Morocco is an amazing country, extremely beautiful. Most Moroccans are nice and generous, landscapes are beautiful and it is one of the few opportunities that this planet offers for time travel. Go to the Medina in Fes and you will be transported to the Middle Ages among other things because it is the largest city without cars in the world. But Morocco has some drawbacks: the main three being polluted landscapes, police crime and tourist harassment (begging or offering services that you don’t need or want). Let me start with the caveats and then move on to the pluses.

Moroccans don’t seem to mind littering which sometimes makes the tourist experience somewhat disgusting. I personally saw many Moroccans opening packaged goods and then simply throwing the packaging on the floor. There are vast areas full of plastic bags and other plastic garbage and that is sad. Secondly, and even worse, are the police. The Moroccan police are the only danger we encountered traveling around Morocco in our car brought from Spain. They are criminals in uniform. They stop you and demand bribes for no reasons and they go even further. In the case of a friend of ours, they planted drugs in his car and demanded 100 euros with the other choice being jail. Our friend was petrified and swore never to go back to Morocco. Other friends were asked for bribes four times in the journey from Tangier to Marrakesh. Now, to be fair, in our drive from Marrakesh to Fes, we were not asked for any bribes but that seems to be the exception more than the rule. Lastly there’s the issue of aggressive begging or the infamous tourist guide that shows up every time you walk around. While many complain about these characters I found that just saying no worked.

Having read this, I can understand that criminal police, pollution and tourist harassment maybe enough to stop you from visiting Morocco. I instead chose it to celebrate my 50th birthday because I do believe that the positives outweigh the negatives. For the positives you can cite remarkable restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, scenery, culture and some shopping. In order to make my point for the positives, here are some videos and pictures:

Pictures from the whole celebration

Tannerie de Fes

The Ouzoud Falls

Ouzoud from Martin Varsavsky on Vimeo.

Walk around Fes

Fes from Martin Varsavsky on Vimeo.

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We are at Bab Ourika, Google it, arguably one of the most beautiful hotels in the world. For us it’s paradise.

We flew in from Madrid yesterday. There is no ash cloud in Spain. But as we sat down for lunch we found that the 20 or so guests who are in this hotel speak as if they were in prison. They shout from table to table, coming up with alternative plans to escape paradise. A train to Tangier, a boat from Bilbao. They frequently curse the British government for leaving them stranded.

Nina and I intervene, offering a return flight in our plane that is coming to bring our children for my birthday celebration this weekend. They kiss our hands. We feel sorry. Paradise turned on them.

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08 Fon’s revs were euro 2.8M loss 7M, in 09 revs were 4.9M loss 1.5M. 1st qt 2010 revs 3.9M and $280K profit 🙂 This is a tremendous achievement and I want to congratulate everyone who works at Fon. It took Fon 3 years to get to a million hotspots. In the first quarter of this year alone we grew another half million.

Does Time Warner Cable, Comcast in the States offer an IPTV service if u pay their monthly subscription? When are they going to Slingbox as they Tivoed? They have a great opportunity there.

Google has a serious branding problem. Is it the “Android”, “Nexus”, “Nexus One”, “Google Phone”? People can’t agree.

FB app slows down your iPhone if you have many friends. Today I started cutting my friends list in Facebook from 4000 to 500 because neither the iPhone, nor the Android, Blackberry can handle Facebook when you have so many friends.

It took Fon 3 years to get to a million hotspots. In the first quarter of this yr alone we grew another half million.

While everyone talks about the iPad – the iPad does have its shining moments – I do believe, in the end, there will be more Android tablets than iPads. Just as, soon, there will be more Android smartphones than iPhones sold around the world. What convertibles are to transportation, the iPad is to computing. There are moments in which you adore your iPad and nothing else will do. But in general, the iPad is too limited and I am convinced there will be Android tablets that will allow you to do many more tasks in a tablet format.

iPad vs. Android from Martin Varsavsky on Vimeo.

In this video I argue that the iPad is great, but that the Android Tablet will be even better.

Just four years ago, FON was a small group of WiFi addicts with a simple but ambitious goal, WiFi everywhere. Today FON is the world’s largest WiFi community. FON now has 2 million members and 1.5 million active hotspots worldwide. For those looking for WiFi on the go that means you can connect to 950,000 hotspots in the UK; 175,000 hotspots in mainland Europe; 50,000 hotspots in Japan and 325,000 hotspots across the rest of the globe, thanks to FON.

And that’s just the beginning! Our user-generated WiFi network keeps on growing. We expect FON hotspots to more than triple in 2010. This gives everyone a lot more WiFi to look forward to and plenty of reason to celebrate.

In the UK, where open WiFi is illegal, we would like to point out that FON is legal and operates together with BT. The BT FON network is the largest in the nation.

Fonera, FON’s innovative WiFi router and your ticket to free WiFi, is available from the FON shop today.

FON data from Q1 2010.

Original post on the FON blog. Read also “FON reaches 2 million members,” by TelecomPaper.

There’s nothing like a great vacation to clear your mind and make you think about the important things in life. In this video shot in deserted Hoffman Cay in the Bahamas, I try to tackle the difficult question as to what is the end game in the life of a tech entrepreneur? Is it really only to please customers, shareholders, employees? Is it not also a very personal quest for happiness? And does that happiness exist? I think it does 🙂

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