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About Myself

Picture of Shlomi Fish

History

My name is Shlomi Fish, I’m a guy and I was born on 5 May, 1977 in Israel. I lived in Israel most of my life except between the ages of 1 and 5, when my family moved to the United States for my father’s post-doctorate, and a few trips to Europe or North America. I have two younger sisters.

After graduating from high-school, and being exempt from the army service, I spent some time working as a programmer and computer developer for several computer-related companies. I gained a lot of knowledge and experience in the process, and met some very supportive people in the industry. In October 97’ I began studying Electrical Engineering in the Technion.

I enjoyed my studies to a large extent, but also found them frustrating many times. I feel that I deepened my understanding of computers and electronics because of them; The Technion gives its students a high level of studying, but my main problem with it is that its tests are sometimes completely out of sync with the material that is learnt, too long and/or too hard, and so students receive low grades and become frustrated. This is especially demotivating considering the fact that studying there is a lot of work. I recall a time when the only reason I continued to study was to get the degree at the end, and felt completely unmotivated otherwise. Eventually, I came to enjoy my studies a little more, but I still have many bad memories from it.

I graduated from the Technion in July 2004. I’ve been searching for a job since, and despite the fact that there’s a shortage in Israel for programmers like me who are well-versed in Open Source technologies such as Perl and Linux, I had a lot of difficulty finding a job. As I contemplated, this is due to the employers becoming more picky. As of this writing (28-August-2009), I don’t have a permanent job, and instead am working on various projects or commissions, as well as writing essays and stories; and also trying to work on some open-source ideas with a commercial potential.

Interests

I am particularly interested in mathematics, computing, philosophy and writing. I’ve been programming since I was 10 years old, but it was not very serious until I started working as a programmer at 1997. As for maths, it’s been a favourite of mine since junior high. (I’m also interested in linguistics and ancient history of the Near East and Europe, but in a rather unprofessional manner).

Other hobbies of mine include a small amount of sports, biking, hiking, and solving puzzles and riddles of all sorts.

Open-Source Contributions

I am very interested in the Linux and the free software world. I initiated some of those open-source projects of my own. Namely, I ported a MOD player to Java, (where MODs are a type of Music files which contain notes and samples for instruments), wrote a program that solves various variants of Card Solitaire and coded a useful patch for the GIMP. (a cross-platform image manipulation program) You can find more information about them in the software section..

Recently, I also contributed more patches to GIMP; some cleanups and functionality extensions to the Subversion version-control system; and some documentation cleanups to Perl. I hope to contribute more.

Finally, I have started maintaining some modules on CPAN, either such that I wrote from scratch, or such that I adopted.

Stories and Humour

Aside from all that, there are my literary works. I wrote a funny story called The Enemy and how I Helped to Fight it. It was originally written in Hebrew, but I translated it to English.

There’s also “The One with the Fountainhead”, which is an episode of the T.V. Show Friends which parodies the book The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. It is written in English, and you can also find it on my site.

The Human Hacking Field Guide is a complete story that I wrote in English. It tells the story of teenage computer enthusiasts in 2005 Los Angeles.

Humanity is a parody about Humanity and modern life in particular that describes a day in the life of a Semitic city circa 500 B.C. Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead” is an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with many funny and far-fetched elements, written in English.

Selina Mandrake - The Slayer is a parody and modernisation of the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and has many ties with “We, the Living Dead”). Finally, Summerschool at the NSA (the Screenplay) describes how two well-known Hollywood actresses conspire to vanquish the NSA (the United States government’s National Security Agency) using special warfare that is completely non-violent.

There are other exploits like that in the humour section, including some aphorisms, collections of quotes in XML, HTML and UNIX fortune formats, some short stories (“bits”) and collections of original factoids (about Chuck Norris, etc.).

Essays and Philosophy

Being interested in philosophy and being a capable writer, I started writing various essays and articles, about philosophy, applied philosophy, computing, politics and other topics. So far I wrote a large number of essays which you can read. Some of my other writing is available in the Better SCM site, in the Hackers-IL Group, and on Advogato. I also have some blogs where I write some random thoughts (among else).

The philosophy which I found to make the most sense is Neo-Tech, which is an extension and re-organisation of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism. The so-called Neo-Tech Discovery is a mind-revolving and very insightful book. Another heavy source of influence is Eric S. Raymond’s The Cathedral and the Bazaar, series and his many other writings, but there are many other lesser sources of influences. (and I have reached many philosophical conclusions on my own).

My Mental Condition

I had periods of clinical depression (which are very common and are considered the common cold of mental diseases), periods of hypomanias (= periods of excited states and self-grandiosity, literally “below-mania”) and even had a few Manias, and am still getting into hypomanias from time to time. As such, I likely have Bipolar disorder, though I’m not sure I was diagnosed as such.

By recommendation from my psychotherapist, I have read the book Feeling Good by David Burns, and can recommend it to anyone, as it helped me a lot. I’m trying to follow the book’s advice and do Cognitive Therapy work, and also attend regular therapy appointments, where I’m getting a lot of good advice.

My tendency to become hypomanic has proven somewhat detrimental to my ability to cope with external problems, but I lately realised, that I have some other character flaws that I need to curb at the same time. It’s always the path of least effort to blame your own problems on external factors (whether your parents or family, your past, the world at large, “people”, your teachers, or even your Bipolar disorder), but it does not help you to overcome one’s problems, and the best long-term solution is to work on fixing them.


I hope you enjoy my web-site!

Shlomi Fish