Malaysian Flight 17

After a day of information what I now believe happened with the tragic loss of yet another Malaysian plane is this. Putin armed the Russian rebels with incredibly sophisticated weaponry with the objective of bringing down Ukrainian planes.  But his proxy army was managed by such idiots that they used these missiles against a civilian plane that had nothing to do with the conflict and unfortunately was flying by. Here’s an MIT article explaining how. Commercial airliners should have avoided the conflict zone because the other planes had been brought down in the area. Still Putin is ultimately responsible for delivering sophisticated missiles to the terrorists who brought the plane down and murdered close to 300 innocent people.

Murderous Jews

In the last decade hundreds of thousands of Muslims have died in armed conflicts. Over 99% of them died as a result of the European/American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and in the hands of fellow Muslims in the Syrian civil war, the ISIS conflict, the Shia Sunni conflicts.  But this week after Hamas indiscriminately sent rockets on civilians all over Israel, now deeper and deeper into the country, and Israel retaliates on military targets, sadly killing innocent civilians who are not the target (as opposed to the Hamas rockets that do explicitly target civilians), and all this happens when Hamas knows that the moment they stop throwing rockets, the Israeli retaliations will stop, I am shocked to see my Facebook and Twitter feeds go insane with accusations to us, the murderous Jews. 

So when Jews defend ourselves we are horrible people but when USA, Spain, France, UK and all the countries of the Iraq/Afghanistan coalition, who committed horrible atrocities in the Fallujah attack are not? Or when Muslims massacre Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and other countries, you are nowhere to be found protesting? Where are you on my social media when Bashar Al Assad mass-murdered hundreds of thousands of his own? Why is it murder when Israelis build a wall to protect themselves from Palestinian terrorism and not when Spain builds one in Ceuta in which more people have died trying to cross it? Why are the same policies that others apply with much greater impact so worthy of condemnation when Israel adopts them? 

Have you thought of what it would be like to have to run to a bomb shelter at a minute’s notice with your loved ones many times a day? Can you imagine London under attack? Madrid under attack? New York under attack? Paris under attack? Well that is Tel Aviv when Hamas attacks and it’s happening now. 

Please think again before you post. I have also condemned Israel in the past and Israel does have to work harder at reaching peace with the Palestinians. The Palestinians deserve their country and deserve it as soon as it can be done at peace with Israel along the lines of the Oslo treaty.  Israel must find a way to contain its own radical elements that block peace with the Palestinians. But Israel is not at war with Al Fatah in the West Bank, it is at war with Hamas in Gaza who wants to wipe the country out and are financed by Iran who uses them to fight Israel. This is the case even though Israel, paradoxically, pulled out from Gaza and forced settlers to leave risking a civil war. 

In the midst of the awful ISIS successes in Iraq and the Syrian war going on now, and in the height of the Sunni Shia bloody conflict, and the threat of a nuclear Iran, Israel is our hope to stop the radicals in the region. Israel is fighting Hamas, people who dream to see you, me, moderate Muslims, and everyone who believes in equality of men and women, rights of homosexuals, freedom of expression and freedom of worship or non worship, dead. We cannot allow Hamas, ISIS and other horrible forces of evil win over reasonable and moderate Muslims. Considering what Israel could do to wipe out Gaza, the way Bashar al Assad wiped out Homs, its response is incredibly moderate, reasonable, measured and as targeted as the situation allows. If you study casualty figures in Wikipedia you will see that the chances of a Muslim to be killed by a fellow Muslim or Christian are over 1000 to 1 than those of being killed by a Jew. Please stop attacking the right of Israel to defend itself and take a global view of what is going on in the region before taking sides.  

In my view the only reasonable request at the moment is to ask Hamas to stop sending missiles to Israel and for Israel to stop bombarding Gaza.  And I hope that this happens as soon as possible and peace is restored. 

I hate monopolies but lately I am suffering from communications overkill

Before you would call people but now to stay in touch you can still call, email, SMS, FB, Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, Hangout, Voxer, Line, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, Path, FaceTime, GroupMe, BBM, Snapchat…and I am probably forgetting other ways to get in touch!

The Internet made TV series binge possible by displacing watching from movies to your living room

TV series like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Homeland, House of Cards and others are very long movies.  They have incredibly good scripts, original music scores, awesome photography, movie actors. So the question is why did it take close to a century for this “20 hour movie format” to emerge.   To me the answer is comfort. The Internet and flat/projection screens allowed movie watching to migrate from movie theaters to your home.  And your home is a more natural place to spend 20 hours at than a movie theater.  Because whatever you may say about movie theaters in terms of sound and image quality, where movie theaters just can’t compete with your living room is in comfort.  Your living room has a much more spacious seat, quick access to food, to a rest room, ability to walk or be free to interact with others and above all it has no strangers. In the past there was no way that you would put up with over 3 hours at a movie theater hence movies were limited by your presence.  But since you mostly spend your life at home anyway,  just staying put allows for longer formats. As movie theaters became home theaters, binging watching emerged. It turned out that the problem with long formats was not that people did not have time, but that people wanted comfort.  And while some people watch TV series an hour at a time, most by now prefer to binge watch and that’s why Netflix releases its series all at once, because we all want to manage our time as we see fit.

Apple vs Google in voice recognition, Google better in English, equally good in Spanish

After two decades of false starts I think voice recognition, or speech to text translation has finally come of age.  Lately in both Spanish and English I find I am able to speak and have smartphones transcribe most of what I am saying.  But i wanted to compare Apple vs Google.

So what I did is I simultaneously spoke into the Mail app of an iPhone 5S and the Gmail app of an Android Samsung 5, both connected to the same Fon WiFi network with Movistar fiber optic service behind them, in Alcobendas, Spain.  Then I send emails to myself. And these are the results.  

Apple Dictation

These is a test to determine which system works better if the voice recognition off the iPhone or the voice recognition of android so what I am doing is I am dictating two emails simultaneously door and iPhone and android on I’m checking which operating system understands me better

Google Dictation

This is a test to determine which system works better if the voice recognition of the iPhone or the voice recognition of Android so what I am doing is I am dictating to emails simultaneously 21 iPhone and Android on I’m checking which operating system understands me better

Even though both operating systems made mistakes Google is the winner here.  Especially because on Android you see each word as you speak and in iOS you have to wait until you finish and hit done to see how well your spoken English was transformed into written English.

And this is the test in Spanish

Google

Esto es una prueba en la que quiero comprobar la calidad del sistema de reconocimiento de voz de los dos sistemas operativos el de Google y el día todo lo que quiero ver es cuál de los dos sistemas entiende mejor mi castellano

Apple 

Esto es una prueba en la que quiero comprobar la calidad del sistema de reconocimiento de voz de los dos sistemas operativos el de google y el de apoyo lo que quiero ver es cuál de los dos sistemas entiende mejor a mi castellano

In Spanish both Operating Systems did equally well.  They both got everything right except the word Apple.  But again I prefer the immediate feedback that Google gives you as you speak. Also Google did much better understanding my name out of all the email addresses.  Apple had a much harder time on email address dictation I don’t know why.

Lastly I should say that Spanish is my native language and it is not surprising that there were less mistakes in Spanish.  And that I can see why both systems would be challenged by an English word like Apple in the midst of a Spanish dictation.

Inequality in San Francisco

I am in San Francisco happily surprised to see how the tech entrepreneur community has reacted to the many protests around San Francisco against the tech companies . Instead of dismissing the protesters many of my founder friends reaction is first not something like “these idiots don’t realize that without us they would have no jobs”. Instead I see entrepreneurs trying to think how to spread opportunity more widely. Because anyone who comes to San Francisco can see that the wealthy are driving the rest out of the city, rents and home property values are skyrocketing as stock options are cashed in for real estate. Ad a result many people who are not in tech are forced out. Now the one thing I see missing in all the well intentioned efforts to bridge inequality is an understanding that what is missing in the Bay Area, and the US as a whole, is health care and education that is free or almost free to all. The San Francisco divide is an income gap but this income gap is many times exacerbated by an access to education gap and access to medical and dental care gap. And for that to change you need better government. You need a more progressive taxation system. Another thing that is obvious to me is that San Francisco needs to build more high rise buildings. Change zoning laws to increase the housing stock. There is a housing boom partly because there is nowhere to build. Prices go up because supply is very restricted. In the end people around the world want and deserve the same, housing, health, education, nutrition. This is way out of balance in this part of the world.

Once there was a girl who made us proud and happy.

Once there was a girl who made us proud and happy.

Yes this is NYC,  Red Hook to precise. Awesome.

Yes this is NYC, Red Hook to precise. Awesome.

Morcheeba!

Morcheeba!

Just rode 40km into New Jersey. The view from the George Washington Bridge is stunning.

Just rode 40km into New Jersey. The view from the George Washington Bridge is stunning.

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