Older blog entries for roozbeh (starting at number 35)

11 May 2005 (updated 11 May 2005 at 13:26 UTC) »
GUADEC (German visa): Just returned from the German embassy. It's 16:40 now, and we were at the embassy from about 9:15 until 15:00 (they had given us an appointment for 9:30, so we had happily arranged a translation party at 12:30, which got cancelled because of the delay).

We sat from 9:30 until about 14:15 in the embassy, a delay which we were completely unprepared for. We should have brought enough reading material, and I didn't even have my laptop because they had seized it at the entrance.

The visa officer who finally met us on 14:15 was very uneasy about us. Our case apparently wasn't straight-forward at all. It was also hard for her to understand what is it that we do exactly in FarsiWeb, and when she finally got it, she asked "So it's something like Persian-enabled Windows that you do?". I believe she very probably worded it that way on her terminal, very possibly using Farsisch instead of Persisch. At the end, she finally told me the consular section can't decide about the case, and they will pass it to the cultural section, since the cultural section is more experienced with things like research groups and universities. I am very hopeful about this, because it was the involvement of the cultural section that gave us a visa in nine days in 2001, without even an invitation letter (we were planning to apply for a US visa in Frankfurt, and all we had was a printout of an email from the American visa officer in Frankfurt).

I am supposed to get a hotel reservation confirmation to them until Monday, which MUST be "a fax with the letterhead of the hotel" (I just emailed Tim and asked for guidance). And they are supposed to tell us about the rejection or the approval of visa request on May 25 (and possibly give us the visa), about 16 hours before our flight (which will be 05:30 in the morning). The travel agency will have something like two or three hours at most, to reconfirm or cancel our reservation. I really enjoy this!

Behnam wasn't able to come to the emabssy because his exit visa (and hence his passport) is not ready yet. He will need to apply on May 17 unfortunately, which may be very late.

10 May 2005 (updated 10 May 2005 at 12:53 UTC) »
Democracy: They have started the registration for the Iranian presidential election of 2005 today. And like always, the general public are massively registering to run, while they very probably know they can't even win the approval of the Guardian Council, of course. These three photos are very interesting (the text on the first man's breast reads "the servant of the people of Iran" and the text on his head band reads "Muhammed is the Prophet of God, Ali is the ruler appointed by God"). Some collections are here: 1, 2, 3.
GUADEC: Wow! The German Embassy has emailed me and given us an appointment for May 11, the day after tomorrow! Wow!
4 May 2005 (updated 4 May 2005 at 11:42 UTC) »
GUADEC: The German embassy finally gave us an appointment time for May 17, after me outright rejecting their first recommendation of June 6 (no answer to the email, it seems that they phone system was fixed just today, and I somehow got an early bird opportunity, making my call go through). This puts the visa situation directly in the bottleneck. In the past, they have given me a visa in as short as 8 days, which would mean the visa may be ready on May 25 (we are planning to leave on the early morning of May 26). We asked the travel agency to hold alternate reservations for us, in the case we can't make it. So, there is a chance we arrive at Stuttgart in the middle of GUADEC...

South Park: Elnaz is creating South Park characters for every friend and colleague we have. The real interesting thing is that I had created a south park character for myself long ago (using the original thing from the south park studios website), when Elnaz wasn't home for a few days and I had gone back to some of my old bad habits. So, this is me according to myself nine months ago, and this is me according to Elnaz today. Compare and wonder!

3 May 2005 (updated 3 May 2005 at 09:42 UTC) »

No email from the German embassy yet, for the appointment time I had requested. Sara has gone to the embassy, to see what she can do, either trying to arrange an appointment during the time the embassy staff allow for "asking questions", or finding people lingering outside who offer "services".

Update: She's back. It seems that the phone system at the embassy is broken, so things are not as bad as they looked. They have then introduced a certain office near the embassy that does insurance and appointment reservations.

The office could do nothing special, it seems. They simply email the embassy, like we've done. Well, when she asked what may be the difference, they said "We provide printouts of the emails!"

Well, if you want to hear more horror stories about GUADEC organizing (and my visa problems), come around on #guadec on "irc.gimp.org".

2 May 2005 (updated 2 May 2005 at 09:58 UTC) »
GUADEC: Went to the German embassy today, which involved waking up at 6:00am. Contrary to their previous practice, one apparently needs a prior appointment now to submit his application. The very sad thing is that the assignment of appointment time is not possible if you are present there. You may only call a certain number for that, that is always busy. An old women who had an appointment time today told me it would take one or two days of continuous tryings to get a successful call.

The good news is that an email address was also posted on the bulletin board at the embassy, next to the phone number. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

1 May 2005 (updated 26 May 2006 at 14:10 UTC) »

Someone asked me what does my first name, "Roozbeh", mean. Well, in Persian, it means prosperity.

But last night I came to the idea that it really means "Guevara": It is the family name of a famous Iranian communist gurilla fighter of the 1970s, Khosrow Roozbeh, who was considered the #1 enemy of the Shah and somehow the Iranian version of Che. Roozbeh was finally arrested and executed by the Pahlavi government, after several unsuccessful attempts, one of which involved changing him with someone who looked very similar to him in the high-security prison. Many Iranian men born in late 1970s and early 1980s are named Roozbeh (I once had two friends, both from the same high school and the same department in the same university as me, both named Roozbeh and friends of each other: imagine the hell when we three met and wanted to talk to each other. No numbering scheme ever worked, of course.), but happily not anyone in the free software world that I know.

And no, I don't understand either Khosrow Roozbeh or Che Guevara. I don't believe I like them either.

Apparently This guy is wondering about the cheap Iranian medicine he got in Iraq, and the commentors are worried about the quality.

What I know from living my whole life in Iran, is that the painkillers, the anti-depressants and such are in very good quality, while the supplements (vitamins and mineral tablets, etc.) are not comparable: the previous generation of the family, my mom, my aunt, ... always ask for certain supplements when I travel abroad for meetings and conferences.

As for patents and Iran, we even have a law for software patents! We couldn't subvert the law process (I've personally tried), but I am very happy to say that not a single software patent has been granted yet (our company's chairman is a member that grants them). The committee is very knowledged, and has not bent to the demands yet. The only thing they are worried about: people filing suits against the committee for not granting them the patents they "deserve"! (One example of a recent patent request: Distributing Newspapers on CDs instead of Paper.)

For other kinds of patents, the process is less restrictive, but more interesting. If you "invent" something, you can go and file the patent, putting all the documentation in a pack. It won't even be read, let alone made public. It will be kept in a safe place, and only used when you sue someone of infringing. If that happens, and it is proved that the infringer knowingly did it reverse-engineering your product, not inventing it independently (and of course that yours is original), you will win the case.

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