The Digital-And-Real-Life Edition Wednesday, March 29, 2017

iPads Did Not Revolutionize Campus Teaching (But A Few Colleges Give Every Student One), by Jessica Leigh Brown, EdSurge

Hiram calls its initiative “Tech and Trek,” emphasizing that both digital and real-life experiences play a part in learning. “We’re very interested in having the mobile technology used outside the classroom where so much learning takes place,” says Hiram president Lori Varlotta. “Students will be able to capture video and write about their experiences when they’re studying abroad or working on research projects.”

Varlotta says giving everyone—faculty and students—the same device with the same apps will be a learning equalizer. “It’s hard to assign electronic journaling, blogs, or FaceTime when you’re not sure what the students’ various devices are able to handle,” she says. “Now everyone will have access to the same kind of learning resources and training to help them prepare for coursework and take their studies seriously.”

What's New In Apple Classroom 2.0, by Fraser Speirs

Previously, the infrastructure requirements for Apple Classroom were reasonably high. You needed an MDM server that supported the Apple Education payload and student devices had to be supervised. Essentially, that describes a managed school deployment.

Apple Classroom 2.0 can now work without any of these requirements being met, albeit subject to a range of privacy limitations.

At its most basic, now, anyone can download the Apple Classroom app from the App Store and set up an ad-hoc class. However, the degree of control is limited because of privacy concerns. In Apple's terminology, these ad-hoc classes are called "unmanaged classes" and the MDM-provided classes are called "managed classes".

Hiram joins a handful of higher education institutions in the U.S.—mostly small, private colleges or professional programs at state universities—to adopt the devices in a comprehensive way.

Garden Of Apps

Man Creates App To Help Disabled Communicate, by CNN

"She's 10. She's not able to walk, read, write," he said. "Very limited with her capabilities, but she's very smart with her iPad."

That inspired her brother, Zach Edlund, a former computer programming student, to create an app she can use with her iPad so she can communicate.

The app allows people to select a picture with how they're feeling then send it as a text message.

Apple Finally Approved An App That Tracks Drone Strikes, Then Abruptly Deleted It, by Louise Matsakis, Mashable

There's an argument to be made that it's upsetting to be repeatedly reminded that your government's carried out covert war efforts across the globe that routinely kill more civilians than it cares to admit.

But it's hard to argue that's Metadata+'s sole objective is to horrify you. For one, it doesn't show a drone strike's aftermath. There are no mutilated bodies. Not even destroyed houses or buildings.

Since the beginning, Begley's app has merely aggregated news about U.S. drone strikes in text format. It puts together widely available news reports—many of which are ostensibly available right in Apple's own News app.

Security Matters

Here’s All The New Stuff In Apple’s Latest Security Document, by Kate Conger, TechCrunch

This is probably a good sign for users — the fact that Apple isn’t making many changes to the basic security structure of the iPhone likely means that Apple hasn’t uncovered any major flaws in its product. The company puts significant resources into testing its own security and invites outside researchers to do the same through its bug bounty program.

But Apple has rolled out plenty of new features and products in the last few years, and the security whitepaper reflects that. Here are some of the biggest new developments.


iTunes U For The iPad Gets Built-in Annotation Tools, More, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Version 3.5 allows you to mark up photos with instructions or comments using built-in annotation tools. At Bat And NHL Are First To Launch Personalized App Icons On iOS 10.3, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The At Bat and NHL iOS applications have been updated today to take advantage of one of the new, but still under-the-radar features available in the just launched version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 10.3: personalized home screen icons. That’s right – you can now replace either of these apps’ default icon to one featuring your favorite team’s logo instead.


Apple Now Rejects App Store Submissions When The Name Includes The Price, by Jordan Novet, VentureBeat

Apple has stepped up its efforts to stop developers from promoting the price of their apps in app names and screenshots. For the past month or so Apple’s iTunes Connect service has been blocking submissions to the App Store or Mac App Store when app metadata includes pricing information.

The change could have consequences for those who push free apps in the iOS and macOS stores and are trying to stand out from similar free apps. For years developers have mentioned “free” in apps’ names. Apple has previously discouraged developers from doing so in its developer guide for iTunes Connect and its overview of App Store product pages. Now the company has gone further.

App Store Review Replies, by Curtis Herbert

This great power does come with responsibility though. Realtalk: we all feel the need to be "right" often. Especially when it comes to defending work we pour or souls into. I know I do. I want to warn you: the new reply capability is not the place for that. You need to check your "but someone on the internet is wrong!" really hard here. You will not convince people your app's price is worth it via these replies, and in the mean time everyone checking out your app will see you arguing with customers.

To phrase it another way: these are as much replies to existing customers as they are PR statements to future ones.

Machines Vs. Human, by Adrian Holovaty

If you reframe it as “pleasing the end user” vs. “pleasing the programmer,” you’ll reach a more intellectually honest — and a more human — decision.

Disney Wednesday

How I Let Disney Track My Every Move, by Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo

Now that I at least comprehend the scope of the MagicBand’s technology, I actually feel more comfortable using it. After all, it was the not knowing that creeped me out to begin with. Next time I visit a Disney park, I’ll still be wearing a MagicBand, fully realizing that it’s sending out signals with every step I take.

Still, I wouldn’t say I’m completely at ease. Disney’s vague answers, my MagicBand dissection, and Kamkar’s comments managed to demystify some of the band’s functions for me, but I’m still left feeling torn. What am I giving up in exchange for the convenience of tapping my special bracelet on light-up Mickey logos to gain access to fun rides and experiences? Is it something more than the intel that I bought three hot dogs for lunch or how I spent five minutes posing for pictures with a costumed mouse?

Bottom of the Page

If you thought there's nothing in the time-travelling genre left to surprise you, maybe you want to pick up the book All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai, and be pleasantly surprised. I was.


Thanks for reading.