Spain may break up. If it does it will be because Madrid has been deaf to the feelings of the Catalans. The Catalans signed a Constitution in 1978 that said that should they ever want to become independent all of Spain would have to agree. This was a big mistake on their part. Because there is no way independence will ever happen in this framework. If there was a vote now in of Spain around 80% of Spaniards would vote against Catalonian independence, but around of 54% of Catalans would vote in favor in a Catalonia-only vote, which is what they want to have this Nov 9th. This is partly out of their desire to be independent but also because Madrid has told them that they have to live by the 78 Constitution no matter what. That even if most of them dislike being part of Spain they have to stay in. In my view Madrid and the rest of Spain should allow the Catalans to vote for their independence but with time to win them over again. And in those years it should first negotiate the exact conditions of their independence, and then go on a charm offensive as the British did. Most likely during an improving economy. If the Catalans become independent they could be out of the EU, out of the euro, etc. There are so many unknowns that I think it is possible to win against independence by truly showing more cons than pros. Moreover the Catalan leadership has been incredibly corrupt. Jordi Pujol one of the biggest promoters of Catalonian nationalism and leader of Catalonia for many years has made a huge fortune for him and his family out of the Catalonian people. Catalan leaders have issued dangerous levels of local debt and Catalonia was recently saved from absolute bankruptcy by Spain. Catalonia, as opposed to the Basque region who diversified its industrial base, has followed economic policies that were as ill conceived as those of Madrid. Catalonia has based too much of its investment on infrastructure and debt, overextended its welfare state and has achieved slightly worse results than Madrid. But by forbidding debate on independence what Catalans see is the negative of staying together. And they do have a point when they argue that they, as well as Madrid, give too much of their income to the rest of Spain. But this is something that should be renegotiated all over Spain, setting limits on regional transfers and making some regions of Spain manage slightly more on their own. This is not a Catalan problem, it’s a Spain problem. Both Madrid and Catalonia give around 8% of their GDP to Andalusia, Extremadura and so on and this should be modified. But as it stands, the existing Constitution is just not fair on the independence issue and will lead to civil disobedience. The Catalans may become independent in spite of the Constitution because the rest of Spain should not use military force to keep them in the Kingdom. Dialogue and showing the positives is the only valid unionist strategy. Personally I believe that Catalans have the right to be independent and as a Spaniard I see my objective that they choose not to do so, not that they are forced into the union. And I think there are enough valid reasons to stay united. It’s time to change the slogan from “España a la fuerza” to “Juntos molamos” o “mejor juntos” – better together as the British said.
I have simultaneously used an iPhone and an Android for many years. Two pockets, two phones, two carriers. Verizon Android and T-Mobile iPhone in the USA Tuenti iPhone and Vodafone Android in Europe. But for a long time, my favorite phones had been Androids. Until this month Androids could do many things that iPhones failed at. You had a wide choice of size and my favorite screen dimensions were around 5′ bigger than any iPhone. Sharing on Android was much better, you could share any service with any service, iPhone picked winners. Android allowed WiFi apps like our own Fon app, iPhone did not. Some phones like the Samsungs came with replaceable batteries and by 5pm every iPhone I had was dead. So were the Samsungs but I could change the battery. Lately Samsungs like the S5 became waterproof and that was awesome during the summer. And then there was SwiftKey, the multilanguage keyboard that read my mind (because it read my Gmail), the keyboard that could guess whatever word was coming next in whatever language, the keyboard that spared me from having to use that horrible language changing globe of the iPhone clearly designed by monolingual people. But I still carried iPhones. The iPhones I used for other reasons. One, a big one is design. They were always the best looking phones. I just liked them as objects. Video and photography, no matter what Android makers did, they could never beat the iPhone neither the photo apps nor the cameras. And games of course. So many more games and better games for the kids. In general almost every app looked better and worked better on the iPhone. But what good was all this if the iPhone would be too small to type in, would only work with one language at a time and its battery would die by 5pm?
Well I am here to report that my new iPhone 6 is the first phone since Android became competitive that beats any Android I now have. And currently I have an HTC M8, an S5, a Moto G, and a OnePlus One which is a very special yet buggy high end Android phone. Yes I am still hesitant about the non replaceable battery in the iPhone 6, I will have to test it will, see if I can last all day. But the iPhone 6 at 4.7in is the perfect size, it is incredibly beautiful, thin and light, it abandoned the “we are better keyboard dogma” and got SwiftKey, it allowed WiFi profiles that are almost as good as WiFi apps for Fon, it came with 128GB of memory so I can get a large supply of Spotify extreme quality songs and all the games for the kids they want. Before I used to always be on an app diet, especially with the apps for Leo (7) and Mia (3), games that take over 1GB each. Now we can app binge and then put them on a game diet, but with choice. And the iPhone 6 is far superior at video and photography. After the iPhone 6, iPhone it is now. Will continue to use Android and iPhone but my time on phone ratio will radically shift towards iOS. Having said this, I don’t want to end without bringing a key factor here and that is cost. The iPhone costs $850. Yes $850 forget about those rip off offers with contracts, that is what it really costs, what Apple gets. And for $129 you get a an unlocked, no contract Moto E. A Moto E is not 15% of the phone an iPhone 6 is. If you, like most of humanity, are a person who lives on a budget, the Moto E is 80% of an iPhone 6 for 15% of the cost. What Android has that Apple never will, is the ability to bring 84% of humanity to the Internet. And for that we should thank Google. Even a low end iPhone costs 4x as much as a Moto E. And this is why iOS is only in 11% of all smartphones sold in the world right now. Moreover Android still rules at sharing, first it gives it OS at no cost to others and that is why their phones are so much more competitive, but also I love the way Android allows you to share from anything to anything. I find it impolite that Apple picks winners and losers by greatly limiting sharing among its preferred services.
Still even Google (trends) will tell you that with 11% global marketshare, iPhone is always more news than Android.
First my sincere apologies for the instruction manual that we have provided, we are improving it a great deal thanks to your feedback. In the meantime this is my simplest way to explain how to connect a Gramofon.
Then if you found this link after November 2014 don’t go on reading, the Gramofon installation will be simpler by then. This is only for the beta units of the Kickstarter backers.
Take Gramofon out of the box.
Decide where you want to place it, you must have electricity and a sound system nearby. Ethernet or cable Internet is optional but if you have it use it as speeds will be better. Think of an Apple TV, in a way the Gramofon is like an Apple TV for sound and it connects via cable or WiFi like an Apple TV and it turns any sound system into a cloud music player just like an Apple TV turns any TV into an Apple TV video player.
Plug to electrical outlet and to sound system via the audio cable
If you have ethernet (cable that gives Internet) plug to ethernet, if not no worries the Gramofon also works via WiFi receiving and extending your wifi signal. Now one warning here, the Gramofon will extend the signal of any router that is not made by Fon. It will not extend the WiFi signal of a Fonera for example. It’s an IP conflict problem and in this case to fix it you will have to be an advanced user.
Download the Fon Utility app, please make sure it is the Fon Utility app, yes I said Fon Utility app and I did not say Gramofon app, I also did not say Fon app. Fon has three apps but the one you need here is Fon Utility.
Connect to the WiFi signal Gramofonxxx with password that is written under the Gramofon, if you are over 40 get your reading glasses as font is small!
Open Fon Utility app and follow instructions in the app, the app is like an instruction manual, and it shows you how to personalize the Gramofon choose names, like GramofonBedroom or GramofonKitchen or whatever you want to name the Gramofon, the WiFi signal that comes out of the Gramofon and your favorite password. The app also takes you to Facebook so your friends do not need a password to play music and to use your WiFi because Facebook lets us know they are your friends. Last but not least the app via the registration process gives you a username and password to roam for free at 13.5 million hotspots around the world! So please go through this app from beginning to end. See how to do this by watching our instructional video here.
Once the Gramofon is configured and you are done with the Fon Utility app, close it
Open the Spotify app and choose your favorite song. Play it.
As the song starts playing in your phone, look for a gray circle and wait for it to turn green, a circle with a speaker sign on the bottom right of the screen, that will appear next to the song, click on the green circle and you will see the choice of playing the song either via your phone or via the Gramofon, click on Gramofon and enjoy your favorite song on your sound system. Here is another short video.
There is another way to play music, and that is the radio app Gramofon. For this:
Download the Gramofon app.
Provide the PIN that appears on the Gramofon itself as the app requests it. This PIN is on the side of the Gramofon together with the MAC.
Register with Facebook and start playing music with the Gramofon app. See how its done here.
At this point the Gramofon supports Spotify and Gramofon music provided by WahWah, in the future we will get more music services via All Play, click here to learn more about All Play.
And once again thank you thank you thank you Kickstarter backers, you are awesome.
Twitter used Twitter clients to grow and then combined their innovations and traffic with its own and dumped their clients. Awful but legal. I invested in one, Seesmic and lost my investment. Google used the Internet as a whole to grow and now it is evolving from a search engine to an answer provider. Weather, flights, Wikipedia type info, many searches are now not linked by Google but answered by Google. As a result sites that helped build Google are now losing traffic. People don’t just start at Google, they now start and end at Google. Google is not happy anymore with organizing the world’s information, it wants to provide it. The US antitrust authorities are fine with this. The EU not so, and is looking into this as a possible abuse of monopoly power. The Economist this week has an article exactly on this issue and the view of many German companies. One of them is Axel Springer whose board I serve on. But then Google is also on my board at Fon. So in terms of disclosures I am somewhere in between. I also know both sides of the argument well.
Personally I am hesitant on what the EU should do. On one side Google built a de facto monopoly on search by linking to everyone else more accurately than others. At that Google did an awesome job. Other search engines died or lost market share because Google is just better. But is it fair to grow via say, Kayak or Expedia, and then replace them with your own flight search engine that comes as the top result even when it is not the top destination? This move certainly hurts Kayak and Expedia, but does it hurt consumers? Monopolies are broken up because they hurt consumers. It is hard to argue that Google is hurting consumers by providing its answers directly and going to the same suppliers as Kayak and Expedia to get the information. Especially when people prefer to get an answer rather than clicking again on a second link. But aside from what is fair, one thing is clear: if you built a business by receiving traffic from Google you should rethink your strategy or you will end up like a Twitter client. Aware of this, one company took a radical step and so far it paid off: Facebook. It stopped Google from searching it. It closed its content to Google’s “crawlers”. Unfortunately Facebook hasn’t come up with a good search engine itself, and finding whatever you once wrote on Facebook is almost impossible. So as a consumer I wish I could search my Facebook as easy as I search my Gmail, or the Internet as a whole.
And as far as being a monopoly, to me monopoly is something like Time Warner Cable, if you live in NYC and want Cable TV there’s no other choice than Time Warner Cable. Search engines? There are others. Yahoo, Bing. Google is where it is not because somebody gave them a franchise, but because of how good it is, a position that Google has to defend every day. Would I watch Google if I was a regulator? For sure. Would I stop them? Only if there is harm to consumers.
(Photo credit: The Nation)
As I read that Scotland may become independent in 11 days, I realize that the English and the Castilians kingdoms have had a similar historical fate. Both first conquered, annexed or joined together nearby kingdoms and territories (via treaties/marriages) and became what is now Spain and UK. After that was accomplished, both then went overseas to conquer a remarkable chunk of the world. As a result English and Castilian Spanish became the two largest Western languages. So these two very small nations, the English and the Castilians had at one point incredible empires with what today would be half a billion people (Castilians) and over a billion people (England). In the late 1700s, and mostly during the 1800s and some remains in the 1900s, these colonial empires fell apart, to the point that what remained of the former glory was the original core Kingdoms of what today is UK and Spain.
But now, over 200 years after key colonies were lost, the early nearby unions, Scotland and Catalonia, may also become independent. Five or more centuries later the mighty kingdoms may go back to their humble origins. Why have the Germans have had such a tendency for reunification, and the British and Spaniards for fragmentation, could be the subject of many books. Probably it has something to do between what is seen as a union of equals vs an imposed culture. Or maybe it is a perception by the Scots and the Catalans of economic benefits to be obtained via independence. But whatever the motivations are, reality is that as of today, half of the Scottish want out and may get out of the UK on September 18th and a similar percentage of Catalans seem to want out. I am not sure how long the Kingdom of Spain will stay together under the framework of the 1978 Constitution. Personally, union or independence in both countries is fine with me, I can see both sides of the arguments. But what is not fine is to keep people in a union they don’t want. Better to vote and see.
In the case of Catalonia, if there is a referendum, I would hope that it goes beyond a yes or no for independence. What is needed is a previous negotiation that would give more clarity to voters on key issues such as, would Catalonia be in the Euro or out, in the EU or out, what part of the Spanish national debt would it take with it, would it vote as a whole for independence or per province (if Spain is divisible, so should be Catalonia) and so on. I am in favor of a referendum in both cases, but with very clear visibility of what yes or no means the day after.
(Photo credit: The Telegraph)
As you probably know, we have now begun shipping the Gramofon. After the amazing support we received when it was introduced on Kickstarter, we are now delivering the first units. Gramofon, as it is today, is a product for residential users who want to become Fon members, a product that improves their home WiFi coverage and of course, allows them to listen to their favorite online music on their existing stereo.
Today the good news are that in parallel we have also been working on a new flavor of Fon WiFi, that we are launching in Beta: WiFi for Business. It is a solution for small and medium businesses, whose owners want to give WiFi to their guests in the best possible way. We want to get rid of places that say “Free WiFi here” and then, when you want to get access, you need to ask for a complicated password written down somewhere on a piece of paper. And that is if you’re lucky! If you’re unlucky, they might not even remember the password. And others may just leave their personal WiFi signal open, putting their security at risk.
With WiFi for Business every store can offer WiFi in a professional and secure way. It’s a fully customizable solution in which the owner of the place can easily design the look and feel of the guests’ WiFi experience and decide how many minutes or hours guests are allowed to surf for free. They can also publish special offers on their WiFi landing page or gain followers advertising their Facebook page. All in the merchant’s hands!
Guests can easily log in with Facebook or with a Fon account, allowing merchants to understand visitor demographics and compare between different locations. Of course this information is shared only with explicit consent from the user.
WiFi for Business is tailor-made for every business: bars, restaurants, dental offices, hairdressers, car repair shops, offices… every place where people come and wait!
Starting today in Beta, WiFi for Business is available through the new Fonera for Business. This router can be purchased at our shop at a special launch price. Soon, our telco partners will also distribute the solution to their business subscribers the same way Fon is rolled out to residential subscribers: embedded into their existing WiFi routers.
I expect that the “age of WiFi passwords on a piece of paper” is coming to an end, and I think that our WiFi for Business will be a big part of this trend.
(Photo: The Guardian)
Before Facebook, it was you telling your friends what you are up to, and them doing the same, mostly in writing or via photos. This had a problem that for some “Murphy’s law of Facebook”, those who you cared about the most, posted the least and those who you wanted to learn from the most, were silent. On top of that, Facebook had the “toddler challenge”. Toddlers don’t make friends because they want lots of attention, but can’t give attention. Facebook became a community of attention seekers. Twitter saw this. And what Twitter did to escape this problem is to do away with “befriending” and start an asymmetrical platform from the ground up. A community that by design accepts the reality that talent is unevenly distributed. Twitter killed reciprocity and allowed a few people to lead over many others, those who were truly interested Twitter rewarded with an audience. Facebook then saw a successful formula in Twitter and partly copied it allowing those who generate interest to have followers as well. But that was a secondary feature and Facebook could never give up being a friendship platform, a symmetrical platform of personal news. A platform in which everyone is supposed to generate similar levels of interest. But lately as it became clear that that wasn’t the case, Facebook brought in more Twitter-like elements. Especially media. The latest are “trending articles” for you to follow important media events, and “related articles” a feature which also drives you towards media. These new features were so successful that many media publications now, such as Business Insider, Wired and others, get more traffic from Facebook than from Google. Facebook’s evolution from friends only, to followers and friends, and now to friends, followers and media is working and is making people spend more and more time on Facebook. And in a way it allowed Facebook to sell ads using news organizations, something that not even Google was able to do.
Now the part that I don’t understand is the lack of admiration from the other side or why Twitter never copied what worked best at Facebook. To me what would be crucial is to tinker with the 140 character religion. The 140 characters have forced Twitter’s users to come up with all sorts of ways around it. People attach pictures of long texts, attach links that then Twitter shows or lately Marc Andreessen has come up with a numbered style that many have copied to make their tweets longer. And if there is one place where it really doesn’t make sense to have 140 characters is in DM. If Twitter had made DM unlimited in characters and able to incorporate pictures, videos, and even location early on it would have been a real competitor to now Facebook-owned WhatsApp and possibly to Snapchat as well if it had allowed true privacy. It would have then dominated the public and the private spheres. Twitter had the right concept but they never went full force in the private exchange world, and WhatsApp came out of nowhere and ate their lunch, all $19bn of it.
Much to the surprise of many, Facebook is now worth more than Amazon, IBM, Coke, it is the 15th most valuable company in the world. Some may call it a bubble, a crazy P/E, but however way you look at it Facebook is hugely successful. This is in my view a key reason for their success.
One of the most common criticisms of Facebook is that there is a bias towards positive news. That people tend to post many more good things than bad things that are happening to them. That few post such things as “my life sucks and I don’t know where I will get the energy to go to my boring job tomorrow”. But maybe that is actually a significant part of the success of Facebook and why it is so popular, the tendency towards good news. What Facebook made clear is that people wanted good news. The alternative to Facebook is media news and they have exactly the extreme opposite bias. In media almost all news is bad news. After a lifetime of bad news people were craving for a new form of media focused on positivity. And friendship was the missing link to make positivity feel real. It is the combination of proximity and positivity that makes people want to be on Facebook. Facebook nailed it and is now worth close to $200bn.
Muslim history over the last decade has been extremely sad. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have died in armed conflicts. Over 99% of them died as a result of the European/American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and in the hands of fellow Muslims in the Syrian civil war, the ISIS conflict, the Shia Sunni conflicts, the Egyptian, Libyan internal fights, the fight against the Taliban in Pakistan and others. But this week after Hamas indiscriminately sent rockets on civilians all over Israel, and Israel retaliated striking on military targets, sadly killing innocent civilians who are not the target (as opposed to the Hamas rockets that do explicitly target civilians) but are used as human shields and this is happening when Hamas knows that the moment they stop throwing rockets, the Israeli retaliations will stop, I am shocked to see my Facebook and Twitter feeds go insane with accusations to us, the murderous Jews. If you are not a Jewish reader you have not idea what it is to be a Jew during the Gaza conflict and the things that people say to me, a diaspora Jew.
So what can I conclude. That when Jews defend ourselves we are horrible people but the USA, Spain, France, UK and all the countries of the Iraq/Afghanistan coalition, who committed horrible atrocities in the Fallujah attack are not? Or when Muslims massacre Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and other countries, you are nowhere to be found protesting? Where are you on my social media when Bashar Al Assad mass-murdered hundreds of thousands of his own? Why is it murder when Israelis build a wall to protect themselves from Palestinian terrorism and not when Spain builds one in Ceuta in which more people have died trying to cross it? Why are the same policies that others apply with much greater impact so worthy of condemnation when Israel adopts them? Why is there such a SELECTIVE INDIGNATION vis a vis Israel and Jews in general? Of course what Israel is doing now in Gaza is tragic, but why is my social media silent with the vast majority of Muslim deaths unrelated to Israel?
Have you thought of what it would be like to have to run to a bomb shelter at a minute’s notice with your loved ones many times a day? Can you imagine London under attack? Madrid under attack? New York under attack? Paris under attack? Well that is Tel Aviv when Hamas attacks and it’s happening now. Even the Palestinian UN representative said that Hamas rockets aimed at Israeli civilian population are a crime against humanity.
Please think again before you post. I have also condemned Israel in the past and Israel does have to work harder at reaching peace with the Palestinians. The Palestinians deserve their country and deserve it as soon as it can be done at peace with Israel along the lines of the Oslo treaty. Israel must find a way to contain its own radical elements that block peace with the Palestinians. But Israel is not at war with Al Fatah in the West Bank, it is at war with Hamas in Gaza who wants to wipe the country out and are financed by Iran who uses them to fight Israel. This is the case even though Israel, paradoxically, pulled out from Gaza and forced settlers to leave risking a civil war. Media keeps calling this a Palestinian Israeli conflict but the majority of Palestinians are not with Hamas. This is a war against Hamas in which Israel uses missiles to defend its children and Hamas sadly uses its children to protects its missiles. If Israel really wanted to kill the children of Gaza it would do what Bashar al Assad did when he killed over 50,000 of his own children. Not even the death of one child is justifiable, not a single civilian casualty is justifiable, but Israel can wipe out Hamas and it does not and I have no doubt that if Hamas could wipe out Israel it would. Moreover the rocket attacks at this point have been effective enough to isolate Israel and most airlines are not flying into Israel for fear of Hamas attacks.
In the midst of the awful ISIS successes in Iraq and the Syrian war going on now, and in the height of the Sunni Shia bloody conflict, and the threat of a nuclear Iran, Israel is our hope to stop the radicals in the region. Israel is fighting Hamas, people who dream to see you, me, moderate Muslims, and everyone who believes in equality of men and women, rights of homosexuals, freedom of expression and freedom of worship or non worship, dead. We cannot allow Hamas, ISIS and other horrible forces of evil win over reasonable and moderate Muslims. Considering what Israel could do to wipe out Gaza, the way Bashar al Assad wiped out Homs, its response is incredibly moderate, reasonable, measured and as targeted as the situation allows. If you study casualty figures in Wikipedia you will see that the chances of a Muslim to be killed by a fellow Muslim or Christian are over 1000 to 1 than those of being killed by a Jew. Please stop attacking the right of Israel to defend itself and take a global view of what is going on in the region before taking sides. In my view the only reasonable request at the moment is to ask Hamas to stop sending missiles to Israel and for Israel to stop bombarding Gaza. And I hope that this happens as soon as possible and peace is restored.
There are now 250,000 hotspots all over the country, and we expect to reach one million by the end of the year.
This is wonderful news! Now Fon members will have free WiFi access when traveling the Netherlands, and KPN customers have access to over 13 million WiFi hotspots around the world.
KPN is the largest telecom in the country and we are so pleased to have them as our partner in our endeavor to blanket the world in WiFi. Thanks to everyone involved and can’t wait to connect to KPN WiFi with Fon on my next trip to the Netherlands!