I tried to upload my wedding pictures to Picasa and found out that the uploading software thinks that i am very stupid and i hate it. A sip of Drambuie helped me to calm down a bit.

So i tried to upload my wedding pictures to flickr and after 200+ pictures i found out that there is a limit that allows me to upload up to 100MB a month, which is reasonable, but only allows me to change the settings of the latest 200, unless i pay for a premium account. This is incredibly stupid, so in a rage of fury i deleted them all. I mean, come on, one megabyte of storage costs less than 1$ and i bet they make more profit from advertising, so why set limits which are so incredibly stupid? Of course i could trick it by opening several accounts or editing the photos into “sets” in some clever way, but i just don’t want to.

Can anyone recommend me a reasonable photo sharing site? I am exhausted of looking for one which doesn’t think that i am an idiot.


Kim Jong Il

Fun on Linux-related mailing lists.

When I run xpdf I get the message
"Warning: Attempt to remove nonexistent passive grab".

The program seems to run in spite of this.
I googled for the message, with a number of hits,
but none had any suggestion of a solution, or a cause.

Developers who introduce warning messages like this
should be sentenced to read the complete works of Kim Jong Il.

See Dept of Utterly Useless Error Messages.

Sadly, in reality, stuff like this happens in Linux all too often and i just don’t get it. There are free software projects with an amazing user interface – Firefox is the most obvious example. Why can’t anyone do that magic trick that made Firefox so stable and robust to a Linux distribution?

(No – Mark Shuttleworth’s money hasn’t done to Debian/Ubuntu what a bit of talent and focus of Mozilla developers did to Firefox. And i don’t remember that exceptionally big bucks were involved in its making – please, correct me if i’m wrong. Just wait and see what i am gonna write about Ubuntu soon …)

Grapes of Wrath 2007

Winograd committee (standard!) which investigated the Second Lebanon War published its first official report today.

It is generating a lot media attention, but i wanted to point out two little things.

First – Retired Justice Eliyahu Winograd is the head of the committee. Winograd means grape in Russian. Thought you’d like to know.

Second – i like epigraphs and opening phrases. Great opening phrases, such as “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (which is probably an incorrect translation, but who cares), “On the twelfth of June, 1812, the forces of Western Europe crossed the Russian frontier and war began, that is, an event took place opposed to human reason and to human nature”, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”, “Perl is a language for getting your job done”.

The Winograd report doesn’t have a great opening line.

But it does have an epigraph: “Weep sore for him that goeth away: for he shall return no more, nor see his native country” (Jeremiah 22:10). And the explanation: “This report is dedicated to the memory of beautiful flowers, the soldiers of IDF, that were cut down before their time in the second Lebanon war. They left after them a crying mother, a worrying father, a sad brother and a baby”.

The epigraph is taken out of context. The verse is incomplete. The full verse is “Weep ye not for the dead, neither bemoan him: but weep sore for him that goeth away: for he shall return no more, nor see his native country.”

As far as i understand the passage in the Bible refers to captive people. It is related to the war, because it started after soldiers were captured; but the explanation to the epigraph refers to soldiers who died in the war itself.

Israeli judges usually seem to write very good Hebrew in their reports and verdicts. I think that they slipped a little this time.

A rebel without a clue

Mr. Arcadi Gaydamak is a Jew that was born in Russia, emigrated to France, made millions there trading weapons and a few years ago came to Israel. Here he does a lot of business of various kinds and attracts a lot of media attention – he invests in soccer teams and gives a lot of money to charity, among other things. He also organized a big Independence Day party this year, free for everyone. He was harshly criticized for this and other overblown charity projects, such as providing free shelter for refugees from Northern Israel in the last war. The critics say that this way he “buys” the public support and eventually he will manipulate local politics (they are at least partly correct – today he announced his intentions to run for the mayor of Jerusalem).

And you know what? I don’t care. It’s his right to spend his money on anything he likes. Our politics can’t get much worse.

But i haven’t heard anyone criticize for making millions out of weapons – until today.

Apparently at his big Independece Day party the singer Shay Gabso appeared. Gabso got to the third place at the first season of “A Star is Born”, the Israeli “Pop Idol” and went on to a moderately successful pop career, with two albums and several radio hits. At the party he sang Dylan’s “Masters of War”. He says that he was asked by the organizers not to sing it, but he rebeled! Yeah!

He made up his own melody, changed the mood of the song and translated the lyrics to Hebrew without any rhymes. But in this case i salute him anyway.

Video: Shay Gabso – Masters of War (streaming wmv video; it is badly nonstandard, but i am making an exception).

Hebrew readers are welcome to read the YNet article “Woodstock is Here” (as if you haven’t already).

Intellectual Property – Hey

(הערות יתקבלו בברכה.)

ניסיתי לפגוש’תך.
זה בטח השטן שביננו
או זונות בראשי,
זונות בדלתי,
זונות במיטתי,
אם תלכי, אז אני אמות.

אנחנו כבולים.

אמר הגבר לאישה.
אמרה האישה לגבר שהיא כל־כך אהבה
והזונות במקהלה אומרות
אוה! כל הלילה
וחלי כבר עייפה מכל ה-
שהאמא עושה לתינוק בעריסה.

אנחנו כבולים.

Israeli Spam

After many thoughts i started a new blog in Hebrew. It is not about me – it is about the many spam messages in Hebrew that i receive. It is called ספאם ישראלי, which simply means Israeli Spam. I created it a few weeks ago, but didn’t put anything in. I recalled it after someone leaved a comment there. Apparently, if you search Google for ספאם ישראלי, that site is the first result! This means two things:

  1. Nobody has done it before.
  2. I have responsibility now. Damn.

Wish me luck, then. It might be dangerous. I may not return from that journey.


An Irish company called Steorn gained notoriety a few months ago when they announced that they invented a way to produce “free energy”. They promised that some kind of a device will produce energy that will power various appliances, such as mobile phones and some others that i can’t remember, but basically it sounded like it can power anything that needs electricity. Quite obviously everyone laughed at them and called their product “perpetuum mobile” – a perpetual motion device that is physically impossible. But they just called it – whatever it is – “Orbo”. The Wikipedia article about Steorn is pretty good.

Now they are announcing that they will hold a public demonstration of Orbo in July (Flash).

Notice that when the Flash movie is being loaded there’s an animation that looks like one of the famous designs for a perpetual motion device – a wheel equipped with vessels full of liquid that keeps moving and turning the wheel. It is impossible, of course – the wheel will simply stop without outside energy.

It’s nice to see that they acknowledge their weirdness in such a stylish way.

My bet is that it will be some kind of new cellphone or gadget with long-life battery or maybe a solar-powered device (although they keep saying that it is magnetic).


The president of Turkmenistan is finally taking the advice i tried to give his deceased predecessor, and slowly and gradually – like most things that happen in that country – is phasing out his Russianized name Gurbanguly Malikguliyewich Berdymuhammedow and moves to Gurbanguly Berdymuhammed.

A few weeks ago the president of Tajikistan has done the same and changed Emomali Sharipovich Rahmonov to Emomalii Rahmon. He was much more decided about it – he just announced that he’s changing his name and after a couple of days ordered that newborn babies’ last names will be registered without Russian endings.

Notice the the double i in the end of his first name. In the Tajik language, which is a variant of Persian, an -i is added to the end of the word to express its belonging to the next word. So Emomalii Rahmon means “Rahmon’s Emomali”. The Russian ending -ov (or -yev), common in last names in Russia and especially ubiquitous in Soviet Muslim territories means quite the same: Rahmonov = Rahmon’s, Kadyrov = Kadyr’s, Ivanov = Ivan’s etc. Emomali wanted to cut Tajikistan from the Russian heritage but in the same time to remain consistent with the meaning of the Russian last name. He explained that this way he honors his father Rahmon, after whom he received the last name. See also the discussion about Emomalii on Wikipedia.

Sharp Shooters

Watch Björk perform her new song “Earth Intruders” live at SNL (Flash).

If you ask me now, i’d hardly give the song 7 out of 10. There are three possibilities: 1. I’ll give it a few more listens and love it; 2. Björk got old and lost her good sense for melody; 3. I got old but Björk didn’t.

Watching that video it is quite obvious that number two is unlikely. She doesn’t seem to get old. She is about fourteen, like she’s always been. Just look what she does at the end! A curtsey!

Also, she seems to have forgotten the dancing lessons she took for “Dancer in the Dark”. Thank God for that.

So ask me again how would i rate that song in a few months.