Yondr wants to neutralize your phone

silence your cell phone


Wired reports how a startup called Yondr wants to neutralize your phone and un-change the World.

Late last fall, in the gleaming white lobby of Madison Square Garden, uniformed attendants were posted at security stations to make thousands of smartphones stupid. Chris Rock was playing his 10th show in a 12-city international tour, and at every stop, each guest was required to pass through the entryway, confirm that his or her phone was on vibrate or silent, and then hand it over to a security guard who snapped it into a locking gray neoprene pouch—rendering it totally inaccessible. The besuited man ahead of me in line, clearly coming straight from the office, had two cell phones, each of which required its own little bag. The kid behind me groaned that he wouldn’t be able to Snapchat his night. The friend whom I’d come to meet was nowhere to be found, and after slipping my phone into the pouch, I couldn’t text her to ask where she was. Finally, I spotted her near the escalator. “That was weirdly scary,” she said, laughing. Read more at Wired.

McGraw-Hill Education helps students start off the New Year

students and teacher in classroom

McGraw-Hill Education shares five ways students can start off the New Year:

  1. Plan to Plan and How to Embrace Unexpected Changes
    For many students, college is either the first time on their own and/or a whirlwind of new responsibility added to their already hectic plates. Planning, while simple in theory and more difficult in execution, can often be overlooked as a key ingredient to set ones’ self-up for success. Guidance to students on how to breakdown larger projects earlier in the semester or effective ways to prepare for high-stakes tests can establish a model that keeps them on solid ground as they adjust to the rigors of college work. But with all great plans comes the unexpected, so let students know that hiccups in the plan (get sick mid-semester, fell behind on a project deadline, group project didn’t live up to expectations) are a normal part of the learning process.
  2. Quality vs Quantity
    For a lot of incoming freshman the college workload can be a shock to the system. Often many of them take a scatter approach to their studies and work, turning in less than stellar material. One of the big reminders for new students is that quality is key; even if that means taking a lighter credit load this semester. Advise your students to ensure that they’re planning enough realistic study time to meet the demands of their course workloads.
  3. Keep Yourself Healthy
    Easy to say, hard to do but reminding students that keeping oneself healthy and whole so that they can focus on their studies is critical.
  4. Campus Resources
    Campus resources, quite frankly, rock. So many students either don’t realize they exist, don’t know how to find them, or ignore how valuable they can really be. Remind your students about how their school is here to help them; tutoring services, health clinics, career services, and academic advisors are just a few of the amazing services that most schools have available to help students be successful.
  5. Ask for Help…and Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late!
    Too often students forget that educators have a sincere passion in helping them learn and succeed and that it’s ok to ask for help! Communicate to your new students that asking for help is OK, whether it be with an instructor, a TA, or an academic advisor, but that it’s critical to ask for help early, rather than waiting until the last minute. Asking for help to pull an F to a C the week before the final isn’t the best course of action. Tell your students how to seek out assistance before the semester has flown by.

Are you kids addicted to iPhones?

children on couch with iPhones

Should we blame the companies that create addictive smartphones or blame ourselves for giving our kids the devices?

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System and Jana Partners LLC asked Apple to help protect kids from smartphone addiction. While Apple said they take the issue very seriously, they already have parental control features built into the iPhones and iPads. A new update that includes more parental features is coming soon.

“We think deeply about how our products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them,” said Apple in the statement. “We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids.”

Read more about it at Softpedia News.


Meet Meltdown and Spectre

Meet Meltdown and Spectre

According to Tom’s Hardware, Google’s Project Zero team discovered the Meltdown and Spectre computer vulnerabilities when it found out that it could access data held in the protected kernel memory. Google does not believe these vulnerabilities have ever been exploited, but it’s impossible to verify.

Apple already patched the Meltdown exploit in the MacOS December OSX patch (10.13.2). Windows is pushing emergency patches out immediately.

“The Spectre exploit is much more nefarious and impacts Intel, AMD, and ARM. This exploit can access kernel memory or data from other applications. Researchers contend that fixing this exploit would require a fundamental re-tooling of all processor architectures, so we’ll live with the threat of this vulnerability for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, this exploit is extremely hard to execute and requires an elevated level of knowledge of the interior workings of the target processor.”

Read the entire article at Tom’s Hardware. Go to Softpedia News to find more information and patches for your system.