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Comment Re: HOW do you teach the implications? (Score 1) 168

I think this gets closer to the 'important' issues. Student data security, digital identities, privacy... And on we go. In terms of cloud based (or SaaS) I tend to believe that no sensitive information should be stored on a server that you don't physically control. It may not be more secure but hopefully it won't be mined and publicly available in 10 years. On the other hand, if you keep everything in house, you ignore the fact that even young kids may have a nascent digital identity that they need to be able to take with them when they leave your institution. It may be useful to have continuing access to their portfolio of work too. So sometimes informed trade offs have to be made. We approach this by publishing a set of student entitlements - total transparency aimed at defining what we will and won't do with their data (we try to protect their interests as best we can based on our own philosophy). Beyond this, there are 2 central tenets. 1) Each year, every student completes an age-appropriate e-safety course. 2) we insist they're able to come to us and leave with their own digital identity. So we don't force institutional email accounts on them and make every effort to ensure they can take their work with them when they leave. It's not a perfect world and everything we'd like to do isn't always possible. However, rather than reacting, 'aargh - google bad!' ; a policy that enshrines the students' entitlements might be a better way forward. Wrt email, both google and MS education would likely fall foul of our entitlements because they're essentially outsourced institutional accounts so the content can't be migrated when the student leaves. Solves your problem in a more positive way?? The truth is, most people don't care about this stuff so they will think you're overreacting. Maybe you are missing the more important points?We do what we do because we care about both privacy and portability. So step 1 is always education of the issues involved - hopefully leading to informed choices (& better privacy). Then we try to offer a balance of safe, portable and useful services. Some people still won't care, others will ignore all institutional services and use their own anyway. There's only so much one can do.

Comment Re:Unenforceable? (Score 3, Insightful) 387

It's still breaking and entering. Call it urban exploring or whatever, but tresspassing is still illegal.

Obviously, I haven't read TFA, but the summary says nothing about breaking and entering. Trespassing is a very different thing. IANAL but I think you'll find that in the UK if you're caught trespassing - assuming you haven't done anything else 'criminal' - then the first redresss of the property owner is to ask you to leave. As long as you comply with that request, there is no crime.

I could google this and checl my facts but it's Sunday morning, I just got up and it's far easier to just write something I vaguely recall as though it were definitely true - which, by the way, I think it is.

Comment Re:evil is as evil does (Score 1) 239

I've taken a similar approach and have an internet alter ego with consistent DOB, addresss etc. none of which are real. I advised a colleague to set themselves up a gmail account on a similar basis so that she didn't have to give her real email address to 'dubious' sites (The sort where you have to register and verify your email address to access content, presumably so they can sell it....) Problem is, Google now require you to verify your identity even to set up a gmail account - so you have to supply some sort of genuine phone number. At that point I switched to using hotmail and got her set up there instead. In effect, it would appear you can't easily pull this trick on Google any more.

Comment Re:I really don't get the point of this... (Score 1) 416

Sorry I know this thread is old now - I read it when it was new and yesterday my boss started talking about exactly what you've done in a College in the UK and I remembered your post. We install and support 'new' technologies in an educational setting and now my boss is talking about using iPads via Airplay and Apple TV... I'd be really interested in any other details you could tell us about what you implememnted and the upsides/downsides. I'm particularly interested in whether you can a) annotate whatever's on the screen (ideally a discreet 'ink layer' like interactive whiteboards) and b) whether you can easily change which ipad is being displayed so you can swap to the students' devices. I'm reasonably familiar with iPads but no nothing about Apple TV. I'd be happy to message you an email address if you're in a mood for sharing.

4chan Declares War On Snow 201

With all the recent hacktivism in the news, Anonymous has decided to take on a new and powerful enemy: snow. On Sunday the group announced that it will "do everything in its power to shut snow down by attacking the Weather Channel and North Face websites, boycotting outerwear, and voting for the sun as Time’s 2010 Person Of The Year." I'm sure there are a lot of people in Minneapolis right now that would wish them luck.

Comment Re:iplayer (Score 1) 121

I totaly agree that MS are asshats for not allowing the iPlayer onto silver but as I understand it, the BBC doesn't have much choice about refusing to make it a gold only option.

With respect to the SkyPlayer service, I've used it quite a lot and it's actually pretty good - better than the actual Sky hardware in some respects e.g. a MUCH bigger movie library available genuinely on demand rather than with staggered starts like on the home platform. What's even more amazing is that Sky don't charge me any more to use this, it's all included in my existing subscription so it was a genuine bonus freebie when it appeared.(this does depend on your level of subscription though so not everyone will be this lucky). However, the crap part is that MS have chosen to make this a gold only service. So you can pay your sub to Sky that entitles you to use the service but unless you also give MS some cash, they won't let you play. Since I don't tend to do much online gaming, I usually get round this by creating a new account every month and MS helpfully give me a free month of Gold each time I do it - well they have up to this point anyhow.

Importantly, as far as I know, who your ISP is makes absolutely no difference to getting this service. Sky are a fairly big ISP these days so they could have maybe tried to manipulate here. I'm not sure where they would've stood legally in that respect - best guess is that they can't do that or probably they would have! The fact that the U.S. is already seeing blocks on content based on your ISP makes me VERY angry.


Study Finds Most Would Become Supervillians If Given Powers 419

It probably comes as no surprise, but researchers have found that most of us would gladly put on a mask and fight do-gooders if given super powers. From the article: "But power also acts like strong cologne that affects both the wearer and those within smelling distance, Galinsky noted. The person gains an enhanced sense of their importance, and other people may regard them with greater respect as well as extend leniency toward their actions. That combination makes for an easy slide into corruption."

Happy Towel Day 122

An anonymous reader writes "While Douglas Adams continues his attempt to set a new record for the longest extended lunch break, geeks all over the universe pay tribute to the beloved author by celebrating the tenth edition of Towel Day. Towel Day is more alive than ever. This year Richard Dawkins, one of Adams' best friends, has tweeted a Towel Day reminder to his numerous followers. The CERN Bulletin has published an article on Towel Day. There has been TV coverage and there will be a radio interview. The Military Republic of the Deltan Imperium, a newly formed micronation, has recognized Towel Day as an official holiday. In Hungary several hundreds of hitchhiker fans want to have a picnic together in a park. And there's a concert, a free downloadable nerdrap album, a free game being released, the list goes on and on."

AMD Multi-Display Tech Has Problems, Potential 138

EconolineCrush writes "While AMD's Eyefinity multi-display gaming tech is undeniably impressive at first glance, digging deeper reveals key limitations. Some games work well, others not at all, and many are simply better suited to specific screen configurations. A three-way setup looks to be ideal from a compatibility perspective, and given current LCD prices, it's really not all that expensive. But would you take that over a single high-resolution display or a giant HDTV?"
First Person Shooters (Games)

Infinity Ward Fights Against Modern Warfare 2 Cheaters 203

Faithbleed writes "IW's Robert Bowling reports on his twitter account that Infinity Ward is giving 2,500 Modern Warfare 2 cheaters the boot. The news comes as the war between IW and MW2's fans rages over the decision to go with IWnet hosting instead of dedicated servers. Unhappy players were quick to come up with hacks that would allow their own servers and various other changes." Despite the dedicated-server complaints, Modern Warfare 2 has sold ridiculously well.

Comment Re:My Kingdom for a Datagrid Element! (Score 1) 541

There is nothing, repeat nothing that you can't do with css and tableless layouts*. *using a standards-compliant browser. Fuck you IE6!

You're right about IE6 being a pain in the ass - IE7 also has it's moments but so far I've always found that CSS can be mad to work, it might have to be done differently (wrongly!?) but it can still be done. I just wouldn't even think about using a table anymore - unless, you know, I wanted a table.

Comment Re:Get them while they are young. (Score 1) 296

You do understand the difference between giving information willingly and having it forced out of you?

Case 1
School: Can we have your mobile number in case of emergency?
Parent: Sure.

Case 2
School: Can we have your mobile number to include in a government database?
Parent: Ha ha ha ha - stop it, you're killing me.

Of course, like all of these databases, one cannot opt out. You gave the information for one purpose and now it's been hijacked for another. Gotta love the UK.

Comment Re:Get them while they are young. (Score 1) 296

This database just seems to aggregate a subset of this data together for children in an easily searchable place... I don't think the government is creating and *new* information...

I think they are. Certainly a proportion of my child's health records seem to exist only in a little red book that we as parents keep. Health professionals seem to need to use these books as a primary source of information. Bizzare but true.

I'm also pretty sure that my personal mobile phone number is not stored with my child's details anywhere else either but they're apparently proposing to do that in this database. So now, if I want my child's school to be able to contact me quickly in an emergency, I'm allowing my mobile number to be stored by a government database. Since I've deliberately chosen to keep my number as private as possible, this really pisses me off.

Of course this is only a couple of things that immediately come to mind, I have no trouble believing that a closer examination would reveal all sorts of new information being stored.

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