Older blog entries for roozbeh (starting at number 83)

Women in Iran: The new Iranian administration is somehow limiting women activies. First, the new Vice President in charge of Sports and Physical Education has mentioned that women's sport program should not be very long, or otherwise "problems" may be created for their husbands. Then, the new Minister for Culture has forbidden the female workers of the ministry and the organizations and offices under the ministry (which include the official Iranian news agency and a newspaper) to work after 6 pm.

The minister has mentioned that this is because "the sensitive role of the country's women in the elavation of the Islamic society and the necessity of effective presence of ladies in the warm focal point that is the family, in order to fulfill the sensitive responsibility of educating the children". I won't say much about the case of mothers, but if you don't have children at home to raise, I guess it's only the first part, your sensitive role in the elevation of the Islamic society, that applies to you. So, logically, it seems that the new minister believes that if a single or childless woman leaves work at 6 pm (or earlier), their absence elevates the Islamic society.

It may not be a coordinated act in the whole administration and may only be random opinions of inexperienced public servants, but it still takes its toll, and results in seeing less women in the society. As someone who has tried to help a few women find their place in the work environment, I am very concerned about this.

10 Oct 2005 (updated 10 Oct 2005 at 16:28 UTC) »
Unicode: Mark Davis has posted a set of globalization gotchas.

WYSIWYG: AbiWord 2.4 has nice mathematical typesetting features it seems: screenshot by Martin Sevior. The horizontal spacing in the formulas still looks horibble to me, having spent so much time with TeX. But I guess not many users do care that much about formula aesthetics. Update: I am not an AbiWord user. I only based my observation on Martin's screenshot. I can't even think about using anything other than TeX for typesetting mathematics.

Hoder: "Neo-Racism: Instead of saying all people from the Middle-East should be treated differently, the US government says people from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen should be treated differently. This dosn't matter even if you have citizenship froma country like Canada. I was born in Tehran and it's enough for the US to treat me like a potential terrorist."
8 Oct 2005 (updated 8 Oct 2005 at 17:03 UTC) »
Run, Luis, Run!

(BTW, Run Lola Run appears to be one of the favorite movies of DEK. It was only being a DEK fan that made me find and watch the movie. I loved it, of course.)

More developments: Well, more interesting things have happened now. First, it was some anonymous mail from a random Gmail account asking me (in Persian) to not write about the email in my blog, not telling anyone about it, and then advising me that I don't follow the matter with the scammer (not that I wanted to follow it). He mentioned that very possibly more monetary offers will be forthcoming from such people, and that he has followed a similar story "to some mid-point" but fortunately found about it "and returned". He wrote that the sender name is not his real name and that he can't reveal his identity. So, I can't see a reason why I should not write about it here (not that there was anything non-trivial in it).

Then, just now, someone (who seemed to be an Iranian intelligence officer) called my office. He mentioned my previous blog entry and that I had asked for advice there. He asked me to meet him in the governmental Office of Alien Affairs (where foreigners usually go to extend their visas in Tehran). He mentioned that this is definitely a trap and wanted to advice me about possible other traps that I may encounter in my "foreign visits". He mentioned that he and his colleagues appreciate the advice of us "computer guys" and we should also appreciate theirs. I am thinking whether or not I should try to meet him. It may practically take half a day out of my time, which is very bad for the very busy days I have now. I guess I will think about it for a few days, to see if it will be worth the time.

In other developments, I contacted the company that the "headhunter" mentioned as a possible employer and asked them to confirm that they have such a "human resources" company working for them. They have not answered yet. I guess they, being so large, won't even care about such scams and the possible victims!

But generally, I find it very interesting that random Iranian people have read this English blog, although I have not advertised it much anywhere. It may only be linked from Planet GNOME and Advogato itself. I wouldn't even have been on Planet GNOME if Jeff hadn't discovered my Advogato diary.

This is becoming a total time-waster. I should try to not even think about it anymore.

The saga continues: The person who called me has now contacted me by email, and is saying that he is from "SCOT DUTCH", a "human resources company operating from Luxemburg", using an email address of 352061746325@vox.lu. He claims in his email that "Like most highly scaled headhunting companys [sic] we approach our candidates and not vice versa, therefore we do not appear on the internet." He then says that he is considering to suggest me "as a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or as an Information System Project Manager" to a certain group of companies (a somehow famous European one in the defense and aerospace industry)!

I guess I won't be answering his email. Does anyone advise to the contrary?

27 Sep 2005 (updated 27 Sep 2005 at 18:23 UTC) »
First legal definition of free software: It seems that we now have a legal definition for free software. Congratulations to Peruvians!
Possible scam: A few days ago, the office phone rang and it was somebody who worked "for a human resources company". He was talking in English, which was a little weird. Most non-Iranians who wish to talk to me usually either have my cellphone number and call it first, or they just send me an email if it's not urgent.

This guy, told me that he has seen my CV and is considering to offer me a job. He said he has three or four cases in mind, but did not provide any more explanation of what the job responsiblities are or what the companies are (or any other information about them, for the matter). He said he is calling from Luxembourg, and wants me to go there (or to Istanbul if it's hard for me to get to Luxembourg, which predictably is) in an all-expenses-paid visit for two or three days to give interviews.

It seemed like a scam to me. Not that I had been ever been a victim of such scams, but it somehow looked somehow like the Nigerian scams, which even some Iranian movie directors have fallen for.

That was specially because the guy failed to provide any kind of details about what kind of job he wants to offer me, or any information about the companies he is considering me for. He only mentioned that they are interested in skilled "mathematicians and computer scientists", and that the jobs are in Europe. When I insisted, he mentioned that I may need to sign NDAs (he asked me if I knew what it is), that he won't be able to provide details otherwise. When I mentioned that it's fine, I can do that, and the time for a courier from Western Europe to reach Iran and get back is usually less than ten days, he said that ten days is too much: they usually connect the employees and the employers in three or four days!

Basically, I mentioned that it's not very easy for me to get out of the country for such an ambiguous matter, unless I have more details. I gave him my personal email address and asked him to email me with all the details he can provide. I told him that I will consider the offers then, based on reserch I would do based on the information he provided. He has not contacted me by email yet, and I consider it already late if this is usually a quick thing for him.

He probably found me over the Internet, and used a previous entry on this blog to get my office's new phone number. There is a change he may read this. There is a chance that this has been a legitimate call. If that is the case, no time is lost: he can still contact me. But I am very sceptical...

The only worry I have in posting this, is educating scammers. But I don't think they would need much more education than they currently have. There will always be easy targets, until the level of awareness of the people of the world reaches the level of awareness that the practice of law enforcement assumes of them to have.

Behdad, you quoting lyrics of a song you are listening to in your blog is very probably fair use (or fair dealing in your case).

I am not interested in random copyrighted text someone mentions in a blog. I am concerned about copyright and license violations in copyleft software, which you have not been careful with. Please be careful with those, instead of joking about my concerns.

When I release (or contribute to) free software, following the license is the minimum I ask for. I understand that you don't care about copyleft for your software and have mentioned a few times that we can consider your free software contributions public domain, but that is no reason for you not following the copyleft license of other people's works.

27 Aug 2005 (updated 27 Aug 2005 at 14:59 UTC) »
The new Iran: Iran is starting to become more and more different.

The WSIS regional civil society meeting for West Asia and Middle East, supposed to take place in Kish, for which I was invited to talk about access to information in one's native language, was banned for not enough reasons. We were only about fifty people, forty Iranians and ten foreigners (from Tajikistan and Ukraine to Sweden and South Africa), mostly without any involvement in politics. There were two former politicians and a formerly jailed journalist involved, but only as participants representing their civil organizations: they were not even speakers.

The story was like this: the night before the conference, at around midnight when all participants were already in Kish, the organizers were told that the local provincial security council has met urgently and decided that the meeting may not take place, unless some restrictions in the agenda are guaranteed (as signed) by the organizers:

  • No issue about Iran should be discussed. [Update: most of the agenda was directly or indirectly about Iran, it being the one of the largest countries in the region, making this request totally unacceptable.]
  • Complete written logs of all communications taking place in the meeting are submitted to the authorities after the meeting.
  • The organizers must accept all the responsibilities for any possible implications of the meeting, including everything discussed in the meeting, the opinions expressed, and the possible news coverage.
The organizers tried to reach higher authorities and ask for help, but did not receive any help from higher authorities either.

I can't find much about this online yet, but there is a report in Persian in Rooz and some statement in English by some of the foreign participants.

I have not signed anything about the meeting yet, not wanting to get involved in the unknown politics of the matter. I was only planning to talk about Unicode and the Wikipedia.

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