Microsoft open-sourced MSBuild

March 26th, 2015

The Microsoft initiative to open source the .Net platform (which the MSBuild tool is a part of) has been talked about a lot in the past (though I have something to say about this as well, probably later in this post), but the fanfare has died down quite a bit since the last announcement. One might say that the reason they didn’t open source the entire thing at once was so Microsoft can space out the announcement and synthetically generate continued buzz about their platform, but knowing how these things usually work, its much more likely that because preparing a project for open-source is difficult and time consuming and a project as large as .Net doubly so (or a thousand times so), so it makes sense to do so in parts.

But to the question at hand – what does an open source MSBuild means to you? Read the rest of this entry »

Never let a Mac user design your website, here’s why:

February 17th, 2015

Well, at least until the entire world uses high DPI screens. Lets see an example:

Pulsing button (video)

This is a “call to action” effect on a button – it pulses slightly to get attention. This has proven to be really effective at improving “conversion” (web term to “getting you to do that thing I want you to do”). But even if you are not a designer at heart its easy to see that the text in the button is pulsing at different speeds and this creates a really jarring effect.

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דברים מטופשים: טקס פרסי הטלוויזיה

February 16th, 2015

למי שלא שם לב (בטח כולכם), האקדמיה הישראלית לקולנוע וטלוויזיה(1) חילקה ביום שישי האחרון את פרס האקדמיה לטלוויזיה (שמוגדר באתר האקדמיה כ-”המקבילה הישראלית לפרסי האמי האמריקאים”, אבל בניגוד לפרס אופיר לקולנוע ולפרס האמריקאי המצוין לעיל, אין לו שם).

בטח לא שמעתם על זה, כי טקס חלוקת הפרס ליצירה טלוויזיונית ישראלי מקורית, בו חולקו פרסים לסדרות בהפקת ערוצי טלוויזיה ישראלים, לא שודר באף ערוץ טלוויזיה ישראלי,  אפילו לא אלו שקיבלו את הפרס.

אני ספרתי שלושה דברים מטופשים.

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  1. למה את המילה הזאת לא עיברתו? []

Pollution Efficiency of Alternative Fuel Cars

November 25th, 2014

Every now and then, when discussing EVs (electric vehicles) or other alternative fuel cars(1), that offer basically zero pollution (in the form of green house gases and other poisonous gases) someone always raises the argument that these cars just “move the pollution upstream” to the electric power plants and you are still polluting just the same.

But this argument only works if the power production “upstream” really is polluting as much as an onboard gas engine – which really sounds weird to me, because as you increase the success of the engine – from something that had to be small enough to fit in a car to something that basically only had the limit of required to be cost effective – surely you can have large efficiency gains, even if burning the same fuel?

So here are some numbers:

Read the rest of this entry »


  1. like the new “hydrogen powered” cars []

Script day – Amazon AWS Signature Version 4 With Bash

November 19th, 2014

As anyone who works with the Amazon Web Services API knows, when you submit requests to an AWS service you need to sign the request with your secret key – in order to authenticate your account. The AWS signing process has changed through the years – an earlier version (I think version 1) I implemented in a previous blog post: upload files to Amazon S3 using Bash, with new APIs and newer versions of existing APIs opt in to use the newer signing process.

The current most up to date version of the signing process is known as Signature Version 4 Signing Process and is quite complex, but recently I had the need to use an AWS API that requires requests to be signed using the version 4 process in a bash script(1), so it was time to dust off the old scripting skills and see if I can get this much much much more elaborate signing process to work in bash – and (maybe) surprisingly it is quite doable.

With no further ado, here is the code:

Read the rest of this entry »


  1. I’m trying to use SQS to send change notifications from a FreeBSD jail running on a FreeNAS server – a place were I’m uncomfortable installing the AWS CLI tool or the SDK. This also help explains all the FreeBSD compatibility written into the code []

הלקוח צודק, גם כשהוא מעצבן

August 10th, 2014

English: GSM Micro SIM card vs. GSM Mini SIM card

ניגשתי היום לנקודת שרות של סלקום בשביל לשחזר את כרטיס ה-SIM של הטלפון שאיבדתי (את הכרטיס, לא את הטלפון), וכשאיש השרות שאל אותי איזה סוג כרטיס אני צריך, עניתי לא בפשטות “הרגיל – מיני SIM”. מה שהוביל לויכוח האם קיים דבר כזה שנקרא “Mini-SIM” (רמז: קיים, זה מה שיש ברוב הטלפונים).

 

שזה כנראה היה טעות מצידי, כי איש השרות א) לא מבין במוצר שהוא מוכר (שזה לא מקרה מיוחד), אבל ב) משוכנע ש(חוסר) הידע שלו הוא הדבר הנכון ו-ג) מאוד לא סלחני לאנשים שמנסים להסביר לו שהוא טועה – מה שגרם לכך שקיבלתי שרות ממש גרוע ויחס מזלזל.

 

GNOME 3 Fails As A Desktop Environment

August 6th, 2014

Because if you don’t like exactly 100% what the GNOME developers think the desktop should look like, then too bad, you’d just have to suffer.

In addition to really annoying misbehaviors that I doubt anyone could justify (like the evolution color problem), here are the list of things that cause me to hate GNOME and will eventually cause me to reinstall KDE.

Full disclosure: I’m normally a KDE user and have been trying the latest GNOME using Fedora 21 pre-release. I expect that some of the things I mention below are bugs that will be fixed in time for the public release, and if so feel free to point them out. Also, I’m aware that some of the issues I have can be “fixed” by installing the GNOME Tweak tool or editing the dconf (the GNOME “registry”), but I don’t feel this is a valid way to build software – “if you want it to not be painful, you should be an advanced user”. Did I mention I love KDE?

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Why Microsoft Will Not Extend Windows 7 End-Of-Life

July 13th, 2014

[This is mostly a summary of a discussion on Google Plus, that you can find here]

Recap: The world (or at least clueless tech journalists) was surprised to learn (once they bothered to look it up) that Microsoft will not extends Windows 7 end of “mainstream support” – which is scheduled for January 2015 (about 6 months from now). This was all planned way in advance – Microsoft basically committed to end “mainstream support” in 2015 by not releasing any service pack for Windows 7 since the beginning of 2010, instead they want people to move to the next version of their software. In most normal software markets, this is a no-brainer – who have heard of a Macintosh user still clinging to Mac OS X 10.7? or an Adobe Photoshop user who refuses to upgrade past CS3? But instead you now hear calls for Microsoft to extends Windows 7 an artificial life line, like it did with XP.

And here’s why XP will never happen again:

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מתכון: עוף חמוץ מתוק (לא בצבע ורוד)

July 10th, 2014

הנה מתכון פשוט לאסקלופ(1) עוף, ברוטב לא בסגנון סיני או בצבע ורוד או משהו כזה, אבל כן בטעם חמוץ מתקתק. הרכיבים לארבע מנות.

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  1. כמו שניצל, אבל בלי הציפוי []

Microsoft vs. No-IP and the failure of the US legal system

July 9th, 2014

There is one thing that really troubled me about the Microsoft dynamic DNS fiasco that no one seems to talk about, which I really wanted to raise, but first here’s a short recap for those not in the know: Microsoft “cyber-security” department convinced a US federal court to issue an order to transfer 22 internet domains owned by the popular No-IP dynamic DNS service into their custody, in an attempt to remove specific hosts under those domains that are supposedly used as malware control centers.

The issue I have is very simple – under what conditions can it be possible for a private company, to ask a court to transfer ownership of a property from another private company? This sounds seriously like private policing and somehow it is endorsed by the judicial system ?!? Under what authority can something like this be allowed?

This situation is massively more grievous because the court order was given “ex-parte” – legalese for “without the other party appearing to defend itself”, but even if everything was over the table and in the clear, and the defending lawyer incredibly incompetent, what kind of argument a private entity can offer to get a court to simply transfer control of another private entity?(1).


  1. except obviously arguing that the property was stolen, which is clearly not the case []