Archive for August, 2007

I to twist only began to teach English

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Dull

One of the things that i was happy to learn in my last round of job interviews is that although C# and the .NET environment may seem like the most important thing ever happened to the software development world, it is actually not the case.

Don’t get me wrong: C# and .NET are good technologies. They are well-designed, and ultimately they make it easier for the programmer to write good software for the benefit of the end user. I even respect Microsoft’s boldness to innovate instead of sticking to rusty technologies such as COM and Windows API. Going even further, Microsoft is working on some very interesting new technologies that combine functional programming paradigms with the very object-oriented .NET – , F# and others; of course, i salute this. My only concern with .NET is portability – .NET development environment is good, and the software created with it may also be good, but they are all bricks from which a Microsoft-only world is built. (There are projects aimed at resolving this, such as Mono and DotGNU, but currently the solution they offer is very partial.)

But some – well, probably most people and companies don’t like to save time and money and to expand their user base by making their software portable and they think that working with Windows is just enough. Well, guess what – i am not going to work at such places. Some people are so deeply in love with .NET, that they won’t stand any criticism; if they see a job candidate that disrespects .NET, they will dismiss him immediately. “What?? You disrespect Microsoft, Windows and the Holy of Holies – .NET? Are you serious?!” Yes – it happens, not in these exact words, but it is implied. It happens, but not always. The good news are that there are people who don’t think that C# is the Holy Grail or even outright dislike it. At some interviews i was careful not to say anything bad about C#, not because i was scared, but because i just didn’t want to offend people. It’s a culture thing.

Again – i worked with C# a lot in the last year and i don’t think that it is an inherently bad language, and i even came to like it. But i am just glad to see that there are enough people in the industry, who exercise their right to think different.

The moral of the story: Diversity is not dead yet, and it is good that it is so.

Tinfoil tiaras 1

1

She lives with a broken man,
A cracked polystyrene man,
Who just crumbles and burns.

It wears me out.

If i could be who you wanted
all the time.

2

A thumbnail sketch, a jeweler’s stone,
A mean idea to call my own,

Old man, don’t lay so still,
You’re not yet young, there’s time to teach,
Point to point, point observation,
Children carry reservations,

Standing on the shoulders of giants
Leaves me cold.

3

In the suburbs that’s how we say hello,
We won’t give your money back,
We won’t care about your sack,
We won’t work for what you lack.

We would rather smoke crack.

No, we won’t listen to Beck.

On these streets there’s nothing to do.
Some of the policemen in the big city
Are good guys too.

Made Me Cry – Nikita

My nephew Nikita came to Israel to spend the summer with his grandparents – my parents. It was all fun, until two days before his flight back to Moscow he was hospitalized in Rambam with a bad case of peritonitis.

So his flight is postponed, of course. A week after the operation he can still hardly eat and walk. My parents sit at his bed in the hospital twenty-four seven and they are terribly tired, so i came to help them.

Today i sat with him for a few hours. He mostly slept. The TV was on with a low volume and i watched Music 24 (nonstandard1), the Israeli music channel.

The golden age of the music video has ended in about 1996. Back then MTV was the undisputed Master of the Universe and local videos, although very low-budget, aspired to the international big brother and had a lot of character. These days, however, nearly all Israeli music videos can be grouped into three sets:

  1. The singer is walking around the streets of Tel Aviv. And it’s the same couple of streets in all of them.
  2. The singer is walking around his rented apartment in Tel Aviv, makes coffee, watches TV, talks on the phone or goes down to the street to buy cigarettes.
  3. A huge close-up on the singer’s face. Obviously, this group is the most disgusting. I guess that too many video directors fell in love with Sinéad or – worse – with Alanis (Flash2).

By a rough count, nine out of ten videos falls into one of these, which is quite astonishing and depressing. It can ruin even good songs. But there are exceptions.

Eviatar Banai‘s video for “Yesh li sikuy” (Flash) is a quiet little masterpiece of music video making. The song itself is one of the all-time masterpieces of Israeli music; It is from Banai’s debut album. It’s black and white and it shows people in a bar lip synching to the song, subtly conveying the mood of the line they are singing. (Can you spot Banai himself there?)

Somewhere in the middle of the song there are those lines:

אמא שרה לבן בלילה,
אמא כאן לידך כל הזמן.

Mummy sings to the son in the night,
Mummy’s here near you all the time.

In the video a pregnant woman is singing the last line. You can hardly notice that she’s pregnant until she touches her belly. This subtlety is pure beauty.

I guess that it would make me cry even without the unfortunate circumstances, but sitting there in the hospital near sleeping Nikita while his mother was far away in Moscow did put things into a perspective.


I started writing this entry a few days ago. It was a pretty crazy bunch of days since then.

Nikita’s mother – my sister – Olga finally came to Israel today after fighting with travel agencies for a few days. His health became better.

Yesterday i bought him Gossip’s Standing in the Way of Control, a CD for which he was looking for months, in Moscow and in Israel. Finding it wasn’t easy. He was particularly happy to receive it, which may have contributed to his slowly improving health, too. Despite his current condition, i envy him; i don’t think that i shall ever be as touched by music as i used to be when i was his age.

Anyway, for the night he put it in a drawer next to his hospital bed and in the morning it wasn’t there. There is a slight chance that with all the fuss around him the CD was just misplaced and will be found, but everybody is sure that it was stolen.

I’m amazed. What a terrible scumbag someone must be to steal a rare CD from a sick child. I mean, i would at least understand the motivation if it was something famous, but even i hardly know this band, so what kind of a low life would want to steal it? He can get – what? – 20 NIS for it in a used CD store? Fukker.


1 Actually, the site seems to be mostly functional, but the videos use CastUp technology, which is IE-only. I never managed to install the Firefox plugin they offer, and even if it would work, it would only work on Windows. By the way, i (still) work for the company that recently announced the acquisition of CastUp. What do you know…

2 Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” is not on YouTube. Alanis’ Head over Feet video is still there…

People Speaking – Win

— “I would like to offer you a job developing testing tools. We need someone who has experience in C# and WinForms.”

— “Ehh … OK.”

— “Is it something that can interest you?”

— “Yeah, possibly …”

— “So when can you come to an interview?”

— “Where is it?

— “In Herzliya.”

— “Hmm … Tell me please – is it all Windows?”

— “No … it’s … developing testing tools … We need someone who has experience in C# and WinForms …”

— “Yes, but that sounds like the job is nothing but Windows.”

— “Well … there’s the part of developing testing tools … it’s WinForms.”

— “Yeah, but the ‘Win’ part of ‘WinForms’ means ‘Windows’.”

— “Oh. I see.”

— “And there’s no Linux there? Or Java? Or some special kind of hardware?”

— “No, at least not now.”

— “OK, thanks, but i think that it’s not for me.”

What an amazing feeling it was to say that.

People Speaking – They call it

— “I would like to offer you a job in a young Internet-centric company, that develops tools for searching text in environments such as BitTorrent and eMule … It’s a pretty hot area these days … they call it P2P …

People Speaking – Beer

— “It’s not beer, it’s Photoshop.”

Daily minefield

OK, that’s it. Hadar has to move to Haifa to do her Ph.D. in the Technion.

Which means that i’ll have to leave the beautiful Giv’at Ye’arim and look for a new home and a new job. At least i can be happy that it’s not Tel-Aviv.

In my last round of job hunting everybody happily accepted the CV in the RTF format. This time i tried to use PDF for a change. One workplace already specifically asked me to send it as DOC. Talk about freedom of choice. To hell with PDF, then.

I need to find a job, so i’ll send DOC, but i will only use OpenOffice to edit it.

English Poetry

Hadar asked me to entertain her.

So i read aloud lyrics from Neil Young’s Zuma to her. No music – just recited poetry.

They are quite beautiful to read aloud. Try it.

It’s really fine poetry. Simple to understand, rhymes well. It’s something with which people can easily identify. Hadar said that she didn’t realize that he writes songs about love, too. Me neither.

I sincerely hope that these lyrics will be studied in English classes everywhere. The English language deserves it.

here these themes which I fallen back on

I’m sorry, i know i promised not to post vegetarian spam, but this one is kinda special.

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Isn’t it beautiful? It’s even kinda … relevant?

And here’s another small one for dessert:

Are you aware that no credit can be just as bad as bad credit?



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