Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Here is Blyk for you and it will be offering free mobile calls on a unified network. This company is the brainchild of former President of Nokia Mr. Pekka Ala-Pietila. The service is aimed at people between the age…

I'm not sure this will take off. I can see calls being placed on hold by the service while the person subscribed has to accept a "word" from the sponsors, or people having to wait for a call to go through while they accept ads. Then there's the issue of what kinds of ads will be displayed. I suppose we'll find out all this once the service goes live, or at least I hope we will. Otherwise, I don't see many parents allowing their teenagers to sign up for this. They might feel that they're better off just continuing to pay the bill.

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Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Next on the list of goodies offered freely by the Google Empire is Google 411, officially known as Local Voice Search.
still in the experimental phase, Google 411 gets you local business listings for free by making toll-free calls from any phone.
This latest from Google comes just one month after Microsoft acquired TellMe, a voice query software developer.
You might recognize TellMe if you’re in the habbit of dialing for local business listings on your landline.
Residential listings aren’t fre yet, and we’re not sure if advertising is going to be included, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Google doesn’t find a way to tie its several advertising programs in somehow.
You can access the service by dialing 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411).
(Source).

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Yesterday, jury selection began in the trial of the now infamous Mary Winkler, the young minister’s wife accused of shooting her husband to death in their parsonage.
According to her lawyers, the couple were arguing over money after having gotten caught up in the Nigerian email scam, also known as the 419 Fraud.
So she killed him, but it wasn’t her fault.
It was the spammers.
Right.
Since when did stupidity become a defense, and, yes, anyone who gets “caught up” in one of these has failed to use their God-given grayware.
When did stupidity and greed become a defense?
Does that mean that I can go off, so something amazingly idiotic, then commit a crime like murder, and then use the original stupid act as my defense?
And let’s discuss the 419 Fraud in and of itself.
It’s not like this kind of thing is new.
It’s been going on since the 1920’s, but back then it was the Spanish Prisoner scam.
The Nigerians picked it up in the 70’s, and since then have turned it into a technological wonder.
But do people actually have to be instructed not to just fork over their life’s savings just because someone says they’ll give you lots of money in return?
I’ve gotten tons of emails like this, and I have yet to be tempted to just hand over my banking information.
Sure.
I’d love a ton of money.
It would make life easy for a while.
But I’m not gullible enough to think that some anonymous twit who comes begging for my information is going to give me any, and noone else should be either.
And how does murdering anyone solve the problem?
It’s not going to bring the money back, and the woman’s likely going to spend a lot of time in prison for this, away from her kids.
Oh well, I suppose if she’s convicted, she’ll have a lot of time to repent for her crime.

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Parshat Shemini, 2nd Portion Vayikra (Leviticus) 9:17-9:23

Text

Chapter 9

17.
And he brought forward the meal offering, filled his palm with it, and caused it to [go up in] smoke on the altar, in addition to the morning burnt offering.
18. And he slaughtered the ox and the ram, the people’s peace offering, and Aaron’s sons presented the blood to him, and he dashed it on the altar, around,
19.
and [they also presented] the fats from the ox and from the ram: the tail, the [fatty] covering, the kidneys and the diaphragm with the liver.
20.
And they placed the fats on top of the breasts, and he caused the fats to [go up in] smoke on the altar. 21. And Aaron had [already] waved the breasts and
the right thigh as a wave offering before the Lord, as Moses had commanded.
22.
And Aaron lifted up his hands towards the people and blessed them. He then descended from preparing the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace
offering.
23.
And Moses and Aaron went into the Tent of Meeting. Then they came out and blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people.

Commentary

17. and he filled his palm. I.e., the ???????? [i.e., the “fistful,” namely, scooping out three fingers-full of the meal offering]. — [Torath Kohanim 9:11]
in addition to the morning burnt offering. All these sacrifices [Aaron] offered up [only] after [he had offered up the morning] continual burnt offering.
19. and the [fatty] covering. [I.e.,] the fat that covers the innards.
20. And they placed the [sacrificial] fats on top of the breasts. After the waving, the kohen who performed the waving gives [the portions] to another kohen
to make them go up in smoke. The result is that [the portions] that were on the top are now on the bottom [due to the kohen’s inverting the portions to
place them into the receiving hands of the next kohen. See Rashi on Lev. 7:30 for further explanation]. — [Men. 62a]
22. and blessed them. with the blessing of the kohanim [see Num. 6:2227]: ????????? -“May the Lord bless you”… ????? -“May the Lord make His face shine”…
???????? -“May the Lord lift His face….”- [Torath Kohanim 10:22] He then descended. from the altar.
23. And Moses and Aaron went into [the Tent of Meeting]. Why did they enter [the Tent of Meeting]? In the section of the investitures, I found a baraitha
added to our version of Torath Kohanim [which states the following]: Why did Moses enter with Aaron? To teach him about the procedure of [burning] the
incense. Or did he perhaps enter only for another purpose? I can make a deduction: Descending [from the altar (verse 22)] and entering [the Tent of Meeting
(this verse) both] required blessing [the people]. Just as descending [from the altar] is related to the service, so is entering [the Tent of Meeting]
related to the service. Hence, you learn from here why Moses entered with Aaron, [namely] to teach him about the procedure of [burning] the incense [which
is related to the service]. Another explanation [of why Moses entered with Aaron is]: When Aaron saw that all the sacrifices had been offered and all the
procedures had been performed, and yet the Shechinah had not descended for Israel, he was distressed. He said, “I know that the Holy One, blessed is He,
is angry with me, and on my account the Shechinah has not descended for Israel.” So he said to Moses, “My brother Moses, is this what you have done to
me, that I have entered and been put to shame?” At once, Moses entered [the Tent of Meeting] with him, and they prayed for mercy. Then the Shechinah came
down for Israel. — [Torath Kohanim 9:16] Then they came out and blessed the people. They said: “May the pleasantness of the Lord, our God, be upon us (Ps.
90:17); May it be God’s will that the Shechinah rest in the work of your hands.” [And why did they choose this particular blessing?] Because throughout
all seven days of the investitures, when Moses erected the Mishkan, performed the service in it, and then dismantled it daily, the Shechinah did not rest
in it. The Israelites were humiliated, and they said to Moses, “Moses, our teacher, all the efforts we have taken were so that the Shechinah should dwell
among us, so that we would know that we have been forgiven for the sin of the [golden] calf!” Therefore, Moses answered them (verse 6), “This is the thing
the Lord has commanded; do [it], and the glory of the Lord will appear to you. My brother Aaron is more worthy and important than I, insofar as through
his offerings and his service the Shechinah will dwell among you, and you will know that the Omnipresent has chosen him.”

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

The Religion News Blog reports that researcher James Kugel has found that the descriptions of God employed in the early books of the Tanach (Hebrew Bible) might not be metaphorical after all.
He believes that, when the text says “God walked in the Garden,” (see Genesis 3:8), it means he literally walked.
In other words, the God we have come to know as omnipresent and incorporeal is really a mere physical being, just like us.
The most obvious question raised by this is “What’s the point?”
It seems to me that James Kugel spent some time giving the text a cursory reading, which led him to his conclusion.
Does it really take long hours of research to come up with this?
Secondly, I don’t see how this argues against the idea of the anthropomorphic descriptions of God in Tanach being metaphorical.
How else are we supposed to understand a being that is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, if we don’t use the language we’re familiar with, (I.E., descriptions of physical attributes)?
More to the point, what’s the use of worshipping, obeying or fearing a God who is little better than we are?
And that may be what Mr. Kugel is driving at.
Maybe he’s looking for the perfect justification to use in order to make himself feel more comfortable with discarding his belief in God.
Admittedly, this is merely speculation on my part.
But I can’t see any other reason for advancing a view like this, unless you’re looking for an escape hatch, and the time honored ones just won’t do.
Finally, I’m amazed that anyone, especially a rabbi who seems to be traditional at the very least, can honestly say that he’s shaken by this.
As a rabbi, I’m sure Yosel Rosenzweig has studied the works of the Rambam, which deal with the idea of God being described as a physical being in detail (see Moreh Nevuchim, chapter 26, where it says that we describe God using attributes that the masses would consider perfect in relation to themselves).
If all it takes to shake one’s faith and cause one to struggle greatly is for another to suggest that God might have physical characteristics because the text of the Tanach seems to say as much on its surface, then there must not have been much faith there to start with.
Mr. Kugel says he’s not sure what effects his observations might have on contemporary Jews and their religious practices, and I submit that his research won’t effect contemporary Jewish religious practice in the slightest, unless you count collectively yawning.
Those who are faithful won’t care, and those who don’t see any point in engaging in Jewish religious practice will most likely do the same, if not for the same reason.

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Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

This is a very sad situation, and I suspect that a survey like this in the
US would bear similar results.
Not that I’m advocating that blind people not look for jobs.
Everyone has to do their part, and our part is doing the looking, or
sticking with a job you don’t like, or even can’t stand, just to make sure
your bills are paid and that you’re doing your best to be a productive part
of society.
Besides that, you’ll start running out of creative things to do with Ramen
noodles.

ABC News,
Australia

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Last Update: Tuesday, March 27, 2007. 7:20am (AEST)

A new survey has revealed a huge level of despair among Australia’s blind
and vision impaired job seekers.

Almost 2,000 blind and vision impaired people have been surveyed by Vision
Australia.

Of those surveyed, 63 per cent said they had given up the hunt for work.

Michael Simpson from Vision Australia says one of the key challenges is to
break down employer perceptions.

“Employers don’t see how simple and easy it is in many instances to make the
workplace accessible using the adaptive technology that’s now available [to]
many people who are blind or vision impaired,” he said.

“Particularly using the schemes like the workplace modification scheme
funded by the Commonwealth Government.”

Mr Simpson says there are many barriers for people who have low vision.

“We found that many people are very enthusiastic and can be quite skilled
coming out of universities and then through experience putting in hundreds
of applications and going for dozens of interviews, their motivation gets
knocked about and after a while they become very discouraged,” he said.

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I found this surprising.

By Yoav Stern
Haaretz 6 April 2007

The first swallow of spring is usually found in the heaps of Matza boxes
that fill supermarket aisles all over Israel. It certainly applies to
supermarkets in the Jewish towns and cities, and apparently is also true in
Arab communities.

Gadaban Supermarket, located at the entrance to Umm al-Fahm, generally
stocks up on Matza for Passover. Moreover, the supermarket has to replenish
its stock before the end of the holiday, due to keen demand by locals.
Apparently, the Arab public regularly consumes large quantities of Matza.

Iyad Sharbaji, the manager of Gadaban, told Haaretz yesterday that his Matza
is consumed entirely by local Arabs. “The Jews passing by here already have
enough Matza. The customers are all from the local Arab community,” he said.

His competitor down the road, The Market, opened this year. The demand for
Matza therefore caught the store by surprise. “People told us ahead of time
that they wanted Matza, so we bought five crates. Now we have only two
left,” he said.

It turns out the avid consumption of Matza is not a new trend in Arab towns
and villages, whose inhabitants view the traditional Jewish food as a
welcome and refreshing change in the menu. “It’s not a religious issue, and
certainly not a political one,” Sharbaji explains.

A journalist associated with the Islamic Movement in Israel told Haaretz
that he also bought Matza. “The kids can’t get enough of it,” he gleefully
reported. “They eat it like crackers. But it also represents a sense of
folklore for us. Maybe we like it more than Jews do because no one’s forcing
us to eat nothing but Matza all day long,” he said in explanation.

Another happy customer from Baka al-Garbiyeh said his children and wife were
“packing the Matza away,” adding that they preferred to eat their Matza with
a spread of jam or chocolate.

In fact, it seems Matza is particularly popular with Arab children, and most
consumers report their sons and daughters especially relish the seasonal
offering.

Since the demand for Matza in the Arab public is naturally unconnected to
Passover, the residents of towns like Baka al-Garbiyeh begin consuming it
well before the holiday.

Meanwhile, bakeries in Arab towns have reported a substantial increase in
sales during Passover, as Jewish customers stock up on bread and pita, which
are hard to find in Jewish towns over the holiday.

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I definitely agree with this.
I’m not condoning software piracy, especially not your OS, but all of this
has to stop somewhere, and they shouldn’t just go around and treat everyone
like criminals.
I can see this effecting people who get their computers from government
agencies.
That’s got to be a real headache.

By Rob Pegoraro
Washington Post

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I’ve been playing around with the Get_custom plugin to see if I could get it to work a litle better than I did the first time I glanced at it, and I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve been able to do with it.
Now, I can add current mood, reading, and whatever else I want to to the site, just by adding a custom field.
I’m really pleased with this plugin, and I recommend it to anyone who likes to tweak.
And BTW, it looks like the syndication monster didn’t bite me after all.
The feed publisher just doesn’t publish an excerpt.