Soviet Space

“O Lord! What an honor! What an undeserved mercy: I know the Russian alphabet!” (Sergei Dovlatov)

In Soviet Russia the beautiful things were beautiful. All in all, the art of Socialist Realism was not necessarily worse than the “free” art of the West. Take a look at this: Rare & Beautiful Vintage Visions of the Future. Not much is written there at all, but i nearly cried at every Russian word that i read. Yes – clever, talented and inspired people lived in the Soviet Union.


I think I can, part 2

It’s quite amazing how quickly Cola makes me fat.

Limiting myself to a max amount of Cola every day doesn’t work.

At my previous workplace there was … ehh … draught Cola. From the tap, you know. It was disgusting – Cola must be canned or bottled. So it was easy enough for me to avoid Cola there – it was so disgusting. The only thing i can do now to save myself from the sweet taste of slavery is to promise not to touch any Cola at all. It already worked for me once.

So – “Hi, i’m Amir and i’m a Cola-holic.”

The party finds you

I always say that in elections people have to vote. It’s a shame that i don’t have Russian citizenship. The TV there is so full of crap, that there’s no need to fake the vote count in favor of the current ruling party, so my influence wouldn’t be too great, but anyway – votes are great.

But who would i have voted for? To be sure, i took a personality test.

The answer, apparently, is too obvious:

Тест журнала Коммерсантъ ВЛАСТЬ

According to the test my party is The Union of Right Forces, a.k.a. SPS (see also Wikipedia). It is not “right” in the nationalistic sense, but in the liberal-democratic-capitalist sense1. Of course, SPS has a very slim chance of getting into the Duma, but i suppose that i would have voted for them anyway.

1 Ever heard of the Russian Reversal? The party whose name is “Liberal-Democratic” (Flash; see also Wikipedia) professes an ideology, which is populist and mildly national-socialist.


Happy birthday, Neil Young.

Yesterday i bought a bunch of CD’s in Tower Records – Sonic Youth, Sigur Rós, Neil Young, Portishead, Joni Mitchell.

Later i went to buy milk and bought Shlomi Shaban’s new CD. That’s right, in a supermarket.

When Americans talk about buying music (or computers) in the supermarket (usually they say WalMart), they usually refer to folks that don’t really understand anything about music (or computers).

The scary part is that of all those CD’s i bought yesterday, Shaban’s happens to be the one that i enjoy the most.

Did i become stupid and disgustingly mainstream?

Or did the Israeli music became so good?


People want to make money, which is why a lot of folks fail to understand how Free Software can be good for business. Richard M. Stallman works hard to explain why is it perfectly reasonable to make money out of Free Software, but still, a lot of people fail to grasp this idea.

Companies such as Red Hat, Sun and Zend invest a lot of money and effort into software which freely redistributable – both in the sense of Freedom and price. They make money from selling services with their brand (in the case of Sun it’s also hardware). So, for example, you can use CentOS, a product which is virtually identical to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but with a different logo and a slightly different automatic updates mechanism and you don’t have to pay Red Hat a dime, and Red Hat doesn’t mind, because there are enough customers who willingly pay Red Hat for licenses and service contracts.

And it is perfectly fair. You know why?

Because of the “willingly” part. People can get the same product for nothing, but they buy a (pretty expensive) license anyway. It’s probably a matter of brand recognition, and that probably happens because in this business model marketing people need to work really hard. And they are probably great marketing people, too – it’s as close as it gets to “selling ice to Eskimos”.

Isn’t it great?