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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 12 declined, 1 accepted (13 total, 7.69% accepted)

+ - France Bans Pro-Palestinian Demonstrations->

Submitted by Sun
Sun (104778) writes "Citing the violence these demonstrations deteriorate into, the French government has placed a ban on all pro-Palestinian demonstrations. The step is receiving criticism from all sides of this particular conflict.

One has to wonder whether more traditional means of crowd control wouldn't be more appropriate, such as limiting the number of participants or assigning locations not next to Jewish centers."

Link to Original Source
Media

+ - Israel Channel 10 Report Child Abduction Urban Legand as News->

Submitted by
Sun
Sun writes "Israel's Channel 10 news reported Sunday of an attempted abduction of a 9 years old child was from the Disney World park. The reporter, Sivan Cohen, reports (video in Hebrew in this article) that when the parents found out the child went missing, the turned to park officials who closed down the gates and asked them to look only at the children's shoes. Using the shoes, the child was found in a bathroom with her head shaved and clothes changed. The reporter took the effort to mention this sounds like an urban legand, but it isn't.

Except, of course, it is. Channel 10 took off line all references to the story, and on Monday apologized for the incorrect report. The reporter was suspended, and the official response blamed the "parents" that reported this.

Still, one would hope that with a story that smells so strongly of hoax that a serious news outlet would do some fact checking before reporting."

Link to Original Source
Input Devices

+ - PrimeSense Opening Up SDK (Works with Kinect)->

Submitted by
Sun
Sun writes "It seems like PrimeSense (the chip producer behind the Kinect) have released an SDK to the general public. Some things, like the drivers, were completely open sourced, while others, like skeleton tracking, user extraction and hand tracking are available free of charge (Windows and Ubuntu 32 and 64 bit). The forum seems to aim at being hardware neutral, but the actual drivers available right now are only for the PrimeSense chip (but do work with the Kinect hardware, which is about 50$ cheaper than the reference implementation they sell on the site). There is also a video of skeleton tracking in action.

Too late to win the original driver bounty, but maybe in time to win some of the later ones."

Link to Original Source
Government

+ - New copyright law in Israel - mostly good news

Submitted by
Sun
Sun writes "Last Monday the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) passed the new copyright law, scheduled to go into effect in half a year. The previous law was passed in England in 1911, and was enacted in (then Palestine) in 1922.

The bad news:
  • Copyright period was lengthened for photographs was extended to match all other rights. All copyright now lasts life+70 years, except actual recordings which last 50 years.
  • "Making available" was explicitly listed as a protected right. On the flip side, the fact that another country found it necessary to list this right explicitly may aid people defending themselves in the US.
  • Work created for the government is copyrighted, albeit with a shortened copyright period of 50 years.


The good news:
  • No anti-circumvention clauses, and not for lack of trying. The Israeli record federation tried to pass such a law, with a lot of backing from the proprietary software industry. The opponents included the Israeli ISOC chapter, as well as Hamakor (represented, among others, by myself). The most important opponent, however, was the ministry of justice! It is too optimistic to assume we heard the last word on this, but for the moment, Israel is DMCA free.
  • Explicit exclusion from copyright of control over reverse engineering for interoperability and for research purposes. Again, this one had a lot of fighting from the software industry (mostly Microsoft and Retalix), but again common sense prevailed. This time a lot of help was received from the academic community, with several professors stepping forward to state that without ability to reverse engineer, research would come to a halt.
  • Fair use was expanded. The 1911 law had a limited "close" list of what would be considered "fair use". The new law allows the court to expand the list based on economical and other considerations. The list of considerations is, itself, also subject to court discretion and expansion.
  • Transient copies — the specifically excludes transient copies made for the purpose of a legitimate activity from being controlled by the copyright holder. The fact that, in order to run a program, the bits are copied from the hard disk to the RAM can no longer be used in order to control what can be done with a program.


All in all, this is a huge improvement even over the existing law. As someone who was present during some of the deliberations, and actively participated, I can say that I think that the most important law in the Israeli codex is the law that governs how much money a party can receive in campaign contributions. Despite at least three of the last four prime ministers got into hot water over violating this law, the end result is that the Israeli legislator is, for the most part, open to hear what is best for EVERYONE, and does care to do the right thing. Interest groups can still try to present their case in a convincing manner, but the fact that such humble resources, such as a bunch of volunteers from Hamakor and from the academic world, could make a difference is a very encouraging sign."
Spam

+ - A plan for (comment) spam

Submitted by
Sun
Sun writes "I have just published a suggestion for a comment mechanism that will, I think, advance us an important step toward stopping comment spam in blogs. Non-spam comments welcome.

In a nutshell, commenters are asked to have their computer solve a cryptographic riddle, thus increasing the cost of posting spam to blogs as comments. The idea is not new, as such. I have seen similar suggestions for email. Unlike email, however, I believe it is feasible for blog comments."
Mozilla

+ - Rumour: Adobe to open source parts of Flash player

Submitted by
Sun
Sun writes "This really is from the "unsubstantiated rumours" department.

The Israeli online newspaper "Daily Maily" reports (content in Hebrew) that Information Week reports that Adobe announced it intends to open source ActionScript Virtual Machine, the engine behind Flash Player. According to Daily Maily, it will be integrated into Mozilla as a new open source project called "Tamarin". It is not clear whether this new engine is supposed to serve Flash or JavaScript content, however.

I am sorry about the long list of references, but aside from the link at Daily Maily, I have not managed to pick up a single reference to this piece of news, from either Adobe site or the Mozilla site. Any collaborating evidence would be appreciated."

Waste not, get your budget cut next year.

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