Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hebrew 2.0

Many programmers, administrators, and even users, are wasting a considerable amount of time dealing with issues regarding localization of software. When it comes to Hebrew, this amount of time, doubles itself. For start, Hebrew’s direction (Right-To-Left) is something many software vendors forget in their first versions of a product (take blogger for example), so Hebrew is aligned in the wrong direction. And even when this issue is solved, still there are many quirks. Such quirks can be when mixing Hebrew with English (or other Left-To-Right languages) or mixing with numbers and parenthesis. Other issues involve saving files in the correct code-page, or displaying data in the correct code-page (how many times have you changed the browser’s encoding on misbehaving sites). Sometimes, file formats (such as text) might not include magic headers about the encoding, thus making the client software guess how data should be displayed. Moreover, since there are multiple ways to represent Hebrew (8859-8, 8859-8i, 1255, using UTF-8 etc.), it leads to some conflicts and bad implementations.
My suggestion is a new way to represent Hebrew, at least in the computer software world. It involves a new language, written Left-To-Right, using western characters, or some other characters that are already included in UTF-8 (could possibly be Hebrew characters, though that would be very confusing). I also have a name for this language: Simplified Hebrew. This is the place to mention: I’m not looking to replace the holy-language, I like Hebrew. The words would be the same words, with the same meaning, and the same sound. Only the written language would look differently. Think about it, how many issues could be solved. Adapting software for Hebrew speakers would be like adapting American (US) software, to British (UK). As simple as it gets. Plus, Hebrew speakers won’t have to compromise on their language when they are using computers, since software would be in Hebrew – Simplified Hebrew!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Big Oops

Sometimes, us system administrators, are blamed for loss of information. Such loss could render a system unusable, or just lack of information that is required to be restored from a backup. Recently, my team an I were blamed for at least two coincidences like that. In one of which, the user was the one to delete the information, and in the second, we still don't know what went wrong, but we're sure we had nothing to do with that. On both cases, we restored everything back to normal, at the price of few work days.
Such mistakes merely justifies the fact that users put their blame on us, since these sysadmins really are stupid. It's a shame they bring a bad name for all of us.