Bravo Google

While riding my bike in the Sierra I take a break and reply @om why Europe? Because

Great argument wrong conclusion: The Startup Visa Act Must Be Stopped by @pegobry /via @alleyinsider

Design is not great when it clashes with use. Example? iPhones that fall out of pockets.

Hillary Clinton may become for all Israelis what Sharon was to Gaza settlers

Greece spends twice as anyone in the EU on the military. EU should defend Greece but demand cuts before helping

When two people on Twitter want to engage they leave. DM is not enough. Unlimited DM or DM chat would be better.

….is that it’s been a blessing in disguise for the EU. Before the crisis the Euro was heading towards 1.50, now it is down to a more reasonable 1.35. If Greece defaulted on its debt, it would probably go down to 1.2. Would that be bad for Europe? Most would say no. In a world of competitive devaluations in which China has been amassing $2.4 trillion in reserves thanks to an artificially devalued currency, exporters in the EU would welcome the fall of the Euro. Moreover, the only real danger of a declining currency, inflation, looks very well under control: labor costs are down because of unemployment and energy costs are down because of lack of demand. No wonder it’s taking so long to bail out Greece.

Obama was elected…

“on a platform of universal health care, ending the Iraq war, a massive cap and trade system, 18 billion in new money for education, a revamping of the tax code to make it more progressive, a restoration of our civil liberties and enforcement of our anti-discrimination laws, a doubling of foreign aid, a huge expansion of national service tied to making college more affordable, tightening regulation in the financial markets, an unprecedented set of ethics and transparency rules governing the white house.”

For a while it seemed that the USA was headed nowhere. Now, as Lessig says in this great but long article, there is hope.

Greece is bankrupt. Greece needs the EU to bail the country out. But look at this graph. Greece spends an absurd amount of money on the military. Why not ask Greece to cut military spending to EU levels and use that money for education and health? Moreover I believe that all EU countries should cut military spending drastically and unite their military into one EU force that would focus on preventing military conflicts in the region while defending EU as a whole.

In the graph, I included Greece’s historical enemy, Turkey, to show that Turkey spends much less on the military as a percentage of GDP than Greece. In general, being part of the Euro, being part of Europe, should include being part of a common defense policy.

We want to thank all those who have tested and provided feedback on the Fonera 2.0n. Your input has been a tremendous help in preparing the new firmware version (  Though still in testing, we think you’ll very happy with the changes we’ve made so far.

First we fixed some issues created by the last upgrade ( RC1), so Foneros can now share WiFi and use other Fonera 2.0n features at the same time.

Connections with the iPhone3GS and other devices using the BCM4325 Broadcom chipset are both working now. This was the most critical bug affecting users and it is now solved!

Some customers reported that the Fonera 2.0n rebooted when a SIP phone or other VoIP device connected to it. This has been fixed.

We added the usb_modeswitch driver that permits us to support multiple 3G dongles. We’re currently testing 10 different models and expect the Fonera 2.0n to support many more out of the box.

Next up, we’re working on changing the WiFi driver and resolving two new WiFi issues that our beta testers found (Thanks to them!):

1) Macs running on Snow Leopard 10.6x might experience disconnections and can only connect again by turning off/on the Mac AirPort functionality.

The underlying technical reason for the disconnect is as follows: When a Mac AirPort gets turned on, it looks at the beacon for packets to determine the country it is located in. Fonera 2.0n is configured so that the Mac thinks the router is located in the US (or Japan). When the Mac disconnects – the user may not even notice – and then tries to connect to a different signal/router with a different country setting, the Mac gets confused and will not reestablish the connection to the Fonera 2.0n. The user must turn off/on the AirPort to reconnect.

This is not Apple’s fault, but the problem is by no means limited to the Fonera 2.0n. It is a known issue/limitation between Snow Leopard 10.6x and many routers in the market that use one country as standard location. Visit the Apple boards for more info.

We are currently working on a solution that allows the user to set the correct country code.

2) Two testers have experienced micro-disconnections where the public signal disappeared for a couple of seconds. As soon as the signal reappeared, the laptop disconnected and reconnected automatically. We have not yet identified the root cause of this issue.

We will release the Alpha version – for tech-savvy users only – for testing in the next couple days on Fonosfera. In parallel, we will continue to add support for new 3G dongles and other USB devices.

Thanks everyone for your feedback and patience.

Let me put a string of assumptions about the Middle East, the USA and China together and see if we draw similar conclusions.

The Iraq and Afghanistan wars are not about democracy, they are about the free flow of oil. While the USA and China are not in agreement about democracy, they both want free flow of oil. Free flow of oil benefits both nations.

The Middle East is a region that is not driven by economics in the same way that the USA and China are driven by economics. In the Middle East, ideology and religion are extremely powerful. There were successive attempts by leaders like Qaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden and now Ahmadinejad to be the rulers of the Muslim world, and this is something that neither the USA nor China want, because they both have oil dependent economies. In general, the strategy of the Muslim leader is always the same. It resembles that kid who tried to kill Reagan to impress Jodie Foster (replace Jodie Foster for the average inhabitant of the Middle East). Stand up against the USA and Israel, and get Muslims to admire you. Then become the “natural leader” of the Muslim world. So far this has not worked. Now Ahmadinejad is going at it with nuclear weapons, making it ever more urgent for the USA to align with the Chinese.

Free flow of oil benefits the Chinese Communist government more than the American government. The USA is a solid democracy that can withstand a recession, China is an unstable autocratic nation with a government whose people tolerate it because it gives them prosperity. Cut off the flow of oil and the Communist government becomes very unstable.

Russia is not a natural ally for the USA in the Middle East for the simple reason that Russia is an energy exporter. It is only partly an ally in the sense that Russia, as well as China, are frequent victims of Muslim extremism. But Russia does not want the free flow of oil.

China has 2.2 military personnel and spends $60bn per year on the military. The USA has 1.4 million and spends $600bn. The economic advantage that China has in manufacturing jobs is similar to what China has in military costs. China is a low cost military producer whose labor is especially good in wars of occupation. The USA is a high cost high quality military producer whose advantage is in air and tactical wars which is exactly what the current Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan wars are not.

The cost of the Middle East wars over the last 10 years has been estimated at $1 trillion. Coincidentally, USA debt to China grew to close to $1 trillion during these wars. So it is fair to say that it is China who is financing the wars for the free flow of oil. It benefits from them, but does not fight them nor spend on them. China just lends money and expects to be repaid in full. Owing a lot of money to the Chinese is not a great idea for the future national and foreign policy of the USA. For example, the next time the USA says that Chinese should revalue or that they are dumping goods, the Chinese will say shut up and pay your debt. The Chinese will do what the USA did to the UK and France in the Suez Canal dispute (USA told the UK that if they insisted in fighting the Egyptians over the Suez canal it would pull off the financing of the pound and destroy its value. The UK gave up. I learned this reading IOUSA).

Given these assumptions I come to the following theses. I think the USA should have China fight and equity finance the Middle East wars for free flow of oil instead of just debt financing them. If China fights it, it is China that spends the money, not the USA indebted to China. Moreover, China can do the job 90% cheaper than the USA. If the Chinese can send a soldier to Afghanistan for $100K per year, and the objective to send this soldier is to prevent an Al Qaeda takeover of the middle east, why send a US soldier for $1M?

The USA may be afraid of having China become a global military power, but the sooner the USA drops its pretenses that it fights wars to promote democracy (why not fight the most undemocratic Saudi Arabia then?), the sooner it realizes that it fights them to promote free and cheap oil, the sooner the US government will come to the conclusion that it should partner with China. That either it gets China to fight and pay or otherwise it just waits it out. The USA has to stop thinking of itself as the first victim of any global crisis. The Communist Party of China would be the first victim. But they know it, and that’s why they pile up while the USA spends.

The last US president who understood how to make others pay for war and not take the country to bankruptcy was Bush senior who able liberated Kuwait with little investment of US money. He knew how to fight an efficient war (USA is best in the world at short tactical wars) and when to pull out.

Moreover, while many are afraid of China, I think that the Chinese, at least so far, have proven to be much more gun shy than the USA when fighting what they believe is right. China waited to regain Hong Kong without fighting, it will probably regain Taiwan amicably and will continue to deal with the uncomfortable situation of Tibet without a war. This is because the Chinese are patient and smart. This is also why, if the Chinese are willing to fight for free oil, then we should join them because when they are ready, things will be really serious and not fake serious (WMD).

Now don’t take me wrong. I prefer democracy to dictatorship and I still overall prefer the USA to China, in spite of the US voracity for foreign interventions . I especially still prefer a USA led world over a Communist Chinese led world. But if the USA doesn’t realize how China is both getting to own the USA and benefit from free oil while not contributing any sweat or real equity in the war efforts, it will go bust. And if somebody goes bust, I prefer it be the Chinese Communist party. That is why if I had anything to do with US military policy, I would not go on fighting without engaging them.

Lastly, I would like to say the same about North Korea. If anyone should worry about North Korea it’s the Chinese who are next door. They should worry about their nuclear ambitions, the potential for a nuclear war at their borders, and the enormous economic disruption that could come from a conflict in the region. And yet, the USA goes at this problem alone, and so far it has achieved nothing. This is another conflict that the USA should work closely with the Chinese on.

What brought the USSR down was the combination of a corrupt regime that was unable to deliver prosperity to its people and its disproportionate level of military spending. So long as the USA makes it easy for China to focus on prosperity and outsource most of its foreign policy to USA, the Communist will stay in power.

Together with FON, our partner BT, has reached its goal of building a million-strong WiFi hotspot network in the UK. The vast majority (more than 85%) of BT’s WiFi hotspots are BT FON hotspots and a direct result of a vision Ian Livingston, BT’s CEO, and Gavin Patterson, BT’s CEO Retail, and I, FON’s CEO, had just three years ago.

Back then BT only had some Openzone hotspots in commercial areas. In order to quickly build a truly ubiquitous WiFi network in the UK, BT needed a new approach. BT needed FON.

Teaming up with FON, BT added FON WiFi sharing functionality directly into BT Home Hubs. This made it easy for BT subscribers to become members of the FON community. As members, BT broadband customers who elect to safely share a little of their home WiFi with others, get access to the world’s largest WiFi network in return. Instantly, BT customers who opted in to FON received more access to WiFi, and the joint BT FON network took off, growing faster than anyone expected. In the past six months alone, BT’s WiFi network has doubled. We expect it to continue growing even faster in 2010, thanks in large part to FON.

This is a video about fashion in a blog that is not about fashion so if fashion is uninteresting to you avoid it. In this video I follow @ninavarsavsky as she shops in Shibuya 109. Now right next to Shibuya 109 there are many gadget shops….not in this video however.

And here are some pictures of Tokyo taken today.

I am looking for an an analyst to work for me. Job consists of helping me evaluate investment projects in the areas of Internet, Telecoms and Alternative Energy. The ideal candidate will be a recent graduate, somebody who blogs and/or writes good reports in English, who has a great understanding of technology, and especially of how to turn new technologies into businesses. The job is based in Madrid and should be seen as a first training job. I have found that I work well with bright people who analyze and communicate well, but who have not received formal training in a large company. The companies that I have invested in already appear on the right side of the blog. The job also includes doing research for me for conferences related to my job as CEO of FON, this blog, other publications, teaching at IE and on different subjects that I may find of potential. Please write to me at

This video, that I shot this morning in the outskirts of Gstaad, shows how well cows live in Switzerland. And it shouldn´t surprise you, since in Switzerland according to the Becker-Posner Blog, 68% of farmer’s income comes in the form of a government subsidy. A billion of people on this planet live on less than a dollar a day. The average European cow gets $2.7 per day, and Swiss cows get way more than that. Here’s another interesting article on subsidies and how unfair their distribution is.

If you understand Spanish here’s a similar article but the video has a special star.

Español / English

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