Friday, November 14, 2014

TechTalk November 10

What is a week without a conversation about tech?

If you are like me there is so much going on in the gadget, software and world of the cloud it is hard to keep track and keep up.

So once a week I sit down with some interesting techies and try to unpack things.

This week I had a chat with Darren Frearson of Uptown School.

And this is the conversation we had.

Her are the show notes if you want to click through things.

Darren Frearson Taaleem uptown school
leader of educational technology


what are you playing with?

card readers and the changes in tech how we rely on things and then the new comes and the old is old but not so old.
-digital camera needs a 2 gig card good luck with that

-vista user hates Windows 8!

-Z3 camera rules


AT&T launches smartwatch!

Your kids may be too young to put a Moto 360 or Pebble on their wrists, but that doesn't mean they'll have to go without a smartwatch. AT&T is now selling the FiLIP 2, an upgraded version of last year's hybrid kid locator and wrist-worn phone. The new version is easier for parents to set up through mobile apps and better suited to real-world use. The screen has been toughened up to survive some roughhousing at the playground, and the wristband is now both more comfortable and adjustable; your children won't have to stop using the watch just because they've had a growth spurt. If you're anxious about your young ones' safety, you can snag the FiLIP 2 for $100 ($150 after the holidays) plus $10 per month to add the wristwear to your phone plan.

Maybe we are getting to the point where we can be creating our own wearbales?

I received a small bag of supplies at the beginning of the session -- including a watch battery, alligator clips, LED light, and conductive material -- as well as quick instructions on how to create basic circuits. Wiring up the light to the watch battery was easy enough. Even young children in my session managed to get their lights flickering. But it was when I had to figure out how I wanted to shape my wearable that things began to fall apart. By the time I figured out a design and started putting conductive thread to cloth, our time was up.
Hartman tapped a recipe from her recent book, Make: Wearable Electronics, to show us how we can create gloves that light up when we high-five a friend. Some attendees took the idea to another level by creating complex sleep bracelets with the same basic idea, while others made gloves that buzzed when they completed a circuit with other conductive wearables.

Are you a google drive user? 3 updates!
This week Google announced three updates to Google Drive that will be of interest to you if you are a regular user of Google Drive. First, as I outlined on Thursday, Google updated the Drive for iPad app. If you have updated your iPad to iOS 8 you will see an option to secure the app with Touch ID. The updated app also included a couple of small workflow enhancements.

This week users of the Google Drive desktop app for Mac and PC received an update that allows them to open files stored in their Google Drive accounts in another desktop application. For example, if you have a Keynote file saved in your Google Drive account you will now be able to right-click on it to open it Keynote on your Mac without having to first download it then open it. For this to work you do have to have the Google Drive desktop app installed and have offline access enabled. That requirement could be a limiting factor in schools in which students share computers.

The third update to note is a new default user interface for Google Drive. Google launched the "new" Google Drive user interface back in June and it has been slowly rolled-out to those who have wanted to use it. Starting this week the new user interface will be the default view and you will have the option to return to the old interface for a while although the old interface will eventually be phased out. This update should make it easier to introduce Google Drive to your students and colleagues as all will be looking at the same user interface.


How is it that email scams still exist?

Manual hijackers often get into accounts through phishing: sending deceptive messages meant to trick you into handing over your username, password, and other personal info. For this study, we analyzed several sources of phishing messages and websites, observing both how hijackers operate and what sensitive information they seek out once they gain control of an account. Here are some of our findings:

  • Simple but dangerous: Most of us think we’re too smart to fall for phishing, but our research found some fake websites worked a whopping 45% of the time. On average, people visiting the fake pages submitted their info 14% of the time, and even the most obviously fake sites still managed to deceive 3% of people. Considering that an attacker can send out millions of messages, these success rates are nothing to sneeze at.
  • Quick and thorough: Around 20% of hijacked accounts are accessed within 30 minutes of a hacker obtaining the login info. Once they’ve broken into an account they want to exploit, hijackers spend more than 20 minutes inside, often changing the password to lock out the true owner, searching for other account details (like your bank, or social media accounts), and scamming new victims.
  • Personalized and targeted: Hijackers then send phishing emails from the victim’s account to everyone in his or her address book. Since your friends and family think the email comes from you, these emails can be very effective. People in the contact list of hijacked accounts are 36 times more likely to be hijacked themselves.
  • Learning fast: Hijackers quickly change their tactics to adapt to new security measures. For example, after we started asking people to answer questions (like “which city do you login from most often?”) when logging in from a suspicious location or device, hijackers almost immediately started phishing for the answers.

We’ve used the findings from this study, along with our ongoing research efforts, to improve the many account security systems we have in place. But we can use your help too.

  • Stay vigilant: Gmail blocks the vast majority of spam and phishing emails, but be wary of messages asking for login information or other personal data. Never reply to these messages; instead, report them to us. When in doubt, visit websites directly (not through a link in an email) to review or update account information.
  • Get your account back fast: If your account is ever at risk, it’s important that we have a way to get in touch with you and confirm your ownership. That’s why we strongly recommend you provide a backup phone number or a secondary email address (but make sure that email account uses a strong password and is kept up to date so it’s not released due to inactivity).
  • 2-step verification: Our free 2-step verification service provides an extra layer of security against all types of account hijacking. In addition to your password, you’ll use your phone to prove you’re really you. We also recently added an option to log in with a physical USB device.

Our internet enabled gadgets are not so safe!

Our houses are quickly filling with an internet of things—smart TVs, DVRs, thermostats, and more all online, all the time. But to a hacker, each of these devices is a digital door or window into your home (network). Here's what you need to do to keep your devices locked against outside intrusions.
It sounds paranoid, I know, but there are, seriously, websites out there dedicated to streaming unsecured security camera footage—veritable YouTubes of compromised DropCams and smart TVs. Leaving these and other networked devices unsecured—or even worse, using the factory default username and password—is like leaving a note on your front door that reads: "I've gone to the store, be back in 3 hours, the key is under the mat." Or, almost as creepily, an open invitation to voyeurs.

The basics

Basic network security is fundamental, every bit as important as locking your front door whenever you go out. That door is your wireless router and there are a number of ways it can, and should, be secured, according to the FCC:
  • Set the network encryption to WPA2. The older WEP algorithm is totally outdated and laughably insecure by comparison.
  • Install a firewall. Your router should have a hardware-based firewall so be sure it's activated. Also, it doesn't hurt to have a secondary, software-based firewall running as well. Windows 8 has the feature baked into its OS, as does OS X and Chrome OS. Or you can install a third party system like Zone Alarm's Personal Firewall.
  • Stop broadcasting your network. There's simply no need to publicize the existence of your home network, so turn of the Broadcast SSID option in your router configuration. That way you're protected from wardrivers—which probe for easy access points—and nosy neighbors alike.

The secret to network security: password, password, password


How savvy are students today?
Cool in the classroom?

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