Category: UK

Facebook buys, service cancelled

Reacties uitgeschakeld voor Facebook buys, service cancelled
november 1st, 2010 Permalink

In what they call a ‘talent acquisition’, Facebook has bought online storage company and decided to shut down services right away. In an email paid subscribers were thanked for their loyalty. They were told to download their data before December 15 and take their business somewhere else. How is that for reliability? Makes you wonder how safe that cloud really is ….

Over the years, I have traveled extensively to Israel. Most of the times alone, always carrying a bag full of electronics. In view of the current panic a few stories on how the Israelis handle security, even on non-Israeli airfield (ig. Amsterdam).

So they live in a religious neighborhood?

It was the second time I traveled to Israel and the first time I traveled alone. I was picked out of a row of passengers by a staff member that looked vaguely familiar: “Sir, we have talked a few weeks ago before your first trip to Israel. Is it okay if I ask you a few questions again?” The regular security questions followed on luggage, gifts, etc. Then the surprise: “Visiting your relatives again in Haifa?” Upon confirmation, he mentioned an address which I didn’t recognize. It’s not like I know all the (funny) addresses by heart you know. He then vaguely described the neighborhood and that sounded familiar: “So they live in a religious neighborhood?” After that question, we had a small discussion on the definition of ‘a religious neighborhood’. During that brief argument the security guy never lost his cool and always stayed focused. Then the sticker on the passport: “Mr. Van Veen, you are okay.”

Long time no see!

I must have traveled up and down to Israel some 15 times in less than half a year. Always flying El Al, most of the times leaving through desk 28 on Amsterdam Airport. Then it happened: work prevented me to go for a couple of months. Bummer, but after a hectic period all of a sudden my schedule cleared up. Ad hoc I bought a ticket, packed my bag and left for Amsterdam Airport. There was a huge line before the security in front of desk 28, so I patiently waited in line. Within two minutes this girl shows up at the back of the line: “Mr. Van Veen, long time no see. How is life? Still speaking some basic Hebrew? Do you mind if I ask you some questions? Would you be so nice to follow me?”

Where did you buy these funny shoes?

Rush. Leaving home too late. Traffic jams. I arrive at Amsterdam Airport some 40 minutes before scheduled take off. Far too late in view of regulations: 2-3 hours before flying, etc. Blood pressure through the roof. An El Al lady helps me with my luggage, security screening is done on the fly and some guy in an electronic cart drives me up to the extensive security at the gate in G. Wow, it’s crowded there. I find a seat, grab my notebook and continue working while waiting for security. Finally it’s my turn. I stuff everything in my bag (except for my computer) and walk through the scanner. Then it happens: a funny beep that I never, ever heard before. The Israeli security officer remains calm and asks me to undo my belt. Around me I see people evacuating the room. Within two minutes the gate is empty, while 4-5 Military Police show up with machine guns. They try to look cool, but at least one is very nervous. I undo my belt and walk through the scanner again: another strange beep. “Please take off your shoes and undo your sweater and walk through the scanner again. Slowly.” I comply, walk the scanner again and this time nothing happens.
The officer takes me to a chair in a small room full of electronics. My stuff is brought in, loaded on a cart. An official walks in and asks all kinds of questions on my financial situation, religion and you name it. I ask about the plane that is about to leave, probably without me. I get a strange look: “This plane will only leave if I say so. Right now, nothing leaves.” I’m starting to get kind of nervous. Behind him I see people going nuts over my shoes. The official is informed and asks the question: “Where did you buy these funny shoes?”
Interesting situation. Indeed it were funny shoes. Never thought about it. Actually I didn’t buy them, but got them as a gift from a motorracing team we sponsored. It was part of the pitt crew gear. Thinking about it made me remember the night they gave me the shoes. What a fun we had. Lots of booze too. Wait, during the drinking they explained something about the shoes: “Made of special material to withstand the chemicals in the fluids of the bike engines. Will last a life time.” Relieved about the situation I must have barked out some kind of maniacal laugh or something, because all of a sudden the official was standing there with a gun, while in the back some girl was yielding something way bigger. After my explanation people somehow relax. Like my answer made sense. Within 20 minutes I was on the plane, getting lots of angry looks from my fellow travelers.
While trying to get some work done in the plane, my neighbor starts some kind of conversation. Jeez, like I have all the time in the world. I try to continue working, while talking with the guy about Israel, it’s neighbors and the political situation. He asks the questions, I just respond. My points of view, in combination with the fact that I’m not religious appears to be of great interest to him. Funny. Ah well, it’s a nice conversation, they guy has a great sense of humor, so I decide to pack my computer. In the process I notice that in the rush I must have forgotten my sunglasses. My fellow traveler feels sorry: going to a country with an overload of sun, without sunglasses. The conversation continues but gets more political.
On exiting the plane an El Al flying attendant offers me some Oakley sunglasses “to compensate for any inconvenience caused.” Like watching over my security is inconvenience. I gladly accept the glasses. Walking down to the awaiting bus (still the old terminal), I see my fellow traveler getting into a security jeep.

You bought new shoes?

During the security check on my flight out of Tel Aviv, the security officer reads multiple times through his documents before asking me the regular questions on luggage, gifts, etc. He is especially interested in my shoes. After looking at them a number of times an reading through his papers, he askes: “You bought new shoes?” Be honest: who wouldn’t after that experience. I start to explain the situation, but he interrupts me: “Don’t need to explain sir. It’s all in my documents.”

Dilemma, help needed

oktober 23rd, 2009 Permalink

One day you find yourself talking to the new chief engine room of a famous ship. He is the replacement for the former chief, who left the ship because of lack of confidence in the captain of the ship and his henchmen. The new chief asks you for help, but also informs you that the captain has appointed even more henchmen. You like the ship, the crew and the chief engine room, but you have no faith in the captain and his henchmen. Moreover: you don’t support their moral values. Besides, you have been battling them for some time, without any result. What would you do? Help the chief engine room with his uphill battle or start looking for a new ship?