Everything's gone black.....

Wow ... little old New Zealand, eh? First thing that happens when we get bored and toss out the Labour Government is the new folks hire Franz Kafka to rewrite our copyright laws.... (Well, the second thing really - first was global economic catastrophsk, but I hesitate to pin that on the Nats!)

The guts is this ... soon ISPs will be forced to take down internet connections and websites of anyone accused (not convicted) of copyright infringement. We doth protest ... hence the internet blackout.

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Twicco.jp - Twitter based communities

imageAt the New Context Conference in November, Digital Garage announced their new Twitter-based community service - twicco.   DG had announced a partnership with Twitter, Inc., at the beginning of 2008 - See PDF (PDF? c'mon... !) and the have been working on localisation issues with the service.  twicco represents an extension of this relationship, and is produced by DG group's DGIncubation, Inc - although curiously there is no mention of the service on the DG Incubation website.

twicco works simply by taking @replies sent to an account, and posting them as updates to the account's timeline.  This changes twitter from a one-to-many to a many-to-many communications service, hence enabling groups or communities.

The interface is only in Japanese at the moment - and the instructions on the site are a little confused - but here is the rough guide to starting up a twicco group...

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Looking for the pulse of Japan's Business SNS Scene at Softbank, Yahoo, and more...

Nothing like the slowdown over new years to spend some time digging around the net (.. as if I didn't spend enough time doing that anyway!).

I've been looking at the Business SNS Scene in Japan, signing up and kicking the tyres for a few weeks.  The lights are on, but is anyone home?

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Web 2008 Expo - Day 2 - Web Innovation & Creative Day - Mashup and Beyond

Mashup and Beyond

The final session of the conference was about Mashups - and specifically presenting the winners of the annual Mashup Awards, sponsored by Sun and Recruit

The session was moderated by Akihito Fujii, who works for Sun, but was there as founder of the Mashup Awards. Fujii-san is very active in supporting Open Source and Startup businesses in Tokyo.

The grand prize winner lives in Fukui Prefecture which is a bit of a hike from Tokyo, and could not make it to the conference, so the two runners up were there to tell their stories. These were again two very contrasting presentations, and the most technically interesting of the conference.

The first was "Air Sanpo" - which translates as "Air Walk" or "Air Stroll" - a multi-dimensional mashup, followed by Newsgraphy - a mashup of news API, filtering and analysis and geometric science.

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Web 2008 Expo - Day 2 - Web Innovation & Creative Day - Geomedia-fying the Web

Geomedia-fying the Web

The Panel discussion on Geomedia on the Web was moderated by Naoyuki Seki from the GeoMedia Summit organising committee, and the panelists were Takehiko Murata from Yahoo Regional Services (ex. president of Mapion), and Gen Miyazawa, president of Cirius Technologies.

First they went through the history of maps and online and mobile mapping:

Ancient Prehistory - maps are used for communication - perhaps even before language
1997 - first free maps online - Mapion
1999 - mobile web begins - imode, ezweb, jsky
2002 - mobiles with GPS - gps sites and games
2005 - Google maps - free to use API

Murata-san said he considered the most significant recent milestones in the mapping industry were in 1997, where Mapion made maps free to use online, and 2005, when Google made maps free to "re-use" online. This has obviously changed the came in the mapmaking industry, and he recalled being berated by an analogue map producer at an industry party in the early days for giving his product away online.

The discussion covered the market for location aware media services, and Murata-san noted that while the current market for such services online is about 5 trillion yen, the paper based advertising market for local services (flyers, newspaper inserts, etc.) is 145 trillion yen, so there is still a huge amont of market that could potentially be changed to digital.

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Web 2008 Expo - Day 2 - Web Innovation & Creative Day - Power Pitches

Power Pitches

First on the card for the second day was "Power Pitches" ... two lightning presentations from two startups that couldn't have been more different.

The first was Hironao Kunimitsu, director of gumi, presenting his company's "port" of Open Social to a REST platform for application to the Japanese mobile web - and by extension, other non-Javascript UIs.

As no-one else are doing this, Kunimitsu said with a smile, they are by default world's largest mobile open web platform ... but they do have over 90 applications working so far.

Second was Taisei Tanaka from Geisha Tokyo Entertainment, introducing their "Augmented Reality" product - "Aris". It is a software package that hooks up to a web camera, and a small cube that is placed in front of the camera, and the systems uses as a visual marker. As the company name might suggest, the system overlays a "Virtual Maid" onto this cube. Oh dear ... I thought ... Japan's vision ... to the world? ... but wait, there's more.

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Web 2008 Expo - Day 1 - Open ID and Open Web Day

Yesterday was the first day of the Web 2008 Expo at the Shibuya. The timing was the same as the ill-fated O'Reilly event of a similar name, but this was much more of a grass-roots industry affair.

Because of the timing, I did have the pleasure of meeting Brady Forrest from O'Reilly Radar - he had already booked his Tokyo tickets on the return leg of a vacation when the event was canned, so he came along acccompanied by Andrew Shuttleworth.

Opening Remarks

Shuji Honjo - the chief of the LLP that runs X-Shibuya SNS, and organiser of the event - kicked things off dressed in traditional Japanese office kimono.

Keynotes

Next Natsuhiko Sakimura from the Japan Open ID Foundation took to the stage to explain their mission - to spread the adoption of Open ID among the general population.

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Web 2008 Expo in Tokyo next week (Dec. 3 & 4)

Next week sees another event in Tokyo, the "Web 2008 Expo". Organised by SNS XShibuya, the byline for the event is something along the lines of "The Vision of a Web Era the Japan Sends to the World" .... fascinating!

XShibuya is an area-based invite-only SNS started in July 2006 by the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI), designed to match up "Creators" in the Shibuya area of Tokyo for business opportunities. The site is operated by the Greater Shibuya Area Creator Matching LLP (!) ( 広域渋谷圏クリエイターマッチング有限責任事業組合 ) , which seems to be backed by Otsuka Shokai, Takara Tomy, Total Brain and others, and is headed up by Shuji Honjo, a VC from Net Service Ventures.

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Aoyama Gakuin Open Lecture: VC Funding and Venture Management in a Time of Rapidly Dropping IPOs

Pina Hirano from Infoteria is a regular at the monthly Tokyo Blog Dinner in Gotanda. At last week's event, we got chatting, and he was kind enough to invite me to a lecture at Aoyama Gakuin, where he leads a business course. Most of the lectures are just for the handful of postgrad students on the course, but this one was open to others, and about a dozen other guests attended.

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Tokyo 2.0 - 2008-11-10

Well... it's that time of the month again. Tokyo 2.0 was packed to the brim this month ... maybe the slowdown means people leave the office at a sensible hour now (see below :)

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