Thursday, July 24, 2008

Monday - Back to Haifa

Today I really got an impression of how Conceptis works. Last night just before we went to bed, one member of the Conceptis forums had noticed something not working the way it should on the puzzle review page on Conceptis website. I noticed his post in the forums, checked if it worked the same way with me and when it did I showed it to Gil. This is the way it normally works with the exception that this time I could do it while he was sitting next to me. Usually I write him (+some other Conceptis people) an e-mail and they look into it. They have so much to do that checking the forums every hour would be too much to do and that is why I have “taken over” to check the problems people send there. Very often I am able to answer the questions and also other members can do that. Now that the new website has been up for two months, it is quite rare that something problematic comes up.

This time bob.allen2 had found a real bug. It seemed just like the bug was honouring my visit appearing when I was here. First Gil checked the HTML-code and found out there was nothing wrong with that. Then he reported it to the people involved in the production. It was something Anna could not fix either and the problem was transferred to the engineers. One of them called to Gil and even though I was sitting next to Gil, I understood nothing since they were using Hebrew. I am not sure what the situation is now because I have had other things to attend to, but seeing how things work when people are not sharing the same office was amazing. I am more convinced than I was before that telecommuting is a more effective way of working. I am unable to do anything else in my workplace than teaching. All the other things I am trying to do get usually interrupted by others asking me something or just wanting to talk about other things.

Dave contacted me and told me that I had to be in Haifa in the hotel around 20.00-20.30. Chie Fujisaki, the Manager of Conceptis Japan office had arrived with her husband and also Amo Noh, Conceptis agent in Korea. We were supposed to meet at 21.00.

I shut the computer and I showed Gil and Carmel how to play Mölkky, a Finnish outdoors game I brought from Finland to Gil because of all the things he has taught me over the past year. My employer does not have any education for me regarding computers. I am too advanced and I get really bored and angry if I happen to get into training classes where the things they are teaching are too easy. If I took courses on my own, it would have cost me a lot of money and probably I still would have not got what I wanted, needed and enjoyed. So this is like a situation benefiting both sides. I am not on the payroll of Conceptis but I get these wonderful experiences and that is why I want to pay them back by helping on the forums :)

Mölkky is a Finnish game, invented in 1996 and it is made of pure Finnish wood. The rules are simple and even Carmel can play it. Calculating the points needs one older person if the official rules are used. The rules seem simple but amazingly the game is not as easy as it sounds. To achieve exactly 50 points is actually very hard and the game can continue for a very long time. This time I won, but I have played the game before… I guess I was not a good house guest doing that but actually I had to get going.

Nitsi ordered a taxi for me. The prize was confirmed before I left. Not so much because the driver could have cheated me; the Israeli people are very honest but I was glad it was done. The taxi was a total surprise to me. I have told before how advanced this country is and now I was sitting in a taxi which did not have GPS and was keeping contact to the taxi central with a low frequency radio phone. All the Finnish taxis have computers in their cars. They use it to inform where they are and also to get the directions.

When we arrived to Haifa, it was obvious that the driver had no idea where the hotel was, even though I had the address. He drove around and from time to time he asked people where he should drive. Because of this I was glad the price was fixed. If I had paid for the extra time/kilometers we drove, it could have been much more expensive. Now I regretted that I left the GPS totally to Olli's hands. I was sitting in the back seat and not paying much attention to directions. If I had done that, I would have been able to tell the driver where to go.

I arrived early enough to get ready for the evening. I met Amo, Chie and her husband in the lobby and Dave came to get us to Anna’s and Igor’s house. He had got part of the food from the steak house and also Anna had made salads. Amo brought Korean dressings to the table. Igor grilled the huge steaks. I can’t understand why most of the Israeli people are so thin even though they eat so much! This time I managed the steak, last year I did not. I love all the hummus and eggplants and pita bread so much that I could be a vegetarian if I lived here.
Igor made the coffee (he is a real expert) and Anna made tea. Igor even roasts his own coffee beans! The coffee was wonderful. Tea is something I never drink, even though my life depended on it. It is a childhood trauma and I rather go through the trouble of explaining why I don’t drink it than actually just force myself to drink it.

Amo had had a long and tiresome day and we left relatively early. Well, it was past 1 am, but we had so much to talk about and so much fun that it did seem to be only a short time we spent there. Amo and Chie had never seen a Finnish person before and I am starting to feel quite exotic here, which is very funny to me.

Now I saw one more Conceptis office. Anna and Igor share the same room. Igor is not actually getting his pay from Conceptis but he is a share holder and is involved in the development.

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