Today I had a meeting at a very large Japanese company. Part of the meeting took place in Japanese so I had a chance to observe the faces of the people who I was meeting with more detail as I could not understand what they said. In so doing I could notice tremendous signs of fatigue. And this was not only true of this meeting but of many meetings that I attended. Especially with executives of large companies. Doing some more research on this I learned about the famous last trains of Tokyo, which run around 1130 and how packed they are. This means that many people stay at the office from 9am to 11pm. And then they commute for over an hour on the average. Now what I can´t understand is how come in Europe we work so much less and yet enjoy a similar standard of living.
These monuments are built in honor of dead babies in Japan
Because the city combines an ancient body with a new skin.
Because in Tokyo fashion comes in many styles at once.
Because they make the biggest type of buildings small.
Because foreign foods taste local.
Because toilets pamper you.
Because everyone is so polite and makes you feel safe.
Because the few children there are, are little princes and princesses.
Because the map of Tokyo must have been drawn by a drunk emperor thousands of years ago.
Because when people don´t understand you…they still try.
Because taxi drivers open the door for you…from their seats.
Because over here you don´t have to look like a geek to love technology.
Because Tokyo is a collection of little villages that blend into a city.
Because the best food they have, miso ramen, is food everyone can afford.
Because your bath tub is expected to overflow.
Because people care that you don´t get sick if they are.
Because the Japanese are as curious about you are you are about them.
Because as strict as they are with rules they still opened Cafe Salvatore in Roppongi tonight because they saw how much we wanted their chocolate cake!
In the era of Google it is surprising to see a lot of human contextual advertising in Japan.
A friend suggested me to have a look at an interesting offer by Avis, the rent a car company. They provide a special mobile router to give WiFi connectivity in the cars they rent. It’s based on a product called AutoNet, a device that combines a 3G modem and a WiFi router and turns your car into a WiFi hotspot.
What is very interesting about this is why the service uses 3G and WiFi instead of 3G alone: while mobile broadband is great for its coverage it lacks compatibility with most of the laptops, mobile devices and game consoles on the market. This is one of the many advantages WiFi has over 3G (another big one is cost!) and one that will stay for a long time.
WiFi has become a standard for device manufacturers like Apple, Sony, Nintendo, Panasonic and others who want to provide connectivity for their gadgets. FON has partnerships with most of these manufacturers and is making it really easy and quick for foneros to connect using their WiFi devices without typing usernames and passwords. This is also great for our partners like BT or Neuf whose users can as easily connect using their gadgets on BT-FON and Neuf WiFi FON hotspots.
Today Bernard Farret, the DA of Pontoise has accused two poor Continental Airline mechanics of manslaughter because a part of a plane they repaired fell off and ending up causing the death of 113 people. To me it´s obvious that these people are not guilty. I thought that America was the only country in which money and jail sentences were supposed to bring comfort to accident victims or their relatives. But it seems that USA is not alone. Without knowing all the details but being a jet pilot myself I think that it is absurd to think that the accused mechanics could have possibly known, first that the part of the plane would fall off but secondly, that once on the runway it was going to be picked up by another plane and end up in the tragic death of 113 people. I think that justice is there to condemn the guilty, not to find the guilty when accidents happen. And this one was certainly one freak accident. Moreover if mechanics can be put on trial over their work like this how about car mechanics?
Twitxr is a project that started so Fon could have a Twitter like service but that really used bandwidth so we could showcase WiFi is taking off nicely. Fon Labs releases a lot of services but as far as I am concerned Twitxr is the one that I am most addicted to because I can combine text, a picture and geolocalization, post from any mobile phone with camera and email (it works best with the iPhone) and then automatically cross post in Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook.
The new iPhone app (now called Twitxr, here the details on how to install on your phone) lets you browse your friends’ pictures and updates, take a new picture or choose from one you have taken previously (using the default Photo app). This is great for those who prefer using WiFi to post their pictures: take a photo using the Photo app when you don’t have coverage and post it later with Twitxr. In the application preferences you can also choose to post lower resolution pictures, making it much faster to post via EDGE.
Twitxr now has a great mobile version to view your friend’s updates and upload your pictures from any web enabled mobile device (just point your browser to m.twitxr.com). Posting via email has also been optimized and works on any device with email support (simply attach your picture and send it to Twitxr, here some detailed instructions).
The new Facebook app not only automatically saves your posts to your Photos on Facebook and shares them with your friends, it also displays a box in your profile with your latest Twitx and lets you see your friends’ posts on the application page.
You can now easily invite your friends on Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and MSN to join you on Twitxr, see your pictures and share their own.
Twitxr keeps posting your updates to Twitter and Flickr, meaning that you can have all your friends on these platforms see your pictures and read the messages you send using Twitxr. Integration with other popular platforms will keep coming. Send your suggestions to contact at twitxr.com.
As an experiment in Fon we have opened Gmail access in all foneras. We have done this for a while now but we are now promoting this feature. This means that regardless of whether you are a fonero or not (foneros are members of the Fon community who share WiFi) when you find a Fonspot you can check your Gmail. You can also check any Google service including search, maps, news, and so long as you stay inside Google you can surf for free. We are doing this for three reasons. One to thank Google as an investor in Fon. Secondly because at Fon we all use many Google services and so do millions of people around the world and we appreciate the quick access. Third and most important for Fon, because since we opened the 15 minute free access on all Fonspots we have seen that many more people use Fon and even if they are not WiFi donors (foneros) they pay for Fon (buy day passses as Aliens). There was a debate at Fon on whether if we gave free access we would sell more or less passes to Aliens but now the answer is clear. We sell more passes because Aliens now know the service works well before they pay.
We believe that Gmail users will love the fact that Fon lets them check their email without paying or donating. And we think that this will encourage people to become Foneros as most people who use gmail also do many other things, like go to Microsoft sites, or Yahoo, or big local portals like Terra, or Facebok and other social communities and all the other wonderful things that the net has to offer. To do that they will either have to become Foneros by buying a Fonera or buy an Alien day pass. In any way Fon will grow faster.
Fon is always free for those who share so those who share will not be affected. Fon also protects those who share in two ways, one is with a firewall and encrypted personal access so nobody from the outside can enter their network and secondly with a bandwidth throttle that limits those who use their fonera to a small portion of their bandwidth.
To become a Fonero all you need to do is buy a Fon router at our online shop, connect it and never pay again when you connect away from home. If you would like to know if there are any foneros in your city you can go to our maps.
Yesterday PC Pro quoted Ericsson’s chief marketing officer Johan Bergendahl stating that WiFi is dead and it will be replaced by mobile broadband. What a surprising statement from a company selling HSDPA solutions to mobile operators all over the world!
“Hotspots at places like Starbucks are becoming the telephone boxes of the broadband era” Bergendahl claimed.
He then added how an issue like roaming charges (meaning you get ripped off as soon as you cross your country’s borders) might get easily solved: “Carriers need to work together. It can be as simple as paying 10 euros (US$15) per day when you are abroad”. As simple as that.
Now let’s compare this with FON and WiFi. If you are a Fonero you share your broadband connection at home and can use any FONspot in the world for free. If you don’t share your connection you can connect for free for 15 minutes (watching an ad) or for 1 day for 3 euros/dollars. The math is even easier if we consider the thousands of bars, restaurants and public places that offer free WiFi. You can use WiFi with any laptop computer and most of the gadgets on the market (iPod touch, PSP, Nintendo DS, Skype phones, etc…). Most of these gadgets do not have HSDPA access nor will they have it. Indeed with WiFi You have enough bandwith to upload videos, your photos, read your email and call home on Skype. Try that with mobile broadband 1GB limited plans! And with mobile carriers you have 24 months contracts, slow access speed, bad coverage indoors and those absurd per minute charges when you speak. While abroad save your 10€ for a dinner and use FON!
WiFi hot-spots are cheap to set up and maintain and WiFi support is already built in any laptop and any new gadget, PDA, smartphone and portable game consolle. Mobile networks are much more expensive to roll out and operate, expensive for users and supported on very few devices. This is why WiFi will live much longer then what this Ericsson marketing guy told us.
FON Japan has helped Panasonic to FON-enable its latest Skype WiFi phone set, making it possible for its users to easily connect to any FON Spot and call for free or very low rates using Skype.
The phone is on sale in Japan and comes with a WiFi router to use at home. But what is more interesting for Foneros is that it can be conveniently used as a Skype phone even outside your home as it automatically connects to any FON signal when one is detected. Users enter their FON login and password during the initial configuration and the phone will store them to easily connect to any FON Spot.
Foneros living in Tokyo, where we recently reached 80% coverage, should be particularly interested as the combination of this nice WiFi device and FON could help them save a lot when calling outside of their homes. Bring your Skype phone with you and make free calls connecting to any FON Spot in Tokyo, including 2.200 Livedoor access points in great locations.