Twitter

Twitter I use a lot, borth for reading and producing content. Twitter is like the newswire for me, like those news summaries that appear down below on CNN (or used to because I haven’t watch TV in so long). Twitter is great for breaking news.  Also for short interactions and some fun moments.  Twitter is trying to kill DM and that is bad, they should take out the 140 character limitation in DM so you can have deeper one to one discussions.  So you can combine the public with the private.  Twitter should also not count the characters of links to give you a few more characters for the occasional moments you need them.  The URL shortener war is absurd.

 Facebook

Facebook is only about friends for me, I used to have 4000 “friends” now I have around 600.  Sorry if I erased you.  But now I know almost all of them, if not in person at least virtually pretty well. Facebook is about more private things and I use “friends only” a lot. I know Facebook is dying to make money out of me showing whatever I post to anyone to get more activity and impressions. And the same is true for a lot of Facebook users.  So I battle Facebook on that and many times I lose and I am annoyed when a friend of a friend who I don’t know appears, even though they are mostly nice I should say.  In terms of politeness Facebook wins the prize. The only non private part of Facebook that I use is groups, and those work well to liaise along themes or narrow lines. What Facebook needs to come up with is a paid version like LinkedIn and show ads for those who don’t pay.  Also Facebook attempts in advertising have been clumsy so far.  Facebook thrives at connecting people but is very poor at trying to have them buy something. I would gladly pay $7 per month to give no incentive to Facebook to spy on me to sell me ads.

Google+

I use Google+ for drafts, I have an idea and I put a first draft on Google +, I then get criticisms, comments, and I improve or modify my original idea into something deeper, I do more research on my own and then I go to my blog, generally my English blog. Google+ has great ideas and a wonderful design on mobile.  I just wish more people used it as it also has no ads.

Tumblr

Tumblr (I am an investor) I use for shorter articles, I am also aware that what comes out in my Tumblr goes on Twitter as I have them linked. Tumblr is great to discover longer form and visual content. Their discovery platform is still poor but I know it will get better.  And what you find is just beautiful. Tumblr also lacks comments but that can be both a good and a bad thing. In the one hand you stay away from trolls and keep it friendly. On the other hand, the debate always ends up in Twitter and you can miss some interesting comments. And Tumblr gets some original content creators who are mostly there or just there. In Tumblr I follow photography, science, medicine. I used to use Tumblr as a form of self expression, I still do but now I love to discover what others have to say.  There is a certain level of aesthetics and professionalism in Tumblr that is missing elsewhere.

Pinterest

Pinterest I don’t get. I see it as closer to Tumblr but kind of messy. I don’t see a lot of original content producers there. It is more kind of “look at what I found Dad”. I am a father of 5 btw and I am used to this show and tell moments.  What I don’t like about Pinterest is that it is not about creating your own content.  I think it might have an utility as an archive for your personal findings on the Internet, which can be kept private. The Android apps for Pinterest don’t let you post, just look.

Path

Path I just started using it. It is very, very visual and I use it taking advantage of the camera programs in my iPhone and my Samsung Galaxy. I use it for great shots taken with phones. Shots that are the essence of the moment I am in, like a great tweet, but visual. I know you can do much more at Path, but I don’t. The people who answer me in Path I tend to know.  They are friends.  Path is actually very, very well designed.

Flickr and Picasa

Flickr I love but I have the feeling that it’s dying. Pity because there is tons of quality photography there and I am an amateur photographer. I use Flickr for the photography I do with the Leica M9 or the Canon 5D Mark II. Lately, I’ve been trying 500px and I think it’s the modern version of what Flickr should be. Their iPad app is great. Google+ photos formerly known as Picasa I use. I like the fact that many pictures go there from my Android. They also go to iPhoto from my iPhone the same way. Both systems are good for not losing pictures even though you have to erase many. I wish they would ask you if you want to update them.

Photo Apps

I love Snapseed on the iPhone and iPad.  It is simple, very well designed and you can take great pictures to post in social networks.  Instagram I use but sometimes with pictures I took with Snapseed cause otherwise all Instagrams look alike.  They do have a great community at Instagram also made of mostly nice people.

Social Video

YouTube is another beast. In the video world I prefer Vimeo. But Youtube has huge audiences that have given millions of views to my videos so I go on placing them there in spite of the horrendous, idiotic level of commentary. I have rarely seen a smart person commenting on a video on Youtube. Dante’s inferno said “lasciate ogni speranza voi che entrate” and that is today very applicable to the level of Youtube commentary. I many times just don’t let people comment on my videos in order to avoid racism and plain idiocy. Now Vimeo is another world. Vimeo is like Tumblr in video. There is amazing quality beautiful videos there.

Foursquare and Google Maps

Foursquare is so focused on the stupid game of being a mayor of your bathroom that you sometimes forget that it’s also like a Spotify for geographical locations.  It is interesting to find good curated lists of say restaurants in South Beach Miami. The lists have been enhanced in their latest updates. I use Google Maps a lot. In any case since I invested in Dopplr and Plazes I have always believed in the social value of city exploration and I know we will accomplish more in this area.  Google and Foursquare are half way there with different solutions for similar needs.

LinkedIn

Until LinkedIn invited me to write for the site I was using it little.  Fon was using it to recruit but not me personally.  Now that my posts get so much engagement there I find that with LinkedIn I can interact with the most educated audience of any site.  At least when focused on professional endeavors.

Messenger platforms

Is messenger social media? I think it is. Skype is social by nature, and I use it either in very intimate situations or non intimate at all, like job interviews. BBM I have with two of my children who are still on Blackberry and a few other people who have not given up. Whatsapp keeps me in touch with some others who are across platforms, it is uncanny how they got away with the fact that if you have somebody’s phone number you can Whatsapp without acceptance. It makes you want to get a new phone number so ghosts from the past don’t haunt you. SMS is rare for me. Google Talk and the Google + messengers I use but rarely, with an occasional friend who loves it. MSN or Yahoo I have not used for ages. Email I do use and a lot. I like the asynchronicity of it. I like Gmail, it’s brilliant.

Blogs

Blogs other than mine are also a way to be socially active, reading, leaving comments, and I do read a bunch of blogs, the best way to see what I read is still my Netvibes public page. All the RSS feeds that were kind of killed by Twitter but not totally for me. I love the way Netvibes presents all blogs in one screen for me in my MacBook or any PC. I read many professional blogs such as the Hipertextual blogs, or GigaOm.

My Spanish and English Blogs on WordPress

I try to keep a certain quality level in those blogs.  They are me so I better look good :).  I have apps for iPhone, Blackberry, to blog from other devices but I mostly blog from my MacBook and after testing the grounds on Google + or Tumblr.

Social News

In Spanish I love Meneame, in English Reddit.  Social news work for me as the wisdom of the crowds is actually a good editor and I frequently comment.

Social Music and language learning

Those and other formerly non social activities are also getting social, certainly music with Spotify which I use a lot and even language learning with Busuu.

Languages on Social Media

In my case there’s the languages issue. I write more in English because the best content on the web is in English. Spanish even though it is spoken by a great deal of people there is little new science or radical ideas coming out in Spanish. There are some, but few. I also understand French, Italian, Portuguese and Catalan. Catalan is to languages what Path is to social networks :) French is probably the other language were some original content is found. Less so in Italian and Portuguese. I am learning German, if I really spoke German I have a sense that there would be some more original content. But Germans and Northern Europeans in general have an elite who writes in English and that is great.

Gadgets and Social Media

There is another angle to all of this and that is that many social networks are gadget specific. Path is not on the web, the iPhone is great for photography. With the iPhone for example you can be in Instagram as well and I also post on Instagram. You can then post from there to Tumblr and other networks. Not to Google + which is trying to make it all with Google products (a mistake). I use the iPhone 4S, the Samsung Galaxy SII which is amazing, the new Blackberry Bold 9900 which is still the fastest small gadget in which to write and message but poor for almost everything else, the iPad which is perfect for looking at content, not so great for producing it. And then my MacBook Pro which is perfect for typing fast, for editing video, for editing photography.

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A few months ago I published a list of what I call tweetphorisms (tweets + aphorisms). Here’s the second round! You can also check out my spanish list here.

  • I started Fon because I wanted WiFi everywhere. I recommend that your next start up solves a problem that is dear to you.
  • The Stop sign system is a waste of energy. They should replace Stop signs for Yield signs.
  • Twitter should allow you to hyperlink, it would look better and save characters.
  • Small victory in the world of the intercontinental traveler, an empty seat next to me.
  • If you want to understand Wikileaks 250K cables at a personal level think what would happen if all your emails were visible to everyone
  • As a father of four I can tell you that there is nothing genetic about sharing. The younger, the more selfish :)
  • Fashion can be interesting but expensive clothes rarely are
  • Having oil makes countries dumb
  • It is absurd to speak about gender equality, genders are by nature different. Feminist objective should be “equal pay for equal work.”
  • Twitter is like a classroom, of all the people you follow there are always a few who raising their hands all the time
  • Frequently people ask me to invest but even more frequently they ask me if I have key managers to recommend. People are more important than money
  • I know people who never update their software and somehow, they seem very happy
  • Religion is a proof that absurdity is more comforting than ignorance.
  • Unread messages should self destruct after a week and sender notified.
  • One of the key uses of Skype for me is that green check showing me whether I have connectivity or not.
  • There is a fine line between experience and prejudice
  • Europe must introduce the concept of personal bankruptcy if it wants people to take the business risks that innovation requires.
  • Entrepreneurs who are afraid of VCs taking over their company forget that VCs are VCs because they cant be entrepreneurs.
  • As much as you may like your smartphone or iPad, dont you love it when you go back to your laptop?
  • 3G is great (when you can’t find WiFi)
  • A weakness of democracy is that it takes very different skills to get elected than to govern.
  • Made in USA sells in USA, made in Japan sells in Japan, made in Germany sells in Germany, made in Spain does not sell in Spain, why?

A lot has been written about how people “go crazy” on social networks. This has led many in government to say that more needs to be done to protect privacy. That many may not become employable as their poor behavior becomes public. Some have even said that people should have the right to erase their life from the internet. The right to be forgotten. Others put a big emphasis on rebuilding privacy around individuals despite the ever increasing popularity of compulsive sharing. The idea of some legislators is that the internet and social networks are bound to destroy somebody’s reputation sooner or later and people need protection from their own disclosures. That social networks show their worst behavior. That people go wild on the internet.

My view on this is quite the contrary. People don’t join social networks to destroy their reputation but to make themselves look good. Social networks have the same effect on people that classrooms have on children. Users behave better and are more honest in them because they are being constantly watched by others and want to impress them. And most social networks have “teachers” who show up in the famous “report abuse” buttons. Social networks have rules and their own etiquette and people live by them.

The fear of alienation and ridicule from peers also acts a great deterrent. Friends who frequently see what you do and think, who you know, who see your location, your pictures, your videos, your tweets, your updates, act as a moderating influence in your life. Before people occasionally knew what you did and chances for poor behavior were greater. Now they are being watched. But because most people want to be liked. They behave better. So you can see my point: living a life being watched makes people, on the average, better and more honest. And that is good.

Quoring is very similar to blogging. Indeed an open source clone of Quora will probably fork out of WordPress soon and already it is not hard to hack a Quora out of WP.

But Quora is better than blogging in one aspect. It addresses the key flaw of blogging, and that is fairness. In blogging, a lucky few who write get a significant number of readers. Blogging is frustrating for most others. The internet is littered with abandoned blogs that few read. Bloggers then lose interest. The way Quora addresses this is that it invites “blogger types” but forces them to behave differently, to take turns at blogging. Quora is like a blog in which, if you choose the subject, you can’t write the article, and if you write the article you cannot choose the subject. Quora has a teacher who does not allow one student to answer questions but actively seeks classroom participation.

Like I never tire from saying, the Internet is a great tool that can be used in uncountable ways to promote basically any product, and music is no different from any other product. There are many sites and applications which can help publicize music, and it’s just a matter of knowing them and using them correctly to get what you need. For example, Ace of Base (of which my friend Ulk Ekberg is one of the founders) have a new album, The Golden Ratio, and they are using all these tools to make their music reach every corner of the world.

Twitter is one of the basics, because it permits the band to inform about anything new that’s going on in a short, easy, straight-to-the-point manner, so that any fans that follow then instantly know if there are new photos on the site, where the latest concerts are taking place, or where to listen to the new single. Ace of Base use their Twitter account quite regularly to keep all of their fans updated on the latest news like iTunes reviews on their new album, new photos… The best thing about Twitter is that it’s simple and quick to use, so it’s perfect for spreading the word quickly.

Facebook is another excellent platform for this, mainly because practically everyone has a Facebook account, and it’s got so many ways of sharing all kinds of stuff that it’s perfect to publicize a band. Ace of Base have their Facebook full of photos, thousands of comments on their Wall, a music player with some of their songs, info on the band and it’s members… All the information you need in a platform everyone knows and uses.

Ace of Base also have an official webpage that they always keep updated. On it you can find more specialized information on the band, like the biography, discography, news, and even links to buy the album either as a CD or as downloadable tracks to upload onto your mp3 player directly.

Last but not least, Ace of Base have put out a great widget with a piece of each of their latest tracks, which you can embed on a blog, on a website, on Facebook…


and here’s their new videoclip from their Youtube channel, where you can also see older material and the making of their new video.

fonera20n

Last night at the Village Pub in Silicon Valley (Woodside, CA), we launched the Fonera 2.0n WiFi router – available for sale in Europe (€79) on September 15th and in the US ($99) on October 15th. The Fonera 2.0n is similar to the Fonera 2.0g but has a much more powerful processor and is built around the 802.11n standard which means that it has greater range, bandwidth and speed than its predecessor. The launch was attended by 30 of the most important bloggers, Twitterers and news organizations in the world, including The New York Times and The Economist.

Thanks to Loic Le Meur and Geraldine who organised a great event.

Here is the full press release.

Here are the first articles from CrunchGear and Bub.blicio.us..

A few pictures below. You can also see nice pics of the dinner @briansolis

The attendees:

Martin Varsavsky + Nina Wiegand – FON
Loic Le Meur + Geraldine Le Meur – Seesmic
Bernardo Hernandez – Google
Michael Arrington – TechCrunch
Seth Sternberg – Meebo
Gabe Rivera – TechMeme
Dave McLure – Founders Fund
Jeremiah Owyang – Forrester
Brian Solis – Future Works
Joanna Rees – VSPCapital + John Hamm
Ariel Pohler – Textmarks
Jeff Clavier – SoftTechVC + Babette Clavier
Dave Morin – Facebook
Brittany Bohnet – Google
Randi Zuckerberg – Facebook
Louis Gray – louisgray.com
Jack Dorsey – Twitter
Jennifer Leggio – ZDNet
Robert Scoble – RackSpace
Erik Lammerding – Apple
Paul Boutin – New York Times
Troy Wolverton – San Jose Mercury News
Martin Giles – The Economist
ijustine – Twitter star
@veronica – another Twitter star

In this blog, in July of 07, I have talked about the possibility of creating a FemtoFonera. This week I met with Chris Gilbert, the very able CEO of Ubiquisys in order to study this idea.

A Femtocell is a router slightly larger than the Fonera that transforms a cable or ADSL home line signal into a 3G signal. But unlike Wi-Fi, 3G signals are private, so only the operators can authorize Femtocells. They have been designed with the exclusive purpose of giving better indoor mobile coverage for their owner. So currently Femto are the opposite of Fon which is designed to give coverage both to the owner and into the streets. But while Femto seems to be limited in order to protect telcos, it is interesting that Fon has been able to team up with many telcos including BT, SFR, Zon and others to build WiFi networks geared outdoors. Why? Because nowadays big telcos are competing with each other, not only in the marketplace trying to lower customer acqusition costs and churn. Behind the market wars there are the capex wars, and Fon helps 3G operators to unload 3G traffic through WiFi thereby reducing hugely expensive 3G capex.

Now Ubiquisys has another interesting way to unload 3G traffic and that is to create micro cells that cost 100 euros vs 300,000 to the tower and to ask customers to use their own DSL/Cable/Fiber connections to send the traffic that normally goes through these towers. So think of the combination, think of a Femtofonera a Fonera that creates both a WiFi and a 3G network out of the Femtofonero home and gives the Fonero free WiFi and 3G roaming in exchange for helping build the network. Now that is a powerful concept, especially for the 2% of the population who could be Femtofoneros.

In this post I am interested in your opinion so here are two surveys.

The polls are in Spanish because they are a continuation of a Spanish blog post. The first poll deals with a 100 euro FemtoFonera that ONLY improves your coverage at home but does not give you free 3G roaming. No la compraria means I would not buy it. Si la compraría means I would buy it because not only it´s like a Fonera 2.0 but also I get good 3G coverage at home.

The second survey is about whether you would buy for 200 euros, a FemtoFonera that, aside from giving you better coverage in your house and having all of the functions of a Fonera 2.0, gives 3G coverage to others, and therefore gives you free roaming – meaning free 3G access in your entire country – in exchange for you installing one. Again, no la compraría ( I would not buy it) vs la compraría (I would buy it).

Here´s a video showing the concept and a Femto from Ubiquisys.

So far I have had 3 Kindles. The first two I got from Jeff Bezos (thank you!!). They did not last much in my hands. Alexa my eldest daughter got the first one and Isabella, my second daughter the second one. They use them a lot. They read more than I do, they deserved them. When I was going to get my own Kindle I learned that the Kindle 2 was coming out and I waited. I bought one last week. And I love it even though in Europe the wireless does not work and it does not come with WiFi. I see the Kindle as a great single purpose device, right up there with the iPod or the Nikon D90 (my favorite digital camera). It does what it says it does: it makes you read books in digital format. It also has some other advantages like instant search for unusual words, or the ability to write notes with out destroying the original document (i.e. the book).

Now here´s a comment about digital rights infringement and the Kindle. If you go from simplicity to complexity and organize books, songs and movie content, as you go along the scale, you jump orders of magnitude in file size. A book, like The Age of the Unthinkable by my friend Joshua Ramo, which I just ordered for my Kindle, only has 368KB in file size. A song tends to occupy around 10 times more than a book. If they ever made The Age of the Unthinkable the Movie, the file size, even compressed, will be 200 times bigger. In other words you can fit 200 books in the file size of a very compressed movie. Still it is surprising to see that there are very few torrents made of say the New York Times Best Seller list (if there are I have not found any). And the whole best seller list and more would be a smaller file than just one movie. Very easy to copy in any P2P system. So far the only books that I see torrents for are computer books, books for geeks.

Personally I think it is a matter of time until book torrents or book file exchange become common. But it is suprising that right now there are perfectly legal ways of downloading books. You can go to ManyBooks.net and legally download thousands of books for your Kindle for free. And these are books that Amazon actually sells. Here for example is how you can download Rashomon a book I read in college for free. And here´s Rashomon for $3.99 if you care to pay for it. And ManyBooks.net is not fighting digital rights but rather giving books for free whose rights have expired. But it is surprising that even though these books are free only 6000 were downloaded this week.

Now one reason why torrents, and P2P may be less common in the world of reading is that there aren´t so many people who actually read books compared to people who listen to songs or watch movies. Or that those who do are less tech savvy, older, or maybe less likely to want to break the law in the countries in which downloading movies, books and songs for persona use is illegal (in Spain where I live downloading content for personal use is not punishable by law). But if I were in Amazon shoes I would do what Apple does. As we know most iPods are not loaded with content whose rights are owned by the iPod owner. But Apple tells you “do not steal music” and the rest is up to you. They make a lot of money with the gadgets themselves (disclosure I am an Apple shareholder). In my view Amazon should do the same thing. While books themselves are not pirated mainly because the cost of printing in bulk beats the cost of printing at home, and also because people just love books as objects, books lose their love appeal when they go digital. Especially on the Kindle as they all tend to look alike. So if Amazon does things right, soon the only object people will love is…the Kindle. And Amazon will design a gadget in Seattle, have it made in China for $50 and sell it for $359. And others will make them for much less, as others make MP3 players for much less. But if Amazon gets things right. People will want the Kindle.

msi-whiteDuring our last trip to Morocco which resulted in our engagement, Nina and I both took Netbooks. She took her fancy MacBookAir. I took the MSI Wind that my friends had turned into an amazing triple combo of Mac, plus Ubuntu, plus Windows XP.

Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but thanks to a special install by some friends, this 400 euros machine runs all three operating systems. And on top of that the battery lasted over twice as much as the MacBook Air, it has 3 USB ports instead of one and for pictures it had a great SD slot that of course Apple would never install because it would ruin its hardware aesthetics. In the desert climate, with a rare connection to electricity, frequent dust and sand, the MSI Wind performed like a star. Why am I telling you this?

fonera-20Because when I shared my enthusiasm with Jordi Vallejo, from Fon, he told me that the managers at MSI Wind loved Fon and it turned out that this was the case cause they loved the idea of doing a Fonera 2.0 / MSI Wind bundle which we launched today in France, Italy and Spain with more countries coming soon.

Basically, we are selling both the MSI Wind and the Fonera 2.0 for only 379 euros introductory price. I hope you like the MSI Wind as much as I do, because it has become my portable computer of choice beating not only the MacBook Air, but all the other netbooks I tested including the Dell Mini and the Asus EeePC. Here´s the link to order the bundle in Spain.

I would also like to share with you what the blogs say about the Fonera. And for technical questions I recommend you read this.

Wired, boing boing, PR News, Gearlog, dv-depot, pc mag, Endgadget

Yesterday we had our first in person presentation of the Fonera 2.0. It was in Paris. During this presentation I announced that the Fonera 2.0 will go for sale everywhere in Europe on April 21st. USA and Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan will start in May. The promotional price for the launch will be 49 euros.

Here´s a video in English that explains some of what the Fonera 2.0 does which is basically to upload and download while you take your computer somewhere else and to convert 3G to WiFi.

Here´s a video of the event. It is in my poor French which is only as bad as Emilio Botín´s English as you can see in this video. In case you don´t know who Emilio Botin is he is the CEO of Banco Santander.

The unofficial unveiling was very understated and included pasta dinner, Spanish wines and French Cheeses at my Paris flat in Place des Vosges. Nina and my two sons were there. In an informal atmosphere with discussed the pros and pros of this new product (sorry, I just can´t get to say pros and cons). Reaction of the unveiling in my Spanish blog was very negative probably because we did not do the unveiling in Spain but then the French have adopted Fon in bigger numbers something the Spanish Foneros still can´t stomach.

Here are some pictures of the event.

Here´s one of the articles that were published after the event that includes a comparison chart.

Frageek

Clubic

Francofon

Harakiwi

mrboo

Fredzone

Español / English


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