(5 lists of) 5 things you need to know before the #MWC17

The Mobile World Congress 2017 is just around the corner so at Firablog we decide to ask GSMA Ltd.’s CEO John Hoffman about his top recommendations for the upcoming event. 5 top-5 lists we like to call John Hoffman’s 5×5.

5-point checklist when buying a used car

Ocasion161 5 point checklist when buying a used car

Are you thinking of buying a used car but would rather avoid all the headaches involved in checking the tyres, bodywork, brakes and everything else?

To avoid surprises, the experts recommend that you check the following five points:

1. External condition and bodywork
Check if the paintwork has any colour variations. If so, these could indicate that the car has suffered a serious accident.

2. Interior condition
It is important that the vehicle’s upholstery doesn’t have any stains or burns that could spoil the look of the car’s interior. The seat belts should also be checked to ensure that they work correctly and that they do not show signs of wear or damage that could reduce their effectiveness.

3. Tyres
The tyres are a key part of any car. Among the things to check, make sure that they do not show excessive or irregular wear, and that there are no cuts, splits or cracks. Also check that the depth of the tread and the tyre pressure are correct.

4. Steering
Check that the steering works correctly, and that there is no excessive play or stiffness when turning the steering wheel in either direction. Also check that when the wheels are positioned in a straight line, the steering wheel is symmetrical, straight and centred.

5. Brakes
These are of vital importance. Check that they do not make any strange noises. Also check that the pedal does not have excessive travel and that the vehicle does not have a tendency to veer to the left or right when braking.

The 2,400+ vehicles sold in the current edition of the Fira de Barcelona’s Salón Ocasión (nearly-new car fair)  had passed all these tests – and many more – after being inspected by Applus+  technicians and approved for commercialization.

A jungle under the asphalt

LowLine2 A jungle under the asphaltSomething’s growing under the New York asphalt. In what was until very recently an anonymous warehouse in the Essex Street Market, a jungle is now flourishing: trees, ferns, moss and even a pineapple bush. And all thanks to designer James Ramsey.

This area of over 450 square metres is the Lowline Lab, where Ramsey has created a technology so sophisticated that it is capable of capturing sunlight and channelling it inside through a series of tubes. The system is based on the creation of a remote skylight which tracks the sun across the sky every minute of the day, thus optimizing the amount of light it can capture. Then, a series of tubes channel the light inside the warehouse to the central distribution point where a solar panel, designed and built by the engineer Ed Jacobs, extends the sunlight across the space.

This technology will transmit the light wavelengths necessary to initiate photosynthesis, allowing plants and trees to grow.

Yet the Ramsey laboratory, which since it opened in October 2015 has been visited by more than 100,000 people and attracted the curiosity of numerous institutions, is also being used to test a much more ambitious project: using its innovative solar technology to light up an abandoned tram terminal on New York’s Lower East Side to transform it, once completed in 2021, into the first underground public greenway in the world.

With this initiative its creator aspires to use technology to improve the life of the city’s inhabitants by creating more green spaces. The result will be a public park and cultural centre with a range of educational and leisure activities, where the historical features of the old tram terminal will coexist with avant-garde design and solar technology.

As far as Ramsey is concerned, The Lowline is not just a new public space but an innovative showcase of how technology can transform our cities in the 21st century, and help other communities to move forward in creating green areas in their cities.

(ES) ¿Preparados para beber agua del desagüe?

Fishing rubbish: Cleaning the sea

MarNeta Fishing rubbish: Cleaning the sea

Bicycles, beer cans, wet wipes, shopping trolleys and even an entire car: just some of the stranger things inhabiting the depths of the seas around Barcelona that were caught in fishermen’s nets as part of the Marviva project from October last year to September.

The aim of this campaign, organised by the Waste Agency of Catalonia), the Cofradía de Pescadores de Barcelona (Barcelona Fishermen’s Association) and the Port de Barcelona is to find out the type, characteristics and source of marine pollution.

Over the months that the project has been running, the 11 boats in the Fishermen’s Association participating in this mission have ‘caught’ over 3,000 kilos of all kinds of waste, comprising mainly plastic and textiles as well as, less commonly, wood, glass and metals. It has been estimated that 80% of this rubbish comes from land, while only 20% comes from the sea despite the large number of fishing and tourist boats.

The Marviva initiative—present at the Barcelona Boat Show organised by Fira de Barcelona—aims to raise awareness amongst both the general public and fishermen regarding the damage caused to Mediterranean beaches by marine litter, as it threatens aquatic life, commercial fishing, tourism and shipping.

The adventure of self-publishing

Autopublicacion The adventure of self publishing

The recent Planeta Prize finalist, Marcos Chicot, established himself as a writer in desktop publishing, a phenomenon that has become a major feature in the publishing world. One in every four e-books sold in Spain are self-published, and are more than 12,000 titles see the light of day through this system every year. We took advantage of Liber to talk to some authors who have chosen self-publishing about their experiences, why they chose that route, and the advantages and disadvantages involved.

Blanca Miosi
She is the self-published author who has sold most e-books on Amazon and whose credits include novels like Waldek, The Boy who Defied the Nazis and El Legado. Miosi decided to self-publish in order to republish some of her works without copyright restrictions. After finding out about the system, she decided to publish her new books through Amazon, taking care of all the details in the process: “I’ve never given my books to my friends to read and correct; I’ve always preferred the opinion of professionals, experts in the use of language”. She says she has never had any trouble publishing her books through publishers and she continues to do so even today, but she maintains that self-publishing is a very practical option. “I can change the prices, covers, do campaigns, promote my books … It has opened up a world that keeps me busy for twelve hours a day, what with writing, reading, research for my next book and promoting. And most importantly: it has earned me money”.

Enrique Laso
The author of El rumor de los muertos and Desde el infierno chose self-publishing as an alternative because he found it difficult to reach agreements with publishers. “They always wanted to change a lot of things in my books and that was something I wasn’t happy about. They wanted radical changes. Self-publishing was a great opportunity”. Today, it has become a way of life. The positive side of desktop publishing is the freedom that comes with it, and for the first time, the author earns the most, because with traditional publishing writers earned at most 12% of a book’s turnover. And what are the disadvantages? The author has to take responsibility for everything that a publisher would do: layout, editing, design, proofreading, marketing… and of course, the novel will not be on sale in a bookshop.

Belén Gaudes and Pablo Macías
Crowdfunding is what enabled the publication of Érase dos veces, the collection by Belén Gaudes and Pablo Macías which are alternative versions of children’s tales free of violence and sexism. “We got our funding through crowdfunding campaigns. Nearly 500 sponsors made it possible for us to publish first three books, and so on until the nine we have now completed. Seeinig that a lot of other people are giving you financial support to make your project happen is really exciting,” says Gaudes, who points out that they chose desktop publishing because their books are part of a personal project and they wanted to keep control of the entire process. And although the crowdfunding campaign is really a presales campaign, alternative distributors have been very helpful in their books reaching bookstores and readers as a result.

Jorge Magano
Jorge Magano soon realised that if he was going to succeed in self-publishing, he would have to be professional. “At first I made every mistake possible – poor layout, a bad cover and a bad promotional strategy, but I soon realised that I had to improve and as I started getting back the rights to novels that the publishers no longer printed, I self-published them with better finishes, and you could see that in the results,” says Magano, the author of Turned to stone and The Golden Isis, an e-book that soon ranked among the Amazon Spain bestsellers. For him, the process “is still a team project” and he believes that “the most interesting thing is that even when the novel has been published, I keep getting e-mails from readers pointing out errors and I can correct it even when the book is on sale”.


Women and polices

Police Women1  Women and policesThe Conference Centre of Fira de Barcelona, by its very nature, has hosted all kinds of meetings and congresses: doctors, economists, physicists, businesspeople, trade unionists, vegetarians, rowers and Nobel prize-winners among them.

But to date it had never hosted such a singular collective as women police officers. Almost 500 agents from some seventy countries around the world got together at the 54th International Association of Women Police Conference to talk about their ‘challenges’ which, when you look at them, are very much the same as those of every woman: equality and security.

To be specific, they include the prevention of violence against women, human trafficking and the protection of victims in war zones. This is what these policewomen wanted to talk about at their meeting in Barcelona. This, and equality in recruitment and in professional development.

The latter is an issue that goes beyond the strictly corporate sphere. The presence of women in the police force, as in so many other activities, does not correspond with their true weight in society. An example of this is Barcelona’s Urban Guard, where women were admitted for the first time in 1979 with the constitution of the first democratic city council, yet 37 years later they account for just 11% of the officers in the force; or the National Police Force which has 6,000 women officers, around 12% of the total. Though low, these percentages are actually higher than those of some other European police forces. The Mossos d’Esquadra is above the European average, with 21% of women police officers, around the same as Portugal or Germany, but still well below the percentage of the Dutch and Swedish police forces, which have around 30%.

It is more than evident that women can bring a very specific sensibility to the problems of security and abuse in the community, and that tenacity is a virtue: the International Association of Women Police, the organiser of the conference, was founded in Los Angeles in 1915.

3D technology in the Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Família, in the homestretch. A few weeks ago it was announced that the target of finishing work on the structure in 2026 was increasingly becoming a reality. The Sagrada Família has a key partner in finishing its project on time: 3D technology. Its use has made it easier to visualise the designs and plot plans for the temple as well as to project and check against the original plans or to build miniature vaults, saving both time and money.

At the In3dustry trade show we talk with Mark Burry, professor at the Melbourne School of Design and assistant architect on the Sagrada Família, about the advantages of 3D technology and how it is being used in the final stages of this amazing work.

Solidarity concerns us all

FamVacances2016 Solidarity concerns us allThe crisis affects everyone, but the most vulnerable most of all. In Catalonia alone there are 113,000 households with no income and 300,000 minors live below the poverty line. A risk situation that is exacerbated in the summer when school canteens are closed and the number of food donations drops.

For this reason, the Banc dels Aliments has launched its ‘Hunger Doesn’t Go on Holiday‘ campaign again, so that those in most need receive food during the summer. It is hoped the aid will reach 235,000 beneficiaries.

Basic foodstuffs such as rice, pasta, pulses, oil, milk and canned foods are needed to fill the stores of the charitable organisations that distribute food in towns throughout Catalonia.

Once again Fira de Barcelona is taking part in the campaign, giving over Hall 1 of the Montjuïc site to the collection of donations from 6 to 8 July, from 10:00 to 14:00. Last year over 400 kg of foodstuffs were collected here.

Please give … because hunger doesn’t go on holiday.

Never wash your jeans again!

Denim experts are well aware that the less you wash your jeans the better. So far, the only feasible alternative to the washing machine was to put them in the freezer overnight to kill odor-causing bacteria an option that would drastically reduce your drive to wear them first thing in the morning.

But the American company Odo Denim has found the perfect solution and showcased it at the Denim Première Vision trade show: a pair of jeans that do not stain and do not stink. Thanks to the nanotechnology and the silver ions woven into the fabric the company guarantees that you’ll never need to put them in the washing machine again also rendering a secondary although critical benefit: to save water worldwide. So you can officially say goodbye to jeans that will look old in just a couple of washing cycles!

Older posts «