The Sansa Connect is a wifi radio with iPod type functionality that was designed by Zing and that I use around my home to listen to music. Last night I gave a Sansa to my son Leo who just turned one and it was remarkable to see what happened when he realized that he could turn the wheel and change the screen functions. He tries to explore the Sansa in all possible ways, including putting it in his mouth. But the key is that he does get the basic idea of how a Sansa works. I recommend to all gadget designers out there to give them to very young children!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJm64ttLOLo
When I see the stats of when is it that people visit my Spanish and English blogs I see that most people read them during work hours while probably, at work. And probably this is not only true of blogs. I would imagine that the stats at Facebook, Myspace, many gaming, music and entertainment sites that are most likely unrelated to work, would also show that most visits come from people who are at work. Now what I wonder is this. Is there going to be a point in which corporate productivity goes down because people are listening to movies, watching movies, flirting, connecting with their friends they have not seen in a long time….at work? If this is true I guess I should also stop blogging…and get back to work!
This week I had the priviledge of having David Sifry from Technorati staying at my home and helping me as CEO of Fon with a bunch of great ideas on how to make our services better and easier to use. While we were working on Fon and looking at different advertising models (Fon´s revenues come from selling services to non foneros or non wifi donors partly with advertising) we came across Viddler and we both were very positively impressed. Yes, I know you may say that Viddler will turn all videobloggers into infomercial machines but men does not live off the internet alone. I hope my friend Loic Lemeur adopts a similar model for Seesmic, his new video start up. I love the way that Viddler mixes contextual advertising with people´s comments making you want to read the video timeline.
CBS has just announced that the launch of its CBS Mobile Zone project to “Light Up Midtown Manhattan with Free Wireless Internet Access”. This is great news for WiFi and free access and for everyone with loves NY. FON was one of CBS’ partners to make this new project a reality. Other partners include the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City Transit, as well as several next-generation companies including Tropos, BIG, Ning, Goowy, Veoh, Yelp, 1020, Aptilo and Can-Do Entertainment.
The “CBS Mobile Zone” or “Wi-Fi HotZone” is already up and running in certain areas in Midtown and will be fully operational by the end of the month with a footprint of more than 20 city blocks from Times Square to Central Park South and from 6th Avenue to 8th Avenue.
New Yorkers who access the “CBS Mobile Zone,” will be greeted by an ad-supported homepage that includes hyperlocal content such as breaking local and national news, sports highlights, weather reports, music discovery, wallpapers, ringtones, maps, a social network and the ability to search for nearby restaurants, shops and entertainment complete with geographically-targeted community reviews.
This is another great step forward for WiFi and for a city that I love!
I am on Facebok, so are three of my four children. Last night we were having dinner and my two daughters ages 17 and 15 kept talking about older guys who frequently try to connect to them on Facebook, invite them on dates and so on. From the way they spoke about them they sounded as if they were being spammed and I could see that I had not much to worry about as they just ignored them. Still just like I don´t like the thought of 35 year old guys hitting on my daughters on the street, I am quite uncomfortable about the same guys being able to hit on my daughters on Facebook. I like to think that my daughters party with kids their age which for a 17 year old I would consider anyone between 15 and 22. In Europe, where I live, it is not illegal for a 35 year old man to go out with a 17 year old girl as it is in the States. The concept of statutory rape does not exist over here and I think that overall we are better off for that since nothing magical happens when people turn 18 and rape in my view has to include some lack of consent. So without going as far as coming up with an artificial concept such as “statutory rape on Facebook”, should Facebook monitor older men and women who are frequently contacting minors and flag them? I think they should. Of course older people could lie about their age, or put fake pictures, but Facebook already has rules about this type of deception and if somebody is found lying about their identity in Facebook they can get thrown out of the community. During my conversations with Chris Kelly at Facebook I found out that thousands are banished every week. Still this does not address the whole issue. Personally the way I would do this is to give an easy way for minors to flag potential molesters. Right now this is not clear. A minor who feels molested can block or report this person but in the main reasons to report the molester there is no one clear category which is “this person is molesting me”. In my view if older men or women clearly understood that they are risking getting banned from Facebook if they try to hit on a 15 year old girl or boy my daughters and everyone else´s children would not be so frequently contacted by older men/women. Another idea could be that anyone who is a minor appears with a clear indication that they are minors to anyone who is older than say, Mark Zuckerberg´s age. In this way both minors would be protected and older people warned.
Google recently published a development kit for Android, the open source mobile platform they created. Google is hoping third parties will use the kit to develop exciting new applications and is offering $10 million in total awards for the “best mobile apps” built on the platform.
It’s a great idea which will probably make hundreds of compatible applications available when the first Android mobile devices will start shipping. It’s also good news for open source developers, but unfortunately not all of them! The Android Developer Challenge is not open to residents of Italy because of “local restrictions”.
Fabrizio Giudici, an Italian experienced Java developer writes on his blog about the restrictions which prevent Google from including Italy in the Challenge:
– the entity which is organizing the contest must guarantee in advance a security deposit covering the whole value of prizes.
– prizes must be assigned in presence of a notary public and a representative from an acknowledged consumer association;
– prizes that are not delivered (for any reason, including recipient not picking them) must be donated to some non-profit organizations, explicitly listed in the contest rules;
– there are some papers to fill in and the contest must be registered to two different Ministries and to the State Monopoly Administration.
Although most of these restrictions are in place to protect consumers, its actual effect is preventing Italian open source developers to seize such a great opportunity as Google’s contest. I think Italian politicians should get rid of these self-imposed obstacles if they want to encourage innovation in their country. In general Italy continues to be the European country with the weird, out of date laws, the other one that is absurd is the one that anyone who uses WiFi must certify his identity. ¿What happened to la libertá?
I know this sounds like a commercial, and I don´t even own shares in Asus but here it goes anyway. I just saw this laptop (site loads slowly but it´s worth the wait) that went for sale in Taiwan for NTD 7000 or around 160 euros and I am in awe. I want one!
Spotify is serial entrepreneur Daniel Ek new online music start-up. Before I tested it I thought that the world just did not need another online music platform but now that I am using I changed my mind. With a really simple process you download and install their application, just like you download Skype, you login and can listen to all the music you like. Analogies? Spotify is like iTunes but with on-demand. It’s like Joost, but for music! It´s like Pandora without the need to vote and with your ability to listen to music anytime you want. It´s like Last FM without the community.
At Spotify you listen to what you want when you want but don’t own the music and you don’t pay for music. Knowing what you are listening to and the kind of music you like more, Spotify will eventually serve ads just like a normal radio, but with the added benefit of context and mood targeting.
The application looks just great, really simple, quick, easy. From the main screen you can listen to the Radio, selecting the years and musical genres you’d like to hear. A simple search box lets you find all your favourite artists. At any time you can drag a song to one of your playlists, like you would do on iTunes. You can also click on the name of an artist and read his biography, reviews, listen to his top hits or albums (the database looks huge).
You click on an album and you can listen to it, just like it was on your hard drive. You can also listen to the Artist Radio which will feature music from artists similar to the one you were looking at. It’s probably the best way to discover new music, and it’s addictive! Spotify learns about your listening preferences and recommends you new music in Radio and Artist Radio. It doesn’t have all the social features of services like Last.fm, another really interesting music streaming service, but will soon work with existing social platforms. It’s currently in private beta. Write to me and I maybe able to get you invites.
If you work on the internet you can thank the world of atoms. If it wasn´t for them as everything digital goes to a free model we can only use the virtual world to advertise on things sold in the real world as those things do not run the risk of being given away for free anytime soon.
This week I am attending SIME 07 a conference hosted by my friend Ola Ahlvarsson. I just saw the IPTV Clips that SIME is putting together before the conference at SIME TV. In it there´s a clip from an Indian guy, Mahesh who asks a simple question. How are 9 million million lazy Swedes going to compete with over a billion Indians and their 100% English trained college graduates?
The whole clip is meant to be funny but the question is reasonable. I will try to give my answer.
Some countries developed ahead of others. The first country to develop and become a global power in recent times was the UK, followed by the US. The US and the UK will probably be followed by China in the next 25 years and India in the next 50. But having said this most people around the world do not care as much as to who has the most power as a country but care more how they live themselves as individuals in that country. And the world is very unevenly divided more along classes than along nations. Think about this: 2% of the people of the planet own half of all planetary wealth. This uneven distribution of wealth is true in Sweden as well as in India. Sweden, as socialist as it seems also has some insanely rich people like Ikea´s owner Ingvar Kamprad the richest person in Europe and fourth richest in the world. Considering the fact that I am in that lucky or oportunistic 2% I probably sound absurdly Marxist in saying that class matters more than nationality when it gets to competitiveness but this is true. Except that class membership is still somewhat of a merito but in some way or another all countries that develops successfully seem to develop in the same way. They globalize, compete and grow very fast until they reach a glass ceiling on the average GDP per person, after that the race is a class race and not a national race. So my answer to Mahesh would be, worry less about your nationality and more about whether you, personally, will be able to become an entrepreneur and join the 2%, wherever you are.