Oakland’s City Council on Tuesday approved the formation of the Permanent Privacy Advisory Committee to develop developing policies for the use of surveillance equipment by city agencies. The committee will build on the work of a temporary predecessor which last year developed regulations for the curtailed Domain Awareness Center and a helicopter-mounted infrared camera purchased by the Oakland Police Department.
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Policies starting with “Here's how” or “Thou shalt?”
Ali Winston reports:
Read more on Reveal.
Can't we all just get along?
“We don't know how to run OPM so we're going to transfer all that ignorance to a new bureaucracy. Making government bigger always makes us feel more important.”
Pentagon to take over control of background investigation information
The Defense Department will take over responsibility for storing sensitive information on millions of federal employees and others from the Office of Personnel Management and the government will create a new entity to oversee background investigations, Obama administration officials announced Friday.
… A new entity to be called the National Background Investigations Bureau will take over responsibility for conducting background investigations government-wide.
… The new bureau, to be headed by a presidential appointee, will take over OPM’s Federal Investigative Services branch, while the Pentagon will take over the information technology aspects.
Another look at Facebook's plan for world domination?
Inside Facebook’s Ambitious Plan to Connect the Whole World
(Related) Another global strategy.
Netflix in India: Will It Be a Blockbuster?
Research tool or entertainment? (Does Facebook care?)
How to Search Facebook – and Find Just About Anything!
For the Gaming Club. These are the games your parents played.
100 Classic Atari Games Headed to Steam
The company on Thursday announced plans to release 100 of its classic games — including Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command, Tempest, Warlords, and more — as a single PC title with new features and multiplayer capabilities.
… Perhaps most exciting — you will, for the first time ever, be able to challenge other Atari fans from around the world, and compete for bragging rights on Steam Leaderboards.
… We haven't heard too much else from Atari recently, but the company several years ago teamed up with Microsoft to bring eight of its classic games to the Web for free in HTML5. Head over to the Atari Arcade to brush up on your Asteroids, Centipede, Combat, Lunar Lander, Missile Command, Yars Revenge, Pong, and Super Breakout skills before Atari Vault drops later this year.
(Related) This is what you sickos play.
'Exploding Kittens' blows up on iOS, with Android coming soon
The iOS release costs $1.99,
… The physical version of Exploding Kittens still holds the record as the most-funded game in Kickstarter history, with $8.8 million pledged by more than 200,000 backers when the campaign ended on Feb. 19, 2015.
For my students with a future.
Google Is Teaching a Free Online Course
Google engineers are sharing their knowledge through a new online course.
The class, on education website Udacity, will focus on deep learning, a machine learning technique that makes use of multiple layers of neural networks in order to better understand data sets.
… The three-month course, which requires about six hours of work per week, are comprised of four main lessons that teach students the benefits of deep learning systems and train them to build their own learning models. Students will also learn how to use TensorFlow, the open-source machine-learning software that Google uses in its own products.
The class is not for beginners, as Udacity recommends students have at least two years of programming experience and some basic machine learning knowledge beforehand.
… Students can start the course whenever they please and complete it at their own pace.
All the help they can get…
Quick Tips You Can Use To Make a Better LinkedIn Profile
[The Infographic: http://cdn.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/LinkedIn-Infographic1.jpg?26523c
My weekly entertainment.
Hack Education Weekly News
… Via Politico: “Even as the contaminated water crisis still rages in Flint, Michigan, Superintendent Bilal Tawwab says district officials are already preparing for an influx of young children entering school in the coming years with developmental, behavioral and cognitive challenges related to high levels of lead in the city's water supply.” [If there is funding available, we'll assume the worst?” Bob]
… Via the Coursera blog: “Starting today, when you enroll in certain courses, you’ll be asked to pay a fee (or apply for Coursera’s financial aid program) if you’d like to submit required graded assignments and earn a Course Certificate. You can also choose to explore the course for free, in which case you’ll have full access to videos, discussions, and practice assignments, and view-only access to graded assignments.”
… Via The Guardian: “In the library in the gym, Big Brother is coming to universities.”
… And to make that crystal clear, here’s a press release rewrite via Campus Technology: “Toshiba Intros Surveillance Education Program.”
… The NYT’s Natasha Singer takes a closer look at ed-tech funding, noting that “Despite the volume of novel products aimed at schools, the biggest investments are largely going to start-ups focused on higher education or job-related skills – businesses that feed a market of colleges, companies and consumers willing to spend to promote career advancement.”
Global Warming! Global Warming!
Blizzard warning updates: Thundersnow and near-blizzard conditions as white stuff piles well past one foot
Friday, January 22, 2016
Will this ever happen in the US? Credit Card companies here seem to have insulated themselves pretty well.
The Korea Herald reports the latest development in a massive data leak first reported at the end of 2013:
A local court on Friday ordered three credit card-related companies, hit by a massive data leak in 2014, to give 100,000 won ($83) to each victim, a ruling that could set a precedent for other similar lawsuits.
The Seoul Central District Court ruled in favor of a total of some 5,000 customers who filed four separate suits against KB Kookmin Card Co., NH Nonghyup Card Co., and a credit rating agency, the Korea Credit Bureau.
Read more on The Korea Herald.
Some of the past coverage on DataBreaches.net can be found here. The government regulators had suspended three firms’ ability to take on new customers as part of the consequences of a massive data leak affecting 15-20 million consumers – a suspension that was estimated to cost firms $117 million. And now the court awards money to the customers who sued after their data was leaked? This may be one of the most damaging insider breaches involving a contractor that I can recall.
Extreme over-reaction or ulterior motive? Interesting that he was authorized to delete everything. Who was in charge of security?
I’m not sure I understand what’s gone on here, but MidHudson News reports:
City Manager Michael Ciaravino’s decision to wipe out all of the data on Newburgh’s cloud has prompted Councilwoman Cindy Holmes to demand an investigation.
Holmes noted that as a result of the manager’s decision, she lost her two years of city information and personal notes.
Ciaravino said he had reason to order the information from all council members deleted.
“It had to be done immediately,” Ciaravino said during a workshop session of the council Thursday night. “This had been going on for months. I would look on my own devices and I was told my location was being shared by Michael Vatter, my location was being shared with Cedric Brown, my location was being shared with other select council people. I would reset my own settings on my own phone and turn around and it was changed again. This had gone on for a number of months where I kept asking for it to be addressed.”
So a city manager just wiped out all the city’s data? Do they have local backup?
Read more on MidHudson News.
Perhaps they could ask someone who has some technical knowledge? Perhaps they should stop watching movies and learn a bit about Internet usage?
Republicans to FCC: Even Netflix doesn't require Internet speeds that high
… In a letter sent to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the six senators pointed out that popular video streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon only require a fraction of the 25 Megabit per second (Mbps) Internet speeds that the FCC has set as the baseline limit to classify as broadband Internet.
Trying to explain how Google makes money.
Google Paid Apple $1 Billion to Keep Search Bar on IPhone
… Apple received $1 billion from its rival in 2014, according to a transcript of court proceedings from Oracle Corp.’s copyright lawsuit against Google. The search engine giant has an agreement with Apple that gives the iPhone maker a percentage of the revenue Google generates through the Apple device, an attorney for Oracle said at a Jan. 14 hearing in federal court.
(Related) Google never said, this is Oracle's best guess.
Oracle Says Google Made $31 Billion In Revenue From Android. What Does It mean?
… Last week, an Oracle lawyer said in court that Google had made $31 billion in revenue and $22 billion in profit from Android, according to Bloomberg. Google then urged the court to seal portions of the transcript of the public hearing, because the information was extremely sensitive and based on confidential financial documents obtained by Oracle during the litigation.
Perspective. Perhaps this explains how Uber is crushing the Taxi business that has been operating since Thurn and Taxis started carrying the mail in the 1500's. I think it is the same explanation as Paul David offered in his 1989 paper, The Dynamo and the Computer.
The Most Digital Companies Are Leaving All the Rest Behind
Because we've been discussing this in class.
For broadband 'zero rating,' it doesn't have to be all or nothing
… the economics are clear: Giving people an additional option for accessing websites they value at a lower price — zero in this case — makes them better off. And while it would be naive to think that Facebook has purely altruistic motives, it makes sense that a program to bring the poorest online would focus on a service like Facebook, for which there is extraordinary demand, at least at a nominal price of zero.
What would you do with this?
Diary of Anne Frank published on both a blog and a website citing end of EU copyright protection
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jan 21, 2016
Via Swissinfo: “The Diary of Anne Frank has been put online by a French politician and an academic, who cite EU law and the importance of intellectual freedom. The Basel-based Anne Frank Foundation is considering legal action, saying it still holds the copyright. “Anne Frank died in 1945 [in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany], therefore her diary should enter the public domain on January 1, 2016,” argues Olivier Ertzscheid, a lecturer at the University of Nantes, who has published the original Dutch text on his blog. At the same time, Isabelle Attard from the French Green Party put it online on her website. According to French law, which conforms to an EU directive, a work falls into the public domain on January 1, 70 years after the death of its author or last surviving author in the case of multiple authors. But as copyright law is determined at a national level, each country has its own rules, resulting in differences in protection periods.”
Thursday, January 21, 2016
The downside of being connected to the whole world? Another area where ignorance is rampant?
Broadly Shared Files a High Risk for Enterprise Data: Report
Broadly shared files represent a high security risk for organizations, as 1 in 10 contain sensitive corporate data, Blue Coat’s Shadow Data Report for the second half of 2015 reveals.
According to the report (PDF), many organizations are not aware of the fact that 26 percent of documents shared in cloud services are broadly shared. Employees are increasingly using cloud apps to share information within the organization and with partners and customers, which creates a threat otherwise known as “Shadow Data”.
Shadow data includes sensitive information uploaded and shared via cloud apps without prior consent from the IT security team.
… According to Blue Coat, the concept of Shadow Data is different from that of Shadow IT, which involves the use of IT systems and applications, including SaaS apps, without the knowledge or consent of a company’s IT department. According to a recent study from Cisco, large enterprises use on average 1,220 individual public cloud services, 25 times more than IT professionals estimate.
“Our strategy is to do pretty much anything we want to do, whenever we want to do it, no matter how it relates to secure transportation. Our security theater is better (more dramatic, not more secure) if we can force people to enter a box where we can zap them with x-rays.”
Derrick Broze reports:
On January 13, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) issued a letter to the Transportation Security Administration and lawmakers regarding the TSA’s recent decision to make airport body scans a mandatory procedure.
The coalition, which includes the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and anti-biometrics group the Constitutional Alliance, said they were writing to Congress “regarding the TSA’s recent claim that it can mandate whole body scanning for airline passengers.”
Read more on Truth in Media.
[From the article:
As was widely reported, new TSA security procedures were instituted without notice in December 2015, just prior to the 2015 holiday travel crush. The new procedures made mandatory a full body scan for some passengers.
… Details regarding the legal background on the new procedures and on the TSA’s failure to issue a final rule can be found in the coalition letter. Additional background on the TSA’s new no opt-out scans policy implemented in December can be found here.
(Related) It's not secret, we just won't tell you what it is.
… In an ongoing Freedom of Information Act suit, the Freedom of the Press Foundation has sought the guidelines used by the Justice Department in deciding when federal agents can use National Security Letters to pursue information about reporters. DOJ recently produced documents in response to the suit. They confirm that the rules governing the use of NSLs in media leak cases remain classified. That undue secrecy cripples any real opportunity for public oversight of a process already encased in layers of secrecy.
I think it still needs some tweeking.
Michael Power writes:
Manitoba’s Intimate Image Protection Act came into force on 15 January 2016. The statute does something that I think is especially noteworthy – it creates a new privacy tort concerning the “non-consensual distribution of intimate images”. In short, Manitoba becomes the first Canadian province to provide victims of revenge porn with a common law remedy and the ability to sue the perpetrators for damages.
Read more on MichaelPower.ca.
It's not a funny now.
Right of publicity case against Shaquille O’Neal over a photo he tweeted and posted to Instagram moves forward
Evan Brown writes:
A federal court has held that a plaintiff has successfully pled a claim of “appropriation” (essentially, right of publicity claim) against former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, for Shaq’s use of plaintiff’s photo on Twitter and Instagram. The case is useful inasmuch as it shows how courts will consider social media as providing a benefit to its user.
Shaq acquired a photo of plaintiff, who suffers from a condition that affects his hair, skin and teeth, then placed a photo of himself making a contorted face next to the photo, apparently to imitate the way plaintiff appeared. Given that Shaq has millions of followers, this garnered many, many likes and comments. (I of course won’t republish the image here, but if you really want to see it, just do a Google Image search using the parties’ last names.)
Plaintiff sued under several theories, including intentional infliction of emotional distress, appropriation, and unjust enrichment.
Read more on InternetCases.
Emma Reynolds reports on how fraudster Daniel Rigmaiden became suspicious of how the government had tracked his movements and began to investigate. From jail, he filed freedom of information requests and reached out to then-graduate student Chris Soghoian. For the past three years, the two have continued trying to uncover the use of “stingray” devices by law enforcement around the country.
Read more on news.com.au. Reynolds really has the makings of a made-for-tv movie with this story!
[From the article:
… Rigmaiden was released on a plea deal after five years in jail. He was taking up too much time and resources, he believes, with three prosecutors assigned to his case, along with the FBI and Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Should schools block this?
Yik Yak Launches On The Web
Yik Yak, the anonymous, location-based social network that has taken college campuses by storm, has today launched a web client.
… To get going on the web, users simply add the same phone number they use with the mobile app, and verify their anonymous web profile to sync up with the profile they use in the mobile app. This way, things like Yik Yak Karma and comments, etc. are all the same from mobile to web.
After that, pretty much everything on the web version looks and feels the same as the mobile version, except now users can type out their yaks on a real keyboard.
The world is changing. My students love Uber and are willing to pay more than bus fare to get a door-to-door ride.
GM Enters Car-Sharing With Limited Rollout
The nation’s largest auto maker is placing a bet on a future where more people don’t own their own vehicles.
General Motors Co. launched a car-sharing service on Wednesday that competes with Zipcar, Car2Go and similar companies that target students, city-dwellers and others who don’t own vehicles but would rent one on occasion.
(Related) There will soon be an App for that.
Urban Transport App Citymapper Snags $40M From Index, Benchmark, Yuri Milner, Others
People who don’t take Uber frequently take the bus. And those
Europeans folks now
include some rather high profile investors in London-based urban
transport startup Citymapper
— who have just poured $40 million into a new Series B round for
its app which algorithmically
knits together different transit options to help city dwellers
quickly figure out how to get from A to B.
If there is pressure to allow longer tweets, why do my students groan and moan when I ask them to write a short paper?
Weibo, Beating Twitter to the Punch, Lengthens its 140-Character Limit
… Weibo Corp., China’s homegrown version of Twitter Inc. that is part of Chinese Internet company Sina Corp., said it is planning to ditch its 140-character limit so users can write longer posts, according to China’s Xinhua News.
“The hills are alive
With a kind of droning...”
After scolding from FAA, Dallas Cowboys get permission to fly drones at practice
Back in April of 2015, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett held a press conference, during which he casually mentioned that the team had started to use drones during practice
… A very cool use of technology, but unfortunately one that is currently illegal without special permission from the Federal Aviation Administration. After the FAA brought the issue to the team, the Cowboys applied for a 333 exemption, which the FAA granted to the team last week.
… The National Football League, a larger entity that sits atop of the individual teams, has also been granted permission to fly drones. Don't be surprised to see the NFL try out some interesting new camera angles in the years to come, or perhaps even at the league's upcoming milestone, Superbowl 50.
(Related) It's probably safer than all those selfie sticks...
FAA approves ski-video drones
… The drone startup Cape Productions follows skiers down the slopes with remote-controlled aircraft to record video of their runs. The San Francisco company announced Wednesday that the Federal Aviation Administration gave it approval to fly hundreds of feet closer to people than previously allowed.
… The FAA approval will allow Cape Productions to bring home the knowledge accumulated recording skiers since December 2014 at the Fernie Alpine Resort in British Columbia, where regulations made it easier to fly drones. Cape also recorded the U.S. Ski Team in New Zealand to supplement training.
… The company plans to expand later this season to Winter Park, Colo.; Powder Mountain Resort in Utah; Timberline Lodge and Ski Area and Mount Hood Meadows Resort in Oregon; Mountain Creek Resort in New Jersey and Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Idaho.
“...and your point is?”
Apple says it has helped create over a million European jobs
Apple’s relationship with Europe intensified this morning, as the company announced its new App Development Center in Italy and revealed previously unseen data exploring the impact of the App economy on European employment.
It is interesting to note the claims on job creation come as European tax authorities continue to consider how much tax the company owes in the region. Apple claims to have helped create well over a million jobs across Europe.
A question for my students. Will this catch on or die?
Brave Software's New Browser Nukes Ads That Track You
… Eich’s new startup Brave Software aims to chlorinate online advertising with a new ad-blocking Web browser it released today for software developers and early adopters (that means not mere mortals like us yet), along with a connected cloud service that will enable placement of select new ads that don’t track your online activities
“We know you guys are extremely gullible, so you will probably believe that we are sorry that we have to do this and that it has nothing to do with our bank accounts in Switzerland.”
ISIS cuts its fighters' salaries by 50%
… ISIS soldiers earn between $400 and $1,200 a month, plus a $50 stipend for their wives and $25 for each child, according to the Congressional Research Service.
For my Data Management students. Feeding our ongoing debate about Facebook taking over the world.
The Facebook-Loving Farmers of Myanmar
… Many of the farmers we spoke with had never owned a smartphone before. The villages were often without running water or electricity, but they buzzed with newly minted cell towers and strong 3G signals. For them, everything networked was new.
Almost all of the farmers we spoke with were Facebook users. None had heard of Twitter. How they used Facebook was not dissimilar to how many of us in the west see and think of Twitter: as a source of news, a place where you can follow your interests. The majority, however, didn’t see the social platform as a place to be particularly social or to connect with and stay up to date on comings and goings within their villages.
My students were discussing how Google made money.
Google’s new Real-Time Ads sound a lot like Twitter
Aiming to sell more ads during live events, Google officially unveiled a new ad product today called Real-Time Ads.
The product, Google says, enables brands to push out ads in real time to YouTube, as well as to “hundreds of thousands of apps, and the 2 million plus sites in the Google Display Network.” Still in beta, the product’s first major test will be the upcoming Super Bowl — and site-builder Wix has committed to using it during the event, Google said.
Perhaps the greatest self-promoter since P.T.Barnum?
The MegaNet: How an Internet Without IP Addresses Would Work
The Internet is without a doubt one of the most important inventions in modern history. Never before have we had unfettered access to the wealth of the world’s knowledge with just a few keystrokes.
It’s also a flawed vehicle that’s ripe for corruption, and Kim Dotcom hopes to change all that.
According to him, MegaNet will be a newer, better version of the same Internet we all know and love. It’ll feature heavy end-to-end encryption, no IP addresses, and a decentralized structure that makes operation a “for the people, by the people” proposition rather than relying on gatekeepers and government regulation.
For my nerdy geeks who read.
The Best Star Wars Books All Fans Need to Read
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
I'd flunk my Computer Security students for doing this.
Kelly Jackson Higgins reports:
Midsized companies do a better job protecting their customer information than that of their own employees or their internal intellectual property, a new study found.
Nearly one-third of companies and organizations with 100- to 2,000 employees in the US, Canada, India, Australia, Japan, and Malaysia, say they don’t regularly encrypt their employees’ bank information, and 43% don’t always encrypt human resources files. Nearly half say they don’t routinely encrypt employee health information, according to the Vanson Bourne survey conducted on behalf of security vendor Sophos.
Read more on Dark Reading.
It never hurts to ask. Signing documents you don't understand could be a bit of a problem. Of course, no signature, no probation.
Dana Littlefield reports:
When San Diego defense lawyers returned to court after the start of the new year, many were shocked to learn that their clients were being asked to sign a newly-drafted waiver, allowing police to search cellphones, computers and other types of electronics without first obtaining a warrant.
The one-page document spells out the types of items that would be subject to search: call logs, emails, text messages and social media accounts accessed through a variety of devices — everything from an iPhone to an Xbox.
By signing the waiver, criminal court defendants would also agree to disclose any and all passwords used to access those devices or accounts. Even a fingerprint that unlocks an electronic device would be fair game.
San Diego Superior Court judges began using the waivers just days after a new law took effect in California, requiring police and probation officers to get a search warrant before examining a person’s emails and other forms of “electronic communication.”
Read more on San Diego Union-Tribune.
Do we call this “Law in the Internet Age” or simply e-Law?
Judge says Facebook tagging violates protective orders
You don't have to physically get close to a person or to call and text them to end up violating a protection order. According to Acting Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Susan Capeci, tagging the victim, which sends them a notification, is enough to breach the order and ultimately land the perpetrator in jail. Capeci made the ruling for a case filed against a woman named Maria Gonzalez who was prohibited by law from contacting her sister-in-law. While she didn't blow up the sister-in-law's phone or show up uninvited to her house, she reportedly created a Facebook account and tagged her on some status updates.
… Gonzalez has been charged with second-degree criminal contempt for the status updates, which could land her in prison. Her side tried to argue that she wasn't explicitly banned from contacting Calderon via Facebook. The judge, however, pointed out that Gonzalez was ordered not to contact Calderon via "electronic or any other means."
So what if that's not what they intended, it's still the law!
Privacy Laws Pose New Threat to Free Speech
It was a powerful tool while it lasted. For years, wealthy people the world over could drag critics – including authors, publishers and media outlets – into London courtrooms and browbeat them with libel lawsuits. No matter if the defendants had no connection to England: the courts opened their doors all the same, and granted often dubious defamation awards to “libel tourists” from Europe, Russia and the Middle East. The winners would then collect by presenting the English judgment in foreign courtrooms, including American ones.
Today, the worst of libel tourism is over. Lawmakers moved to stop it after outcries over free expression. But now a new type of muzzling may be on the march in the form of aggressive privacy rulings, which some fear are breeding a new type of censorship tourist.
… Now every letter of action [threatening a lawsuit] comes with a privacy and data claim,” said Stephens, during a recent lecture on free speech at Columbia University. He added that those figures are “the tip of the iceberg” since defendants, in the vast majority of cases, will settle in order to avoid enormous legal fees.
We're not going to admit this is impossible until we spend a lot more taxpayer money.
A bipartisan pair of lawmakers is set to introduce legislation that would establish a national commission to figure out how police can get at encrypted data without endangering Americans’ privacy.
Of course they did, how could they not? And will someone ask if any State Department emails are ever marked “Classified?” I never marked my telex conversations. They probably don't “Mark” their phone calls either.
The secret information on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal email was more highly classified than previously understood, according to the intelligence community’s internal watchdog.
In a letter to Capitol Hill obtained by The Hill, Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III wrote that Clinton had highly classified information known as “special access programs” (SAP) on her private server.
Will the addition of Social Media ratings change the rules for TV?
Nielsen Wants to Watch You Talk to Your Facebook Friends About What You Watch on TV
It is a little hard to remember now, but not very long ago, smart people spent a lot of time talking about “social TV” — TV shows that people talked about on Twitter, Facebook and other networks.
More on Twitter, really, because it was relatively easy for Twitter and other companies to see what people were talking about on Twitter, since Twitter is (nearly) completely public. But on Facebook, outsiders can’t see what you’re talking about unless you decide to let them see what you’re talking about.
So the TV industry has spent less time trying to track TV on Facebook, even though it’s much bigger than Twitter.
Now that’s going to change: Nielsen is going to start tracking discussions that people have about TV on Facebook with their family and friends, even if that discussion isn’t marked as “public.” Nielsen still won’t be able to peer into Facebook messages you send directly to your friends, but it will see if you post a message on someone’s feed declaring your love for “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” or “Jessica Jones.”
… At one point a few years ago, the theory was that social media chatter could actually boost TV ratings. And even if it couldn’t, the argument went/evolved, it would be valuable for programmers and advertisers to know which shows generated a lot of online conversation, because … engagement.
Learn to love the machine. Unfortunately, that includes automated lawyers… (Worth reading)
The Automation Paradox
When computers start doing the work of people, the need for people often increases.
I'm showing my ignorance. I've never heard of these guys.
Deezer Raises Big Funding After Icing IPO Plans
Pulling the plug rather quickly on its initial public offering a few months ago doesn’t mean Paris-based music streaming service Deezer has given up raising new cash.
On Wednesday, the company said it has closed a $109 million (€100 million) round led by Access Industries, with additional participation from French telecom Orange.
… Founded in 2007, Deezer has been competing with Swedish rival Spotify for years
… While the latter recently revealed it has more than 20 million paying customers, Deezer only has about 6 million, according to its website and IPO prospectus. Moreover, because of some of Deezer’s bundling deals with telecom carriers, only 3.8 million of them are generating recurring revenue—the rest prepaid upfront but might not have actually used the service.
… Still, in the U.S. at least, it seems the race it narrowing down to two main competitors, with Apple Music and Spotify duking it out following the shutdown of Rdio (Pandora bought its assets) and Tidal’s instability. Just three months after its debut, Apple Music already had 15 million users with 6.5 million of them paying for the service (the others were still in their free trial). Now, six months later, it has 10 million paying subscribers—something Spotify took six years to achieve.
'Tis the season. (Maybe I just like to point out that all politicians preach nonsense.)
Hillary Clinton: “Of course we want to raise the minimum wage!”
Donald Trump: If we trade with China, “they suck us dry … take everything. We get nothing!”
Bernie Sanders: “Ordinary Americans are working longer hours for lower wages.”
Is this as bad an idea as I think it is?
Read Shakespeare Side-by-Side in a Modern Translation
… No Fear Shakespeare (NFS) comes from SparkNotes, a site that offers summaries of classic books (often used by busy high school students). NFS is not a summary, though — it’s a complete re-writing of Shakespeare’s plays in modern language.
These updated versions run side-by-side with the original plays, allowing you to easily switch back and forth and see what an old work translates to modern times.
Shouldn't you be able to do this yourself? (Or have we stopped teaching people how to write?)
Plugin Detects “Weak” Language in Emails – Avoid These Words
… a new Gmail plugin called “Just Not Sorry” identifies the words in your emails before you send them so you can remove them before you send that next communication to a colleague, partner or customer.
Free and useful? (I selected some for my students)
15 Excellent No-Sign Up Websites for Everyday Use
This might help my ESL students.
Quill - Packs of Interactive Writing Lessons
Quill is a free service that puts a new spin on the old writing worksheets that most of us used in middle school. The service offers more than just the writing practice activities, but that is its core feature. There are three activity categories within Quill. Those activities are Quill Proofreader, Quill Grammar, and Quill Writer.
In Quill Proofreader students are shown students passages that have grammatical errors placed in them. Students have to identify and correct the errors in the passages that they read.
Quill Grammar requires students to complete short exercises in which they finish the construction of sentences by inserting the correct words and or punctuation marks.
In Quill Writer activities students work together to construct sentences from a shared word bank.
Applications for Education
You can assign Quill activities to your students through your teacher dashboard. Once you create an account on Quill you can create a class and distribute assignments. Your class will have a code that your students enter when they sign in to use Quill. After creating your class you can start to browse through the pre-made Activity Packs. Each Activity Pack is labeled according to skill type, grade level, and Common Core standards.
Another resource for my website students.
Learn HTML & CSS Through a Free 12 Part Guide
Learn to Code HTML & CSS is a free resource developed by Shay Howe whose resume reveals that he has worked on the user interface for Groupon among other projects. There are twelve text-based lessons for beginners in Learn to Code HTML & CSS. Once you've mastered the beginner lessons you can try your hand at the advanced lessons. The lessons cover everything from building your first web page to building forms and organizing data in tables.