Orange ribbons

The disengagement opponents finally hit upon a way to express their position, which is nevertheless a legitimate use of Freedom of Expression, and which does not arouse the ire of neutral third side parties.

They tie orange ribbons to the antennae in their cars if they are anti-disengagement, leaving blue-white or green ribbons to supporters of disengagement.

On Friday I drove to Jerusalem and back. There were several cars with orange ribbons, as well as youths standing in road junctions ready to give an orange ribbon to any car driver who shows the slightest interest in having one.

On Saturday afternoon, I drove to Netanya. This time, the orange ribbons were conspicuous in their absence. I saw exactly ONE car with an orange ribbon.

My conclusion: there is high correlation between disengagement opposition and degree of Jewish religion observance, as Jewish religious people do not drive on Saturdays.

What is the real meaning of money?

I have read a book about alternative money schemes. It is called “Funny Money”, written by David Boyle (who has a Web site at ISBN 0 00 653067 2.

The book offers alternative points of view on money – as time, as information, as religion, etc. One of the alternative money schemes has people earn “time-dollars” for helping their elderly neighbors, running their errands, keeping them company, etc. They can pay with “time-dollars” for help to their own grandparents or parents, or even themselves if they themselves are old.

In another section of the book, the author explains that all of us are already exposed to various alternative monies, and he does not mean foreign currency. There are the air-miles handed out by airlines, “points” given by the credit card issuers for purchases (worth in Israel about 1 agora per “point”), etc.

I found two oversights in the book.
One oversight is the Free Software world. You pay for your use of Free Software by adding your pet features to it and allowing the entire world and his niece to use them.
Another oversight is understandable. It was due to the fact that the author wrote his book as an account of his trip in USA, which of course excluded Israel. The book does not cover the economic systems developed in Israeli kibbutzim at intermediate stages of privatization.

The important point I took home from the book is that the meaning of money is – that in exchange of my labor, I get a promise that someone else will work for me sometime in the future, when I need this. Bills or gold bars are concrete manifestations of this promise.

Of course, if someone collects more promises of labor than other people can deliver within reasonable working time, then they would eventually find a way to renege on their promise. This is inflation.

One complicating factor of money as a promise of labor is that an hour of one person’s labor is not equivalent to an hour of another person’s labor. Education, experience, availability of capital equipment (such as hammer and screwdriver or an oscilloscope with voltmeter or a stethoscope or a PC) apply a factor, which can be very large in today’s Hi-Tech based economy. The value also varies over the seasons of a year (or a business cycle). At some times, certain professions are in demand and an hour of their labor is worth more than that what it would be worth at other times.

European software patents

Software patents cleared another hurdle toward approval by the EU (see,39020682,39190515,00.htm).

Now the question is: what are the implications for the Israeli patent law and software industry?

  1. Will Israel be pressurized to allow software patents as in USA and Europe, or will we escape this fate due to the relatively small local market for software?
    If pressurized, how much ability will Israel have to resist the pressure?
  2. Will the Israeli patent office rigorously examine software patent applications?
  3. What will happen to Israeli Hi-Tech companies, which develop and/or use software, which violates software patents, but is critical to their product, process or service business?
  4. What will be the impact on joint ventures between Israeli and European Hi-Tech businesses?

A bit of culture but surprisingly relevant to startupists

While going over one of the Israeli Deaf forums, I saw an announcement that a lecture by the author Amos Oz, to be held this evening in Chess House in Ramat Aviv, will be accompanied by Sign Language interpreting.

I needed to finish the financial details with the interpreter in question (she interpreted also in the Linux Accessibility lecture on last Sunday) so I decided to kill two birds with one stone – both finish the process of paying her and soak a bit of High Culture by listening to a cultured lecture by one of the most esteemed Hebrew language authors in Israel.

The author talked about the book “The tiger with patches” (in Hebrew: “נמר חברבורות” – I am not sure my translation is exact) by Yaacov Shabtay. The book was about an entrepreneur full of dreams and very slim contact with the ground. The portrait of the entrepreneur drawn by the lecture reminded me of some of the dotcom bubble startupists.

Who is feeding my car's tires with screws?

Today I had to cancel a trip to outside of my city, because one of the tires in my car lost air after having been pumped full of air only two days ago.
I replaced it with the spare tire, even though my next planned car drive is only tomorrow, to the local tire repair shop. This was because at this rate of air loss, the radial tire would probably be damaged by tomorrow in the morning.

Upon examination, I found that a screw got stuck in the tire. It makes a hole and blocks it, so there is no immediate air loss.

Few days ago I had another tire damaged by screw, and it was repaired. But I didn’t ask the tire repair shop to inspect all four tires for more screw poisoning.

Both tires were on left side of my car. I wonder in which parking location, during the last several days, did the tires get poisoned by screw diet.

The upside of the episode is that I got to practice tire replacement under relatively benign conditions – car parked near my home, nothing urgent to do (besides the canceled trip), it did not rain at the moment, it happened during daytime (one of my lesser nightmares is having to replace a tire at night, during heavy rain and on way to a party).

Sunbathing, vitamin D and calcium

Warning: this entry reveals my shamefully ripe old age.

After buying calcium-rich milk, I talked with a co-worker about bones, calcium and vitamin D.
He was flabbergasted when I told him that one of the sources of vitamin D is sunbathing, and that when I was child, people extolled the healthy virtues of sunbathing.

Apparently, doctors stopped recommending sunbathing once the food available to all became richer, richer also in vitamin D. So it was not necessary to sunbathe anymore for the vitamin and expose oneself to skin cancer risk in the process.

Or…he faked being flabbergasted (more probable).

The brave new business buzzwords

Eric Sink (blog at wrote about Micro-ISVs – one-man companies which develop software. His articles are: Exploring Micro-ISVs and First Report from My Micro-ISV.

Some enterprising souls started a special Web site for Micro-ISVs at

I wonder how many months will elapse before we are swamped by Web sites, courses, seminars, How-to-do books and other merchandise about Micro-ISVs and Micro-business in general.