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Last week a story broke how the State of Israel had “banned” the iPad. I did a quick search and  found the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and read the article.

First I’m not going to get into the story other than to say that the headline is one of the most viral headlines I have seen in months. Also it (the headline) is one of the most misrepresentative in my humble opinion.

Haaretz can be fairly described as Left Wing, to the point that they are currently embroiled in a National Security scandal involving over 2000 stolen IDF secret documents and one of their reporters who fled to the UK with the documents and pled for asylum. Apparently the UK doesn’t consider Israeli National Security important as they let him stay. I hear cries of nyah, nyah our Official Secrets Act is important, yours isn’t. This only weeks after a British MoD official “lost” a laptop containing top-secret plans from inside their headquarters?!?? (Story from the fascinating so maybe the Brits just don’t respect “Top Secret” the way James Bond portrays it.

Anyhow, questioning Haaretz newspaper’s sensationalism and motives aside, I called up the Israeli Ministry of Communications and spoke to their Spokesperson and the Test Engineer responsible for the iPad testing. In a nutshell they sounded competent and committed to ensuring the Israeli consumer is provided with a communications device that works to the standards set down in Israeli law. They assured me that testing had begun but did not wish to commit to any completion date for obvious reasons. They did state that on approval the device would be legal to import like any other if it passed.


The hysterical level of blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking and so on regarding this leaves me convinced that Steve Jobs sure knows how to create a feeding frenzy. Perhaps President Obama should ask him to pitch to Israel his plans for the Middle East?

People seem really shocked by one of the following: –

  1. Israel has standards for this sort of thing.
  2. We don’t just blindly trot along after the United States and let it in on the FCC’s say so.
  3. OMG but it’s an iPad! AN IPAD!! Why isn’t Israel just waiving the law for it?


I just read several blogs saying how this is typical governmental bureaucracy or hints of dark government conspiracies (where are Mulder, Scully and Smoking Guy these days anyway?) and then the best of them was this is damaging our ability to develop competitive applications. Israeli hi-tech should be getting these right now to ensure we maintain our competitive edge.

To the folks out there deriding the testing team at the Ministry of Communications as bureaucrats let me ask you this:

  • Have you ever worked with any public sector employees in Israel? I have and I was in the main impressed by their professionalism, commitment and willingness to work hard for not the greatest salaries in the world.
  • Did you make any effort to contact this department and at least talk to these folks? I’m not hearing anything other than silence here.

Now to Israeli hi-tech; I’m a veteran of over 10 years and I can honestly say that I am always impressed with the creative and smart solutions to problems like this that Israelis come up with.

Back in the day, I worked briefly as a QA Team Leader for a company before they were bought and the R&D moved out of Israel. This company was in the business of Locational Applications and optimized web and we even tested on platforms such as Qualcomm’s marvelous BREW. This was not supported at the time in Israel. Did we manage to test?

Yes devices were in our US office and we connected to them via the BREW SDK and PC Anywhere, also we had emulators and a functional but non-connected BREW phone.

Was it easy? Was it economical? Not always. We had a recurring random disconnect bug that drove us crazy until we discovered that someone was without noticing rolling back and forth over the cable connecting the phone to the PC in the US and this was affecting connectivity. Some of the time we even had one of the QA Team over in the States to work on devices that were already supported there.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that all I am reading is whining and complaints. I am not seeing that bright spark of creativity, innovation and occasionally improvisation to get the job done.


Can you connect to the iPad by remote? If so perhaps someone in the US might want to purchase a bunch of these devices and setup a Remote Lab in the US and rent out testing and R&D time.

Is there an emulator for the iPad? Apparently the Apple SDK will as with previous product SDK’s incorporate an emulator.

In a nutshell, until the MoC finishes there work and until Apple actually starts importing the things here let’s get back to being a little creative in our solutions and make some money.

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There are many different organizations, start-ups amongst them where the transfer of knowledge between teams or individual can be akin to pulling teeth; difficult, messy and painful.
The classic example in development is when the QA or Test team has to begin defining tests for the next release but has no clear idea beyond terminology on a Gantt or various emails what they have to test.
Getting documentation at this stage can be frustrating and even ultimately counterproductive in terms of the conflict or friction it raises between the person who has to produce the documentation (in our case specifications) and the person who needs the documentation to continue working and not become a bottleneck.
In SCRUM during the daily meeting this issue would be raised as an impediment to the testing progress and the Scrum Master would help the team in resolving this.
However as an experienced QA Manager I can state that this issue is a function of corporate culture. Normally this occurs where VP of R&D and or the CTO continues to make statements committing to full knowledge transfer but actually the real concept being maintained is that writing code comes first and if you are lucky we might get to writing spec down the line.
This truly demonstrates a Waterfall methodology regardless of the methodology that the organization claims to be using.
How do we resolve this? Perhaps this is something you just have to live with and realize that this is an organization that will never embrace Kanban, Lean, Kaizen, and Agile – SCRUM or any variant thereof without a true management commitment.
There are different personality types depending on which theory of psychology you adhere to; I’m a tools and techniques guy, I try to identify the problem and knowing it will recur find the correct tool or technique that allows everyone involved to keep a smile on their face and get the job done.
I encountered this kind of problem myself several times and it occurred to me that if the core of the problem is finding the time to write stuff down, then why make people write at all? The written medium is tiresome to create an often just as difficult to read and learn from. So why not use a different medium?
Ideally, you would introduce the use of Digital Audio or preferably Video recording and get the relevant knowledge owner to speak freely explaining the (in our example) spec. Diagrams, charts and slides could be added later making this “living document” or work in progress. (I re-heard this idea at the Israel Scrum Users Conference, earlier this month; many of us confirming that a good idea is something others thought of at the same time as you).
This is the easy part; there will still be a need for post-processing, review/ approval, document control and much larger storage/ backup than if these were simple textual documents.
Users would have to learn to be comfortable with being filmed, cameras would have to be readily available and seated on a stable platform. The video files would need some form of tagging which could be used for creating a searchable index in the Document control database but ultimately the ROI would be enormous in terms of reducing the friction and frustration in dealing with this impediment.