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Cut through the spin on Net Neutrality

I don’t blame you if the term ‘Net neutrality‘ make your eyes glaze. However as a battle royale is being waged these weeks, it’s good for us to all get to know the definition of Net neutrality, and what’s at stake.

Before bureaucrats put their spin on it.

Definition – by the ACLU.

Network neutrality means applying well-established “common carrier” rules to the internet in order to preserve its freedom and openness. In other words, the network should discriminating against information by halting, slowing, or otherwise tampering with the transfer of any data

(Older) Definitionby WIRED

Today, privileged companies—including Google, Facebook, and Netflix—already benefit from what are essentially internet fast lanes, and this has been the case for years. Such web giants—and others—now have direct connections to big ISPs like Comcast and Verizon, and they run dedicated computer servers deep inside these ISPs.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s Statement

He proposes a return to a Telco as a Title I information service. One with “light-touch regulation”  The wording of the rest of the document looks specious, since it supports the rolling back of regulation with the talk of jobs, competition and privacy.

Firefox (Mozilla) cuts through the legaleseWorth a Read

Under Pai’s proposal, ISPs would be allowed to block, throttle and prioritize (or deprioritize) internet access for Americans. Companies like Comcast and AT&T could selectively slow down or speed up access to online journalism, blogs, films, apps, and other services. This would undo 2015’s hard-won net neutrality protections that took years of hard work.

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Posted by on November 28, 2017 in Activism, Communications, Technology

 

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Dire warning: Teens and Smart Phones

This recent study reports on something that anyone with a teenager ought to read.

It’s odd for me to be sounding the alarm bells about social media, following my optimistic book on the subject. (Hey, that was 4 years ago!)

Jean M. Twenge, writing in The Atlantic sounds a dire warning to parents. It’s worth a read. She says that there’s “compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are… making them seriously unhappy. “

Seriously unhappy? Coming from a researcher that must mean a lot. She says:

 “The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives.”

She refers to changes in their social interactions, and also, their mental health.

Read it here.

 

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Space Day featured in Salt River community newspaper

Glad to see this story in the Nov issue of Au-Authm Action News. Space Day took place last month.

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2017 in Ed-Tech, Education, STEM

 

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Nalaka’s take on responding to ‘fake news’

At a forum on Media and Development in Berlin yesterday, my friend Nalaka Gunewardena (who moderated a discussion) brought on a fresh perspective to the problem. It’s not about the tools per se that we could use to fight Fake News. It’s also about education, alliances and policy reform, .

We must also look for the symptoms in the loss of trust in journalism, he said. The need is to build structures that enhance and nurture quality journalism. In other words, create trustworthy messengers before trying to fix (or block) the pipes through which the messages flow. Plus the need to influence policy and literacy.

This is a lot more nuanced than just clamping down on media platforms or discrediting the sources – reactive steps.

So let’s get pro-active about a problem that didn’t arrive yesterday, and won’t go away soon.

I encourage you to read Nalaka’s post about this.

 

 

 

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A need to ‘register’ your face –and other tech silliness

As if we don’t have enough to be concerned about! Users of the iPhone X must ‘register’ their faces so that facial recognition –a feature that everyone seems to be fawning over– works.

I am not making this up. This was reported where an iPhone user had to repeatedly ‘register’ her face because her 10-year old son unwittingly unlocked her phone. The story cites Wired reporter Andy Greenberg who :

suggested that Sherwani re-register her face to see what would happen. Upon doing so, the iPhone X no longer allowed Ammar access. Interestingly, after Sherwani tried registering her face again a few hours later in the same indoor, nighttime lighting conditions in which she first set up her iPhone X, the son was able to regain access with his face.

Does this mean that:

  • Some day there will be a facial registry, somewhere in the Cloud? For now, it’s on the device.
  • There might be an after-market for 3-D printed facial masks to crack iPhones? Apple is skeptical. Of course!
 
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Posted by on November 16, 2017 in Hype, Technology

 

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The ‘sharing economy’ – Aaron’s article

Worth a read – my son’s article on the new economy movements, and land use practices in a ‘sharing economy.’ He’s spoke on a similar topic last evening at Clark University, Worcester, MA.

 

 

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Using robots to teach PowerPoint animation

Around this time of year when I introduce animation in PowerPoint, I try to find something topical to animate.

So I’ve got my 4th graders to think about ‘Man and Machine‘ -specifically how a human could evolve into a humanoid. We use the custom animation tool to draw a path to make the human glide across the screen to turn into a robot.

To preface it, I showed them a clip of Asimo, the Honda humanoid project. Asimo is the acronym for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility. It is a 4-foot 3-inch character that can run, climb steps, and play a bit of football (soccer). Even those who aren’t into robotics get instantly engaged.

I asked the class what they thought of man and machine after watching this; some thought it was a bit weird and creepy, but pretty cool.

Once the unit is completed, I figure this will be a good way to re-introduce Coding for the Hour of Code project. How do they build a set of instructions to make an inanimate object move? Coding and animation have a lot in common!

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2017 in Ed-Tech, Education, STEM, Technology

 

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