Shahar Golan: “Reports of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated”

I first learned of my passing by Twitter: my TwitBird app routinely checks for my name in the Twittersphere and found this tweet. Apparently there is an Israeli website which aggregates obituaries and tweets new departures. A few hours later, a couple of people contacted me to find out if I am, in fact, dead. Well… I am happy to report that no, I am not dead. I am also not a retired Egged bus driver who died this week. We just have the same name:
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That’s Enough Internet For Today

Apparently, if you want memes done right, call in some Israelis. The GAG Quartet is proud to present le Internet Medley:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mghhLqu31cQ

The GAG Quartet are:
Gilad Chehover – Drums
Guy Bernfeld – Bass
Or Paz – Guitar

Recording, mixing, pianoing and feminine singing by Eyal Amir
Drums recorded by Martial Bouhassira
Photography: Dafna Sasson
Second Unit: Tamari Goddard
Editing & After Effects: Or Paz
Animation: Tom Trage

Israel’s Internet Society Asks Members to Send Suggestions by Fax

Every now and then I stumble upon an idea that is just too Israeli to write about in English. In these rare instances I guest blog on Room 404 in Hebrew. That is what happened yesterday, when I got a snail mail from the Israeli Internet Society in preparation for the annual conference, asking me and other members to send ideas by fax. Send by fax? I thought that was strange and worth mentioning. And so I did.

Apparently someone at Israel’s Channel 10 also thought it was worth mentioning, as they contacted me today to confirm the accuracy of my post. A couple of hours later it was broadcast on Hayom Shehaya, their nightly news program with Guy Zohar:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bL0hV3_fFo0

Guess I Am Not Human, Then…

YouTube's Captcha SucksCaptcha, those ‘Are you human?’ tests usually appear when signing up for services, but now they pop up when you least expect them, like searching for a video on YouTube. Something in the way I use YouTube must be triggering the YouTube beast, as it challenges me to a duel so often it has become a nuisance.
Now I am not dyslexic and my English skills are just fine, so when I noticed I was failing YouTube’s Captcha tests in succession, sometimes passing the test only after my sixth or seventh attempt, I started to get suspicious.
Above are 16 YouTube Captcha tests I personally believe failed recently. Some of them are so simple and obvious that you might think there would be no problem ‘solving’ them – but you’d be wrong. And the fact they need to be quote-unquote solved, is just what’s wrong with the system as these reverse Turing tests are supposed to come natural. Facebook, for example, asks you to type in real words – and I never seem to fail their tests.

Aside:
Apparently Professor Lawrence Lessig has bigger problems with machines going wild. Here is a lecture he gave three days ago titled “Will Technology Change Our World”:

Two Girls One Cup One-Upped

I have got to confess: when I was shown the 2girls1cup video I had to fake being shocked, but after watching JarSquatter I was too afraid to fall asleep or even close my eyes, as I could not get rid of that image. A Frame From Jar Squatter - Blurred For Your Protection

P.S.
If you have absolutely no idea what this post is about – consider yourself blessed and do not investigate further.

Google: This Site May Harm Your Computer – And This One… And This One Also…

Worlds are colliding! In the freakiest bug I have witnessed so far, every search result on Google (as of the time of this posting) is now tagged with the ‘This site may harm your computer‘ warning, even when you google the term ‘Google':
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If you are brave enough to click a result you get the even more frightening ‘Malware Warning‘ page:
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This even happens when you use your local site, google.co.il in my case:
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Update: At 15:36 GMT, almost an hour after I first noticed it, the glitch was fixed.
The impact: an estimated 17 million search results affected, an undetermined number of people bumfuzzled, and as of now 361 now 1738 people blogged about it (including TechCrunch and me).
 
Update 2: Google admits its fault, attributing it to human error and puts the duration of the mayhem closer to my estimate of “almost an hour”, than TechCrunch’s “about 15 minutes”.

Afterword:
I should emphasize this incident is not some cute thing that happened. This event has repercussions we have yet to understood. This event will be studied and articles will be written about it. Just like when all the airplanes were grounded in the days after 9/11, which allowed scientists to test the true nature of our climate without the effect of vapour trails, tests that were not possible since the time the commercial jet was invented – so will this event be analyzed to determine what happens the day the Internet breaks, including but not limited to the financial impact on the web economy.

Worst Facebook profile ever*: Dana Avraham with 199 applications**

Note: This post was written before the July 2008 redesign of Facebook (a.k.a. Facebook Beta, aka New Facebook). The new design introduced tabbed profile sections, rendering this post obsolete.

Meet Dana Avraham, a 26 years old Israeli woman, who cannot say no to Facebook applications.

Top of page: Full length effect:
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Click images for higher resolution

Did adding Facebook applications become the digital equivalent of collecting pogs?

* worst Facebook profile – that I had encountered
** 199 applications – as of today, February 28, 2008

Yahoo Rewards Sarcasm

A year ago I wasted some time answering questions on Yahoo! Answers. It is a fun system that lets people ask questions and get answers from their peers. You can gain points if your answer is chosen as Best Answer by the person who asked the question, or else if it is voted as such by other members within a week.

For some reason I just got an email from Yahoo letting me know an answer I gave a year ago was voted as Best Answer. For your amusement, here is the mentioned question and my reply – apparently my answer was given close to my losing patience with the service:

Yahoo! Answers Rewards Sarcasm

They say sarcasm is the lowest form of wit – but they never tell you it will earn you credit points.