Sun writes: According to story in Calcalist (in Hebrew, horrible horrible Google translation), a lawsuit seeking class action status has been filed against Microsoft for its forced upgrade policy to Windows 10.
The plaintiffs allege that Microsoft treated their computer as its own, and replaced the operating system installed on many computers with the one it wanted to promote, in direct contradiction to the users' wish. The plaintiffs seek 3 million NIS, to be contributed to a public cause.
Microsoft, in response, said that "the upgrade to Windows 10 is a choice. People get several approval notices, and can reschedule or outright cancel the upgrade, if they so wish. We continue to be responsive to customer feedback and are developing the upgrade experience accordingly. If a customer requires assistance with the upgrade experience, we provide several alternatives, including a free of charge support.
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."
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.
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."
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."
Sun writes: "This really is from the "unsubstantiated rumours" department.
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."