Today is my lucky day. I won the FON German Lottery. This is how it works. When we launch a new country at FON all employees chip in with 3 euros each and we individually guess how many FONeros we will get in a certain amount of time. We do this for fun, but we also do it cause we have found that our collective knowledge is a good guess of what is actually going to happen.
Also do let us know if you would like to do Openwrt projects, since we are offering grants for interesting ones.
What happened is that we wanted to give Germany a boost and I blogged an article that said that we had chosen Germany and Austria, the countries with the most reliable FONeros, to implement the FON Promise. The objective here was to quickly establish ourselves as the number one network in Germany ahead of T-Mobile. With Austria, since Austrians speak German, we felt that they would feel bad if they saw the web site in German promoting an offer that they could not get, so we brought them along for the ride.
Today we introduced a feature at FON by which people who have personalized their sign up pages appear in our maps as a green point with a white star in it. So, randomly, I went to Fon Maps looking for a FONero who had personalized his FON Sign Up Page, so when roaming linuses or aliens find his WiFi signal they learned about him/her.
During Franco´s dictatorship Spain was a very Catholic country. After more than 3 decades of democracy, Spain is not a Catholic country anymore. First, loss of religion became apparent with the legalization of divorce and contraceptives and the promotion of sex ed. This was followed by the decriminalization of abortion, the acceptance of drug possession for personal consumption (drug users are not criminals in Spain, but treated instead as medical patients) and a general acceptance of premarital sex. Later, gambling in public places became commonplace, prostitution was legalized and regulated, and gay marriage became legal as well. So other than euthanasia, I can´t think of anything that the Church used to opposed that is not legal now in Spain. While 95% of the Spanish youth declared in the 60s that religion played some role in their life, now only a third do.
Religion in Spain is mostly becoming tradition. People marry in churches because they are beautiful and full of history, not because they actually practice. They still teach religion in most schools, but to most it is as if they were teaching Spanish history, the history of a country that used to be religious but is not anymore. Now the only religious group in Spain are Muslim immigrants, whose views on society are surprisingly similar to those of the Franco. Nudity, for example, was a big “no no” at that time and it continues to be so for Spanish Muslims. For others, nudity makes part of the daily press in Spain. Nudist beaches and regular beaches are mostly mixed, and most people don´t mind.
But not only is Spain liberal in most matters previously opposed by the Catholic Church. Spain is also tolerant in other unexpected ways. For example, in Spain the use of P2P programs to download music for personal consumption is not a punishable offense. In Spain, people openly use Ares, Vuze, eMule for legal and what in other countries is illegal content without fear of being prosecuted. The only truly illegal activity is people who download music/movies, print CDs or DVDs and sell them. And this is but one example of a legislative system that, when faced with choices that involve tolerance vs restriction, it generally opts for tolerance, to the point that Spain has become one of the most tolerant countries in the world. As a result, Spain has become an incredibly popular immigration destination. Indeed I am one of them, I moved to Spain from NYC in 1995.
If anything, Spain proves that societies do not fall apart when they give up religion and almost everything that was illegal for religious reasons, becomes legal. Moreover, I believe that if Spain had not given up its repressive form of religious expression, it would not have been the success that it is now. For those, mostly in America, who believe that religion somehow makes countries more ethical, Spain proves the opposite. With a good secular and free Kindergarden to University education system Spain has less violent crime, less people in jail and certainly less policemen per inhabitant than mostly religious USA. The key distinction between USA and Spain, or Europe in general, is that while most people in Europe dislike the same activities that people in America dislike, the trend over here is not to make these activities a crime but to find more tolerant and reasonable ways to deal with them. In this way, Spain can focus its police resources to deal with serious crimes such as terrorism.
For a few months we have been selling Foneras for $5 or 5 euros or in some cases we have been giving them away to highly commited foneros who sign the “fonero promise” and agree to either leave their foneras on at all times for the benefit of the community or to pass the fonera to another fonero. But Foneras cost us around $28. Because we have been very successful in seeding the Fon movement we are planning to end the subsidies and raise our prices to $29.95 in the States and 29 euros in Europe by the end of next week.
As you know, a week ago we offered a new way to get the Fonera in Germany in which basically if a German FONero promised to keep his Fonera on we would send it to him/her for free. Our objective here was to quickly get enough router orders to be the number one WLAN/WiFi (same thing in Germany they call it WLAN) network in Germany.
Well, I have good news and bad news to report. The good news is that the offer was widely successful and that we got over 6000 orders in a week (our target was 4500 which is the number of access points reported by T Mobile) of which the first 1000 shipped already. The bad news is that we are quickly running out of routers and that in 6 more days (next Friday at midnight) the offer ends and after that we will charge 29 euros per router (shipping and VAT included). Same is true for Austria.
Who is the totally unexpected Fonero country of the last days? North Korea!!!
SORRY after posting this I did more research as I found this information hard to believe and discovered, thanks to Jin Ho Hur´s help, that actually many South Korean Foneros where wrongly choosing North Korea as a country choice!!! We actually have no foneros in North Korea…as expected.
In any case the rest of the post still has interesting information as to where foneros are around the world.
FON won the “Most Innovative Mobile Product” prize given out in Sweden, because we made Lund the first FON town!
This is an award presented every year to companies operating within the Swedish mobile industry. Among hundreds of incoming suggestions, an esteemed jury chooses the award winners in different categories and this year the winner in the category “Mobile initiative of the year” went to FON.
In this video I give a very personal review of the Sony Mylo, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, Nokia N80, Nokia E61, Nokia N770, Qtek minicomputer/phones, and our very own Skype Fon.