Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Flopiorkdich

In July 2012 an anonymous vandal changed the name of the shape that appears on the symbol Tokelau from “Tuluma” to “Flopiorkdich” in the English Wikipedia article about it. It stayed there until I fixed it today.

200px-Symbol_of_Tokelau.svg

In the meantime that word spread out to other websites. Google for it. It was also copied as is to the Greek version of that article, and I fixed it there, too.

It reminds me of the story of the weird wrong Hebrew spelling of messiah, which was being mindlessly copied from the English Wikipedia to other websites until I fixed it. (Hello again, Pastor Roland Gloria Jr.! I really want to visit your church some day.) I wonder whether it’s possible to build a bot that would flag such edits, where a vandal adds a word that can’t be found elsewhere using Famous Search Engines.

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MozCamp Berlin 2011, part 2

Except the general topic of Loving the Web, there was another important topic present in almost every time slot of MozCamp Berlin 2011, a topic that interest me more than anything else in software: localization. I attended most of the localization talks and gave one myself.

MozCamp Berlin 2011 WorldReady

MozCamp Berlin 2011 WorldReady

  • Vito Smolej from Slovenia gave two important talks about Translation Memory, especially in OmegaT. Translation Memory is barely used in Mozilla localization projects, even though it could make things much more efficient and Vito showed some ways in which it could be employed.
  • Jean-Bernard Marcon from France talked about the state of the BabelZilla site, which is used to translate Mozilla add-ons. Gladly, i didn’t have to tell him that despite the impressive amount of localizations that are done at that site, it is very problematic because of numerous technical issues – he said himself that he’s well aware of them and is going to replace the software completely Real Soon Now. I found it a little strange, however, that Jean-Bernard is happy about using the site for translating only Mozilla add-ons and doesn’t want to extend it to any other projects – say, Firefox itself. Oh well, as long as he maintains the add-ons site well, i’m happy.
  • Chris Hofmann and Jeff Beatty gave a great presentation about the present and the future of organizing localization groups and communicating about it. Frankly, it’s not all that i hoped to hear, but i’m really happy just to know that Mozilla, like Wikimedia, now has a guy whose job is to communicate about localization.

And i gave a talk that compares the localization of Mozilla and MediaWiki, the software behind Wikipedia. The slides are here. Many people who attended it said that it was bold of me to say these rather negative things about Mozilla. It is somewhat true – it is quite bold of me to use the first major Mozilla event i attend as a bully pulpit to promote my other project, but the talk was generally well-received. I believe that i succeeded at making my point: Both Mozilla and MediaWiki are leaders in the world of massively localized Free Software and both projects have things to learn from each other – Mozilla can simplify its translation workflow and consider converging its currently sprawling tools and procedures, as it is in MediaWiki, and MediaWiki can learn a lot from Mozilla about building the localization teams as communities of people and about quality control.

Finally, i was very glad to meet Dwayne Bailey and Alexandru Szasz – developers of Pootle and Narro, two localization tools used in the Mozilla world. Talking to them was very interesting and inspiring – they both understand well the importance of localization and the shortcomings of the current tools, including the ones that they are developing, and they are keen on fixing them. As a result of this excellent meeting i completed the translation of Pootle itself into Hebrew. And there is more to come.

Rename

“In the 16th century nobody cared who composed. I like it. It was just the orchestra, completely faceless and nameless. What i do now, with iPod and iTunes and stuff like that, i just rename everything with really surrealist poetic names.” (Daevid Allen)

Eldad Regev

I wrote:
> > But don’t expect any significant changes as long as Hamas and
> > Hizballah and PLO exist.

MeahevServi wrote:
> Are you saying the peace in Israel is in hands of Palestinian extremists
> who have to cease to exist in order to make place for those [Palestinians]
> who are ready for compromise?

I didn’t say peace, i said “significant change”.

> That sounds sound, to some extent, but how to achieve that?
> Because, if IDF tries to simply distroy them :
> a) they would have to do a lot of killing, which would seriously pissed
> of half of the world, especially the Arab world

We piss off the whole world with the fact the we exist. You’d be hard-pressed to find any other nation except the Jews that was hated by so much people for so much time. If we want to be independent, we should stop thinking who are we pissing off. USA bombed Belgrade and Kandahar and Baghdad, did they care who are they pissing off?

Now don’t get me wrong – killing anyone is bad. Putting the lives of Israeli soldiers in danger is also bad. (I’m against capital punishment, too). But nobody even considered making peace with Hitler, for example. In the Second World War there was one goal – victory. And victory, in case of Arab terrorists, means total destruction. Arabs never give up. I strongly respect it, but when it’s either them or me, i must fight and win.

> b) how much would be enough? I think that attempt would just make
> them stronger, resulting in more and more moderate Palestinians
> joining Hamas and other extremists groups. And thay can’t just
> kill them all.

Yes, to some point, but it’s not infinite. Killing more and more SS officers didn’t make more and more Germans join the Nazi party. A day will come and the simple good people on the street of Gaza, Jenin and Beirut will understand that they must stop supporting this leadership.

> Wouldn’t it be better to search for a way to put them in the position
> from which they just wouldn’t be able to do a lot of harm to Israel,
> while, on the other side, try to make a deal with those Palestinians who
> are closer to recognition of Israel’s right to exist?

That would be perfect, and it is easier than it seems, once we get over the psychological barrier of recognizing that the PLO/Fatah is just as bad as Hamas.

But even in that case i would oppose dismantling of Israeli settlements. The settlements are not the problem – the violence is the problem. I’m not saying “Arab violence” – Israel acts violently too. But once there’s no more violence, it doesn’t matter where do people live.

Of course it’s all theoretical and over-optimistic, but that’s the principle.

> one killed Nasralla or Ismail would be easily replaced with
> another Nasralla or whoever.

Not forever.

It took Hamas some time to recuperate after the killing of Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi. The PLO hasn’t yet recuperated from the death of Arafat – Abu-Mazen is nowhere near him in terms of leadership. When you think of it, Arafat was really an outstanding leader that was extremely successful in making the world – that includes many Israelis – believing his amazing lies. Actually Arabs themselves always hated him, because they knew that he steals their money and does nothing to bring actual peace, but everyone agrees that he was a wonderful diplomat.

> But, if Israeli government could somehow show to other Palestinians
> that extremists don’t do any good to Palestinian people…

Israeli governments doesn’t need to show them. They know it very well. They made a stupid mistake in the last elections and voted for Hamas. It’s really ironic, by the way – it was probably the most democratic and clean election ever in the Arab world. Well, we made a mistake too, by voting for Sharon (not me).

> > The Knesset passes a law to rebuild Gush-Katif.

> Heh….
> I understand you completely, I mean, I understand your feelings.

It’s not so much my own feelings, i didn’t live there. I admit that the thing that hurt me personally the most in that ridiculous Disengagement a year ago was the destruction of the homes with bulldozers – i hate seeing a nice thing going to waste. And those homes were nice.

But even though i didn’t live there, my heart is with the deported settlers. They really are the best and the most misunderstood people in Israel. They didn’t deserve this sad fate.

> I was forced to leave my house once, and that was the worst time of
> my life – the experience that changed me as a person.

Did the Serbian government drive you away from your home? Or did you just have to leave it because of war? There’s a difference. In case of Gush-Katif Israeli government made its own citizens leave their homes, which were (arguably) built lawfully, for a purely political reason.

> But, I would like you now, my dear Israeli correspondent, to ask
> yourself two questions:

> 1. Can you think of anyone, and I mean – anyone – amongst the Jews
> in Israel, who actually benefit, make profit – earn money – from the
> conflict with the Palestinians, and who would lose money if that
> conflict is terminated?

That’s a very clever and important question. I try to think about it all the time. The answer is hard. I’m not sure. The easy answer would be – IDF officers and arms dealers. And land dealers too.

> 2. If you find that there are such people in Israel, what do you
> think – what kind of profit is that about, a big money, or small bucks?
> And what is the real power and influence of such people in Israel’s
> society, big or small?

The families of high-ranking IDF officers are all interconnected with families of politicians and millionaires – the “elites”. But being a general doesn’t make you very big bucks by itself. It does boost your manliness, though.

Arms dealers – that’s huge bucks. But they can – and they do – sell arms to other countries. I’m quite ashamed of the fact that we sell guns to dictators in Africa, Turkmenistan and other unfortunate places. If it depended on me, i would stop all guns exports from Israel and convert the gun factories to … i don’t know … something else that doesn’t kill so much.

Land dealers – yes, there are shady land deals in the occupied territories, but there are even shadier deals in the middle of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and no-one seems to care.

> You see, Aharoni-man, I don’t think the Arabs are real problem
> in Israel, at least not the major problem in achieving peace.
> Sure, most of them hate Jews. Some of them will never recognize Israel,
> and there always will be groups who will chose violence to obtain
> their goals.

> So, what should Israeli Jews do in such horrible situation?

United we stand, divided we fall.

> They’ll NEVER get sense. And does the life under those conditions for
> a long period of time – thru generations – make sense? Is it healthy
> for Jewish nation?

> I don’t think so.

> I think Israeli Jews shouldn’t wait for Palestinians to make peace
> with them, together. I think they should make peace for themselves,
> by themselves alone. And they should use what ever it takes.

That’s the “ideology” of Sharon-Olmert-Kadima. I always said that it’s wrong and the last few days prove me right. That’s because it’s not an ideology, but a marketing ploy. Seriously – the whole Kadima platform was drafted not by experts in Middle Eastern diplomacy, but by experts in advertising. That’s a shame, but the Israelis are brainwashed by the TV.

> Some people in Israel, I call them “the Masters of Israel”, or
> “the Owners of Israel” – and their partners in the United States –
> don’t want the peace – because they’re outta business than. Out
> of business, out of money, out of power, out of ownership of Israel.
> And they wouldn’t like that.

> Trust me, Aharoni-man, if the mid-East conflict would be bad
> for business of Israel’s big bosses, they would unplug it. Because,
> NOTHING must step in the way of PROFIT, anywhere in the world.

All of it is makes perfect sense, but unfortunately i don’t have much to say about it, because i get my information from the same media outlets as you do, and they are controlled by the same billionaires who stay in the shadows.

> I know you won’t like this opinion. Jews responsible for not stopping
> the war… (Actually, I like to say – Arabs are quilty, but Jews
> are responsible.)

No, i like it, because you think for yourself, and because you make sense.

> But, that’s just my opinion. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the
> middle East crisis. I’ve just done some thinking about it…. That’s all.

I’m not an expert too. You don’t need to be. You describe the situation better than me and better than any of our experts. I’d make you our prime minister. We need someone neutral (someone neutral who likes us, that is).

Hyper

A rocket killed two people in Haifa. It’s the first time. It could have been my parents.


Oh (edit): I swear that the article said that two people were killed when i posted it. Thank God that it’s wrong.

Ehud Goldwasser

(This was supposed to be a comment reply, but as usual, it grew too long and even acquired a quote from the Vulgate that i saw on a painting in my doctor’s office).

Dear N.,

First of all, thanks for teaching me the word tightfisted. I wholeheartedly appreciate it.

The “Dear N.” part was directed at you, of course, the rest was mostly a response to my new crazy fan MeahevServi. At first i thought that he is one of my linguist-friends playing a joke at me, but he convinced me that he really is a Serbian guy who learns Hebrew and listens to Esther Ofarim, Zehava Ben and Sarit Hadad for the fun of it. Weird, but true.

I liked the SPITE/DAVKA thing. Identified the SPITE immediately as a Seinfeld reference. I used to write a “Seinfeld dictionary” once, with words such as spongeworthy, ribbonbully, doubledipper etc…

Anyway, about ninety years ago a bunch of pioneers (“halutzim”) learned Hebrew for the fun of it and came to live in this crazy Land of Israel in the midst of Arab population. (Were your grandparents among them, by any chance?) For them SPITE was a very good reason. We still live here – hardly 6 million Jews in the midst of 600 million Arabs. In spite. Hæc dicit Dominus Deus: Iſta eſt Ieruſalem! In medio gentium poſui eam et in circuitu eius terras (Ezechielis V). I have a choice – i can go to the USA and be a VMS sysadmin there for a very good salary. But i don’t. (It also proves that i am not tightfisted).

By the way, to the best of my knowledge, a significant part of E. Olmert’s family made the other choice and lives abroad. I know that i sound like all those religious fanatics that call the radio to tell how they hate Olmert (Galey Tzahal – “Yesh im mi ledaber” etc.), but i just state a fact – there are a few differences between me and Olmert’s children and this is one of those differences. I don’t mind that his daughter is an outspoken lesbian radical left activist, but when a Prime Minister’s sons live abroad, it’s a bit too much. Which reminds me, that Y. Rabin’s mamramnik son Yuval lives abroad too. And so does Y. Arafat’s family. Hmmmm, i see a pattern here …

Gush-Katif settlers were tightfisted? Too much taxes were spent on them? Maybe. But people who did buy land 20 km’s to the north are now shelled with Kassams, so what’s the difference? Should they move further to the North, to Tel Aviv? Or maybe back to Poland, Russia, France, Morocco, Argentina? That’s what the terrorists want, and they are becoming better than ever at getting it.

Currently the most moral and reasonable and the least violent way to stop them and to make the world take us seriously is to rebuild Gush-Katif. The best argument that the supporters of the Disengagement kept repeating was that Israeli troops won’t die in Gaza anymore. Then i would always respond – they won’t die in Gaza, but they will die outside Gaza and then they will go back to Gaza too. I can’t tell that i’m happy about it, but turns out that i was right. So why did we have to destroy 25 villages and deport 10000 people – our own people?

We can fix this damage by rebuilding Gush-Katif just as it was a year ago. Kfar Darom existed in the time of Mishna, and abandoned some time later; the land was bought from the Arabs in the first years of Zionism and resettled by Jews, until the Arabs drew them away by force in 1948; than it was rebuilt again in 1970 and destroyed in 2005. It can be rebuilt again.

Bring the boys back home? I feel very cruel to tell it, but the last time that we brought the boys back home by releasing hundreds of terrorists, everyone knew that it’s a matter of time until Hizballah captures some more of our boys. Now they are rolling on the floor laughing at us. I’m terribly cynical here, but the way we’re dealing with it now, there won’t be a shortage of boys to bring back home any time soon.

I wish women ruled the world. Or at least more women than today. If i could, i would reserve 60 seats in the Knesset for women. Seriously. (But not Kipi Livni or Limor Livnat, please – they make me sick.) There’s a nice song that goes:

Women of the world,
Take over,
‘Cause if you don’t, the world
Will come to an end,
It won’t take long.

P.S. Did you read Allen Ginsberg’s Howl? It’s a little hard to understand at first, but when you just ignore the intentional grammar errors and let it flow, it’s quite powerful. My favorite part:

we hug and kiss the United States under
     our bedsheets the United States that coughs all
     night and won’t let us sleep

Gilad Shalit

Gilad Shalit!

Haled Mashal!

Convergence!

Gaza!

Ehud Olmert!

Kassam!

Sderot!

Moloch whose mind is pure machinery!

Moloch whose blood is running money!

Moloch whose fingers are ten armies!

Now seriously:

If you know me, you know that i don’t like to repeat other people’s opinions and news commentary. That’s why i didn’t want to write anything about these current events in Gaza – no-one needs me when there are more than enough Gush-Katif deportees and their supporters to tell everyone how precise were their predictions about the consequences of the destruction of their homes. Well, they were precise, any way you put it. My dear N., we gave it a try. I still hope that you are disappointed. Just read the news – BBC, CNN and YNet look just the same in my browser. Better yet, read Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. My only pledge is: When you are reading the news, or anything else, just think for yourself. Don’t think according to the opinion that you are supposed to have, don’t think according to what your parents, teachers or news presenters told you to think. Deporting people from their homes for political reasons never made sense and never will.

But, if you still insist, a few points to think about:

  1. When a Kassam rocket hits “A Kibbutz in the North-Western Negev” – why is it always called “A Kibbutz in North-Western Negev” and not by its name? There are a lot of kibbutzim there, and believe it or not – they all have names! Just take a look at the map.
  2. Why is Gush-Katif called “a settlement bloc in Gaza strip”, and Sderot is called “a development town”? It’s much closer to Gaza than Gush-Katif. Just take a look at the map.
  3. Why are news reports from Gaza, always, always, look as they were shot with a home video camera? The place is chock-full of professional news reporters from all over the world, and they have very expensive and professional equipment. The cameras in Gaza are just as good as the Cameras in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Palm Springs. What you say – that the cameramen are in a hurry, that they need to shield their cameras from stones and bullets and it hurts the picture? Gimme a break, they had many, many years of experience to improve their filming techniques, despite those hardships. Yes, i think that it is a conspiracy. Somebody set up us the bomb.
  4. Why is one Israeli corporal getting much more news coverage than hundreds of people that are killed, detained or tortured in Iraq, India, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Sudan?

If you think that any of the above is not in line with common sense – can i do anything to change it? Can You do anything to change it?

You can: Just start by thinking for yourself. Don’t become an Israeli nationalist, don’t support Israel, don’t support the Arabs, don’t change you political view: Just think for yourself. The gap between the words in the news and the things for which they stand is wider than you think.

Thanks for the attention.


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