Fon does it right again!!!

I love Fon, I got my first router via LeWeb3 last year and it’s been on in my appartment ever since. I’ve also had great fun giving invitations to friends in three different countries.

Then they go and do this for Christmas…

SEASONS GREETINGS

WE’RE GIVING YOU THREE FREE FON ROUTERS TO CELEBRATE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON OF SHARING!

Fantastic idea! I’m now having fun deciding who I’m going to give them to.

How America Lost the War on Drugs : Rolling Stone

How America Lost the War on Drugs : Rolling Stone

All told, the United States has spent an estimated $500 billion to fight drugs – with very little to show for it. Cocaine is now as cheap as it was when Escobar died and more heavily used. Methamphetamine, barely a presence in 1993, is now used by 1.5 million Americans and may be more addictive than crack. We have nearly 500,000 people behind bars for drug crimes – a twelvefold increase since 1980 – with no discernible effect on the drug traffic. Virtually the only success the government can claim is the decline in the number of Americans who smoke marijuana – and even on that count, it is not clear that federal prevention programs are responsible. In the course of fighting this war, we have allowed our military to become pawns in a civil war in Colombia and our drug agents to be used by the cartels for their own ends. Those we are paying to wage the drug war have been accused of ­human-rights abuses in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. In Mexico, we are now ­repeating many of the same mistakes we have made in the Andes.

“What we learned was that in drug work, nothing ever stands still,” says Coleman, the former DEA official and current president of Drug Watch International, a law-and-order advocacy group. For every move the drug warriors made, the traffickers adapted. “The other guys were learning just as we were learning,” Coleman says. “We had this hubris.”

The war on drugs isn’t even debated any more; it’s a political given, all the parties offer almost identical policies and yet the facts are horrendous.

The impossibility of defeating an enemy who can adapt as quickly as you is a lesson that everyone in politics needs to learn.

Fantastic article in Rolling Stone (again!).

My view on LeWeb3 2006: Part I

If you were on another planet you might have missed the fact that there was a controversy at LeWeb3 last year. I was there but didn’t have a blog at the time; I now have a voice.

The best summary in less than 10,000 words can be found here: LeWeb3 is actually “Loic for president” at blog.forret.com. Loïc wrote the 10,000-plus word version of events with his response here.

Here’s my view…

First, I had a fantastic time last year. Except for a couple of speakers, mainly in the group discussions, who were more interested in promoting the company logo than being interesting, it was well worth my time and money (I took vacation and paid for myself).

Second, I’d not been to any of the previous conferences and therefore wasn’t looking to replicate something from the past. I’m interested in politics, technology and just about anything that I don’t know. As it turned out, two of the best speakers were not IT speakers at all; Hans Gosling was amazing and Shimon Peres was inspirational and got a standing ovation. There were another ten presenters who were well worth the two days on their own.

Now to how I perceived things. I was sitting at the front at the left and it was very clear that something was happening on the other side of the room as early as the mid-morning on day one. This was before the announcements that supposedly sparked all the controvosy.

When changes were made to the program I just held onto my hat and thought that at least I was seeing something new.

However, when I got home to wi-fi that worked after day one the blogs were very negative and it seemed that I was the only happy customer in the room. By the end of day two the blogs had gone into meltdown and the end of the world was iminent.

The aftermath of the conference was the end of TechCrunch UK v1.0, discussions about starting a “real European conference in the UK” and even the end of Loïc’s career.

I can’t help feeling, even a year later, that most of the fuss was generated by a small group who had a hidden agenda. Conferences are big money and I think that last year was the last chance for someone to get a rival conference off the ground.

We’re now twelve months on and LeWeb3 is back and even bigger, I’ve not heard of any massive life changing conference in the UK and Loïc the poor man seems to have the hottest startup around.

So what was wrong with last year again?

OLPC vs. Intel podcast

Joho the Blog pointed out that TwiT came up with gold this week.

Last week I started questioning why I spend an hour a week listening to Twit and then this comes along, this has to be one of the best Podcasts I’ve heard in a long while.

Just shows what a fantastic media it can be when done right.

PS – Joho will also be speaking at LeWeb3. I’m starting to get excited!!!

Dave Winer is wrong (for once)

Specifically about podcasting (Scripting News)

Every six months or so Dave Winer tells us that the iPod isn’t a good podcast player and that we need to build a new one. The wish-list is always roughly the same and it’s always Open Source.

An Open Source podcast player; the ideal toy for developers, a mobile developer platform.

First, I’ve nothing against the idea, in fact, I think that it would be great.

However, it wouldn’t promote the development of podcasting. The issue with podcasting is finding things that are worth listening to. I don’t have trouble teaching my mother to use an iPod but getting her to subscribe to a feed is impossible.

The solution to the podcasting isn’t the device, it’s the guide.

PS – Dave, if you want to scream at me, see you next Tuesday at LeWeb3!

PPS – While I’m on the subject, why is the iTunes store so difficult to use? It’s impossible to browse for music. It’s fantastic once you know what you’re looking for but I don’t know what I’m looking for!!!

Random thoughts…