The Technology-In-Schools Edition Friday, April 28, 2017

As Chromebook Sales Soar In Schools, Apple And Microsoft Fight Back, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

For many schools, the dream of a one-device-per-child experience has finally been realized through a consumer technology battle waged by the biggest names in the industry. Over the past decade, Google, Apple and Microsoft have shaped the conversation around technology in schools, but as ever, none are in agreement on a one-size-fits-all approach. One thing all the players seem to agree on is that education is a market well worth pursuing.

In One Sunset Hill Classroom, Kindergartners Are Using Technology To Connect With Kids Across The Globe, by Joanna Hlavacek, Lawrence Journal World

It’s Tuesday afternoon in Nicole Corn’s bright and cheery kindergarten classroom at Sunset Hill Elementary School, where tables of excited students clamor around iPads to check in with their virtual pen pals more than 7,000 miles away in Shanghai, China.

The kids easily access a collaborative learning journal app from their district-issued iPads. A moment later, photos and videos from kindergartners at a Shanghai elementary school flood the screen, much to the delight of Sunset Hill kindergartner Sophia Talley.

Robot Takes Recovering Child To Her Seat In Class, by Carolyn Presutti, VOA

Cloe, 11, is at home, recuperating from leg surgery. For the first month after the operation, a home tutor visited her. But the precocious child grew withdrawn and didn't want to leave her bed. She missed routine. She missed her friends. She missed real school.


The Anne Arundel County school system in Maryland had a cure. Cloe now attends class virtually through a $3,000 robot. Hers, which she named Clo-Bot, was donated by the local Rotary Club. Since she began using it, the learning hasn't stopped.

Clo-Bot is basically an iPad attached to a pole on wheels. Cloe uses the keyboard on her home computer to remotely control the device, rolling it into and out of the classroom. She speaks through a headset and is heard through the iPad. When the class breaks up into small groups, one classmate holds materials up to the iPad, and Cloe contributes to the project.

Security Matters

Malware Uses Apple Developer Certificate To Infect MacOS And Spy On HTTPS Traffic, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The initial email pretends to be informing the recipient of inconsistencies in their tax return and asks them to download a zip file attachment to their Mac that harbors the malware. Apple's built-in Gatekeeper security feature reportedly fails to recognize it as a threat because of its valid developer certificate, and the malware copies itself to the /Users/Shared/ folder and creates a login item to make itself persistent, even in a rebooted system.

The malware later presents the user with a security message claiming an update is available for the system, for which a password input is required. Following the "update", the malware gains complete control of admin privileges, adjusts the network settings to divert all outgoing connections through a proxy, and installs additional tools that enable it to perform a man-in-the-middle attack on all traffic.

Upcoming From Apple

Check Out The Lexus That Apple's Using To Test Self-Driving Car Technology, by Mark Bergen and Alex Webb, Bloomberg

The white Lexus RX450h SUV emerged from an Apple facility this week and was kitted out with an array of sensors, according to a person who saw the vehicle and provided photos to Bloomberg News. The sensors included Velodyne Lidar Inc.'s top-of-the-range 64-channel lidar, at least two radar and a series of cameras. The sensors appear to be products bought off the shelf from suppliers, rather than custom-made, according to an industry expert who saw the photos. An Apple spokesman declined to comment. Syncs Up With Apple Music, by Peter Kafka, Recode lets its users create and share their own music videos, using snippets of songs. Starting on Friday, Apple Music will be the service that supplies the songs, replacing U.K.-based provider 7digital, according to people familiar with the companies’ plans.

Apple’s extensive licensing deals will allow to expand the number of countries it supports from 30 to 120. And connecting with gives Apple a new marketing venue: The app will promote Apple’s paid service to its own users, and will allow paying Apple Music subscribers to listen to full songs within the app.

Apple Is In Talks To Launch Its Own Venmo, by Jason Del Rey, Recode

The company has recently held discussions with payments industry partners about introducing its own Venmo competitor, according to multiple sources familiar with the talks. The service would allow iPhone owners to send money digitally to other iPhone owners, these people said.

One source familiar with the plans told Recode they expect the company to announce the new service later this year. Another cautioned that an announcement and launch date may not yet be set.


Apple Updates Wallpaper From Static Gradient To Dynamic Blue Bubbles Background, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Today, it’s updated the background from a static blue-yellow seaside gradient to a moving animation that tracks your mouse cursor and mimics the blue Dynamic Wallpaper on iPhone and iPad, which Apple quickly ignored after their introduction in iOS 7.

Doo Adds Task Collaboration, Checklists In Version 2.0, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Doo maintains its simplicity while growing into a more powerful productivity tool. The inclusion of task collaboration and checklists specifically makes the update a win, and the additions continue to be hits down the line: location reminders, morning and evening hours, and interface customization with font sizes.

Annotable 2.0 Adds Deep Customization Features, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Annotable, an image annotation app from developer Ling Wang, received a major update yesterday. Version 2.0 of the app is all about customization. From the tools that appear when you open the app, to the formatting of text added to an image, Annotable gives you precise control over how you use the app and the look of marked up images making it my hands-down favorite app for image annotations.

‘Vignettes’ Invents A New Game Genre By Enchanting Your Phone, by Julie Muncy, Wired

But if you’re willing to step away from the idea of goal-oriented achievement, Vignettes achieves something almost transcendent. Like its name implies, it feels like a series of short stories about objects, meditations on the secret lives of stuff.


Flexible Working Is Making Us Work Longer, by Heejung Chung, Quartz

Contrary to what you might expect, those with more control over their work schedule work more than those with less control. In fact, people have a tendency to work more overtime hours once they are allowed to work flexibly, compared to when they were not.

These were the findings of research my colleague Yvonne Lott and I recently carried out, published in the European Sociological Review. We examined data that followed workers across a number of years in Germany to see what happened to the amount of overtime they did once they started having more control over their working hours.


Secretive And Apparently Delayed, Southeast Asia's First Apple Store To Open In May: Sources, by Craig Dale, CNBC

A source with knowledge of the project told CNBC about problems with a neighbor — the Grand Royal Orchard Singapore hotel. That source said there had been a conflict over logistical and infrastructure issues related to the construction.

"I think it's all gone legal," the source said, without specifying who brought or threatened action against whom. A manager of a retail store close to the site told CNBC she, too, was aware of a conflict. But the source with knowledge of the project said "it has all been resolved and [is] expecting to open in May."

Apple Cuts Off Licensing Payments To Qualcomm As Fight Escalates, by Ian King, Bloomberg

Qualcomm Inc. said Apple Inc. is cutting off licensing payments related to the iPhone until their legal dispute is settled, forcing the chipmaker to lower forecasts it gave just last week.

The announcement escalates the fight between the world’s largest publicly-traded technology company and one of the main suppliers of components to its most important product. The two have traded accusations of lying, making threats and trying to create an illegal monopoly. Their spat involves billions of dollars of technology licensing revenue that, if permanently cut off or reduced, could damage Qualcomm’s main source of profit and help bolster Apple’s margins.

With New Funding, Didi Chuxing, An Uber Rival, Looks Beyond China, by Paul Mozur, New York Times

When Uber pulled out of China last summer, it appeared to be the end of two years of frenzied competition with the local rival Didi Chuxing.

Yet with a new funding round that has brought in $5.5 billion, it seems the Chinese firm wants to take the rivalry global.

The Secret Lives Of Google Raters, by Annalee Newitz, Ars Technica

Who are these raters? They're carefully trained and tested staff who can spend 40 hours per week logged into a system called Raterhub, which is owned and operated by Google. Every day, the raters complete dozens of short but exacting tasks that produce invaluable data about the usefulness of Google's ever-changing algorithms. They contribute significantly to several Google and Android projects, from search and voice recognition to photos and personalization features.

Few people realize how much these raters contribute to the smooth functioning act we call “Googling.” Even Google engineers who work with rater data don't know who these people are. But some raters would now like that to change. That's because, earlier this month, thousands of them received an e-mail that said their hours would be cut in half, partly due to changes in Google's staffing policies.