11 Sep

Let’s not forget…

Let’s not forget. 13 years ago, it was morning. It was the year 2001. The attack came in the form of airplanes and souls; let’s not forget those who perished and what was at the center of that horrible act.

Societies in general are quick to forget — within a couple of generations, of even the worst kind of events. The result: history repeats itself. Let’s not forget.

31 Dec

2013 Review

As the year 2013 ends, it is time to reflect and write down some thoughts and highlights for the year.

This year I spent most of my time working on Telco stuff, specifically on a supply chain orchestration SaaS platform and private marketplace, and Intellectual Property, that helps Telcos manage, buy and sell IP services — all around the Telephone Number. During this time I learned quite a bit about all the gory details, role and life-cycle of telephone numbers, and how to help bring Telcos to the new world of Cloud Computing and Services (OTT); see The Evolving Role of the Telephone Number in the Growth of Mobile (Cloud Computing Magazine). It also was interesting to see something that many of us have been talking about for a long time – the state of “voice services and apps” — all moving to IP and the Cloud. Technologies such as WebRTC made a lot of noise in 2013 and will continue throughout 2014.

All the above triggered a number of thoughts including the ones captured on a piece that I wrote titled On Voice Apps (2013). Another related piece of interest is Enabling Voice Communication on Android Apps, which was the focus of a presentation I gave at Google I/O Austin. Related to the above I recommend that you read my friend Chetan Sharma’s book Mobile Future Forward Mobile 4th Wave.

On the prediction side of things, a number of things have materialized in 2013:

  • As predicted back in 2011, Microsoft acquired Nokia. Nokia should have gone the Android way back in 2011 but ego got in the way; enough said;
  • As predicted in 2010, Visors! as exemplified by Google Glass, Meta and companies like Austin’s Pristine.io;
  • Predicted in 2010 (and earlier), Mobile devices as the personal sensor gateway to the Internet – this has been exemplified by many; mentioning some Austin companies: MapMyFitness, Atlas Wristband;
  • The role of the Mobile Context – this has been exemplified with Google Now, and my friend’s Raj company TempoAI;
  • One thing that I have been telling folks in 2013, is that Mobile has peaked. And coincidentally today, I saw a blog from Furry titled “Christmas Continues To Set App Download Records In Spite Of Slowing Growth and Globalization of App Market” with data that shows what I have been saying. This doesn’t mean Mobile is really going down, but that we have entered a new phase of Mobile. This also means that if you are in the (crowded) space of mobile development services/consulting, you need to start thinking “Products”.
  • Being an NFC aficionado and proponent, I must include something on such topic for 2013. OK, my predictions around NFC have not fully materialized yet. NFC still has not taken off. Yes, ISIS (and Google Wallet) happened, but NFC has not really taken off, not yet. But its support on Android means that it is not totally dead in the global market — its adoption has taken forever and I am starting to lose faith it will ever happen. But let’s not forget that NFC is not only about payments but also about interactions. I do believe that once (if) Apple decides to pick it up, then it will bring new life to NFC (in the USA);
  • And being a Space aficionado (and an ex-Space Shuttle coder), it is great to see my prediction from 2008 materialize — The future of the USA space program is the private sector, as exemplified by SpaceX.

On the publishing side of things, it was cool to see my Android in Action 3rd edition book translated to Portuguese, and I recently contributed to Rudy De Waele’s shift 2020 book, together with many other like-minded global technologists. I also contributed blog content to Safari Online Books on the topic of Android. And of course, I continued writing on my/this About Mobility blog.

On my spare time, I continued my Mobile-related endeavors: Mobile Monday Austin and Android Dev Austin, and the Texas Wireless Summit. While Mobile Monday Austin was a bit slow in 2013, the plan for 2014 is to make it very active again with socials and events. I also gave advice to a number of ventures or startups, including my friend’s Ajit and his UK-based Feynlabs educational venture.

Something very cool I helped with on my spare time was Kloc Developers. Kloc Developers is a new, very cool visual-and social way for Developers to promote themselves, and discover and connect to/with like-minded people and content. Kloc answers the need for better ways for developers to tell their coding experience and story. The evolution of Kloc.me has been pretty cool, and as the year ends, the Kloc team is happy to release a new version of Kloc Developers Beta — sign up, use it, let the Kloc team know what you think.

Last but not least, 2013 reunited me with my favorite sport of all time (and with old friends): Frisbee Freestyle. After watching a local announcement on TV about the Austin Freestyle Disc Club tournament (the first one after a decade), I joined the group, which is home to a couple of world champions, made new friends and re-united with old ones, and have been enjoying jamming a whole lot, and hope to continue doing so. In 2014, we are bringing to Austin the American Freestyle Open, which will bring players from all over the world – stay tuned.

I am thankful for everything: my wife and family, my friends, Austin, what the year 2013 brought, and everyone and everything else that I left out from this blog. Love you all.

I wish you an awesome and prosperous 2014 year…

/CEO

16 Dec

Android App Ops *WAS* a Step Forward

Android App Ops is no more…

Two weeks after I wrote Android App Ops is a Step Forward, Google has disabled/removed the permission manager. After the Android 4.4.2 update, invoking the App Ops app results in a RuntimeException.

The R.I.P. permission manager, a very important capability for end-users, WAS a step forward; we are going backwards here.

Google’s response for why they removed this capability (via ReadWrite) is as follows:

Since Google never supplied documentation for the accidental release of the permissions manager, Android developers had no opportunity to prepare for the possibility that users might be withholding individual permissions, or to warn users about the possibility that an app might break if they did so.

OK. I do understand the rationale — I covered similar concerns when I wrote my original blog on App Ops:

This will require that developers be aware and properly test for scenarios related to restricted features/APIs not being available, and perhaps new documentation related to permissions guidelines for developers.

Seems the whole thing was not given proper thought.

It is of extreme importance to end-users to re-add this winning capability as soon as possible.

Here is EFF’s response to this debacle:

The disappearance of App Ops is alarming news for Android users. The fact that they cannot turn off app permissions is a Stygian hole in the Android security model, and a billion people's data is being sucked through. Embarrassingly, it is also one that Apple managed to fix in iOS years ago.

This debacle should be temporary. Google, please re-enable this ASAP.

/ceo


Related to this:

* Android App Ops is a Step Forward

* Google Kills A Cool Privacy Feature In Android That It Didn’t Intend To Release (ReadWrite)


LogCat when invoking the App Ops permission manager (Android 4.2.2):

12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): FATAL EXCEPTION: main
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): Process: com.android.settings, PID: 12663
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): java.lang.RuntimeException: Unable to start activity ComponentInfo{com.android.settings/com.android.settings.Settings}: java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: Invalid fragment for this activity: com.android.settings.applications.AppOpsSummary
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at android.app.ActivityThread.performLaunchActivity(ActivityThread.java:2195)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at android.app.ActivityThread.handleLaunchActivity(ActivityThread.java:2245)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at android.app.ActivityThread.access$800(ActivityThread.java:135)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at android.app.ActivityThread$H.handleMessage(ActivityThread.java:1196)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at android.os.Handler.dispatchMessage(Handler.java:102)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at android.os.Looper.loop(Looper.java:136)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at android.app.ActivityThread.main(ActivityThread.java:5017)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at java.lang.reflect.Method.invokeNative(Native Method)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at java.lang.reflect.Method.invoke(Method.java:515)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at com.android.internal.os.ZygoteInit$MethodAndArgsCaller.run(ZygoteInit.java:779)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at com.android.internal.os.ZygoteInit.main(ZygoteInit.java:595)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at dalvik.system.NativeStart.main(Native Method)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): Caused by: java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: Invalid fragment for this activity: com.android.settings.applications.AppOpsSummary
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at android.preference.PreferenceActivity.switchToHeaderInner(PreferenceActivity.java:1180)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at android.preference.PreferenceActivity.switchToHeader(PreferenceActivity.java:1199)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at android.preference.PreferenceActivity.onCreate(PreferenceActivity.java:545)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at com.android.settings.Settings.onCreate(Settings.java:207)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at android.app.Activity.performCreate(Activity.java:5231)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at android.app.Instrumentation.callActivityOnCreate(Instrumentation.java:1087)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	at android.app.ActivityThread.performLaunchActivity(ActivityThread.java:2159)
12-15 11:32:41.004: E/AndroidRuntime(12663): 	... 11 more
12-15 11:32:41.014: W/ActivityManager(611):   Force finishing activity com.android.settings/.Settings
08 Dec

Google Ads are not really relevant anymore

Over time, I have seen the behavior of Google Ads on my weblog change behavior. Today, when I visit websites, including my own blog, I no longer see content-relevant Ads.

Digging around I found information on how ads are targeted to your site:

  • Contextual targeting, based on keywords
  • Placement targeting, based on your site URL
  • Interest-based advertising, targeting specific users on your site based on their cookie ID.

I am not sure which one above is the one getting triggered, but from my perspective, the Ads being served have NOTHING to do with my blog content! Instead they seem to be related to my “search history”.

As a publisher, that is NOT what I want for my blog — I want to control the kinds of Ads that are served on my blog. I want them to be content-relevant, the way they used to be.

Google provides a way to “opt-out” which I haven’t tried yet, that supposedly allows you to “opt out of ads shown to you based on factors such as your interests and demographic details on your computer’s browser.” — whatever that really means.

I am starting to look for Ads alternatives — as I said, as a blog owner I want to control the kind of Ads that are served on my blog — which in my case I want them to be *content-relevant Ads*.

Perhaps I have problems with the Google Crawlers?

Does anyone know how (as blog owner) I can control the kind of Ads that are served by Google?

Do you have an alternative to Google Ads or suggestions for me? Thanks in advance.

Related to this:

* How ads are targeted to your site.
* Factors that affect ad serving.
* About the AdSense crawler.

/ceo

21 Sep

Stephen Hawking Says Humans Won’t Survive Another 1,000 Years On Earth

Stephen Hawking Says Humans Won’t Survive Another 1,000 Years On Earth

“if humans don’t migrate from the planet Earth to colonize other planets, they’ll face extinction in 1,000 years.”

The above quote reminds me of Into the Void

:-/

Into the Void

Rocket engines burning fuel so fast
Up into the night sky they blast
Through the universe the engines whine
Could it be the end of man and time?
Back on earth the flame of life burns low
Everywhere is misery and woe
Pollution kills the air, the land and sea
Man prepares to meet his destiny

Rocket engines burning fuel so fast
Up into the night sky so vast
Burning metal through the atmosphere
Earth remains in worry, hate and fear
With the hateful battles raging on
Rockets flying to the glowing sun
Through the empires of eternal void
Freedom from the final suicide

Freedom fighters sent out to the sun
Escape from brainwashed minds and pollution
Leave the earth to all it’s sin and hate
Find another world where freedom waits

Past the stars in fields of ancient void
Through the shields of darkness where they find
Love upon a land a world unknown
Where the sons of freedom make their home
Leave the earth to Satan and his slaves
Leave them to their future in the grave
Make a home where love is there to stay
Peace and happiness in every day

Songwriters: IOMMI, WARD, BUTLER, OSBORNE

28 Jul

Black Sabbath 2013 | #ATXSabbath

Last night (July 27, 2013) Black Sabbath came to Austin Texas (Erwin Center); my 1st time ever seeing Sabbath (and Ozzy for that matter).

#atxsabbath

We enjoyed the show very much. In memory of my very good friend Alberto Rafóls; we used as kids to listen to Sabbath again and again, while Frisbee Jamming. R.I.P. my good friend, my brother!

The Sabbath’s Reunion Tour is the group’s first album to feature their original singer Ozzy Osbourne since 1978 and original bassist Geezer Butler since 1994.

What they played:

  1. War Pigs
  2. Into the Void
  3. Under the Sun
  4. Snowblind
  5. Electric Funeral
  6. Black Sabbath
  7. Behind the Wall of Sleep
  8. N.I.B.
  9. End of the Beginning
  10. Fairies Wear Boots
  11. Symptom of the Universe
  12. Drum Solo
  13. Iron Man
  14. God Is Dead?
  15. Dirty Women
  16. Children of the Grave
  17. Encore: Paranoid

Not played, but I really wished they had: Wizard.

ceo

05 Jul

Texas GDG TX DevFest 2013

[Google invited me to give this talk, but expanded, in Kansas City on Aug 23rd. Stay tuned for more info]

Next Fri and Sat July 12 – 13 in Austin is the Texas’ GDG TX DevFest.

There will be multiple session tracks on Android, Web/JavaScript, and other tech, with guest speakers from Austin, Houston, Dallas and California, from Google as well as Texas local speakers.

I will be talking on Friday July 12 afternoon, where I will be giving a Lightning Talk on “The Evolution of Voice Apps” with focus on Android.

Visit the GDG TX DevFest website to buy tickets.

ceo

09 Jun

This week’s march toward dystopia: Amendment IV, the NSA, Surveillance, and Metadata

U.S. Constitution — AMENDMENT IV

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Proposed 9/25/1789. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Let’s not be naive. Big-brother, mass surveillance, in the name of “protecting its Citizens”

Shame on the USA Government for going into extremes.

You should read Stop likening NSA to a private company! (Salon.com). I totally agree with the article’s author. Do not compare the Government with private companies – there is a major difference between the Gov monitoring/surveillance and the relationship between consumers and private companies.

I am afraid that this issue of government surveillance goes beyond Democrats and Republicans — both have failed with respect to preserving the basic privacy rights. Where is the line drawn? Both political parties, and it is getting exponentially worst, use “terrorism and fear” as a way to rationalize their unbalanced and extreme surveillance efforts. This is just the beginning. How far will this go? How far are you willing to let this go? Who is responsible? “Only look into a mirror.”

I keep reading that all this is OK because the NSA is only collecting “metadata”. They use the term “metadata” as if it is harmless data. But it is not harmless. Let’s not be naive. Metadata is “data about data”. Metadata is used to describe data structure, and to describe the data itself. Metadata in this case is the Call Detail Records (CDR) — each time a call is made, a call detail record is stored somewhere in the operator’s network (storage). The following information can be pulled from a CDR:

  • “Originating number”,
  • “Terminating number”,
  • The duration of each call,
  • Trunk identifiers (call connection/endpoint info),
  • Routing information (call/connection routes in the network),
  • International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number.

The IMSI can glue it all together. The first 3 digits of IMSI tells you the mobile country code (MCC), and the mobile network (operator) code (MNC). Information that can be mapped to via the IMSI include IMEI (describes the handset/device model), MSISDN (telephone numbers), and account information such as telephone calling card numbers, personal/family information, and even the actual traffic/message contents. Other information that can be easily extrapolated from the network is Cell-site location data.

So the game the Government is playing is that they are retrieving “harmless metadata” (which as you can see above, tells a lot about individuals and privacy). They will parse millions of CDRs and look for “patterns”. From such “patterns” they will issue subpoenas or similar to extract the actual message contents and personal information for specific cases and individuals. This two-step process is the reason why they are saying “extracting metadata is harmless”. Again, let’s not be naive. These are patterns or search criteria that can be anything, it is way too loose. Who is watching the watchmen?

All this is about basic principles. Naive are those who fail to see this. There is the reason why the Fourth Amendment was added to our Constitution in the first place – to protect its Citizens of exactly this kind of dystopian acts that we are experiencing right now.

In case you don’t know, the 4th amendment was ratified in 1791; this is a long time ago. But it was introduced for a good reason, which should not surprise you. Back then, as it is now and will in the future, governments tend to be controlled by the few (individuals and enterprises), gain extreme powers, believe it has a mission from God, and begins coercing conformity and soliciting submission from their Citizens. This has happened again and again throughout out the world’s history. It happened back then in the late 1700s when the 4th amendment was put in place, and it is happening right now. But the 4th Amendment must be updated to reflect today’s definition of “papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”.

Related to this, a must read: The Eternal Value of Privacy (Bruce Schneier).

Coincidentally, two months ago, last April, I wrote a blog V for Vendetta, C for Constitution, which talks about this exact issue on how people are and will be willing to give up their rights, without understanding what they are really doing — until it is too late. Then will ask themselves, who is to blame. And the answer is “only look into a mirror.”

Power and Terrorism leads to fear. Fear leads to government control. Government control leads to censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. Coercion and submission leads to deprivation of Rights.

Last but not least, a must read by JWZ: It’s been a great week for the relentless march toward dystopia!

God Bless America…

ceo

28 Apr

Tag/Word Cloud (Apr 2013)

Every so often, I like to run a “tag or word cloud” against my Weblog (and Twitter). I then capture the output for future reference. This is a great, cool way of capturing a snapshot of topics that I write about at that point in time.

For Apr 2013, my Weblog’s word cloud looks as follows:

Weblog WordCloud Apr2013

(Tag cloud source: Tagxedo)

That said, it is good to understand the limitations of word clouds and that depending on the goal, there are better ways to visualize this kind of data — see Word clouds considered harmful.

ceo

23 Apr

V for Vendetta, C for Constitution

v-for-vendetta

“…cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.”

Power and Terrorism leads to fear. Fear leads to government control. Government control leads to censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. Coercion and submission leads to deprivation of Rights.

I am not being paranoid. Just look at the World’s History; and history will repeat itself — it is the “human nature”.

Do not give up your Constitutional Rights…

God Bless America.

ceo

18 Apr

UcATX – Innovation in Communication Apps Architectures (Austin, TX) Meetup

I am very excited to announce Austin’s first UcATX – Innovation in Communication Apps Architectures meetup, where we will be focusing on the future of Unified Communications, but from the Apps, APIs, Services and Architecture perspective, and related technologies including Mobile, WebRTC, SIP, IM and Cloud stacks/technologies. This a technical Meetup targeted at Developers and Engineers.

Seating is limited, please RSVP. Food and drinks will be available.

Thanks Shango and TeleStax for sponsoring our Meetup.

When: Apr 22, 2013
Time: 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Where: Shango offices – 3811 Bee Caves Road #101, Austin, TX

Agenda:

  • 5:30 pm: Networking, grab some drinks and food
  • 6:00 pm: Welcome and Introduction – Charter/focus
  • 6:15: Evin Hunt, Shango CTO | Topic: Intro to the *new* UC — abstracting Apps (and voice intelligence) from the underlying network
  • 7:00 pm: Thomas Quintana, TeleStax | Topic: HTML5 WebRTC and SIP over WebSockets
  • 7:45 – 8:00pm: Conclusion

Hope to see you there…

ceo

23 Jan

Dell is going Private (2013)

potential_dell_dial_2013

A month after I wrote Dell to exit global smartphone business, now I hear rumors that Dell is going private.

Many years ago I was predicting that an Asian company would buy Dell, but I wasn’t expecting Dell going private.

The Dell story kind of upset me. Dell, which is right on my “backyard”, is/was an Austin darling, used to rule the personal computing world. Today, I am not surprised of what is happening at Dell; I have been saying this for years. The Round Rock, Texas company missed the boat in a major way. You need to understand that this didn’t happen over night. It has been a slow but expected process/result — I am talking about 10 years, which is the same time-period that it took personal computing/Mobile to evolve into what it is right at this moment — just look around and you know what I am talking about: Smartphones, Tablets, personal information devices. This mess all started during the days of Kevin Rollings.

For Dell, Mobile always meant laptops. The company wasn’t able to understand that personal computing was transforming, right in front of their eyes, into the new form of Tablets and Smartphones. Actually, some inside the company did, and they created prototypes and Tablets and Smartphones *but* without a proper business-plan and without proper vision. They thought they were in control, but they weren’t. Then, they couldn’t adapt fast-enough. They couldn’t make it happen; didn’t know how-to. Technology leadership requires vision and investing in R&D — Dell didn’t do either. Then Apple and Google-and its partners all ate Dell’s lunch. It wasn’t a tech problem, but a total lack of vision — a business (management) problem. Shame on you Dell management.

Rumors say that Microsoft would invest $2 billion on the deal. Good money — but Dell would once again miss to identify root causes. Dell needs to understand that part of the reason it has failed and is failing is truly related to its dependency on Microsoft for all things Software. Dell needs to realize and learn that Software is where differentiation comes from. Software runs the world. It must take ownership and leadership both on software and hardware.

It is no surprise why both Dell and Microsoft missed the personal computing boat — the mobile opportunity. It is a problem with the way of thinking and lack of vision (that is, lack of proper leadership).

As I wrote recently, moving forward, Services and Cloud is perhaps what Dell should focus on, and forget about the rest. The problem is that Dell’s dependency on PC revenue is still at 70%; it is a tough problem to solve.

The new personal computing (aka Mobile) is perhaps too late for Dell at this point. But with the right leadership, anything can happen. If Dell insists on addressing the personal computing market, it must do a re-boot, and bring totally new minds (business and tech) into the equation — something they should be able to do now if they go Private.

ceo

20 Jan

Geo Track Me Not! (T-Shirt)

I have been spending some time designing Tech-themed t-shirts (with mobile focus).

The T-Shirt below, titled Geo Track Me Not!, is an evolution of an design idea I had years ago. I think I am finally close to finishing with a design that I like (where simplicity is a goal), and your input will help determine this. I am producing one for myself, but I will produce more if there is interest. It would be awesome if you would share your thoughts — see survey below.

CEnriqueOrtiz_GeoTrackMeNot_T-Shirts
(Click on picture to enlarge)

Please take the quick survey (3 questions):

Thanks,
ceo

14 Jan

Frisbee Freestyle Jam (Austin Winter 2013)

It was a gorgeous, windy, cold day in Austin, Texas. With Todd Brodeur, John Titcomb, Johny Trevino, Mike Galloupe, Eric Gibbons, Glen Whitlock and others — at Zilker Park.

Austin Jamming – Panorama #1

PANO_20130113_130331
(Click on picture to enlarge)

Austin Jamming – Panorama #2

PANO_20130113_130424
(Click on picture to enlarge)

It was great to meet and play with these great players, and also to re-connect (totally by chance after so many years) with my old Freestyle friend/pal from Puerto Rico, Carlos (Pipo) Lopez — another world champion player, with whom I spent so much time, years ago, playing Frisbee on the beach Isla Verde.

With Mike Galloupe:

IMG_20130113_135535

With Todd Brodeur:

IMG_20130113_135242

These guys are top USA and Canada Freestyle players, from left to right: Todd Brodeur, John Titcomb, Johny Trevino, Mike Galloupe, Eric Gibbons, Glen Whitlock — at Zilker Park:

IMG_20130113_135021

ceo

31 Dec

Bye bye 2012…

bye2012

It is the end of 2012 — I wish all of you a very super happy new year, a 2013 full of great health and prosperity.

Bye bye 2012…

2012 will be remembered as a very interesting and challenging year. But in restrospect, it was a good year — it could have been much better and much worst.

Below is my yearly recap (for 2012, mainly for documentation for myself, as I look back through out the years):

* After 4 years, left Motive (ALU) and re-entered the startup world. At Motive I helped bring to market a comprehensive customer care, and device management products and solutions for global telco operators. I am grateful for the time there, the great people that I met and work with, and what I learned, which was a lot with respect to the intersection of Products-Business-Dev-Go-to-Market and the world of Telco;

* The first part of 2012 was a bit tough, but survived it (welcome to the startup world!). What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. While not for everyone, there is no other environment that keeps you on the edge, regardless of age, as working-on and/or running a (high-tech) startup business;

* Spent a number of months working on mobile apps where I helped deliver the Starbucks app for Android and the VolunteerSpot app for iPad, and other — I met and worked with great folks and customers, including my friends and partners at Appficient – thank you all;

* I spent time teaching (to around 12 students) Android Programming at the Austin Community College using as source the Android in Action 3rd edition book that I co-authored in 2011;

* With Steve Guengerich and the Austin community, continued the effort of updating the Austin Mobile Scene mind map;

* Wrote a couple of popular tech articles including Parse cloud-based services for Android apps and Introduction to jQuery Mobile;

* Created the content on Mobile Development for Socratic Art‘s XTOL (Experiential Teaching On Line) — on line masters degree programs that will be offered by well known universities.

* Co-founded with other Austinites the Austin Awesome Foundation. This is an awesome group of people with an awesome purpose. During 2012 we gave grants to 9 awesome people or group of people from educators, to engineers and artists who are all making a difference in Austin;

* It was a good year for Mobile Monday Austin. This is an all volunteer-run organization. Today we have close to 500 registered members. Many thanks to Carlo Longino and the rest of the organizers and members-participants, and many thanks to our Sponsors! We had a great App Showcase at the Texas Wireless Summit, great socials and events. As part of our evolution, in 2012 we founded the Austin Mobile Community LLC, a legal entity to help grow, protect its Directors, and run MoMo Austin and Android Dev Austin and other. The goal remains the same: bringing together mobile practitioners, academia and aficionados and help promote mobility and related research and businesses in Austin;

* Had a couple of speaking engagements including Google I/O Extended, InnoTech, SXSW Interactive, other;

* Ended the year by joining Shango. Around 4-months ago I joined Shango and its management team. I am having a blast at Shango, helping take the Austin startup to next level; I’m very excited about the opportunity, the potential and the people I work with. At Shango, with its cloud services brokerage platform, we are changing how communication service providers buy, sell and manage IP services;

* And last but not least, the world didn’t end on my birthday Dec 21 2012, as the Mayan calendar end-of-days lunatics, I mean, interpreters, predicted.

None of the above wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my lovely wife, family and friends — thank you, I owe you all, I love you all.

Hello 2013!!!

To all, best wishes — have a wonderful 2013.

ceo_avatar

ceo

21 Dec

Worst Apocalypse Ever… says Kitty

I agree with Kitty — this is the worst Apocalypse ever…

kitty_apocalize

No end of the World and no Zombie Apocalypse…

But, no surprise here, right?

And to all the end-of-days lunatics out there, there you have it. No, there is no such thing as ancient calendars or pyramids aligning with the Orion belt that tell when the world will end; you can stop looking.

Related to this, see below a related blog post that I wrote in 2007 — wow, 5 years ago already!

The Mayan calendar, the end of the world, 2012, and mobility standards.


Update!

Do I stand corrected?

WorldDidEnd

ceo

08 Dec

The Overview Effect and the 40th anniversary of the famous Blue Marble photograph

The Overview Effect is about self-awareness and the realization of who and where we are within the grand scheme of the Universe.

‘On the 40th anniversary of the famous Blue Marble photograph taken of Earth from space, Planetary Collective presents a short film documenting astronauts’ life-changing stories of seeing the Earth from the outside..’

As said by Carl Sagan:

One of the great revelations of space exploration
Is the image of the earth, finite and lonely
Bearing the entire human species
Through the oceans of space and time

We’ve begun at last
To wonder about our origins
Star stuff contemplating the stars
Tracing that long path

Our obligation to survive and flourish
Is owed not just to ourselves
But also to that cosmos
Ancient and vast, from which we spring

ceo

25 Nov

On Dreams

I am no psychologist, psychiatrist or medical doctor of any kind, so feel free to ignore or bash what I am writing below…

The other day, after a night where I dreamt about a solution (to a coding problem, which is not the first time this has happened), I tried to understand what dreams are all about. Up to this point I’ve really not spent time researching about what dreams are or why they happen.

For the longest time I have heard theories that dreams are our brain’s trying to make sense of random stimuli, the brain firing random signals based on previous experiences. While I don’t disagree with this, it doesn’t explain why we dream. Then if you read the Wikipedia for Dream, you can see a number of hypothesis including that dreams regulate mood, or that dreams “completes patterns of emotional expectation”.

I think the reason we dream is much more basic and fundamental.


Why we dream?

I believe in evolution, and that all living species, on Earth and everywhere, from the most basic micro-organism to the most sophisticated and intelligent ones, all have one fundamental primordial driver or goal — to survive.

That is why we procreate — to survive as a specie. But species as a whole cannot survive if its individual participants don’t have the tools to survive.

Fear is about survival. Fear is the basic instinct to react and defend yourself, or run away to survive, even without giving it any thought. It is the most primordial instinct on us and all living things.

I also believe that intelligence is about survival. Intelligence is about quickly adjusting or adapting, based on previous experiences and anticipated outcomes (via memory), to potentially dangerous circumstances — again, with the whole goal of (defeating and) surviving. Thinking faster and more effectively increased the changes of survival; and intelligence overcame brute force.

And so are dreams. As fear and intelligence, so are dreams part of our survival toolkit or set of skills. Dreams are a virtual offensive-defensive mechanism. Dreams are about experimentation or the ability to practice different scenarios and different outcomes, all without the real consequences. Dreams prepare us for real (potentially dangerous) scenarios. That is why dreams are associated with recent experiences; it is your mind, even when resting, practicing and exposing you to different experiences and different and alternate scenarios and outcomes. Dreams, a result of intelligence, are nature’s simulator.

So I say that “survival” is why we fear, why we have intelligence and why we dream. And this leads to the question, is self-awareness, which is tightly coupled to intelligence, part of our “survival toolkit”?

“Cogito ergo sum” — René Descartes

CEO