PhD Student Lifecycle

I am way too busy these days even to write text. A picture is worth a thousand words :-)

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What is Big Data?

Big Data is one of those technology challenges we can find a cut above. The trend is framed in an environment where Web data, media applications, social networks and mobile devices, are, according to IBM, 90% of world data has been created in the last years (via Enrique Dans).

I strongly believe that it is really a huge big data file managament.

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Steve Jobs is gone

Better late than never, I thought this job should include a small hommage to the genius of Apple. Stay hungry, stay foolish. We will do our best, Mr. Jobs.

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Mobile Payments: Quo Vadis?

Mobile payments are a key topic. From this awesome article in TechCrunch, I gathered most information to focus my thoughts on the current landscape (thanks, TechCrunch!! No better place to learn about).

On the one hand, American Express has recently debuted its own digital payments product Serve. Despite I could not find much information about Serve, I also read AmEx has been particularly aggressive on the partnerships front, striking recent deals with both Foursquare and Facebook.

Mastercard has bet on NFC with a partnership with Google for Google Wallet and bought online payments gateway DataCash for $520 million last fall.

Visa has made a number of major moves in the mobile and digital payments space of late; including making an investment (and taking on an advisory role) in disruptive startup Square, buying virtual goods payments platform PlaySpan for $190 million, and acquiring mobile payments company Fundamo for $110 million.

So what´s next? I think this is just the beginning. NFC did not have wide acceptance and spread, even if it is suspected to be included in the iPhone 5 and the akin.

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Open Source for a start-up?

Lately I am pondering the issue of how an open-source strategy can be really the way to go for a startup. I have checked a couple of interesting discussions. They are powered by the success of Linux, for 20 years of continuous development and, eventually, Android.

Forty per cent of the phones in the USA are smartphones.Android is the ruling champion with a 40% market share. In Spain, the trend is very similar, as it is shown in the folllowing picture:

However, the Android success could be also explained as the “Mikly Way” of an open-source project. Only when Google started seriously developping and convincing smartphone manufacturers of using Android, the project really took off. So if a big company does not invest properly and carefully breeds the project, it might end up as one of the 300.000 open-source projects sleeping at SourceForge.

Yet again, a dilemma: open-source or not open-source?

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Apple and Google: Patent Wars

We live exciting times. Now, Apple and Google are forced to put the cards on the table. They are fighting against each other on a patent war that has already a number of results, namely, the acquisition by Google of Motorola Mobility Solutions for $2.5 B.

Was this someting to be expected? Well, American tech companies are, in my opinion, the best ones speaking loud and clear. Even the Larry Page speech at the Google Official blog points out that the patent ward is in the roots of the deal.

For me, the patent system makes no sense. Clearly, it helped innovation since it protected R&D expenditures but in the US, where lawsuits are flooding the tech landscape, it might have become something like “it never rains, but it pours”.

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Google +: Show me the money

A new social network was born: Google +. It just came into the arena with a clear mission and rival: Facebook.

Google + builds on four conceptual elements: Profiles, Photos, Home and Circles. Circles encompass different relationships and it allows sharing resources in a graphical manner. In addition, Google + also provides Sparks (interests), Hangouts (meetings with users belonging to your Circles) and Huddle (an IM tool). Finally, it also relies on the Stream, a copycat of Facebook Wall.

But the big question is: how much did it cost to develop Google +? Born at the same time that My Space was sold to an advertising network called Specific Media by $35 Million (despite the $580 M paid by Rupert Murdoch in 2005), Google + plays with very different numbers.

According to Forbes, it actually costed Google + the very amount Murdoch paid in the good old days of Myspace. The calculations are literally as follows:

~ 500 employees working on Google+

- ~$250K in average all-in comp for each of them including stock-based compensation (I think this is too low but I’ll go with it)

- $125 million in annual labor-related costs and stock-based compensation for the Google+ team

- Google+ also relies on or uses in part technology and people from three acquisitions

- $123 million for On2

- $158 million for Widevine

- $179 million for Slide

- Add up the $125 million in comp plus the $460M in acquisitions and you get $585 million, which I believe understates what Google has spent – and certainly understates the eventual cost

So what do we have here? Well, according to most analysts, yet another desperate attempt by Google to find the punchline in Social Networks. Even though, Google has always been about algorithms and search, the Mountain View company has seen recently how Facebook was catching up with increasing revenues from advertising. Time to fight back in the Facebook patch.

What will happen now? Nobody knows, but for sure I am already waiting anxiously for my Google + invitation!!

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@La Red Innova

I am at the moment at La Red Innova, a very interesting get-together for LatAm and Spanish startups. Talks were great and it was a nice change to mingle. Unfortunately, I did not know anybody upfront and also I have not yet (maybe ashamed, but it´s the truth) fully embraced Twitter as a communication mechanism in my day to day life (in this techie conference, it counts a lot).

Actually, there are many (good) differences regarding a traditional research conference: it´s more agile, pragmatic and it´s extremely well organized in terms of efficiency and resources.

Anyhow, I will try to blog more on some of the things that caught my eye in the past days, but as usual, it´s impossible to cope with the required blogging demanding rate…

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Android@Home is a Google project powered in the last Google conference, on the grounds of the old dream of having an intelligent home with a number of devices interconnected. This initiative aims at providing an Android Open Accessory Development Kit , which allows external USB hardware (an Android USB accessory) to interact with an Android-powered device in a special “accessory” mode.

Apparently, this works on a ArduinoMega technology. According to the webpage, “the Arduino Mega 2560 is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega2560 (datasheet). It has 54 digital input/output pins (of which 14 can be used as PWM outputs), 16 analog inputs, 4 UARTs (hardware serial ports), a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, a USB connection, a power jack, an ICSP header, and a reset button. It contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a USB cable or power it with a AC-to-DC adapter or battery to get started. The Mega is compatible with most shields designed for the Arduino Duemilanove or Diecimila”.

I would need to research more deeply about the technology, but Android is one of those players that can favor incremental innovation and make an intelligent-home man of the street-aware happen.

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Mobile Platforms in Europe: Spring 2011

According to ComScore, Top Smartphone Platforms, “Smartphone adoption continues to grow across Europe with more than 80.5 million people owning a smartphone in March 2011. Symbian still leads the European Smartphone market with 43.3% share, while Apple ranked second with 20.3%. Google accounted for 16.3% share, followed by RIM (9.1%) and Microsoft (7.6%)”.

According to this, as usual, Android is on a growing mode. That is pretty obvious, specially when the OS is supplying a lot of energy as in the Android@Home project, featured in the last Google I/O conference. More on the next post.

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