Thursday, June 28, 2007

Moshe Aluminum



The Aluminum man came again yesterday. finally finished the job. did a good one. new nets, additional safety bolt in the back yard window, new rubber strips for the shower. They usually are doing a good job, their problem has to do with time-to-market than with product quality. But I am not complaining.

His name is Moshe and, just as his partner Yossi, he doesn't use his second name. We therefore call them Yossi and Moshe Aluminum. We have a lot of Aluminum in our house so we get to see the Aluminum couple every once in a while. I like working people so i guess its all right. We fuel the economy. I respect working people of many kinds. not all I think, but many. Most working people make their living by utilizing their natural skills and this a good thing.

There is always something to be revealed in the connection between every person and his job. Some people, for example, are good with their hands. its their personal preference whether they use them for breaking into rich people's safes or for fixing poor people cars. Some like sitting at their desks and can't stand the sun and wind so they become clerks or telemarketers or software engineers. others need to see people nearby every single day and have to get dressed and go to the office. Sometime put on some make-up. Others like working from home and keep away from the outside as much as possible. Except for their garden of course. You know at least one certain individual of that kind.

Games + Puzzles: Article including Conceptis puzzles published in The Boston Globe



"Grab a pencil, and get comfortable. This issue is prime beach material – and because next week precedes July 4 and there will be no magazine, you have two weeks to play with it. For starters, Conceptis, a leading supplier of puzzles like Sudoku to publications worldwide, gave us a few more crazy puzzles. We also tapped two of our own puzzlers, Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, for some non-crossword games, and we got some fun contributions from local trivia and puzzle fiends. Have fun, good luck chasing the prizes we’ve got waiting, and let me know what you think at dmost@globe.com. – Doug Most, Editor"

This was the introduction text in this article by Doug Most published on the Boston Globe, one of the world's most well known newspapers. The Boston Globe (and Boston Sunday Globe) is the most widely circulated daily newspaper in Boston, Massachusetts and New England. Owned by The New York Times Company, the broadsheet Globe's local print rival is the tabloid Boston Herald.

Don't forget to check Monster Maze ("Get through it and you'll make a picture") which stands for Conceptis Maze-a-Pix as well as Spooky Stuff ("Solve the puzzle to make a picture") also known as Conceptis Pic-a-Pix, Oekaki Logic (Japanese お絵かきロジック), Paint by Numbers, Nonogram, Griddlers, Hanjie, Japanse Puzzels, Puzle Japonés, Pixel Puzzles, Logic Art, Logik Puzzles, Jaapani Mõistatused, Tsunami, שחור ופתור, Japanse Puzzels, Japanese crosswords and many many other names all over the world.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

CCCP: Combined Community Codec Pack

A few of my friends keep on asking me about where they can get a good free and easy to install package of video codecs so they can play the various types of digital video formats going on on the web nowadays.

Apart from having a somewhat "different than usual" yet charming graphic design The CCCP (Combined Community Codec Pack) is a DirectShow filter pack specifically built for playing anime but it actually contains most video codecs most users need. It has been assembled by some of the most knowledgeable people in online anime distribution, and one of the primary design goals is to play as much as possible with as little as possible. The CCCP attempts to be as unintrusive on your system as possible. I used it and I can say its true.

Installation Instructions
  1. Download the package for Windows users here or go to the homepage at http://cccp-project.net
  2. If you know for certain that you do not have any other codec packs currently installed Install the CCCP. Be sure the Reset all settings option (at the end of the installation) is checked. If you are interested in changing the default settings, read the FAQ's and other documentation below.
  3. Watch anime and be happy. Or if it still doesn't work, read the Troubleshooting Guide. THEN watch anime and be happy.
If you are unsure if you have other codec packs installed go to this page to read about a special software they offer for such purpose which identifys and helps you manage existing codecs (CCCP Insurgent, latest version from 2007-01-01).

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Consistency-Preserving Protocol for Distributed Collaborative Model Authoring

In recent years, creating a conceptual system model using a formal modeling language has became an inseparable part of the system development lifecycle. As systems' complexity grows, system models are almost exclusively a result of a collaborative effort of a group of developers, who typically need to work simultaneously. This need calls for an efficient mechanism to enable the group of developers to collaborate while modeling the same system.

Dizza Beimel and Lior Galanti from Technion, Israel Institute of Technology propose a protocol that enables a group of developers engaged in conceptual modeling of the same system to work simultaneously while maintaining the consistency of the shared model. This fascinating paper describes the protocol and the proof for its completeness.

Check it out in my Digg account and digg it too. Seems to be gaining some interest as it was dugged by this guy named Phillip Rhodes (user mindcrime) just a few minutes after I submitted it. You can't read the whole thing as you probably don't have a username on ieeexplore.ieee.org. The IEEE, a non-profit organization, is the world's leading professional association for the advancement of technology. The full name of the IEEE is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., although the organization is referred to by the letters I-E-E-E and pronounced Eye-triple-E.

The paper appears in: Systems Engineering and Modeling, 2007. ICSEM '07. International Conference on

Publication Date: 20-23 March 2007
On page(s): 118-126
Location: Haifa, Israel,
ISBN: 1-4244-0771-0
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/ICSEM.2007.373341
Posted online: 2007-06-18 10:26:50.0

outside at the local post office

I went outside today. the local post office. I think the last time I was out of home was exactly 10 days ago. Yes. Friday, June 15. went out to Ikea. Anyway while i was waiting at the line i noticed this crashed Windows blue screen. I have been using the services of this post office branch at Even Yehuda for almost five years now. I am almost positive this blue screen was there from day one. I never saw it in any other condition.

It reminds me of a recent story Nitsi and I read a while ago in TheMarker about this new software system the Israeli Social Security Institute was developing for 7 years and with the cost of over 30 Million NIS (more than 7 million$) before its "brave" manager, Dr. Igal Ben-Shalom, decided to cancel the whole thing because (freely translated from Hebrew) "the system is not mature yet and there is still a lot of work to be done before it can be integrated". If you can read Hebrew, follow up on this short news item published on Haaretz. You need to see it to believe it.

BTW, The Aluminum man came again today. did some of the work but as something always has to be left for next time he said he has to take of some parts of the windows, take them to his factory, install the new nets, and then come back to re-install in the house.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Japan and China are the world's second and third biggest print markets

NPES - The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies from Reston, Virginia says Japan and China are now (June 14, 2007) the world's second and third biggest print markets at $85 billion and $41 billion respectively. Further, China is the world's second largest and fastest growing printing equipment market, at $1.5 billion dollars. And the quadrennial IGAS 2007, Tokyo , September 21-27 is the world's biggest printing industry trade show in 2007--a marketing “must” for NPES member companies seeking to enter the Japanese print market.

read more | digg story

Dot-to-dot book with original language teaching concept launched in Colombia, Mexico and United States



A dot-to-dot book combining Conceptis Dot-a-Pix puzzles with an original English teaching concept for Spanish kids was launched in Colombia by Grupo Editorial Adria on May 1, 2007.

Branded Puntos Locos (Spanish for Crazy Dots), each page contains a puzzle as well as several dot-to-dot connections translating puzzle-picture related words from Spanish to English. Puntos Locos is an intellectual activities book for kids, which provides a joyful English learning experience at the same time.

Puntos Locos (ISBN 978-958-95909-4-2) is a 32 page, 21.5 x 28 cm book containing 20 B&W and Color Dot-a-Pix puzzles starting from 40 dots in the smaller puzzles and ending with 450 dots in the large puzzles, including the giant color centerfold. The book is available in shops all over Colombia and will be distributed in the rest of Latin America and in Hispanic communities within the United States.

“English has a special importance in Colombia due to the close relationship with our northern friends in the United Sates" explains Domingo Jaramillo, manager of Grupo Editorial Adria. "It is also an important tool for global communications and Internet. Our idea with this book and the next ones is to offer not only enjoyment of puzzles but also a language learning experience".

read more | digg story

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Netanya beach with Carmel

We went to see the sunset at the beach of Netanya yesterday. Carmel already was at the beach twice before but she was a bit to young at the time. I think yesterday was the first time she actually spend time in the water. This short clip shows a few of her first moments, when she was still dressed and dry. very soon after this clip was taken she was already one of the native creatures of the Mediterranean sea.

Lunch with yaron

Since we bought the Nikon, as soon as Nitsi got pregnant, we got ourselves about 40GB of digital pictures. I spend time deleting some of them soon after I empty the camera card but there are still too many of them to find anything without proper organizing. On top of all that we need to send copies to family and friends. So, i figured its time to have my Flickr corner started.

Gladly I didn't even have to go through a registration process as I already have a Yahoo account since about 10 years ago and Flickr seems to be a Yahoo group venture. Anyway, that was about it. As Flickr allows posting directly to blogger blogs I took the opportunity to publish this spectacular one, scanned from one of my dad's slides. Isn't this amazing? I must be about 3 years old here, not much more that the age of Carmel right now. I also look very much like her if yo ask me but I'll let you be the judge.

I am the little one on the left if you haven't notice.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

House Gecko macro shots



It was about 13:30 when we all took a short break here to talk with this guy who fixes the Aluminum windows. He finally came after about a year of waiting (no kidding. a year. that's how it goes with those guys in case you don't have an Aluminum stuff at your cave).



As we were showing him the ruptured mosquito nets in our daughter's room this cute little House Gecko was spotted up - standing there on the wall, staring at all of us. The Nikon was downstairs but we still managed to take the above two lovely macro shots.



The scientific name of the House Gecko, according to Wikipedia, is Hemidactylus frenatus. Known as the "Pacific house gecko" or "Asian house gecko", it is the most recently discovered member of a quartet of small, prolific and aggressive little lizards that become active at twilight. Did you get that? The head above belongs to an aggressive little lizard!! here are a few more 1:1 details cut from those two shots:





Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Nedbank: Power to the People Solar-Powered Billboard

Nedbank: Power to the People solar-powered billboard

And yesterday (June 19) the 2007 Outdoor Grand Prix went to a campaign that quite literally gave power to the people. Network BBDO, Johannesburg, took home the top prize in outdoor for a solar-powered billboard for NedBank that provided some juice to local buildings.

Solar-powered billboard detail

Check out this amazing advertisement taking a ride on the ongoing green wave. It also reminds us how far do we still have to go so we can say "we are doing the best we can" to help people. Detail above. (source: Adsoftheworld)
  • Advertising Agency: Net#Work BBDO, South Africa
  • Creative Directors: Julian Watt, Mike Schalit
  • Art Director: Jonathan Santana
  • Copywriter: Brad Reilly
  • Image courtesy of D&AD

Google Launches RechargeIT Plug-In Hybrid Car Initiative and Unveils Solar Installation

Just two days ago, Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google Inc. announced the RechargeIT initiative (www.google.org/recharge/) that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and oil dependence by accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles ("plug-ins").

As part of this initiative, Google.org awarded $1 million in grants and announced plans for a $10 million request for proposals (RFP) to fund development, adoption and commercialization of plug-ins, fully electric cars and related vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.

These guys at Google are really something. Isn't that great?

MPack Trojan Attack Claims 10,000 Web Sites

Researchers and security companies are reporting that as many as 10,000 Web sites have been infected with malicious code that redirects unsuspecting users to a server booby-trapped with drive-by exploits - part of a wave of attacks originating in Italy and now spreading through Europe. Dubbed the "Italian Job" by Trend Micro, the attack was first uncovered June 15. Legitimate sites were hacked to include a malicious iFrames tag redirecting visitors to servers armed with a tool called MPack, an exploit tool that can target security holes in multiple products.

read more | digg story

Global Mobile Gaming Revenue To Soar 50% In 2007

“Given the ubiquity of mobile phones in many markets and the ease of game-play, mobile gaming is expected to reach more of the global population than has been the case for traditional PC and console gaming” Global mobile gaming end-user revenue is set to skyrocket from $2.9 billion in 2006 to $9.6 billion in 2011, with popularity growing as consumer awareness increases and more games are released.According to new research from Nokia, mobile phone gamers are looking to the next generation of mobile gaming to meet their needs to easily discover, share and play fun and high quality mobile games. The results found mobile phone gamers frequently play mobile games for an average of 28 minutes per session, value improved game graphics, prefer to trial games before buying, and find communities increasingly integral to their overall mobile gaming experience.



read more | digg story

In the last 24 hours, Google produced 9,900 kilowatt-hours of electricity from the sun

In October 2006, Google announced a commitment to solar energy production and launched the largest solar panel installation to date on a corporate campus in the United States. Google has installed over 90% of the 9,212 solar panels that comprise the 1,600 kilowatt project. Panels cover the rooftops of eight buildings and two newly constructed solar carports at the Googleplex.

This installation is projected to produce enough electricity for approximately 1,000 California homes or 30% of Google's peak electricity demand in our solar powered buildings at our Mountain View, CA headquarters. This page on Google website monitors and shares the day to day production of clean, renewable energy from our very own rooftops.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

a web development company with a proper website

Its been a while since I have seen a web development company with a proper website. clearleft.com is a very good example of how this should be done. Clean and modern graphic design. screen adjusted. DOCTYPE is XHTML 1.0 Strict 100% error free. well done clearsoft.

read more | digg story

Conceptis establishes first subsidiary in Japan

Logic puzzle provider Conceptis Ltd. expands its worldwide presence with the establishment of Conceptis Japan Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary based in Tokyo.



read more | digg story

Mix Sudoku magazine launched in Germany, Switzerland and Austria

Mix Sudoku, a bi-monthly magazine containing assortment of number-logic and picture-logic puzzles from Conceptis, has been released in Germany, Switzerland and Austria on May 1, 2007 by Rätsel Agentur Schweiz. The large format 52-page magazine contains 205 puzzles, including Classic Sudoku and variants, Hitori, Battleships, Pic-a-Pix and more.



read more | digg story

Monday, June 18, 2007

A very inconvenient truth

Last Saturday we changed the lighting elements at our offices. Both of us had those triple halogen sets and kept on getting their bulbs burnt. So, soon after watching An Inconvenient Truth Nitsi and I agreed to pay a visit to Ikea and get ourselves a few of those compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl). CFLs use 60% less energy than a regular bulb. This simple switch will save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. If every family in the U.S. made the switch, we’d reduce carbon dioxide by more than 90 billion pounds! You can purchase CFLs online from the Energy Federation.

I was truly shocked after seeing this movie. I really thought I understand how bad things are but I certainly didn't.

The official An Inconvenient Truth website is a great resource for anyone who have seen this fantastic documentary and wishes to stay tuned. It also offers some official posters such as the one below. I think I am going to have its rss integrated into my side bar so i can keep an eye on whats going on. just in case.

If you are interested to know how you can help minimizing the problem, here are some important places to start with:

The average American generates about 15,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year from personal transportation, home energy use and from the energy used to produce all of the products and services we consume. CALCULATE YOUR PERSONAL IMPACT to see how much CO2 you produce each year.

JOIN THE GLOBAL WARMING VIRTUAL MARCH at www.stopglobalwarming.org.

You have the power to make a difference. Small changes to your daily routine can add up to big changes in helping to stop global warming.

Learn about other ways that movies are inspiring people to make a difference at http://participate.net/aninconvenienttruth.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Agencies to assign new ISBN13 numbers

Beginning January 1, 2007 , ISBN agencies all over the world have begun to assign new ISBN numbers that are 13 digits long, replacing the 10 digit numbers currently provided. ISBN numbers are used to identify books for production, ordering, inventory, or researching. Thus, it is imperative that publishers understand the ramifications of the change



read more | digg story

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Motorola RAZR MAXX Ve Video Review

PhoneArena reviews the Motorola RAZR MAXX, which features a 2.0-megapixel camera, 50MB internal memory, microSD card slot, Bluetooth 2.0 w/A2DP, and USB 2.0 connectivity. Video after the break. Here’s the bottom line: The Motorola Razr Maxx Ve is a true performer, once you get past its boring all-black exterior and outdated UI.


read more | digg story

Security Bugs in Safari for Windows

It's been an interesting few days for Apple and their Safari web browser. On Monday, Apple released a PC version of Safari 3 (beta) at the 2007 Worldwide Developers Conference. But within a few hours, Internet security specialists and hackers had uncovered several bugs capable of crashing the Windows operating system as well as a major security...



read more | digg story

Thursday, June 14, 2007

505 Games

505 Games is a flexible videogame publisher whose mission is to select quality licenses on a worldwide basis to be published through a well established distribution network all around Europe and Australia (all PAL territories). Great website design, html schema is properly declared (even though just as "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN") and homepage is almost validated with just 6 warnings. 3 of the warnings refer to this funny bug of spelling mistake: instead of "_blank" someone wrote "_blanc" which is naturally considered as programming mistake.

read more | digg story

Mindstorm

This Nintendo DS game from 505gamestreet.com is designed to be truly enjoyable, while at the same time aiming to stimulate and develop the brain through careful and thorough consideration of the problems posed.



read more | digg story

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Puddles" on Mars? It would appear not...

Dig this: a story titled 'Mars rover finds "puddles" on the planet's surface' was published on NewScientist.com by a guy named David Chandler. I am not sure exactly when it was published but it has been updated on 21:14 12 June 2007 with the following opening:

"Update: The researchers have retracted their claim about the possibility of standing water on Mars after readers pointed out the terrain lies on the sloped wall of a crater – see our blog explaining what happened".

Its funny how nowadays things work sometimes.
read more | digg story

How To Hack Minesweeper

Got this very cool tutorial from a dig member named varabyte who is also the first person who dugged one of my news on digg. It shows how to hack the popular Windows Minesweeper game to make its high scores look like whatever you want. You can use this sometime to hack one of those Minesweeper junkies I know who always catch a few minuets on the game whenever possible. hi hi

read more | digg story

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

TorrentSpy ordered to start tracking visitors

TorrentSpy, a popular BitTorrent search engine, was ordered on May 29 by a federal judge in the Central District of California in Los Angeles to create logs detailing users' activities on the site. The judge, Jacqueline Chooljian, however, granted a stay of the order on Friday to allow TorrentSpy to file an appeal.

read more | digg story

The Best Optical Illusion

This Optical Illusion operates by exploiting an assumption your brain makes about the nature of the object. I need to send it to Gianni A. Sarcone, a friend of mine from archimedes-lab.org



read more | digg story

What happens to your body if you stop smoking right now

This spectacular high res info-graphic titled "What Happens to Your Body if You Stop Smoking Right Now" was published on June 11, 2007 on healthbolt.net - a great Science & Health blog. Credited to by Wade Meredith this poster shows what happens to the human body when its "owner" stops smoking. The free 24"x18" print-quality .pdf download claimed to was available is gone but if you click the poster picture you'll get a very nice 2070x1530 gif of the "non smoking timeline"

read more | digg story

The Truth Behind Casual Games' Manifest Destiny.

Recently, casual games have been getting more and more popular. I mean, that's been the key to the Wii's success, and a big part of the DS' as well. Games like Wario Ware, Hotel Dusk, and Big Brain Academy have all been huge successes recently for consoles (not to mention stuff like Bejeweled on PCs).



read more | digg story

Harder Sudoku boost sales in global Sudoku market

Are your favorite Sudoku magazines too easy to solve leaving you unsatisfied way before the end of the month? If so, you can ask the publishers to add some harder ones, though it's very likely they are considering to do so already...

read more | digg story

Two Nintendo DS games with Conceptis Sudoku and Pic-a-Pix released in Japan

Nampure VOW with 300 Conceptis Sudoku puzzles and Iraroji VOW with 300 Conceptis Pic-a-Pix puzzles were released in Japan by From Software Inc. on April 26 and May 24 respectively. The two games, available for the best selling Nintendo DS platform, were produced in collaboration with Takarajima Publishing and Shockwave Japan.
Nampure VOW contains 300 Classic and Multi Sudoku puzzles, while Iraroji VOW contains 300 B&W and color Pic-a-Pix puzzles. The puzzles come in five difficulty levels from easy to hard allowing both beginners and experienced solvers to spend countless hours of fun.

Read more here Two Nintendo DS games with Conceptis Sudoku and Pic-a-Pix released in Japan

3000 Flash games growing at 10 a Day

GamesForWork.com has reached the 3000 flash games mark. Games For Work adds 10 new flash games every weekday. Becoming the new flash games home to thousands.



read more | digg story

Are we getting closer to solar powered air conditioning?

We are intrigued by the idea of solar powered air conditioning; it is just so logical as you need it most when the sun is blazing.



read more | digg story

How to get yourself banned from Digg

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0. It's the HD-DVD processing key you can use to decrypt and play most HD-DVD movies in Linux. Movie studios are going ballistic over this leak, so everyone Digged the story up and made it reach the front page. 15,000 votes in less than 24 hours. and then this person got banned. Here's how/why. Also, a backup of what Diggers captivated for 15 hours straight before it got deleted. this is a story you don't want to miss.



read more | digg story

eBay opens up new APIs, demos rich client bidding app

The Internet auction giant eBay has announced that it is opening up the programming interfaces for eBay, PayPal, and Skype to third-party developers. The company also demonstrated a rich client bidding application. No word yet on whether or not it will make bid sniping easier. Will opensource voip applications will soon be able to communicate with our friend's Skype clients?



read more | digg story

When sudoku and mathematics intersect

A pair of mathematicians apply graph theory to the popular sudoku-type puzzles and examine various mathematical properties of the game. They also show that the game leads to an unanswered problem in graph theory.



read more | digg story

Monday, June 11, 2007

mPlayer interactive control commands

mPlayer interactive control commands


mplayer, the great video player, has a fully configurable, command-driven control layer which allows you to control MPlayer using keyboard, mouse, joystick or remote control (with LIRC).

Fore example:



<− and −>


Seek backward/forward 10 seconds.


up and down


Seek forward/backward 1 minute.


pgup and pgdown


Seek forward/backward 10 minutes.


[ and ]


Decrease/increase current playback speed by 10%.


{ and }


Halve/double current playback speed.



See full mplayer command list here

The Baghdad Batteries

The earliest known artifacts that may have served as batteries are the Baghdad Batteries, which existed some time between 250 BC and 640 AD. However, it is not known what electrical function they may have served, and if they were in fact batteries at all. Modern batteries provide accurate power source until they drop dead in one second and my daughter is definitely seems to be working on modern ones. It was a hard day at work so she fell asleep early at 21:30.

The limits of 3d animation


The Most Expensive Advertisement U Have Ever Seen
Click here for more free videos


I just saw this cool 3d animation advertisement from Honda. The poster called it "The Most Expensive Advertisement U Have Ever Seen". While cost is the less interesting part here i still think it has some interesting say, at least as far as it goes with 3d animation limits.


Open Source Alternative: commercial vs opensource software

Providing easy access to high quality open source alternatives to well-known commercial products, Open Source Alternative allows you to browse through the software categories and compare pros and cons of both commercial products as well as open source software. Each category contains a list of opensource software references. On the side one can see the most popular commercial and opensource tools in this category. For example, the boxes below shows most popular for Internet & Networking.

Commercial
MSN Messenger
Citrix Presentation Server
Skype
OpenView Network Node Manager

Open Source
SeaMonkey
Pandora
Pidgin
Zenoss

The site also offer a very nice explanation for the reasons to use opensource software:

"Besides the fact that open source is always available for free, it is a transparent application, in that you are invited exclusively behind the scenes to view all source code and thereby to suggest improvements to the product. Furthermore, every product is covered by a large dedicated network, or community, who is more than willing to answer any questions, you may have."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

32 Celsius degrees

Its a bit more than 32 Celsius degrees (about 89.6 Fahrenheit, according to Babylon) in my office at the moment. its a hot day. we usually have lots of electricity power breaks when its very hot so I expect problems.

Israel has this very big problem now with her power manufacturing capabilities. They say things will change by 2010 when private power turbines will be activated but until then the electricity company have this campaign to explain various alert levels for power breaks. They published this pdf explaining the subject I am going to be much more specific about this issue as it is a major problem for our home office and even added this "low-res" indicator on their homepage showing current status.

My immediate reaction was I want this indicator personalized for my own neighborhood, or at least nearest city. what do I care if some other part of the country is now red or green?? i want to know my own forecast. Ha! Anyway, I believe I must make progress with my home power back-up system allowing approximately 1.5 hours of full capacity work on two workstations including screens and surrounding peripherals.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Drawing potty training!!

We are deep inside the Toilet training stage. Toilet training (or potty training) is the process of weaning a young child off diapers (or "nappies" in the British Isles and many Commonwealth countries) and training the child to use the toilet for urination and defecation.

Wikipedia says Toilet training is usually started and completed between the ages of eighteen-months and four years though recent studies in Japan show that an increasing number of children are wetting their beds or wearing diapers full time, even in elementary school so I think we should at least try having weaned a bit sooner...

Anyway, we just started doing that with Carmel a wile ago and she seems to be doing very well. She knows everything about the theory but still has some difficulties controlling what needs to be controlled. She also still seems to be fascinated by the fact those "things" go out of her own body. Carmel likes her potty. She has nothing against it or against the idea of using it. Recently she started using it as a chair during the drawing lessons she demands from Nitsan and myself. The potty perfectly fits the required height. It's so cute >>

Oh, yes. and the HTPC went dead. No wonder considering the amount volume and frequency it gets kicked and hit by Carmel. Thus, I have been playing with computers quite a lot in the last two days. problems started since there was no CD player on the machine. This is a necessary step of course when you design a PC for the usage of a 2 year old chilled who likes to examine things by hitting them. I am going to show some pictures later on exactly what it means to have your HTPC dead.

Google Answers is no longer accepting questions

Google answers' homepage, though, now says "We're sorry, but Google Answers has been retired, and is no longer accepting new questions. Search or browse the existing Google Answers index by using the search box above or the category links below."
I didn't know Google also take some of their features OFF sometimes.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Healthier by an administration act

According to americanheart.org blood pressure is the pressure of the blood against the walls of the arteries and results from two forces. One is created by the heart as it pumps blood into the arteries and through the circulatory system. The other is the force of the arteries as they resist the blood flow.

I had my blood pressure taken today by Amos (in the picture, when he is not taking my blood pressure): 110/70. best anyone can ask for. The funny thing he told me was that they reduced the recommended values a while ago and now 110/70 is the optimal level.

I took my blood pressure a few times in my life before. I don't remember the results as I wasn't having this blog back then... but i do remember it was always considered all right but a bit low. well, now its not. now its perfect. I actually became healthier by an administration act.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Google PageRank?

Everybody is using it, but (almost) nobody really knows how it works. Google PageRank is probably one of the most important algorithms ever developed for the Web. With billions of existing pages and millions of pages generated every day, the search issue in the Web is more complex than you probably think it is. PageRank, only one of hundreds of factors used by Google to determine best search results, helps to keep our search clean and efficient. But how is it actually done? How does Google PageRank work, which factors do have an impact on it and which don’t? And what do we really know about PageRank? Google PageRank: What Do We Know About It? from smashingmagazine.com gets most important facts straight.


Pictures of clouds

Pictures of clouds are always fascinating, though not very easy to make as it might look sometimes. I have been taking cloud pictures for a few years and never succeeded very well (as you can see below). Yet, I am always amazed how chaotic is their structure. Are clouds giving me a sense of self-order...??

The End of Suburbia

I had a chance to see The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream (78 minutes), a documentary released in 2004 in USA by Greg and Gregory Greene. This movie made me think some of the things I like about working from home are actually much more than a lifestyle improvement. They actually seem to be helping the planet. or at least reduce the amount of damage i am personally causing it being one of the seven billion human creatures breathing its air.

In Israel there are usually 14 holidays, 52 Fridays and 52 Saturdays - altogether 118 official off-workdays each year. Add to it - say - 14 vacation days and you'll get a total of 132 off-workdays each working year. 365 minus 132 makes 233 workdays each year. As I have been working from home for seven years now, 233 times 7 is 1631. That makes one thousand six hundred and thirty one days i didn't use my car to burn fuel and time on the road.

Now, providing my not-working-from-home office would have been in Tel-Aviv city, and I had to commute - say - 40 Kilometers both ways each day and use - say - 10 km per Liter car, and providing there would not have been too many traffic jams which significantly increase fuel consumption and is probably a wrong one) it means i saved 65,240 Liters of fuel. I need to check how much energy, money and pollution have been saved here.

Are today's suburbs destined to become the slums of tomorrow? Here is a blurb about the story of The End of Suburbia taken from the official website of the movie:

Since World War II North Americans have invested much of their newfound wealth in suburbia. It has promised a sense of space, affordability, family life and upward mobility. As the population of suburban sprawl has exploded in the past 50 years, so too has the suburban way of life become embedded in the American consciousness. Suburbia, and all it promises, has become the American Dream.

But as we enter the 21st century, serious questions are beginning to emerge about the sustainability of this way of life. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, The End of Suburbia explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply. World
Oil Peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, some scientists and policy makers argue in this documentary.

The consequences of inaction in the face of this global crisis are enormous. What does Oil Peak mean for North America? As energy prices skyrocket in the coming years, how will the populations of suburbia react to the collapse of their dream? Are today's suburbs destined to become the slums of tomorrow? And what can be done NOW, individually and collectively, to avoid The End of Suburbia?

See movie trailer on Youtube

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Google's Street View stirs debate over privacy



The New York Times published an article saying "Google Photos Stir a Debate Over Privacy" (Google Zooms In Too Close for Some). Kevin Bankston, a staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group says he “think that this product illustrates a tension between our First Amendment right to document public spaces around us, and the privacy interests people have as they go about their day” and that "Google could have avoided privacy concerns by blurring people’s faces".

I always thought that the whole world should be photographed all the time and be seen by everyone. people should learn how to close their curtains. please don't limit my freedom for information to allow you enjoying a better view.

personal 3rd generation usb mobile camera

Cellcom , an Israeli cellular provider provides a very cool service named "personal camera" allowing subscribers to monitor any usb camera on any Internet connected PC to be seen from 3rd generation mobiles. This service had a monthly fee until recently which was canceled as the service became free. This is a fantastic tool for anyone wishes to keep an eye on his/her small office or home when being on the road.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Exhibit from MIT

developed from the research in the Haystack group and the User Interface Design group at MIT CSAIL, and maintained by the SIMILE project, Exhibit is a lightweight structured data publishing framework that lets you create web pages with support for sorting, filtering, and rich visualizations by writing only HTML and optionally some CSS and Javascript code.

Like Google Maps and Timeline, but for structured data normally published through database-backed web sites, Exhibit essentially removes the need for a database or a server side web application. Its Javascript-based engine makes it easy for everyone who has a little bit of knowledge of HTML and small data sets to share them with the world and let people easily interact with them.

Monday, June 4, 2007

two very different devices to take the pictures and movie clips

I am using two very different devices to take the pictures and movie clips i'll be posting here:

First, My Nikon Coolpix 8800 "flagship of Nikon's Coolpix series". This camera would have never entered my family's life unless I agreed to go along with the advice of my younger tech-freak brother to put my family's future in the hand of Nikon's lens makers, and if Nikon then the flagship of Nikon's Coolpix series: the Coolpix 8800. It was also not available in Israel back then and had to be brought by my dear cousin from new York.

This camera features an 8.0 megapixel effective CCD (3,264 x 2,448-pixels) and a 10x Optical (35-350mm) Nikkor lens, with Nikon's Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements. It has a high resolution (235,000 pixel) electronic viewfinder (EVF) for through-the-lens viewing and a 1.8" vari-angle color LCD monitor. You can read more about it in this great review on steves-digicams.com

Here is a night shot of my Coolpix using my razr camera:



The only problem with the Coolpix 8800 is its weight and size, which brings me to the second device I use: my Motorola RAZR V3x mobile phone offers pretty cool 2 MP, 1600x1200 pixels, video, flash and even secondary video call VGA camera... the video quality is pretty poor I admit but the availability of the camera makes it worthwhile.




my birthday present to me

I just turned 38 yesterday so this blog is my birthday present to me. been wanting to start my own blog for a long time but never managed to "find the right time". so here it is. the right time. and my blog.

I have been working from home for the last 7 years and by now i can not imagine my life any different. I plan to do a calculation soon to investigate how much resources I have been saving this planet over those 7 years.

I am going to publish here when I'll have it ready.

Afternoon break with Carmel


Life allows me to spend time with Carmel every day now. what could have been better?