You know the story, you love a certain song, and years later you hear it in a commercial. Now the opposite is true. You can get to love a new song… in a commercial. Remember Are we not Men? We are Devo!? They are making a comeback and they just launched their new song in a Dell XPS commercial. Reasonable choice for everyone, Dell gets to show the thinnest laptop on the market in a cool way and Devo needs not to worry about downloading because they get paid upfront. And the song is good, I want to hear the rest though….

The story of how the smoke that comes out of cars is destroying the planet is somehow similar to the story of how the smoke that comes out of cigarettes are destroying people´s lungs. In both cases an activity that was previously considered harmless turned out to be damaging. In both cases awareness came slowly and by the time most people were convinced a great deal of harm was already done.  And in the case of Global Warming the guilty party turned out to be the Amerincas.  But an unusual element of Global Warming is that until Global Warming was discovered I would have said that in spite of what Europeans believe,  the Americans were more environmentally minded than the Europeans. Now the opposite is true.

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Before I start I would like to clarify that this is my blog and that what I write here are not announcements unless I say so. Having said this I would like to share with you what I have been thinking a lot about Femtocells, especially now that I am in the Hamptons where coverage is so poor and need one. What are Femtocells? Femtocells are like Foneras that operate with 3G or any other mobile technology. As most of you know a Fonera is a Fon WiFi router that is connected to the internet and sends out two WiFi signals a private one that is WPA encrypted, bandwidth protected and gives most of the bandwidth to the Fonero (the member of the Fon movement who shares some of his WiFi with people who share with him/her) and the other one is public, it´s protected by username and password and is available for others who are nearby. Now the same concept can be used for Femtofoneros. For this Fon needs to have an agreement say with Vodafone, AT&T Wireless, Orange, or others. In my home in Madrid for example I had poor coverage and Vodafone installed a Femto cell in my roof. So I got coverage and so did people who are near my home. In my farm in Sagaponack where I am now there´s poor coverage from Verizon, T Mobile and AT&T. I did research on this and the reason why there´s poor coverage is that people in the Hamptons think that GSM antennas are both harmful and ugly. But this problem could very easily be solved if Foneros or Femtofoneros would volunteer to have Femto cells connected to their cable or ADSL networks and provide coverage for themselves and others in the area. In my view if cell phone companies were willing to give free cellular service to Femtofoneros they would solve their problem of coverage. Especially if Femto cells are not meshed but their signal sent into Cable or DSL networks as the biggest problem of mobile operators is bandwidth scarcity. Fon now has 450K people around the world registered as Foneros and around 200K with Foneras. While I don´t know how many cell phone antennas are there in the world my guess, is that there are probably around the same number of cell antennas as there are registered foneros in the world. While Fon has had problems transforming all registered Foneros into active foneros and some have disconnected the Fonera because they failed to connect others and see an immediate benefit I think this would be less likely if Foneras gave out both WiFi signal for devices such as Nintendo DS, PSPs and Sansa Connects and 3G signal for voice communications. At Fon we are researching extending the concept of Fon with WiFi to Fon with 3G and WiFi and I think that this may very well become standard for Fon in the future. Our investors at Google seem to agree as they invested $25 million yesterday in Ubiquisys.

Last Saturday I had the very unusual opportunity of having lunch with Warren Buffet and his wife Astrid, and Bill Gates and his wife Melinda. While my wife and I were eating with them, I remembered they are no longer the richest men in the world. In March this year, Forbes magazine –which every year makes a list of the world’s biggest fortunes– placed Carlos Slim as the second richest man on Earth. Slim has displaced the American Warren Buffet from a position he had occupied for seven years. Now, according to Business Week magazine, the fortune of the telecommunications tycoon has already reached 67.8 billion dollars, above Microsoft founder’s 59 billions. Carlos Slim’s fortune has surpassed Bill Gates’ and has put him in the place Gates had maintained for a long time: the one of the world’s richest man. Forbes magazine will publish its updated ranking in September. I’m  interested in this story because I think that, although Mexicans may feel proud of having the person who has made the world’s biggest fortune working from Mexico, Slim’s story can be considered a proof of two Mexican disgraces: the awful distribution of wealth and Carlos Slim’s ability to reach a monopoly level with Telmex, which is hurting Mexican consumers. 

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I am very happy to announce that FON and Neuf Cegetel, which is France’s leading alternative operator, have entered the final technical phase before the launch of the new Neuf WiFi FON service in September.

This partnership with Neuf Cegetel reinforces our close ties with other major ISPs, such as Time Warner Cable, and is the first one to fully integrate an ISP’s WiFi capabilities with those of FON.

Throughout the summer, Neuf Cegetel will integrate FON’s software into all of its Neuf Boxes, which will enable all Neuf subscribers who own a WiFi Neuf Box to join the FON Community. Those users will be able to start sharing some of their Internet connection with the WiFi Community in return for free and secure access to every FON WiFi access point in France and around the world.

To join the FON Community, Neuf Cegetel subscribers will need to activate the service using the free activation wizard available for download on the Neuf and FON websites. More experienced users will be able to activate the Neuf WiFi FON service directly from the management console of their Neuf Box. Once the service has been activated, the Neuf Box will begin emitting a WiFi signal called “Neuf WiFi FON”.

If you are not a Neuf Cegetel subscriber, you can join the FON Community by purchasing the “La Fonera”, our own WiFi Router.

Incredible, found in an attic, my vinyl record collection. My son Tom had never seen a vinyl record in his life. Probably many of my readers either. It was a funny moment. Here´s some of it in video.

I live in Madrid since 95 but for 18 years before that I lived in NYC. Living in Madrid I had forgotten how dangerous life in USA was.  In Madrid we don´t have hurricantes, flash floods,  tornados, no major thunderstorms, no extreme swings in weather that could actually be lethal (Madrid is never that cold that a person could freeze to death on the streets). Spending these days between Manhattan and the Hamptons I am reminded of how dangerous life around here is. In Spain we don´t have conversations about the weather. But over here people have them because the weather is hard to ignore. This morning I woke up to one of those thunderstorms that sound like warfare. It was so tough that I could not sleep. Later I found out that we could not go to the Hamptons because most of Long Island was flooded, that 4 Long Island homes had caught fire because of lightning, that there was a major tornado in Islip, that thousands of basements were flooded. So we made the safe choice and stayed in Manhattan until we heard a loud noise that turned out to be a major explosion caused by a bursting steamed pipe that made a transformer blow up.  The latest I hear is that one person was killed and 26 injured.   All this happened at the NYC Library a place we had passed before with our baby seemingly safely tucked in his stroller. Also during ths afternoon I saw A Mighty Heart, a film about terrorism that reminded me of how this city was attacked in 1993 (I had a chance to witness the first WTC attack and used to work in that building years before it) and in 2001. And when I was watching the film I was frequently thinking about how the Bush Administration made the problem of radical Islam worsen and how much easier it must be for Osama Bin Laden and others to recruit now as opposed to 10 years ago. Is the next attack on Manhattan going to be nuclear? Unlikely but not impossible.  And the paradox on this danger is that overall NYC is an extremely tolerant, thriving, very successful place run by a moderate mayor (with whom I had a chance to have dinner last Friday) who is a model for top management in government. Well, I know that today was a particularily bad day. Maybe things are not that extreme. But they certainly seemed out of control during the last 24 hours.

Grown ups in wealthy nations are hooked on two means of communication, phone and email. But 3 of my 4 kids rarely call on the phone and mostly avoid email (the other one is a baby and we are still waiting for his first word;). My older kids don´t to talk like we do, nor do they email, instead they meet their friends in such unusual places as the Walls of Facebook, or in the fields of World of Warcraft in Second Life. I am on Facebook as well, and occasionally somebody has written on my “wall”, but I never realized the “wall” could be a twitter like platform as it is for my daughters.  My 17 year old girl says “my friends don´t read their email, they read their Walls on Facebook”. My 14 year old girl agrees. My 13 year old boy says that email is unnecessary, and so is chat. He meets his friends in multiplayer games and talks to them thanks to product such as the one of Rob Seaver of Vivox whose company enables voice in games or virtual worlds as Second Life. Tom says that talking or chatting without a game is boring. That he meets his friends online at games so they can actually “do things”. The “things” comment is paradoxical since “things” use to have mass. Now things are virtual but they are very real to Tom who prefers to hang out with his buddies talking to them in a game.

Here´s another announcement.

I live in Madrid, but I have an apartment in NYC, where I am now. It is on 57th and Park. From my NYC I can detect 32 WiFi networks. Of these, 4 are open. Of course this is a particularly dense area of NYC and even though I am on the 4oth floor there are tons of networks. I have been talking to people in NYC about Fon and many say that they do Fon without Fon, they basically leech on their neighbors. Now what I wonder is really how is it that the Cable and DSL operators in the States allowed this to happen.

In Europe they were wiser and they provide Cable and DSL services with locked WiFi. This made them more attractive and safer at a small additional expense, but in America operators wanted to save themselves the cost of providing WiFi and they created a situation in which people go mostly to Linksys and Netgear and buy WiFi routers that are open and many leave them open. Still, I don´t see how the present status quo is better than Fon teaming up with Time Warner Cable, Verizon or other operators and we are working very hard at Fon to change it.

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