Archive for the ‘curiosity’ Category

Out of control wrong number

Monday, February 14th, 2011

טעות במספר שיצאה משליטה

כשאני בבית, אני בודק כל פעם אם הגיעו אלי SMS-ים בטלפון הסלולרי שלי.

באחת מהבדיקות האלה שמתי לב שהיתה לי שיחה שלא נענתה יחד עם SMS מאותו המספר.

תוכן ה-SMS היה: “לא מבין מדוע כל כך קשה לדבר איתך - נא חזור אליי בבקשה - ש___ מ___”

חשבתי שזה מישהו שקשור לחברה שאני מחכה לתשובה ממנה בקשר לפרויקט שעשיתי יחד איתם, ומשום מה לא אמרו לו שאני חרש.

עניתי לו: “אני חרש. הקשר איתי רק באמצעות מסרונים ודואר אלקטרוני. במה אוכל לעזור לך?”

התשובה שלו פיזרה את הערפל: “לא חזרת אליי לגבי הצעת המחיר שלכם בנושא ____” (נושא שלא קשור לתוכנה).

מכיוון שלא הגשתי הצעות מחיר בנושא הנ”ל, התשובה שלי היתה “ייתכן שיש לך טעות במספר. אני פרילאנסר בתחום התוכנה ושמי עומר”.

ואחר כך לא היו SMS-ים נוספים ממנו.

When I am at home, once in a while I check my cellphone to see if I got SMSes.

In one of those checks, I noticed that I got an unanswered call along with a SMS from the same phone number.

The SMS contents were “I do not understand why is it so difficult to reach you. Please return to me - S___ M___”.

I thought it is from someone associated with a company, from which I am waiting for an answer about a project which I did with them; and that due to some reason, no one told that person that I am deaf.

I replied: “I am deaf. I can be contacted only via SMSes and E-mail. How can I help you?”

His answer dispersed the fog: “You did not return to me about your bid for ____” (something not related to software).

Since I never bidded about this subject, my reply was “you may be having a wrong number. I am a freelance software developer and my name is Omer”.

There were no subsequent SMSes from him.

Stef Wertheimer and Hank Rearden

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

אחד מהגיבורים בספר “מרד הנפילים” של איין ראנד הינו האנק רירדן שתואר כתעשיין.

בביקורי האחרון בחנות ספרים נתקלתי באוטוביוגרפיה של התעשיין הישראלי סטף ורטהימר.  קניתי ויום לאחר מכן כבר גמרתי לקרוא את הספר.  בכל סרט שראוי לשם “מרד הנפילים”, ורטהימר היה יכול לשחק את תפקיד רירדן והמראה שלו היה מתאים לדמות.  כמו כן, אם לא היה בוחר בכיוון הציוני של הקמת ושכלול מדינת מקלט ליהודים, יש להניח שפעילותו היתה דומה לזו של רירדן.  ורטהימר דוגל בעקרון הלסה-פר - על הממשלה להמנע מהתערבות בניהול עסקים.  הוא ציין דוגמא של פיקוח על עופות בתקופת הצנע הישראלית, וטען שאם היו מעסיקים את הפקחים בגידול עופות, זה היה פותר את בעיית אספקת העופות לכל ישראל.

באוטוביוגרפיה שלו, תיאר ורטהימר את ההיסטוריה של ישקר, יצירתו התעשייתית, ושל מאמציו לחינוך והכשרת עובדי תעשייה ברמה גבוהה.  הספר מיוחד בהיותו סיפור שעדיין לא נגמר - ורטהימר לא בחל בתיאור פרויקטים שנמצאים עדיין בביצוע או בתכנון, כמו שמתאים לאדם שלא יפרוש כל עוד הוא יכול לעבוד.

כשקראתי את הספר, חשבתי לעצמי שאם המשפחה העשירה ביותר בישראל היא משפחה שעשתה את הכסף שלה בתעשיה דהיינו משפחתו של סטף ורטהימר, ולא משפחה של בנקאים, איילי נפט או מחצבים, או אנשי נדל”ן, זה אומר שבכל זאת יש משהו נכון בכלכלה הישראלית.

Where does Israel stand philanthropy-wise?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

According to Who Gives The Most?, between 1995-2002, Israel ranked 2nd place (among 36 countries) in giving money (no data about volunteerism) to philanthropic causes, with USA ranking 1st place.  However, the Americans gave 38% more than the Israelis.

Omer Zak and Peretz Zack - a medical examination confusion

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Today I was in Memograph in Petah Tikva, a medical diagnostics institute to which my health fund refers patients who need to have their ankles (and some other body members) X-rayed or subjected to ultrasound examination.  I needed to have my ankle X-rayed.

I arrived at the place to find a long and overdue queue.  The delay was about an hour and half.  I gave the X-ray requisition form and Form 17 to the receptionist and told her that I am deaf.

Then I waited.  The wait was made more bearable thanks to the coincidence that three other Deaf men came for their own tests, two of whom I already knew and the third was a new acquaintance for me.  It was nice to pass the time chatting with them.

About the time I was due to enter the X-ray room, the receptionist surprised me by trying to hand over to me a CD which purported to have already contained my X-ray photos.  I protested and explained that I was not examined at all.

After some investigation and head scratching, it turned out that the X-ray technician called out for a Zak.  The receptionist did not realize that my shoulder needs to be tapped.  So another Zak got in - Peretz Zack, who by coincidence needed to have his ankle X-rayed as well.  His ankle was X-rayed according to the instructions in my form and he left soon afterwards.

After the confusion was clarified, I was called in and had my ankle X-rayed.  Some time later I got the CD and analysis results - which I hope that they indeed correspond to my own ankle rather than to Peretz Zack’s.

As I walked back home, I analyzed the event.  The mistake was due to the following:

  1. The patients have their paperwork taken by the receptionist, who hands it to the X-ray technician.  When a patient enters the X-ray room, he is not positively identified by the X-ray technician as corresponding to the paperwork waiting for him inside the room.  A post-it paper with the patient’s name given to the patient in exchange for the paperwork would have solved the problem.
  2. The receptionist was not trained to warn the X-ray technician NOT to use the public address system to summon a deaf patient, but rather to have someone tap on his shoulder.  This is more tough one, given the relative rarity of deaf patients.  Today’s get together of 4 patients was probably once in a lifetime coincidence.

From now on I’ll probably have to be on the lookout for medical records really belonging to Peretz Zack, which got into my medical files because he, by mistake, somehow assumed my identity.  At least until the medications, which I take due to my heart attack, kill him.

Celebrating Towel Day by forgetting a towel

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Today, fans of the late Douglas Adams celebrate the Towel Day in his memory.
I managed to celebrate it by forgetting, for 1st time since I started to exercise in that particular gym, to bring my obligatory towel to the gym today.
Fortunately, a paper towel was available.

Davka דווקא is missing from English

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Mark L. Levinson writes a blog, which specializes in translating certain difficult words from Hebrew into English.  Today’s word is דווקא (davka).

I was especially amused by the rant that the word entered the Hebrew language, from the Aramaic, too late to be used in the Bible.

For those who don’t have the language parsing and processing ability of serious software developers:

The title of this post means - davka the concept embodied in the word “davka” is missing from English.

“You are fortunate to be deaf because…”

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

One of the clichés to which the Hearing World subjects us deafies countless times is the remark, by some sufferers of the so-called “noise pollution”, that we are fortunate not to suffer from the noise.  Nevermind the fact that the hard of hearing are even more bothered by noise than the normally hearing.

Few days ago, I witnessed a new twist of this cliché.
Recently, I started working for another company, meaning that I have new co-workers.  One day, at lunchtime, one of them remarked to me how fortunate am I, as a deaf person, to have no use for cellphones.  Obviously he got tired of the constant interruptions due to cellphones.

With glee, I pulled out my cellphone and showed him that I, too, was assimilated by the culture of the cellphones…

Now he knows what he needs to know about SMS and 3G video chats.

A most brilliant political protest by means of domain hijacking

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

After 2nd Lebanon War at Jul-August 2006, the government of Israel set up a committee of inquiry - the Winograd Committee.  A domain has been registered in behalf of this committee - http://vaadatwino.co.il/ (the contents are in Hebrew).

Fast forward three years.  The Israeli government is trying to build a biometric database with data about all Israeli citizens, and concerned people are protesting this plan.  The strongest argument against the database is the risk of data leak, which may lead to rather adverse consequences.

To prove that the government does not know to protect its digital assets, the above domain was hijacked when its registration expired because someone in the government forgot to renew the domain registration.  The Website now contains a statement against the biometric database.

Two 25th year anniversaries

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

One famous anniversary is the 25th anniversary of the GNU project, which happens today.

One much less famous 25th anniversary will happen three days from now, on Sept. 30, 2008.  This is the best choice for an official starting day of the Israeli TDD Project.

On Friday Sept. 30, 1983, I at last went to the computer shop, plucked down my money and bought my Commodore 64 home computer.  This model was chosen because it supported software-defined fonts, and because it had a cheaper brother, known as VIC-20.

My game plan was to use the Commodore 64 to develop software for both VIC-20 and Commodore 64.  This software was to serve as terminal/chat program, which supports textual communication in Hebrew.  At the time I already had a 300bps modem connected to an ADM 3A terminal, which belonged to my employer at the time, and which I used to connect to my employer’s computer systems and monitor jobs, which ran overnight.

When I returned home with my spanking new computer, I found in my mailbox a letter, which took 23 days to reach me.  The letter was from Susan Bullowa, who subsequently partnered with me in the project.  It took us a while to meet, but when we met, it turned out that she has a lot of useful information which complements my own information.  And on the other hand, I had in my possession technical information and experience, which complemented hers.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Blog Day 2008

Monday, September 1st, 2008

The 4th Blog Day was held yesterday, but I was too busy to notice this, so my contribution was postponed to today.

More information about the yearly Blog Day.

I apologize to my fellow Hebrew language blog writers for not mentioning any Hebrew language blog this time. To my defense, I’ll point out the common denominator of the following blog recommendations. They all deal with various aspects of bullshit. Good and bad stories about disaster recovery (some of the bad cases are accompanied by bullshit), bullshit as “security theater” (which is a nefarious kind of bullshit), IT project failures (again, frequently due to bullshit), amusing software related bullshit stories, bullshit gadget designs, and bullshit in general.

  • Amanda Ripley’s Blog
    Amanda Ripley wrote the book “The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - And Why” about behavior of people, who were caught in natural and human-made disasters. Her blog expands upon the theme of disaster recovery.
  • Schneier on Security
    Bruce Schneier is the foremost computer security expert in the world, and is also the author of the book “Applied Cryptography”. His theme is that security is a system property. No technological means assures security if there is a security vulnerability in the rest of the system. He blogs, among other things, about stupid security policies.
    Not related to security, he blogs also about his hobby - squids.
  • IT Project Failures
    Informs the readership about big IT project failures and their causes.
  • Worse Than Failure
    Amusing stories about the foibles of less than top notch computer professionals and software developers.
  • Commonsense Design
    This blog has the slogan: “Nathan Zeldes writes on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of everyday product design”. I cannot improve upon this slogan.
  • The War On Bullshit
    Opinions, which are sometimes politically incorrect, about various bullshit attitudes in sociology and politics.