Software as a service, dummy comment

I came across this post, regarding SaaS (Software as a Service) and enjoyed the reading and the explanation of benefits. Question is, what does the writer recommend?

I like this model, for small and large organizations, allowing shared work and cutting costs, especially now, when economy is hurting and organizations are cutting back.

But when it comes to networks, why would an organization outsource its most personal information to external services?

Learning, reading and researching now, hopefully will come out with some good examples for SaaS use.

West Hollywood, Halloween 2008

It’s been a year since last halloween in WeHo.

Much changed this past year, but that is not what I’d like to talk about.  Not even the extreme costumes (or lack of costumes or any clothes) that is usually discussed in regard to the WeHo carnaval.

It was a long weekend, starting with a decision no to dress up, and remain in my “israeli attire” - jeans, boots, t-shirt and a scarf.

The streets were crowded, costumes were used, occasionally, and I was pushing my way through with an Israeli friend who is living in WeHo for the next week or so.

He took many pictures, enjoyed the view, but ended up with a pretty well-thought summary of the event.

See, Halloween is not celebrated in Israel, since it is not a Jewish or National holiday.  Our excuse to dress up and wander around the streets is a holiday named Purim.  With that in mind, back to my Israeli friend and his thought.

People here in LA spend, in general, more thought, effort and time on their costumes.  However, people in Israel seem a lot happier on the dress-up holiday.

I could not argue with the man.

Purim in Israel, for adults as well as youngsters, is a fun holiday.  Instead of “Trick or Treat” there is a tradition of giving friends and family a “Mishloach Manot”, an assortment of goods, having a chance to visit one another and strengthen the sense of friendship and community.

There is more to the holiday than dressing up and getting wasted in various parties (although that aspect is also celebrated by most).

As my favorite owl commented on my previous post, Jewish holidays tend to carry the spirit of “they tried to kill us, failed - let’s eat!”.  All I can think of when it comes to Halloween, from speaking to friends, is that it’s party night.  If it weren’t for my college professor, I wouldn’t even know that Halloween is a historical day in Christianity, when Martin Luther posted his 95 thesis, an act that led to the start of protestant Christianity.

Reading this blur of thoughts over, I guess this experience made me wonder - where’s the substance in all is going on?

Tradition

As high-holidays went by, and the new Jewish year seems to be going just fine, I wanted to take a moment and reflect, being a logical thing to do, as an old year has wrapped up and a new one has just begun.

Holidays and tradition, when far away from home, family and friends, feel a little different.

As opposed to having a large mass of family time and guilt, trembling before god and newspapers on Yom Kippur fast, when (according to Jewish tradition) god signs the books of life and death and our sentence is sealed - Celebrating that holiday in LA, where each is to his own, has a different feeling.

Whereas I haven’t always enjoyed high holidays (or any holiday) in Israel, having family obligations and feeling trapped in a godforsaken city, where there’s nothing to do - they actually meant something. Los Angeles, and the US in general, do not commemorate the day.

Yom Kippur in Israel means lack of television, since all channels cease to broadcast. There are no cars out on the streets. All stores and services are closed. Newspapers are filled with memories, researches and articles of the Yom Kippur war of 1973, where Israel was taken by surprise and drawn into a bloody war, that had no real winners. There’s a sense of holiness in that day. Where all walk around the city for hours, half the night, trying to exhaust themselves in order to sleep in the next day, having the fast go by a little quicker.  Many secular people fast, take restrictions upon themselves, and the whole day is a halt.  A chance to get away from the everyday life and reflect.  Think about our actions so far, who we’ve wronged, and how to become a better person.

Yom Kippur in LA, on the other hand, is just like any other day.  Only those who observe it notice there is something different about the day.

This was supposed to be a fun, amusing, witty post, but I guess I’m in a strange mood, once again.  Feeling the differences and gaps between my past and present.

LA is not bad at all.  West Hollywood is pretty darn amazing, but there’s this magic in Israel this time of year, that I wish I had experienced.

There are some good people in West Hollywood

West Hollywood, my joy, my home, my everything.

I was driving back from Fiesta Hermosa, after a long day of helping out friends with selling 3d books and cards, when suddenly, Mike (my car) started saying my tires didn’t have enough pressure in ‘em.

Freaking out over pulling into a gas station in a place I don’t know - I drove back to my favorite WeHo, to find a station where I can fill up some air.

Being the talented person that I am - I ended up in a station that had medival-style air pump, which means I couldn’t figure it out.

Apparently it was quite noticeable, since the good man working at the station came out to see what I’m trying to do.  The deal was “simple”.  I had to pump air, then a little indicator would pop up saying how much air is in the tire.  I tried.  Couldn’t see a thing.  Mike kept saying it wasn’t happy with the tire pressure.

So the good man took out his glasses, and a lighter, and made the air pressure gizmo work again, while bending down to my tires, pumping up air.

When a costumer walked into the little station, he had to go inside, which is when the gas delivery truck drove in, parking behind me.  The driver told me it’s a matter of thirty minutes or so, to drop off the gas, and that he’d wait for me to finish fixing up the air pressure, so I don’t get stuck.  Since I didn’t know how long it’ll take the good man to give me a hand again, I told the driver to go ahead.  Would feel pretty lousy if I made a man’s job taking any longer than it should have.

Good man came out again, and after another round - Mike was good to go.  I thanked the good man, and tried to offer money for his help, but he wouldn’t hear about that, and went back to the station, smiling.

I tried backing out, figuring there was enough room for my little car to get out, but was hesitant, due to the huge gas truck, parked behind me.

As I stopped to pull forward (figuring move menuveouring was better than hitting a gas truck), the truck driver came out and gave me directions.

2.5 mintues later and I’m home.

Worn out from a long weekend, but glad to see that good people can be found when you least expect them to show.

Academic Freedom

n.  Liberty to teach, pursue, and discuss knowledge without restriction or interference, as by school or public officials.

For the past Semester and a half, I’ve been a student at a community college, not far from home.

This semester, I’ve been taking a History 11 course, dealing with American History up until the Reconstruction Era (which was quite a while ago, if I’m not mistaken).

When a professor rambles on about topic not related to course materials, attacking the United States structure, government.  Claiming that the United States is a predator.  Why does it count as academic freedom?

going back, over and over again, to the claim that the US is only after oil.  That there is no United States.  Only us (public) against THEM (rich people, the Polity of our days).  And THEM are taking our money and drinking it up.  Why does THAT count as academic freedom?

Ending the 15 minute ecstatic speech with the notion that Iraq was first, Iran is next and that the CIA killed JFK, using more and more Marxist terms when reviewing topics, ignoring students moving uncomfortably in their chairs as he goes on and on about racism, religion and OIL.  (Oil comes up a lot).  Academic freedom, again?

Academic freedom is key here.  It does not matter that course materials are mostly untouched, since the instructor keeps losing track of his (terribly planned) presentation, being carried away into long speeches about the topics above.

The most important thing is:

we are committed to academic freedom, but recognize that academic freedom precludes discriminatory conduct from anyone.  The discussion of diverse ideas, which is an integral part of course content is not discrimination.  An essential part of education is to encourage opinion and explore ideas, which may cause some students discomfort. Faculty have the right to teach, students the right to learn

Where does the college stand in regard to Academic Freedom when classes are not taught properly? Or is it not important, what is actually taught in class, as long as the instructor has his damned academic freedom

School is Session

Class notes are here

“Thy children shall come again to their own border” - Jeremia 31,17

Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were returned to Israel on Wednesday morning.  2 years of uncertainty came to an end with the sad truth of their death.  2 years of two families and a whole country worrying, hoping and praying for their safety.  Hizbolla, acting almighty, decided to keep that information to itself, to get a better “deal” for the return of their bodies.  War and conflict are inhuman.

On such an emotional day, I’d rather cry with the Goldwasser and Regev families, and hope for a quick and happier ending in the Gilad Shalit abduction. The young soldier, who is pretty much my age, being held in Gaza for over two years.

A young friend on mine wrote about this Wednesday morning.  I’m still trying to believe that they are gone.  Never gave up the hope of them returning alive.

If only world peace was a reality, and not a beauty queen candidate answer…

Hancock (beware - spoilers)

Hancock, John Hancock, is a superhero.  Not the nerdy spiderman or superman, but a filthy drunk who scares children, women and dogs.  He’s got an attitude and I like it.

Problem is when he saves a PR specialist, who in return decides to help him change his image in the public eyes.

This is where the movie goes downhill.  From a movie that could have finally given us a fun superhero (and no, hellboy does not count) - it turns into a CHEEEEESY chic-flick.  with happy endings, love, care and that annoying need for the egocentric superhero to do good.  As Adam Sandler says in “little nicki” - Release the GOOD (before or after he covers Henry Winkler with bees…

A fun to view movie, a nice idea and a lousy script.  who comes up with this crap anyway?

John Hancock is the one superhero we all like to see.  A human (sort of) with ups and downs, with temper, ‘tude and that ability to blow up roads, highways and buildings without anything bad happening, except for 500 or more warrants for his arrest, ones that could not be enforced (no one messes with the Zohan, ehmm, Hancock)

So here’s a quick thanks to my buddy Frank who suggested that we watch a movie.  You rock, man (not that he’ll ever see this short, confused post, but still…)

Night y’all.  all y’all one and a half humans who read.

George Carlin meets the grim reaper

George Carlin passed away on June 22, just 4 days ago, in Santa Monica, right here in California.

I only made the connection between the name and the man today, as I watched his Defrags the 10 Comandments on YouTube.

I first saw George Carlin perform in the Bill&Ted movies, later in Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob strike back.

This post doesn’t seem to flow that well today, too much work on my hands, but I just wanted to mention this talented man, encourage you to view him on YouTube and get a few laughs.  Look for a piece called “Seven Dirty Words“.  It is hilarious, but too inappropriate for me to link directly to.

George Carlin died this week.  So it goes.

Have a funny day, y’all.

Flow

There’s something about standing in front of a class, or a group of people, presenting.
I usually freak out before.  Just a little.  or a lot.  And then it happens - the flow.

The flow is this stage when all the pieces are put together.

I was working with a small class yesterday about blogging.  It was more of a technical class, using a specific technology (Angel ePortfolio) that we use at the college.

After the nervousness I was feeling as I was preparing for the class, all it took was for the professor to introduce me to the class - and I went into my instructor mode.  Words, descriptions, anecdotes and ideas flew out, putting the whole process in a logic structure, and there I was.  Giving a presentation, and it wasn’t that bad.

This ability grew into me.  or perhaps I grew into it.  When I first started here, several months ago, I had to meet with a class, give them an introductory to PowerPoint and public speaking.  I froze, sweat, stutter and lost all my words.  Only once I shifted to a more workshop type of approach, things went into place.

Since then I gave approximately 12 workshops and a presentation.

The workshops were work related, but I really wanted to mention the presentation.  It was my final exam for my English 101 course.

My final paper was not completed properly.  Mostly due to a week of illness that caught me off guard, and somewhat due to some other issues.  The final exam was a presentation.  Each student had to stand up and present his/her final paper.  It was to be a 5 minute long presentation.  Covering our topic, the research process, conclusions and a nice “what if…” question, which was more of a “well… you wrote a paper, now what?”.

Final exam day arrived.  I wrote some notes on my pretty Mac, but haven’t had a chance to print them.  One by one students stand up, all holding papers, reading some, explaining some, and I knew that with my bad paper I needed to shine.

My turn is coming up and it clicks.  I leave my laptop behind.  flying solo.  I stand up and present my topic - “US military presence in South Korea”.  My research was based on original agreements and official documentation, avoiding opinionated articles.  US was “abusing” its power, I even compared it to two characters from Titus Andronicus, and I ended my little presentation with a summary.  US was not playing nice, ok.  It happens, but it’s in the past.  The US revised its methods and the agreements, and is doing pretty well.  What next?  well, use that change and study it, applying correct methods to future agreements.  The US already did that with its new agreement with Bulgaria.

As I was speaking, I carried an occasional glance to the board, where my posted notes were projected.  I made eye contact with a few students, related to other presentations and smiled at my professor as I ended my presentation.  It went very well.

So here is my bit of advise on presentations, which may not be all that good, but works for me pretty well:

  • Know your material.  improvising is good, I do it often, but it has to have some grip in reality.  so — PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE.
  • Be confident.  What’s the worst that can happen?  someone getting bored?
  • Make eye contact.  Don’t read off notes or the screen.  Pick a person who smiles encouragingly at you, and talk to them.  look around the room occasionally.  People like attention - give it to them.
  • Relate to others. Give examples that most people can relate to.  Don’t be afraid to give an example that shows you in a funny light.  it’s human.  In my powerpoint workshops, when I go over color schemes I often tell the participants that I use the pre-loaded ones, because the guys at Microsoft know how to match colors better than I do, pointing at my not-always-matching-amazingly clothes.  It gets a couple of laughs and it calms everyone down.
  • Summarize your whole topic at the end, emphasizing the important points.  That way your message gets across.
  • Thank. Thank your audience for their time and patience.
  • Smile in relief.