The Matzliach Method

Matzliach (מצליח) is an Hebrew word meaning “successful”. The Matzliach Method is asking for more than what you are entitled to. If the other side does not object, you get more. If the other side objects, you get what you are entitled to. This method works when there is no penalty for trying to get more than what you are entitled to.

Israel has two high volume dailies – Ma’ariv and Yedioth Aharonot. The issue price for both is 4.80NIS during the week, and 10.50NIS on Fridays, when the issues are larger. The holiday eve issues are usually larger and cost 10.50NIS apiece, even when the holiday eve does not fall on Friday.

Today is the Israeli Independence Day eve. Today, Ma’ariv and Yedioth Aharonot put out larger issues. Ma’ariv charges 10.50NIS for its issue, whereas Yedioth Aharonot charges 4.80NIS.

This discrepancy in prices let the groceries and other vendors of newspapers enjoy a windfall by applying the Matzliach method as follows.

The shopkeeper claims that the printed Yedioth Aharonot price is a typo and the real price is 10.50NIS. If a customer buys this argument, the shopkeeper makes a nice profit. If the customer argues back, pointing out the absence of any billboard notice about this, the shopkeeper backs off and lets the customer buy the newspaper for 4.80NIS.

“Try to refrain from using the word ‘hell’ on our helpdesk next time”

As I was enjoying the article DNA seen through the eyes of a coder, a link caught my eye and it directed me to Ensembl Human Web site, which lets you explore the Homo sapiens genome.
The home page showed the usual 23 chromosome pairs. However I was startled to find yet another chromosome mentioned – MT.
I made the quick guess that it is the mitochondrial chromosome, and wanted to confirm or refute this guess. However, the Web site search function yielded nothing when I looked for the phrase “chromosome mt”. I was provided instead with a form for sending E-mail to the Web site’s helpdesk. I took advantage of this.
Few minutes later, they answered me – yes, it is indeed the mitochondrial chromosome.

One additional comment in their answer was made, because I phrased my question in an highly emotional way, as follows:
“I was looking for a short paragraph describing what the hell is ‘Chromosome MT’.”

The comment woke in me nightmare past memories of a primary school teacher in USA, who subscribed to the DEAF-L mailing list (a mailing list devoted to deafness related issues), but her censorware filtered out innocent messages because they included phrases, which could have been interpreted in objectionable ways. And furthermore, there was no way to bypass the censorware to tell her that a legitimate message has been blocked.

On the perils of journalist interviews

In spite of my boring, depressing, isolated and small life, I nevertheless managed to get my 15 minutes of fame more than once over the years. At the 1980’s, newspaper news items appeared about the Israeli TDD project, of which I was one of the leaders. There was even a brief TV appearance. I was also interviewed at 1991 about my life as deaf. In the early 2000’s, my name was again mentioned more than once as associate of someone else, who was interviewed as a Deaf businessman.

There was even an interview, about my work in Intel as a deaf engineer, which yielded no publicized article because I insisted upon reviewing it beforehand for inaccuracies.

With the benefit of hindsight, I am startled to realize that I did not come to grief due to grave inaccuracies in those interviews and exposures. Those interviews were mostly arranged by people, who were experienced in public relations.  So the journalists probably got good coaching. One of the interviews was printed almost verbatim from the transcript of a chat I had on the computer with a journalist and then I printed and gave her at end of the interview (this was before the era of Internet chats).

Unlike me, Sarah Hornik was upset by a newspaper interview, which had serious (from her point of view) inaccuracies. She at least turned this trauma into a learning event.

Cochlear Corporation of the Borg

Few years ago, when there was a lot of bad blood between Deaf identity adherents and the medical establishment over the subject of cochlear implants, I sometimes used the following E-mail signature:

I am the Cochlear Corporation of the Borg. All resistance is futile. Deaf Culture is irrelevant. YOU SHALL BE IMPLANTED.

Now it seems that the real Cochlear Corporation, which is based in Australia, considers all human languages – spoken or signed – to be irrelevant, unless they are spoken English. The news item in question did not clarify the status of American English, which has several differences from Australian English.

More about the bad blood:

More bad predictions about the future

Top 87 Bad Predictions about the Future lists several predictions, which proved wrong.
Yitzhak Rabin made another bad prediction in his autobiography – that independent satellite launch capability would not be feasible for Israel, and that its military value would not justify its cost. At 1988, Israel launched the Offeq 1 satellite using its own launch vehicle.
The next bad prediction, made by unknown opinion leaders, is that smaller countries, like Israel, would not develop their own independent manned space launch capabilities. Also, that only big countries would invest in building their own space stations and space colonies.  The jury is still out about this prediction.

Sandmonkey is again ranting!

During the Second Lebanese War, more than a year ago, I discovered the world of Arab bloggers – from Lebanon, Egypt and other countries.  After the war ended, I continued to follow the Rantings of a Sandmonkey, a blog very critical of the Arabs, Islam and Arab politics.

I followed this blog until May 2007, when he stopped blogging due to some problems he was having and whose nature was not precisely disclosed.

Today I was happy to find that he resumed blogging at August 2007.  I was amused by his rant about the political antics of misguided do-gooders messing around with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

16th Linux Day

Today, 16 years ago, Linus Torvalds released version 0.0.1 of the Linux kernel.

This is an occasion to reminisce how I began to use Linux, and how I subsequently switched to 100% Linux usage at home.

I started using Linux about 13 years ago. For me, the killer application was Brian Marick’s GCT – a C Coverage Tool. At the time I worked as freelancer in the area of medical software testing, and needed a way to assess code coverage of my tests.

After the failure of an attempt to port GCT over to the world of 16-bit computing in MS-DOS, I found out about Linux. I soon found Harvey Stein, who had Linux (the Linux-IL mailing list, whose Patron Saint was Harvey Stein, started operating at about the same time – and this is no coincidence!). Mr. Stein let me come to his office and copy from him about 40 5.25″ diskettes of the Slackware distribution.

I copied the diskettes and installed Linux in an empty partition in my 5MB AT386 PC. Soon afterwards, I got GCT working!

The first Kernel version, which I installed, was 1.0.8. Soon after installation, I upgraded to Kernel version 1.1.13.

The old AT386 PC is still operational, and is bootable into either MS-DOS or Linux (Kernel version 1.2.13).

Additional links:

One day I acquired a new PC, but used MS-Windows 95 on it. I used the old AT386 for E-mail and surfing, and the new PC – for software development. At the time I developed software, rather than testing it. Few upgrades later, I installed RedHat 5.1 on the new PC, and it became dual-boot.

Subsequent years saw me switch to RedHat 7.2, 8.0, and then to Debian. I also had MS-Windows 2000 (in another hard disk).

One day, the PC’s motherboard died and I was forced to upgrade to a new one, with clock frequency beyond 1GHz. The MS-Windows 95 ceased to operate, and MS-Windows 2000 was problematic. Linux booted on the new motherboard without having to make any modifications or installations whatsoever. This was when I abandoned MS-Windows altogether and switched to Linux fulltime.

Over the years, I did not need to rebuild my PC’s Linux hard disk due to malware. I did rebuild it due to switching to new versions of RedHat and then Debian. As a proof, I present the fact that my ICQ number is still 8-digit long.

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