6.28.2009

Losing my early adopter credibility?

Personal tech timeline:
  • 1986: I first used a computer (Mac Plus).
  • 1990: I designed birthday party invitations for my eleventh birthday using SuperPaint. (See this and comments for people waxing poetic about MacPaint!)
  • 1996: I got e-mail and first surfed the web (Lynx!). I remember the first time I saw a web browser with pictures! It was so cool--even cooler than when we got our first color TV circa 1986 (1984?).
  • 1996: I learned Adobe Illustrator (was that the layout program? I can't really remember what it was called).
  • 1997 or 1998: I taught myself HTML from a book and created my own website, hosted on Geocities, z"l.
  • 1998-1999: I had a Mac laptop. Laptops were only just beginning to become popular. Most of my friends during my freshman year of college only had desktops. (Note that I said "had" rather than "used." This laptop was a hand-me-down from my uncle, and the battery didn't work at all. It sometimes would randomly turn off in the middle of working on something, and the only way to get it to turn back on again was to take the battery out and slam it back in quickly while hitting the power on button. Also, I think that it had an Ethernet port, but no Ethernet card, so I'm not sure I could get on the internet with it. In fact, I'm fairly sure that I couldn't. So I mostly worked in the nearby computer lab or in the basement of Hillel.)
  • 1998-2003: I used Pine to check my e-mail in college, even after a web-based interface became available around 2001 or 2002. Pine was so much faster! (Attachments were a bit of a pain, though, since they required opening an FTP program.) When I graduated college, I got a free Unix shell account through Lonestar so I could just transfer my address book and all of my folders over without losing any data. I still have that account, and still (mostly) remember the important shortcuts in Pine.
  • 1998-2003: I backed up all my papers on the server, using FTP.
  • 1999: I got a laptop (blue, ibook, clamshell) without a floppy disk drive. This was seen as fairly insane at the time. I had a readable CD drive, but did not write to CDs. I mostly transferred files on and off using FTP, but I broke down eventually and bought an external floppy disk drive that I used maybe six times in all the years that I had and used this computer. I used this laptop continuously and all over the world from 1999 until 2004, when the "B" key issued it's last dying breath and the "S" and "I" keys were also sticky. Also, it didn't have a wireless card, which started being impractical around 2004.
  • 2000: I got my first cell phone (Qualcomm! Do they still make cell phones?) during my semester off from school. (I used it for about six months, then stopped service when I returned to school.)
  • 2001: I bought a Palm (actually, a Handspring, z"l) so I wouldn't have to drag my laptop around while I was doing thesis research in libraries in Israel and Cambridge. It lasted until early 2006, when I got a Palm T|X with WiFi to replace it. I still use the T|X, but the battery only lasts a few hours, so I don't use it much.
  • 2003: I joined Friendster. (Remember that?)
  • 2003 or 2004: I joined Facebook--one of the first 2200 to join!
  • 2004: I started my first blog (I think it was 2004--might have been 2003--it was a secret one that didn't last long).
So, why didn't I join Twitter until 2009?1 And what compelled me to join now? A client of mine (I'm doing freelance consulting) asked me what a Twitter was, and I felt like I had to join in order to shore up my claim as a young, technologically progressive person.

Here are some useful resources for anyone, like me, just joining Twitter now (so late in the game!):

Here are some recent articles about Twitter:

Here are some fun or useful feeds to follow on Twitter, if you're just getting started. You can click on the links and check them out even without being a Twitterer yourself.
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1. This is not quite a fair account of my life. For example, I did not purchase a digital camera until 2008, mostly because of financial considerations. I did not want to get a lousy one, and could not afford a decent one, so I stuck with my film camera. Also, I have never owned a cell phone that took photos or was smart in any way, shape, or form. Again, entirely an issue of not being able to afford either the phone or the data plan that would make a smart phone smart. There are surely other examples of general technological lag in my life that I am just not thinking of right now.

6.26.2009

The serious drinking problem of our generation

Hah hah hah! "You still drink out of metal, huh" is the best line I've seen in a comic in awhile. I just discovered "Pictures for Sad Children" because this one was "Digg"ed. And it is pretty funny, but nothing is as funny as "You still drink out of metal, huh" because it's so particular to the current time and place in which we find ourselves.

Until last spring (2008), I was drinking out of bad plastic water bottles like everyone else. You know, the thick plastic kind you can buy for $0.99 at CVS/Duane Reade/Long's or empty Poland Spring (or generic) water bottles refilled over and over again with tap water. Like everyone did! I even had a Nalgene (before they made them BPA-free), although I never managed to drink out of it without spilling water all over myself, even with the special insert for uncoordinated people.

Last spring, amidst all the BPA brouhahah, I switched to the new safer metal but...ugh...there was the cockroach incident. The cockroach incident was the one wherein I washed the bottle out and put it upside down to dry in the dish drainer overnight. I refilled it in the morning, screwed the top closed, and drank out of it all day. When I opened it to refill it later in the day, I saw a (live, skittering around) cockroach inside. That convinced me not to drink out of anything opaque. Ever again. (I did receive a lovely birthday present of a fancier, insulated, metal water bottle with a mesh cover that one could drink through--called an ice guard, I think--which could also be left in while drying, thus denying entry to wily, water-resistant cockroaches. It's too heavy to shlep around Jerusalem, but I hope to use it when I'm at a point in my life where I am sitting in one place for long periods of time and want to drink safe, chilled, cockroach-free water.)

Anyway, so after the traumatizing cockroach incident (which, incidentally, caused me no harm at all), I switched back to the old bad plastic. Specifically, refilled Mey Eden bottles with the colorful sports caps. They're a good size.

While in the US this past March/April, I got a new, good, BPA-free plastic bottle. But it seems to unscrew itself and spill everywhere, so I will ultimately need something newer/better to drink out of. Recommendations welcome. I want something I can drink out of without spilling all over myself (i.e., smallish opening), that I can drink out of quickly (not a sports cap that requires sucking rather than guzzling), that has or accepts a clip for attaching to the outside of a backpack, and that can be opened up fully for a thorough cleaning every once in awhile. I thought this bottle was it, and it was, except for its unfortunate tendency to open and spill everywhere.

What's does your drinking history look like?

Incidentally, when people started walking around with water bottles all the time (late 1990's? I don't really remember when it started, but know that people didn't used to walk around with water all the time, even in the summer when it was very hot), my maternal grandfather, z"l, commented to me about about how silly it looked to see adults drinking out of bottles like babies. I guess the ubiquitous sport-top water bottles reminded him of baby bottles. (They do look similar.) I told him that I preferred screw-top bottles, because they were easier to drink quickly out of, and he said that was better, but not by a whole lot.

Why did people start drinking so much water? Or at least, carrying it around with them? Are there fewer drinking fountains? Was there a spate of illness/death due to dehydration? Was it after the 8-cups-a-day thing was first publicized? (For more on this, see #4 here, #1 here, and this--she convinced me. If you don't trust random personal blogs written by people you don't know--and I don't know why you wouldn't!--see this.)

I don't drink eight cups of water a day, but I hate being stuck somewhere, very thirsty, without water. It happened earlier this year, when I was delivering food to people before Purim, after I had eaten two slices of salty pizza and had nothing to wash it down but a cup of Coke. I was so thirsty and there was a sink but nothing to drink water out of--it drove me crazy. I also walk a lot in the hot Jerusalem sun, so I think that dehydration could be an actual issue.

6.18.2009

Evening on Jewish Psychology--"Bereavement and Loss: Between Separation and Continuity"

There is what looks like a fascinating evening on "Jewish psychology" at the Begin Center, cosponsored by Beit Morasha of Jerusalem and The Rotenberg Center for Jewish Psychology.

Caveat: I am not 100% sure about this whole "Jewish psychology" thing. It might be ridiculous. I am curious, though.

The evening takes place next Wednesday, June 24, from 7-10 pm. The general topic of the evening is "Bereavement and Loss: Between Separation and Continuity." It costs 30 shekels and will be in Hebrew. Please pass this information along to anyone else you know who might be interested. Thanks!

The translation of the e-mail announcement (to the left or above, depending on your screen/browser width) is [links all mine!]:


Bereavement and Loss: Between Separation and Continuity

and

invite the public to
the annual evening of study of Jewish psychology
in memory of Boaz Rotenberg.

It will take place on Wednesday
2 Tammuz 5769
24 June 2009


at 7 pm



The translation of the poster, below, reads:

Annual evening of study of Jewish psychology
in memory of Boaz Rotenberg

Bereavement and Loss: Between Separation and Continuity

Wednesday
2 Tammuz, 5769
24 June 2009

7 pm
Opening Remarks
Mr. Meir Fechler (sp?), Executive Director of the Center for Jewish Psychology

Introduction to the Topic of bereavement and loss in Jewish psychology
Mrs. Michal Fechler (sp?), clinical psychologist

7:20 pm
Part A
8:00 pm
Part B
Panel: Coping with Actual Bereavement [I am not 100% sure that רב-שיח means "panel"--please let me know what it means if I'm wrong]
Moderator: Prof. Mordechai Rotenberg
  • Clinical Perspective
    Dr. Baruch Kahana, Lecturer in School for Social Work and in Clinical Psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    Mrs. Rut Gombo (sp?), clinical psychologist

  • Educational Perspective
    Rabbi Ronen Ben-David, Principal of Neveh Chana Boarding School

  • Midrashic Perspective
    Dr. Ido Hevroni, researcher in Rabbinic literature
9:45 pm
Concluding Remarks


Entry Fee: 30 NIS

Parking next to Independence Bell Park ("Gan HaPa'amon") or opposite the Har Zion Hotel

(between Independence Bell Park and the Cinemateque)

6.13.2009

Read It Later: Savior or Satan?

Back in October, I added an extension to Firefox called "Read It Later," thinking that rather than having twenty million tabs open in four different windows (which was causing Firefox to become unresponsive ("crash") at least once a day), I would just save things to this list and then I would, well, read everything later.

Well. It didn't quite work out that way. It seems that if I don't have time to Read It Now, I also don't have time to Read It Later.

Here is a selection of truly fascinating stuff from my Read It Later, as of April 23, 2009, most of which I still have not read. But maybe you will! (I don't really think you will. I am mostly posting this so I can delete all those bookmarks and get started on a new Read It Later list.)

Science, Health, Etc.

Language

Mental Health

Technology

Food

Gender

Families

Education

Fun

Israel

Judaism

Pesach

Obama, Etc. (remember, I started this list in October)

The Economy

Real Estate

Travel

World News

A Selection of New York Times Op-Eds

Misc

6.11.2009

מילונים, a.k.a., words and books combined into deliciousness

Ah, two of my favorite things!

Speaking of words, I am thinking of buying a decent, one volume, Hebrew-Hebrew dictionary at Shavua HaSefer in Jerusalem this week. I think they're likely to be better than most Hebrew-English-Hebrew dictionaries, certainly than the small or medium-sized paperback ones I've seen (Oxford, Bantam-Megiddo, Zilberman, etc.).

These were the ones that I saw for sale at the Hebrew University Akademon (university bookstore):





If nobody knows the difference between them, I will buy according to price and weight. Also, if someone/everyone is quite sure that the multi-volume Even Shoshan or multi-volume Alkali is much better, I will consider buying one of those instead. They're just much larger and heavier than any of these.

Also, if you're looking for the proper Hebrew word for mini-van, seek no longer! Courtesy of the Academy of the Hebrew Language:

מילה בלועזית

תרגום בעברית

מילה חדשה

passenger van

רכב המיועד להסעת 8–12 נוסעים ומטענם

סָעוֹן

מיני ואן

מכונית גדולה המיועדת להסעת 5–8 נוסעים ומטענם. בתקנות התעבורה מכונה רֶכֶב פְּרָטִי דּוּ-שִׁמּוּשִׁי

סְעוֹנִית

GPS navigator

התקן מערכת איכון המשמש לניווּט

נַוְטָן

GPS locator

התקן מערכת איכון המשמש לזיהוי מקום

אַכָּן

passenger capacity/limit

מספר האנשים המרבי שרכב יכול להכיל; לרוב בתחבורה ציבורית

דְּחֻסָּה

"שאטל"

כלי תחבורה המסיע נוסעים ממקום מסוים ואליו, לעתים תכופות או באופן סדיר ובדרך כלל אינו חלק ממערכת הת"ץ הסדירה

הֶסֵּעִית

"ח'אפֶּר"

רכב לא מורשה הנוסע במסלול של תחבורה ציבורית סדירה ו"חוטף" את הנוסעים מתחנות השירות הציבורי

חַטְפָנִית

[There is no word for this in English as far as I know.]

התקן המציג מסר בכתב או בסמל התקֵף בעת הארתו. למשל: סמל של סיגריה ועליו פס ביטול או סמל של חגורת בטיחות

מַזְהֵר. רבים: מַזְהֲרִים.

רמפה

כביש חיבור המשמש למעבר בין שתי דרכים באותו מחלף;

מֶחְבָּר

[I have no idea what this is]

רכב מסחרי לא-אחוד, מכונה טֶנְדֶּר

מִטְעָנִית

moving sidewalk

רצועה הנעה לאטה בהינע חשמלי המאפשרת לאנשים לעמוד עליה או ללכת עליה כדי לעבור ממקום למקום. בשימוש בנמלי תעופה

מַסּוֹעַ לֶכֶת

delivery van

רכב מסחרי אחוד

מִשְׁלוֹחִית

[merging and its opposite—dividing?; I don't think there's one word for this in English]

התמזגות והיפרדות סמוכות מאוד של כלי רכב הנוסעים באותו כיוון בכביש

הִשְׁתַּזְּרוּת


This was taken from here, the list of the Academy of the Hebrew Language's newly-approved Hebrew (non-cognate) words for transportation.