Italy

  • The italian Province of Rome just announced a school orientation guide. Its goal, according to Provincial Councillor for School Policies Rita Paola Stella, is to: help students and families to find the best school for their future in the simplest, quickest and most exhaustive manner possible... `[providing]` also useful information on logistics, transportation, number and types of laboratories in each school... This is possible mainly with the online version of the guide, which works as a sort of school search engine.
  • AGCOM, the Italian Communications Authority, should issue tomorrow a new set of rules to enforce online copyright protection that has, so to speak, some minor problems. Here is a synthesis of mine from some excellent articles (in Italian, see links below) by Guido Scorza, a lawyer who closely follows these issues: AGCOM (that is not a Court!) will self appoint itself as a sheriff entitled, by a code written only by AGCOM and media industry lobbies, to shut down or make unreachable from Italy, without real investigation or appeal, any website that they consider guilty of copyright violation.
  • Among the Italian scandals of 2011 there is one called “Affittopoli”, a word translatable more or less with “rent-town scandal”. Here is a brief summary of the story. Pio Albergo Trivulzio (PAT) is “a public non-profit organization whose objectives are realized in social protection and social and health education”, that owns lots of real estate properties and it’s supposed to use them to realize its mission for the common good.
  • In many parts of Italy there simply is no more room to use cars decently, regardless of their cost or emissions. For this reason, a few days ago I translated into Italian a beautiful post on the Frugal Urban blog about the benefits of car sharing in Ottawa. A few days later, the announcement of those translations on a mailing list prompted Damiano C. to write on that same list about his car sharing experience in Rome.
  • Two days ago I wrote Does VODAFONE really ignore how copyright works? Why? to criticize the fact that the recently launched Vodafone InFamiglia website contained wrong statements about copyright like: “[Parents and teachers should] explain to students that downloading and sharing a file protected by copyright is a crime”. Very quickly, through Twitter, my report came to be mentioned on Techdirt, where it generated several comments. Since I’ve seen similar reactions in other places I decided to put my answer to all such comments here in one place, to have only one link to spread around and, hopefully, only one discussion to follow about this story.
  • (update 2011/03/24: good news from Vodafone, see bottom of this page) Here we go again. According to Italian newspaper Repubblica, Telecom giant Vodafone just launched in Italy an educational website for a more responsible use of computers and mobile phones called InFamiglia (“in the family”): “a community site dedicated to parents, children and teachers, that will contain guides and interactive services that will help adults to get more familiar with new technologies and will teach children how to use them without risks”.
  • Piazza Federica (Federica Square in Italian) is the “3D virtual square” that should constitute the innovative web-learning system of the Federico II University in Naples, Italy. I already reported in another article that Penguins can’t enter Piazza Federica, explaining why that is bad for a service of a public University. In additions to those penguin barriers, however, there are other things I don’t understand in the public service offered by Piazza Federica.
  • Rome is chaotic and not really efficient, but is still one of the most beautiful, visually stunning cities in the world. An act of Internet censorship just happened that may keep it ugly. Here’s what happened, and how you can help. Rome would be visually stunning if it were not plagued by advertising posters, attached everywhere on huge billboards or, very simply and cheaply, on just every surface that is visible, flat and vertical enough to serve as advertising space, in every corner of the city.
  • Last week Nichi Vendola, leader of Italian left party SEL and current president of the italian region of Puglia signed a Berlusconi-like deal with Microsoft. In the same day Vendola announced that, in this very week, the Puglia Regional Council will issue a regional law on Open Source Software. The way this story is evolving is relevant for all citizens (including those who couldn’t care less about software!), both in Puglia and abroad.