Archive for September, 2007

Cruda?

Here’s a recipe for a pasta i made yesterday. I ate something similar to it in a restaurant recently and it blew me away. It’s delicious, but laughingly simple to prepare. It works well with both long (spaghetti, linguine) and short (penne) kinds of pasta.

For 500 gr. of pasta: Mince 1 onion and fry it lightly in olive oil. Cut 4 tomatoes to medium-sized cubes and add them to the pan. Now the most important and fun part: spice it. I used a mix of spices that included musk nut, dried porcini, thyme, pepper and a bunch of other things i found in kitchen cupboards. I don’t even know their names.

That’s it – very simple.

I don’t know exactly what is the name of this pasta. It is possible that it is a type of “salsa cruda”, but it is also possible that “salsa cruda” can be used only to describe sauces made from unprepared tomatoes.

Changing my life with a wave of her hand

Lately i’ve been reading the printed version of Richard Stallman’s book Free Software, Free Society.

Reading and thinking to myself – here i am, reading a book, which is revolutionary to a certain degree. Which is naïvely (?) written and edited in a way that is supposed to be understood by people who are not computer geeks. I am sure that it fails. I even think that there’s a slight possibility that someone who doesn’t understand computers will actually read it, misunderstand it, and start some extremist group.

It makes me think – is it revolutionary like The Kapital? No, it is not. The Kapital is rather scientific, with historical and economical research behind it. Stallman is not so good with providing references for his claims. Some company did that, some guy did this, someone sued somebody else – almost without any reference. (It doesn’t mean that the whole Free Software movement sucks at reference – Lawrence Lessig’s excellent book Free Culture is very well referenced.) Yet the tone is convincing. I read it and i like to imagine Stallman speaking. This part is particularly powerful – he is talking about the first time he tried to get the source code for something and was refused:

See, he had promised to refuse to cooperate with us — his colleagues at MIT. He had betrayed us. But he didn’t just do it to us. Chances are he did it to you too. [Pointing at member of audience.] And I think, mostly likely, he did it to you too. [Pointing at another member of audience.] [Laughter] And he probably did it to you as well. [Pointing to third member of audience.] He probably did it to most of the people here in this room — except a few, maybe, who weren’t born yet in 1980. Because he had promised to refuse to cooperate with just about the entire population of the Planet Earth. He had signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Now, this was my first, direct encounter with a non-disclosure agreement, and it taught me an important lesson — a lesson that’s important because most programmers never learn it. You see, this was my first encounter with a non-disclosure agreement, and I was the victim. I, and my whole lab, were the victims. And the lesson it taught me was that non-disclosure agreements have victims.

Transcript of Richard M. Stallman’s speech, “Free Software: Freedom and Cooperation”, New York University in New York, New York, on 29 May 2001.

I may not agree with every word, but i deeply respect this kind of universal radicalism – to see society and humanity beyond the dry legal texts.

I like to amuse myself with the idea that this book is revolutionary; that i am a revolutionary; that i read the right revolutionary books of the generation. And then i think that i am not sure that i would be very proud if as a young person a hundred years ago i would read Marx. Well, i am quite sure that had i lived then, i wouldn’t think that Marx is my kind of revolutionary, anyway, although i don’t know who would it be.

But guess what makes Stallman a little like Marx after all, even though it is probably not important to him?

They are both Jews.

I didn’t know it until today. Look at this: R. Poynder interviews R. M. Stallman (PDF).

Gmar khatima tova, everyone.


Oh (edit): H.L.A., thanks for the corrections.

Breach

At 01:45 am i received this SMS from a number i didn’t recognize:

hey amir. the police arrived and breached into the car while we found the person who work in nds and left is car here.-Y. Y.

The sender wrote his full name and it is Israeli; it is kept for privacy. NDS is the company in which i still work.

I already slept, so i ignored the beeps from the phone and only read it in the morning. First i was panicky – police? car? breach?, then i was angry – why does he bother to write in English if he can’t?

My car was parked outside and everything was OK. I called him and he didn’t have any idea what was it about. Maybe he works for the leasing company. I don’t know.

Why can’t people just write in their own natural mother tongue? I work in an environment where English is the default and sometimes it is understandable, because it is an international company, and you can’t expect that a CC’d guy in India or Florida will understand Hebrew. But sometimes it goes way over the top.

Silver

Microsoft want to compete with Adobe and make a product called Silverlight that seems to do quite the same thing that Flash does. I have not idea why would they want to do such a thing, but who am i to judge.

When they first announced it, they said that it would work on both Windows and Mac. Both.

Apparently they changed mind and announced intentions to support Linux, too. Are they finally doing the right thing or is another trick?

Hello, funny person

Hello, funny person. You know who you are. Yes, i see your search engine games. No, i am not really a spam expert. No, i am not going to work for Microsoft. No, i don’t dislike Russians. You can stop spamming me now.

For future reference, please note that WordPress cuts the search engine queries after 40 characters.

Soviet Sherlock Holmes

New Zealand issues a commemorative coin with images of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson and related characters.

The cool part: The characters’ appearance is copied from the Soviet movies about Sherlock Holmes!

Finding Google

It’s been said that you can find almost anything on Google.

But can you find Google on Google? Or anywhere else?

Google has offices in Israel. In Haifa, for example. If you come from Tel Aviv on highway 2, you’ll see on your right a large building with the Google logo, between Microsoft and Intel. To the best of my knowledge they have some engineers there and they also have a marketing office in Tel Aviv.

However, i couldn’t find the exact address of Google Haifa or Tel Aviv anywhere.

I tried Google corporate page. There’s a long list of countries there, and Israel is not included.

I tried searching the google.com domain for “Israel” using Google and Yahoo. Nothing.

I tried to find a contact address where i can send an email to Google. The best i found was a form for press requests; the page about it said “If you aren’t a member of the press and write to this alias, you will not receive a response.” Damn. (If i use WordPress, am i “a member of the press”?)

I tried to find contact info for Google Israel on the Israeli Yellow Pages. I tried searching for “Google” and “גוגל” and found nothing.

Am i stupid?

Chuckle

I took a bus from Jerusalem to Haifa for the first time in three years.

A couple of cute teen age American Haredi girls were standing in the aisle, chuckling. After a few moments i understood why: There was one free seat next to a guy. Now, the awkward problem: None of them would sit there, ‘cuz their Haredi education doesn’t allow them to sit next to men. I wouldn’t sit there, ‘cuz my Soviet Russian education doesn’t allow me to sit when there’s a woman standing.

So the seat remained empty.



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