An alternative to Israel’s expensive Microsoft licensing dilemma

Interesting article on OnMSFT: Israel, scared off by Microsoft subscription deals, won’t renew Office licensing agreements:

Under the current deal with Microsoft, Israel pays about $27 million a year for Office on the desktop, Windows, and server software being used across the government. The ministry issued a bold statement, saying “This will also encourage government ministries to re-examine their needs of using Microsoft technology or switch to other technology alternatives.”

Open source solutions are worth exploring. I’d love to see Israel adopt something like
LibreOffice, especially for schools where PowerPoint slides have become the default choice for notices.

I think Linux also makes a lot of sense for most people who just default to Windows because their computers come with it (albeit at a cost).

Schools, in particular, shouldn’t be sitting with PCs running Windows 2000. They can probably revitalise their old PCs with a lightweight Linux distro, and give kids an opportunity to use them for more than just gaming.

Certainly a switch like this is only possible with an investment, but the longer term benefits must outweigh the initial costs.

Somehow the clouds make the heat less oppressive

It’s mid-Summer in this part of the world. It’s generally pretty hot, as you can imagine.

Somehow, having some cloud cover makes the heat a little less oppressive.

Fallen pods

It looks like the remnants of Spring are going away, as Summer digs in here in Israel. These pods have been falling from their trees for a couple weeks now. We had especially hot weather yesterday, and it seems to have accelerated the process. This morning, ground near these trees was covered in these dried up seed pods. I wanted to capture the scene before they’re swept away.

Pesach 2018

This Pesach is our third in Israel. We hosted the seder and had friends over. It was a good evening, and amazing food that Gina prepared. We also have leftovers that will keep us going for most of the rest of Pesach!

Here are a couple more scenes from our evening:

On The Way To Givatayim

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A view on the way to Givatayim this afternoon

I was walking with our kids to Givatayim this afternoon and paused along the way to capture this scene.

Givatayim, Tel Aviv District, Israel

The Great Israeli Umbrella Fraud

Each Winter, Israelis are taken in by the Great Israeli Umbrella Fraud, and someone has to speak out. Today, that someone is me.

As you may (or may not) know, Winter is our rainy season (it’s literally the only time of the year when we have rain). It’s cold, wet, and I like it (mostly). Each year, Israelis are tempted by a wide variety of rain resistance devices, commonly known as “umbrellas”.

They seem like a good idea, when it’s not raining.

And each year, Israelis buy these devices in the hope that they will protect them from volumes of water falling from the sky (ie, “rain”). Unfortunately, this belief is sorely misplaced.

You see, after what feels like 9 months of summer, we Israelis forget that, when it rains, we also often have wind, the strength and determination of which rivals saftas at a gefilta fish sale, the day before Pesach. In other words, the wind can be really strong and it hits you from the side, as if out of nowhere!

Not such a good idea, in the clear light of a cloudless day … after the fact.

At that point, all your well-intentioned plans to not get wet are dashed, like leaves and small creatures swept away by the torrents of rain water down the road beside you. Inevitably, your Rain Saviour is exposed for the sham it really is, and you are forced to abandon it.

Here’s the painful truth: umbrellas are a con that we fall for every year. The only good defence against the dark, rain-bearing clouds is a decent water-resistant jacket of some description.

Photo by Rhendi Rukmana on Unsplash

Yes, you feel more exposed being out there with nothing to hold above your head. But let’s face it, that thin membrane supported by a fragile metal frame is a false sense of cover, at best.

At worst, it’s another fraud perpetrated by seasonal umbrella sales people, taking advantage of those of us with very short memories, and a little anxiety about this strange change in the weather from unbelievably hot and dry to cold, very wet, and jetstream windy!

There is hope. It’s not too late.

Even though Winter already seems to be thinking about heading south, we may still have some wet weather ahead.

Discard your deceptive rain protection device and embrace the rain jacket. Stand tall, stoop only to keep your face pointing away from the deluge, and duck to avoid low hanging, dripping branches.

Ride out the rain for as long as we have it. It will soon be the other season and we can forget these challenges, at least until next year when all the umbrellas go on sale again.

Featured image by Todd Diemer on Unsplash

Sanity check: “Surely you jest?”, you may ask? Yes, I do. Mostly. 😊

What Palestinians ultimately want from Israel?

Quoted

Israel is a complicated place. The perennial question is how to achieve peace with our neighbours? That question begs another question: what Palestinians ultimately want from Israel? Alwyn Lau answered that question in his article “What do Palestinians want from Israel?” in MalayMail Online recently:

From my conversations with people who support Palestine, the answers usually remain non-specific. It would appear the only precise “demand” which would satisfy their notions of justice would be for Israel to give back ALL the land to the Palestinians.

In other words, the only solution on the table would be for Israel to cease existing as a state in Palestine.

I didn’t know that former Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians such broad terms in exchange for peace back in 2000. The proposal was probably accompanied by a requirement that the Palestinians acknowledge the State of Israel and commit to peace, both of which were probably deal breakers for Arafat.

Israel’s critics focus so heavily on the distorted narrative created by the BDS and its allies, that they completely ignore the efforts made to achieve peace in the last 70+ years.

The thing is, we aren’t going to just throw our hands up in the air, admit defeat, and sacrifice ourselves and our homeland.  We will continue to raise our families, build our communities, and preserve our connection to our home (unless, of course, we destroy ourselves from within).

In the meantime, peace will continue to elude us. But we can live with that. Literally.

Source: Shoshanna Jaskoll

Shoshanna Jaskoll's tweet linking to the article
“Three rarest of all things on Twitter: accuracy, honesty, and integrity when discussing Israel and the Palestinians.”

A passing view of Park Annabe

Park Annabe panorama

I had a couple things to do in the city this morning and my route took me past Park Annabe, one of Modi’in’s central features. The buildings along the horizon to the right are part of a new neighbourhood that is nearing completion.

A view of Park Annabe in Modi'in Maccabim Reut
Park Annabe, Modi’in Maccabim Reut, Israel

I’ve been meaning to come past this way for a couple weeks to update my photos of the new neighbourhood so I’m glad I had that chance this morning. I have a couple more photos on my DSLR that I’ll edit in the coming days.

Here are a couple photos I took with my DSLR:

26 June to 7 July walkabouts

26 June to 7 July walkabouts

I especially like this panorama that Lightroom stitched together for me:

26 June to 7 July walkabouts