December 27, 2012

A Long Long Time Ago

I remember when there used to be a time, say twelve years ago or so, when there were not so many books in English in the bookstores in Israel.
I'm not saying that there were no Pratchett books in the stores at the time, I'm just saying that there was no way of knowing what you'd find in there, and the new hardcover books were REALLY Expansive.
The Truth of the matter is that things did not greatly improve in the past twelve years, but they have somewhat improved.
The big difference was Amazon (including the UK branch). There was a fairly long period of time during which I used to order books from the UK Amazon, and in particular Pratchett books in the hardcover versions.
The delivery did not take long, and there was the knowledge that for a short while you had a book that no one else in Israel had.
But these days are over.
How do I order the new Pratchett books? More about that in the next post.

November 27, 2012

Onwards to Amazon

Nowadays people probably need reminding that the Amazon, is also a name of a river, or that the Amazons were a legendary tribe of female warriors.
Probably no one needs reminding that Amazon is also the name of a leading online retailer.
My relationship with Amazon has known some downs throughout the years, but mostly it has been a good one, with many more successes than failures.
In the next few weeks I intend to explore my relationship with this company, which will lead us forward to other, perhaps greener pastures in the future of this blog,
So stay tuned...

November 20, 2012

I know it's a bit early to make this decision but...

I know it's a bit early to make this decision but I've decided so I might as well share my decision.
I've reviewed Apple, and then Microsoft and then Google, and my next company to review is Amazon, which will be short, or so I think right now, anyway...
Sorry for spoiling the surprise - I have a Kindle Fire, and I'm not too pleased with it, for reasons that I promise to detail soon.
So here's the thing - ever since the iPad came out I started thinking what is the best way to do computing assuming that there are at least four 'sizes' - desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone.
I think that starting late next year my model is going to be desktop and tablet.
I'm going to get a nexus 7, both for me and for my older son.
My daughter already has a Asus tablet, so it should all work out.
Nexus 7 looks like and affordable way to do what I want to do on the road - mostly games, web surfing, mail and Google Docs.
Will tell you how it all worked out - but that will be more than a year from now!

November 10, 2012

My Browser is Chrome

I can't even explain why I think this new 'Jam with Chrome' app is so great.
I mean We've had tons of music apps for chrome, and it's not like I'm going to start a band now that Jam with Chrome exists.
But it's cool, and it's cheaper then Garage band, and it takes less memory. So you may call me silly, but I like it.
I also really like Chrome, in all of its manifestations - On Linux, On Windows (I've installed it dozens of times just for the day on Ben Gurion University's computers), on iOS (so much easier to handle Gmail through Chrome than through that annoying Mail iOS app...)
I wonder if this Jam with Chrome works for android tablets, because if it does, and probably also if it doesn't...
More about this next week.

October 30, 2012

Let Me Tell You What I Did Last Summer

This blog is going to change directions in the next little while.
For the past year or so I've discussed, Apple, and then Microsoft, and then Google.
I'm almost done with that.
Going to devote a post or two more to Google (next week), and then one or two or three to Amazon, And then I think I'll focus on the coming Israeli elections for the next few months.
After that we'll see...
But before that, I would like to apologize or at least explain:
I have started this blog several years ago, in the past year or so I have posted fairly regularly, and then suddenly stopped.
The reason for this is that I pretty much had to change my whole life around in the past few months.
Suffice it to say that I had a pretty steady income writing curricula for the US education system, and now I more or less work as a teacher in Israel, and studying to get my Israeli teaching licence.
On the one hand that makes me very busy.
On the other hand I do much less writing on a regular basis, so that should leave some more 'writing time' for this blog...
I think I'll be able to post more regularly here, at least in the coming few months.

September 11, 2012

I'm Sorry to Say This But...

Google Adwords is not really working for me.
First I wanted to use Google Adwords to publicize my blogs, that was maybe three years ago, but then I thought to myself, hey, I'm going to use money to get readers? Really?
So I decided not to do it.
Next, almost two years ago I started to sell ebooks (at the site, they're really nice guys, but that's not our topic for today...).
About a year ago I managed to convince Shlomit Guy (site in Hebrew) to sell her book also as an ebook in the Mendele store (it's a book about her adventures with English Soccer, which is actually called Football, but that is also not our topic for today...)
It sold for 40 NIS (about 10$), while selling at the stores the print version for 89 NIS (about 20$), I thought it was a bargain.
I advertised it for about two months, spending a bit more than 600 NIS (more than 150$) on the campaign. The result - one copy sold. The next quarter, no campaign, and again - one copy sold.
Right now I'm running an Adwords campaign for my book (kindle edition), so far it looks like the results are not much better...
So this whole theory about how if only you spend less on Google Adwords than you actually sell, and how that can make you into an instant millionaire? maybe some day, but apparently not today...

September 4, 2012

I Really Wish Google Books and Google Music...

Would work well in Israel.
It's not that Google books does not work at all. I can search books .
A bit more then twenty years ago, someone told me that if I wanted to improve my bridge, I should read Why you lose at bridge by S J Simon. I did, but sadly it's very hard to find this book now.
Once I could read some of it at Google Books, but now they only tell you about the book, and point you to the Amazon website: 38.95$ is a bit steep for me...
Google books does show some books by Martin Gardner, but you can't buy any books from the site itself (or Google play store, or whatever you want to call it...)
I hope they'd let us use it someday, even in the middle of the middle east.
I have even less to say about Google Music. I just doesn't exist here...

August 29, 2012

Unconventional Uses Of Google Maps

For some odd reason 'The Gun Seller' by Hugh Laurie was only translated to Hebrew in 2011. Maybe because the TV show House was in its last season, and everyone was talking about it.
Anyway, I bought this book at a discount (the infamous 'four books for 100 NIS').
I initially bought it because my wife asked for it, but then some time last week, I read it.
It's an OK book. Funny to read a book written in 1996 as if it's new, when the most terrible thing the guy can say about arms dealers is the first Gulf War (1991).
Anyway, at the end of the book our hero is in Casablanca, and the writer says that its a very boring industrial city.
I wanted to check him on that one. As far as I can tell it looks more like a French city then an industrial city in the English speaking world.
On the way to Casablanca, I stopped for a short visit to Tangier and Tetuan, two cities dear to the writer Mois Benarroche; he was born in Tetuan, and only came to Israel at the age of 12.
It was a lovely trip.

August 26, 2012

Public Google docs

Let me start off with an apology. I hope to write this blog on a weekly basis, but in fact I have not written in it in the past few weeks. Let's just pretend that I had and unexpected summer holiday, and get on with business.
The business I was at before the 'holiday' was Google Documents.
I was about to say that the next phase in my Google Document 'career' is to start making public documents.
Now don't get me wrong, I fully intend to start making public Google Documents in the coming year, it's just that so far I didn't get around to it.
You see, before making a document, such as my MA thesis about speculative fiction in Hebrew Literature, I need to complete it, and then translate it.
So, in short, writing blog posts is easier...

July 31, 2012

Non Intervention

Usually I don't talk about Politics, and even this week when I will have something to say about politics, I will try to make it as blurry as possible.
You see, there has been a fine tradition in US Israeli relations.
According to this fine tradition, each party refrains from stating his (or her) preferences about the other party's Politics.
Thus, for instance, if there is a US Presidential race going on right now, than the Israeli Prime Minister in particular, and all of Israel's Members of Knesset in general will refrain from stating their opinions about the aforesaid Presidential elections.
I don't think it will be too much to state my own opinions about Israeli politics though, since I am Israeli, right?
Well, Israel has many parties (I think something like ten in the current Knesset), of this embarrasingly rich tapestry, I now support the Israel Labor Party, and its head Shelly Yachimovich (see picture above).
The Israel Labor party only has something like five seats (out of 120) in the current Knesset, but is considered the major opposition to the current Prime Minister, and up to about two weeks ago  Shelly Yachimovich, was indeed the head of the Opposition.
So it was very nice according to this policy of Non-intervention that our Prime Minister hosted Mitt Romney so nicely here last week, allowing him to raise more the 1M dollars in campaign money, and it was also nice on his part that he cancelled his planned meeting with  Shelly Yachimovich.
I think this is a beautiful policy all around, and I intend to keep this wonderful policy of Non Intervention.
I will not say anything about the US Presidential race!

July 25, 2012

Using Google Docs - Part II - Google docs and Creative writing

Perhaps now is the right time to say this: I've introduced at least thirty people to Google Docs, and taught them how to use it.
I can't say all of the cases were resounding successes, but some of the more interesting cases were last year when I taught creative writing in Beer Sheva.
You see, quite a few of the kids I taught were originally from the Former Soviet Union (mainly from Russia and the Ukraine).
The cool thing was that when they first opened their Google Docs account, the menus were all in Russian. This really helped some of them get along!
On the other hand I also teach creative writing at the Beer Sheva Municipal Library. There my students are a bit older (the median age is above sixty). 
Not all of my library students have gotten the hang of Google Docs, but the ones that have? let me tell you! it makes working on a manuscript so much easier!

July 18, 2012

Using Google docs - Part I - My First Google Doc

I guess that just like the rest of us I use Google products such as Google Search, or Google image search, or even Google maps occasionally.
Google Docs is very different. It is my main word processor (I only use the spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs rarely, still haven't figured out what the charts are good for...) and thus I use it almost every day. 
Looking just now at the list of my 'recent' Google drive files, I must have more than a thousand docs in there, maybe two thousand, and about a half were written originally on Docs.
But you never forget your first one, right?
So my first Google Doc is a business plan from February 2009. It's a plan to market a computer game, and it came to nothing (so far).
But the convenience! I typed it on my computer, and my prospective business partner (who also happens to be my uncle) could see it on his computer, and edit it, and I could see his edits, and so on!
I thought it way cool at the time.
I still think so today...

July 10, 2012

Introducing a New Blog

Yesterday I started a new blog:
This new blog will deal with stories about Mathematics and Science, just as its name suggests.
My initial inspiration for this new blog was the discovery of the 'Higgs Boson'. You are welcome to read (a little) more about it in the blog itself.

PS. If all goes well I will start another blog later this week, and report about it here next week...
PPS this blog will start being a lot more 'About literature' in the near future...

July 3, 2012

Newsflash: Feeling of Power

I didn't think I'd do it this soon, but yesterday I published my first book on kindle!
We are talking here about my book Keter Malchut that I've published in Hebrew in 2007.
It contains five science fiction and fantasy stories in an Israeli setting.
This book is my first effort in publishing, so there are many things that I'd do differently today, but hey it's only 2.99$!
Mainly I wanted to see how this whole 'Publishing to kindle, and selling electrons to (potentially) the entire world' works.
I guess I will find out pretty soon.
Here is the link to the Kindle book.
Here is the link to my Author page.
I also made a Createspace Print on Demand book today - Wow, busy day!
Feel free to share this information, of course!

June 26, 2012

Techunix Ruled!

Googling Techunix I found out that different people may mean different things when using it, so for the purposes of this blog post, I mean the Unix Server that used to do Pine mail at the Technion institute of technology.
For long spells of time I thought it was the coolest mail server ever! I mean I was a student for the longest time, and I had free mail! Cool!
Then I stopped being a student, the year was 2000 or so, and I thought they would let me keep my mail forever, but no!
I had to get mail from my ISP. I had to pay for it, and where was that cool thing of accessing your mail from everywhere?
Then along came Gmail with its 1GB of free space. I was ecstatic. This was not only mail, it was also a backup of all my files!
I begged my friends and finally got an invite in 2004. Immediately I invited anyone who asked for an invite.
I took me several months to switch all my mail to Gmail, but from 2005 - I never looked back!

June 19, 2012

Back in 2000 I really loved Ask Jeeves!

When I started using the internet graphically, in late 1995, I loved Yahoo.
I loved the whole 'browsing down a file system' experience. It reminded me of going to the library, and this library was growing every day!
Then Altavista came along, and it was really cool! it found what I wanted... mostly.

After that it started to clutter with other search engines, and I knew what I had to do: ask Jeeves!
"Jeeves" was the name of the "gentleman's personal gentleman", or valet, fetching answers to any question asked. This character, based on Jeeves, Bertie Wooster's fictional valet from the works of P. G. Wodehouse, was really good at finding answers on the World Wide Web, because it brought answers from five different search engines and you could pick your favorite.
I really don't remember why I finally switched to Google, But I think there were three major reasons:
  • Google Image search,
  • Google was waaay better in Hebrew,
  • At one point or another the Ask people stopped showing other search engines, and focused on their own engine. pity.

June 13, 2012

The Problem With Microsoft

In the past few weeks I have been trying to make the case that as far as I'm concerned, Apple may have had many 'great' products, but Microsoft had even more.
While some of the software I've reviewed here (more like reminisced about) was indeed made by Microsoft, other software just ran on a Microsoft platform.
I don't think that this is an important distinction. If you can make a great software platform (like Windows used to be), and other people build great software on it, you deserve at least some of the credit for that.
So why did it all stop working?
  • First of all, I'm not sure it stopped working, could be just that I got tired of paying for software, when there are free substitutes (both in the free speech and free beer sense), that are as good or better (IMHO).
  • Second, I think that the old software base, and the need to be loyal to it, just dragged the company for too long, and now it may be too late.
  • Third, I think ESR makes a good point - closed software tends to become buggy and bulky with time.
It's a shame really, but I think we won't see much good software from Microsoft any more...

June 7, 2012

Once I thought Internet Explorer 4 Was The Coolest Browser Ever!

The year was 1998, and I was working for a medical software company (not sure I can say what it was, and it sure sounds much cooler when it's a secret).
I was sitting in front of the computer something like eight hours a day, and since I had no girlfriend at the time, I went back home and browsed some more...
Once I even heard of something called an MP3 file. Supposedly, if you could download such a file, it would give you be a three minute song, with only 4 megs (as opposed to something like 40 megs for a 'regular' audio file).
Can't say I found that many at the time, but the idea was way cool!
Where did I get this idea? From the Economist web site!
How did I browse it? With IE 4!
Plus IE4 had Channels! Way Cool!
In 2004 I switched to Firefox, in 2008 I switched to Chrome. Never looked back.
Wait, actually I DID look back several weeks ago at IE 10. I'm staying with chrome!

I know this is the 'old' chrome picture, but I liked it better...

June 1, 2012

Once I Thought Starcraft Was the Best Game Ever

I think it was January 1998. I went to the store, I saw a copy of Starcraft, and I bought it right away. 
I may have even read about it something on the web. Something along the lines of: 'The game was finally released after a ridiculously long wait'. I had no idea what they were talking about. I didn't wait for it, and I've never played any Blizzard games (like Warcraft) before it.
The honest truth is that to the present day I (almost) haven't played any other Blizzard games besides Starcraft I.
But Starcraft I was a cool game. I pretended to be sick one Sunday (here Sunday is a work day) just so I could finish all of the original missions. I was something like 28 YO at the time...
I bought it for my 10 YO cousin. Heck I even played a little on battle net. and of course I bought and played Brood war...
But I never even thought of buying Starcraft II. It's too expensive, and maybe I'm getting to old for it.
In the past few weeks me and my almost 7 YO son are busy playing Kingdom Rush.

May 22, 2012

Once I thought With Visual Basic I Could Program Anything

Truth of the matter: the first Visual Basic I tried was not a version I bought, though I can't for the life of me remember if I had a demo version on one of the disks I did buy (such as office 97), or I downloaded a free version from the web, or I downloaded an illegal version.
Come to think of it, I think it came on one of the disks, and I think it was before web times, and I'm pretty sure I did not try it on my computer, but rather on my girlfriend's computer. Sometime in 1993, or 1994.
I tried to create a simple adventure game. Something that would display some text and a picture, and then move you to some other 'place' also with a text and a picture, depending on what you clicked.
In other words, something that is easy to do today with HTML only...
I was so impressed with VB back then! I could do all of these things, and let's face it, the interface was amazing!
today, there is nothing that can match the simplicity and the elegance it had back then, including, sadly, the newer versions of VB.
that left me seriously hoping that Dart would evolve nicely...

May 15, 2012

Once I Thought Excel Was a Great Tool

I taught Math or something like Computer Literacy to children several times, in several different schools, to different ages.
For several years I thought that Excel was a great tool for doing that.
I mean, isn't it Great?  you put '1' in Square A2 (you need A1 for the title)
then you put =a2+1 in A3. Then you copy all the way down to A41, and there you have the numbers from 1 to 40, right there...
Then you do them multiplied by 10 in column B, Squared in column C, and Cubed (divided by 10) in column D. Then you do a graph...
So much math. All of it done by the students themselves. takes so little time.
And you can also do Pascal's triangle...
No wonder I thought excel was a great tool.
But this little graph you see above?
I made it with Google Documents.
For starters, I didn't have to pay for the software...

May 8, 2012

Once I thought I could rule the world with auto summarize

Let me say this right from the start: Microsoft Word 97 was a REALLY good word processor. I might even say, the best word processor I have ever used, though Google docs starts to come close.
You could put pictures right into your documents, and it didn't even crash your computer. There were tons of fonts...
And also,  Word 97 was the first (and last) Microsoft word processor I had a legal copy of. There were even more cool Hebrew fonts on the CD itself, if you only knew where to look, and I looked all over the CD.
Then there was auto summarize. It highlighted the important 20 percent in your document. I was really impressed with that. I thought it could be used to create a machine that would pass the Turing test...
Maybe I was a little too enthusiastic on that account, but still, it was a heck of a good deal. It only cost me something like 30$ on the computer store (gone since then) at the Hebrew university, up on Mount Scopus.

May 1, 2012

Little Big Adventure

So, like I said two weeks ago, in the fall of 1995 I moved back to Haifa, and got myself a Pentium 90.
I was starting my graduate studies in Economics, but that only started in late October, and I moved in mid September. Also, it took me some time to find jobs to fill the free time I had from my scheduled studies.
That means I had a lot of free time on my hands, and most of it went to playing Little Big Adventure. It was a cool adventure game, all in 3D, and very difficult.
You are the hero of the game, and you begin imprisoned in an asylum. since you can't save your progress until the end of a chapter (or something like that) I had to play the first chapter something like fifty times!
I still remember the line: 'A prisoner has escaped! Sound the Alarm!' as if it was yesterday.
I'm sad to say (Maybe I should be happy to say it?) that I never finished that game. It was too difficult, and soon my work schedule, and my studies schedule started filling up.
It was a good game though. I still wonder how it ends.

PS, I also never figured out why the elephant...

April 24, 2012

Newsflash: Winning the Amichai prize

Sometime in 2008 my friend Pavel from Ashan Hazman (Note, link in Hebrew, it's a really cool bookshop + Pub + Bar + Rock concert place in Beer Sheva), told me that the poet Mois Benarroch was trying for years to publish a poetry book, but no publisher wanted to take it.
I said I'd be glad to do it. I like the guy's poetry, and I thought that it was turned down by other publishers for spurious reasons.
Like anything else in publishing, it took a longer time than we thought, and it ended up costing more money (though compared to the two books I published just before that, it was relatively cheap).
We ended up publishing it in late 2010, the cover designed by yours truly (I did not do the painting, and I think the cover design is pretty awful...)
We never sold too many copies, but never mind, the guy deserved to be published.
Then earlier this week it was announced officially that the book won the Yehuda Amichai prize for poetry in 2012. I was ecstatic. this one will go down in history. Though I have to wander if that also means it's going to sell better...
PS. just to show you that this did not go to my head, I promise to go back to windows 95 games next week. (Al, sorry for the delay, I hope you understand...)

April 17, 2012

Windows 95

In September 1995 I moved back to Haifa after my BA studies at the Hebrew university. At the time I also split with my girlfriend after we have been together for something like seven years on and off. This meant that I had way too much time on my hands, which is always a dangerous thing.
So one of the things I did with my time was get a computer. It was really expansive compared to today's computers, and (something like 2000$), but it was also really powerful. I was a Pentium 90 MHz!
At first I only had windows 3.1 (my alert readers know how I had it...), but then pretty soon I 'obtained' windows 95.
What wonderful software did I run on it?
For that, dear readers, you will have to wait until the next week.

April 10, 2012

Word for Windows

When I told you about doing the booklets for Noam, I was not telling the whole truth. The whole truth is that we had to print out all of the booklets on a windows computer before we could do the graphic design in Kibbutz Hannaton.
So we had everything in Word for windows 2.0 the Hebrew version (back in the day they had to make a Hebrew version for every word processor, apparently now they don't, at least not for Microsoft word...)
It was a terrible piece of software. It got stuck even on very small files, and our files were not so small (though we did split every booklet to at least four files, which meant we had something like 24 files to print). for some reason, even though the files were only something like 20 pages each, it would not print more than about five at a time...
We did it all on Friday, and just finished in time for Shabbat...
That was 1994.
As these things go, we had to do a complete rewrite of the booklets by 1995, and print them out again. This time it was really easy. Everyone (the writers, the designers, me, the printers...) had Hebrew Word for Windows 5.0 (I'm not saying they were all legal copies...)
But we had no problems at all. We could do nifty graphic design (Columns, pictures...) and we could print 20 page files no problem.
That's when we finally switched to Windows, and didn't have to go to Kibbutz Hannaton to print...

April 4, 2012

Windows 3.1

Back in 1993, Israel has started the Oslo peace process with the Palestinians, and me and my girlfriend moved to a new apartment. These were heady exciting days...
1993 was second year university (the Hebrew University in Jerusalem) for both of us, and during the first year we both lived in the dorms, she with a friend (female), and me with five roommates (all male). This was also fun, but second year we wanted to really try being a couple. 
I hope I won't sound really weird by saying that one of the advantages was that we had her computer. I can only justify this by saying we needed a computer for our studies (me sort of, she really), and that we both worked on it for our jobs (informal Jewish education, we sort of worked together).
Anyway, in the 1990s Israel was known as the one diskette country. That meant the Microsoft for example sold one copy of each piece of software. I just 'obtained' a copy of Microsoft windows 3.1 (from the office we worked in...) and installed it on our (hers really) computer.
What can I say. It was a good operating system. You can see for yourselves in the picture above...

March 29, 2012

King's Quest V - Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder

The Wikipedia Article about this game says that is came out in November 1990. Dunno about that. All I can say is that my girlfriend had it on her DOS computer at her home, when I was in the IDF, and later in Kibbutz Hannaton.
That means we played it over weekends and holidays (though not on Shabbat...). I think she got it for me for my 21st birthday, so late 1991. I'm pretty sure we finished it almost exactly a year later, just the day before Yom Kippur 1992.
So back in the day we were devoted to point and click adventure games, and also it was so much harder to find the answers to the riddles. I do remember that we did have some way to find the answers, especially to the end part, where you have to turn to all sorts of animals. I just can't, for the life of me, remember how we had that, because there was no internet at the time.
It had cost 120 NIS at the time, which is something like 40$ today, not bad for a year of entertainment...

March 22, 2012

MS DOS Can Set You Free

Just so everyone will know what I'm talking about. DOS - stands for Disk Operating System, and MS stands for Microsoft.
So back in the 1990s all computers came with DOS (Here in Israel litarally all of them came with MS-DOS, but I guess in the US some other flavors such as DR-DOS were at least a little popular...)
Truth of the Matter, I didn't know a lot of DOS, only something like three commands:
  1. DIR meant directory, it showed you all the files (and directories) in a certain directory (now it's called a folder).
  2. CD meant Change Directory. CD.. meant go up one level in the file structure.
  3. Writing the name of an .exe file (something like rayman.exe) ran that file
  4. Oh, and RM removed files, but I was always too scared to use it...
So back in the day, anyone who knew as much as I did could infer the entire file structure of the computer in a few minutes. Sure, there were no impressive icons, and the resolution was not that of the New iPad, but can anyone tell what the file structure of that is?
Kind of makes you wander about Big Brother...

March 13, 2012

Back is 1986 CP/M Was Too Cool For Me

I've already written here before about my Commodore 128. I don't really remember the store I bought it from, only that it looked more like vegetable store than, say, an iStore.
I also don't remember exactly how much it had cost. I think it was something like 300 Canadian dollars. BTW, oddly enough a lot of my Canadian friends did not own computers, and the school certainly didn't (besides the management and the Librarian's computer for the book catalog).
This Commodore 128 came with a floppy disk drive, and I remember I could buy a hard disk for another 300 (Canadian) dollars or so and CP/M for another 300. 
I seriously considered all of this, but I decided against it. I had a little money of my own at the time, but this all seemed like too much, and I had no clear use for it.
Which starts to make my point. DOS was a seriously good invention!

March 7, 2012

Press Play On Tape

So last week I told you all about my first experiences with a computer working on DOS. But let me back up a little. I bet many people reading this do not know that DOS stands for Disk Operating System, and as I said last week I have been working with that since late 1991. So what did we do before that?
My first computer was a ZX Spectrum (picture below, because it looks kinda cool). My friend Tzachi, who died about 15 years ago, thus far too young, had a Commodore 64 (BTW, C-64 still finds it on Google, yay!).
Both the ZX Spectrum, and the C-64 worked with Audio Cassette Tapes (maybe I should put in a picture of one of these guys too, but in the mean time, Google it).
My ZX spectrum had a whopping 48K of RAM and the C-64 had, well 64.
So if we wanted to play a game we put a cassette in the player, and the computer 'heard' the program (sort of like the old modems).
This was a computer without a Disk Operating System, or indeed a Disk. It knew just one program when you turned it on, usually some version of BASIC. This meant that in order to LOAD your program you had to LOAD it, so we all knew BASIC (or at least the LOAD command).
In those good old days, illegal copying of programs was done with a double cassette tape...
So anyway, one fall day in 1984 me and Tzachi went up to his apartment and we told the computer to LOAD something (I think it was Fort Apocalypse). Whenever you told that to the C-64, it said: 'press play on tape'. so we pressed play on some other tape, and listened to some music. We thought it was funny.

February 28, 2012

An Unexpected Post - Out In The Dark

My friend Michael Mayer just finished making this film.
Come check it out!

The Einstein Word Processor

It was December 1991, and I was ecstatic. You see, my military service in the IDF was in the Nahal. At the time this meant that a significant part of the service was not in the IDF itself, but in some Kibbutz.
So by December 1991, my 'real' military service was over, and all I had to do was stay at the Kibbutz for several months, and teach kids from junior high schools about the expulsion from Spain (which happened in 1992, so in 1992 we 'celebrated' 500 years).
So we prepared to teach them, and we planned tons of fun activities, and we had to write them down on a computer. This was the first computer I had to use since my high school days (1986) and the Commodore 128.
THE word processor to use back in the day was Einstein writer (see picture above), naturally the computer itself ran on MS-DOS.
I don't know why I knew this, but I knew that before I write anything at all I should read ALL of the help file <Alt H>, so I did.
Never regretted that one.