi was excellent. Thanks again. India's an amazing place. I must come back.

I'm at the airport in Amsterdam waiting board my flight to New Delhi. I'll be there for almost a week to attend and speak at Doors of Perception. The doctor in Amsterdam said that I didn't need malaria pills even though many of my friends are taking them. I hope they're right.

See you on the other side. This is only my second time in New Delhi and I'm looking forward to meeting everyone and getting to know the city better.

I'm now at the Creative Capital Conference. Free WiFi. Yay! The DNS from the DHCP didn't work though so you have to find one and enter it directly... anyway.

It looks like a very interesting conference. Some of my favorite speakers are here including Charles Leadbeater and Pekka Himanen (who I was just with in Madrid). The other speakers sound interesting too and I look forward to their presentations. I will be giving a keynote on the 18th at 11:00, doing at Q&A at 11:30 and will be on the "Publicly Financed Content" panel at 13:00.

Today, the 17th, there will an all-afternoon gathering of Creative Commons projects from across Europe. This is the first time they've assembled in one meeting and I look forwarded to hearing about all of the projects.

The mayor of Amsterdam is speaking now kicking off the talk with a quote from Richard Florida talking about how businesses seek out creative people, but people seek out cities with other creative people. He is talking about the creative capital of cities.

I've been using Richard Florida's "Creative Class" to identify the new class of people who are anti-establishment, proactive, creative, connected... you know... us. Francesco Cara and Jyri Engeström turned me on to Richard Florida's work. (Everyone else in the world appears to already have known about him once I started to get excited.) I just read Karrie Jacobs's criticism of Richard Florida and his Creative Class quoting a discussion with John Thackara, the organizer of Doors of Perception, the conference I will be speaking at next. (via Gen Kanai) It's an interesting criticism and it argues that "In other words, Florida has taken something qualitative and turned it into something quantitative." I agree with some of the points, but I think that there is a class of people who seem to have more similarities across countries than other people in the region. If you look at the proliferation of things like social networking software and blogs in countries like Brazil and Iran, I think that broadband users in these countries have more similarities to the creative class in other countries than to their parents. I think that from a social software and remix culture perspective, this is very interesting.

I'm at the airport in Milan after being allowed to talk almost non-stop for three days. Thanks to everyone for listening. The spectrum of locations was exciting ranging from squats to universities to a industry press conference. Thanks to Donatella and Laura for organizing everything and managing the trip. Thanks also to everyone for the arguments, suggestions and questions. I have a lot to think about and it also helped me tie a bunch of new things together in my head.

I'm off to Amsterdam to attend the Creative Commons meeting tomorrow and speak at the Creative Capital conference. See you there.

Thanks to everyone in Rome for great food and wonderful discussions. I'm off to Milan today... more later.

Yesterday, I had a meeting with some of the Italian Indymedia community at a squat. In most countries squatters are considered criminals and local law has very little tolerance for them. In Italy, the squat scene is the center of a lot of the sub-culture and alternative media. After years of resistance, many of the squats on property which was owned by the local government have been officially recognized by the municipalities in various degrees. The squats have events including debates and parties. They have kitchens, living quarters, and in the case of the squat I went to last night, a computer lab (called "hacks" this one named "bugs") that teaches people how to switch from Microsoft to Linux and allows free Internet access to anyone who wants to drop by.

After the chat in the bugs hack, we went to dinner at a centro sociale called Casale Podere Rosa. It was similar to a squat except the people don't live there. The place we went to was on the upscale end. The food was excellent and they had lots of posters and pamphlets describing the organic farming methods they used to grow their produce.

Internet penetration in Italy is quite low and the Berlusconi media machine controls most of what people see. On the other hand, the left wing are fighting hand and fist (literally) with the right wing radicals. Free speech was something that people were fighting for, in many cases outside of the law. At a tactical level, my discussion about freedom of expression and our "Infrastructure of Democracy" idea of fighting bad speech with more good speech sounded a bit idealistic. What was interesting to me was the power and the energy of the alternative media movement. It reminds me of my theory on good alternative music. When there is a huge force pressing down on freedoms, sub-cultures with more creativity and power are likely to form.

Thanks to everyone in Madrid for all of the hospitality and excellent company.

I'm off today to Rome. See you on the other side.

UPDATE: Just arrived in Rome. I had asked for a hotel with Internet. I realized when I arrived at the Hotel Hassler that I had stayed here once before with my mother and sister around 20 years or so ago. I remember it being an excellent hotel. However, I remember that they didn't take credit cards back then. Now they have Internet. I remember this was my late mother's favorite hotel in Rome...

Al-Qaeda tells Madrid: 'We will defeat all the infidels'
11 March 2005

DUBAI- Al-Qaeda's frontman in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, vowed to defeat "infidels and apostates" in response to a Madrid conference on terrorism.

"We tell the infidels and apostates, the enemies of God: whatever you do, you will be defeated. God promised us victory," read the statement from the Organization of Al-Qaeda of Jihad in the Land of Two Rivers, in a statement published on the Internet.

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified.

"How many times will the infidels and apostates meet to fight against Islam and combat the Jihad... They have other worries than to fight the Muslims and mistreat them," it said.

On the other hand...
CBS News
Spanish clerics issue fatwa against bin Laden

Last Updated Fri, 11 Mar 2005 10:34:46 EST
CBC News

MADRID - Clerics representing the majority of Spain's one million Muslims have issued what they say is the world's first fatwa against Osama bin Laden.

The edict by the Islamic Commission of Spain, which represents about 70 per cent of the approximately 300 mosques in the country, called bin Laden an apostate and asks Muslims to denounce him.

Victor is organizing a bloggers meeting on Saturday in Madrid. I'll be going. Anyone who wants to come, please sign up on the wiki page. It is on Saturday 12th, March 2005 at 21:00. The location is La Giralda restaurant, Calle Maldonado 4.

This site will be down for maintenance from March 7, 0300 GMT for about six hours or so. That's in about one hour.

It's moved and back up. Thanks Jason!

Just started packing and charging up my gadgets for a longish trip ahead. I'm leaving tomorrow to participate in the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security and the Atocha Workshop in Madrid. Then I'm going to Rome to give a talk there in a few places. After that I'm going to Milan to give a talk at the Università Milano Bicocca and attend the press conference to launch the 2005 edition of IBTS. Then I'm going to Amsterdam to give a keynote at the Creative Capital Conference and meet with the iCommons folks. Finally, I'm going to New Delhi to attend and speak at Doors of Perception 8. Then I'm back in Japan for one day to give a talk at the Internet Advertisers Association and off again the next day to Taiwan and other places... People have complained about my contribution to global warming through the jet fuel exhaust I help emit into the atmosphere. I think the first six months of this year will be the most pollutive that I can remember. I just noticed that between now and May, I will be on every single continent except Antarctica at least once.

Singing... It's a small world after all. It's a small world after all.

For the gory details, see my travel page on my wiki.

I just got my copy of MAKE:. I read it in one sitting cover to cover. What an excellent mook. There were a lot of great articles. In the section Life Hacks: Overclocking your Productivity, there was fun little article called Yak Shaving by Danny O'Brien and Merlin Mann. "Yak shaving is the technical term for when you find yourself eight levels deep - and possibly in an recursive loop - in a stack of jobs." The example they give is:

You start out deciding to tidy your room and you realize that in order to do that you'll need some more trash bags, so you need to go to the shops, which will involve you getting out the car, but the car needs gas, so you'll need to go to the gas station first, which means you should probably find your gas discount card, which involves finding your keys, which are in the room somewhere...
They talk about many hackers spending a lot of their time "lost in life's subroutines" and that "some of us like solving puzzles a bit more than we like solved puzzles." They suggest that super-efficient hackers "learn when to say no to the temptation of endless fiddling." Veeeery interesting. So this is what I've been doing all my life. Shaving Yaks.

I can fit most of my life into this metaphor. I remember the moment when I was working in television, music promotion and motion pictures and decided that IP and the Internet would solve many problems that I had with the control that big companies had on the flow of information. I helped set up the first ISP in Japan, helped set up Infoseek Japan, started one of the first web companies in Japan... but it still didn't solve the "problem." I realized that there were some basic problems in society and the market was broken. I noticed that democracy was broken and tried to work on fixing that in Japan. Then I realized that it was broken all over the place and decided to work on that too.

Blogging was another important way of solving the freedom of expression and flow of information I was after and there was Six Apart. Then I realized that that we needed a better way to organize blogs and there was Technorati. But copyright was broken and there was Creative Commons. And Internet governance... and ICANN. Oh no! Suddenly I have no time and am totally immersed in the "subroutines" of my life. Acutally, my whole life is just one big yak shaving exercise. Luckily, these subroutines ARE my life and are very rewarding.

I do agree with the article that you have to learn when to say no to the temptation of "endless fiddling" but it is through this fiddling that I sometimes find myself in a new place, sometimes slightly before the rest of the pack. If it weren't for this fiddling, I'd be spending my life solving boring problems for boring bosses.

I'm on the bullet train from Tokyo headed for Kyoto to attend APRICOT. Unfortunately, I can only be there today and tomorrow. I'll be in and out of the sessions. If anyone wants to hook up, let me know.

Just a day ago, I was in balmy Los Angeles noting how much the wonderful weather made me feel mellow and happy. Yesterday, I flew to Helsinki via Frankfurt and arrived at 5:30PM in pitch dark, freezing Finland and arrived at my hotel to find Marko and Jimbo waiting for me to go to Avantouinti. Avantouinti is ice-swimming which is often done in conjunction with sauna. Marko is a member of the 1337 sauna club, The Finnish Sauna Society, dedicated to the preservation of Finnish sauna culture. We went there and sat in the traditional smoke saunas packed full of naked Finnish men. Part of the sauna culture involves asking people if they'd like water poured on the hot stones when you are entering or leaving a sauna. In the particularly HOT sauna, the "yes" is followed by "ahhhh key toss (thank you) oooo heeeee". ;-) After some nice sauna we went avanto swimming. Swimming may be a bit of an exaggeration. We jumped into a hole in the ice from a pier clinging to a frozen rope. As we walked naked along the pier back to the sauna, I noticed the amazing scene of the frozen sea and the dimly glowing sky. I mentioned to Jimbo that walking naked and scenery like this was a unique combination. I think he was focused on his freezing feet, but he agreed.

I woke up at 3AM thinking icy thoughts and made a few edits on the Wikipeida Avantouinti article wishing there was an ice hole nearby...

Sorry for people who have read about avantouinti here before. This is my third time and I've blogged about it each time... (1 / 2)

Cory @ Boing Boing Blog
Lessig portrayed on tonight's West Wing

Larry Lessig is appearing in tonight's episode of the West Wing! Or, rather, an actor playing Larry is appearing in etc etc and so on. Here's some spoilers

Here's Toby & Lessig's conversation (happening at the same time Igor & Vlad are having their conversation): Lessig says he picked up a few phrases -- the language isn't all that different from Polish. Toby notes that they're still eating lunch. Lessig says they love the roast beef. Toby says Lessig wasted the morning talking about a government system that'll never work for Belarus, & now he's given them an extended lunch break. Lessig doesn't think his discussion was a waste. Toby reminds him that the 2 delegates have to leave the WH on Friday w/ a set of laws to take back to Minsk. Lessig corrects him: it's not a set of laws, but a sense of the rule of law. Toby asks him if he's planning on writing a Constitution this week. Lessig asks him if he's familiar w/ Meyer v. State of Nebraska. Toby says Nebraska passed a law making it illegal to teaching anything other than English during WWI. Meyer wanted to teach German, & the Supreme Court declared the law was unconstitutional. Lessig asks where in the Constitution does it say you have a right to teach German in school. Toby: "Okay, & if Oliver Wendell Holmes were alive to serve as President of Belarus maybe they wouldn't need a constitution". Lessig says Holmes dissented on the case. Toby says the 2 delegates need a magna carta w/ real checks & powers. They need a "strong judiciary, a limited executive, a vital press". Lessig replies that a constitutional democracy only works if it reflects demoractic values already existing in the citizenry. Toby says the Belarusians lack those values. Lessig thinks that the most important job they have is to instill those values in the leaders through discussion & debate. Toby says he's talking about 8 people on a DC sightseeing trip. Does Lessig think he's going to reverse 50 years of brutal dictatorship by teaching those 8 people democratic values? Lessig says the 8 are all the President's men & they're teaching them how to scrutinize power. How many people does Toby think it takes? There's a pause, then Toby looks at Igor & Vlad. Then he looks past them & sees Gordon & Miss Universe. A note says, "Tick tock, tick tock".

(Thanks, Alex!)

I'm going to watch it with Larry today. I'll post any blogworthy reactions later. ;-)

UPDATE: It was fun watching Lessig watching Lessig. According to Larry, the screenwriter is a former student of Larry's and it is based on a true story. Larry was a constitutional law professor specializing in Eastern Europe before his recent focus on the Internet and copyright.

UPDATE 2: Lessig comments.

UPDATE 3: Video on Lisa Rein's Radar.

Actually, yesterday to be exact. I just spent the day yesterday at Living Tomorrow Amsterdam with a group of people from Philips and several other speakers talking about the future. It was a great session. The interesting thing was that the speakers from a variety of backgrounds including Philips Design, gaming, online dating, mobile telephony and myself all had a very similar conclusion. Technologies should empower people to participate and interact and the future was about context and community. (Sorry if I've over-simplified this.)

I'm on my way back to Tokyo today. It was a short trip, but it reminded me again how much I love Amsterdam. Thanks for the hospitality Philips.

Jason moved this site to a new server yesterday. Unfortunately, I lost a few comments and trackbacks along the way. I tried to recover the comments. Let me know if I missed you.

UPDATE: DNS propagation seems to be flakey for some reason. Apologies for any problems.

I'm off to Amsterdam today for two nights to give a talk at a corporate seminar. This will end possibly the first time I have been out of jet lag in almost a year. It was nice waking up at the same time every morning for a change. February and March are going to be pretty busy, but on the bright side, I will get to see many of you soon.

Anyway, see you from Amsterdam or possibly from the airport.

People have been pinging me about this, so I guess I should post something about it. I'm not going to Davos this year. I wasn't invited this year. Not sure exactly why... But I'm in pretty good company... Anyway, I posted some thoughts on the Forum over on Omidyar Network which I'll post here as well.

Joi Ito
This may sound like sour grapes, but I didn't get invited to Davos this year, but after going for 4 years, I was also planning on possibly not going. It's great fun meeting old friends, but I'm finding many of the smaller conferences more interesting these days. A number of people I know are going to the World Social Forum this year instead. Having said that, I'm sure something will happen this year that makes me wish that I was there. Please say hi to everyone for me.
Joi, thanks for your insight. I'd be curious about your thoughts in terms of collective: has the WEF been a mechanism that enables actors to work more intelligently and in partnership across sectors? this is something i've been longing to understand better; there is a sense among participants at places like the World Social Forum that the WEF is exclusionary and serves only the interests of the multinationals. What seems most vital about the forum is the capacity to pool intelligence and coordinate action in a way that reduces global risk. is this happening?
Joi Ito
I think that a lot of the good things that happen at the forum on not intentional and not visible. It's bridge building across sectors. Although the forum has tried to be more and more inclusive, I think it has shifted away from its humble, somewhat academic roots to a conference where there is more participation by powerful people. Also, there is the official program, then there are special groups (like the Media Leaders group I spoke to last year) and then there are secret meetings. In many ways, it is more of a meeting place than a "movement" with something concrete to accomplish such as the WTO or G8, although I've never been to either.

I would disagree that it "only serves the interests of the multinationals" but it does have sponsors that allow it to exist and they obviously get special treatment and access. Having said that, the social entrepreneurs, for instance, include many legitimate social entrepreneurs who are doing a lot of great things that the forum enables in many ways.

So net-net, I would say the forum is a good thing, but I think your mileage may vary.

Finally, I would add... looking at the various lists of people who get invited and un-invited... the process, from my perspective, is close to random, athough there are clear biases. If you've never been invited, don't worry about it. Many many important and interesting people have never been invited. If you get invited and you've never been, give it a go, especially if you don't have to pay. If you go for a few years and get tired of it, you're not the only one.

I have a family crisis in Japan and need to return to Japan immediately. Apologies to people who I had been planning to meet this trip in San Francisco. I'll be back soon.

I'm off to San Francisco. I'm pretty busy as usual, but hopefully will see some of my friends. Thanks for all the fun in LA and special thanks to McUnixJr for driving me home from the party.

UPDATE: Thanks to Sean for driving me to the party and Justin for picking me up at the airport. ;-)

New Year to all of you. I hope this year will be better than the last. With the tsunami and all of the uh-oh's of last year, I don't think I can really say "happy" anything right now. :-|

UPDATE: In Japan, there is a tradition that you don't send out New Years cards when you have had a death in the family the year before.

A Tale of the Uh-Oh's: Amelia Takes A Fall

At the dawn of this psychotic decade, I proposed, on instinct, that we should call it the Uh-Oh's. Decades need names. How else are we map their unique zeitgeists in our subsequent reflections on them? Imagine, for example, how awkward our historical recollections would become if we could not refer to "the 60's," a decade which needed no adjective, unlike, say, "the Roaring 20's?" The name is the frame, and the frame says it all.

I totally agree. I have several uh-oh's going on right now and see several longer-term uh-oh's developing. It's really hard to stay positive right now without trying to convince yourself that it's cyclical and the next decade will be better. I agree that the "Uh-Oh's" is a good name for this decade.

In the post, Barlow writes about his daughter Amelia's accident. I hope you get well soon Amelia.

I'm off to LA. See you on the other side. I hope.

My apologies for not blogging much substantive stuff. 21C3 is like no other conference I've been to. There are thousands of people. The center is open 24 hours a days with food 24 hours a day. People are sleeping in the halls and there is activity 24 hours a day. In a way, it is the perfect conference for jet laggy people like me. I can sleep when I want to, wander over at 3AM and there are people there hacking, talking and working. I've met some incredibly interesting people and have put faces behind a bunch of projects I've thought about and talked about, like the Liquid Democracy guys. I've been popping in and out of the sessions which are also great, but I lack the depth to be able to blog them in a meaningful way so I'll try to round up some links after I settle down.

The biggest problem is the lack of wifi network connectivity. I guess it's there, but it's either overloaded or being hacked or something. I had planned to put an IRC backchannel up during my talk (apologies to anyone who was waiting in the channel) but the connectivity in my room wasn't working. I've resorted to gprs, which means I'm doing email once a day and not reading any other blogs. I feel like I'm in a network black-out. Which is a bit ironic.

Anyway, I leave tomorrow. I'll try to blog once before then, but if I don't thanks Tim and everyone at CCC for an unforgettable experience. Also, special thanks to Jimbo and the Wikipedians for taking care of me and letting me hang out with them.

I'll off to Berlin in a few hours. I'm going to the 21st Chaos Communication Congress. I will be speaking about the State of Emergent Democracy. (I am working on my talking points on my wiki.) I usually print out the conference schedule in case the immigration officer wants to know what I am going to be doing in their country, but I noticed that the schedule has stuff like: Lockpicking, Bluetooth Hacking, GameCube Hacking, Hidden Data in Internet Published Documents, Practical Mac OS X Insecurity, SAP R/3 Protocol Reverse Engineering... Maybe I won't carry a printout of this schedule after all. There is a How to Survive page on the wiki about how to lock down your computer for use on the network at the conference. Very good advice for anyone going to any conference with an open LAN, but a bit ominous when you are going to be a conference attended by a lot of serious hackers. I have tried feebly to prepare, but please be nice to me.

It looks like there will be a whole platoon of Wikipedians and some Croquet folks too. Lots of people I haven't seen for awhile as well. Looking forward to seeing everyone. See you soon on the other side.

I stupidly got a 10 year passport (instead of a 5 year) which is now approaching the final year in its life. It has become reasonably tattered. In particular, there is a corner of the passport cover just where the row of OCR characters starts. This corner is also the closest to my picture. It started as a minor peel. However, several immigration officers have picked at it trying to see if it was a fake (making it worse). Each time a brutal agent swipes it through the OCR scanner, it gets a little worse. I figure a little bit of glue would help protect this corner of my passport, but I wonder if putting glue on my passport to mend a tattered corner is some sort of crime... I googled around and couldn't find anything. All I found was an article about a Chinese woman who was thrown in jail for trying to enter the US with a tattered passport. Yikes!

The Oregonian
In their latest outrage, they jailed a Chinese businesswoman, whose misfortune -- and only crime -- was to arrive at the Portland International Airport with a tattered passport.

Portland immigration inspectors deemed Guo Liming's passport "suspicious." They forced her to strip to her underwear, searched her, interrogated her, handcuffed her for transport to The Dalles and jailed her for two nights -- before concluding [how inconvenient for them] that her passport was valid.

The problem is, getting a replacement passport in Japan requires giving up the one you have for a period longer than I am able to be in Japan for awhile.

Does anyone know anything about whether it would be dumb to try to put glue on my passport and if not, what sort of glue I should use? Basically, the corner is peeling into 3 layers. The cover, the paper and the lamination inside...

I just got back to Japan after a few weeks abroad. It's the longest trip away from Japan that I've taken in awhile. When I was in the waiting area before boarding the plane, which was mostly Japanese, I noticed that the Japanese people seemed peculiar. I remember feeling this in the past after long trips. It's like suddenly I'm aware of weird Japanese body language, fashion, behaviors and facial expressions. It made me self-conscious too. I'm sure this is a pretty common phenomenon, but it was odd because it was disproportionately stronger compared to a one week trip away. Maybe it's because I was in Paris, South Africa, San Francisco and Boston before returning and the variety of cultures scrambled my cultural blinders. It was also strange reading the International Herald Tribune on China's anger over recent statements by Japanese about ramping up their military while watching the Japanese news in the plane talk about the same thing from their perspective. It was like having two cultural identities coexisting in my head. Somewhere over the arctic, both cultures seemed mighty peculiar.

I'm at Logan Airport on my way back to Tokyo. It was great meeting everyone and thanks for the very stimulating discussions. I'll try to write up some of my thoughts on my flight back.

I just got through security at Logan and I didn't notice until the guy at the security check looked at my boarding pass and said, "you have been selected by the airline for additional screening." Yikes. I looked at my ticket and it had the dreaded "SSSS" on it. Crap. It wasn't that awful. I got a pat-down and a very thorough examination of my carry-on bag. I wonder how I was selected for additional screening. I hope I haven't been added to some list that will haunt me forever. I wonder if it's something I blogged. Or maybe it's something I said at the conference. Or maybe it's who I was hanging around with in Boston. ;-p

I'm off to Boston today to participate in the About Internet & Society 2004: Votes, Bits & Bytes conference at the Berkman Center. Lots of interesting folks seem to be coming. The theme of the meeting is:

How are technologies changing politics, both in the U.S. and abroad? The purpose of this conference is to take a skeptical, results-oriented look at the current state of politics after the 2004 election and from an international perspective in terms of issue-based campaigns, emerging business models, and new tools that affect politics both online and off. The conference will focus on the following questions:

- Has "citizenship" changed in the online era?
- Are online business models helpful guides for politics and political organizing?
- What international examples are promising?
- Did the web affect the 2004 election?

My session will be at 4PM on Saturday. I'm participating in the Global Voices Online section which has a blog where we've been discussing the issues already. The conference starts today and goes until Saturday. If you're in Boston and are interested in this topic, I suggest you think about dropping by. Look forward to seeing everyone there!

UPDATE: The conference is supposed to be webcast. It doesn't seem to be working for me right now, but it might just be me.

UPDATE 2: Just set up #harvardbits on Freenode if anyone wants to backchannel.

I'm now at Frankfurt airport waiting for my connection to fly to San Francisco. I slept through most of the 12 hour flight here catching up on my nearly no sleep week in Cape Town. As I've said before, I'll try to pick topics as I get my head around them and blog them, but it feels like I learned more during this one week at the ICANN meeting in Cape Town than I've ever learned in a single week. The scary thing is, the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. People who participate in ICANN come from government, politics, civil society, academia, law, technology, business, NGOs and just about every other kind of group you could imagine. They come from developing nations and developed nations. It was the most diverse group I've ever seen. People wear 3 piece suits, t-shits, traditional dress from their countries and everything in between. It reminded me of scenes from science fiction movies of intergalactic meetings.

The conference is organized so that different constituencies have closed as well as open meetings about their issues. There are cross-constituency meetings where different constituencies discuss issues with each other, and there are public forums where everyone is present. The tone and style of each of the constituencies were extremely different, but I was struck by how civilized the discussions were considering how diverse people's backgrounds and views were. Obviously some people had agendas and some people were frustrated with many things, but everyone there seemed to be really committed to doing the right thing for the Internet. I met with many people who were critical about some of ICANNs positions and all of them were very patient in explaining their positions and sending me additional materials to study. (Special thanks to those of you who sat down with me and walked me through issues.) During the Public Forums, there was an open mic and many people spoke for many hours, very eloquently about their positions. This was also very enlightening. I do think that getting the web casting more organized, having more information online to help people understand the issues and creating more ways for people to participate without being physically present is something we need to work on. Also, with all of the acronyms and history, it's quite hard for a newbie like me and probably for most people to understand the context of many of the discussions. I think we need to make it easier for people to get up to speed and participate in the dialog.

It is an extremely important time for ICANN and for the Internet. Even though the focus is names and numbers, the issues being debated in this context will have a broad impact on how the Internet operates. There are many critical issues that have to be resolved over the next few years. If you really care about how the Internet impacts your life, I urge you to get involved. Getting involved means understanding the issues, participating in mailing lists, reading and writing white papers and getting others to think about the issues. You don't have to be technical. Many of the issues involve the social, economic and political impact of technical and operational policies. (I know some of you are wondering when I'm actually going to start talking about the issues... It will be when I have something non-ignorant to say.)

I am extremely psyched to have been invited to speak at the Chaos Computer Club's 21st Chaos Communication Congress on December 27th to 29th, 2004 at Berliner Congress Center, Berlin, Germany. I will speaking on day 2. There are lots of really interesting speakers including Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia on day 1, Donatella Della Ratta about Arab media also on day 2. Also, don't miss the eight annual German Lockpicking Championships. Anyway, it looks like an amazing event so if you're in Europe and feeling materialistic and boring after Christmas, come on over to Berlin and join us. I heard there will be a gaggle of Wikipedians hanging out having a parallel developers meeting as well.

The 21C3 has a blog and a wiki. The schedule is available in various formats.

I just arrived in Cape Town. I've had some tea and dinner and many of the waiters were humming tunes when they did stuff. Even the person who was putting candles on the tables was humming a tune. So far, people seem... happy. I wonder if it's the weather. The weather is BEAUTIFUL. Or maybe it's the contrast to Paris, where the weather was terrible and considering how wonderful the city was, generally speaking, people seemed a bit unhappy...

We were sitting in a cafe in Paris today having a meeting. The service was somewhat rude and as we sat around, a waiter came and said he wanted us to either agree to stay for lunch or leave to make room for people coming to have lunch. (Even though there were a lot of extra tables) My friend mumbled something and shrugged. The waiter walked away. He explained that when you go to the post office in Paris and you're really in a hurry, but the postal worker really doesn't feel like worrying about your problems, they shrug and sort of ignore you. He said he perfected this body language and it seems to have the effect of making people give up on you. It seemed to have worked, although I doubt I could do it...

Great Animal Story...

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Reuters) - A pod of dolphins circled protectively round a group of New Zealand swimmers to fend off an attack by a great white shark, media reported on Tuesday.

Lifesavers Rob Howes, his 15-year-old daughter Niccy, Karina Cooper and Helen Slade were swimming 300 feet off Ocean Beach near Whangarei on New Zealand's North Island when the dolphins herded them -- apparently to protect them from a shark.

I love stories like this. The contrast between stories like this and all of the stories of humans hurting humans amazing.

via die puny humans

I'm off to Paris today for some meetings, to Cape Town for the ICANN meeting, SF for some meetings then Boston for the Votes, Bits and Bytes meeting at Harvard Law School. As usual, my schedule is on my wiki. Also, my apologies to the environment...

PS My trip to SF is VERY short trip. I'll be back for a more leisurely visit in January and will hook up with everyone then.

Blogging from the bullet train on my way to Kyoto to chair a panel at the STS Forum. I usually don't moderate or chair panels so this will be an interesting experience for me. I guess the key will be to shut up and listen.

I still haven't shaken this bronchitis, but I think I should be better by the time I'm up. I did see a doctor and got some proper medication. I asked my doctor again whether I was contagious. He said, "not that contagious, but it depends on the person." Not very reassuring. So if you're feeling weak, don't shake my hand. ;-)

It's been a great experience meeting all of the vibrant people of Tel Aviv and visiting the holy city of Jerusalem. Special thanks to Yossi Vardi for his incredible hospitality. It looks like I must have caught some some sort of throat infection on the plane when I was weakened by the influenza shot. Since I have no fever or flu-like symptoms, my doctor doesn't think it's too bad or contagious, but I have a nasty cough. I wish I wasn't sick or I would be on the beach right now. I am not looking forward to the long flight back. Coughing Asians aren't usually very welcome on planes, although it's better than during the height of the SARS fright. I'm going to keep my cough syrup close.

Anyway, see you later Israel and thanks for all the falafel!

Thanks to Yossi Vardi, we got one of the best tour guides around, Yossi Kalmanovich. I joined Lance Johnson who flew in that morning. Yossi is a professional tour guide and you could tell. His explanations were very thorough and balanced considering he was a very passionate and proud Jewish man. We first went to the roof of the University where we could see all of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Then we went to Mount Olive where he pointed out the primary places and described the Muslim, Jewish and Christian stories. There were a variety of towers by different Christians who believed that the ascension of Christ happened in different places. The rock where Abraham took Isaac is also the place where Mohammed ascends and a stones throw away from where some Christians believe Jesus was crucified. After the bird's eye view of all of the huge variety of churches and mosques including the Mormon University and the Russian Orthodox Church, we went down inside the old part of Jerusalem. We wandered through the bazaars. People were not eating because of Ramadan, but the bazaar was bustling with activity as people stocked up on food for after Ramadan. There was a Muslim quarter, Greek Orthodox quarter, a Armenian Orthodox quarter, a variety of Orthodox Jewish... A huge variety of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish sects were represented and it was an almost unbelievable display of highly religious people mingling and sharing their holy places in what appeared to be a friendly and mutually respectful way. We visited a Church built on where some people believe Christ was crucified. There was supposed to have been an earthquake and a crack in the rock when he was crucified. The church shows a rock which had been cracked. I had never heard this before, but at the bottom of the crack, there is a rock that some believe is the skull of Adam and that Adam and Eve were also buried here. Another thing that I heard that I had not heard before was that the reason the year starts January 1 and not on the birthday of Jesus, December 25 was because Jewish boys are only officially considered alive after they are circumcised 8 days after birth. It was quite an overload of information and Yossi's ability to describe all of the various versions of each of the stories of the major religious and the intertwined nature of the Muslim, Jewish and Christian stories gave me a new appreciation for the extreme similarity and yet the ultimately unreconcilable difference between the three major monotheistic religions.

Yossi also explained the history of the various rulers of Jerusalem and what they built and tore down and why. You can see the difference in the layers of stones of temples that had been built upon temples. The graves of the Jewish waiting for the Messiah as well as the Muslim graves along the front of entrance of the main Temple area almost look like strategic military positions waiting for the return of their respective prophets. So much history and importance compressed into one small place. I'm sure it's not puzzling to people of these faiths, but to someone like me, I kept asking myself... why here?

We also visited the WWII museum, the Western Wall (the holiest place for Jewish), and got to see the West Bank wall, which looked as ominous as I had imagined. It wasn't a continuous wall, but for people who had to now travel over 10 kilometers to go around it, it certainly must feel like quite an obstruction.

I noticed that the "liberal" (I don't know if that is the correct term) people here are banning products made in the West Bank and Gaza to protest the Israeli settlements there.

I am going to Jerusalem this morning. As someone who is mostly non-religious and Shinto if anything, the notion of so many religions can sharing the same holy place is very difficult for me to understand. Hopefully, I will understand it better after visiting.

I made it to my hotel in Tel Aviv. It was more hassle than I've ever had before, but people were polite and it was bearable. The women at immigration gave me a short glare, but she didn't stamp my passport when I asked her not to. It was a bit hard describing what I was doing in Tel Aviv since she didn't know what Internet or venture capital was. (or at least in English.) The most unbearable part is that the hotel said they had high speed Internet on the web site, but for some reason they don't have it now. Maybe they're out of modems or something. So I'm stuck with crappy, expensive GPRS. At least GPRS works though.

I'm at the airport now and I'm on my way to Israel. I have a 14 hour flight to Paris, a 5 hour layover and then another 4 hours plus flight to Tel Aviv. Long flight.

The influenza vaccination I took is making me feel sick I think. It feels like I have half a dozen mini-flus at the same time. Symptoms of a bunch of different flus but mini versions. Blah.

Since I have five hours in Charles de Gaulle Airport, maybe I should look for Merhan Karimi Nasseri, the Iranian refugee who has been living in the airport since 1988. I wonder if he'll let me moblog him. Or even... a podcast interview. I suppose my "boy am I sick of airports" line won't really fly with him.

Anyway, if anyone is in Charles de Gaulle between 4:35 AM and 10:30AM on Nov 7, let me know.

Yesterday I got an influenza vaccination. I'm not sure what I expected but surprise surprise. I woke up this morning feeling like I had a mild flu. As a result I've slept all day. More than have slept all year probably. Which sort of sucks because I'm about to leave for Tel Aviv on the longest flight I'm going to take this year. (sigh)

Speaking of vaccinations, does anyone know if I need any special health preparations to go to South Africa?

I just got a $78.81 tax refund from the US Government in the mail today. What timing. Ha. I think I'll donate this to the EFF.

I am still getting bombarded from IP address which is My most recent outage was a a more "formal" attack, but my the cause of my first outage on bloghosts was caused by these requests from It's basically a request for my index.xml about 15 times a minute. Not really hardcore and we are now filtering the requests, but still annoying. It might be a hoard of news readers, but the requests keep coming even after we've banned them and redirected the requests back to Plasmaxx. Anyone know who Plasmaxx Research is? There is no contact info on their page or in the whois. I suppose that if it is indeed an attack, the perpetrator is not actually from Plasmaxx Research. Anyway, if anyone knows anyone from Plasmaxx research, can you tell them to please stop bombarding me.

More info on Adriaan's blog.

I'm going to Israel this month and South Africa next month. I've heard from a few people that both Israeli stamps and South African stamps in your passport make it very difficult when traveling to Arab countries. Does anyone know if this is true? Is there any way to ask them NOT to stamp your passport? Is THAT a cause for being hassled?

Apologies to anyone who tried to access this blog in the last 24 hours. It looks like it was another malicious attack. I don't know if someone is after me in particular, or if I've randomly stumbled across two denial-of-service attacks in one week. But why would anyone want to take out MY blog? Oh, maybe I'm affecting the elections in the US... not.

This morning I feel like an IM switchboard operator.

"Hey, ABC is hitting us 30 times a sec and our system is getting DoS'ed"

"OK, let me IM the VP Engineering at ABC"

"Here's his nick, he's waiting for your IM"


"Hey, I can't seem to reach XYZ."

"Hmmm... OK I found him. He says he'll IM you in 10 min so please hang on."

Don't get me wrong. I love being useful and the IM introductions and switch-boarding is a very high return on time for making connections. Much more efficient and useful than email stuff. It just feels funny. I feel like an operator answering calls like, "Hello Operator? Please get me the police!"

The day before yesterday, I received a notice from my hosting service that I was 80% through my bandwidth limit. I replied and asked for m.m.m.more bandwidth please. Then suddenly, I was at 100% and some trigger kicked in and shut down my site. It appears to have been a flood of requests from a singe IP address. (Who would want to DoS my blog...?)

Bloghosts has been generous on their pricing and Jace who runs it has generally been fairly responsive. For some reason, I haven't been able to get any response from anyone from Bloghosts. It is very unlike Jace so I'm going to hold back my criticism until I have more facts. It could be that there is some reasonable explanation.

Anyway, thank you for the flood of emails letting me know my site was down. I'm so glad you all care. (sniff) But the real thanks goes to Jason who set me up with space on his machine (where are you are reading this now) and Adriaan for getting my blog moved over to the new machine after a 24 hour outage. Since Jason doesn't seem to mind, I think I'll hang out on this server for awhile... so move over and give me some more room Sean, Chey and Gary.

Sorry about the light blogging. I've started immersing myself in reading and studying ICANN related stuff. I know this is generally true, but the more I study, the more I learn how little I know. Soon I will probably convince myself I know absolutely nothing. OK. It's not THAT bad, but it quite daunting. I hope it gets better by the time I have to go to the first official board meeting. I'm trying very hard to understand as many of the points of view as I can and am still looking for more views and opinions.

I do promise to blog more about my thoughts in the future, but I'm still very much in learning mode.

It seems like we're having a typhoon almost ever week. This one isn't supposed to be as bad as the last one, but all flights at Haneda Airport in Tokyo have just been grounded.

UPDATE: TSR says it's just a tropical storm, but it feels stronger than the other one. It's supposed to hit early in the morning...

UPDATE: 17 dead, 19 missing and 207 injured as of 10PM (1 hr 40 min ago). 187,000 homes evacuated. This one seems to be worse than the last one. It should hit our town in about 30 minutes. Doesn't seem so bad yet, but should probably shut down desktop computers...

UPDATE: Now 22 dead, 30 missing. The typhoon veered NorthWest and missed our region.

Flight is boarding now. See you later London and thanks for the Fish and Chips. See you on the other side.

See you later Helsinki and thanks again for the yummy reindeer steak. I'm off to London today.

Just went with Marko and a bunch of friends (including Loic and Heiko) to the Finnish Sauna Society. The sea wasn't frozen yet, so it wasn't avantouinti, but the ocean was 8 degrees celsius so it was plenty cold. Did the sauna, whip each other with birch branches and swim in the ocean routing five times. Then we sat around the fire cooking sausages. Very relaxing and a nice unwind after the Italian anarchy. ;-) Now I'm ready to spend the day tomorrow in a conference room with the Finns.

I love Italy so much. Thanks for all the fun. I'll be back soon. I've just arrived in Helsinki and it's warmer than I expected. I am about to head over to Aula to give a talk on the the future of music...

I'm on a panel right now in Milan. I learned the name of the conference when I finally got my pass. Lucky for me that they have simultaneous translation. On the other hand, I'm the ONLY one in the room who is using it right now since the speaker is speaking in Italian. There are two translators as usual who switch back and forth so the other can take a break. The thing is, the resting translator seems to be trying to make the speaking translator laugh. She keeps shutting off the translation and cracking up laughing. You can still catch the laugh when switches the mic back on and here the giggle under her breath. You can also hear the antagonistic translator scribbling jokes onto paper and putting it in front of the other translator. This reminds me of when the IRC back channel tries to make people giggle during serious talks.

It's a bit surreal. I'm the only participating in their performance and everyone is listening to this serious talk oblivious to whatever tremendously funny thing is going in the translation booth. I wish I could signal them so they would let me in on the joke...

Yesterday, I got lost running around looking for the building where I was supposed to be on the panel. The street was numbered so that they they started from one on one side of the street, go all the way to the end of the street and turn around and continue to increase in number on the other side of the street. So the highest number and the lowest number are across the street from each other. This was very disorienting and very inconvenient since I started on the wrong side of the street and I was trying to go to building #1. I was carry a very heavy bag with my computer, but I scurried down the street to try to get to the panel on time. I got them just in time. No one was there. )panic( Then people slowly started showing up. They had wine, food, dessert, espresso, and finally the panel started about one hour late. OK. My fault. When in Rome...

So today. I showed up a whole hour late, trying to game the system properly. Little did I know that a special rule applies for early morning meetings. It was a 9AM panel. I arrived at 10. A few people were here chatting in the hall. The organizer seemed relaxed and said we'd be starting in a bit. It's 10:30 AM now. Most of the panel have arrived, but we're still short. Anyway, I should probably just relax and enjoy it. I'm not complaining. I'm just observing how utterly different it is from Japan where I get scolded for starting my press conferences 2 minutes late...

I've just been nominated to the board of ICANN (Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers) and will be officially joining already seated members at the conclusion of the ICANN Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, December 1-5. ("Nominated" technically because I officially join in December, but the selection process is completed.)

This is the end of a two or so year process of people telling me I should get involved and others warning me against it. Some of my wisest advisors urged me not to join saying things like, "you will make 3 mistakes in your life... this is one of them..." or "friends don't let friends do ICANN."

ICANN has its share of problems and a negative image associated with it in many circles. I've even taken my fare share of cheap shots at ICANN.

I am joining ICANN for two reasons. ICANN is changing and it's critical that ICANN is successful.

I've talked to on the phone and met a great number of people involved in ICANN in a variety of capacities. I realized that ICANN today is not what ICANN was a few years ago. Please reset your biases and pay attention to what they are doing. Yes. There are still problems, but they are being addressed by an extremely committed team of people who are doing amazing work. Also, take a look at the board. It's very geographically and professionally diverse. It's not some puppet of the US or special interests.

Why is ICANN important? If ICANN is not successful in proving that it can manage some of the critical elements of the Internet such as the name space and IP addresses, ICANN will be dissolved and the ITU will step in. Why would that be bad? I am generally in favor of multi-lateral approaches, but in the case of the ITU, I believe it is biased towards the telephone monopolies. The ITU was built by telcos to set technical standards for telcos. That suits the telephone system architecture, which is highly centralised and is structured as a patchwork of geographic monopolies. The Internet is decentralised, and there are many small companies and individuals working at the peripheries to develop new applications for the overall network. The governance process has to reflect the diversity and the needs of these companies, as well as the needs of the network providers.

I believe that many of the things that ICANN is doing are important, but the single biggest factor leading to my decision to try to participate in ICANN is to try to prove that the people of the Internet can govern themselves without direct involvement from nation-states and to try to help build an organization that can deliver that promise.

The official press release is on the ICANN site. For more information on the nomination process, please see the NomCom page.

I'm leaving today for Rome, Milan, Helsinki then London. 24 degrees C in Rome, 0 degrees C in Helsinki. Hmm...

As usual, my schedule is on my wiki.

UPDATE: Note to self. Try not to travel the day after a typhoon> If you have to, arrive VERY early. Luckily I arrived unusually early. The airport is hell. Piles of sleeping bags and cranky people who spent the night at the airport. Two hours to get to the check-in counter. Took me 4 hours to get to the gate. Ugh.

Image from Japan Meteorological Agency
In a few hours, we will get a direct hit from super typhoon Ma-On with a max wind speed of 115 knots. It's the first direct hit I've been in in awhile. I wonder if we should go close the storm doors...

UPDATE: Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) just downgraded it from a category 5 (maximum) to a category 4. Peak winds at 115 kts or 130 mph. It is projected to still be a category 4 when it hits Tokyo. We just closed our storm doors and gathered our candles.

UPDATE2: TSR is showing a rather different path than the Japan Meteorological Agency. Odd. JMA shows a direct hit, whereas TSR shows it veering a bit north...


"If it continues to move as projected, it will be of the most powerful category among typhoons that have landed on eastern Japan in the past 10 years or so," an agency official said, warning of heavy rains, strong winds, mudslides and sea surges.

16:51 JST: 1331 homes have been evacuated in my prefecture, Chiba. Several hundred homes have been evacuated in Sakura, the next town over.

16:58 JST: Typhoon just turned South and is headed directly for us now. House has started to leak water and it's not even here yet...

17:20 JST: 108,000 locations have lost power in Shizuoka.

17:43 JST: Lost power for a minute but it's back up again. My PHS wireless network card shows no network.

1,387 homes evacuated in Chiba, my prefecture. I'm on higher ground so probably no risk of flooding...

16:32 JST: Feels like it's over. That wasn't bad. I guess it's really the flooding that's causing damage. I guess we were lucky. Sorry to worry anyone.

18:50 JST: Chiba is warned that there may be some fukikaeshi or "blow back" still.

I took a video of the trees dancing in front of our house in "super night mode". (800K QT MOV)

I will be speaking at an Aula event in Helsinki next Thursday about the "Future of the Music Business".

Joi will speak on Thursday, 14 October 5:30 PM at Korjaamo (details here, for directions see this map).
So if you happen to be in Helsinki, drop by.

I used to give a lot of talks to Japanese audiences, but have recently been spending more time speaking overseas and writing on my blog. Kenta in my office suggested that I accept the occasional talk in Japan to keep in touch with the Japanese audience. I accepted a talk at the Japan Information Technology Services Industry Association (JISA) annual conference. As I was preparing my presentation yesterday, I tried to imagine my audience and I realized that I had "lost it". It was almost impossible for me to imagine what they wanted to hear, or what they would understand. They had allotted me 70 minutes and the last slot so I had plenty of time.

I tried to explain very clearly with examples where I thought things were going. I showed blogging, Technorati, Wikipedia,, Creative Commons and talked about the future of the music, telecom, and copyright. I could see a few people understood what I was talking about, but there were several hundred people who were politely attentive, but didn't seem to be smiling.

Later, at the party, one of the younger members told me that most of the people in the association still programmed on mainframe computers in COBOL and viewed the primary disruptive threat as low cost outsourcing to Asia. They didn't really use the Internet yet. Oops. I guess I missed my target. Sorry! That's what happens when I stick my head out of the echo chamber. I guess I should probably do it a bit more so I remind myself that social software is not really "here" yet. For some people, the Internet is barely here...

I just got my student ID which lets me into the library. I can now finally look up citations that the academics throw at me. But more importantly... I have access to Lexis-Nexis. w00t!!

It's a weird feeling. I feel like I'm sitting behind some massive intellectual firewall. I can research all kinds of stuff here, but many of the sources are not online and do not have permalinks. I can blog about them, but many times all I will be able to provide is the "nah nah, I bet your library doesn't have THIS periodical" sort of citation. On the other hand, I guess part of my new job here is to get some of the knowledge out of this institution and into the public...

Click photo for higher
resolution on flickr

I just got my picture taken with my second cousin Keigo. Keigo is aka Cornelius and is a pretty well known musician. The picture for a magazine called Brutus and the series is about cool people and their relationship with someone else. So I was the "someone else" for this article. The photo was taken by Kishin Shinoyama who is well known for his portraits. His confidence and efficiency were quite amazing. He found this cool spot to take the photo in our offices in 5 minutes. Then he set up his 8X10 camera took polaroids of three poses. He seemed to only take one or two actual photos of each set up. It was all over in like five or ten minutes.

He gave me one of the polaroids and signed it for me upon request and said that I could post this on my blog.

Today was my first day of school. The requirement for getting an university email, intranet and wifi account requires a course in netiquette. The course focused on "don't spread viruses." OK.

I showed up a few minutes late as Professor Takeuchi was talking about how tardiness would not be tolerated. (Sorry Professor Takeuchi!) Strike one. I sat in my student chair feeling very guilty.

Next was the session where we were going to get our accounts.

Instructor A: "So does everyone have have ICS IT Handbook?"

I didn't have one.

Me: "No. I didn't get one. Can I have one?"

Scarier instructor B: "Why don't you have one?"

Me: "I didn't get one. Where do we get one."

Scarier instructor B: "Sit down and share with someone." (scowl)

Me: "Umm.. OK."

So we were instructed on how to log in, change our password, etc. I finished a bit early and was messing around with my profiles. I noticed a place on the intranet where we could upload our picture. I started googling around for a good image to use when...

Scarier instructor B: "Are you following the instructor?"

I had clearly been profiled as a problem student by this point.

I turns out that there are only 3 DBA students and I was the only one attending today so I was put in another class. That's why I didn't have the handbook. Scarier instructor B didn't know this so I guess it's not her fault for scowling. But sitting in a classroom being scolded by instructors brought back a lot of memories. ;-) I'm going to have to get used to it and try to fit in a bit better... for now.

In a few hours I'll be leaving New York to go back to Japan. Met so many interesting people this trip and the weather was beautiful. Thanks!

The concert tonight was amazing. I hope people got a chance to watch the video feed. Gil/Byrne were amazing and were eventually able to get a house full of somewhat tired old people on their feet and dancing. It was also amazing to realize how much Talking Heads songs were a part of my DNA... anyway. Maybe more when I'm less tired. Need to go to bed.

Oh, and David Byrne dedicated "Road to Nowhere" to the Repbulicans.

Main WaterField bag that I put everything else into
I realized today when I was packing that just about everything I pack is in a little sub-bag. I'm not normally an anal person, but having bags in bags with a proper place for every cable and plug helps me structure my packing and pack without thinking too hard. One of the most important components of this system is my WaterField bag gear. I've been using these bags for awhile since Reid turned me on to them, but I keep buying every new specialized pouch they come out with. I'm an addict...

I also LOVE the Eagle Creek Pack-It Folders that keep your shirts together and has this cool plastic thing that helps you fold your shirts.

I'm off to New York today to attend the Creative Commons board meeting and go to the Creative Commons benefit concert organized by Wired Magazine. Hope to see you there!

UPDATE: At airport now. It was very crowded getting through. I was looking through my passport while waiting in line and I noticed that on my last trip the old U.S. Immigrations stamp I used to get when entering the US changed to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Similar, but definitely has a different ring to it.

Also, I've been stuck waiting in line enough these days and have started always choosing lines where if possible both adjacent lanes are closed. I've found that I have a 50/50 or so chance of having the lane next to me open up and shorted our particular line by 1/2. In many airports like Narita, there are two lanes per block and it's worth it to check whether a line is a double line or a single line since sometimes they get mashed together...

Anyway, at least I'm on free wifi with a power cable.

Insert-Coin blogged a time lapse movie of our Eccosys web cam which was in my apartment in 1995. Talk about a walk down memory lane.

It's been nice hanging out in Linz meeting all of the cool people here. I'm off to Beijing today via Frankfurt and Narita. I have a feeling this multi-airport flight is going to suck. Anyway, maybe see you along the way if I can find some wifi.


I said I had a feeling it would suck and it is sucking.

Airport - Linz, Austria
Gate Agent: Our computer is broken. I can't check you through to your final destination.
Me: OK, but please check my bag through to Bejing via Tokyo.
Gate Agent: My computer is down. I have to look up the codes by hand. What country is Tokyo in.
Me: Japan
Gate Agent: Beijing is also in Japan.
Me: No, China.
Gate Agent: OK. (scribbles down codes and flights on luggage tag.)
Announcement at Gate
The flight to Frankfurt has been delayed
Airport - Frankfurt, Germany
Me: (after running through Frankfurt airport and finding the proper check-in counter after 2 counters forwarding me to another one...) Can you check me through to Beijing. The computer was broken in Linz.
Gate Agent: Your reservation has been cancelled.
Me: ??!
Gate Agent: Let me talk to my colleagues... The computer in Linz was broken.
Me: Yes. I know.
Gate Agent: I will book you through to Beijing.
Arrival Gate - Narita, Japan
Gate Agent: Are you Mr. Ito?
Me: Yes.
Gate Agent: Can I see your luggage tag?
Me: Yes. (hands her luggage tag)
Gate Agent: hmmm... (squinting at hand written scribbles) This isn't the code for the Beijing airport. And the flight number is not correct.
Gate Agent2: That's the code for the city of Beijing, not the airport. It should probably be OK. And that SORT OF looks like a "9"... Sir, you'll be fine.
Me: (doesn't look very fine...)
I'm in Narita now wondering if my bag is really going to show up.


My bag and I have arrived safely in Beijing and even gprs seems to work fine!

As usual, there were a lot of PowerBooks at this conference. Interestingly, Esther Dyson, Lawrence Lessig, Bruce Sterling and I were the only people I noticed who had stickers on our PowerBooks. Other people who I know who have stickers on their PowerBooks are Mena Trott and Cory Doctorow. I wonder what this means? What do those of us who are willing to vandalize our pristine PowerBooks with stickers have in common?

Anyway, just an observation...

When Jim gave me my first Moleskine notebook, I didn't realize that I would become part of the Moleskine mania. Since then, I see these notebooks everywhere. I have recently been added to the fan blog, moleskinerie. Antoin has some interesting thoughts on the narrative and branding by Mondo e Mondo, the Italian firm making these things.

Ars Electronica 2004
Video Streams

In addition to the proceeding of the Ars Electronica Gala, the panels of the TIMESHIFT Symposium and the Prix Forum as well as the speech by Itsuo Sakane, the Re-inventing Radio Symposium and the launch of Creative Commons Austria will be available online as video streams.

The program is online here. I'll be on the DISRUPTION panel.

Now listening to: Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols

I'm at an airport lounge in Frankfurt Airport and just had a weird experience. There was a huge line and passport control to get into the terminal with my departure gate for my next flight. I decided to go to the lounge. It was sort of a long walk, but when I arrived and asked how to get to my gate, they said it was around the corner - with no security or passport control. Somehow I just "walked around" the passport control.

Now I realize that this is inter-terminal passport control so I have no idea what sort of border it represents, but being able to walk around it seems a bit weird to me...

UDPATE: Although two different people at the lounge assured me it was only minutes away and I didn't have to go through passport control, I somehow got routed back the way I came and though passport control. I asked several times since I was very skeptical. So I either didn't listen to their directions carefully, they were pulling my leg, or they were wrong. Anyway, sorry about the misfire.

I'm off to Linz, Austria in a few hours. I'll be attending Ars Electronica. My schedule in Linz is on my wiki. After that, I'm going to Beijing. My travel schedule for the year is also on my wiki.

See you all there.

In December, I announced that I quit drinking. I got a flurry of comments of support. Several of us who had decided to be sober, thought a group blog about quitting drinking would be interesting so we started We Quit Drinking, the blog. Soon, due to some weird Google magic, the blog became the first result for "quit drinking". A wide variety of people who were looking for support and help dropped in and commented. Jonas, who among other things works with addiction as a counselor, decided that a more private space, a message board requiring login might make sense so he created the WQD Forums. He announced today that WQD Forums has hit 100 members and have become a vibrant community of people who are in various stages of sobriety sharing and supporting. Since that day in December, I've received sooo much input and advice. Thank you. Some of it has been very useful and some, frankly, not so helpful. I have been to a few AA meetings and have really enjoyed them. On the other hand, I have not yet passed the first step, "Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable." At the meeting I said, "I think I have a problem, but I don't yet believe that I am powerless or that my life has become unmanagable." The interesting thing is, no one was upset. One AA'er later said, "In AA, we call that 'a quart short'". I think I will still drop into AA meetings because I love the stories and the comfortable atmosphere of sharing, but until I get to Step One somehow, I don't think I can really be a true member. It's been quite a journey hearing the wide variety of opinions about drinking. I've decided on the few advisors and approaches that I think work for me now in helping manage myself. My opinion may change and if I finally believe that I am powerless and my life has become unmanagable, I know I can always count on AA, which I now believe has an incredible power to save people from alcoholism. If you thinking you have a problem or know you have a problem, try dropping by WQD Forums and join us in our emerging community.

I have my PowerBook on my insTand next to my bed with a clock screen saver alarm clock. Usually, I wake up before my alarm goes off and wake up the computer instead. As soon as my status on my IM clients goes from idle to available, I get a little flurry of requests for contact. "Did you see my email?" "When can we talk?" "Don't forget our conference call coming up." "We're on a conference call right now you might want to join." I queue up these real-time requests like some sort of air traffic controller, put on my headset hooked up to my Vonage phone and get started. Today, I started the morning with an conference call on the fly with a few people on a one of the many free conference call bridges. During the call, I got an IM that I might want to drop into another conference call in progress. After my first call, I joined the second conference call which was already well on its way. I got the URL of the wiki page of the agenda and notes via IM, scanned them, and made a few comments. Then I was off again to my next call which I had queued with someone on IRC.

My question is, am I a weirdo or an edge case for how people will work once we all have IM and voice and conference calls are free.

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.


test press of Communicate with notes from Mark
I've been thinking about audio files lately. There are lots of interesting audio blogs these days and I realized that putting audio interviews for my sharing economy research online would be a neat thing to do. For the last month or so, I've been diving into audio gear and software. (I'll write about all this in another post when I figure out what I'm doing.) During this journey into gadgets past, I stumbled into my vinyl records from my DJ days. Most are promotional records that Rockpool sent me when I was reporting my charts to them, but many were from Mark Stephens. Mark Stephens was my mentor and one of my best friends. He was also the first person I knew who died of AIDS. Mark received tons of promos and he would share some of the good stuff with me. He would jot things down on the record jackets or on little post-its. Since I stopped spinning records, I've allowed several DJs as well as my second-cousin Cornelius to go through my record collection and take what they wanted. What I have now is a 1000+ record collection, almost all from 1988-1990, 90% crap, with very high sentimental value. What do I do with them? I looked into software to convert vinyl to mp3's but it looked like a real pain. The other idea I had was browse my vinyl for stuff I liked, scan the notes and try to find the music on a file sharing network. I should know the answer to this question, but is this illegal?

I seem to be getting into these diary-like entries these days, but digging through old vinyl and reading the little notes from Mark brought back a lot of memories. I'm struggling with how to bring some of those memories into the medium I have today.

Adam Curry samples a portion of Halley's interview with me on Memory Lane on his Daily Source Code Aug 17 2004 - (1.2MB mp3 of relevant section). I'm talking about how I showed the chairman of NHK (Japan's public broadcast network) a video that I downloaded from Adam Curry's MTV.COM. I think this was around 1994 or 1995... It was one of the few video files on the net at the time. I used to show this video all the time and I told this to Adam when I met him at Bloggercon. He said he wanted a copy of the video and I thought I might have it around, but I looked and I don't have it. Sorry Adam! Does anyone else have it? It's a bit of Internet nostalgia and history that would be fun to have. Unfortunately, I think this predates

Warning: rambling diary style entry to follow

Jonah, a friend of Neeru and Joshua emailed me that he was going to be in Japan and wanted to talk about Eyebeam, a very cool art R&D project he is working on. He was leaving the day after I came back to Japan so we decided to meet for lunch at the airport. I printed out Andrea and Jonah's picture from Andrea's photo blog, taped it into my moleskine notebook and headed for the airport. I've been mastering the shortcuts from my house to the airport since I make the trip so often. Today, I found a new little shortcut where I take a right at the rice vending machine and cut through miles of rice paddies and skip the traffic lights on the main road. I love zooming through the rice paddies looking for crop circles until you run into oncoming traffic and have to maneuver just right or fall into the ditch. Anyway, I met Andrea and Jonah at the airport and took Jonah to have a quick bite at Sushi Iwa while Andrea made some phone calls.

The conversation was really interesting and we had an amazing number of common interests. When we were talking about diffusion patterns of ideas and links across blogs, he mentioned that he had helped a new television show use blogs. He explained that there was a new TV series called "Good Girls Don't" and he helped them set up a blog for Jane, one of the characters. How cool. He then started explaining about the character and a funny interaction she had with Instapundit. Holy synchronicity. I suddenly realized that this Jane was the same Jane who had linked to my blog post about no more alcohol until I lose more weight. I had just been reading her blog this morning totally perplexed about the most random link in my Technorati cosmos in quite awhile. I hadn't read the "about" page so I hadn't realized she was a fictitious character. Anyway, so weird, funny and... bloggy. I wish my favorite TV characters had blogs and that they randomly linked to me.

I'm at SFO on my way back to Tokyo. It definitely feels like Silicon Valley is "waking up" again. Hopefully, we've learned from our mistakes and the "recovery" will be a better managed one. See you again from Japan.

I was interviewed by Halley Suitt for Memory Lane. Memory Lane is Halley's new program on IT Conversations. Halley writes about the program on her blog.

It's been nice to spend time at home, but I'm off again today to Wasatch, Utah to a retreat and then to San Francisco for a short visit. It's the summer obon season so the airport's probably pretty busy today. So I may check again at the airport, but if not, see you on the other side.

I'm going to end up in the mountains in Wasatch for a few days so depending on the connectivity, you may not hear from me for a few days...

UPDATE: I'm at the United lounge in Narita and the wifi here is free now (yay!) but they are blocking the ports for IRC and MSN Messenger. (boo!)

I know people are tired of this story, but this post gives us some closure on the discussion in my previous flippant post about the Hyote.

Boing Boing
Hyote captured alive!

The Hyote, a magical mystery animal that's been running around central Maryland, has apparently been captured. (Previous post here.) Amazingly though, this Hyote--a male red fox with sarcoptic mange, according to veterinarians--is most likely the offspring of the larger animal caught on video last month. Once the baby Hyote is well again, animal control will release it back into the wild. Link (Thanks, Soupie!)

Although the day has past in Japan, it is Sys Admin Appreciation Day in the US. System administrators are some of the most important and often least appreciated members of the team and this is a great opportunity to thank them.

I'd like to thank Kuri who does the brunt of my network admin, Boris who does most of my blog admin and pixel pushing, and Adriaan and Jim who help out when they can. Special thanks to Justin, for installing my first Movable Type installation.

Thanks to Peter, Adina and Ed for helping me out on my SocialText stuff, to everyone on #joiito for keeping the bots running. Although they're not really Sys Admins, to Jeannie and Suw for being the "strange attractors" on #joiito who keep it going.

I'd like to thank the team who started Eccosys: Cyrus, Sen, Shimokawa, Daishi and Jona, and kudos also to Ushioda who pitched in at Neoteny.

Thanks also to Scott Burns who kept The Meta Network running for all those years.

Finally, I'd like to thank all of the people who run the dns and other vital components of the Internet and keep it working.

The world would not work without you all.

(I'm sorry if I missed anyone.)

via Boing Boing

I just received word that I have been admitted into the International Business Strategy Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program at the Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy. I was talking to them last year about possibly applying, since the Ministry of Education recently changed the rules so people could apply for a doctorate program without a masters degree. Unfortunately, I don't even have an undergraduate degree so it was tough nuggies for me. They changed the rules this year and let me apply again and I got in. I guess this makes me the least educated student to ever be admitted. hmm...

Anyway, the real reason I'm doing this isn't the degree, although that's nice. It's a very cool program where I will be able to use the resources of the university including research and the professors. My only deliverable is a book on the sharing economy. I don't have to take any classes and the topic really fits right in with Creative Commons, blogging and everything else I'm doing. I'm a big fan of many of the professors at the school and I am really psyched to be able to exploit them officially now. ;-)

Here is a PDF of my research topic description.

I just got email from an old friend who told me that one of my old friends who I haven't seen for years, Genesis P-Orridge has breasts now. There is a picture of him and his breasts on his site, which turns out to be a blog. Yay!

I first saw Genesis probably about 15 years ago when he came to Japan and performed a penis piercing on stage at at event that was sponsored by Sony, Silicon Graphics and a bunch of other big name companies. It was produced by Professor Mitsuhiro Takemura. Japanese companies sponsored a lot of sub-culture stuff back then...

I first actually talked to Genesis when I interviewed him for a Japanese magazine and he was in Japan for a Psychic TV concert. Later, we became friends. I remember going to stay at his house and thinking, as I slept on his sofa, that the sound of the dozens of the body piercings jangling as he walked around the house naked sounded a skeleton with chains in some movie or something.

Looking at his blog, I'm glad to see that it looks like he's doing well. I also just noticed that he looks a lot like Kiefer Sutherland. (I'm watching 24 right now.)

Anyway, if you see this, "Hi Gen!"

I'm on my way back to Japan. I thought I was going back to Japan yesterday, but AFTER I checked my bags through to Tokyo, I looked at my ticket and realized that I had a one night layover in San Francisco. I should have stayed in Aspen. The weather (the fourth time in the last year) grounded my flight to Denver, but I made it safely to San Francisco.

Anyway, thanks for all the wonderful thoughts from the people at Fortune Brainstorm 2004. It was GREAT. Once again, the small size and diversity of the people totally trumped any other conference I've been to in a year since the last one. See you next year. (hint hint David)

See you again in Japan.

David Kirkpatrick, the man behind Brainstorm said I could blog this event. Rockin'! I'll post some of the notes from my wiki over here too.

Six Apart just acquired Loic's blog company, Ublog. Loic had been acting as our marketing partner in Europe, but now he's apart of Six Apart. (Mena has a good story about this.)

Andrew Anker who I met when he was running Hot Wired back in the day has also just joined Six Apart. (More about that on at Mena's Corner)

Last but not least, Barak Berkowitz who was once my boss at Infoseek, then later worked for me at Neoteny, is now taking over the role of CEO of Six Apart. (Mena's story about this)

Welcome aboard everyone. I think we're turning a new page in the development of Six Apart. I urge you to read Mena's posts for her view on all of this. I'm a proud VC today.

UPDATE: Cory on Mena's post.

I'm at Brainstorm 2004 which should be fun. It's my favorite conference of each year. I'm going to be taking notes and will encourage anyone else here wants to use the space to put notes on the Brainstorms 2004 page on my new public SocialText wiki. I'll also be hanging out on #brainstorm on Freenode on IRC.

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 life. (I can't really image that is true, but if a Reverend says he needs more silliness, it must be serious.) So I decided to send him the two books. Although I didn't remember the stories very clearly, I clearly remember they were both very silly and fun.

I had forgotten that Jitterbug Perfume and probably Tom Robbins in general tended to be a bit snarky about Christianity. I'd never read them from the perspective of a Reverend before. AKMA seems to have taken it in stride, but it's interesting how you can overlook things that suddenly become snarky in context. I feel like someone who had been laughing at a joke that isn't very funny for some of my friends.

This stream of consciousness impulse buy story was very helpful during my NPR reading series interview when they asked if I ever ready any fiction.

Thanks to Adriaan, Jace, Boris and Kuri for updating Joi Ito's Web to Movable Type 3 and moving it to Bloghosts, the new home for Joi Ito's Web. The load time seems about the same, but the rebuild time on the new servers seems much faster so I think trackbacks and comments should not be a problem anymore. Let me know what you think.

Also, I don't have the birthday script and other things running yet, but hope to get it going soon. We switched to Adriaan's Technorati MT plugin and are making some other changes. Boris is doing some design changes too as you can see.

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 MUCH SENSE together. The conference is extremely well organized and cool. I got to meet Stewart McBride and Lynda Weinman who really run a class act. Looking forward to figuring out some way to work with them on something...

After that, I went over to NPR and did a short interview about what I read. Blogs of course. ;-) I think the 20 min or so will be edited down to 3 min so I'm not sure what's going to end up in the interview, but I'll post a link once I know when it's going to air.

So no more public speaking until Apsen next week. Time to relax...

It was nice spending some time at home in Chiba, but I'm off to the US again. I'll be giving a talk at Flash Forward in NYC on Friday and then going to Brainstorm 2004 in Aspen next week.

Dave. Thanks for giving me credit for the Edwards as VP rumor link. You could have linked directly, credited only Metafilter or anything really. Actually, this is something that I struggle with every morning when I open Net News Wire and go through my news feeds. Some people take the position that it's not important where you get the link. I don't think this is true. The dilemma happens when you find links to the same interesting article on several blogs. Do you credit the first link you see? Do you credit the first person who posted it? Do you credit the most authoritative? I notice most people don't usually credit Blogdex or Daypop. You can always go to Technorati and see who first linked to it and who is the most authoritative link.

I don't think we need any global standard for link credits, but it's nice when someone gives it to you and it's something I try to do when I can. So thanks Dave.

This week, I've been spending a lot of time in the yard. Today, we had neighbors over helping us fix our front entrance and the day turned into a community assisted day of heavy work and heavy machinery for me.

We recently fenced off an area of the yard for Bo and Pookie. The problem is, it is a dirt area and they get all muddy. Mizuka and I decided to make half of it grass and half of it gravel. I asked on DogReader about whether to use wood chips or gravel and I got good advice that I should use pea gravel. We went to the hardware store and bought some gravel. It was very heavy and expensive... (relatively speaking)

I got my wheel barrel and shovel out and was preparing to lay the gravel and the neighbors laughed at me. They said that I definitely didn't have enough gravel and that it would be too expensive to cover the whole area with enough of the pea gravel. They recommended that we get some cement gravel and lay it down first. It sounded liked a good idea.

One of the guys jumped into a truck and came back with a few tons of gravel. He looked at the fenced area and went and got another few tons. Sitting in our front yard was about 4 cubic meters of gravel, a wheel barrel and a shovel. I remember reading about how French farmers protest against the government by dumping tons of manure at the front gates of government buildings. It's the battle between those equipped with heavy machinery and those who are not.

As I started loading up wheel barrel after wheel barrel, images of forced labor flashed through my mine. "Put your back into it!" As I moved wheel barrel after wheel barrel from the front yard into the fenced area, the neighbors who were working on my front entrance watched me with pity.

"Do you know how to work a excavator?"

"Umm... No..."

"OK... wait a sec. We'll get someone to bring one over. He'll help you load up the wheel barrel."

Soon the beautiful excavator arrived and I was promoted from shoveler/barreler to barreler with excavator assistance.

After several hours of barreling, finally I had moved several tons of gravel about 20 meters and spread it out a bit.

"You're going to need to flatten it out a bit. Have you ever used a forward plate compactor?"

"Umm... No..."

"OK.. wait a sec."

Soon a forward plate compactor showed up.

"Here's the choke, here's the throttle. Wet the gravel a bit and use the compactor to flatten it down and even it out."

"Umm... OK..."

Soon, I found myself behind a roaring plate compactor. Lucky for me, I had my new Sensaphonic custom molded ER 9 ear plugs. I could keep my ears from being blown out and still hear what people were saying.

Anyway, I'm quite tired in a pretty healthy sort of way, but unfortunately, I'm too tired to blog. So instead of something political, all you get is this silly diary post. ;-)

Last night, I attended an Izu Conference dinner and the guest speaker was Yasuhiro Yamashita. Yamashita is the former Japanese judoka Olympic gold medalist and he is currently teaching at Tokai University and is on the board of the International Judo Federation. He's quite a star in Japan and he talked about Judo and globalization.

He started off the talk by showing an interview with Vladimir Putin on Japanese TV. Putin talked about his love of Judo and how he had been a street urchin looking for a way to be tougher when he started Judo, but that Judo taught him "the way" and helped make him what he is today. Putin also mentioned how the art of using the strength of the opponent against themselves was an important method even in politics. There was footage of Putin at his Judo dojo at his home in Russia. Both of Putin's daughters are studying Judo as well.

Yamashita talked about how Putin's love of Judo was what helped break the ice for Koizumi's relationship with Putin and how they had met at the dojo before Koizumi's meeting with Putin in Japan.

Yamashita also mentioned that Chairman Okuda of Toyota was also a Judo enthusiast.

Yamashita urged people to support Judo. He said he was also a poorly behaved young man and that Judo helped him learn values and discipline. He jokingly said that although many of the young Judo students may look like misbehaved youths, just imagine how much worse it would be if they were in the streets.

The Izu Conference is an annual IBM Japan sponsored meeting/retreat. This dinner was kind of an alumni meeting. Here are some of my notes from last year's annual meeting where the topic was the US.

On the 10th, one of my good friends, Mannojo Nomura of the 300-year old Izumi school of kyogen passed away suddenly. He was 44. His father and grandfather were both Japanese living national treasures and he was scheduled to take his grandfather's Manzo Nomura title in January. Our family house in Iwate used to have a no/kyogen theater and we had hosted his family in the past many years before I was born. A few years ago, Mannojo and I met up through Enjin 01, a cultural non-profit organization that we are both on the board of. He was always very cheerful and thoughtful and we talked a lot about rebuilding our family relationship. We had planned to travel to Iwate together soon. I'm really going to miss him...

Last week the grandmother in the house next door passed away and we had the first funeral in our little village. The village is still mourning the loss. Although I didn't know the woman, I can feel the mourning in the air.

Then, the day before yesterday, Kazuo Sato, the CEO of Net One Systems passed away. I met Mr. Sato through Osamu Sawada who used to be our COO at Neoteny. Mr. Sawada will be taking the CEO role now at Net One Systems. Mr. Sato and I met several times and I remember him being extremely driven and generous. We had agreed to go to dinner sometime and discussed working together more closely, but we had both been busy and hadn't gotten around to it. Net One Systems is one of the largest and fastest growing network solution providers and Mr. Sato is famous for building the extremely successful company with his focus and strength of character.

I'm sorry for clumping three obituaries together in one post, but they're all fresh in my mind right now...

Tantek, who worked on IE for the Mac at Microsoft has given notice to Microsoft that he will be joining us at Technorati. Welcome aboard!

This is a pre-dinner/party for Supernova 2004 at the Santa Clara Westin June 24-25. (But you can come to the party if you're not attending the conference!) Joi will be in Tokyo, but with us in spirit -- and perhaps more directly....

Location and Time

2232 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95050
Tel: (408) 248-9747

Wednesday, June 23
Cocktails at 6:00pm; dinner starting at 7:00pm

See the wiki for more details and to sign up. I can't make it, but am trying to sort out a way to be there virtually. ;-)

See you later Helsinki and thanks for the reindeer and the midsummer nights.

On my way back to Japan. Looking forward to being home for a few weeks...