Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Recently in the Heckling Category

Kara Swisher is one of the smartest, funniest and sometimes cruelest journalists I know. She is a co-host of the Wall Street Journal All Things Digital conference with Walt Mossberg.

For a variety of reasons she’s having a hard time getting an interview with Jerry Yang. She discovered that “Lunch with Jerry Yang” is the prize from Bloggers Challenge for the bloggers who inspire the most readers to give. To participate/give, just go to the AllThingsD page on the DonorsChoose site.

So… in addition to loving Kara, I also owe her for introducing me to cool people and letting me stay at her house and stuff. When she says, “i need you to flack this…it is for a good cause. also funny” I guess it means I should blog about it. ;-)

Good luck Kara. Sorry Jerry!

But it is a good cause. Really. I’m going to give right now.

For a more complete description of this whole thing, which is admittedly slightly difficult to understand, see Kara’s blog post about it.

I was messing around on the Nike store trying out the "made to order" Nike+ shoe section. There is an option to label your shoe with your "iD". When I tried "Joi" it said iD declined. It accepted "Jo", "Joichi", "JoiIto" but not "Joi".

According to their policy:

A Personal iD may be declined for any one of the following reasons

* It might violate another party's trademark or other intellectual property rights. These may include words, phrases, celebrity's names, and even certain color combinations when used in connection with particular words or geographic designations.
* It contains profanity, inappropriate slang, might be considered insulting or discriminatory, might be construed to incite violence, or may simply contain material that we do not wish to place on our products.

So what does "Joi" mean that I don't know about? :-\

I seem to be doing this more and more, but I'm sitting in my hotel room watching the webcast and chatting in the chatroom for the IGF meeting. Until they make it easier for people to use their computers on site, I'm going to continue doing this.

I realize it is slightly rude to have your computer open during conferences, but the ability to look things up, take notes and chat are much more important than appearing slightly rude IMHO.

I KNEW people would make creative use of the CC licensed video I uploaded.

The WoW section subtitled. By Kazpah our friendly neighborhood Warlock.

And NO. That's NOT what I said. ;-P

The video requires some quicktime stuff and won't run in many players. If anyone knows how to convert it to other formats, let us know. FWIW, it seems to work in Safari on my Mac, but not in Firefox... and it will take awhile to download.

Heres the skinny: Blizzard adds in a new instance, Zul'Gurub. Inside is the god of blood, Hakkar. Well, when you fight him he has a debuff called Corrputed Blood. It does like 250-350 damage to palyers and affects nearby players. The amazing thing is SOME PLAYERS have brought this disease (and it is a disease) back to the towns, outside of the instance. It starts spreading amongst the genral population including npcs, who can out generate the damage. Some servers have gotten so bad that you can't go into the major cities without getting the plague (and anyone less than like level 50 nearly immediately die). GM's even tried quarantining players in certain areas, but the players kept escaping the quarantine and infecting other players.
via Boris Via Wonderland

Then, I ask Jonas about this and:

It was a sight to behold. Some tell me, IF was finally usable and that the lag was gone for once, but Orgrimmar was fun nevertheless. Red blobs splashing everywhere, healing and renew/regrowth was being mass-spammed, and there were more bodies and skeletons around than I've ever seen, and I've raided IF before.

My biggest fun was screwing with those incompetent GMs. Some used their own chars to herd us, which made the plague transfer even faster, others messaged and threatened consequences if we did certain things. The idea was, to move all infected players into instances, where we could be by ourselves, so we hooked up into large raid groups, rezzed instead of corpse walked, and re-infected ourselves before hearthstoning back into Org. Bog Troopers, a huge horde guild in Org, raided Stormwind, which was almost empty, and killed the child king (no HK, there, you have to kill the Guardian) before walking into the Stockades, farming gold. The GMs congregated up on Honor's Stand, so we had a handful of players up there, stealthed, and infecting them. It was more fun than any other world event EVAR!.

Not much to add. Just hilarious.

Cory Doctorow @ Boing Boing Blog
GOATSE t-shirt in the NYT


Anil Dash wore a subtle and arcane GOATSE t-shirt for a recent New York Times photoshoot, and they ran a pic of him wearing it. GOATSE is an Internet legend -- a repulsive photo that used to live at that Internet pranksters went to great lengths to trick others into seeing.

SFW Wikipedia entry on Goatse, NYT Link

This is excellent... Wait, does this guy work for Six Apart?

Microsoft Longhorn has upgraded from the "Blue Screen of Death" to the "Red Screen of Death". Nice new look.

Via Michael Kaplan via Willl

UPDATE: Willl's friend noticed that "execution" is spelled "exectuion". Either this is a hoax, or they haven't spellchecked Longhorn. Can anyone out there confirm this RSOD?

UPDATE 2: It appears that Michael is an employee of Microsoft. He also informs us that the RSOD is not an "upgrade". Longhorn still has BSOD. RSOD is for really bad errors.

I received the following email and this attached Word document from the lawyer at It looks like a form letter to me. I have no idea what activity they think is illegal and I'm waiting to hear back from them. Has anyone else received this letter from them? See the word document for the slightly different letter in its full color all caps glory.

Kevin B. Jones, Esq.


TO: Registrant: Neoteny Co., Ltd. Plazamikado 3F 2-14-5, Akasaka Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052 JP
RE: Domain name: ITO.COM

Administrative Contact: Ito, Joichi Plazamikado 3F 2-14-5, Akasaka Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052 JP +81 3-5549-2270 Fax: +81 3-5549-2271
Technical Contact: Ito, Joichi 2-14-5, Akasaka Plazamikado 3F Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052 JP
+81 3-5549-2270 Fax: +81 3-5549-2271

Kevin B. Jones, Esq.
Deputy General Counsel


If received by mistake, please inform of the erroneous transmission by immediately replying to the email and then delete the mail and its possible attachments without opening, copying, distributing or retaining any copies thereof.

For more information on see Google. I wonder if they got the letter too. ;-)

UPDATE: See Chilling Effects for a great site about how to understand and deal with these sorts of letters.

MSNBC: Columnist Coulter hit with custard pies
The Smoking Gun: "Al Pieda" Targets Ann Coulter

According to a copy of the police report from the University of Arizona Police Department on The Smoking Gun, the "Al Pieda" were involved.

UAPD report
Search incident to arrest I located on both Wolff and Smith pieces of paper (propaganda) involving Coulter's name and the explanation of "Al Pieda".

via Markoff

The Guardian had an interesting project to try to get readers to send email to people in Clark County and influence the US vote.

The Guardian

Operation Clark County


It works like this. By typing your email address into the box on this page, you will receive the name and address of a voter in Clark County, Ohio. You may not have heard of it, but it's one of the most marginal areas in one of the most marginal states: at the last election, just 324 votes separated Democrats from Republicans. It's a place where a change of mind among just a few voters could make a real difference.

Writing to a Clark County voter is a chance to explain how US policies effect you personally, and the rest of the world more generally, and who you hope they will send to the White House. It may even persuade someone to use their vote at all.

They got some feedback from Americans.

via Metafilter here and here

UPDATE: They actually got the idea from a blogger. See here and here.

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...

According to The Lantern, LaRouche founded Wikipedia.

LaRouche, an outspoken political activist, set the record for consecutive attempts at the presidency by running eight times. He started, a Web site functioning as both a free encyclopedia and a wiki community, which allows users to add information to posted articles. He is known to be a promoter of conspiracy theories and has frequently been accused of being a fascist and an anti-Semite - claims he has denied. In 1988 he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiracy, mail fraud and tax code violations but served only five.
I DID NOT KNOW THAT. So who was that Jimbo guy I met in Linz. Hmmm...


On October 4, 2004, an article titled “LaRouche PAC group sings, shouts, argues with Bush supporters” was published in The Lantern, the student newspaper at the Ohio State University. The published form of the article contained a terrible inaccuracy – Lyndon LaRouche was mistakenly credited as the founder of, the popular free online encyclopedia. Its founder is actually Jimmy “Jimbo” Wales, an Internet entrepreneur based in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Newspaper articles pass through the hands of various editors before publishing, a fact that the public often is not aware of. The original copy of the article submitted to The Lantern contained information about LaRouche obtained from and attributed to Without the knowledge of other editors, a copy editor changed the article and inserted the erroneous information. The mistake was subsequently printed and published online.

The author of the article and a frequent Wikipedia user, Joktan Kwiatkowski, took up the issue with The Lantern immediately after discovering the mistake and also arranged for corrections to be made in print and online form following correspondence with Wales. However, the article was referenced in many weblogs and message boards, and Kwiatkowski was unfairly ridiculed and characterized as inaccurate.

The article was the first submitted by Kwiatkowski to The Lantern, and he received an apology from the paper over the incident. He has contacted bloggers that circulated the article, and some have already extended their support in an effort to help clear his name.

Seth and Xeni write about this new American monster pickup truck, the CXT. According to Xeni it is "about 2 feet taller x 4 feet longer than the honkin' Hummer H2. Which, btw, it could tow along with that yacht, if need be." (MSNBC article and debut site)

I just bought a 10 year old Daihatsu HiJet pickup truck. I got it because it's small enough to drive on the narrow paths between the rice fields. It can carry as much gravel or dirt as I would be willing to move on any given day. Just about every single neighbor has one of these little pickup trucks. And no, I didn't buy it just to fit in... although I think it helps. I think my HiJet is about 130" long and about 45 horsepower. (approximately 1/2 the length and 1/5 the horsepower of the CXT)

That CXT would be completely useless in my village. So you can keep your gas guzzling monstrosity and whatever weird culture that created it. I'm happy with the spartan aesthetics of my little HiJet. (Web page about Kei class Japanese trucks)

Britney Spears's fans don't think the pop star's chewed gum is "Toxic" - they're buying wads of it on eBay. There are more than two dozen auctions of used gum on eBay, each claiming their product has been spit out by the 22-year-old singer. Prices go as high as $14,000, but most are for significantly less. Though there is no way to verify the authenticity of the various wads, many postings include photos of a small piece of chewed gum, a copy of a ticket stub from the "place of finding" and a personal story of procurement.
eeeww... I wonder what people do with this used gum when they buy it. Or maybe I shouldn't ask...

Inspired by Maciej's anti-audioblogging manifesto, I started working on an audioblogger mashup. I'm not very good at this yet, but here's what I've got so far. (1.8 MB mp3).

I'm going to keep working on this, but if anyone wants to pitch in and give me a hand... hint hint...

UPDATE: I'm taking this down because Maciej says it's freaking him out. ;-)

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

Yes... I did photoshop out the end of his AIM nickname.

Team America - World Police, from the creators of South Park. "Putting the 'F' back in freedom". Coming October 2004

via Juche

this is the constitution on DRM

So jump over here to where you can purchase an electronic version of the Constitution, fitted very nicely to a Microsoft Reader (not Mac compatible), and protected quite completely with DRM. The description says you're not permitted to print it. The reader reviews report you're permitted to print it twice a year. And don't try to hack the code to print it more than twice -- until Boucher's H.R. 107 passes at least. (Though the ranking is higher than for my book. Maybe free fails after all?) (Thanks Paul!)

Now who in their right mind would buy a copy of the US constitution in a form that they couldn't freely print? Or maybe they're going to try to get the government to stop distributing for free. ;-p

I had fun with some photoshopping last night, but this morning someone showed me a site of a photoshop-a-rama on the new MEP from Finland, Alexander Stubb. Too bad most blogs don't allow images in comments anymore. It's such a ... "creative" form of communication. ;-)

Nigritude Ultramarine. Here you go Anil.


Smart Mobs
Wave Messaging

From the company that pioneered text messaging, picture messaging and multimedia messaging, comes new innovation - Wave Messaging, or Light Messaging, according to a Nokia press release

By waving the Nokia 3220 camera phone from side to side, the LED lights of the Nokia Xpress-on FunShell light up to "write" a message that appears to float in mid-air.

Related articles on airtexting-type technologies:

-- In March 2003, the WSJ reported from CeBIT about a phone called Kurv, made by Kyocera Wireless Corp which featured airtexting: "The company believes airtexting will be one of it's most popular features, especialy in night clubs. To airtext, you type in a text like 'call me' then wave it back and forth in the air. As the phone moves, a row of blinking red lights along the top of the phone leaves the phrase trailing behind it."

-- A company called Wildseed actually tested airtexting with teenagers.

If they made an airtexting enabled BlackBerry, I wonder if they would allow them in Congress. With the massive penetration of BlackBerries (NYT - A BlackBerry Throbs, and a Wonk Has a Date), it would be like a chorus of Hecklebots. Anyway, I want one. Forget night clubs, imaging having one in the audience during talks.

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

via user0

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

Louisiana to ban saggy, butt-crack-exposing pants via Boing Boing.

This is really funny because many years ago I had the honor of being with the mayor of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. I distinctly remember the mayor talking about his new "moon pants". They were pants that you could easily zip down the back of and moon people from the balcony. I guess he can't wear them anymore...

Everyone makes fun of the Japanese use of English. (See Engrish) The Chicago Tribune has a story featuring Chicagoans with tattoos Japanese characters and a comparison of what the bearers think they mean and what they really mean in Japanese. Very funny.

via MetaFilter and Boing Boing

Isn't it funny/interesting that Wallop, Microsoft's social networking project is built using flash, xml and sql while Orkut, Google's social network project is built using .Net and C#? Microsoft avoids being locked into the Microsoft platform while Orkut is completely locked in. hmmm... What does this mean?


via danah

Angle-Grinder Man is back.

His web page is here.

nohsI was excited when I got my entry in the Internet Movie Database. I was thinking about how vain it was to be excited by this. It felt like being in some sort of elite Orkut. Just like Orkut, there was a "click here to add photo".


$35 - Submit a Person's Headshot or a Film's Poster
Replace the "no headshot" or "no poster" icon on their main page with a headshot/poster or change the current headshot/poster to a new one.

$10 - Submit a Gallery Photo for a Film or Person
Add an image to your film's "studio stills" gallery or your personal "publicity photos" portfolio.

Why Do I Have To Pay?

When you use this service you get to make sure the image you want is on the first page people see when they look you up or look up your film, and/or that there are images you have chosen in the photo gallery.

Without this service, you leave all the decisions of what is used, when it is used, and if it is used, entirely up to fate and our editors.

There are many factors that make it just too expensive for us to provide this service for free, so we have to charge you for it or not provide it at all.

Ahh, the business model. ;-)


I've been hanging out with knights lately and had been thinking about British knights vs honorary knights and how strange the idea of American knights was. Just when I was pondering the weirdness of Bill Gates becoming a knight, Dvorak rants.

Sun always has a huge presence at Davos. They always rent a special house right across from the Congress Center and are a big sponsor. They add that special irreverence to the meeting and John Gage is always the life of the party. This year, there is no sign of them. I wonder what happened.

And guess who rented the Sun House... Microsoft. I wonder if Bill Gates is trying to make a point. :-p

Michael Powell wants to crack down on profanity in the US and the Brazilians arrest this pilot (via antti) for flipping them the finger. "He made an internationally known obscene gesture when he was being photographed by the Federal Police," according to the article. With all of the increased reason for profanity directed against establishment, I can see how a global war on profanity is essential for the security interests of the civilized world. :-p

If you hang out on #joiito or are interested in learning more and plan to be at ETech, please vote for, sign up for and contribute ideas to the session we are planning. We're going to try to play with RFID's and the Jeannie's cafe idea and we need a head-count so please sign up early if you're interested. Hopefully Hecklebot will be there as well.

Ev writes about Google's new quicklink for whois. If you search for "whois [domain]" on Google you will get a link to a search on's Global Whois service for the domain name. I guess this is useful for people who won't touch a command line, but I don't think I'd ever use it. I will continue to open a terminal window and type "whois". That way I can continue to see whois spam too. ;-)

$ whois

Whois Server Version 1.3

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
with many different competing registrars. Go to
for detailed information.


Eeewwww... What ARE YOU THINKING Apple Computer?

I just ordered it anyway, but this is crazy. Microsoft Office is the last thing in the world I'd want to compare iLife with.

via Zeitgeist

I just woke up from sleeping for 18 hours. I know some people who sleep 18 hours+ regularly, but for someone who averages 4-6 hours a day, 18 hours of sober sleep is quite a psychosomatic journey. I had had a full night's sleep the night before, but sitting in the sun cuddling Bo after a big huge brunch with Mizuka's family, their chatter turning into a comfortable drone in the background sent me into a deeeeeep sleep.

I just woke up and my brain is in a interesting state. I've had two espressos but I still can't type properly. I am quite disoriented, but I feel deeply happy and deeply thankful for a bunch of things. A lot of the "issues" I had been pondering now seem trivial and for some reason I seem to be taking a much longer term view on things. It literally feels like I've done a fresh install on my brain and it is now rebooting.

What a wonderful day. If I weren't feeling so merciful today, I would taunt those of you who have hang-overs today. ;-)

So here's someone who has "social norm tensions" around gadgets and cell phones.

John C. Dvorak
Cell Phone Hegemony - PC Magazine

Let me walk you through my tale of woe. First, picture this gathering: New York Times reporter John Markoff, San Jose Mercury News columnist Dan Gilmore (sic), Andrew Orlowsi from The Register, author Gregg Pascal Zachary, blogger/investor Joi Ito, lyricist/pundit John Perry Barlow, and me. Everyone there had some relationship to the computer scene, and we were about to have dinner at a pseudo-swanky San Francisco eatery. Each reveler was political, opinionated, and outspoken. What transpired made my flesh crawl. Everyone, with the exception of me, like beings possessed, pulled out one, two, or maybe three cell phones, and while collectively drooling, began the macho 21st century showdown game of "who has the coolest cell phone?" It was horrible. I left, nauseated and shaken after witnessing this cult-like phone-features feeding frenzy. When I was a kid, we talked about football.

Since this dinner was officially "off the record" I didn't blog much about it, but you can imagine it how it could have been a rather awkward dinner. It was part of my "round up the journalists" dinner that we occasionally organize. It's amazing how gadget talk seems to bond most geeks (except for Dvorak) regardless of what they think of blogs or techno-utopias. We kicked off the evening with cell phone talk and had a great time.
John C. Dvorak
I've complained previously about idiots on cell phones in public, but I've given up.
Cell phones now rule the world's collective unconscious in untold ways. What astonishes me about all this is the sociology that has crept up on us. Why do we have this incessant need to chat on cell phones all day long all of a sudden?
I do agree that different countries seem to have different manners, the Finns seem to have some of the best manners. Maybe it's because American learn to talk on their cell phones when they are in cars... but you're right. Many Americans tend to shout into their phones.

But Dvorak... Why are you freaking out about cell phones man? Why don't you freak out instead about why American's can't seem to figure out how to use them or make them. ;-p

If you go to google and search for "miserable failure" you get bio of George W Bush. This is a bloggers' google bomb.

Newsday article on the topic

Thanks Kev for the clarification

Larry Page and Sergey Brin Parody Blog

I've wanted to do a blog for ages but Sergey couldn't manage to set up MovableType. Apparently it's "Just too difficult".

Anyway, the other day he suggested that it would be a thousand times easier to just buy

So we did.

Via Aaron Swartz on the Google Weblog

Oh cool! Dvorak is bashing blogs again. It must be that time of year again. He probably needs more traffic.

Oops. I broke my promise not to make fun of journalists who don't blog... But I'll make an exception for journalists who like to tease me too.

UPDATE: Steve Gillmor takes the bait and responds to Dvorak.

The FCC says it's OK to say "fuck" on TV. So it is OK to broadcast, "fucking USA" ?

Via MetaFilter and Boing Boing

Telemarketers are suing the National Do Not Call Registry in the US, which is a place where you can register to block telemarketers from calling you. 50 million households have signed up. I think this is a good idea, they obviously don't.

In his column, David Barry of the Miami Herald published the phone number of the American Teleservices Association, a telemarketing company.

It turned out that a lot of you were eager to call up the telemarketing industry. Thousands and thousands of you called the ATA. I found out about this when I saw an article in a direct-marketing newspaper, the DM News, which quoted the executive director of the ATA, Tim Searcy. Here's an excerpt from the article:

"The ATA received no warning about the article from Barry or anyone connected with him," Searcy said. ". . . the Barry column has had harmful consequences for the ATA. An ATA staffer has spent about five hours a day for the past six days monitoring the voice mail and clearing out messages."

That's correct: The ATA received NO WARNING that it was going to get unwanted calls! Not only that, but these unwanted calls were an INCONVENIENCE for the ATA, and WASTED THE ATA'S TIME!

I just hope nobody interrupted the ATA's dinner.

Ha! This is great. The hypocrisy and the irony are truly monumental. The ATA changed their phone number, but the new one is 317-816-9336. Maybe I'll call them and ask them if they know about Stealth Disco...

Via The Daily Irrelevant

I've set up a wiki page to try to heckle conferences more strategically. We should post information about conferences we are going to remote-heckle, list of speakers, past presentations from the speakers, what they are likely to speak about, hard questions we should ask, etc.