2014-04-01 10:46 am
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Google Announced It Will Discontinue Its Web Search, Gmail And Google Docs Services

1 April, 2014, Tel Aviv, Israel: Google announced today that following its popular decision to discontinue not-so-popular services such as Google Reader, it is going to discontinue other services such as Google Web Search, Gmail, and Google Docs.

“These services have been suffering from declining use and popularity”, a Google spokesman said, “as a result, Google decided to discontinue them in order to remain profitable.”

Google Web Search is disabled: “Not your lucky day”
The New Google Web Search front page.

After discontinuing these services, Google will focus on more profitable ventures such as version 9 of V8, its open-source JavaScript engine (= "v8 v9"), and its mobile operating system, Mandi the Womanoid. It is also going to provide its world-famous customer service as a service to other companies (“Google Customer Service as a Service” or “GCSaaS” for short).

The same Google spokesman also noted that Google is considering to discontinue Google AdSense and AdWords, because they too are proving to undermine its profitability.

Copyright and Licence

This document is Copyright by Shlomi Fish, 2014, and is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0 Unported (or at your option any later version).

For securing additional rights, please contact Shlomi Fish and see the explicit requirements that are being spelt from abiding by that licence.

The homepage screenshot was adapted from the Google homepage, with the sources available.

2014-04-01 10:39 am
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The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Announces New Versions of the GPL

1 April, 2014, Tel Aviv, Israel: “FOSS developers don’t have enough choice when it comes to licensing.” says the Free Software Foundation (FSF). Thus, in order to contribute to the noble cause of licence proliferation, it announced new versions of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

The FSF announced the GPL version 4 (GPLv4), GPL version 5 (GPLv5), GPL version 6 (GPLv6), as well as the GPLv7, the GPLv8, the GPLv9 and the GPLv10 — all with their LGPL (Lesser GPL), AGPL (Affero GPL), and LAGPL (Lesser Affero GPL) variants, and all mutually incompatible with one another and with the GPLv2 and the GPLv3 (which are in turn now deprecated).

GPL v3 is out! Now it's GPLv4, GPLv5, etc.
The New GPL logo now that GPLv3 was deprecated.

In addition, by popular demand, the FSF introduced some often requested variants of the GPL: Strangely-enticing GPL (SEGPL), Diamond Encrusted GPL (DEGPL), Zebra Flavoured GPL (ZFGPL), Objective GPL, GPL++, GPL Enterprise Edition (GPLEE), Industrial Strength GPL (ISGPL), GPL for Dummies (GPL4D), Unusable GPL (UGPL), GNU Passive Aggressive Public Licence (GPAPL), Proprietary GPL (PGPL), Non-Free GPL (NFGPL), and I Can't Believe It's Not The GPL (ICBINTGPL).

The Free Software Foundation is also going to introduce one GPL licence each day in an effort known “Daily GPL”, where each daily GPL breaks compatibility with all the previous daily GPLs. As an FSF spokesman said “We hope that soon there will be more versions of the GPL (“GPLs”? Hmmm…) than GPL-licenced software”.

The GPLs’ proliferation has met with some positive responses from organisations who need to deal with them. The administrators of Freecode, a releases announcements and cataloguing site for UNIX software, noted: “This initiative is threatening to make the database table holding the possible options for software licences larger than all other tables. We’re contemplating to just consolidate all these licences under one option of ‘Under one or more of the FSF so-called-‘GPL’ licences’.”.

In the meanwhile Linus Torvalds had this to comment: “I always was a big fan of version 2 of the GPL, but the new FSF licence The Positively-Awesome Make-Yourself-At-Home Fine-Grained-Control World-Domination-At-A-Snail’s-Pace GNU General Public Licence (GPL) from 2014-04-01-10:35:49 up-to-and-excluding 0123-04-01-01:55:09 seems like such a sexy licence, and I’m considering adopting it (after I implement some custom changes to make it more to my liking.). Good thing it didn’t take the FSF too long to come with a half-decent alternative to the GPLv2.”.

Copyright and Licence

This document is Copyright by Shlomi Fish, 2014, and is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0 Unported (or at your option any later version).

For securing additional rights, please contact Shlomi Fish and see the explicit requirements that are being spelt from abiding by that licence.

The Logo was created using Inkscape based on the SVG in the GPLv3_Logo in the English wikipedia (which is in the public domain but may contain trademarks), and modified using Inkscape by making use of “Mail Ray Stuff” font by Ray Larabie (found on dafont.com), which isn't a libre font, but its licensing terms seemed usable and acceptable for this purposes (and it is available for some kinds of commercial use). Here are the sources.

2013-05-05 02:17 pm
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Blog Entry for my 36th Birthday

Being born on 5 May 1977, I turn 36 (= thirty six) on 5 May 2013. 36 is a special number for me in part because it is the square of 6, but more importantly because it is two times of 18. The age of 18 is considered the start of maturity in Israel when Israeli boys and girls gain the right to vote, and are supposed to enroll into the Israeli military, and normally hit sexual maturity at that point. The time I was 18, 19, 20 in 1995-1997, was very influential for me, and now I feel that I have achieved a second maturity.

I feel I have finally reached peace of mind, am enjoying all the little things in life, and can honestly see reality as it is, and see through many lies. Part of my problem was that for a long time I was playing the “Invisible”, which is something I decided to avoid from now on and work on better publicity. A different issue was me thinking of myself as The Eternal Jew, i.e: a profile, or a “god” in the stock exchange of the gods, which was an unhealthy tendency that I finally put to rest in a scene of my screenplay, Selina Mandrake - The Slayer (thanks to the wonderful protagonist there). Finally, yet another problem was that I have not accepted who I am, which is also something that I decided to avoid from now.

If I were ever going to visit Fantastica, the land of imagination, I would need to be very careful from the wrath of the characters of my stories and screenplays, whom I have put to much suffering (but at least all of them, with an exception in The Enemy and How I Helped to Fight it, ended up alive at the end of the stories and happier than ever. However, all this suffering was secondary to my own which involved hypomanias, and even some Manias, which caused some deteriorated health, and unhappiness to my surrounding.

I have decided that from now on, I would like to socialise more. I was told and understood that the lack of socialisation was part of what is causing hypomanias, and the underlying reason behind Bipolar disorder. I have already attended one Science Fiction and Fantasy Conference in Tel Aviv, and it was a wonderful and colourful experience, and also proved a catalyst for coming up with the idea of a screenplay I have written. I want to do stuff like that more often which will hopefully mitigate my hypomanias problem.

On this occasion, I would like to thank the people who helped me and guided me throughout my journey to maturity: my psychotherapist (whom I won't mention by name, but who provided a lot of solid advice), and Dr. David Burns for his excellent book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy; my friends from the Technion, the Haifa Linux Club, and the Tel Aviv Open Source Club; my friends from the Internet, and my family members for being there when I needed them.

I would also like to thank my characters, who provided a window into my soul and my innermost desires:

  • The ex-Member of the Organisation from my first real novella The Enemy, who was full of mathematical logic and was practically inhuman.

  • The Friends in “The One with the Fountainhead” who were happy to play the characters from Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead while parodying and modernising it along the way. They signified what I was unhappy about the Fountainhead and also my growing interest in romantic relationships.

  • The Human Hacking Field Guide brings us Erisa→Eve, the sexy, mysterious, insurgent, and typical “bad girl” antagonist, who after becoming less of a rebel without a cause, and at the age of 18 felt like she can write her own replacement for In Search of Lost Time, and publish it, and it would be better than the original. Eve, I wish I knew I was reflecting on myself in this respect!

  • From Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead”, we find such characters as Q, my own Q2, Jadzia Dax, and my own Katie Jacobson, who face a mishmash of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Judaism, Julian Jaynes’ Bicameral Mind theory and other Near East history, open source hackerdom, and various Elders of Zion and Illuminati conspiracy theory, and survive to tell the tale, reflecting upon some of the farfetched stuff I thought to be true, during my “Great Mania”.

  • Finally, Selina from Selina Mandrake - The Slayer, handled the various vampires and demons she ran into in a graceful and natural way, and finally put my whole obsession with “The Eternal Jew”/“The Invisible”/“The Slayer”/ “The Dispeller”/“The Free”/etc. to rest. Selina, you are great - I love you!

During this period, I have also started writing Humanity - The Movie, which aims to be a parody of Humanity and modern life in particular, and which I originally imagined as being written and filmed by a Bajoran extraterrestrial who arrived at Earth, also during my “Great Mania”. I also began writing The Pope Died on Sunday, which tells the story of an atheist female graphic designer (and a software developer by training) in Milwaukee, during the summer of the year 2000, reflecting on an old mentality, and finally The Blue Rabbit Log, which is a Crazy Comedy parodying Role-Playing Games, and is based on an old idea of mine.

Anyway, right now, I feel like I have reached some greater and greater enlightenment and am more capable of handling life’s problems as I run into them. I have been realised more that the gods help them that help themselves, that I should be happy of what I am and proud of it, and that the people around me can often be dicks. I also realise now that my relentless policy for honesty and sincerity got me in a lot of trouble, because people don't want to face the Elephants in the room, but that I should still try to be more tactful in the future I also realised many people can often be jerks, and try to hurt you on purpose.

Cheers, and have a great 5 May day.

2013-04-14 03:17 pm

Recent Hacktivity Log

This is another recent hacktivity log of what I have been up to recently, as far as software development and writing is concerned.

“Every Publicity is Good Publicity…”

True to my belief that “The Gods help them that help themselves”, I have been working much more on publicity recently, utilising my Twitter account, my Reddit account, my Facebook account and other online resources. I am not exclusively promoting only my own works, and also share/retweet/etc. the posts of my friends. I had great success with this /r/xkcd subreddit post which so far received 150 upvotes (and 36 down votes) about my new screenplay Summerschool at the NSA which has a strong xkcd (= the web comics) theme, and also had some lesser success with posts to other subreddits. As usual, I also upvote and comment on other people's posts and comments.

It seems that the main problem with my site up to now has not been that it lacked good content, but that most people were not aware of the site.

I’ve also been experimenting with buying Project Wonderful web advertisements, but so far they did not yield too many clicks.

The Olamot Sci-Fi/Fantasy Conference

As I reported on the Hamakor mailing list, I attended the Olamot Science-Fiction/Fantasy/etc. conference that took place during Passover in Tel Aviv, Israel, and had a great time. I didn't bring a camera to the first day, so people on IRC did not believe me that I saw many highly attractive geeks there, which I remedied by bringing a camera and taking many photos during the second day.

The conference was colourful, zany, and inspiring and most of the people I saw agreed to be photographed. I spent most of the time there helping with the booth of the open source community and we were better organised and more prepared than a similar conference several years ago, where we only had a very huge and heavy Sun CRT screen that did not yield to our attempts to get it to display something on the computer.

Work on Selina Mandrake - The Slayer (a Buffy Parody)

I was able to mostly complete my work on the screenplay Selina Mandrake - The Slayer, which is marketed as a parody of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but which also crosses over many other elements, including from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Judaism, history of the Near East and Europe, and computer geekdom. It is in a usable condition now, but there are still some missing scenes, and the screenplay may also need some polishing.

Buffy and Clarissa Facts

In the name of girl power, and FOR GREAT JUSTICE, I have continued to collect factoids about females: Buffy Summers from the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and and Clarissa Darling from Clarissa Explains It All (which I fear no one is familiar with or remember now, but still makes for some awesome factoids). Additions are welcome.

Summerschool at the NSA

I got the idea for the screenplay Summerschool at the NSA during the Olamot conference mentioned above, and I am thankful for such great conference for providing a lot of inspiration. I was able to complete the screenplay in less than two weeks and it is in a usable condition now (but likely still has many rough spots). Quoting from the abstract:

The Hollywood actresses Sarah Michelle Gellar (of Buffy fame) and Summer Glau (of xkcd notability) conspire to kick the ass of the NSA (= the United States government’s National Security Agency), while using special warfare that is completely non-violent.

This screenplay crosses Judaism, the Mother Goose nursary rhymes, My Little Pony, substance/etc. addiction, xkcd, Buffy, the song “99 Problems” by Jay-Z, and some personal insights and memes, and despite all that is actually mostly realism for a change.

“All Truth is God’s Truth”

Some people, with whom I talked on the Freenode chat network, complained that I didn’t stay loyal to my Jewish roots, and instead crossed Judaism with other idea system, and some newer sources of influence. However I’d like to quote Larry Wall from his “Perl Culture” keynote:

I have a book on my bookshelf that I’ve never read, but that has a great title. It says, “All Truth is God’s Truth.” And I believe that. The most viable belief systems are those that can reach out and incorporate new ideas, new memes, new metaphors, new interfaces, new extensions, new ways of doing things. My goal this year is to try to get Perl to reach out and cooperate with Java. I know it may be difficult for some of you to swallow, but Java is not the enemy. Nor is Lisp, or Python, or Tcl. That is not to say that these languages don't have good and bad points. I am not a cultural relativist. Nor am I a linguistic relativist. In case you hadn't noticed. :-)

Furthermore, like Ayn Rand noted in her journal, a good work of fiction requires a solid philosophy, and so one can learn a lot from works of fiction. Furthermore, Peter Ustinov noted that “Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.”, so even humorous works of art convey a good philosophy.

I think the main difference between contemporary or old works of fiction, such as the Greek mythology, Aesop’s fables, the works of Alexandre Dumas Pere, Star Trek, Buffy, etc. and “holy” works such as the Holy Bible or the Qur’an is that some people still take the latter too seriously, and consider them the final word on how to lead your life, rather than just another step in the road to enlightenment.

So I’m not going to let my personal philosophy stagnate by sticking only to traditional Judaism, which itself was never pure, and always incorporated many useful ideas from elsewhere, and still should.

XML-Grammar-Screenplay / XML-Grammar-Fiction

When working on the screenplays, I noticed that some of the error messages were quite unhelpful, so I implemented more informative error messages in XML-Grammar-Fiction / XML-Grammar-Screenplay. I noticed that the code was getting quite complicated, so I refactored it a little, but there is still a long way to go.

Freecell Solver

Someone reported problems understanding the solutions of the online (JS-based) port of Freecell Solver, and I decided to convert the card suit identifiers to their Unicode equivalents. So from:

Foundations: H-0 C-0 D-0 S-0
: 4C 2C 9C 8C QS 4S 2H
: 5H QH 3C AC 3H 4H QD
: QC 9S 6H 9H 3S KS 3D
: 5D 2S JC 5C JH 6D AS
: AH 5S 6S AD 8H JD
: 7S 6C 7D 4D 8S 9D

We get:

Foundations: ♥-0 ♣-0 ♦-0 ♠-0
: 4♣ 2♣ 9♣ 8♣ Q♠ 4♠ 2♥
: 5♥ Q♥ 3♣ A♣ 3♥ 4♥ Q♦
: Q♣ 9♠ 6♥ 9♥ 3♠ K♠ 3♦
: 5♦ 2♠ J♣ 5♣ J♥ 6♦ A♠
: 2♦ K♦ T♥ T♣ T♦ 8♦
: 7♥ J♠ K♥ T♠ K♣ 7♣
: A♥ 5♠ 6♠ A♦ 8♥ J♦
: 7♠ 6♣ 7♦ 4♦ 8♠ 9♦

Moreover, Shirl Hart informed me that he/she have uploaded a Java port of their Freecell Solver to GitHub, which runs much faster (70x reportedly) than the Perl version (but might still consume more RAM than an equivalent C port). All the power to Shirl!

DocBook EPUB generation

I ran into some problems with getting the EPUB (an Electronic book format) generation of the DocBook/5 XSLT stylesheet to work properly, but it was fixed in this commit thanks in part to help I got on the docbook-apps mailing list.


I have been desperately trying to find a usable photo (under a Creative Commons licence/etc.) of Christina Grimmie (= the singer and musician known for her YouTube videos) for her Wikipedia pages, without luck so far.

I also have been trying to protect the English Wikipedia page of Tiffany Alvord (another superb artist) from deletionism, and it’s ironic that the Spanish Wikipedia page about her is longer and more comprehensive, even though Alvord is American and almost always sings in English.

Furthermore, I have been using several pages in the Buffy Fan Fiction Wikia to organise my thoughts for the Selina Mandrake screenplay.


Thanks to protist (Jonathan Avery) and Gabor Szabo for reviewing this post and commenting on it.