Computer hackers Anonymous are no match against Israel

So much for the world famous computer hacking syndicate ‘Anonymous’  who wants to pick on the only democratic country in the middle east.  The country with the largest number of technology patents in the world proportional to the population.

The web site they produced to show their plans to hurt Israel’s infrastructure:

Erm, it got hacked by Israel!!!

anonymous are lamers

Nice touch showing proper history of this part of the world to those not in the know.

Today seems to be no actual damage to Israeli sites, some propaganda is reusing previous successful attacks on Israel and pretend its 2013 material.

ebay bidding systems broken for people in Portsmouth

I have bee a regular user of ebay for 13 years now, and use it to mainly obtain all those hard to find spare parts for computers I fix.

After getting back to UK 4 days ago, I tried to buy a nonworking laptop for a nice winter indoors project, and give to a friend who needs a cheap laptop, in this case the seller doesn’t ship to the Isle of Wight, which I don’t. I live in Portsmouth.

For non British people (actually I think post codes in Canada work similar to UK possibly…) Post codes are one or two letters for the city and then some numbers for the localised area of the city then a gap and more random letters and numbers, like this:-

PO1 5EQ

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PO_postcode_area

This above wikipedia article tells you how the localised codes work for the Portsmouth, Chichester and Isle of Wight areas.

If you live in the Isle of Wight, their post is handled by Portsmouth’s sorting office.

Basically it boils down to the fact, Isle of Wight is used by PO30 – PO40 post codes. If you have a post code of PO3 6__ like me, ebay’s infrastructure refuses you to buy this item as that the seller won’t ship to the Isle of Wight, which the parcel couriers naturally charge a bit more.

There is a space between the two halves of the post code which is entered correctly on my ebay account details, but it interprets me as being in PO36 area it seems.

So ebay, in return for reporting an infrastructure issue, and being a loyal customer since 1999 and 2000+ feedback, any chances of a nice pressie for Christmas?

Karmiel September visit

Although it may seem summer has finished in UK, its still extremely hot in Israel and this time of the year.

I have a list of about 9-10 IT related jobs in our large warehouse at the north of the country in Karmiel again.

Therefore I schedule a time to do some preventative maintenance up there, and get all the small jobs fixed.   I had to set up PCs for a two new members of staff, one of the PCs has the VNC remote software not working so it required a site visit.    In the picture I am changing out defective cooling fans in PCs as the heat and dust puts extra strain on our PCs here used for keeping inventory of our food distribution, databases of families we help and donations amongst other things.

Lunch time.   For me, I stretch lunch break very slightly to do some procurement of parts.   I got 3 new cooling fans for the PCs here, two I ended up using straight away, also a hardware store just by this nice junction meant I could get some insulation tape some electrical plugs also.

I needed to set up and test Skype with the other two buildings, also install Dropbox and few other apps, test and inspect two small UPS systems which are defective and need to scrapped.   I have two more UPS units I can send up from another building.

This is outside our Karmiel warehouse, it doesn’t look that big, but it contains a lot of space on the inside.

Later, I went and stayed with one of the volunteer staff from this site:

Outside the place I stayed.   All these flats look brand new.   Karmiel is a fast expanding city.   this balloon thing in the distance is a fancy sign post advertising flats for sale.

Unlike what you see in the news, this part of town has Arab Bedouin families but they seem to live side by side without any troubles.

Getting up in the morning I can hear people using power tools and roosters crowing.

The outskirts of the town, more construction going on.  This is a Jewish neighborhood with most of the people working in construction are Arab.

Arab towns (several less than a couple of miles away) are expanding too of course.

Karmiel isn’t particularly religious city, but religious Jews and religious Arabs with often 5-10 children mean rapid expansion of housing is necessary.

Beautiful rolling hills in the distance from this junction by the industrial estate.

Well got most of the work done, making some adjustments to the wireless routers will be another day as well being able to monitor the VOIP telephone system switch and get a better UPS back up power system.

Time for some much needed couple of days off while I am working away to see a few places….

Off to Tiberias again next……

Judah’s visit to Jerusalem

This is my friend Judah Gabriel Himango, he is a fellow believer from the US I have known for about a year or so, we are quite similar sharing a keenness for problems solving in IT, although Judah is a web designer and programmer.

Hes likes to use his coding skills not just at his regular job, but also to serve the Lord, which one of these is his excellent Chavah Radio site an online radio station with Hebrew worship muisc, listeners can just hear what being played and add their own choices of songs to be played next.    Judah is using the same web site model to providing Arabic worship music to Egyptian Christians too, as well as other web sites teaching on which guitar chords to play this type of music too.  I think radio has always had exciting potential for providing worship material and teaching to those who can’t get it.

As well as we have similar interests in biblical theology and technical things, Judah happened to be flying on over to Eretz Israel to do some IT training courses, so stopped off on the way to stay at my place in Jerusalem as he needed a place to stay and didn’t mind my couch, it was fun to show him around places, we must of done 8-10 miles of walking easily I think.

Here is Judah close to the Pillar of Absalom with the Mount of Olives in the background.   I like to often get several pictures to join together to make a panoramic image, but as they were at a slightly odd angle I couldn’t quite cut the edges without losing detail, so its left as it is :)

We saw the UN HQ near my house, the Haas promenade, many bits of the old city including Jaffa Gate, praying at the Kotel, bartering Arabic quarter, grab food, then off to my church King of Kings Jerusalem.

Here is the Golden gate again, this is the place where our Lord Jesus will come back according to scripture.   Doesn’t matter its bricked up  and has an Arab cemetery in front.    I am sure there are spiritual power tools to make a way through :)

While we were there, I have just noticed this sign, whats odd, is the bit that says the “last path” (up to the Mount of Olives) and the other one “Gate of Mercy”  I have not seen this before!  interesting clues of the future!

We had enough time to quickly show him around the ministry I work for at Bridges for Peace and the nice old historic building which belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Later we had dinner with our mutual brother in the Lord and wonderful musician Teddy Chadwick of Yerubilee blog who produces worship music on a harp.   A small country like Israel and things like Facebook frequently mean you find different groups of friends who know each other from wildly different places.   This bit was a new experience for me as this was a brand new Yemenite restaurant in Jaffa Street which I have never had food from Yemen before.  He later went off to see some of his family, then headed to Netanya to see other friends and do his IT training.

He is a terrific guy I finally met in the flesh and love his enthusiasm for sharing his love for the Lord and writing about his experiences.   We will stay in touch and hopefully meet again another time :)

Here’s some of his writings of his experiences:

http://judahgabriel.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/israel-liveblog-divine-presence-at.html http://judahgabriel.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/israel-liveblog-mt-of-olives-islamic.html http://judahgabriel.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/israel-liveblog-finding-my-brother-in.html http://judahgabriel.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/israel-liveblog-mediterranean-delights.html

Skype and voice over IP services in Ethiopia banned

This apparently is my 500th blog post, wow.    I have never really had much of an opinion about control of the internet by governments, until I saw this yesterday;

Ethiopia bans Skype; 15 years of jail time possible

This is very sad as I have a close friend who used to live in Israel who is of Ethiopian origin who has gone back there.   The above article mentions 700,000 out of 84m people, (less than 1%) have internet access.

Last time I called him on Skype a few months ago I missed his call, then he was offline as  the internet connection was too unreliable for me to call him back, so I rang him from my Skype account to his mobile using some credit which worked pretty good.   So this is a good solution although can’t remember how much I spent last time.

With violence at a high amongst believers in Ethiopia, its sad that cutting off a cheap form of communication makes things harder for families on either side there.  Foreigners should be careful what they say on the phone to friends there as its likely all calls are monitored.

There is only one ISP in Ethiopia and its owned by the government, there is an interesting wiki article here about the laws of the web in the north eastern African state.

This really awful for African Jews in Israel who almost certainly still have family and friends back there.   Israel has 1.5% Jews of Ethiopian descent, and there are many more who want to come back soon.

Note to anyone in Ethiopia who has any type of computer, especially Christians doing ministry projects out there, get yourself a free piece of software (Windows or Mac) called Truecrypt to encrypt drives (internal or external) on your computer, if you are worried about any information which is sensitive in case a computer is seized by any form of hostile government.

A blogger who writes on Ethiopia mentions more on this here: http://transformingethiopia.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/new-telecom-crime-bill-grossly-criminalising-individual-liberty-at-stake/#more-5785

 

Could Eilat be an online shopping capital of the middle east?

I was in Eilat a few weeks ago, Israel’s most southern corner and at the top of the Red Sea.

Having a teeny little airport which I think only offers flights from Tel Aviv, or drive or get a bus from the rest of country via a 300km road from Jerusalem, it is quite remote, with only Beer Sheva and a few other places in between.

Being far away and with not much employment outside of tourism, Eilat is a bit like the Isle of Wight of Israel.

I thought of an interesting idea, Israel maybe a hi-tech development nation, but its very lacking in online retailing.   As an IT person, its not so easy to go online and buy something and have it in a couple of days like you would have in the UK or US, ok part of this is due to fact this is a small country, but it is a bit inconvenient to purchase a urgently needed specialised computer part, or even a DVD easily online in Israel.

In the UK, if you buy something from Amazon.co.uk, if bought from Amazon’s own stock and not one of their third party sellers, usually your stuff gets shipped from the Channel Islands (to my non-UK friends that’s Jersey or Guernsey, part of the UK but close to France) due to the fact that goods there are VAT free, Play.com, CDwow and even Tesco’s online retailing do this too.

I am not sure how Amazon’s US operations are, but think some of the states offer no sales tax.   One of my friends from Switzerland buys his DVDs from Amazon.de much cheaper than the Swiss high street.

Eilat is also a bit unique as the retail outlets, mostly clothing are all VAT-free to encourage tourism and provide jobs there.

Something else I have noticed, and not seen this mentioned anywhere online, is that the post Office in Israel is very cheap.  I think the British Royal Mail have put the prices up by a record 25%, I estimate sending mail (packages of less than 2 kilos) is about a third of the cost of it is domestically and overseas than it is of the UK.

I salvaged the parts of a broken laptop and it cost 28 Shekels (less than £5) to mail the LCD screen (box weighed about 1.3 Kilos) I sold on eBay a couple of weeks ago from Jerusalem to Italy.

Tourist shops selling shells from the Red Sea

Israel could do well and provide jobs to people in Eilat, by making it a central distribution hub to ship items locally and worldwide on the internet, and give people super value for money shopping.

Someone needs to put together a online shop template that works in Hebrew, English, Arabic and Russian and maybe more languages, so the business owner can set up and sell his stuff with minimal technical know-how and maintenance of the site apart from his stock.

Today’s online retailing in the western world means a lot of dropshipping is done, as the person selling the goods and providing customer service doesn’t have to be the same place as where the stuff is dispatched from.  I have bought a few things of small value from UK, Germany, US and China, needed for my job in Israel online, and only need to pay import duty on one item which was 100 Euros (£80)

Israel needs to continue to grow to support its expanding population (5-10 children is common) so by building economy at the bottom corner of the country makes a lot of sense, especially as David Ben Gurion was a firm believer in building in the desert.

 

Using Google Streetmap view in your blog, possible security concerns to be aware of

As Google recently release Streetmap view in Israel and Ukraine recently, I’m betting that lots of bloggers interested in the middle east will want to make use of this in their writings.

I wrote a few days ago, with some screen shots of my browser, I have noticed a few things that you might want to be aware of:

Firstly, if you make screen shots of your computer’s browser, be sure to obliterate any occurrences of your name or email address you see, this is quite important when using Google’s services which are all tied to a Gmail address.

Where I have written an “X” – don’t use this URL as a link to your site at the top of your browser, it won’t work, it will just take a click directly to the regular maps.google.com address.

Instead click on the little chain icon here as shown by arrow, this will give you a usable URL your visitors can click on to get to a certain angle of street you want to look at.

Now this bit is important:

If lets says, you enter your home or workplace address, then jump to a different place, the URL you plan to make public will show the original place I did a search for.   Zoom on this pic and look at the underlined bits I have highlighted in orange.

Hence, be careful!  you might give private details of where you live or work to the whole world!

Instead, clear any search inquiry, and just zoom straight in on the place you want to take a shot off, copy and paste the URL you plan to make public on your blog or social media, and look carefully at the (very long) URL to make sure there is nothing personal that indicate a previous search you did.

Here is an example of this done without care:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=downing+street,+london,+uk&hl=en&ll=51.506967,-0.124023&spn=0.007519,0.01929&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=39.099308,79.013672&hq=downing+street,&hnear=London,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=16&layer=c&cbll=51.506967,-0.124023&panoid=cgfjh0ts_Mc38hIdERRcoQ&cbp=12,329.67,,0,2.6

This web address actually is close to Embankment in London, but I actually changed the location of the place I was searching from 10 Downing Street to another location, but the search terms are still embedded in the URL.

I tend to paste this into a different web browser, in this case Internet Explorer 9 which I don’t use very often, clearly shows where I searched for.

So there you have it, just be careful if you want to show Streetmap view snapshots of places, and have fun!

Google Street Map View comes to Israel!

Last year I heard Google wanted to map out by street parts of Israel, this was quite a surprise considering how careful you have to be with security, and I found out that one of my friends he was passed by a Google camera car that drove passed him when they did the pics in November 2011, at last, and now this week the footage goes live!

You can just drive around by finding a street or place to explore by going to maps.google.com and zooming in and dragging the little orange man over the map, after a few seconds it makes a block of the streets blue, let get over your mouse to wander around the streets by clicking on the arrows.

Warning: using Street Map view on Jerusalem if you have physically been here before may make you pine to come back again!

Click any of the screenshots I have done to open a new tab in your browser to enable to take a wander around the streets…

Mount of Olives look east towards the old city

Here is the outside of the Jaffa Gate on Jerusalem’s old city.  Oddly, I don’t see any vendors selling orange juice or cakes outside here.

How about Tel Aviv?

Here’s the beach! this bit has obviously been done on one of those special trikes Google has.   No sign of the Zohan it seems :)

Here is the Gilad Shalit protest tent, which has now gone – Gilad was released from a prison in Gaza after 5 years late last year, a different political group have a tent here instead now.

Note the “wall of ‘blur” which obfuscates the gate to government facilities.

Lets go over to Haifa:

ok, here is the Bahai gardens.

Really, only Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa feature on there with a few small extras, a kibbutz in Afula, Ben Gurion University campus in Beer Sheva and the Mini Israel museum near Beit Shemesh.   Im guessing these organisations were asked to be early adopters in being customers of Google’s expansion of services here.

I would like to see how this could affect tourism here and how bloggers interested in Middle East  goings on may use this.

As far as suggestions, maybe the increasingly popular paths used for walks by pilgrims seeing the routes Jesus took between Nazareth and Capernaum would be nice, some of the Kinneret (The Galilee – I am sure the Arab boat owners could do a great deal with Google!) and the Dead Sea and Eilat / Red Sea too.

The user interface on Streetmap is still a little awkward at time with my normal laptop touchpad, I think this would work better on a tablet computer by dragging or tapping on directions to go places.

A cup of reeling

During some bible reading, I was studying this passage:

Zechariah 12:2 – “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.

What do you think about the word “reeling”?   seems an odd word not really used these days.

I think once or twice its used by sports commentators about a team losing at a football match maybe.  Look on Wikipedia and it only refers to fishing or the tape canisters used by the film industry.

When I was doing an IT site visit, this is the doors of the cupboard that hold our network kit in.   The smaller red one I have shown a closer look below as it has a warning about there are poisonous chemicals in here, which is not the case any more as it was left over from the previous business here.

The Hebrew symbols on the right corner is, pronounced Ral or Reel – so the word reeling I think is talking about poison!!

In fact looking at this passage here: http://bible.cc/zechariah/12-2.htm various bible translations uses words like staggering, trembling and surfeiting (another word I never see used)

In the news, I see plans for another march for people from Arab nations, and most probably helped out by misguided Christians in western countries, thinking they are helping out for ‘peace’ and not really understanding the seriousness of what they are getting into.

From the organiser’s web site, there is a statement from Israel that they would be considered trespassing.  http://gm2j.com/main/blog/2012/03/23/israel-warns-of-the-consequences-of-jerusalem-global-march/   Just like any other country, if you force your way through the borders of any other nation without going through the proper protocol of having a passport and required visa etc, they should be treated as a threat and prosecuted.

More IT work in Galilee

Here is my good friend and fellow Hebrew student Jimmy, these days hes helping Bridges for Peace up in this building now loading up pallets of food that will be transported around to Israel’s most needy families.

Some of the new equipment I received has European electrical plugs on it, rather than Israeli ones which often happens.  This will work, but without a grounding pin, there is safety issues and the equipment may not be protected by surges or storms although there is a UPS system here.  As I didn’t bring any more electrical cables with me, I cut off the the plug and wire on a Israeli fitting.

Added an extra network switch here to provide more room for expansion for this building, especially as putting an extra PC for a new member of staff.   I did have some rolls of velcro but I left them behind, so it wasn’t possible to make all the wiring look neat sadly, it needs some re-jigging to enable the glass door to shut also. :)

I needed to change some settings on the wireless networks, so took my work Sony laptop and found I got 4 out of 5 bars at the other end of the huge warehouse here.  I was quite impressed the wireless had such good coverage.   I would like to get an extra router running as a spare sometime a bit later.

This cupboard holds our communication equipment, these mysterious warning stickers are from the previous business that was here as there was chemicals that were stored here previously.   I made some interesting discovery based on some stuff in the bible I had been reading lately….