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a different side of Israel

Category: Technology (page 4 of 5)

Internet in Israel, start ups in Israel, venture capital in israel, Israel hi tech, israel technology, tel aviv university, technion, weitzman institute

Pontis Gets Another $15 M

Pontis Raises $15 MillionMazal Tov to Pontis. The company raised an additional $15 Million lead by Sequoia Capital. The guys at Pontis have been working hard and its good to see they got this second round. The initial seed round was $9.2 Million. The company developed the technology that allows real time marketing campaign management over cellular, cable and other communication networks.
Here’s hoping that now that they have the money they’ll get their website done properly and maybe invest a little in their online brand (could help sales guys …..)

:)

Passing Gas On Live TV

This is from the Heep.co.il site.

Israeli Consulate has an Isrealli Blog

Isrealli.org - New York Consulate BlogThis is a nice edition to the blog world. The Israeli consulate in New York has a blog called Isrealli. They are already asking for help from writers but seem to have a fresh approach and not the typical government feel. Hope they keep it going…Welcome Guys!

Online Hanukkah and Christmas Sales Break Records

Hanukkah MenorahI spoke to the owner of MostOriginal.com, a unique gifts and Judaica Gifts store, and it was interesting to get a perspective of online sales for this Israeli based ecommerce store. Christmas and Hanukkah has been very busy this year in terms of online sales breaking all existing records and showing a 25% increase over last year – CNN reported that this last Wednesday sales topped $760 Million for the day.

Hanukkah DreidelIt seems that the busiest online shopping days have been Mondays as most people do their shopping online. Reasons to shop online are convenience, shipping and speed (cost came 4th in surveys). In this gift store clients have been getting the classics like the Hanukkah Menorah, the traditional Handmade Hanukkah Dreidel (see pics), and a recent edition this Christmas season, Kabbalah bracelets and jewelry, made famous by celebrities around the world. Although the store ships from Israel it has been offering free standard shipping and response has been very positive reports the owner.

Divorce is not a Game – Or is it?

Earthquake in Zipland Remember the days when there were books for children on “difficult” topics such as divorce or puberty (you know the ones I’m talking about: “Where do Babies Come From”, “Why is Mommy’s New Friend Sleeping Over”) – those books. They were pretty good, had some decent cartoons, and for the most part did what they were supposed to do – help parents avoid awkward conversations with their children.

But divorce is not something you can just sweep under the carpet and hope will go away. According to a recent British survey, only 1 in 20 children of divorce believed that it was properly explained to them, while one-fourth of the children feel that no one had talked to them at all about the reasons for their parents’ separation.

Israeli company, Zipland Interactive, realized that a book just wasn’t gonna cut it anymore and has recently released “Earthquake in Zipland“: the world’s first research-based psychological computer game designed to help kids cope indirectly with divorce and separation.

“The benefits of this sort of game are numerous”, says Chaya Harash, MSW Family Therapist and CEO of Zipland Interactive, “For the children, it’s the first attempt at talking to them in their own language, dealing with a severe subject through humor and wit. For the parents, the game broadens their understanding of the impact of the separation on their child, and offers a way to communicate and talk about painful issues the child might be otherwise reluctant to express. For therapists and helping professions it can be used to get children to participate more actively in the therapy process, used either in the clinic or as a home ‘assignment’.”

With the increasing number of divorces each year, was it just a matter of time before divorce help went cyber? Their research says it works. We say: it’s worth a shot.

Play65 Shut Down By Police

Yesterday PLAY65 received official notice and a warrant was issued forcing it to shut down it’s money based Backgammon site in Israel. The State Prosecutor, Eran Shender, announced the decision making Internet backgammon gambling services in Israel illegal. Soon after Head of Intelligence Investigation unit at the Police sent a letter to Interlogic (Play65 operator) warning it to cease gambling operations in Israel and letting them know they consider such activity a criminal offence.

Play65 is a major advertiser and sponsor of sports programming on channel 1 and the company has been anything but quiet about advertising and marketing the gaming service in Israel. Earlier this year Police began raiding some of the leading portals in Israel including MSN, Walla, Sportline, ONE and Nana making it clear that advertising by gaming operations are not to be accepted. Several employees of these companies have been called in for interviews and warnings were issued.

Police have also informed credit card companies that any transaction made with online gambling companies would now be considered a felony offense. Israeli credit card companies have been doing very well from the $125 Million in Israeli online gambling.

Play65 says that based on several respected legal experts and opinions this is a “ridiculous charge” and that Backgammon has been deemed legal. The activity is considered a skill game and not gambling they claim. The company also claims that this is all part of a smear campaign and that it holds proof that all this is part of unethical activities by third parties. It also said that turning Israel’s national game into an illegal activity is not going to wash with the Israeli public.

Sportingo – Sports Social Network and Interactive News

Sportingo - Sports Social Network and Interactive NewsI came across this new Israeli Web2.0 startup that presents user content, articles, sports data and pictures for sports fans, Sportingo. The site is still in Beta and offers a new niche source of information for sports fans by sports fans, sort of a Sports social network with interactive news. The company founded target=”_blank”by Tal Barnoach and Ze’ev Rozov, veterans of the high tech industry, and uses a platform inspired by OhMyNews and Scoop was launched September 2006.

The editors for the site make sure grammar is corrected, make the headlines and approve the content on the site. The site makes use of Meta data and search engine optimization techniques that ensure it has a high rate of absorption in search engines. Although the site has been online for a relatively short time it already boasts over 9,750 indexed pages in Google and seems to be headed for greatness.

Using user generated content and interaction allows for an interactive environment that determines the ranking and popularity of news items and posts. The site does not provide a betting facility and the revenue model is based on advertising.

Netanyahu Goes Online

Well in case you haven’t heard it Benjamin Netanyahu has a blog. He promises to write once a week (or two) and answer the comments people leave. Netanyahu is not the first to have a blog among the politicians. The challange always seems to be continuing the writing. Sounds familiar…

The blog also includes this YouTube clip of an interview with HBO.

Multirapper – Video

This is cool – this is a one man rap group. Metacafe is a video site that’s worth a look and is associated with some Israeli founders/developers they say they are the “world’s largest online video broadcasters with a global audience of 17 million unique visitors”. Looks good and worth a visit.


Rapper – video powered by Metacafe

Red Wine Again Found Very Healthy

Red WineA recent study conducted at Harvard University in the U.S.A. again confirms the benefits of drinking moderate amounts of red wine. The study, using laboratory rats, confirmed earlier studies at other universities, including Yale, also in the USA, that red wine contains ingredients that reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood stream, reduces risks of some forms of cancer, and even helps prevent the outset of Altsheimer disease. The secret of red wine are ingredients known as polyphenol antioxidants and flavonoids which are said to come from the skin of red wine grapes. For years, the health attributes of drinking red wine have been known by millions of people; and the grandmotherly advice of drinking a glass of red wine before retiring at night is followed by many people. The cardiovascular benefits of red wine consumption has resulted in people living in countries where large quantities of red wine is consumed having less heart attacks and other related problems. Flavanoids also help prevent premature aging due to the antioxidants they contain. Polyphenol antioxidants have been talked about by nutrition experts as one of the main protections a person’s body has against aging.

While wine drinking may be healthful, it must be remembered that over-consumption of wine (and other alcoholic beverages) can have adverse effects on one’s health; including liver damage and diabetes (due to abnormal increase of blood sugar levels). Inexpensive commercial table wines also contain preserving and fermentation ingredients known as sulfides which can be very bad for people who are allergic to them. In the U.S.A., wines containing sulfides must state so on the bottle’s outside label. Few lower priced Israel wines have this warning, however; so if one is uncertain regarding this problem, it is a good idea to consult the manufacturer’s customer service department, or purchase more expensive wines which are naturally fermented and do not contain sulfides.

Many other food items also contain polyphenol antioxidants, but red wine grapes appear to have the highest level. Laboratory studies showed that moderate amounts of red wine consumed daily by the test subjects resulted in a marked decrease in cholesterol levels. Other types of wines do not contain the same levels of flavanoids and polyphenol antioxidants. These include white wines, fruit wines (from plums, apples, berries, etc), and rice and other wines made from grain.

The obvious secret to maintaining good physical health is to combine moderate red wine consumption with watching one’s diet and by regular exercise.

Videos by Oren Fadlon

Lately I get these video clips by Oren Fadlon. These are a few of his “hits” – Internet Art at its best.
(Hat Tip: Heep)

Continue reading

Online Gambling Industry’s letters from the edge

Online Gambling Letters from the Edge

As someone who knows a little about the online gaming industry (Israel being a key player in the online gaming industry), I watch with interest the events as they unfold and worry about some friend that are now going through a very rough time. The online gaming business in the US is significant, 80% would be conservative and I have already heard of mass layoffs in the industry’s SMBs. I know that the larger operations are also going to scale down and the numbers will be significant. I wish these people luck (excuse the pun..).
The Vegas political lobby is too significant and I guess they reached a critical mass that pissed off the wrong people. Let’s face it this is BS – the US has no authority over online gaming or any Internet activity. I think its having a hard enough time in the physical world and should stick to “managing” that.

These are “letters from the edge”. This first one is being sent to all webmasters by one of the larger affiliate programs (names have been changed to protect the “innocent”).

Dear Webmaster,
It is with regret that we have to inform you that in light of recent legislative changes in the United States; CASINO NAME has notified us that from tomorrow, Friday, October 13th, at 11:30 am EST no further transactions from either new or existing players residing in the States listed below, will be accepted.

As a result you will no longer be able to generate revenue from CASINO GROUP casinos or poker rooms in these States:

Michigan
Illinois
Louisiana
Oregon
Washington
Wisconsin
Indiana
Nevada
South Dakota
New Jersey
New York

We would like to remind you that there are exciting opportunities in other markets and we look forward to exploring these with you. If you have any queries or would like to find out more, please contact me.

This is the letter that was sent out to the players in same casino:

Dear Player,

The United States Congress has recently passed an Act affecting payments for internet gambling that is expected to be signed into law sometime on Friday, October 13th, 2006.

And so, it is with much regret that we are to cease accepting wagers and/or bets from players who are resident in relevant States in the United States of America.

Pending further consideration of this Act, your account and the gaming software will no longer be accessible as of Friday, October 13th, 2006.

Can I still play?
You are still able to play out any balances in your gaming account/s prior to it being suspended. Any winnings during this time can be withdrawn and enjoyed.

What happens after this date?
Should you still have a cash balance in your gaming account after the deadline, we will ensure that you are refunded via:
– Your preferred payment method* or the last method used to deposit

* Please note that check is no longer available as a withdrawal option, so if this is your preferred withdrawal mechanism, please select a different option from within the software before the cut off date or call our Customer Service Centre to make alternative arrangements.

As the full effect and implications of the Act will not become clear for some time, please be assured that we will keep you updated as the situation progresses.

Thank you very much for your patronage at CASINO NAME.

Should you experience any problems or need further assistance please get in touch with our Customer Services Team at support@CASINO NAME.com or call them directly at 1XXXXXXXX. They’re on stand-by to assist.

Need I say more ?

Blogmusik ROCKS !!

Blogmusik.net

Check out this BETA version of Blogmusik – Nothing like a little “Free Internet Virtual Ipod”. Try searching at the bottom of the player, options will open on the right, click one and it starts playing. Top quality MP3 sound !!

I love the web :)

Dapper Data Mapper – New Mashup Maker

Dapper - Data Mapper I met the guys from Dapper a while ago, before they actually started with Dapper. Very smart people working on mapping the Internet. A few month later Voila.

Dapper allows you extract data and create a web service out of any site. APIs are available in PHP4, PHP5 and Java. The output can be in any of the following formats: XML, HTML, RSS, Emails, Email Alert, Google Map, Google Gadget, Image Loop, JSON Data Feed or a link to another Dapper.

This means that any site out there can be turned into a data source and displayed by this system. Turning anything to an RSS feed for example..

COOL :)

Eganu Site Offers Assistance to New Israelis

Eganu.com Israel Community and Guide Eganu.com is a site that recently launched (Beta) and is geared towards new Israelis. Basically the site offers a collection of services and information for new comers. There are a few sections that are still under construction but it promises to deliver a channel for accomodation, night life, community, travel and more. Nice to know we have the need :)

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