John Naughton
For John Naughton's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
LIFE / Digital
Apr 3, 2013
Moleskines are shaping virtual notebooks
Australian author Bruce Chatwin has a lot to answer for. Specifically, he's responsible for a forthcoming initial public offering (IPO) on the Italian stock market. It all goes back to something he wrote in his 1986 book 'The Songlines.'
LIFE / Digital
Mar 27, 2013
Facebook, Google spreading 'their' Net
On March 18, amid great hoopla, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering was awarded to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Kahn, Vinton Cerf, Louis Pouzin and Marc Andreessen.
Japan Times
LIFE / Digital
Mar 20, 2013
How Google made me get into bed with Hitler
One of the wonders of the online world is the "Downfall" meme on YouTube. (For those whose time is too valuable to be wasted watching video clips, I should explain that the parody is based on remixing a scene from Oliver Hirschbiegel's film, "Der Untergang [Downfall]," which chronicles Hitler's final days in his Berlin bunker.)
LIFE / Digital
Mar 13, 2013
Online, some are more equal than others
A few years ago, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman published a bestselling book with the title "The World is Flat." In it he used the concept of "flatness" to describe "how more people can plug, play, compete, connect and collaborate with more equal power than ever before — which is what is happening in the world".
LIFE / Digital
Mar 6, 2013
Not even Google will be around forever
Some years ago, when the Google Books project, which aims to digitize all of the world's printed books, was getting under way, the two cofounders of Google were having a meeting with the librarian of one of the universities that had signed up for the plan. At one point in the conversation, the Google boys noticed that their collaborator had suddenly gone rather quiet. One of them asked him what was the matter. "Well", he replied, "I'm wondering what happens to all this stuff when Google no longer exists." Recounting the conversation to me later, he said: "I've never seen two young people looking so stunned: the idea that Google might not exist one day had never crossed their minds."
Japan Times
LIFE / Digital
Feb 27, 2013
Glass may look geeky, but you have to applaud Google's vision
A few weeks ago, the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, spent four days in Cambridge as the Humanitas visiting professor in the university's Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, where I work. Afterward, one of the questions I was most frequently asked by people who hadn't been around for his visit was: "Was he wearing the glasses?"
Japan Times
LIFE / Digital
Feb 20, 2013
Digital capitalism produces few winners
Need a crash course in digital capitalism? Easy: you just need to understand four concepts — margins, volume, inequality and employment.
LIFE / Digital
Feb 13, 2013
Streams of consciousness will kill off websites
The communications theorist Marshall McLuhan observed that "we look at the present through a rear-view mirror." And that "we march backwards into the future." Amen. Remember the horseless carriage? Not to mention the fact that we still measure the oomph of a Porsche 911 in, er, brake horsepower.
LIFE / Digital
Jan 30, 2013
Why the Apple and Facebook empires are destined to collapse
Nothing lasts forever: if history has any lesson for us, it is this. It's a thought that comes from rereading Paul Kennedy's magisterial tome, "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers," in which he shows that none of the great nation-states or empires of history — Rome; imperial Spain in 1600; France in either its Bourbon or Bonapartist manifestations; the Dutch republic in 1700; Britain in its imperial glory — succeeded in maintaining its global ascendancy for long.
Jul 2, 2008
Bill Gates' excellent adventure ends in tears
LONDON — The scene: a tasteful, wooded corporate retreat north of Seattle. The time: one day last March. A large group — mainly chaps in their mid-40s — stand around. They seem to be in quite a state.


Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on