Technology

Mussolini iPhone withdrawn

By Ruth Ellen Gruber, February 4, 2010

Italy’s best-selling iPhone app is a collection of speeches by the country’s Second World War dictator Benito Mussolini, now withdrawn from sale.

The success of the “iMussolini” app sparked media debate and protests from Holocaust survivors.

“iMussolini” was launched on Italy’s iTunes store on January 21, less than a week before Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is widely marked in Italy. Three days later, it topped the Italian iPhone app sales list.

The app contained audio, video and text of more than 100 speeches of Mussolini dating back to 1914.

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Masorti rabbis "virtual chaplaincy"

By Robyn Rosen, December 29, 2009

A “virtual chaplaincy” of Masorti rabbis has been launched to encourage young adults to engage in Jewish life without the need to join a shul.

The strategy is part of the relaunch of Marom, Masorti’s young adults and student division.

Movement director Matt Plen said the wider community was struggling to keep young adults involved in Judaism. “The community here is very good at working with youth, but that breaks down when people turn 18 and go to university. People of that age are very resistant to a framework of commitment.

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Birmingham students set up text ticketing service

By Marcus Dysch, November 5, 2009

Two Birmingham University graduates have devised an electronic mobile pre-payment system allowing students to buy tickets for gigs and events by text message.

Txt2buy.com was set up by Simon Rabin and Daniel Rosenberg late last year and is currently being used in Manchester and Leeds.

The 23-year-olds became friends through FZY and spent a year researching the feasibility of their plans.

Simon said: “We originally approached the networks with the intention of billing purchases to students’ phone bills and were more or less ignored by them all.

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UK and Israel launch joint science projects

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2009

The first beneficiaries of a scheme to promote academic ties between Britain and Israel, backed by the governments of the two countries, have been announced by the British Council.

Fifteen partnerships involving British and Israeli universities will share grants worth £365,000 in all, ranging from research into the causes of diseases such as Parkinson’s to the evolutionary history of the universe.

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Snake charmer from Technion

October 22, 2009

Israeli robotics expert Dr Alon Wolf captivated student audiences in London with explanations of pioneering futuristic systems developed at the Technion in Haifa, where he is director of the biorobotics and biomechanics lab.

As well as addressing JFS and King’s College London groups, Dr Wolf — who visited under the aegis of the British Technion Society — gave a lecture at the Royal Institution on robots deployed on search and rescue missions. These include snake-like mechanisms which imitate real-life snake locomotion.

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Move to outlaw Shabbat 'lifts'

By Anshel Pfeffer and Simon Rocker, October 1, 2009

A new edict by senior Charedi rabbis forbidding the use of “shabbat lifts” is causing an uproar in the Orthodox world.

For decades, the great majority of rabbis have approved the use of lifts that operate automatically, stopping for a few seconds on every floor, on Shabbat.

But on Tuesday, the Charedi daily Yated Ne’eman published a new ruling signed by some of the leading halachic decision-makers in Israel, including Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Rabbi Shmuel Halevy Wosner.

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Google now translates Yiddish

By Marcus Dysch, September 3, 2009

Do you find yourself sitting in front of the computer desperately trying to remember whether you mean khaver or khazer in the email you are sending your bubbeh?

Well, platz no more. Google has launched a tool which translates English words and phrases into Yiddish, and vice versa, in seconds, eliminating unfortunate misunderstandings and leaving you ongeshtopt with new phrases.

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TV addicts reveal the joy of sets

By Fay Strang, July 23, 2009

Two Jewish technophiles have emerged as the owners and sellers of some of the oldest working TV sets in Britain.

Michael Bennett-Levy, 62, who lives just outside Edinburgh, is selling 24 pre-war television sets at a Bonhams auction in Knightsbridge in September.

His devotion to “Early Technology”, the name of his company, has led to the amassing of a glut of objects which are also going in the sale: “mechanical music, early typewriters, microscopes, telescopes, magic lanterns, irons, diesel engines... it is almost limitless”.

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Rabbis use code to bar chametz

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 7, 2009

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate is turning to barcode technology in the Passover struggle against leavened products.

Every year, Israeli supermarkets with a kashrut certificate “sell” all the chametz products in stock to a non-Jew on the eve of the festival. The nominal sale is automatically cancelled when Pesach ends and the chametz reverts to the supermarkets’ ownership.

During the week-long festival, most of the chametz goods remain on covered-up shelves.

In many stores, shoppers can simply reach under the covers, take out chametz and pay for it at the tills.

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Smith widens the battle against net hate crime

By Leon Symons, March 12, 2009

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is to examine how antisemitic and other racist crimes can be reported on the internet.

Asked in an interview with the JC why it was still not possible to report hate crime on-line, Ms Smith said: “That is a sensible suggestion. I will look into it.”

Currently, there are only two methods of reporting hate crime on the internet. One is through a website called Truevision set up by a number of police forces, mainly for the lesbian, gay, bi- and transsexual community. The site is currently undergoing reconstruction.

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