Recalled: two mice

VM's secretary left us recently. She was okay, but this reminded me of a story about another secretary. The story brought by LR [unconfirmed].

A secretary called up the company's sysadmin, and asked him whether it is possible to install a second mouse on her comp. The technician was surprised, and said "Yes, sure it's possible. But why would you need it?"

"When I am playing solitaire, " she replied, "I want to look at the card below the one I am holding".

My favorite Engrish

This pic is my shot from our solar eclpise trip, 29/3/06. I was asked by VZ "there is no such word in english, is there??"

What's remarkable is that this clearly could not have been a spelling mistake. They missed an appropriate word, so they decided to invent their own.
That's certainly very creative.

The following are some of my favorite posts from Engrish.com.
Be sure to read the priceless comments.

Happy strinking!

[I liked the editors comment more than the pic itself]

















Bowling with bilbo:


The Monthly OMG

I bet this blog, while still being kept more-or-less in secret, has already managed to make some people angry. Here's another try.

This is a report from a code analysis from hell (or from N*). Suppose you pass a pointer to a buffer to some routine, which has to fill up the buffer. But, alas, you are not interested in the first 8 header bytes of the data. What do you do?

Here's what KY did: you allocate a buffer
p = new char[manyBytes]
, and pass p-8 to the routine.


FIFO flow control

Having my spirit fly around the 2-week ILPHO summer camp in Technion and working for VM at the same time is not an easy task. On that day I was at N**** (a subcontractor) trying to help them debug the overrunning FIFO queues, which got overflooded with data of a DMA transfer.

At this time, AL calls me with horror, saying too many of the previous year's team guys have arrived, and he has a total of 10 people to manage and he doesn't know what to do. So I advised him to use the workforce to finally clean out the 601 room.

For those who don't know, the history of this room is, by itself, remarkable. We got it in 2004, to be one of the HQ offices of the physics olympiad. Yoav was the first to enter it. He noticed quite a strange phenomenon, which was later referred to as a "chemical attack". It seemed like the people have worked there, at some point went out for lunch and never returned again for 3 years. Open papers on the tables, bottles of water, food, working fridges with milk, all with expiry days of 2001. Notes on the walls with urgent stuff to do that dates back in 2001. A 2cm layer of dust on the floor. Right during a workday, people left, the site was locked for 3 years and now it was reopened again by Yoav.

We made the office useful by creating huge piles of garbage in the corners, piles of really enormous size. Then over the years we threw 1/2 of what's left, and what was supposed to be 1/8th looked just like the original. Today, under AL's command, still 4 more years later, the piles were supposed to face an end.

Then I got back to exploding FIFOs debugging and flow control. Several hours later I was talking to Igor over the phone. I asked him about cleaning of the 601, so he said that a great job was done. They threw out half of the garbage, but then the effort was stopped, he said. "It had to stop, because all garbage cans in the neighborhood were full". I had to explain what caused me roll on the floor when I heard this.

P.S. It was figured out what kind of disaster happened to the previous inhabitants of the office 601. During Rabin's rule, there was an edu budget increase disaster, during which some random money flowed in even more random directions. This created a huge series of useless projects. During the 2001 downfall they were searched for and destroyed. The guys working on this project named [censored] were called up for a meeting and told "you are all fired". So they didn't care to return to the office to switch off the lights, and so it stayed for 3 years.


Quote of the day

"A non-smoking area in a restaurant is like a non-peeing area in the pool"

It's interesting to point out that in both cases it's diffusion that invalidates the concept.

Though speaking about peeing in the swimming pools, my favorite one is "It's okay to pee in the pool, but not from the jumping stand". This can be used to illustrate the difference between "blatant" and "flagrant" types of chutzpah.

[sent by TY, the second one by GS]

How many fortepiano tuners are there in New York?

The first week of the summer camp for ILPHO2008 finished today. As usual, the week has generated many new anecdotes, and made us recall some of the the earlier ones.

In 2001, YM1995 was guiding ILPHO for the first time. To those who might not know, I will explain that not only 90% of the academic work is handled by ex-participants and other volunteers, we are also used to handle logistics ourselves. Due to an allegedly ingenious idea of how to deliver bed linens to the kids on the first day (the idea involved having no tracking) we managed to loose 2/3 of what we were provided. How did this happen, I don't know. YL2007 later said "there're millions of ways the linens could have disappeared, you are too old to understand that".

Great. After the respective fines were paid, next year YM carried out precise recording of who took what. Not before trying to convince everybody that we should not deal with that at all and the students should bring these from home. ER: "I cannot do it this way". While patiently assigning blankets, a student codenamed AL2003 (living in nearby haifa) approached me with a question - "why didn't you tell people to bring these from home?". So I sent him immediately to YM to ask exactly the same question again.

The next scene was YM jumping and screaming happily, exclaiming "genius!! einstein!!", causing a certain confusion and amusement, especially to the kid who didn't know what did he do.

It was even joked that Israel should never agree to host an IPhO. "We are incapable of handling logistics. It will be disaster, we'll be expelled from the Olympiad if we try", said YM.

And then there was evening and there was morning and a few more of these, maybe like 15K times more, people grew up, brought I/APHO prizes, got drafted to IDF, released, and AL2003 finds himself responsible for a few days of logistics as an officer in the camp for team 2008.

The problem from the subject line is from the class of "estimate based on the common knowledge and physical reasoning problems". I think it's something classical, perhaps invented by Fermi? [plz correct or add ref in comments]. We've played with a lot of those during these camps.

So Amir approaches to me and says, "you won't believe they refuse to provide us toilet paper this time. I need to go buy some". "How to estimate how much toilet paper I need for the 32 kids for two weeks??"

P.S. Igor suggested that we print stage B solutions for the kids after the first day. "No need, said Amir, it's a waste. But on the other hand, you won't need to buy any toilet paper today if we do".


IDF Guarding duties

Imagine you are on a guarding duty, without a chance to read, write or even sit down. And say you have a cloudy sky so you cannot even look at the milky way. What do you do? You can use the following as tips for IDF service.

Two friends of mine found a way to entertain themselves with arithmetics - YoavM computed and learned by heart squares of 3-digit numbers. AmirL was working hard to break his rifle's serial number into primes. To his disappointment, it was a product of just two primes, both 4-digit.

As for my personal account for guarding duties, my top achievement was discovering the Haley-Bopp comet. It was a cloudless night. More exactly, there was one cloud. I came out of the tower and saw it. "Ha, funny cloud" I thought. An hour later the lonely funny cloud still remained in the sky. OMG, it's a comet! I thought. The next day the funny cloud was there too, and with no TV or anything I could know for sure what we have here.


Command line

[Unfortunately this post is only for russian readers]

During an argument about command line vs GUI it was discovered that some people are not familiar with this wisdom. Other's surprisingly didn't know that it's a spoof on V. Vysotsky. Now these two issues are settled, I hope.


Azrieli towers fire

For the first time in my life I got my photo posted on ynet.


A better one can be found here.
I don't know why they didn't post the previous one, which was also related to fires - "טוב שההגה הבידיים של אגד"


My channel on youtube and RSS

The RSS on youtube is indeed a well-hidden feature. Use this link to subscribe to my videos:

Unfortunately, it's not possible to subscribe to the favorites AFAIK. You will have to go to my channel's homepage for that. Enjoy.