Sugata Mitra: Leave Kids Alone

Mark Twain famously said that schooling should not be allowed to interfere with education and a number of people have tried to put this idea into practice. And yet secondary education in the way it’s structured and imparted hasn’t changed much since the 19th century. Does “old school” deserve the regard and respect we attach to this term? To discuss this, Oksana Boyko is joined by prominent Indian educator, Prof Sugata Mitra.

Telkom launches e-Education

Telkom e-learning ExtramarksTelecommunications services provider Telkom has launched e-Education, a value-added service to broadband and mobile customers providing access to free online education content using Telkom data.

The service, provided by Extramarks, covers English, Life Science, Physical Science, Natural Science and Maths from Grade R to matric, and is structured into multimedia-rich ‘Learn’, ‘Practice’ and ‘Test’ modules.

Telkom says the Extramarks’ offering is aligned to the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), the latest curriculum issued by South Africa’s Department of Basic Education.

“The service offers live chat functionality for additional assistance. The learners also benefit from other services such as daily study schedule, group study, progress tracking and mentor-guided learning,” reads a statement from Telkom.

“Today’s generation of learners have a natural flair for technology devices such as tablets. It is time we transform their digital instincts into providing anytime-anywhere access to quality education. Our collaboration with Telkom will help us achieve this objective,” said Tanay Kulshreshtha, Country Head of Extramarks South Africa.

The service is only available to Telkom subscribers with a 24-month contract, and qualifying customers will receive an SMS with a voucher number and a link to the Extramarks website. They will have to register on the Extramarks website in order to access education content, according to Telkom.

source: ITWeb Africa

Lesley Keast – School in the Cloud

Lesley Keast talks to TEDxKazimierz about the School in the Cloud and how every Sunday morning she goes on a journey to India where she interacts with school kids as a Skype Granny.

Lesley Keast is the Diploma Course Leader for the British Council in Madrid and has also taught Universidad de Alcalá’s MA TESOL course since 2007. She presented her own MA research at IATEFL Harrogate in 2014. She has taught in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Hungary and was the Director of Studies of a progressive international school in the UK.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community

RIP: BlackBerry kills its Classic phone

Mounting concern over superbug in Rio’s waters.

Handheld phone, loved for its handy keyboard and hated for its terrible web browser, dies at age 20. Was once the go-to device of millions. President Obama couldn’t put his down.

It was a good run. But the BlackBerry that you all once knew and loved has passed away.

BlackBerry announced on Tuesday that it would no longer make the BlackBerry Classic — a model that used the old QWERTY keys and was popular before the age of touchscreen smartphones.

Ralph Pini, chief operating officer and general manager for devices at BlackBerry, wrote in a blog post Tuesday that the Classic and its predecessors were an “incredible workhorse device for customers, exceeding all expectations.”

“But, the Classic has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today’s market. We are ready for this change so we can give our customers something better,” Pini wrote … in what essentially is the device’s obituary.

The title of the post was “Change is Only Natural: A Classic Model Makes Way.”

Pini began it by touchingly (pun intended) writing that “Sometimes it can be very tough to let go. For BlackBerry, and more importantly for our customers, the hardest part in letting go is accepting that change makes way for new and better experiences.”

BlackBerry (BBRY, Tech30), the Canadian tech company formerly known as Research in Motion, has been struggling for years due to increased competition from Apple (AAPL, Tech30) as well as Samsung and other companies that make phones running on Google’s (GOOGL, Tech30) Android software.

Pini said that BlackBerry will continue its new focus on smartphones that run its BB 10 operating system as well as ones that run on Android, such as the BlackBerry Priv.

Related: BlackBerry Priv sells out

BlackBerry said that current Classic owners should check with their wireless carriers about whether they will continue to support the device.

The company also said that customers looking to buy an unlocked version of the Classic can do so at BlackBerry’s online store.

The move may be sad to these BlackBerry owners … as well as many gadget lovers who still have fond nostalgic memories of their first BlackBerry.

But the writing has been on the wall for the old BlackBerry QWERTY devices for awhile.

Many big businesses have ditched the BlackBerry in recent years. So have consumers.

Even government customers, who had largely remained loyal BlackBerry fans because of the device’s reputation for security, are starting to sour on the old BlackBerry models as well.

Poltiico reported last week that the U.S. Senate will no longer issue BlackBerry devices to staffers.

Shares of BlackBerry fell more than 1.5% Tuesday. The stock is now down nearly 30% this year.

Related: Will BlackBerry ever get taken over by a larger tech company?

BlackBerry has struggled to prove to Wall Street that it can survive on its own. The stock fell about 15% last year as well.

That’s why CEO John Chen, who took over in late 2013, has slowly but surely moved BlackBerry away from its hardware roots and focused it more on software.

The company reported last month that sales from software and services in its most recent quarter accounted for nearly 40% of total revenue. Still, the company barely broke even.

Some investors have also hoped that BlackBerry could wind up selling out to a larger tech company. There have been several rumors during the past few years about Samsung possibly being interested. But none have come to pass.

source: CNNMoney (New York) First published July 5, 2016: 11:03 AM ET

Microsoft reducing OneDrive cloud storage

Microsoft Onedrive cloud storageWe want to let you know about some upcoming changes to OneDrive. On August 10, 2016, the amount of storage that comes with OneDrive will change from 15 GB to 5 GB. We are also discontinuing the 15 GB camera roll bonus. You can learn more at our FAQ.

There is no action you need to take, because your OneDrive account is currently below the new storage limits. Even though you aren’t currently affected, we want to keep you updated on all important changes to OneDrive. If you’d like to check your account, you can visit the Storage page.

We realize these are big changes to a service you rely on. We want to apologize for any inconvenience they may cause you. We made a difficult decision, but it’s one that will let us sustainably operate OneDrive into the future.

source: Microsoft OneDrive Team

Star Wars Day Special is Almost in Range

Namecheap Star Wars special saleStar Wars day is almost here – May the Fourth be with you! Two things to know about us here at Namecheap: we love Star Wars and we love saving you money on our top-tier products. In honor of May the Fourth, aka Star Wars Day, you can get a .XYZ domain for our lowest price ever – just 44 cents – when you use the coupon code THEFOURTH. Be sure to check out the deals on all our products during this promo too.

This sale only lasts from Star Wars Day (May 4) through May 10 at midnight EST, and you may never again see prices this low – in any galaxy! Click here and go to Namecheap immediately…

Selling Your Bulk Online Data Really Means Selling Your Autonomy

By Evgeny Morozov

In March, a Dutch student called Shawn Buckles placed his personal data on the market. He offered to hand over all of his most intimate electronic matter—e-mails, health records, calendars, geolocational data—to the highest bidder. By mid-April, Buckles had received 53 offers. The winner of the auction was The Next Web, a popular site for technology news. It shelled out $480 for his data soul.

Buckles—who is more of an activist than an entrepreneur—succeeded in raising awareness about the strange economics of data. As the suave futurologists at the World Economic Forum in Davos noted in a 2011 report, our personal data is rapidly becoming a new “asset class.” Companies like Google and Facebook have mastered the art of monetizing their store of information about our personal tastes and traits. But the subjects of that information—namely, you and me—don’t share any of the profits from these transactions. It was only a matter of time, therefore, before individuals like Buckles began to revolt against this system, selling their own data rather than just letting Silicon Valley exploit it.

Selling Personal Data By Evgeny Morozov

Technology companies have a response to this rebellious logic: Sure, users relinquish their data to be harnessed and sold by giant corporations,but look at all the wonderful and nominally free services that they get in return. But is that even the case? What if the real value of our data is much greater than the utility of those services? And far more profoundly, Buckles’s clever stunt raises a philosophical question: Should we even be allowed to sell our most intimate data in the first place? Or should governments discourage or even prohibit such transactions, perhaps, on moral grounds?

On one level, the case for permitting individuals to sell their data is clear cut. It’s only fair: Since companies can already trade this data, it would be absurd to ban individuals from selling it. Furthermore, there’s immense social value in this data—and we should encourage its altruistic use. Why stop people who want to give away their health records to universities or hospitals to contribute to scientific discoveries? Ideally, we might want them to do so for humanitarian reasons, but one can think of moments when the promise of immediate monetary compensation might get the job done faster.

source: New Republic (click here read the full story)

Baby’s privacy exposed on LinkedIn

My dad was vigilant in protecting my privacy. He never allowed me to go anywhere without telling him first. And when I didn’t follow his instructions, there was hell to pay. Father’s who lead by example may be in short supply, however, the must still protect their baby’s privacy before anyone else. For as long as there’s been humans, father’s have been the primary protectors of babies. Mothers may nurture and feed babies, but it’s to the dad’s of the world the family looks for safety and security.

You may take this for granted in the concrete jungles of South Africa and elsewhere in the industrialised world. The more people in your “tribe” or group, the less privacy you can expect. And on a recent weekend retreat in Tsitsikama, Eastern Cape, I was introduced to the liberterian philosophy of the Consent Axiom explained by Trevor Watkins:

I believe that the basis for successful human coexistence can be reduced to a single statement, a single concept. This statement is the Consent Axiom: No action without consent.

This statement is as brief and uncompromising as the biblical 5th commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”. Like most 4 word sentences, some further elaboration is required for better understanding.

Patrick Korie must protect his baby's privacy on LinkedIn

Your Baby’s Privacy is Important

Of course a 1-year old baby cannot give consent to it’s photo being published for everyone to see on LinkedIn. Therefore it should not be published on any social networks. All parents must take the long term view before posting family photos and protect their baby’s privacy like it’s their own. Nobody will post photos of their bank account statements, so why do you post photos of your children without their consent?

This morning I stumbled across one of the many personal things people share on social media. A father, Patrick Korie, shared his baby’s 1-year photo on LinkedIn asking people to “wish” her happy birthday. The likes and comments were streaming onto the cute photo of the baby playing with the laptop. I decided NOT to like this and wished I could ask him this question, “Why do you abuse your baby’s privacy on social media?”

Reminder to Parents about Privacy

Parents, please stop sharing your baby photos on social media. When they grow up, they will not be happy with all this exposure unless you want them to become attention seeking reality-show watching crybabies with low self-esteem. A baby’s privacy is not more or less important than those of an adult, it’s of equal importance. Please remember and we will keep remind you to avoid this stupidity. Someone once told me, the way you know you’ve raised your children successfully, is when they don’t want to be famous!

WeChat set to launch app for enterprise users

WeChat set to launch app for enterprise users

By Meng Jing
WeChat, which connects more than half a billion individual users via the mobile messaging service, is launching a separate application for enterprise clients.

The app, named Qiye Weixin or Enterprise WeChat in English, is under beta testing and is expected to be rolled out in the next couple of months.

WeChat, owned by Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, said in a statement on Thursday that the enterprise messaging service is designed for work-related communication.

“With WeChat being widely adopted in everyday life, more people have been discussing work-related subjects on WeChat with colleagues when they are off-work,” it said.

“While some enjoy it, some others find it a burden because WeChat mixes up their personal life and work,” said the Shenzhen-based company, adding the new enterprise service will help people enjoy a better work-life balance.

It’s Tencent’s latest move to tap into China’s trillion-yuan enterprise software service market, analysts said.

Ji Yanhang, with the Beijing-based Internet consultancy Analysys International, said that with the number of individual users exceeding 650 million, WeChat is keen to expand its market to enterprise users.

“Several companies have already jumped into the enterprise instant messaging market, because they find it as an important gateway to access clients, who may be interested in digitalizing their entire business operational process, not only communication, but also human resources management and enterprise resources planning,” he said.

Tencent, which built its business empire on developing social networking tools, introduced its first enterprise-used instant messaging tool RTX in 2003. In 2014, it added an enterprise account inside WeChat to help employers better connect and collaborate.

But in terms of launching a separate messaging app for enterprise users, its rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd enjoys some first-mover advantage by introducing DingTalk in February 2015. The app, which targets small and medium-sized businesses, has gained more than 1 million enterprise users, said Alibaba in its latest financial report at the end of January.

Despite that, given WeChat’s ruling position in China’s social media world, the new app could soon catch up. Ji of Analysys International said the enterprise messaging app market is still taking shape.

“Even if WeChat can only turn a small part of its individual users into its enterprise service users, that would make a decent market share,” he said.

Chen Jia, a white-collar worker in Beijing, said she desperately wants some replacement for WeChat as the app has been dominating her life. “All my friends, families, colleagues, classmates are connected with me via WeChat. It is such chaos online everyday,” she said.

“But still I don’t have the nerve to not use it because when something important happens, people still contact you on WeChat,” said the 28-year-old.

According to the China Social Media Impact 2015 survey conducted by Kantar Group, an increasing number of Chinese said social media had less positive influence in their lives while 15 percent said it had, in fact, made their lives worse.

Microsoft has Announced SQL Server 2016 on Linux and individual beta 2017 @NETucation via @PCMAG #NyanNyan

SQL-Loves-Linux_2_Twitter-002-640x358To Get an early look at SQL Server on Linux

Not too long ago, this announcement was unthinkable, and days ahead of Microsoft’s planned SQL Server 2016 event in New York with a full launch planned for mid-2017. Announced, Microsoft’s SQL Server launch later this year will be available on Linux with new features including end-to-end encryption, in-memory support, more advanced business intelligence (BI) capabilities, biggest news being Linux compatibility.

Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group, announced this after SQL Server had hailed as a strictly  Windows product, but as Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s executive vice president of its cloud and enterprise group, wrote this week, the company has decided that it’s time to bring it to Linux as well.

“SQL Server on Linux will provide customers with even more flexibility in their data solution,” / “One with mission-critical performance, industry-leading TCO, best-in-class security, and hybrid cloud innovations — like Stretch Database which lets customers access their data on-premises and in the cloud whenever they want at low cost — all built in.”

The news in a blog post heralding SQL Server as a consistent data platform both on-premises and in the cloud, across Windows Server 2016 and Linux, wrote Guthrie “Bringing SQL Server to Linux is another way we are making our products and new innovations more accessible to a broader set of users and meeting them where they are.”

 Microsoft’s complicated relationship with Linux (and open-source software in general) dates back decades. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, insulting the open operating system (OS) kernel, calling it “communism,” and threatening patent litigation over the years.

The company’s philosophy has changed dramatically under CEO Satya Nadella. Under Nadella’s “Microsoft Loves Linux” mantra, the company has enabled support for Linux on Microsoft Azure, partnered with companies such as Hortonworks and Ubuntu on Linux support, and launched open-source efforts including open-sourcing ASP.NET and moving the lion’s share of Microsoft’s code off of CodePlex and onto GitHub.

SQL Server for Linux is currently available in a private beta, and is planned for wide rollout in 2017