Shlomi Fish’s Homepage Old News Items

26-Apr-2013: New Story: The Earth Angel; Soviet reversal jokes; new text in The Pope and in Selina Mandrake; “Put

Here are the recent updates for Shlomi Fish’s Homepage.

  1. There is a new story titled The Earth Angel which I have started to write:

    Dr. Alan Stein (Attn.) had not seen that side of Samantha before. As they sat there in the Chinese restaurant, two days before Ari, their system administrator, left for a trip to Israel, Samantha was emitting a lot of profanity, and sharing her frustrations of her life and the world. Dr. Stein was beginning to regret the fact that he had agreed to comply with Ari’s wishes, and invite her to lunch with them.

    Samantha Rodriguez was the newest hire at Alan’s law firm - a brilliant attorney in her early thirties, who looked great, was always groomed, and got a lot of work done, despite the fact that she almost never stayed overtime, and also took many days off. One fly in the ointment was the fact that she was single, sexy, and kept asking her co-workers out on dates, or accepting their own invitations. As much as Dr. Stein agreed that she had been a good hire, he was desperately trying to avoid interacting with her.

    “Anyway, I ended up telling my friend, Jasmine, who can be a real bitch sometimes, to fuck off, and deal with her troubled life herself. I simply ran out of patience.” she said.

    “Bravo!” Ari said while clapping his hands. “By the way, Samantha, how did you become a lawyer?”

    “Oh, that's a long story.” she said while playing with her fork.

    “And we’ve got time to hear it, right Mr. Stein?”

    “Yes, I guess we do.” Dr. Stein answered.

    “Well, I studied Linguistics as my B.A.,” Samantha said “and by the time I graduated, my head was filled with vocabulary, and to a lesser extent - grammatical rules, my heart was broken from many heartbreaks, and I didn’t know what to do with the rest of my life. I ended up narrowing it to three options: 1. Find a paying job - as a programmer or whatever else I could land. 2. Stay in the academia, studying for a Masters and/or a Ph.D. and — 3. Go to law school. I figured out fucking Med School was never my thing.”

    “Anyway, after consulting it with my friends, I became even less capable of knowing what to do. So I did the logical thing - I rolled a die.”

    “A die?” Ari said.

    “Yes, a ten-sided die or a 1d10 in role-playing game parlance. That’s usually what I use. It landed on the law school option, so that’s what I decided to pursue.” Samantha said.

    “So, you placed your fate in the hand of chance?” Ari asked

    “Yes, I did. Nothing wrong with doing that, if you ask me.”

    “Well, everyone say you are an excellent attorney.” Ari noted.

    “So they do.” Samantha said, “Maybe they are right.”

  2. The translation of the already written part of my story, The Pope Died on Sunday is now complete:

    Rachel contemplated how to start the conversation.

    “So how did you become an infrastructures engineer?” Rachel asked.

    “Well, ever since I was young, I wanted to be a plumber.” Greg replied.

    “A plumber? Seriously?” Rachel said with astonishment.

    “Yes. Very strange, but what can I do — that is what I wanted to be.” Greg said, “I spent a large part of the summer vacations being an apprentice for plumbers and enjoyed every moment. Anyway, after I graduated from high school, I was planning to go through a plumbing training course and to get my qualification. But my father approached me and told me: ‘Greg, my son, I have, thank God, enough money so you study what you want in university. So why not exploit that? If you want, you can become a plumber who graduated from university.’”

    And he went on: “So I agreed with him, but decided to study the closest thing to plumbing: civil engineering with a specialisation in the engineering of water and sewerage infrastructures. And surprisingly I realised that a large part of it was quite interesting.”

    “So did you become a qualified plumber eventually?” Rachel queried.

    “Yes, I passed the course. But I still got a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and that’s what I prefer to do.”

    “Hmmm…” Rachel said “Finding a good plumber in this day and age, to say nothing of one who is a university graduate, is hard.”

    “Well, I cannot testify that I’m a good plumber. A person cannot testify for his own qualities.” Greg replied.

    “Well, even a bad plumber is good enough for certain needs.” said Rachel and witnessed Greg bursting into laughter.

  3. There are some new or extended scenes in Selina Mandrake - The Slayer:

    [ Selina is sitting next to her computer at home with Firefox browsing the Hebrew Wikipedia. She keeps highlighting words and hovering over them to find translations using a Firefox extension.

    There is a signal, and the Pidgin icon in the status bar starts blinking. Selina clicks it. ]

    Mosheh Ben-Amram: [on IM] Hello, Selina! How are you doing, today?

    Selina: I’m fine. Trying to contribute to the Hebrew Wikipedia. These Affixes are driving me crazy.

    Mosheh Ben-Amram: Heh, עברית קשה שפה, but there are worse.

    Mosheh Ben-Amram: האם את מדברת עברית? [= “Do you speak Hebrew?”]

    Selina: Qtsath, or as new speakers will say Qetsath. Heh.

    Mosheh Ben-Amram: Yes, one of the first words you have to learn to say, and it’s already a Shibboleth.

    Selina: Emeth. [= "True."]

    Selina: BTW, are you actually Mosheh Ben-Amram (= Moses) the Hebrew prophet?

    Mosheh Ben-Amram: I won’t deny that I am.

    Selina: Hah!

  4. I added a page of “In Soviet Russia” factoids:

    • In Soviet Russia, cats own you. No, wait! Cats own you everywhere.

    • In Soviet Russia, superstition believe in you. (Sawyer X)

    • In Soviet Russia, food tastes YOU! (Leuthihi)

  5. “Freecell Solver Enterprises™ Acquires Google Inc.” - a breaking news story published on 1 April 2013:

    1 April, 2013, Tel Aviv, Israel: Due to the spectacular commercial success of Freecell Solver Enterprises™’s Enterprise Edition and its Webscale™ edition, we have amassed quite a bit of cash in the bank, so we decided to make a small but important strategical acquisition. As a result, Freecell Solver Enterprises™ is proud to announce its upcoming acquisition of Google Inc., which will result in an exciting synergic merger.

    Some of the upcoming changes would be replacing Google’s tech support (which is notoriously bad) by Freecell Solver Enterprises™’s world-famous and superb tech support (as detailed in the essay “Seven steps to remarkable customer service” by Joel on Software), as well as integrating Google search into Freecell Solver™ for an enhanced experience in solving Freecell. We are also planning on creating a separate YouTube top-level category for card Solitaire-related videos (including screencasts and presentations).

    Another one is “Announcing New Israeli Usergroups”.

  6. There are some new sections in my essay “Putting all the Cards on the Table (2013)”:

    During the Middle Ages, the apprentices of craftsmen graduated to become masters, and started their own shops, at a much younger age than 18. Today, most people graduate from high school at that age, and are expected to remain disadvantaged until then. There isn’t a good reason why the youth of today should not be able to make useful contributions to arts, sciences, philosophy, and entertainment, despite their young age and inexperience.

    Here are some examples:

    1. Dmitri Gaskin is a core developer of both jQuery and Drupal and gave a talk about jQuery on Google Tech Talks, while being 12 years old.

    2. Maria Aragon was 10 years old when she was recorded performing a cover of Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way”, which has received over 50 million views on YouTube as of April 2013 (and which I like better than the original).

    3. Much previously, Samantha Smith changed the fate of the cold war, when being 10 years old, by the simple act of writing a letter.

    4. In the 18th century, Carl Friedrich Gauss started making important contributions to mathematics from a very early age.

    Our contemporary culture sort of expects kids (what Americans refer to as children, “pre-teens”, and “teenagers”) to remain “innocent”, naïve and inexperienced, and immature, and, as a result, most of them behave accordingly.

  7. The abstract to my yet unwritten novella “The Road to Heaven is Paved With Bad Attentions” is now partly translated to English.

  8. There are new quotes in the collection of Unix-like fortune cookies:

    An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, “Ah, you’re an engineer. You are in the wrong place.”

    So, the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and starts designing and building improvements. After a while, they’ve got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and the engineer is a pretty popular guy.

    One day, God calls Satan up on the telephone and says with a sneer, “So, how’s it going down there in hell?”

    Satan replies, “Hey, things are going great. We’ve got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there’s no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next.”

    God replies, “What? You’ve got an engineer? That’s a mistake. He should never have gotten down there; send him up here.”

    Satan says, “No way. I like having an engineer on the staff, and I’m keeping him.”

    God says, “Send him back up here or I’ll sue.”

    Satan laughs uproariously and answers, “Yeah, right. And just where are you going to get a lawyer?”

  9. Many meaningful <meta name="description" /> tags were added to the pages to help with the descriptions in search engine results.

  10. I added a set of links to all the pages referring to my online presence elsewhere on the web, such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Reddit.

See comments and comment on this.

09-Apr-2013: New on Shlomi Fish’s Homepage: Summerschool at the NSA the screenplay + New Factoids

Here are the recent updates for Shlomi Fish’s Homepage. This time, the highlight is some interesting new content.

  1. Summerschool at the NSA, subtitled “As the sling shoots, grown-up men will sob”, is a screenplay, which I completed and is in a usable condition. 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:

    [ Black screen, SMG’s (= Sarah Michelle Gellar’s) voice, while emulating her daughter. ]

    SMG: Humpty dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty dumpty had a great fall. And all the King's horses, and all the King's men could not put Humpty together again.

    [ Screen showing SGlau (= Summer Glau) laughing. SMG and she are sitting at a diner together. ]

    SGlau: [Stops laughing.] Oh my God, Sarah, your daughter’s so smart.

    SMG: And… funny!

    SGlau: Yes. Well, what does she like aside from Mother Goose?

    SMG: Oh, she loves My Little Pony. She and I watch it almost every week together.

    SGlau: Wow, you're a pega-sister, too?

    SMG: I'm not addicted to My Little Pony. I swear! I can quit any time. Just let me watch one… more… episode. [giggles]

    SGlau: Hah, hah. For your information, my My Little Pony addicts’ support group meets every second and fourth Saturday of the month, and I am currently at step five of our twelve step program.

    SMG: Sounds like a plan. I'll consider joining.

  2. There are brand new factoids page of Clarissa Darling Facts (from the old Television show Clarissa Explains It All) as well as new Buffy facts and Chuck Norris facts in the factoids collection:

    • Tomorrow never dies, unless Chuck Norris volunteers to take it out of its misery.

    • The Chuck Norris of the Buffyverse, has been secretly training under Buffy’s supervision, and so far - lost every battle with her.

    • Clarissa Darling can start from “I think therefore I am” and prove that the grass is green, that there are about 365 days in a year, and that Isaac Newton formulated the Law of Gravitation back in 1687.

  3. I added a page about my nickname, “Rindolf” and its etymology, as well as about Rindolfism, which is my philosophy.

  4. There are some new quotes in the UNIX-like fortune cookies’ collections:

    I recall discussing Buffy with a Jewish American friend, who used to be secular, and now has become an observant Jew, and married a woman who properly converted to Orthodox Judaism, and they have some children. We discussed the fact that Sarah Michelle Gellar was Jewish, and yet that many men (and some Lesbian women) were more attracted to Alyson Hannigan’s character, Willow Rosenberg, who was a shy and sheepish, redhead, Jewess. Then when I mentioned that Hannigan was only a maternal Jew, he said she is “kosher” (because someone whose mother is Jewish and who did not convert to a different religion, is a bona-fide Jew). I found it amusing that you refer to women by the same word as you do to food, but I think the ancient Hebrew word "kasher" also means "approved", "appropriate", "legal", etc.

    In any case, both Hannigan and Gellar are now married, and so trying to separate between them and their husbands is not kosher. ;-)

  5. Finally, the main navigation menu sports a new and more usable CSS style thanks to the great work of Joe Crawford. Thanks, Joe!

See comments and comment on this.

23-Mar-2013: New on Shlomi Fish’s Homepage: Selina Mandrake, NSA/Buffy/Chuck Norris facts, Yachar's Music

Here are the recent updates for Shlomi Fish’s Homepage. This time, the highlight is a lot of interesting new content.

  1. I have started writing a comprehensive essay titled “Putting all the Cards on the Table (2013)”, which is also syndicated as a blog post on my Unarmed but Still Dangerous blog. Here is the abstract for it:

    What is the problem with the Technion and why is it graver in M.I.T., and why you should watch the film Silver Linings Playbook to realise why it's not a problem? Why was the David who fought Goliath a hacker, and what is the difference between a tragic hero and an action hero? What was the second major battle that Chuck Norris lost? What are the machines that can give us questions (and lots of them)? Why not exerting a mental effort will make matters go from bad to worse? Who was the Jennifer Lawrence of Web 1.0? And what were my two greatest mistakes, which you should not duplicate?

    I got tired of truly intellectual people like me speaking in riddles all the time and kinda lying to themselves and to others in their artworks, and hiding a lot of what they know, so I decided to put all the cards I have now on the table in a big tour-de-force. It's not finished yet, but still usable, and there's more to come. Not a perfect essay, and not for everyone, but imperfect and sweet.

  2. There is an ongoing English translation of my old and incomplete story “The Pope Died on Sunday”.

  3. Much more text has been added to Selina Mandrake - The Slayer (a Buffy parody) and it is now in a usable condition:

    [ There are three young men dressed as Klingons who fight with Bat’leth in the park. Selina is passing by and shakes her head in disapproval. The three notice Selina, and quickly run to her. ]

    Warrior #1: Hail The Slayer, we are but your humble slaves!

    Selina: [Shocked] And who might you be?

    Warrior #1: We are The Three - three vampire brother warriors, who have been fighting since the dawn of time.

    Selina: And you are Klingons…

    Warrior #2: We can assume any form.

    Warrior #1: Yes, we can fight using any weapon, and we are masters of them all.

    Selina: so you can fight with something that’s not a Bat’leth?

    Warrior #1: Of course, for example, we could fight using the Huge Sword!

    Warrior #2 and Warrior #3: Yeah, the Huge Sword!

    The Three: [in unison] Huge Sword!

    [ Warrior #1 snaps his fingers, and some of these ridiculously large swords from World of Warcraft appear on the ground. ]

    Selina: Wow, can you fight using them?

    The Three: [non-dramatically] Eh, eh, we cannot lift them.

    Selina: Guess not. [Puts her palm on her eyes.] Maybe try something smaller and not as heavy.

  4. In addition, there are many enhancements to the section of the page, including a page about who I think should play the characters in the screenplay, and an Ebook available for purchase.

  5. There are two new pages with facts about people and things:

    1. NSA Facts - about the United States’ National Security Agency:

      • The NSA knows what you did last summer. But no one, in the NSA or outside it, knows why they should.

      • The more the NSA think, the less they want to be able to think. So they think less and less.

      • First the NSA ignores “silly” Internet memes, then they laugh at them, then they are unable to fight them, and then they lose.

    2. Facts about Buffy Summers from the Television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

      • Buffy will always find a wooden stake to slay vampires, even if it means she will have travelled 100 years back in time, to plant a tree nearby.

    Extra additions to these or other collections of facts would be welcome.

  6. There's a mirrored bit Freecell Solver™ Goes Webscale.

  7. I have placed Yachar’s old music from on my homepage, because they appear to have been removed from Jamendo.

  8. There’s a new page with a partial list of some of my favourite online musicians.

  9. The Chuck Norris Facts page contains more facts and translations of some of the facts to Hebrew:

    • Chuck Norris helps the gods that help themselves.

    • Chuck Norris can make East and West meet.

  10. There's a section of reception on the front page of the essay The Eternal Jew with a combined captioned image/meme.

  11. I have placed the sources for the stories and screenplays in self-contained distributed version control repositories (DVCS) - mostly on my GitHub account, and they contain mostly self-contained build systems. You can find links to their repositories on their appropriate pages.

See comments and comment on this.

28-Dec-2012: What’s New on Shlomi Fish’s Homepage

Here are the recent updates for Shlomi Fish’s Homepage. Most of the work this time was done on the look, feel, and infrastructure of the site, such as the navigation menus, but there is still some new (and hopefully interesting) content. So without further ado, here is what is new:

  1. The main navigation menu to the right now comprises of most of the pages that were navigable and previously were present only in the section navigation menus. Since its HTML markup was quite excessive, I decided to load most of the content using an AJAX (= “Asyncrhonous JavaScript And XML” or “XMLHTTPRequest”) fetch of a JSON document, while keeping a smaller subset still usable as plain HTML for browsers with JavaScript disabled and for search engines and other web user agents.

    I made sure that the expansion state of the navigation menu is preserved between the pages. Moreover, the much maligned section navigation menus are now hidden by default, but can be enabled using the button and should remember their state between pages.

  2. There is a new HTML Tutorial in Hebrew under work. Currently, there is only one section, and some aspects of it are lacking.

  3. There is a new list of text processing tools and a list of networking clients in the software resources section.

  4. I added new quotes to the fortune cookies collection:

    • Yaakov: It's on offer half price today.
    • Yaakov: The regular price is free of charge.
    • rindolf: Yaakov: oh nice.
    • * rindolf buys Yaakov's GREAT HUGE LOVE.
  5. The third version of my essay “Open source, Free software, and Other Beasts” is now live. It was converted from DocBook 4 to DocBook 5 and greatly enhanced.

  6. Also new is the countdown program which is similar to the UNIX sleep command, only displays the amount of time remaining.

  7. There’s a new and open source solver for the so-called “Binary Puzzles”. It is still incomplete.

  8. There is a new geek song parody (under work) titled “Can I SCO Now?” sang to the music of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s “Can I Go Now?”:

    Can I SCO now?
    Sue who you wanna sue,
    it doesn't matter anyhoo,
    it's time to litigate.
    Can I SCO Now?
    Say what you wanna say,
    we don't care anyway,
    we're going to inflate.

    Can I, can I, SCO now….

  9. I now mirror The Fountainhead’s parody “The Fountainhead Starring Skull Force”, whose original link went offline, but which I was able to find a mirror of. Enjoy.

  10. There are now a page with some links against Java and a page with some links against “SOAP”.

  11. Support for the MathJax JavaScript library was added to the pages in the MathVentures section enabling most modern JavaScript-enabled browsers to pretty view the mathematical formulae there.

  12. There are some new additions to the original Aphorisms and Quotes page:

    The English Wikipedia: now you don’t see it - now you do.

  13. I restored the display of the images in my “There are Too Many Ways to Do it” lightning talk.

See comments and comment on this.

03-Oct-2012: What’s New on Shlomi Fish’s Homepage

Here are the recent updates for Shlomi Fish’s Homepage. The first item of note is that I implemented an automated test suite for the site, with a test for lack of trailing whitespace, and a spell checking test (powered by Text::Hunspell and Hunspell). The many problems pointed by these checkers were fixed, resulting in a very large patch to review this time.

Aside from the spelling corrections, here are the items of interest:

The meta section now has a section navigation menu.

I added the incomplete geek parody song “I’m the Real Tim Toady”:

May I have your attention, please?
May I have your attention, please?
Will the real Tim Toady please match up?
I repeat: will the real Tim Toady please match up?
We’re going to have two problems here.

jnoakes’ page about Graduate Student Jokes, which I have enjoyed, and which has gone offline, has been restored on the site:

You know you’re a grad student when…

  • you can identify universities by their internet domains.
  • you are constantly looking for a thesis in novels.
  • you have difficulty reading anything that doesn't have footnotes.
  • you understand jokes about Foucault.
  • the concept of free time scares you.
  • you consider caffeine to be a major food group.
  • you've ever brought books with you on vacation and actually studied.
  • Saturday nights spent studying no longer seem weird.

A page with a List of Text Processing Tools has been added to the software resources sub-section.

There are new additions to the Aphorisms and quotes collection:

If it isn’t in my E-mail, it doesn’t exist. And if the whole world says one thing and E-mail says another, Email will conquer

(Said to me in a private conversation by an Israeli Linux enthusiast.)

There are also some new quotes in the Chuck Norris Facts page:

Chuck Norris is the reason why the Knights who until Recently Said “Ni”, are no longer saying “Ni”.

Finally, there are some new fortune cookies:


See comments and comment on this.

14-Jun-2012: New and Updated Material on My Homepage

Here are the recent updates for Shlomi Fish’s Homepage. There are quite a few changes this time.

The humorous document “It’s not a Fooware - it’s an Operating System.”, mostly written by me, was restored from the wiki which is currently down:

Lots of people heard Emacs haters complain that “Emacs is not an editor - it’s an operating system” or something along these lines. So here we're trying to concentrate other such programs that are no longer limited only to their original purpose, but rather expanded to cover lots of other stuff. So you'll know that Emacs is not alone.

I also added a a new aphorism:

We agree. But do we agree to agree?

There are some new Factoids:

If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad will go to the mountain. If the mountain will not come to Chuck Norris, then the mountain will suffer Norris’s wrath for not complying with his whims.

And there are also some new fortune cookies:

  • Botje: desperation is for wimps
  • anno: prosperation?
  • Altreus: deprecation is an outdated concept and we prefer not to do it
  • Su-Shee: let’s deprecate deprecation.
  • alpha--: agreed.
  • alpha--: oh wait.
  • Su-Shee: that would be a deprecation
  • rindolf: Who will watch the watcher?
  • rindolf: Who will deprecate deprecation?
  • Su-Shee: shouldn’t someone deprecate the deprecator in that case?
  • * rindolf deprecates the deprecator who is deprecating deprecation.
  • Altreus: that's OK, it's not deprecated yet

I found many typos in the fifth part of the Perl for Perl Newbies series before and during giving the talk at the Tel Aviv Perl Mongers and also prepared some notes for it in Hebrew (which can be found in the series’s front page).

The Transcript of the Perlcast interview with Tom Limoncelli, about his book Time Management for System Administrators has been restored from the currently offline wiki:

Josh: Getting back to where we had started on that planning your day at the beginning of the day, before you check your email. You claim there, that whenever you're prioritising your activities, you really only need three categories and not, you know, a top-ten list, or anything like that. Could you explain that a little?

Tom Limoncelli: that comes from the fact that I used to try to really be specific about the priorities of my action items. So I put something in my to-do-list, and I'd say well, you know I'm ranking their importance from 0 is not important, and a 100 is the world is going to explode if I don't do it right now. And I spent so much time calculating "Wow, is this more like a 63 or a 67, is it a 67? Wow!". And I just spent so much time trying to get an exact priority. In some cases, the task would have been done already. You know I've spent too much time prioritising.

I'm not sure where I picked this up, but someone recommended three priorities: A - it's due today; B - it's important; and C - everything else. Generally, if it's a day where I have any A's at all - that's all I'll be working on. And the way projects go, I'm generally working on that for the whole day. So that's sort of the exception. Most of the time I'm working on B's, which are things that are important, and C's are sort of those would-be-nice-kind-of-things.

And the nice thing about breaking it into this a simple A, B, C priority scheme is that first of all, you're spending less time picking your priority. And secondly, when you're planning your day, in that 5-minute planning period, you can look at your tasks and say "You know, I wanna work 8 hours today, I have one hour of meetings, so I'm down to 7 hours", and then you can look at your tasks and say "Is this more than 7 hours worth of work?". Because it's written, I can start actually doing this kind of planning, and say "That's more like 14 hours worth of work, so those C priorities and B priorities - I'm gonna move them to the next day's to-do-list." Or maybe, OK, I have time for my A's and my B's and the C's get moved.

The third version of my essay, “The Case for Drug Legalisation”, is now live, with several major improvements. They are in large part, thanks to someone who commented on my essay, and allowed me to use their text, and who chose to remain anonymous.

I have set up project pages for MikMod, a module files player, which I now maintain, and for Website META Language, a sophisticated HTML preprocessor, which I have also been maintaining and recently released its 2.2.0 version.

Also in the software section is a How to Contribute to my Projects sub-section with a concentrated and ongoing “HACKING” document.

And, naturally, there are also many smaller enhancements, such as new links, fixes for broken links, new <meta name="description" /> tags, and corrections of typos. I’ve also moved the site’s version control repository from a Subversion repository that required a username and password to access to a publicly-accessible Mercurial repository. More details can be found on the Site's Source Code page.

See comments and comment on this.

19-Feb-2012: Fifth Part of Perl for Perl Newbies and New Humour Items

Here are the recent updates for Shlomi Fish’s Homepage. I know I have not posted an update to this blog in a while, and in part it’s due to the fact that I have not done as much work on the site as I have before the previous update. But there is still some new things to look forward to.

There are some new items on the original aphorisms page:

Sophie: I’m hungry today.
Jack: well, wait until tomorrow - maybe this feeling will pass.

I’m now mirroring the “English is a Crazy Language” bit I found somewhere.

The fifth installment in the Perl for Perl Newbies series of presentations is now available online. This part covers good programming practices such as using a version control system, writing automated tests, and using accessors for objects. As with the previous parts, this talk is licensed under the Public Domain/CC-Zero.

There are new factoids in the factoids collection:

Larry Wall can make shit up, and the computer will understand what he means.

There are also many new UNIX-like fortune cookies:

  • buu: PKRUMINS
  • rindolf: pKrumins
  • pkrumins: BYY
  • rindolf: pkrumins: BUU
  • rindolf: pkrumins: buu is back.
  • pkrumins: rindolf: i know
  • rindolf: pkrumins: he said he was close to disappearing.
  • pkrumins: WHAT
  • pkrumins: buu, is that true
  • rindolf: pkrumins: he was sick.
  • pkrumins: HE WASNT
  • buu: =[
  • buu: I was
  • pkrumins: HOW
  • buu: Genetic defects!
  • pkrumins: OH NO
  • pkrumins: OH NO NO NO
  • mauke: substance abuuse
  • buu: Owch
  • buu: That joke almost qualifies as abuse
  • mauke: now that I've hurt mst and buu, my work for today is done
  • pkrumins: you still havent hurt me
  • rindolf: mauke: hold on! You haven't hurt me yet.
  • buu: haha
  • * rindolf is hurt that mauke didn't hurt him.
  • rindolf: Oh wait.
  • mauke: just as keikaku.
  • rindolf: mauke: OK, now your work for today is done.
  • pkrumins: NO

I have added a review of Kent Beck’s Test Driven Development: By Example to the recommended books page.

The ABC Path game's generator module is now being mentioned in the Games ABC Path page, and the solver and generator were also ported to JavaScript.

More prominent editors and IDEs were added to the editors and IDEs page.

And as usual, there are many additional links on various pages of the site.

See comments and comment on this.

23-Jul-2011: New Translations of Stories

Here are the recent updates for Shlomi Fish’s Homepage. The first highlight is that I’ve gone over the site and converted most ASCII single quotes and double quotes I could find to their Unicode equivalents. In the process, I corrected many typos, XHTML validation problems, and other issues.

There are new fortune cookies:

The worst way to waste your time is to never waste it.

There’s a translation of the of Human Hacking Field Guide to Written Arabic. This was done by Vieq - thanks!

The Hebrew translation of the screenplay Humanity - the Movie is now complete.

Furthermore, the XML-Grammar-Fiction page was enhanced with examples and links.

There’s a new to Test::More partial converter, which may be of interest to programmers maintaining legacy Perl code.

See comments and comment on this.

27-May-2011: Translations of Stories to Hebrew (For the Alternative Book Week)

Here are the recent updates for Shlomi Fish’s Homepage. Most of these are ongoing translations of various English stories to Hebrew. These were done in preparation for the “Alternative Book Week” in Tel Aviv University (see its Facebook page). It is going to take place on Tuesday, 31 May 2011 between 09:30 and 16:30 in Tel Aviv University, next to the Gilman building, the department of Humanities. Several independent writers are going to read from their prose there, including me. You are welcome to attend, listen to the participating writers, and provide us with welcome support and input. Hope to see you there!

There’s a new joke in the aphorisms and quotes page:

In Soviet Russia, cats own you. No, wait! Cats own you everywhere.

I posted the first part of my Selena Mandrake - The Slayer screenplay to its place in where one can rate it and post comments. There is some new text in the ideas for the future document.

I started preparing a Hebrew translation of my Humanity - The Movie screenplay.

There are two new fortunes in fortune collection.

We now mirror the web parody “Uncomfortable Questions: Was the Death Star Attack an Inside Job?” (via Websurdity and Debunking 911).

The various screenplays in English in the stories section now have better capitalisation, punctuation and grammar, and their visual style was also improved. There are also many grammatical corrections to the story The Human Hacking Field Guide and a lot of progress was made in its Hebrew translation.

The XML-Grammar-Fiction page now contains coverage of Screenplay-Text and Screenplay-XML, as well as examples for the grammars and their outputs.


See comments and comment on this.

13-May-2011: “Selena Mandrake” and Improvements to Other Stories

Here is what’s new on Shlomi Fish’s Homepage since the last update. It’s been a month and there are many major changes.

A new work-in-progress screenplay titled Selena Mandrake - The Slayer can be found in the stories section. This is a supernatural dramedie, that is a parody/tribute/spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and some other works of fiction and non-fiction. I have a pretty good roadmap for what I’d like to write there so I hope to get the first draft soon.

Selena: This reminds me. I really should update my Mandriva system at home. I have not in several days, now. And to think I originally had my friend Aaron install Mandrake Linux for me, because I thought it was cool that it was called the same as my last name.

Jessica: Heh, maybe you should become Selena Mandriva now.

Jonathan: Or Selena Mageia.

[ Selena bursts out laughing. ]

Selena: That sounds like a name of a vampire slayer… or a vampire.

Jonathan: Or both.

Selena: Yeah. I told you about how I was nicknamed “Puffy” and then “Buffy” during one summer camp, right?

Jessica: Yes, many times.

Selena: Yeah, I found it amusing at the time. For a while afterwards, I insisted that my friends call me “Buffy” until I realised it was silly, and reverted back to “Selena”.

I’ve also began translating the second version of my novella The Human Hacking Field Guide to Hebrew. One can find the ongoing Hebrew translation and its Fiction-Text source, under CC-by-sa - same licence as the English original. In addition, I can say that the story is being translated to Modern Standard Arabic in the OpenDocument format by an Egyptian enthusiast of open-source software, and more translations will be welcome.

In addition to all that, version 7 of my novella The Enemy and How I Helped to Fight It, in Hebrew and English, with many improvements is now available online. I especially would like to thank Miriam Erez Translations for providing some copy-editing work.

Moreover, I explicitly marked many of the the works of fiction on the site, the essays, and the software resources with a Creative Commons licence. Share and enjoy!

There are some style tweaks, I’ve documented the use of the EvilPHish emblem, and there are some new fortune cookies:

  • rindolf: Mithaldu: I think most contemporary T.V. kinda sucks.
  • rindolf: Mithaldu: it seems very phony.
  • Mithaldu: rindolf: same, i haven’t actually switched on my tv in five years
  • rindolf: I prefer a YouTube video of a kitten riding on a turtle.
  • rindolf: Mithaldu: :-)
  • Mithaldu: :D
  • rindolf: Mithaldu: yes.
  • rindolf: Mithaldu: there is one, BTW.
  • Mithaldu: oh i do not doubt that
  • rindolf: Don’t know if it’s authentic.
  • rindolf: I saw a friendly cat today, and he purred after I scratched his head.
  • rindolf: I like Friendly cats.
  • rindolf: I think lolcats are very subversive.
  • rindolf: Or were.
  • rindolf: “Ceiling cat is watching you”
  • Mithaldu: cats are the definition of subversive
  • Mithaldu: they adopt you
  • rindolf: Mithaldu: heh.
  • rindolf: In Soviet Russia, cats own you!
  • rindolf: In Soviet Russia, cats are your master!
  • rindolf: Well, in Soviet Russia and everywhere.
  • kent\n: rindolf: you got it backwards.
  • kent\n: In soviet russia, cats are actually your pets.
  • Mithaldu: hahaha
  • rindolf: kent\n: heh.
  • rindolf: kent\n++
  • rindolf: I feel better now.
  • rindolf: Empowered but calm.
  • rindolf: Thanks to the cats jokes.
  • Mithaldu: world healing by cat jokes
  • rindolf: Hopefully, I’ll sleep well tonight.
  • kent\n: Next on the agenda. DICK JOKES!
  • rindolf: Mithaldu: cats are good for healing I think.
  • rindolf: kent\n: NO!!!!!
  • kent\n: ( don’t worry, this won’t take long )
  • Mithaldu: yes, as long as you do not own cables
  • Mithaldu: kent\n: you mean it won’t BE very long
  • Mithaldu: hurr hurr
  • rindolf: kent\n: I’ve got 99 problems but kent\n ain’t one.
  • kent\n: ;)

Hope you enjoy the new stuff on the site and stay tuned for more.

See comments and comment on this.

05-Apr-2011: New and Improved Stories, Screenplays, Aphorisms and Bits

Here are the recent updates to Shlomi Fish’s Homepage since the last update. A long time has passed and there are many big and small changes, and I hope this summary will compensate for it.

There are new English and Hebrew versions of my story, The Enemy and How I Helped to Fight it, and some text was added to the front page. An even better version is currently being worked on in the Mercurial repository of the story.

There’s new text in the screenplay Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead”, in both parts of “The One with the Fountainhead” and in the Hebrew story “The Pope died on Sunday”:

[ Cut. End Credits. Phoebe is sitting on the coach reading the Fountainhead. ]

Phoebe: wow, I forgot how great the Fountainhead was. So what did Rand do afterwards?

Ross: well, she wrote the screenplay for the movie adaptation of the Book that starred Gary Copper…

Phoebe: oooh, yummy…

Ross: yes, well, and then she worked on Atlas Shrugged.

Phoebe: [in a lyrical fashion] “Atlas shrugged from side to side. ‘Alas, my end is near!’ the lady cried.”

Monica: ehmm… Pheebs? That’s “The mirror crack’d from side to side”.

Phoebe: oh! Ayn Rand wrote “The Mirror Crack’d” too?

Ross: no, Phoebe. That was Agatha Christie.

Phoebe: Oh! Everybody knows that Ayn Rand wrote all of Agatha Christie’s stories.

Chandler: [tongue-in-cheek]I can totally believe that, Pheebs.

After an almost complete lack of inspiration since its inception, there are now new Larry Wall Factoids:

Larry Wall does know all of Perl. However, he pretends to be wrong or misinformed, so people will think he’s not as awesome as he really is.

And as usual, there are also some new Chuck Norris Facts:

Chuck Norris once wrote a 10 million lines C++ program in Microsoft Notepad without having to use the backspace key. And it compiled without errors or warnings, and was 100% bug-free.

There’s now a script for displaying an individual quote of the UNIX-like fortune cookies with a random feature.

Speaking of fortune cookies, there are some new fortune cookies, and many of them have fixed typos:

Real programmers use a nice editor and a nice programming language and get it done in less than O(N!).

(Vanguard in Freenode’s ##programming)

Some of the aphorisms now have Hebrew translations:

אלהים נתן לנו שתי עיניים ועשר אצבעות, כדי שנקליד פי חמש יותר ממה שאנו קוראים.

Likewise, there’s now a Hebrew translation of “Ways to do it according to the programming languages of the world”:

  • Perl - יש יותר מדרך אחת לעשות זאת.
  • C++‎ - ישנן חמש דרכים לעשות זאת. שלוש מתוכן לא אמורות לעבוד.
  • Visual Basic - הדרך היחידה לעשות זאת היא להשתמש ברכיב צד שלישי.
  • ANSI C - יש, בדרך כלל, דרך אחת לעשות זאת, אבל יש יותר מדרך אחת לבצע אופטימיזציה.
  • Java - יש בקושי דרך אחת לעשות זאת. (אבל בניגוד ל-C++‎, היא בטוח תעבוד.)
  • Python - יש דרך אחת לעשות זאת. הדרך האחת האמיתית לעשות זאת. וישנן גם דרכים אחרות.

The funny bit “The S Stands for Simple” (about SOAP) is now mirrored on the site. I have also placed the stories by a writer by the name of Oded C. that he had sent me in the past (in Hebrew) on the site, and converted them to OpenDocument Text and to HTML using

The Copyrights Page now spells out my interpretation of the various Creative Commons licences that I’m using:

The Public Domain / CC-Zero

If the work is marked as public domain, then you can freely redistribute it, modify it or build upon it, even without giving me credit. If you wish you may consider the work as licensed under the MIT/X11 licence, the CC-by licence (see below), or any other licence. What you cannot do is claim that you originated the original version, or sue me for any damages caused by using or misusing the information.

All of that put aside, if you find works under this licence useful, you are encouraged to credit me; share them under similar liberal licences; make a small donation, either in money for me and/or for a good cause, or by buying me interesting books, cool T-shirts, or alternatively audio or video files (only as digital files, for I lack the energy for pesky circular physical media), and naturally by sending me an appreciation note that you enjoyed them or found them of value. But I’m not forcing you to.

I’m using this licence for most of my photos (but not all of them), for some of my presentation material, and for some of my old code, or code that I find useful to dual-licence under it and the MIT/X11 licence.

The solver for the game ABC Path (by Otto Janko) is now available in the software section.

The XML-Grammar-Fiction homepage was improved with new content and some links to the similar efforts of Celtx and AsciiDoc.

There’s a new FAQ about the “EvilPHish” emblem in the top-left corner of this screen.

The technical talk “There are Too Many Ways to Do it” now contains notes in Hebrew which have been prepared in advance when giving it to the Tel Aviv Perl Mongers.

The main navigation menu on the left was revamped and converted to use JavaScript (which is not required to operate it). I’m planning to do further work on tweaking it in the near future. Moreover, there’s now a language switching widget on such pages as the “Ways to do it According to the Programming Languages of the World”.

Finally, I added some description of my psycho-medical condition to my Bio.

Hopefully, you enjoy these changes. More are upcoming.

See comments and comment on this.

06-Jan-2011: Essays about Bipolar Disorder and Open Source, new open source programs, and new humour items

I’m sorry for not updating the site’s news feeds for a long time, and as expected there’s quite a lot new.

There’s a new humorous bit in the Aphorisms collection:

Shlomi’s Father: If you don’t sort the dishwasher, the dishwasher won’t be sorted.

Shlomi: No, it won’t be sorted by me.

Shlomi’s Father: No, it won’t be sorted at all. We will throw away the dishwasher.

Together: Along with all the dishes.

There’s a new Chuck Norris fact:

Chuck Norris can make the statement “This statement is false.” a true one.

There are new fortune cookies.

Due to an incident where one of my domains was blocked by a anti-spam blacklist, we now have an anti-spam Policy

I have a new page about me mentoring others in the world open source and/or open content. Also related is the new page about how to start contributing to open-source software.

I have made my essay titled “Dealing with Hypomanias” live and previously announced it on my non-technical blog. Also see a recent related post on the Just 1 Random Guy comics/blog about his experience as a person with Bipolar disorder.

There’s a a new greasemonkey script for expanding the descriptions of

The Black Hole Solitaire Solver page now includes a description of the tables in the SQLite dump that collected the data from running the solver on the first 1 million deals of PySolFC.

There’s a new solver for Kakuraso which is a puzzle game that can be found on the Brain Bashers site. That solver was written in Python using lp_solve.

Another new project is Module-Format, which is a Perl 5 module to perform bulk operations on the various notations for Perl modules.

The Linux Kernel “make xconfig” enhancement patch was updated for the newly released 2.6.37 kernel.

There are some new links in the pages against bad software.

I’ve also updated my resumes.

The site’s building instructions were updated but may still be incomplete.

See comments and comment on this.

09-Oct-2010: New humorous bits, fortune cookies, and updated software

There’s a new humorous bit titled “Copying Ubuntu Bug No. 1”. It was also featured on my tech blog where it received several comments.

Tel Aviv, Israel: “Ubuntu can’t have all the fun only for itself”, open source distributors are saying as they rush to copy its Bug No. 1 titled “Microsoft has a majority market share”.

Debian, Ubuntu’s parent distribution, has set up Debian Bug No. 1 which also reads “Microsoft has a majority market share”. Mandriva, another competing distribution has set up Mandriva Bug No. 1: “Microsoft has a majority market share and Ubuntu has a majority market share on the Linux desktop”. Fedora, Gentoo, Archlinux, Slackware and other distributions are expected to follow suit.

Speaking of Ubuntu, tomorrow it would be 10-October-2010 - 10.10.10 and it would be the release date of Ubuntu 10.10 codenamed “Maverick Meerkat”.

There’s a new page with a Hebrew translation of the song “Buy the Fish” from my Humanity - The Movie screenplay.

There are new fortune cookies in the fortune cookies collection and the RSS feed has now been fixed (the corresponding Atom feed is still broken due to a bug in the XML::Atom CPAN module).

Often when I ask the people I train if they know Perl, they tell me “I don’t know Perl. I can only read it.”. I wonder whether it indicates that Perl is not a write-only language as some people like to claim.

-- Gabor Szabo (Perl Programmer and Trainer)

The solver for Black Hole solitaire was converted to C, which made it much faster and less memory-hungry. The results and statistics of running it on the first 1 million PySolFC Black Hole deals are available in the link.

Version 1.03 of libtap, a C library for testing using the Test Anything Protocol (TAP) is now available with several improvements.

Many of the code excerpts in the Perl for Newbies series were corrected for Modern Perl practices.

The website also now has a better “404” page, and as usual there are many new links in the various pages. Enjoy!

See comments and comment on this.

07-Aug-2010: “COBOL - The New Age Programming Language”, “Don’t Abuse JavaScript”, and other news

There’s a new parodical page titled “COBOL - The New Age Programming Language”:


And so do:

  • Your bank.
  • Your insurance company.
  • Your government.

COBOL runs your life.

A new page “Don’t Abuse JavaScript!” has been added.

JavaScript has become popular due to being useful for scripting browsers, which is acceptable due to being the only commonly-acceptable portable choice for that. However, lately, it has been utilised as a host language for many other realms where there are far saner and superior alternatives.

This page aims to explain why JavaScript should not be abused for such stuff.

There are new fortune cookies:

  • dxtr: Do we have any doctors in here?
  • rindolf: dxtr: with Ph.D. or M.D.?
  • munik: I have a PhD in Linguistics!
  • munik: ^ lie
  • munik: :]
  • dxtr: rindolf: I don’t care as long as they can treat patients
  • rindolf: dxtr: heh.
  • munik: :o
  • munik:
  • munik: might be better than #perl
  • dxtr: rindolf: That question would be fun in combat. “WE NEED A DOCTOR HERE!” - “PH.D OR M.D!?”

More recommended open source programs have been added to the favourite open source programs page, including Xfce, Pidgin, tmux and htop.

The Cross-platform abstraction libraries is now licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence.

There’s now a list of calculators on the numerical software page.

There are new links in the “Stop Using Internet Explorer” page the anti-Apple page, and in the PHP Sucks page,

A greasemonkey script to fix a annoyance has been added to the Greasemonkey scripts section. Furthermore, the remove “from=rss” script was updated to deal with the even more obnoxious “from=rss” suffix in recent URLs.

I added details of my Acer Laptop to the “Computers’ Specifications” question on the FAQ.

The site’s source page was updated with up-to-date instructions.

See comments and comment on this.

26-May-2010: Presentation about Mojolicious::Lite and New Fortune Cookies

The slides for a presentation I’ve given about the Mojolicious::Lite web-development micro-framework are now online.

There are new fortune cookies on the Fortune Cookie collection:

  • rindolf: She’s a hot chick.
  • rindolf: But she smokes.
  • go|dfish: She can smoke as long as she’s smokin’.

The “Stop Using Internet Explorer!” was enhanced with two new links and the browser coverage there was updated.

There’s now a collection of other high-quality lists of open source software on my favourite free software page.

Here is a stub page for the “Announcing Freecell Solver™ Enterprise Edition” bit.

The front page was styled to look less like a blog, which will hopefully make fewer people think that that is indeed the case.

Some new text was added to the story The Pope Died on Sunday (in Hebrew).

See comments and comment on this.

20-Mar-2010: Division Two Magazine and “12 Things a Klingon Programmer Would Say”

Division Two Magazine and “12 Things a Klingon Programmer Would Say”

I’ve set up a mirror of the old Division Two Magazine site that went offline and was replaced by a parked domain. Lots of gems there:

Today I’m going to tackle one of the hottest topics in the industry, comparing Microsoft’s latest offerings to the offerings being released by the major Linux players for both network servers and desktop solutions. I am going to steer clear of “total cost of ownership” arguments, because Microsoft has already funded extensive research that has proven Windows is cheaper to own and operate than Linux. I’m going to be looking at the issue from a pure usability perspective. Which platform saves me the most time? Which platform has the features I need? Which platform has the best third party applications and utilities?

(See “Windows vs. Linux on the Server and the Desktop” by Jorge Lopez, MCSE for more.)

I also added “Top 12 things likely to be overheard if you had a Klingon Programmer” (which was also not originated by me):

12) “Specifications are for the weak and timid!”

11) “This machine is a piece of GAGH! I need dual Pentium processors if I am to do battle with this code!”

10) “You cannot really appreciate Dilbert unless you’ve read it in the original Klingon.”

There are two new fortunes on the shlomif-fav collection.

Added Waf to the “Software Construction and Management Tools” directory. Added Bluefish and Code::Blocks to the list of Editors and IDEs.

New links in anti-Apple page, and the “Stop Using Internet Explorer“ page.

Finally as part of the conversion of the Website META Language’s build system from GNU Autotools to CMake, the web-site’s build process was cleaned up and updated to build more cleanly.

See comments and comment on this.

18-Feb-2010: “Escape from GNU Autohell”, List of Editors and IDEs and Factoids’ Fortunes Collection

There’s a new joke in the aphorisms’ collection:

English spelling aims to be consistent. Publicly and methodically.

I added a new fortune cookies’ collection with factoids about Chuck Norris/etc., concentrating the ones from the collections of facts section. There are also some new fortune cookies there:

  • Shlomif:BTW, have you read my stories yet?
  • Sjors:I haven’t
  • Shlomif:Ah.
  • Shlomif:If you read my stories, I’ll give you 1,000,000 virtual dollars.
  • Sjors:Causing me to have a lot of extra virtual time!
  • Shlomif:And be virtually rich.
  • Shlomif:And then you can virtually bribe virtual politicians.
  • Shlomif:And buy a lot of virtual goods.
  • Shlomif:LOL.
  • Sjors:Then, I’d be virtually happy
  • Sjors:Too bad... :P
  • Shlomif:It’s a virtual win-win situation.
  • Shlomif:You can hire many virtual programmers to write a lot of virtual code for KMess.
  • Shlomif:“My old virtual dad used to say to me: ‘virtual money does not bring you virtual happiness, my virtual son.’”

There’s a new page with a list of text editors and IDEs. I also added a page titled “Escape from GNU Autohell!” explaining why the GNU Autotools suck so much and why you should switch to CMake or a different (and better) alternative.

I added a new Greasemonkey script for providing self-links for headers with an id= attribute.

The Freecell Solver project intro now contains a summary.

See comments and comment on this.

14-Jan-2010: New Programs, New Fortunes, and a New Revision of “The Case for Drug Legalisation”

I added the 5^n riddle page to the puzzles section.

Two new fortunes have been added to the fortunes’ collection:

  • rindolf: Su-Shee: “I always wonder why the people I hang out with are so pedantic. And then I remember: because they are so pedantic.” — a Perl-ILer. ;-)
  • Zaba: rindolf, because they use warnings
  • * rindolf adds “use Zaba;” to his code.
  • Zaba: oh no, I’m being used!
  • * rindolf adds “abuse Zaba;” to his code.
  • rindolf: Next: “misuse Zaba;”
  • Zaba: ouch!

The English version of “The Case for Drug Legalisation” is now at the second revision with a note about “Why Politicians Support The Prohibition”.

There’s now an automated solver for Black Hole Solitaire available on the site and I also started maintaining libtap again. I also added a Ruby script for setting the names (and number) of XFCE’s workspaces/virtual desktops.

Links to some prominent programs were added to the Directory of Numerical Software page.

The annoying text-on-hover over the sections of all the DocBook/XML-based essays (using the title attribute) was eliminated by using a DocBook/XSL customisation.

Finally, I performed many changes to the homepage’s internals and build system that will allow for an easier maintenance into the future.

See comments and comment on this.

14-Dec-2009: New Text for The Blue Rabbit’s Log, The Parable of the Elephant in the Circus, Directory of Numerica

New text was added to The Blue Rabbit Log screenplay:

[ A crowded pub in the role-played world. The Blue Rabbits enter. ]

Clover: OK, now that our horses are in the stable, we can get some rest. [Hands some coins to the pub-man] Meals and drinks for the six of us.

Guy sitting on a stool at the bar (Guy #1): hey, I think I recognise you. You’re The Blue Rabbit Adventuring company, right?

Clover: yes, we are. [does a rudimentary bow] Clover, at your service!

Guy #1: hell, I ain’t need your service!

Guy #2: yeah, we don’t need no adventurers’ service here.

Guy #1: yeah, problem with adventurers - they are trouble makers. They create troubles where none exist before so they can solve them later.

Guy #2: yeah! [and he shakes mugs with Guy #1]

The Computer Art page was made more semantic and accessible.

I added my contributions to Mandriva to the page “Contributions Made to External Open-Source Projects”.

A new mini-directory of prominent Numerical Software (currently heavily incomplete) has been added to Open Source resources section.

The “shlomif” collection of fortunes which was getting very big and out of control has span-out the Freenode #perl fortune cookies and Freenode ##programming fortune cookies. There are some new fortunes there.

I added the text of the parable of the Elephant in the Circus:

I once walked to a circus and saw a huge elephant tied to a small poll with a rope, just standing there. So I wondered why is the elephant so obedient and doesn’t break away from the stick with all of its enormous strength and mass. So they told me this story: once when the elephant was very young, it was tied to the pole the same way. Naturally, it didn’t like that and tried to escape, but try as it might, the rope and the pole were too strong for it. So the elephant eventually gave up.

Finally, the section navigation menus of the various sections are now formatted in a nice, expandable, GUI-like tree (assuming JavaScript is enabled). If JavaScript is not enabled, there’s a standard HTML fallback. This is thanks to jQuery TreeView Plugin

See comments and comment on this.

19-Nov-2009: Second Revision of “Create a Great Personal Home Site”

The second revision of the essay “Create a Great Personal Home Site” has now been finally published and is available for public viewing:

It’s amazing how much has changed since I’ve published this article a few years ago. The most important trend was probably that personal blogs seem to have become much more prevalent than personal web-sites up to the point that some people referred to as a blog. I have been annoyed at this to some extent, and even wrote an entire essay about the distinction between a home page and a blog and why this homepage is not a blog.

Nevertheless, as an active blogger, it’s not that I hate blogs or try to underrate them - it’s just that I think that I invest more effort and rigour in writing articles or essays on my home page, than I do on the various random stuff I post to my blogs. (Or to other similar public channels, such as mailing lists, web forums, comments on other people’s blogs, etc.). I also feel that it is easier to find posts on my personal web-site than on most people’s blogs.

See comments and comment on this.

13-Nov-2009: New Material for the Stories and a Page for the XML-Grammar Project

The texts of the lists of stories and their descriptions in the Humour page and its Stories section were merged, updated and enhanced.

There are new Chuck Norris Factoids:

Chuck Norris is the greatest man in history. He killed all the great men who could ever pose a competition.

There’s also a new factoid about XSLT: redirects to XSLT.

The text of The Pope Died on Sunday was converted to XML-Grammar-Fiction (see below) and was continued a little. The story is written in Hebrew, and there is still no English translation.

The original screenplay The Blue Rabbit’s Log has new text and its ideas page has also been updated:

[ Mordox disappears. The Blue Rabbits arrive. Bryte sees Galku who tries to look innocent, but Bryte rushes to him and lifts him up in the air. ]

Clover: you, where’s Mordox? Tell us what you know!

Galku: What are you looking at me? I’m completely innocent!

Galku: See no incredible selfishness and total in-consideration of everybody else’s welfare and interests. Hear no incredible selfishness and total in-consideration of everybody else’s welfare and interests.

Bryte: you mean “See no evil - hear no evil”?

Galku: I knew it was a good definition.

There’s also some new text in Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead”:

[ Katie is sitting on a table in DS9. She is busy writing something on a qwerty-like keyboard attached to a small text pad. Jake approaches her. ]

Jake: Katie, oh there you are. I thought that OTF-1 left DS9 already.

Katie: yes, it did, I’m still technically working for them.

Jake: really, how?

Katie: with the marvels of technology: remote access and Q-ness.

Jake: Q-ness?

Katie: yes, check this out.

[ Katie stands up, makes a gesture with her hand. A portal appears near the ground showing a different part of DS9. She steps into it, and the portal closes. A few moments later, a normal Star-Trek door opens and Katie steps out of it. ]

Katie: tada!

Jake: wow! So you are now “Qatie” with a Q?

Katie: Qatie [with a Qoph sound] heh, I like it.

The XML sources of the fortunes cookie files are now viewable as HTML from the web, and naturally, there are newer entries.

There’s a new design for graphics based on an old aphorism of me.

There’s now a page for the Web-CPAN XML-Grammar meta-project, which aims to create re-usable XML grammars and related tools for various purposes, and there’s a page for the XML-Grammar-Fiction module for writing works of prose.

The page design and layout were slightly improved with some important links at the bottom (Web 2.0-style), old cruft removed from the left side bar, and other changes.

See comments and comment on this.

29-Sep-2009: New Slogans’ Art Page, New “Objectivism and Open Source” and Improvements to the Humour Pages

There’s a new page in the computer art section with graphic designs for slogans in SVG formats. Unless noted otherwise, they are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 (Unported) licence. Next, I’m planning to prepare some more designs, and make some merchandise based on them.

"Don’t believe in fairies" thumbnail

The style of the sites’ pages was tweaked, so the main article text will be wider.

The licensing of Humanity - The Movie was clarified.

There are new shlomif UNIX fortune cookies and some new ones in subversion:

bzr is slower than Subversion in combination with Sourceforge.

Dazjorz (17-September-2009)

The ideas page of The Blue Rabbit’s Log screenplay was heavily reformatted.

There’s some new text in the Conclusions and reviews of The Human Hacking Field Guide.

The Second Revision of my essay “Objectivism and Open Source” is available.

I added a list of “planets” (= feed aggregators) that syndicate my blogs.

Many spelling/grammar/etc. errors were corrected in the Perl for Newbies series courtesy of Mike McClain.

I hope you enjoy these new additions, and have a happy Sukkoth!

See comments and comment on this.

23-Sep-2009: New Humour Pages and Additions

The page with my own Chuck Norris facts has accumulated some newer facts:

  • Deletionists delete Wikipedia articles. Chuck Norris deletes deletionists who delete Wikipedia articles.
  • Chuck Norris reads all messages posted to LKML (= the Linux Kernel Mailing List), understands them all, and he kills all gnomes he sees in sight.

There’s also a new page with an ongoing collection of facts about Xena, the Warrior Princess, who is, for a change, a female target of exaggerated factoids.

  • Xena can meet King David for breakfast and Julius Caesar for lunch. Without time travel.
  • No one calls Xena the warrior princess “Zeena” to her face and survives. Lucky for you she hasn’t visited modern-day U.S. yet.

The Blue Rabbit Log is an old screenplay I began writing that is still under construction. It aims to be a crazy comedy about Fantasy Role Playing Games:

Galku: Yes, it is my speciality to neutralise such characters who prevent raising your ambitious evil projects.

Mordox: What did you say?

Galku: I said I get rid of such characters who prevent raising your evil projects.

Mordox: You said my projects are evil? How dare you! My projects are in no way evil. They are just incredibly selfish and totally inconsiderate of everybody else’s interests and welfare.

Galku: I couldn’t define evil better myself.

Mordox: Did I get you here to write a dictionary of the English language?

Galku: No, but as a matter of fact I am writing one myself, as a hobby. The last word I wrote the definition for was “evidently”, and I think the next word will be...

Mordox: Cut it out! Now, where were we?

Galku: I just said it is my speciality to get rid of characters who prevent raising your incredibly selfish and totally inconsiderate of everybody else’s interests and welfare projects.

I’ve started writing a conclusions and reviews page for my story The Human Hacking Field Guide

There are new English and Hebrew revisions of my story - The Enemy and How I Helped to Fight it with many corrections. Furthermore, the source files have been converted to XHTML instead of

There is a new scene in Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead” called “Meet Q Gadol”.

I added an F.A.Q. question and answer about “What are your computers’ specifications”.

See comments and comment on this.

12-Sep-2009: New Aphorisms, Collections of Humorous “Facts” and Hebrew Translation of “Define Zionism”

There are four new aphorisms in the aphorisms’ collection:

A kid always wishes they were older until they are 18. Afterwards, they always wish they were younger.

There’s a new sub-section of my humour section dedicated to collections of “facts” about various things that my friends or I originated. Right now, there are some facts about Chuck Norris, why Knuth (= the famous computer scientist) is not God, some facts about Larry Wall (the software developer known for Perl) and some about how and why XSLT is evil. More additions are welcome:

  • Chuck Norris read the entire English Wikipedia in 24 hours. Twice.
  • Chuck Norris is the ghost author of the entire Debian GNU/Linux distribution. And he wrote it in 24 hours, while taking snack breaks.
  • Bugs are too much afraid to reproduce on Chuck Norris’ computer. As a result, when he uses Microsoft Windows, it behaves just like a Linux system.

There’s now an mp3 version of the “Yonathan Haqatan” MOD Techno/Dance version (which my friend and I prepared). Hopefully, it will be good enough to be heard by people who are unable to play module files.

There’s now a Hebrew translation of “Define ‘Zionism’!” available.

the Spark page was updated with many corrections, new links, and more content:

As opposed to Arc, which shipped with no automated tests, Spark will be developed in a Test-driven development fashion. Namely, it will have a comprehensive test suite that will need to fully pass upon any commit to the trunk (or “master” or whatever the main branch is called).

The code of the tests is not expected to be authoritative for how the final version of the language will behave. Rather, some future design decisions will require changing the code of a lot of the tests accordingly.

I still don’t have a clear idea of how to design a lot of “big picture” Spark design decisions. While I believe that design is good, I also think that Spark should be designed incrementally, and that we can expect many design decisions to change. Test-driven development, while accepting the fact that often a lot of testing code will need to be modified, will allow us to do that.

I have added JavaScript-based text ads courtesy of AdEngage to the top of the page. My hope is that they will provide me with some extra income for maintaining the site, as a replacement to the Google AdSense ads that have been suspended. Being textual ads, they hopefully should note be too intrusive, and I hope people can relate to my desire to be rewarded for the hard work I put into the site and the costs of hosting it.

I have made several spelling, grammar, etc. corrections to some of my stories and screenplays.

Finally, I should note that I’ve heard several critiques of the new style, which emphasised some problems with it. While it is more attractive than the old one, it results in a narrow content section, especially where the section navigation menu is present. I’m currently working on trying to improve the new design or to replace it with a new one, so stay tuned.

See comments and comment on this.

31-Aug-2009: Wikepedians Lightbulb Joke, Open Source Licences Wars and New Fortune Cookies

There’s a new humorous bit “How many Wikipedia Editors does it Take to Change a Lightbulb?” and as an experiment I’ve enabled the JavaScript-based Disqus comments on that page.

There’s a new essay called “FOSS Licences Wars” about Open Source Licences:

When Joel Spolsky (Joel on Software) wrote his notorious blog post “Language Wars”, many people asked whether he has “jumped the shark” and that his blog will go downhill from there. I too have read the post, and agreed, that while it had a few good points, it was too based on “feeling rather than knowing”. Joel later on posted many good articles and shorter entries on his blog, but many people still recalled it as a very low-point in the blog.

Like Joel, I have a home-site and several blogs, where I post articles and essays about my thoughts, and this time I’ve decided to risk something similar to what Joel has done on an equally flamatory topic: licences of open-source software. I’m going to introduce the various options, explain a little about their motivation and then give some advice according to my own personal opinion.

It was already featured on several sites including on Slashdot.

There are some new fortune cookies in the “shlomif” collection:

PHP error debug list:

1) did you use the correct argument order? if you’re a good programmer, use the *reverse* from what you think it is. see if it works. no? you’re not a good programmer, or you learned php’s braindeadness and can go on to step 2).

2) did you think about your code? if so, don’t. php will do it for you so you can do mindbogglingly stupid stuff, such as not escape the data that goes into your sql queries.



See comments and comment on this.

16-Aug-2009: Spark, Perl for Newbies Part 5, and Template Toolkit Presentation

I added some pages about Spark - a new dialect of Lisp under planning, including its mission statement:

While other general purpose Lisps such as Common Lisp, Scheme, Arc or Clojure have been influential and have some followers and users, none of them are actively used with the same popularity as Perl, Python, Ruby or PHP are. Spark aims to be a popular lisp dialect which will be actively used for real-world tasks, not just toy or experimentation code.

Eventually, it is our hope that some people will get paid to maintain Spark code. Some of them against their best preferences, like some people now are maintaining Perl 5, PHP or even Python code while preferring a different language. (Simply because it puts bread on their table, and they cannot get paid to write something else.)

I added the fifth part of the Perl for Newbies tutorials/presentations. Furthermore, the Larry Wall presentation, “The Taming of the Camel” is now available there (with a working link). Moreover, there’s now an up-to-date summary of the material covered.

The slides of the lightning talk about the Template Toolkit now has the up-to-date slides in OpenDocument and PDF formats.

There’s now a recommendation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail on the recommended films page.

Many of the fortune cookies were enhanced with better markup, hyperlinks and some corrections.

File-Find-Object was added to the FOSS contributions page.

Finally, the sources for the various Quad-Pres talks are now kept inside the homepage’s version control, which simplifies their build process. This is an infrastructure change that should help in the site’s maintenance.

See comments and comment on this.

29-Jul-2009: New Look, New Humour Items, Updated Software Pages and More

The biggest news this time is that the site has an opossum new look based on an adapted version of the smoked WordPress Theme by iconstantin. There may be some more quirks lurking in the design, so please report them to me if you find them. I’d also like to thank Zoffix Znet and other IRC people for some insights on how to fix problems I had with adapting the CSS.

There’s a new joke on the Aphorisms page:

What does “IDK” stand for? I don’t know.

It was also added to fortune cookies collection

New original bit - “Programs Every Programmers Has Written”, new fortune cookies and a a new bit I’ve copied from elsewhere: “How Many [Usenet] Newsgroup Readers does it Take to Change a Lightbulb?”

The Toggle Squares Game now has better accessibility.

The per-song volume Amarok script is now available for Amarok 2.x too.

Added OpendDBX to the portability libraries page

The page of File-Find-Object was greatly enhanced with new modules and a new blog post.

Added a page about Docmake - a Perl-based tool to render DocBook/XML.

There’s now a page with screenshots of CPANHQ, a web-interface for CPAN under development.

There are new links on the anti-bad-software pages.

The “Add This” button which sometimes caused a Flash applet to be displayed on the page was replaced by a much superior Share This button. Hope you enjoy it.


See comments and comment on this.

11-Jul-2009: My Google AdSense Account Was Suspended - Now What?

My “Mastering cat” April Fool’s feature proved to be very popular. It was featured on Slashdot and on other sites, and drove a lot of traffic to my site. However, as it seems it had one unfortunate effect of Google suspending my AdSense account. Or at least I suspect that was the problem.

On 5-April-2009, I received the following message from Google AdSense:

Title: Google AdSense Account Disabled


While going through our records recently, we found that your AdSense account has posed a significant risk to our AdWords advertisers. Since keeping your account in our publisher network may financially damage our advertisers in the future, we’ve decided to disable your account.

Please understand that we consider this a necessary step to protect the interests of both our advertisers and our other AdSense publishers. We realize the inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

If you have any questions about your account or the actions we’ve taken, please do not reply to this email. You can find more information by visiting


The Google AdSense Team

I went to the page, filed an appeal and got the following response (sent in Hebrew due to Google localisation and quoted here):


אנו מודים לך על שהעברת אלינו ערעור בנושא השבתת חשבון AdSense. הודעה זו מאשרת שקיבלנו את הערעור ששלחת.

נשתדל לבדוק את את חשבונך בהקדם, אך בהתחשב בהיקף הבקשות המופנות אלינו, ייתכן שיחלפו 48 שעות או יותר עד שנענה. כמו כן תגובתנו יכולה להתעכב, אם שלחת את בקשתך במהלך סוף השבוע. בנוסף שים לב שערעור על השבתת חשבון AdSense אינו מבטיח שהוא יוחזר.

כתזכורת, אם יש לך שאלות לגבי חשבונות שהושבתו בשל פעילות מודעות לא חוקית, עיין בסעיף ’שאלות נפוצות לגבי חשבון מושבת בשל פעילות לא חוקית‘.

תודה על הסבלנות וההבנה.

בכבוד רב,

צוות Google AdSense

Original Message Follows:
Subject: Invalid Activity Appeal
Date: Sun, 05 Apr 2009 20:02:58 +0000

01_Origin: helpcenter
02_FormType: appeal_form
03_Language: en
04_AdSenseLocale: en_US
07_Name: Shlomi Fish

10_PubId: pub-2480595666283917
11_ExampleUrl: ,
12_DisablingMonth: Apr
13_DisablingDay: 5
14_DisablingYear: 2009
15_AlreadyAppealed: no
16_OtherAccount: no
18_WebAudience: It’s my personal homepage, so people who arrive at its various resources: pages about software, stories and aphorisms, technical presentations and essays.
19_UserGeography: My site is mostly written in English and appeals to International surfers. I get traffic from many countries.
20_UserAccessMode: I haven’t checked, but expect mostly from homes, offices, universities and other schools.
21_ScrapedContent: None, except limited quotations and some pages that became offline and were preserved on my site.
22_ContentSources: It’s almost entirely my own.
23_NumAdmins: Only I.
24_UpdateFrequency: Normally, a few times a week.
25_BoughtTraffic: no
26_UsePayTo: no
27_TrafficSources: From search engines, and links in news sites/blogs. I promote recent features of my sites on my weblogs, in news sites such as and and to a lesser extent as blog comments on other people’s blogs.
28_AdvertiserValue: My site has a lot of high-quality content, and attracts many visitors.
29_UserIncentive: Don’t think they would.
30_ViolatedTerms: No.
31_InvalidActivity: On April’s Fools’ Day 2009, I published the following feature on my site:

It got featured on Slashdot here:

(And possibly other sites).

I suspect that it may have increased the traffic to my site (at least temporarily) significantly, which as a result got erroneously classified as suspicious activity. 32_SuspiciousData: I don’t think there was, but I’m going to go over the logs from March and April, just to be sure.

The Hebrew tells me that they’ll try to inspect my account soon, but that due to the many requests, it may take them “48 hours or more” to return to me. I haven’t received a human response to my request (after this automated reply) since this appeal was sent in 5-April, despite the fact that I submitted another appeal, a few weeks ago.

Next I tried asking the Google AdSense support forum for help. Some people there responded but none of them were Google employees. Someone suggested it was caused by the fact that I didn’t have a contact form, which doesn’t make sense because my unobfuscated email is clearly visible at the bottom of most pages, and because I have a visible “Contact Me” page with many other ways of reaching me. They also suggested it was caused by the fact I lacked a privacy policy, which is admittedly a problem, but I added one since then and if Google were so concerned about it, they could have requested that I add one, and I would have happily complied. And the lack of privacy policy does not cause a “significant risk to advertisers”. There was also something about “not allowed on personal sites”, which makes no sense, because I’ve seen Google AdSense on many personal blogs and sites.

After the initial announcement (which could have been sent automatically without human intervention for all I know), I have been unable to log into my Google AdSense account. I later tried contacting a friend who works for Google, but he’s working for Google Open Source, and could not help me with AdSense. Someone I talked with told me that Google give awful support to people with AdSense and AdWords, and it seems that I’m not an exception to this.

According to the Wikipedia Google claimed that they have disabled the AdSense accounts due to click fraud. I can swear that I have never engaged in click fraud, unless you call occasionally clicking on a few ads (probably less than 20) that were published on my site and that I found interesting as “click fraud” (during the entire time I had AdSense). I don’t rule out that someone else has repetitively or in an automated manner clicked on my ads, but they would gain nothing from it, because the revenues from the ads goes to me. Therefore, it seems unlikely.

I have received at least two payments from Google from my ad revenue and was happy about that, but I lost all the revenue from the last payment, including that generated by the “Mastering cat” feature, which has significantly increased the number of hits on my site on 1 of April.

I’m publishing this entry here so hopefully someone from Google who is able to help me, would volunteer to do so. If that fails as well, I’ll have to look for a different ad provider. It’s sad that Google handles innocent web-masters like me so badly, and lack so much efficiency (despite the fact that their motto is “don’t be evil.”), especially on the service that brings them the most revenue.

See comments and comment on this.

25-May-2009: Toggle Squares Game, A New Privacy Policy, and Other Updates

The Toggle Squares game whose link was broken, and non-functional, was restored and placed on the main site, as a pure-JavaScript game. A method for solving it is explained in the MathVentures section.

A privacy policy has been added to the site. I’d like to thank a friend who is also a webmaster for allowing me to borrow and adapt his privacy policy.

The Anti-Apple Page now contains 99 items with links. Other pages against bad software were also updated.

The page about the Mastering Cat book, which proved to be very popular has been updated with “Thanks” and “Coverage” sections.

There are new Fortune Cookies in the collection:

Well, it’s not a threat - it’s a warning, and he won’t be harmed much by acting against my advice. A threat is something like “Stop posting political posts or I will burn your house, rape your wife and daughters, banish you to the middle of Antarctica, convert all your Perl code to PHP, and then post it on”

My Resumés have been enhanced and updated.

There is a new version of the First-Come First-Served Readers/Writers Lock.

See comments and comment on this.

01-Apr-2009: New Book Coming Soon

Mastering cat

It’s official! I’m going to publish a new book soon, and I placed a new interview with me about it. Read it so you’ll understand why Mastering cat would be an essential addition to your collection of technical books.

See comments and comment on this.

31-Mar-2009: New Humour Items and Links

a new aphorism was added to the humour collection:

Wikipedia has a page about everything including the .

Recommendations for GDB, Ack and the improved windows console, have been added to the favourite open-source software page.

There are new fortunes in the fortunes’ collection.

New links were added to the page about Apple, the one about MySQL, to the page about Windows Vista, and to the “Stop Using Internet Explorer!” page.

My GnuPG Public Key was updated , and I now link to my Plurk account on my contact page page.

See comments and comment on this.

13-Mar-2009: The Homesite Build Instructions are Operational Again

The build instructions for the main site are now operational again after a long time when they were out-of-date. Part of the reason why they were not kept out of date was that the public sources of the site have grown out-of-date from those stored in my local copy. This was recently fixed with some kind insights and guidance by Matt S. Trout. Since I promised 50 U.S. Dollars to the first person that will help me fix my source control problems, and Matt provided all the help I ended up needing, I will donate them on his behalf to the Enlightened Perl Organisation. Many thanks!

And here are the rest of the changes in the site’s content that took place since the last update - for those who are not only interested in building it.

There are two new bits in the collection of Aphorisms:

God gave us two eyes and ten fingers so we will type five times as much as we read.

The File-Find-Object homepage was updated with more text.

There are new links in the against bad software pages.

A lot of broken HTML and XHTML in the site was fixed, and all the pages were made to validate.

New Fortune Cookies were added and existing ones were fixed (and there are some more in the pipe):

Mel|workYaakov: icke==troll?
rindolfMel|work: no, he’s not a troll.
YaakovMel|work: No, icke is just... enthusiastic about “channel purity”
* rindolfhates when people abuse the == operator in English for “contained in”
apeironrindolf, “icke contained in troll”? That’s not what Mel|work meant.
tarbosure he did, if you make troll a set of users
rindolfapeiron: what he meant by icke == troll is that icke belongs to the set of trolls.
rindolfapeiron: not that every troll in the world is icke.
apeironrindolf, No, he was asking if icke is a troll.
rindolfapeiron: is-a means “contained in the set of objects with the property of”
rindolfapeiron: mathematically speaking.
apeironrindolf, Okay, so you’re assigning the mathematical meaning of == to its usage in a *perl* channel?
apeironrindolf, Now who’s fiddling with meanings, eh?
rindolfapeiron: whatever.
apeiron‘whatever’ is what those who have lost their argument say.
rindolfapeiron: whatever.
apeiron^ QED
rindolfapeiron: whatever.
PerlJamapeiron: I thought that’s what people who don’t care say.
apeironPerlJam, If one doesn’t care, they wouldn’t respond.
PerlJamapeiron: whatever

A coverage and commentary section was added to the recently published “Optimizing Code for Speed” essay.

See comments and comment on this.

12-Feb-2009: “Optimizing Code for Speed” and more minor changes

A new essay about optimising code for speed has been published:

We’ve all seen the fact that while computers got faster, software has often become slower to run unless the hardware is upgraded. The so-called “Gates’ Law” claims that commercial programs decrease in speed by half every 18 months, due to various reasons. It is well known that the various versions of the DOS operating system ran adequately on a PC XT’s and 286’s and that a Intel 386 was a “lean and mean DOS machine” as a certain journalist claimed back then. On the other hand, Microsoft Windows 3.0 and Microsoft Windows 3.1 already required a fast 486 computer to be ran comfortably, while Windows 95 was barely usable there and needed a Pentium computer. Windows XP already ran slowly on a Pentium machine and required a high end Pentium III or Pentium 4 computer. Windows Vista requires even more hardware resources than Windows XP, up to the point that many computers in use today cannot run it comfortably.

Now, while software simulations that run directly against the CPU and memory (and possibly hard-disk) are still running much faster than before, the responsiveness of the system itself does not seem to improve much.

The Mini-Intro “Welcome to Linux” lecture was now integrated into the rest of the site. There are two versions of its slides available: one with a point-by-point display (useful for presenting interactively), and the other with all the text displayed at once (useful for browsing from the web).

New Fortune Cookies have been added to the fortune cookie collection:

R is similar to other programming languages, like C, Java and Perl, in that it helps people perform a wide variety of computing tasks by giving them access to various commands.

See comments and comment on this.

23-Jan-2009: New Programs and Other Updates

The Greasemonkey Scripts page was updated with a new “Get Rid of ‘from=rss’ in the URL” script (useful for people who are subscribed to the web feeds of or similar), and two specialised scripts for helping in the transcription of the Ozy and Millie comics

I added a page about the File-Find-Object CPAN Module (originally by Olivier Thauvin) which has been an ongoing project of mine recently.

Open Text Summarizer was added to the List of Israeli Open Source Projects.

New links were added to the anti-Apple page, the anti-MySQL page, the page about Windows Vista, and the “Stop Using Internet Explorer!” page

The Fortune Cookies Page was updated with new fortune cookies.

The Essay “Why Closed Books are So 19th-Century” was updated.

See comments and comment on this.

19-Nov-2008: New Software-Related Pages

New Fortune Cookies Have Been added to the fortune cookie collection

the list of Firefox plugins on the “Favourite Free Software of Mine” was updated: deprecated plug-ins were removed, while some new useful plugins have been added.

A New Open Source Software Project - File-Dir-Dumper is now available.

The List of Israeli Open-Source Projects was updated with new projects.

A new page - “PHP Sucks” (originally by czth) was added based on a one that went offline.

New links were added to the Against Apple Inc. page (including many jokes), to the against MySQL page, and to the “Links against Windows Vista” page

See comments and comment on this.

13-Oct-2008: New Riddle, a new Greasemonkey Script, and Updates

A new riddle about two gates and two angels was added to the MathVentures section:

There’s a famous riddle that goes like this:

You are standing in front of two gates (a left one and a right one) - one leads to paradise and the other leads to hell. You don’t know which gate leads where. Besides the gates, there are two angels: one of them always tells the truth and the other always lies, but you also don’t know which one is which.

You have one question to ask one of the angels, in order to find out which gate you should follow. What would that question be?

I’m now mirroring the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Star Trek - The Next Generation”, which I highly enjoy.

A new Greasemonkey script to provide links back to the repository for Subversion repository browsers is now available.

The page of the gringotts-shlomif patch was updated to reflect the fact that development of Gringotts has now resumed elsewhere, incorporating the original patch.

VirtualBox, Hex-a-hop, and Gringotts were added to favourite free software page.

The Fortune Cookie files can now be compiled as an RPM.

Added a free musical downloads section to my links page.

New links were added to the pages against bad software.

See comments and comment on this.

21-Sep-2008: du-output-analyser, fortunes, and links.

Here is the list of changes to Shlomi Fish’s Homepage since the last update.

The du output analyser has been added to the Bits-and-Bobs programs page.

a source files list was added to the Unix fortunes collection for easy downloading of the source.

New quotes/fortune cookies were added to shlomif, paul-graham, shlomif-fav

New links were added to the following pages:

Many broken links and emails have been fixed, and there are many corrections to typos.

See comments and comment on this.

05-Aug-2008: Presentation Sources, Interviews and updated Resources

In 2004, lkcl wrote an article on Advogato saying “Love is Golden: All Ideas Have and Always Will be”. For a long time, I’ve been supplying the HTML material for my presentations under permissive, free-content licences, but did not supply the source code and markup used to generate them. Inspired by the article, I set to remedy it, and now there are links from the individual presentations to the source tarballs.

Note that some presentations were created using other tools, and so are not available with their source yet, but hopefully this will be remedied soon, too.

The two Interviews with open-source people were now converted to XML-Grammar-Screenplay and their source is available on the page.

The Software Construction and Management Tools page was heavily updated.

New links have been added to the pages “Against Bad Software”.

New film recommendations have been added to the movie recommendations. Moreover, two new book reviews have been added: about “The Pragmatic Programmer” and about “Extreme Programming Explained”.

New links have been added to the links page.

New quotes have been added to the Fortune Cookie Collection. More information is in their web-feeds.

There were also internal improvements to the site’s build system making the building of the DocBook/XML documents and other resources less error-prone and more powerful and customisable.

See comments and comment on this.

22-Jul-2008: “We, the Living Dead” additions, and “The Perfect IT Workplace”

New text has been added to the screenplay Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead”:

[ There’s a cat lying on a table there content. He’s half-white and half-grey. ]

Katie: oh, look! A cat. [She approaches the cat and starts petting it.]

[ The cat purrs and then says: ]

George the Cat: oh, yeah!

Katie: [Startled] Bleh, you’re a talking cat.

George: yes, but why did you stop?

Katie: I’m not used to cats talking to me.

George: ah, well, yes, it takes some pre-vampires time to get used to that here.

Katie: I suppose you’re older than me.

George: most probably. I’m about 5 milliard years old.

Katie: bleh!! You’re older than my planet!

Two of my newest aphorisms were added to the Aphorism collection:

Two female dogs talking about modern-life:

Jasmine: It’s so cool! On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog!

Daisy: Yeah, but everyone can tell right away that you’re a bitch!

The first revision of a new essay - “The Perfect IT Workplace” was published. It was released pre-maturely due to someone redditing the article, but may still be of interest:

The Best Tools that Money Can Buy

This cannot stressed enough. As Joel Spolsky notes (based on Steve McConnell) in item No. 9 of the Joel Test, you need to “use the best tools that money can buy”.

If you buy old, broken and/or barely functioning hardware, you’ll spend a lot of time debugging the problems there, which will waste a lot of precious time. And you may lose a lot of reputation and customers due to down-time. Relying on reliable, high-end hardware is a much better idea.

I’ve been to two workplaces that gave me an old computer with a 40 GB hard-disk. It wasn’t enough at all. At one place, we’ve reached the limit of this hard-disk due to several large source code checkouts, and as a result needed a bigger hard-disk. And the only hard-disks the lab had were 80 GB ones, which were bought because they were the cheapest (per-disk, not per-capacity). Please, buy large enough hard-disks.

At the same workplace, I was given a computer with a read-only CD-ROM drive. It was not even a DVD reader. I brought a DVD of audio files from home, and could not read it. In this day and age, read/write DVD drives are the standard, and are ultra-cheap.

The interview with Adrian Ettlinger was converted into XML-Grammar-Screenplay in a true fashion of “Eating one’s own dog food”. The proto-HTML source will be placed online soon.

New links have been added to the Guide to Israeli Open-Source Resources.

New film recommendations have been added to the movie recommendations.

New quotes have been added to the Fortune Cookie Collection. Chronological updates can now be found for them in their web-feeds.

See comments and comment on this.

19-Jun-2008: “Why Closed Books are So 19th Century?”

The highlight of today’s news item is that there’s a new essay titled “Why Closed Books are So 19th Century?”:

And despite all that, we can often see that books are getting published on paper, and either completely not available online, or their free re-distribution is restricted. They are often available on Peer-to-Peer networks or illegally, but their use is still restricted, and complicates things.

In this article, I’d like to note why non-open books (or at least books that are not available online) are as pointless as non-open-source software.

The other changes are more minor:


See comments and comment on this.

17-Jun-2008: Additions to “We, the Living Dead”, Vim Tips and Tricks, and Web Standards

Happy Firefox 3 Release Day everyone. Hope you enjoy the new browser, which I can highly recommend. Here’s a new edition of the “What’s new in Shlomi Fish’s home-site” log.

A new joke has been added to the aphorisms page: (by a friend of mine)

I often wonder why I hang out with so many people who are so pedantic. And then I remember - because they are so pedantic.

The Music Recommendations page was updated with more links (to the Wikipedia, etc.) and with a new CD (The Lion King). Moreover, The Non-fiction books’ recommendations page was updated with new books. And lastly, I began working on a page with recommendations of films.

More text has been added to Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead”:

[Jadzia is walking towards Quark’s bar and sees quark standing next to a terminal and mumbling.]

Dax: Hi Quark! Why are you so happy?

Quark: Remember the film I took? Rom helped me edit it, and I’ve been distributing and selling it online. I have made a fortune.

[Camera zooms to reveal Brunt in the background.]

Brunt: Brunt, FCA.

Quark: I made a fortune.

Dax: You had made a fortune.

Quark: Yep.

The quotations in the fortune cookies collection were greatly enhanced: new quotes were added, the plaintext files are now synchronised from the new XML sources, and more meta-data and styles have been added.

Added the summary page of the recent Tel Aviv Linux club Vim Tips+Tricks meeting.

I placed the Hebrew translation I prepared of Mashhoor Al Dubayan’s “10 Reasons for Companies to Consider Web Standards” on my homepage.

The specification for the old “Rindolf - a Perl Dialect” was integrated into the flow of the site.

I made sure the Hebrew on the pages will be recognised as Hebrew by Firefox and other browsers (added the lang attribute, etc.).

See comments and comment on this.

25-May-2008: Fortune Cookies Revamp and “High-Quality Software”-r2

The fortune cookies collection was completely revamped: the fortunes were converted to a richer XML grammar, and I added a lot of formatting and meta-information to them. They can now be individually linked to. Right now, there is no converter from the XML grammar back to plaintext (only to XHTML), so the plaintext versions are less up-to-date.

There’s now a second revision of the essay “What Makes Software High-Quality?” with many corrections and additions:

Why is high quality in software important? Low-quality software applications will require the users or end-developers to work around their bugs and limitations, write a lot of extra functionality themselves, and as a result, duplicate a lot of effort and cause a lot of frustration and unhappiness. This is assuming they don’t give up on it soon or right away, and end up looking for something else.

New text has been added to the work-in-progress screenplay Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead”:

Worf: so Mr. Abramovich... I mean, Prof. Abramovich... I mean - Your Majesty!

Shlomo: Mister, Doctor, Professor, General, Admiral, Duke, Baron, Count, Earl...

Mosheh: Fellow of the Royal Society!

Shlomo: indeed. Nasi, Rabbi, Rav, Emir... you name it - I had it. Just call me Shlomo.

Worf: I see. Mr. Shlomo.

Dvorah: men, I tell you - overachievers, and always need to travel. I stayed most of the time here.

Added Digg and Reddit buttons to the top of all the pages, to facilitate submitting and ranking using them.

The individual HTMLs generated from DocBook/XML are now styled better and link to the main site. Furthermore, the DocBook/XML .xml sources now have a CSS stylesheet attached to them to enhance viewing them directly. (Thanks to the docbook-css project.)

A question to the FAQ about why I’m using XHTML 1.1 has been added.

Some links have been added to the “Anti-MySQL” page.

See comments and comment on this.

10-May-2008: “High-Quality in Software” and “Star Trek: We, the Living Dead”

The first revision of a new essay, “What Makes Software High-Quality?” (with a focus on open-source software) was added to the essays section:

The Program is Available for Downloading or Buying

That may seem like a silly thing to say, but you’ll be surprised how many times people get it wrong. How many times have you seen web-sites of software that claim that the new version of the software (or even the first) is currently under work, will change the world, but is not available yet? How many times have you heard of web-sites that are not live yet, and refuse to tell people exactly what they are about?

More text has been added to the screenplay Star Trek: “We the Living Dead”:

Katie: Professor Shlomo Abramovich? You’re King Solomo... Errr... I’m not talking with you again. [Goes to sit on the Swing, frustrated.]

Shlomo: Mosheh, remember I told you about Katie?

Mosheh: oh yeah! She looks cute when she’s angry.

Katie: Moses, right?

Mosheh: that’s right.

Katie: well, in case you’ve had any interest in me, I should note that I have a policy against getting involved with people who are 4 times my senior or more.

Mosheh: relax! I have married girls who were 15 times my junior or more and my own descendants, and retrospectively I can tell that many of them were more mature and rational than I was in most respects.

a new question and answer has been added to the FAQ about why I don’t obscure my email address.

Added a note about the site’s hosting provider, and a link to this page from the front page.

Added a “Slashdot this” badge to the bottom of the text of all the pages, next to the “Bookmark This” button.

I’d like to thank Alan Haggai ( for finding a problem in the site, which allowed me to correct it.

See comments and comment on this.

25-Apr-2008: Park, Hebrew drugs-related essay, and more

The documentation for the Park Lisp dialect has been added into the open-source section:

Why am I doing it? For several reasons:

  1. Because it’s fun. This is by itself a good reason.
  2. Because I found that designing your own language is one of the best ways to learn more about the original languages it is based on. When I designed the Perl dialect “Rindolf”, I learned that some features I suggested for it were already doable in Perl 5.

Added the Hebrew translation of the “Case for Drug Legalisation” essay:

מכיוון שהסמים אינם חוקיים, הם מופצים על-ידי עוברי-חוק, שדורשים מחיר מופקע תמורתם. מחיר מופקע בהרבה מזה שדרוש לגדל, לזקק ולהפיץ אותם. כתוצאה מכך, יש שוק שחור גדול להפצה של סמים והמשתמשים בסמים נאלצים לבסוף לבצע פשעים כמו גניבה או שוד כדי לממן את הרגלי הסמים שלהם.

אחוז הפשיעה בארצות-הברית גדל פי שניים בשל האיסור על האלכוהול (“חוק היובש”). כאשר האיסור הוסר, הוא קטן חזרה למצבו המקורי. צפוי שפשעים הנובעים מסמים גורמים לריבוי דומה, בשל האופי הדומה של האיסור

The second revision of “Thoughts about the Best Introductory Language” is now available with many corrections and clarifications.

A Linux Kernel Patch to enhance the search dialog of the GUI configuration applet is now available there, as it has not been integrated into the mainline yet.

New fortune cookies have been added.

Added a note to the linking policy about requesting to remove inappropriate links.

KFlickr and the Firefox Uppity extension were added to the favourite open software page.

A “Bookmark me” button was added to the bottom of the main text of all the pages to facilitate bookmarking using online bookmarking and news services. Below it there are now some more text ads, which shouldn’t be too intrusive. Finally, a JavaScript script that adds self-referential links to headings with anchors was added, which makes use of the jQuery library.

See comments and comment on this.

29-Mar-2008: A Guide to Israeli FOSS Resources and Other Improvements

A guide to Israeli Free and Open Source Software Resources on the Internet was added to the site. Please let me know if you have any additions to it.

New fortune cookies have been added to the “shlomif”, “shlomif-fav” and “joel-on-software” collections:

I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true - I no longer know how to use my telephone.

Bjarne Stroustrup quoted in

New affiliations have been added to my contact page.

The HTML markup of some of the pages was cleaned up, and several bandwidth optimisations were made, so it should load a little faster.

New links were added to many pages.

The breadcrumbs trails in several pages were fixed.

See comments and comment on this.

01-Mar-2008: Homesite News for 1 March

Two new bits were added to the humour collection:

What do you mean by “WDYM”?

A list of Israeli open-source projects has been resurrected from a wiki that went offline. Since it was set up, several new projects have been added there.

My essay, “The Case for Drug Legalisation” has been updated with new sections and some typos were corrected.

New fortune cookies have been added to the shlomif collection, the Joel on Software collection, and the shlomif-fav (Shlomi Fish Favourites) collection,

New links were added to the against Apple page, the links against MySQL page, the page with links against Windows Vista, the Stop Using Internet Explorer page, and to the “Case for File Swapping” page.

Happy Reading!

See comments and comment on this.

09-Feb-2008: New Humour Bits and New Links

Since the last update, the following changes took place:

  1. Three small-scale humorous creations of mine are now available on the site: “The GPL is not Compatible with Itself” (formerly published on, “Introducing RMS-Lint” (also formerly published there), and the new “Cracka’s Paradise”:

    A recent press conference of the Free Software Foundation confirmed the rumours that the GNU General Public License was found to be incompatible with itself. This newly discovered fact may actually cause a lot of disorder in the free software world in which most programs and libraries are licensed under this licence.

  2. New fortunes were added to the “shlomif”, “shlomif-fav” and “subversion” collections in the Fortune Cookies Files.

  3. New links were added to the various Against-bad-software pages and to the links page.

  4. There were several underlying changes to the content management system and build system of the site. In many pages, breadcrumbs’ trails are now better and more encompassing, and more pages were added to the section navigation menus.

See comments and comment on this.

26-Jan-2008: Decomposition into Square Waves Software and Other Stuff

Welcome to another edition of the Shlomi Fish’s homepage news.

I added another question and answer to my FAQ, this time about my IRC parting message.

A funny Technion-originated and related bit (not by me and in Hebrew) was added to the humour section.

There are new fortune cookies in the fortune collection.

Two programs to perform a decomposition of a sine wave into square waves are now available in the open-source bits-and-bobs section.

New links have been added to the against Bad software pages, and the Stop Using Internet Explorer page was especially revamped:

Internet Explorer does not have a public, accessible bug tracker, similar to Mozilla’s Bugzilla or what other similar browsers have. This makes bugs harder to report, reproduce, check and track and undermines the users and web developers.

There’s a new page containing links to interviews with me and the weblogs page was updated.

See comments and comment on this.

22-Dec-2007: 22 December Update

Here’s what is new on since the last update.

Two new bits were added to the humour collection:

We don’t know his cellphone number, and even if we did, we would tell you that we didn’t know it.

Moreover and not-unusually, some new fortune cookies were added to the fortune cookies collection.

The new workaround for Mozilla-based browsers (such as Firefox) workaround may be of interest to Israeli-based job seekers.

Also on the software front, the XChat /nowplay script was updated to have Amarok support.

The anti-bad-software pages were updated with new links and with other updates.

There are new links in the links page.

Many non-validating pages (according to the W3C standards) were made to validate, and so most of the site should now be fully valid.

Have fun, everybody, and in case it’s relevant - happy holidays!

See comments and comment on this.

02-Oct-2007: New Pages Against Bad Software, and Slidy-Shlomif

Here are the new additions on Shlomi Fish’s homesite since the last update.

Three new pages enumerating problems with bad software are now live:

  1. Stop Using (and Teaching) C-Shell and Tcsh
  2. Links against Windows Vista
  3. Against MySQL

I’ll appreciate any new additions to these pages.

New links have been added to the links page, and there are also new fortune cookies.

Finally, the “Slidy-Shlomif” JavaScript helper script has been added to the bits-and-bobs page.

See comments and comment on this.

20-Aug-2007: “Spam for Everyone”, “Case for File Swapping rev. 3” and Other New Writings

It’s been several months since the last update, and there are some new or updated resources on my homepage.

There’s a new funny bit - “‘Spam for Everyone’ - The International Campaign for Accessible Spam”:

Mike “The Mouse” House (a.k.a “D.J. Salinger”) was a minor rap artist, and a computer geek when he decided to start selling CDs of open-source software. He turned to spamming to publicise his business, but found out that the spam he sent was trapped by most spam traps. He decided to use the notorious obscured image spam, but since he had a few blind friends, decided to also include an audio recording of a rap song with the spam message.

House received a few offers from his spam campaign, but his real break came when a few enthusiasts of the spam song shared it on the Internet, where it became an instant hit. The song eventually hit the charts and MTV, and made D.J. Salinger famous, who quickly released his first successful album called “Rap to the spam, Man!”, with such highly acclaimed hits as “Rap to not get trapped” and “He ain’t Nigerian. He’s a Spammer!”.

The Ongoing text of the “Humanity” screenplay, is now online in HTML format.

There’s some new text in my Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead” work.

There’s a new joke on the Aphorisms’ page, and new fortune cookies on the Fortune Cookies page.

I also started a new sub-section of my Humour section where I collect humorous creations which disappeared from the Net. Currently available are GNU Visual Basic and Everybody’s Free (to Ping Timeout) by Darien.

There are new links on the links page

There are a few new questions and answers in my Frequently Asked Questions list.

The Third revision of my essay “The Case for File Swapping” is now available.

I’ve also started an essays by other people section, with currently one restored essay - “Completely Overrated” by James Carr.

My Résumés were updated with new information..


See comments and comment on this.

17-May-2007: Updates as of 2007-May-17

The fourth revision of the story “The Enemy and How I Helped to Fight it” is now available in both Hebrew and English:

“Yes, but as they say: when it rains it pours. Well, just sign here and I’ll take care of all the other paperwork.”

After I started filling it, I said to him: “about the salary you gave me...”

“Forget it!” the commander said and continued “during your service in the Organisation, you’ve done a great service to your people and your country. You’ve earned your pay, even if not honestly, and we thank you that you’ve joined our ranks at all in the first place. I just hope that during your civil life, you’ll continue to maintain the spirit of the organisation and its philosophy.”

“I’ll do my best, sir.” I told him with a snap while I signed it. Then I rose up and we shook hands. I thought a little about what the commander just said, and then recalled something and sat down. “Look, it may no longer be so relevant”, I said to him “but I’ve been a member of the Organisation for two years and nobody ever told me what the philosophy of the Organisation was. What is it, really?”

The screenplay Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead” now has an ongoing HTML display of the screenplay.

There’s a new essay titled “Dispelling Some Myths about Israel”:

Israel is not all Desert

While the southern part of Israel (the Negev) is a desert, most of the northern part has growth, and supports a lot of trees, bushes, shrubs and fauna. There are many pictures over at the Israel Images site.

The recommendations’ pages now have more comprehensive tables-of-contents.

The Weblogs’ Page was revamped with a table of contents and more aggregated feeds.

See comments and comment on this.

03-May-2007: Several New Essays, Update to “We, the Living Dead“, and More

Welcome to a new edition of the news feed of Shlomi Fish’s Homepage. In this edition, there are some new essays, a couple of updates on stories and aphorisms, and a new “anti-bad-software” page. Read below for the details.

There are now several new articles:

  1. “The End of IT Slavery”:

    Furthermore, actual code writing is not the most productive activity, as surprising as it sounds. That’s because if one writes code exclusively for too long, his mind will run in circles and he’ll lose his edge. And there’s something that is even more productive than actually producing output.

  2. “Thoughts about the Best Introductory (Programming) Language”:

    I talked with a few people on the IRC about it and some of them told me something along the lines of “What makes you think that you know better than all the universities and colleges (and other schools) that are now teaching Java?”. Well, this is the “majority must be right” fallacy:

    1. Everybody thinks that the Earth is flat (or the Sun revolves around it) so it must be true
  3. Homepage vs. Blog: about the difference between a homepage and a blog, and why my homesite is not a blog.

More aphorisms were added to the Aphorisms Collection:

It does not mean what I think it means but it means what you think it means.

The work-in-progress Star Trek: “We the Living Dead” was updated with new text and links:

Q: in any case, there was this relatively mature man in our time called Noahh who had three sons.

Katie: Shem, Hham and Yepheth? [in Modern Hebrew pronunciation]

Q: you guessed it. He was a quirky, paranoid fellow. At one paint he sensed a storm coming, and believed that the world was coming to an end. So he, his wife, his sons, and all of his livestock travelled up a nearby mountain, and waited for the storm to end.

When the storm ended, he went down to the nearby village, and saw that while there was a lot of damage, it was perfectly fine. However, he claimed that it was high time to put an end to such problems, to end having to depend on natural whims, that our society will flourish.

I was there: my name was indeed “Que” and I was considered a strange nomad, who just happened to be there. I decided to take upon myself the establishment of the [in Énglish] “civilisation” instead of the many different [in Énglish] “cultures”.

The HTML versions of The Enemy and How I Helped to Fight it were heavily simplified, reformatted; plus, a table of contents was added to them.

The Fluttering Flag SDL demo was added to the open-source “Bits and Bobs” page.

There’s a new page against Apple Inc., its products and its practices.

Some new fortune cookies were added.

See comments and comment on this.

09-Apr-2007: New Story and Essays

I’ve started writing a new story titled Star Trek: “We the Living Dead”. It is a Star Trek fan fiction with an all original dialogues and plots, but with many characters and concepts from Star Trek and elsewhere. There’s little to see there at the moment, but I have most of the plot in my head.

There’s a new essay titled “The Linus Torvalds Bus Factor” available. It is based on a short email exchange I had on the Linux kernel mailing list, but is more general in its theme.

Another essay is “My Opinion on Electrical Engineering studies in the Technion”, and a shorter one is this “Use qmail instead” one.

Also added was a “May I Email You about Foo?” FAQ question to my FAQ, to help prevent people sending me emails I’m not interested in.

See comments and comment on this.

23-Feb-2007: Recent Updates to Shlomi Fish’s Homepage

Welcome to another edition of the news weblog of Shlomi Fish’s home-site. There is no spam this time, but a lot of changes that are worth noting.

  1. The aphorisms collection was enhanced to have a title and an anchor for every funny bit and it now has a table-of-contents.
  2. Several new contributions I made were added to the contributions to external open-source projects page.
  3. The LinkVisitor Mozilla Firefox extension was updated.
  4. Added the QClam-Shlomif page to the software. Note that all the changes I made there have already been incorporated into the mainline QClam.
  5. Some new links to useful software were added to my Favourite software page.
  6. Added the Plagger on Mandriva page. (Also see this journal entry).
  7. the Software Construction and Management Tools page was enhanced.
  8. Added a presentation about the Joel Test. The other presentation pages were enhanced considerably.
  9. As usual new entries were added to the fortune cookies page and to the links page.
  10. A review of the book Perl Hacks was added to the books recommendations page.

Happy reading!

See comments and comment on this.

17-Jan-2007: had been Link Spammed

Instead of the usual update on what’s new on the site, this entry has some news to convey. As it turns out, many of the pages on were spammed with link spam to medications’ sites. This is especially troubling because the pages in question were static HTML pages, that were served unmodified by the server from hard disk directory. This indicates that the server was maliciously intruded and the files were modified. I encountered link spam before in wikis, weblogs and news sites, but this is the first time that I witnessed a static HTML site getting spammed, and by cracking it.

The files’s timestamps indicate that most files were changed on the 1-December-2006 (probably by a script), but some files were modified as early as 23-December-2006, albeit in a slightly different way. The files were left spammed, because many resources on the site are not updated by the normal site update, and the links were kept hidden from visible eyes. It is still unclear how the intruder gained access to run the script on the server.

The site was restored to its unaffected state, and preventive measures were taken to mitigate the problem: passwords and keys were changed, and the site now has a unified build system to the site that uploads all the relevant resources from my home workstation to the server.

I also hope that next time this happens (if it does), my hosting and I have the appropriate measures in place to find out how it was done.

Now I can continue working on my home site and on my other projects.

Regards, Shlomi Fish.

See comments and comment on this.

05-Jan-2007: Recent Changes to

Here are the new changes in my homesite since the last update:

  1. Added a new aphorism to the Humour collection.
  2. Added a new what-is-this-sequence riddle to the Math-Ventures section.
  3. There’s a new version of my Patch to the Gringotts Secure Note Manager, which fixes a crash in the preferences dialog.
  4. The “Stop Using Internet Explorer!” page was updated with a new link to the number of days IE was vulnerable in 2006.
  5. Corrections, deductions and final solutions were added to the “On the Tip of the Sword” logic puzzle, the “Between the Screws” puzzle and the “Ravensborg Guild” puzzle
  6. Several new fortune cookies were added to the Fortune Cookies collection. Others were corrected.
  7. Some new links were added to the Humour section of the links page.

Happy New 2007!

See comments and comment on this.

25-Nov-2006: Changes since September

It’s been 2 months since the last update. I haven’t been working on the homesite as much as I used to, but still there are some updates worthy of mention.

In the UNIX fortunes front, I added the nyh-sigs file to the collection, which includes a collection of quotes from the email signatures of Nadav Har’El. This warranted a new second digit of the fortunes-shlomif collection - and it’s now version 0.8.0. Moreover, several new entries were added to the bottom of the shlomif, tinic, and shlomif-fav collections .

The puzzle section now features the “Book under a Rock” situation puzzle as well as the Lotg code.

Two new “Bits and Bobs programs” were added: A KAddressBook porting script, and an Amarok script for recording per-song volumes.

Several new CD recommendations were added to the Music recommendations. Furthermore, the Non-fiction Books’ Recommendations Page was heavily revamped.

My contributions to are now mentioned in the Open Source Contributions Page.

Finally, the entire site (including many obscure pages) was made to validate and many broken links were fixed.

See comments and comment on this.

24-Sep-2006: New Additions to the Site

Exactly two weeks passed since the last update and many things have been added or improved. Read below for what’s new.

Two of the pages in the MathVentures section were converted to use embedded MathML. This should make viewing them with MathML-compliant browsers easier. The old ASCII-art based pages are still available.

The ideas Tucan and Unixdoc were added to the Random Ideas page.

I’ve placed some of my old DOS-era programs online for your amusement.

I added a question about the site history to the FAQ.

More CDs were added to the Music Recommendations.

There’s a new Joke in the Humour archive.

See comments and comment on this.

10-Sep-2006: Changes at Shlomi Fish Homesite

It’s been about two weeks since my last update, and here’s what’s new:

  1. A currently partial list of my favourite compact discs is now live. Creating this list involved a large amount of DTD, XSLT, Perl, and CSS hacking on the XML-Grammar-ProductsSyndication framework, that was written from scratch to facilitate making construction of such lists possible by and others.

    I will add the missing CDs as time goes by, and will also later on add lists for fiction books and for movies, as well as convert the existing non-fiction books recommendations into the new framework.

  2. More pages on the site were made to validate according to the World-wide-web consortium standards, and some ancient leftovers that were no longer important were removed.

  3. My list of favourite open source software was updated, with many corrections, added programs and a new navigation menu.

  4. My memoirs as a programmer from High School were heavily fixed and updated.

See comments and comment on this.

26-Aug-2006: “Case for File Swapping”, “Fortunes Mania” + Site Building Instructions

There’s a new revision of “The Case for File Swapping”. Moreover, I wrote a page with my idea for “Fortunes Mania” - a community site for managing fortunes cookies and quotes.

There are now comprehensive instructions for building the site. If you have some spare time, please try to run them to see if you are successful in building it.

Finally, I added two new FAQ questions: “Did you serve in the Israeli Military?” and “What is your Favourite Music?”

See comments and comment on this.

18-Aug-2006: My Memoirs at Elpas

I have added a page with my memoirs from working as a programmer for Elpas to the site. I’ve been intending to publish it for some time now after having worked on it for a few days, and now it’s live. Enjoy!

See comments and comment on this.

16-Aug-2006: “Define ‘Zionism’!” + New Revision of “FOSS &amp; Other Beasts”

I added a new Essay Define “Zionism”! about some ambiguous terms relating to the Jewish nature of Israel.

A second revision of “Open Source, Free Software and Other Beasts” is available.

As usual, there are also the regular slew of fixes, and additions (including new links). I’d like to thank “acid burn” for pointing out a few typos, which have been fixed.

See comments and comment on this.

10-Aug-2006: Backup Site

I set up a backup site for this site over at, which would be used for emergencies and for redundancy.

Please don’t use it unless this site is down.

See comments and comment on this.

01-Aug-2006: Bio now also Available in Hebrew + Update to “Which Wiki”

Another day, another update:

I added a translation of my Bio to Hebrew and in the process updated the English original.

I wrote an update to the “Which Open Source Wiki Works for You” article.

Finally, I’d like to thank “zero cool” for pointing out a small typo in this blog which was also placed on the front-page. Thanks!

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28-Jul-2006: Recent Site Updates

First I’d like to note that from now on, I’d like to update this website’s blog more often upon every new addition. Hopefully, I can persist with it. In any case, here are the changes to the site since the last update:

  1. My still-incomplete Frequently Asked Questions List was added to the site.
  2. The site look and feel were improved to make it more usable and attractive to first time visitors. There are now some new navigation arrows prepared with the GIMP. Plus, some new section menus were added to the sections.
  3. New Essays:
    1. Choice of Document Formats
    2. Create a Great Personal Homesite (Updated).
    3. The Case for Drug Legalisation
  4. Corollaries to “To err is human” were added to the humour page
  5. The Open Source Software Section was heavily revamped to make it more usable and generally better.
  6. Added a “How to help this site” page.
  7. The humorous geek song “I Like Job Control” is now part of the site.
  8. Many new fortune cookies were added to the fortune cookies’ collection.
  9. As usual there are many new links in the links page

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08-Jul-2006: Web-site Changes

Well, there were a few new additions to my home site since the last update, but not enough to warrant a new update. However, I’d like to take this stage to announce a URL transition and some other meta-changes

Some of the pages of the site that used to live under are now living directly under This change was done due to the constant downtime of The server itself is usually up and running and responsive, but the connection to it gets down. Other benefits of this are the fact that everything would be on one host, which would make mirroring, backup and maintenance easier, and that there would be less need for absolute links.

The pages temporarily moved to, but later were moved to the main site and integrated there. Some things may still be broken so please report any problems to me.

The two host scheme stemmed from the early history of the site (when I still had a relatively limited quota on the Technion’s students’ servers), and ended up influencing the design and feature-set of some of the projects to support this site (like Latemp and HTML-Widgets-NavMenu).

Other meta-changes include:

  1. The removal of the PayPal donate button and replacement with a much less bloated (markup-wise) link to the new “How to Help” site.
  2. The Google search box is now placed in the navigation bar on every page of the site, rather than just the front page. I hope people will find it more convenient to search the site using it.
  3. I should also note that I added a note to the beginning of my “Create a Great Personal Homesite” article addressing some “The Disqualifier Disqualifies on his own fault” criticisms of my home site, by some people whom I referred to the article.

I’d like to make another post to this feed soon, this time more interactive and asking for some advice regarding the current form of the site. So stay tuned.

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29-Mar-2006: New Additions to Shlomi Fish’s Home Site

Here are the new changes to the home site of Shlomi Fish since the last update.

  1. The Full Text of a new essay: “Create a Great Personal Homesite” is now available online.
  2. Several new Lightning Talks were added.
  3. Several new book recommendations were added to the book recommendations page.
  4. Added pages for the site’s linking policy, and the site’s copyrights’ terms.
  5. A version of the LinkVisitor plugin for Mozilla Firefox 1.5.0.x was made available on the open source “Bits and Bobs page”.
  6. A new version of the “Eliminate Access Keys” Greasemonkey script is available with some bug fixes.
  7. Several new versions of the Gringotts-Shlomif Patch were released.
  8. Several new links were added to the links page.

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18-Dec-2005: New Changes for 18-December-2005

Here are the new changes to the home site of Shlomi Fish since the last update. This entry will be divided into two: first the content additions, and then the presentation changes and other corrections.

Content Additions

  1. I published an essay titled “Advice for the Young” (or the Young at heart) continuing the trend of people giving advice to programming wannabes.
  2. A Page about “The Better SCM” Logo was added to the Art section.
  3. A Page with some photographs I took of cats in my neigbourhood was also added to the art section.
  4. A New Puzzles Section was set up featuring the old Math-Ventures page and some new Logic puzzles.
  5. The Software Construction and Management links page was moved to a new location, and heavily updated.
  6. I now have a “Hire Me!” page about the various ways one can employ me.
  7. A new essay - “Reflections on Online Communities” is now in the process of being written. An older incarnation of it is available, but it only serves as comments to the original essay by Joel Spolsky.
  8. A new section with some information about the site itself was added to the site.
  9. Several new funny bits were added to the Humour collection.

Site Presentation Changes

  1. The Links Page now has a table of contents.
  2. The Presentations’ Sub-Categories were populated and are now more usable. Plus, some of the presentations’ front pages are more usable now.
  3. I’ve set up Google Ads for the pages of the site, and also added a donation button. If you like the site, please consider donating.

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06-Nov-2005: New Changes for 06-November-2005

Here are the new changes to Shlomi Fish’s personal site since the last update

  1. Many grammatical, spelling and syntactical errors were corrected, and more pages were made to validate.
  2. A New Section which will host pages against bad software that should be avoided was created featuring a new page against qmail. The anti-MSIE page is now part of it.
  3. The links in thestories page were fixed.
  4. a new E-mail with a correspondent was added to the “Case for File Swapping Page”. The essay itself was expanded with two new sections.
  5. A Guide to the online Neo-Tech resources was added.
  6. Shlomi Fish’s resumés were heavily updated.
  7. Added my introduction of myself to the MIT Writers.
  8. Added a search box to the front page

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28-Oct-2005: New Changes for 28-October-2005

Since the last update to its changes log, Shlomi Fish’s personal site has seen a great deal of changes. Here is a list of the most major ones:

  1. The Bio Page was sectioned into several headings, and more links and material were added.
  2. The old “Wonderous are the Ways of Microsoft” humorous (but real) bit was integrated into the common look and feel of the site, and re-linked from there.
  3. An index page was created for the stories as part of the global humour section.
  4. The Links Page was heavily re-organized and expanded. Now, each one of its section has an anchor for easy linking to that part of the page.
  5. A New Essay - “The GPL, the BSD License and Being a Sucker” was added. It aims to dispel the common belief that one is being a sucker by releasing open source software under non-GPL licenses.
  6. A New Essay - “The Case for File Swapping” was added. This essay touches upon the many points of the Internet sharing and downloading of files (including media files such as music files or video), and dispels most of the myths about why it’s illegal or immoral.

I still have several new essays in the pipe, and I also need to do some cleanups to the site. One enhancement will also involve tweaking the site flow engine that is used by the site.

But until then - enjoy!

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The past few days have seen the move to a new hosting provider with much better bandwidth to outside Israel. It should be much more faster and responsive to most people. Other than that, the web-site has seen many style and content changes:

  1. A computer music file that I created when I was in high school, with my friend, was added to the art section.
  2. New section navigation menus were added to the Essays and Articles section, the Software section, and the Lectures section. They will allow the main navigation menu to be less crowded, and will give way for a faster update of the site.
  3. Many typos were corrected in the DeCSS page.
  4. The Links Page was updated.
  5. Several new essays and articles are now part of the Philosophy section. Especially note the “When C is the Best” essay which started an active discussion in OSNews.
  6. I now have a list of recommended books.

There’s still some more ground to cover on my part, but the homepage should still be much better than it was 10 days ago.


Added the “When C is the Best” essay. Also now that the software patents threat in Europe has been eliminated, I have removed the notice box, and replaced my top-left icon with a personal logo based on EvilPHish from UserFriendly.

Finally, several fortunes were added to the fortune cookies collection and it now also contains a collection of quotes by Paul Graham.


Several new additions were added to the site. The art section now contains two new pieces. I also added a new script to the Open Source Bits and Bobs section. Several new programs were added to my favourite free software. Some new languages were added to the “Ways to do it” according to the programming languages of the World page.

Some of my newer projects are now mentioned in my resumés. I added a link to a presentation about Web Publishing using LAMP. Finally, the Objectivism and Open Source essay was expanded with two new chapters.


I now have a personal ad. I’m looking for a girlfriend who lives in Central Israel.


The full but incomplete text of The Human Hacking Field Guide is now available online for your reading pleasure.


I added a section to my links collection with links to my favourite collections of pictures and wallpapers. Otherwise, I now cross-post my weblog in and you can use its commenting system to post comments to its entries.

MikMod for Java has moved to a new homepage at Berlios where I hope other people would be able to contribute to it more efficiently than before. The Gimp Automated Testing Framework is a new project of mine. Check it out if you’re interested.


Added the Open-Source Bits and Bobs page. Added the material summary for the Thermodynamics course I took in the Technion.


The site has a new URL, which should cause less name-service resolution problems. The new domain is The old domain will redirect to the new one.


The site has seen a major revamp in the last couple of days. Here is a list of the most important changes and news:

  1. I added the “Stop Software Patents!” nag image to all my pages and a top frame to the front page.
  2. There’s a new code for the navigation menu. The old code was an unholy mess, and the new code is a pure Perl one, which makes the nav-menu much easier to maintain.
  3. Thanks to the new navigation menu code, there are now Mozilla/Firefox navigation links, that allow traversing the site page by page. For those who are unfortunate enough not to use these browsers, some rudimentary arrows were added above the navigation menu.
  4. I now have an Uber-kitchy leading path of the page sections and sub-sections at the top.
  5. I’m now giving private lessons in high-school subjects and computer-related topics.


My Advogato Diary is back online, with several new entries posted since Advogato was restored. I also conducted an interview with Ben Collins-Sussman.


The URL of my homepage has changed. The new URL is The old URLs will work for the near future, but not permanently. Read more about it.


Added my favourite online comic strips to the links section.


Added the favourite open source software list. Added the Meta-Data Database Access lecture to the lectures collection.


Added the software tools directory.


Added Ways to do it according to the Programming Languages of the World to the Humour section. Enjoy!


I have placed the fortune files I am maintaining online here.


Added my favourite online comic strips to the links section.


Added the favourite open source software list. Added the Meta-Data Database Access lecture to the lectures collection.


Added the software tools directory.


Added Ways to do it according to the Programming Languages of the World to the Humour section. Enjoy!


I have placed the fortune files I am maintaining online here.


I set up a mailing-list for discussing my stories on Yahoo-Groups. Feel free to join it or post messages there. (one does not need to be a subscriber to post).