Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Proof of concept testing?
Twitter Goes Down for Some Users
Twitter Inc. suffered a major interruption Tuesday, with some users unable to log on to the social-media service for more than two hours.
… Although Twitter frequently experiences technical problems, Tuesday’s outage has persisted for much longer than previous interruptions.
The company on Monday said some users experienced issues accessing the service over a 10 minute period and it reported a 23 minute interruption on Friday, but outages lasting more than an hour are rare.

It's an “Internet of Things that Invade your Privacy!”
How Much of Your Personal Data Could Smart Devices Track?
Despite the growing number of benefits provided by smart technologies, privacy and security concerns are still as real as ever. And even though we love the idea of a smart home, this is just one of many things to be aware of before diving in.
The truth is that smart devices may not be as secure as advertised, and at this moment in history, there are several types of devices that you may want to avoid connecting to the Internet of Things. If you let them track your data, who knows how that could be used against you.
For example, did you know that cops in 2014 accessed and used smart home footage in legal proceedings?

“It is more important to be elected President than to act Presidential?”
Remember how I tried to warn you all over on DataBreaches.net about how data about voters may be shared wildly and lacks meaningful regulation? Read this column by Craig Spiezle:
…What most donors and voters do not know is the broad data sharing liberties candidates are taking. It is becoming clear voters’ personal data may be more valuable than their donations alone. In September, the Online Trust Alliance released our audit of privacy and data security practices of the 23 leading contenders for the office of president.
The report revealed alarming results as the majority of candidates reserve the right to sell or trade personal data to unaffiliated third-parties. Others take broad liberties disclosed in the fine print of their privacy policy, yet if the same practices were used by a commerce site or bank they would make headlines and likely face legal prosecution.
Senator Cruz goes further than any other candidate, stating that, “in order to maximize your experience with our website and to provide its features and services, we may periodically access your contact list and/or address book on your mobile device. You hereby give your express consent to access your contact list and/or address book.” This and other related practices contributed to 74 percent of the candidate’s receiving failing grades in the audit.
Read more on TechCrunch.

How government works. (Yes, that is sarcasm.)
Emails pull back the curtain on struggle over Internet rules
Newly released emails reveal the internal wrangling between Congress and the Federal Communications Commission in 2014 over the agency's controversial Internet regulations.
The emails, made public for the first time this week, show FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler complaining that the agency’s “own words are being used against us” in meetings with congressional allies.
At other points, the documents show FCC aides persuading lawmakers to refrain from publicly calling for a delay in voting on the rules.
The 162-pages of unredacted FCC emails were released by the House Oversight Committee this week as part of a broader report criticizing the federal government’s open records process. The emails were only a random sample of about 10 percent of all the documents that the House committee received, which the FCC previously gave to journalists in heavily redacted form.
While there does not appear to be any bombshells, the emails provide a rare inside look at the agency and the pressure it was under as it developed controversial rules to ensure all Internet traffic is treated equally.

So, is this exactly how a warrant works when searching a house? Or is there no viable metaphor?
Cyrus Farivar reports:
In a 4-3 decision, Massachusetts’ highest court ruled Friday that with a warrant, it’s ok for police to search anywhere on a seized phone that may reasonably turn up evidence of the crime under investigation.
In the case of Commonwealth v. Dorelas, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (MSJC) found that because the Boston Police Department (BPD) had a warrant to search a criminal suspect’s seized iPhone, it could access his photos as well.
Read more on Ars Technica.
[From the article:
In the majority opinion, the MSJC noted that searching a phone is not quite the same thing as searching a house. A 1982 Supreme Court decision found that a law enforcement officer need not specify a specific room or specific location within a house in a warrant application.
However, in the virtual world, it is not enough to simply permit a search to extend anywhere the targeted electronic objects possibly could be found, as data possibly could be found anywhere within an electronic device. T hus, what might have been an appropriate limitation in the physical world becomes a limitation without consequence in the virtual one.
Nevertheless, much like a home, such devices can still appropriately be searched when there is probable cause to believe they contain particularized evidence.
… In a dissent, MSJC Justice Barbara Lenk, writing for the minority, expressed her "concern about the future direction of our search and seizure law in a digital context."
Lenk, citing the recent unanimous Supreme Court decision, California v. Riley, disagreed with her colleagues in the majority:
We must not be taken in by the shape and size of a device that permits access to massive stores of information of different kinds. Where possible—recognizing that it not always is—it may be best to treat such a device more like a city than like a packing crate. Here, there was no impediment to limiting the search to certain types and categories of files stored in specific sections of the iPhone's data storage. Because there was no substantial basis for believing that the entire set of photograph files on the defendant's iPhone contained evidence related to the shooting, that portion of the iPhone should not have been included in the "place" to be searched.

Of course my students would never do this.
How to Watch Everything on Netflix No Matter Where You Live
… At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings explained why the same content isn’t available everywhere: territorial licensing.
… The producers of any movie or TV show want to maximize profits from their product. So they license their creation to different content distributors in different parts of the world. Naturally, the highest bidder wins the rights.
… The good news is that it’s actually pretty easy to watch the Netflix library from a different country. In the ultimate guide to Netflix, Mark noted that you can access any country’s library by using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). There’s also another technology called DNS tunnelling or Smart DNS. Both routes serve the same end purpose: they make Netflix think your device is not in the region you actually are in.
… How to Find What’s Available Elsewhere
Fortunately, for us lazy people, there’s now a handy Web app called Flixed which lets you search Netflix’ library across the world. One quick search and the service will tell you which country’s library you need to change your VPN or DNS to.
Flixed also has nifty “new arrivals” and “most popular” sections, as well as filters for your search to narrow down the results. Among similar “universal Netflix search engines”, I found Flixed to have the most updated library of all.
Visit: Flixed.io

What works…
WhatsApp Is Now Totally Free
… The popular chat app is ditching the annual subscription fees it charges new users, the company said Monday in a blog post. For the first time in three years, the service will be—and remain—free to use.
“For many years, we’ve asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year. As we’ve grown, we’ve found that this approach hasn’t worked well,” the company said. “Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.”

I wonder if I could use it. I'll have to look.
Microsoft Turns a Minecraft Mod Into an Education Business
Teachers in thousands of schools in dozens of countries use the video game Minecraft to teach subjects from math to English to computer programming through MinecraftEdu. They use a modified version of the game first made in 2011 by an independent group of teachers and computer programmers. Microsoft is validating their work by turning MinecraftEdu into the centerpiece of its own business plans for Minecraft as an educational tool. But MinecraftEdu's creators aren't coming along for the ride.
… Microsoft's new version, called Minecraft: Education Edition, includes features like better maps and the ability for teachers to share the worlds their students have built with one another more easily. It also abandons the one-time fee that TeacherGaming charged in favor of a $5 subscription per student per year. At the onset, it is offering indefinite free trials.

I had no idea…
Twitter Guide: How To Do Everything With Twitter
The first tweet was published almost 8 years ago and Twitter has come a long way since then. There’s a whole ecosystem of apps and services available now that allow us to use Twitter in more ways than ever before. This guide curates the best tools that will help you get the most out of Twitter.

Free stuff for students. I'll pick a few of these for my students.
New on LLRX – Student Research Resources on the Internet 2016
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jan 18, 2016
Via LLRX.com Student Research Resources on the Internet 2016Marcus Zillman’s comprehensive, actionable guide provides links to hundreds of resources that assist students of all ages to leverage free and low cost resources to facilitate more efficient, effective learning – either as an individual, as part of a team, in a classroom, or as a member of a project oriented group. Whether you are seeking best practices for individual or team study – including guides, apps, wikis, tutorials, links to free courses and academic topical and subject guides, or how to locate e-text books and how to correctly create bibliographies and citations, this guide has all this information and so much more. If you are a student, an educator, a librarian or a researcher, these resources, many of which are from colleges, universities, libraries and schools, will expand your horizons and support your effort to be a creative, innovative, successful learner.

For our programming students?
How to Use Pluralsight Training for Free
Pluralsight is among the best places on the web to learn programming through videos. Whether you are a complete beginner or a pro looking to advance your coding skills to the next level, you’ll find a video course at Pluralsight that will meet your needs.
They have courses on practically all programming languages from JavaScript to PHP to Java to the trending technologies like AngularJS and React (see complete list). It is a subscription based service and you have shell out $30 per month to get access to their entire video training library.
Now here’s the interesting part. If you join the Microsoft Visual Studio program, which is also free, you automatically gain free membership to the entire PluralSight library for 6 months. No credit card or coupon codes required.

Another useful tool.
How to Record your Desktop Screen with YouTube
… Here’s a step by step guide on how you can make screencasts of your desktop windows with YouTube.

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