Shlomi Fish's Home Site's Journal|
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|Thursday, November 19th, 2009|
Second Revision of “Create a Great Personal Home Site”
revision of the essay “Create a Great Personal Home Site” has now
been finally published and is available for public viewing:
Current Mood: productive
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 www.shlomifish.org as a blog. I have
been annoyed at this to some extent, and even wrote
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
|Friday, November 13th, 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
were merged, updated and enhanced.
There are new
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
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil 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 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
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
Galku: I knew it was a good definition.
There’s also some new text in
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.
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. ]
Jake: wow! So you are now “Qatie” with a
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
based on an old aphorism of me.
There’s now a
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
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.
|Tuesday, September 29th, 2009|
|Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009|
New Humour Pages and Additions
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
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
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 OpenOffice.org.
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’
Current Mood: productive
|Saturday, September 12th, 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
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
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
Hebrew translation of “Define ‘Zionism’!” available.
page was updated with many corrections, new links, and more
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.
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
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
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.
|Monday, August 31st, 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
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
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:
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
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.
|Sunday, August 16th, 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
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
for Newbies tutorials/presentations. Furthermore, the Larry
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
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
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.
|Wednesday, July 29th, 2009|
|Saturday, July 11th, 2009|
My Google AdSense Account Was Suspended - Now What?
cat” April Fool’s feature proved to be very popular. It was
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
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
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.
צוות Google AdSense
Original Message Follows:
Subject: Invalid Activity Appeal
Date: Sun, 05 Apr 2009 20:02:58 +0000
07_Name: Shlomi Fish
11_ExampleUrl: http://www.shlomifish.org/ , http://fc-solve.blogspot.com/
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.
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
http://osnews.com/ and http://reddit.com/ 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
29_UserIncentive: Don’t think they would.
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
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
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
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
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.
|Monday, May 25th, 2009|
Squares game whose link was broken, and non-functional, was restored
explained in the MathVentures section.
has been added to the site. I’d like to thank a friend who is also a webmaster
Page now contains 99 items with links. Other pages
against bad software were also updated.
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 thedailywtf.com.”
My Resumés have
been enhanced and updated.
There is a new version
of the First-Come First-Served
|Wednesday, April 1st, 2009|
|Tuesday, March 31st, 2009|
|Friday, March 13th, 2009|
The Homesite Build Instructions are Operational Again
The build instructions
for the main www.shlomifish.org 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
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
||Mel|work: no, he’s not a troll.
||Mel|work: No, icke is just... enthusiastic about “channel purity”
||hates when people abuse the == operator in English for “contained in”
||rindolf, “icke contained in troll”? That’s not what Mel|work meant.
||sure he did, if you make troll a set of users
||apeiron: what he meant by icke == troll is that icke belongs to the set of trolls.
||apeiron: not that every troll in the world is icke.
||rindolf, No, he was asking if icke is a troll.
||apeiron: is-a means “contained in the set of objects with the property of”
||apeiron: mathematically speaking.
||rindolf, Okay, so you’re assigning the mathematical meaning of == to its usage in a *perl* channel?
||rindolf, Now who’s fiddling with meanings, eh?
||‘whatever’ is what those who have lost their argument say.
||apeiron: I thought that’s what people who don’t care say.
||PerlJam, If one doesn’t care, they wouldn’t respond.
A coverage and commentary section was added to the recently
published “Optimizing Code for Speed” essay.
Current Mood: accomplished
|Thursday, February 12th, 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.
“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.
|Friday, January 23rd, 2009|
|Wednesday, November 19th, 2008|
|Monday, October 13th, 2008|
|Sunday, September 21st, 2008|
|Tuesday, August 5th, 2008|
Presentation Sources, Interviews and updated Resources
In 2004, lkcl wrote
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,
The two Interviews
with open-source people were now converted to
XML-Grammar-Screenplay and their source is available on the page.
Construction and Management Tools page was heavily updated.
New links have been added to
pages "Against Bad Software".
New film recommendations have been added
the movie recommendations. Moreover, two new book reviews have
"The Pragmatic Programmer" and
"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
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.
Current Mood: energetic
|Tuesday, July 22nd, 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
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!
of my newest aphorisms were added to
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 -
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
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.
with Adrian Ettlinger was converted into
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
the movie recommendations.
New quotes have been added to
the Fortune Cookie Collection. Chronological updates can now be found
Current Mood: happy