Antiwar Israelis protest in the streets

Few days ago, before the first rocket went in Jerusalem, I was walking along King George Street after visiting a friend to see people with banners and posters being waved and beating a drum.    These Israelis are anti-war protesters that don’t want a ground invasion of Gaza.    Almost everyone here doesn’t want a war.  Those called for duty in the army having a willingness to defend their nation though.

However most people don’t want to be a doormat to terrorists so making sure all traces of terrorist infrastructure are gone from Gaza seems the right idea.

I am not sure how these people propose to fix the issues of rockets coming 20, 40 or 75Km away from Gaza into your own communities though.

Maybe they could protest through the streets of Beer Sheva or Ashdod which is Hamas’s favourite target practice at the moment.

Meanwhile in Russian speaking communities in Israel….

Christmas panto in Russian!

This is quite an unusual sight as Christmas is a non-event apart from Arab Christians and Armenian Christians who live here.

This was outside a shop in Agrippas Street in Jerusalem that sells newspapers, magazines and books in Russian.   Russian speaking people from ex-Soviet states make up at least 15% of the population here.

О нет, это не так!

Hamas in Hebrew

A local Israeli I work with told me something interesting today:-

The word Hamas, the political movement that controls the Gaza strip, has eerily similar word in Hebrew.

I am not going to tell you, you have to find out for yourself:- 🙂

here is the text you need to copy and paste into:


Here is Psalms 140 in Hebrew which it also occurs in.  Click on above link or click here (if you have a Windows XP computer you might need to add Hebrew support to read this)

Microsoft Next event in Tel Aviv

Work has been super busy lately, have had to deal with numerous server and database crashes, and have got worn out from extra hours, stress and personal troubles as well.

At the beginning of November I went to Tel Aviv to a Microsoft Next event in Tel Aviv.   I missed out going to this last time as I had the choice of this or an event at church.   I wanted to do both, but I ended up going to a worship event.

Anyway getting a bus to Tel Aviv, I actually got dropped off in a different bus station than the usual gigantic one which reminds me of David Bowie’s Labyrinth movie.   This one I think was intended for students at the nearby university.

Actually, don’t think I have ever seen IT products on Jerusalem bus shelters, but these Microsoft ads in Tel Aviv seemed well timed for this particular event it seemed.

Fearing I had left too late and wasted the morning, I was pleasantly surprised to be very early actually.    Too early in fact, so I got breakfast at a coffee shop for 36 Shekels, sat in ear shot of some American IT people chatting about plans for their own corporate network.

The emphasis of this event was on the new Windows 8 operating system as well as Windows RT and Surface which are touch driven tablet computers.

Tablet computers I find hard to excited about, even though they are buzzword at the moment.   I need to have a bit more play with the spare iPad at my work, but generally I find iPads and all tablets unappealing, the screen always tilts the wrong direction, and having it propped up with a special leather case always looks a tad ridiculous, as well as their higher cost than a low end Windows laptop with small amount of physical computing power and local storage.  The iPad has no SD slot or USB ports, so editing camera photos isn’t possible on the move, and is reliant on iTunes to communicate with a grown-up computer, not manageable in a large business environment.

The other thing they seem extremely unergonomic to work with.   The screen is highly reflective, and many people in Israel like to use their computers outside which is hard with bright sunlight without a way to pivot the display to the right angle, and seems like a way to easily get neck, back or wrist pain when using them in any kind of posture for a length of time.

Yes, I’m old fashioned for preferring a more established model of computing (desktop or laptop) and I need to stop being a dinosaur and get with the social media luvvie types who rave about tablet computers, and how a tablet interface should control everything even your toaster.    Tweet this piece of bread to Stephen Fry anyone?

After getting in this tent before you can go in the big boat house which is Tel Aviv’s coast, I realised to my horror you were supposed to be prebooked, the web site didn’t make it clear this event needed prior registration, which I never did and closed a week before the event started.

Drat.   Bummer.   Rats.

Windows 8.   I had a brief play with this, as well as I have Windows Server 2012 on my HP Microserver.   That Metro interface which Microsoft tries to keep the name more discreet thinking it got a bad reputation.

Trying to control your computer without start is highly confusing for both experienced IT professionals and people who only use computers domestically.   Even find shutdown is darn impossible without looking at documentation or a a Google search.    Other things like invoking a ‘Run’ command to do a DOS command, and many basic features, feel completely alien and unnatural.

Nevertheless, many people are claiming, “just embrace it and get used to it and you will like it!” to switching from icons and start button layout that’s been around between Windows 95 and 7.   I would like to see tiles of my browser favourites rather a text list at some point soon.

In my job I have to give users training of how to use the computers as tools to do their jobs, and can’t really see big companies taking this seriously.

Small, medium and large businesses want some degree of familiarity for users without too much retraining, and I just can’t see regular office workers wanting to work in this style.    I would be in favour of replacing the mouse with a larger touch pad, which Apple brought out for desktop Macs but doesn’t seem that popular so far.    Hey Belkin and Logitech, why haven’t you brought a product like this for both Windows and Mac?

Microsoft’s Windows Phone platforms still seems dwarfed by iPhone, Android and Blackberry, and with their lack of recent success it hard to see Windows 8 as a desktop environment and its  current Windows Phone counterpart appears to have never reached Israel, seeing as iPhone arrived much later but now is extremely successful even considering it may be as much as 200-300 shekels a month for 2-3 year commitment.

I need to roll out at least another 12 new PCs to replace flakey and old equipment at my work over the next 12 months, so I will be sticking with Windows 7 which is just fine thanks.

Rockets hit Jerusalem

The last few days things have been heating up with bigger rockets coming out of Gaza.

Until recently cities in the more south of Israel, like Sderot, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beer Sheva, were being hit with around 1 million people needing to regularly go into bomb shelters.

Now, longer range missiles hit Tel Aviv yesterday, landed on grass, no damage.   This is unusual as the regular GRAD missiles can reach a maximum of 40Km, so these are a different breed of weapon.

Today after I went home from work, an alarm sounded at about 16:45 – Jerusalem just had its first rocket attack in a long time.

After just getting on my shoes, coat and keys, me and my room mate ran downstairs to see most people hovering on the stairs that go into the basement where a large heavy door that has our bomb shelter is.

Having a bomb shelter is a legal requirement for all homes and businesses here.

Not many of my neighbours came in actually.   There were Ethiopian Jews, Russian Jews, one British lady and the rest of our block I think are sabra Israelis.  I have not seen on my neighbours together so this brought out a community spirit.  The elderly Ethiopian lady in her traditional clothing look noticeably in tears.

Across the road are two houses with Arab families which will having to deal this threat as well.   Something the mainstream news never really mentions.

This large room has some of other peoples stuff here, and someone painted some cartoon pictures on the wall, which actually makes the place look worse, like some kind of communist era prison.   This is an awful place to be, it feels like a prison and the toilets are grim, and a water tank is empty.  Actually I have to bring back some bottles of water which have to keep handy for disaster planning reasons.

I didn’t hear any explosions but there were some (maybe 2 or 3) from the west part of the city which friends told me online.

As today is Shabbat, the holiest day for Jewish people, this is a deliberate effort to frighten and worry people in the most holy city on earth.   There is a worry more attacks could happen (Saturday, the remaining part of Shabbat)   but we need to keep praying for safety and for a swift end to this war.   I know civilians in Gaza are no doubt going to be also stuck in the middle of this with possibly tragic consequences.

I have no desire to leave back to the UK, nor does anyone I know out of the three dozen Christian ministries I know that is here, we will continue to help this nation by prayer and in physical assistance.

Israel now threatened by 75km missiles

This blog has been quiet for a while, but life for me has been anything but.

Just reading today about new Iranian Fajr missiles which hit south part of Tel Aviv today.

These things have upto 75km radius, most of Israel is now under threat.    Already we had GRAD missiles which can hit Sderot, Beer Sheva, Ashdod and Ashkelon, and a new threat with attacks from Syria, which may have been a mistake from their own in fighting.

This country needs your prayers more than ever, but also the civilian population of Gaza which will inevitably get caught in the middle.

I will report soon on the measures my work and the government have recommended us to take.