a different side of Israel

Category: Technology (page 3 of 5)

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

50th Birthday to Ron Arad

On May 5th, 2008 Ron Arad will turn 50. His friends are throwing him a birthday party and after more then 21 years in captivity are wishing his return. Please remember him, that would be the best thing you can do! PASS THIS ON!

Please pass this on and visit

New HooQs out on Alpha – Online VJ’s Needed!

The new version of Hooqs is out and let me tell you its fantastic. The new system still in Alpha allows users to create content channels viewable online and on mobile. Read the brief that appeared on their blog:

HooQs is a user centric service where users create and share media channels for mobile devices. Channels are created and edited online using the HooQs Studio. Video clips and audio tracks can be fetched from the open internet and uploaded from personal computers. Each channel is accessible on the web as well as on every internet connected, media enabled mobile phone. Forwarding to mobile phones worldwide is easily done for free from HooQs. Registered users get access to Clips4U – a personalized video feed based – and can easily build their own personal mobile portal. Everything is free, no installation required anywhere.

Anyway, if you are a video content fanatic and would want to start your own channel, publish and monetize your own content then this is the place. Take a look at the new Studio and the great features that you have available. This content will of course also be viewable on all mobile platforms…
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Shin Bet Blog

Shin Bet BlogIsrael security agency has launched a new blog in which four employees, identified by their initial letters, tell about their work as Shin Bet agents. Sounds intriguing? By what I’ve read and heard so far, the blog is not too exciting (to say the least).

This move is unexpected, considering the legendary reputation of this secret agency. I was very curious to hear what motivated this rare initiative. It appears that shin bet is interested in marketing itself as a standard high-tech company, while fighting its intimidating image. This move is a part of a bigger campaign aiming to attract program engineers and other high-tech professionals from Israel and across the world.
The lives of the Shin Bet employees as described online seem completely normal. That is the message Sin bet wishes to convey.

One of the bloggers, Y, tells the readers that his first priority is his family. “You don’t stay at work if u don’t really have to”, admits Y, who only wants to return home as early as he can. If you are looking for patriotic slogans, search elsewhere. It looks like working for Israel’s intelligence agency is not the James Bond stories that one might imagine. I personally prefer the myth, and by judging readers’ commentary, I’m not the only one!

While the official website has been recently translated into English and Arabic, the blog is only available in Hebrew. Don’t be too disappointed though: who really wants to read a blog by a boring high-tech employee ?…

Autism’s Awareness

For many who are not aware, Wednesday, April 2nd was World Autism Awareness Day. Many media programs have devoted some of their viewing time to include informative public awareness programs dealing with this world-wide developmental problem that afflicts more than 35 million people worldwide. Due to the fact that autism seems to be on the increase, international health organizations finally convinced the U.N. to create an annual day in which this scourge will finally be put before the public eye.

World Autism Awareness DayAutism is defined as a moderate to severe mental developmental disorder which prevents children from being able to make normal personal contact with others, develop normal language skills, and engage in interpersonal communication. There are a wide range of autistic conditions, which cause it to be known as a “spectrum disorder” since it can range from almost normal behavior to something at the opposite end of this range, or spectrum. As of mid 2007, around 3,000 people in Israel were diagnosed with this affliction, affecting around 1 in every 250 births. In countries such as the USA, however, the percentage of children born with autism is even higher at 1 in 150 births. Male children are 4 times more likely to be born autistic; and those conceived by men aged 40-49 are 5.5 times more likely to be autistic (children from men 50-60 are 9.4 times more likely to be autistic!).

What causes autism in children, especially boys, has not yet been discovered. But the fact that older men are more likely to father autistic children, may be why the ratio of autistic born children in North America is higher than in other countries (including Israel) since people are marrying in the USA and Canada at a much older age than in other countries. The reason that the condition is more prevalent in boys than in girls is still a mystery, and is perhaps linked to the fact that male sperm containing chromosomes more likely to produce boys is more prone to such conditions.

The success in being able to teach autistic children to speak and interact with other people depends on the seriousness or “degree” of the disability. Many people who are autistic can be taught to take care of themselves and even work in certain careers. The amount of assistance and/or supervision they require is connected with what level of autism they are diagnosed with.

There are several organizations in Israel that deal with providing therapy and education to children who are autistic. These include the TOMI organization, started by a couple whose own child was diagnosed as autistic; and the Meir Autism Treatment Center, that uses the well known Son-Rise Program that concentrates on teaches autistic children a variety of basis skills, including social skills, language and conversation, eye contact and attention span (a big problem with many autistic children) as well as academic and self help skills.

Although much progress has been made in assisting autistic people, there is still a lot more to be done, and one of the most important things is early diagnosis of the condition in order for the right treatment to be started. Many autistic children, especially those who are considered as “borderline” between being autistic and having some other kind of learning disability ,such as ADD (attention deficit disorder) for example, can be taught to live an almost normal life and be contributing members of their communities.

With Autism Awareness Day, this tragic and often misunderstood condition, is finally receiving to attention it so much deserves.

Advice For Jerry Yang from Shpigler

A few tips on how to negotiate a successful Yahoo! deal…

Flu Bug Touring Israel

The months of January and February are always periods to be on the lookout for one of winter’s worst “visitors”, the flu. Also known by it more formal name, the influenza virus, this highly contagious disease is much more serious than a common cold, and can lead to dangerous and sometimes fatal complications. Recent publicized warnings are advising people in Israel, especially older people and small children to take extra precautions, and many health authority officials are saying that stains of this year’s “flu bug” seems to be more aggressive and widespread than ever.

There are three prevalent kinds of “bug” or influenza, which go by names of Spanish flu, Asian and Hong Kong flu, and combinations of the three. Although vaccinations, such as Tami Flu are offered to people annually, it is usually impossible to guarantee that the given vaccination will be effective against the particular virus “visiting” a country or region each year. Other serious viral diseases that have been given considerable attention in recent years is the Avian of “bird flu” and a condition known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome of SARS. Although both SARS and bird flu have resulted in a number of deaths world wide, their combined total to date have been far less that the mortality rate of a single influenza season which usually results in thousands of deaths, even in countries like the U.S. and Europe, who claim to have to best health care systems.

This year, it has been reported that the largest flu outbreaks in Israel are in the major population centers; especially Jerusalem and the heavily populated central region, stretching from Ashdod to Netanya. Since many people work in large buildings, such as those in the high tech industry, and with many frequenting shopping malls and traveling on modes of public transport, such as buses and trains, the likelihood of getting “bitten” by the flu bug is much more possible since the virus is also an airborne one, as well as one that is transmitted by touching things that already contaminated people were touching, such as door knobs and even computer keyboards. Schools, hospitals and nursing homes are also especially vulnerable to outbreaks of flu, and small children in nurseries and day care center often pass the “bug” from one to another.

This year, many cases of flu seem to be accompanied by high fevers and various body aches and pains, in addition to the normal symptoms, such as headaches, nasal and lung congestion, as other respiratory problems. Anyone with high fever, feelings of stiffness in the neck, and especially feelings of nausea should see a doctor immediately as they could have something more serious such as meningitis. Flu can also develop into conditions such as pneumonia, especially in small children and people over age 50. Although an average case of flu usually runs its course in 5 to 7 days, come cases last considerably longer and develop in to these and other complications.

Natan Dvir’s Photo of the Year

Natan DvirI read this great post on Lisa Goldman’s blog and as always it made me stop and think. I had to outright steal it and bring it here, hope she forgives me 🙂

I saw the Photo Journalism show last year in Tel Aviv and it was amazing. As a country that relatively to its size manufactures more News then probably any other, we have quite a lot to show. Check out the website for the exhibition Edut Mekomit.

The picture here by Natan Dvir won the award for Photo of Year. The man in the picture, 36 year old Na’im El’iam, is holding the body of his son at the Erez Checkpoint (into Gaza) waiting for fighting to stop so he can continue home. His infant son passed away at Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv of heart disease.

Drinking The Air We Breathe

Drinking The Air We BreatheHave you ever been outdoors on a humid day and thought that the humidity was so thick you could almost drink it? Well, a Houston Texas based company decided to put this thought into action by designing and manufacturing a device that literally converts the very air we breathe into safe, clean drinking water. Called the Aquamaker, the device which looks a lot like the water dispensers found in many offices and homes is able to convert water vapor in the atmosphere into water.

Though this really isn’t a new idea (air conditioning systems have actually been doing this for years) this is first time that a practical device has been manufactured that can create around 36 liters of clean water in only 48 hours. The Aquamaker was originated by the parent company in Houston, and can convert air into water in practically every country the world where there is sufficient humidity to do so. This idea has such far reaching potential, that an Israeli company, headed by Eita Markovits, is now marketing the device in Israel for customers ranging from private homes to the Israel Defense Ministry. The Defense Ministry has become so interested in it that a number of Aquamaker machines are now being used on a test bases in locations all over Israel, especially in the Tel Aviv area.

Markovits, who formerly was involved in marketing vitamin products under the Solgar name, is now devoting a great deal of his time and energy to promoting the device which costs around NS 5,000 to purchase, but can also be leased on a monthly bases. To make a sufficient quantity of potable drinking water, an air humidity level of at least 60% is preferred, although water can be produced in even dry desert air. To assure that no pollutants are created, the air is filtered during the conversion process, making the water even cleaner than most bottled mineral water with virtually no minerals. From a scientific perspective its pure H2O at it’s best.

The present models can be made larger to convert larger quantities of water, and have great potential for areas where there is a lack of clean drinking water. Combined with using solar panels to create electricity, the Aquamaker can be a truly environmental friendly device. On current models such as the AM10, it can make 36 liters of water on about 8 cents worth of electricity. That’s about 30 Agorot in Israeli currency.

Though the entire marketing and production of the Aquamaker is still in what entrepreneurs would call the “seed capital” stages, the long term outlook for this concept is excellent, and could very well be a solution to much of the world’s water problems. This is especially so for countries in tropical regions and for many others located near bodies of water like large lakes, rivers and oceans or seas. These areas usually have high humidity levels which can be converted into plenty of clean drinking water by these devices. The Aquamaker has passed standards tests in the USA, Europe, and Israel, and now being sold in a number of countries, including the U.S., Australia, Greece, Italy, and Spain.

With the earth being a water planet, and nearly 70% of its surface being water, there isn’t much of a problem finding sufficient humidity to convert into water. This means that the future is certainly bright for the Aquamaker. Next Big Mobile Content Startup

I know these guys and have been watching them grow and develop into this great site and technology platform over the last 12 months. HooQs is the next thing in mobile content sharing and worth a look.

The company developed a platform and community that allows the sharing and sending of video content to new generation cell phones (which is becoming the norm). It’s very interesting how this company is bridging between Internet content and mobile content and I am sure we will see more of these initiatives in the coming months in what is now a definite trend. The company is lead by the very capable hands of Itay Gissin and is a sure up and comer in the field of mobile content sharing. Watch out for this one !!

This is a new video clip they just put out to promote the site and service at

Surface Computing – The Minority Report Is Here

This is going to be available in stores by the end of 2007. If you saw the movie the “Minority Report”, this is it – only it’s here…

WhiteSmoke Writing Software

WhiteSmoke Writing Software

WhiteSmoke develops writing software. In addition to the traditional English grammar, spelling, and punctuation checks found in word processors, WhiteSmoke provides an enrichment feature that suggests context-based additions to users’ texts, plus an online dictionary that includes translations and a thesaurus. The patented technology stimulates the human thought process when it reads, classifies, and stores millions of English texts.

The company developed this artificial intelligence tool that is able to scan databases from news sites such as CNN and The New York Times, and studies documents from Harvard and Yale on an ongoing basis to learn how English sentences are used real-time in business, medicine and every-day life.

When a user activates WhiteSmoke software he sends text to the server, which then parses the text and returns it to the user with relevant choices for text enrichment. WhiteSmoke software is compatible with all applications; the user’s text is automatically sent to the WhiteSmoke server upon activation. An OEM version also exists, consisting of a set of client and server tools that enable websites and writing platforms to provide users access to WhiteSmoke.

WhiteSmoke has been in business for three years. Notable investors include Shlomo Touboul, evolution VC, and Yair Goldfinger, a founder of online chat giant ICQ.

Notes From The TheMarker Internet Convention

TheMarker Comvention 2007The TheMarker COM.vention is on – see the pictures here. The location was nice (first time at Airport City for me). The host was Yossi Vardi, a known personality in the Internet industry that made his break with ICQ early in the first bubble. Overall, I was unimpressed by the panels, they were shallow and had little real content. Vardi was all about self promotion and bad jokes (he really should upgrade to new material). I disliked the fact that when he ran the panel, he asked a question and then completely disregarded the answer. Really not worth the time..

DotomiI enjoyed the artist sessions downstairs in the convention center. Intimate gatherings where speakers could speak about their areas of expertise. I was there for Yair Goldfinger, one of the founders of ICQ and today the CTO of Dotomi. He was discussing Internet startups, the stages of developing and testing your idea, getting funding (investment), the importance of options for employees (especially in Israel), finding the right business model and other valuable insights.

TheMarker CafeThe second day, yesterday, was for the Israeli market and I wasn’t there. From some chatter online and browsing the business sections the talk is that the Interactive agencies are not doing enough to parlay the potential of the Internet to the big traditional business in Israel. Maybe it’s because the so called Interactive Marketing gurus don’t feel they need to understand the Internet in order to sell it to their clients 😉 . Rani Rahav also had a few pearls of wisdom, but wait, for that guy we are going to have a whole other post…

One of the highlights of this event for me (and a pleasant surprise) was the soft launch of an Israeli Business Social Network – café The Marker. This site was built by Dex in PHP (Kudos guys!!) and that’s a first for any of the large Israeli sites.

Here’s hoping the people from learn and maybe finally get with the times on the main site, that’s still not compatible with Firefox !!!!

Yedda Gets 2.5 Million From Genesis

YeddaYedaa a Web 2.0 peer to peer based search community allows people to ask questions and get answers from the relevant people in the field. The company just raised $2.5 Milion from Genesis Partners. I tried it out and you can see what they offer for bloggers below:

Check out this interesting question on Yedda

Yedda - People.Sharing.Knowledge.Something in my eyeToday, I struggled for hours to remove some dirt out of my eye. It was very irritating. Any techniques on ow to remove it fast and easy?

Topics:  ,

Asked by Nicole on December 25, 2006

View the entire discussion on YeddaYedda - People.Sharing.Knowledge.

AniBoom Raises $4.5 M from Evergreen

I am a big fan of this site as some of you may have noticed here, here and here. I was glad to see AniBoom secured a $4.5 Million investment from Evergreen. Uri Shenar is the founder and man behind the animation portal. The competition they recently had attracted 1,500 participants and this was the winner of the $25,000 prize. Mazal Tov guys..

Malis wanted to “tell a little complex story about a lot of topics…differences between groups of people, faith confrontation, religion manipulation, hypocrisy, etc.

Zlango Icons Get Another $12 M

Zlango Icons Zlango developed an Icon lingo for SMS communication. In previous rounds it raised $1.5 Million and now raised an additional $12 Million from Benchamrk Capital and Excel Partners.

See if you can get the message in their own “words”on the company blog

Zlango Message

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