ICT news

Mobile web browsing overtakes desktop browsing for the first time

Not really surprising – but now it’s official. Browsing on smartphones and tablets now accounts for 51.3% of worldwide web browsing (StatCounter). However, in Australia, desktop accounts for 55.1% of browsing; 58% in the US and 55.6% in the UK. This will only decrease. Mobile-friendly websites are now essential and Google recently made a change making mobile search potentially more up to date than desktop.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/02/mobile-web-browsing-desktop-smartphones-tablets

 

Google’s desktop search could be out of date

Google has now begun to push mobile search and desktop searches could end up slightly out of date compared to mobile searches. Google is splitting its search index into 2 versions – a rapidly updated mobile version and a separate search for the desktop.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/14/google-desktop-search-out-of-date-mobile

 

Nielsen Digital Landscape Report

Monthly summaries of Australian online behaviour. Latest report September.  19.8 million people actively surfing, with ages 50+ having the largest percentage online (30.27%). Top 10 brands: 1. Google 2. Facebook 3. YouTube 4. MSN/Bing/Skype 5. Apple 6. eBay 7. Microsoft 8. Yahoo7 9. Wikipedia 10. Instagram. Top brands for streaming: 1. YouTube 2. Facebook 3. Vevo 4. News.com.au (9.ABC).  Men outnumber women for streaming: 7.35 million men vs 6.34 million women.

file:///H:/Downloads/Digital%20Landscape%20September%202016.pdf

http://digitalmeasurement.nielsen.com/digitalmedialandscape/surfing_report.html

 

American Academy of Pediatrics lifts ‘No screens under 2’ rule

Last month the 1999 rule was lifted. The focus has shifted from what is on the screen to who else is in the room. For babies under 18 mths, no screens are best – except for live video chat. From 15 mths to 2 yrs, children may learn new words from educational media, but only if parents are watching alongside them. Treating videos or apps like a picture book is best. Preschoolers aged 2 to 5 have the ability to transfer knowledge from screens to the real world.

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/10/21/498550475/american-academy-of-pediatrics-lifts-no-screens-under-2-rule

 

Hour of Code 5 December

ABC and Code Club Aust. have set a challenge for students to make their own video game using Scratch.

http://splash.abc.net.au/res/nl/20161118/STEM_news/STEM_news_20161118.html

60 min. tutorials for all ages: https://code.org/learn

 

Zuckerberg to invest $4bn in health

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his pediatrician wife Priscilla Chan will invest nearly $AU4 billion over the next 10 years to build technology that can speed up research on disease. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC will initially create the Biohub research lab in San Francisco, which will create tools for researchers such as a cell atlas (a map of the different human cell types). Other tools could include a chip to diagnose disease and using machine learning to analyse large databases of cancer genomes. Zuckerberg and Chan have promised to give away 99% of their wealth over their lifetimes via their Initiative – one of the world’s largest philanthropic initiatives. They have also created Chan Zuckerberg Science.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/zuckerberg-family-fund-to-invest-4bn-in-research-technology/news-story/6ac9a9c2235e1318e6e9abb568311240

 

Google Play Music

Music streaming, as with movie/TV streaming, is the most popular way of listening to music. Google Play Music is now smarter and easier to use. It uses machine learning and a diverse range of datasets connected to your Google account – search history, maps, YouTube etc – to personalise your music. It then mixes in signals like location, activity, and the weather along with hand-picked playlists to give you music that you like. Started last week in 62 countries for Android, iOS and the web. Workout music as you enter the gym; a sunset soundtrack at dusk….

https://blog.google/products/google-play/introducing-the-new-google-play-music/

 

Google self-driving car project

Monthly report Oct 2016. 24 Lexus SUVs on the road along with 34 prototype vehicles. Over 2.23 million miles  driven in autonomous mode and Google cars are experts at 3-point turns.

https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//selfdrivingcar/files/reports/report-1016.pdf

 

Failed Google projects

Google has been involved in a host of projects – not all of them successful. These projects may soon cease development: Project Wing (delivery drones); Verily smart lenses (measure diabetic glucose levels via eye tears); Google Glass (sales were stopped in 2015 and social media data erased). Autonomous cars may not be available till 2025.

http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/with-so-many-failing-x-projects-its-time-for-google-to-get-back-to-basics-346227.html

 

Google to ban fake news sites from ads

Advertising tools will be closed to websites that promote fake news. Fake news easily goes viral.

http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/14/13630722/google-fake-news-advertising-ban-2016-us-election

Good films

 

Some good films….useful for biography, global studies, music….

 

The man who knew infinity

Biographical drama based on the book by Robert Kanigel. Directed by Matthew Brown. Stars Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons. Srinovasa Ramanujan, a young man from Madras with almost no formal mathematical training, earns attendance at Cambridge University during WW1, where he becomes a pioneer in mathematical theories with the guidance of his professor. “Mathematics plays a key role in the story, but in a way that is entirely accessible, allowing the viewer to comprehend the advances that Ramanujan made and why his legacy remains so important almost a century after his death.” (Allan Hunter). In cinemas now.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Ramanujan

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/the-man-who-knew-infinity/review/

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/the-man-who-knew-infinity-review-melodrama-doesnt-do-justice-to-mathematicians-life-story-20160504-golpxn.html

 

Eddie the Eagle

Stars Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman. The story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, a British ski jumper who represented Britain at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Although he finished last in his events, he became famous for his perseverance and as an “heroic failure”. He was also totally self-funded and needed to wear thick glasses under his goggles. Hugh Jackman plays his fictional coach. Eddie the Eagle was actually a good downhill skier, narrowly missing selection for the 1984 Games – he changed to ski jumping to better his chances at selection in 1988. Rated PG – a great feel-good movie. In cinemas now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1083452/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_%22The_Eagle%22_Edwards

 

Where to invade next

Documentary by Michael Moore, who explores  how countries such as Finland, Tunisia, Italy, France and Portugal deal with social and economic challenges – usually very differently to and more successfully than the US. Moore plans to “steal” these good ideas and bring them back to the US. In cinemas now.

http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/where-to-invade-next-20160211

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/where-to-invade-next-2015

 

Wide open sky

Directed by Lisa Nicol. The inspiring story of a group of children in the remote outback of NSW who follow their dream to sing in the Moorambilla Voices choir under the leadership of Michelle, a choir director with high expectations. Set in a beautiful landscape, the film explores how the children learn about themselves and their talents and also shows the exceptional teaching of Michelle. Winner Audience Award Best Documentary, Sydney Film Festival. Out now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4085484/

http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=21586&s=Reviews

 

The jungle book

Live-action CGI film directed by Jon Favreau, inspired by Disney’s animated film based on Kipling’s stories. Mowgli sets out on a  journey of self-discovery while evading the tiger Shere Khan. Features the voices of Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o and Christopher Walken. The story is a balance between the Disney version and Kipling’s works. The film is not a musical but includes several songs from Disney eg. The bare necessities. Critics’ consensus at Rotten Tomatoes: “As lovely to behold as it is engrossing to watch…it is the rare remake that actually improves its predecessors”.

“An unusual blend of lifelike imagery and otherworldly animal action. The visuals are compelling, as is the story. Kudos to director Jon Favreau (Iron Man)” (R. Roten). In cinemas now.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_jungle_book_2016/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jungle_Book_(2016_film)

 

Snowden

Biographical political thriller directed by Oliver Stone, based on the books The Snowden files by Luke Harding and Time of the octopus by Anatoly Kucherena (Snowden’s Russian lawyer). Stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley. Follows the life of Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013, revealing numerous global surveillance programs and invasion of privacy. Some see Snowden as a hero, others as a traitor. Stone met with Snowden multiple times in Moscow and made the film outside of the US. Opens late 2016.

http://www.indiewire.com/article/snowden-trailer-joseph-gordon-levitt-oliver-stone-20160427

 

The happiest refugee

The bestselling autobiography by Anh Do will be made into a film to be directed by Russell Crowe. Crowe is a big fan of the book, which tells the story of Do’s family coming to Australia as Vietnamese refugees.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/confidential/russell-crowe-to-turn-anh-dos-book-the-happiest-refugee-into-a-film/news-story/ce826e28e0ff6a0d8fa0dd64ba30f38b

ICT and book news

Laptops a scandalous waste of money?

Sydney Grammar School has banned students from bringing laptops to school. Principal John Vallance stated “We find that having laptops or iPads in the classroom inhibit conversation — it’s distracting”. He believes in the benefits of a good teacher and a motivating group of classmates. Students will still have access to computers in labs and can use laptops for homework. Students must handwrite assignments until Year 10.

http://www.crn.com.au/News/417477,sydney-school-bans-laptops-labels-them-scandalous-waste-of-money.aspx#ixzz44XjzXPSb

 

Minecraft: the video game that builds kids’ brain cells

With 100 million users, Minecraft helps kids learn in an open-ended, game-based environment – programming, science, maths, architecture, engineering, art, languages and history. It fosters skills of creativity, curiosity, exploration and teamwork. Common Sense Media gives Minecraft a top “learning” score. WesterosCraft, built by hundreds of contributors over 3 years, could be the most elaborate Minecraft mod so far, recreating the Game of Thrones realm. The future? Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset can overlay Minecraft blocks in real-world surroundings.

Good article with videos: http://www.cnet.com/special-reports/minecraft/mindcraft-helping-students-learn

 

Cognitive computing and IBM’s supercomputer Watson

Last year IBM made 19 of Watson’s cognitive services available to the public, including natural language processing. The first Australian Watson Client Experience Centre was opened in Melbourne in October 2015. Australian firm MediaConnect is now using Watson to analyse the writing interests of Australian journalists by entering up to 50 000 stories a day from online news sources into the supercomputer. Watson then analyses the data and presents a taxonomy of journalists and the topics that interest them. This will help automate the delivery of media releases to journalists – bots will select information to be sent to each journalist based on their interests.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/personal-technology/mediaconnect-tech-conference-nbn-stem-and-watts-what/news-story/583436bba2a6822eb7f3f0e6f38aaddd

https://developer.ibm.com/watson/

 

Google and Facebook – should they pay old media for content?

Google and Facebook have made fortunes from advertising by not paying for content, accelerating the decline of old media, who cannot make enough money from advertising and sales to be profitable. Google and Facebook will make $4 to $5 billion from ads this year in Australia (35-40% of the total pool of ad revenue). Even popular digital publishers such as Buzzfeed and Daily Mail Online are concerned about how to raise enough revenue. The European Union is examining whether services such as Google News should pay to display article snippets. Why should newspaper publishers have to provide content for free?

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/opinion/google-facebook-need-to-pay-old-media-for-content/news-story/1c39a0dac14b816a4b5c5ef88ca8340d

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/digital/google-news-rejects-paying-publishers-for-content/news-story/68c6cfd511b265f65eff494416e0d95f

 

Music streaming tops revenue charts in US

For the first time, streaming is the top money-maker for the recorded music business in the US. Paid subscriptions to streaming services (eg. Spotify) narrowly beat revenue from digital downloads (eg.iTunes). CD sales and digital download revenue decreased. Sales of vinyl increased by nearly a third, reaching 1988 levels before CDs emerged. Japan and Germany (world’s 2nd and 3rd largest music markets) are CD strongholds. Spotify has 30 million paying subscribers across 58 countries.

http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2016/3/23/technology/streaming-tops-revenue-charts

 

Google Android most popular

Google’s Android operating system was used by roughly 54 percent of mobile devices sold in Australia in December, placing it ahead of Apple iOS at 38 percent. Rumours also persist that Google will merge Chrome and Android operating systems in 2017.
http://www.crn.com.au/News/414388,bonza-google-adds-aussie-twang-to-voice-search.aspx

http://www.crn.com.au/News/411273,google-to-merge-chrome-and-android-say-reports.aspx

 

The Book Depository now in Australia

Amazon’s The Book Depository is entering the Australian market. 25 000 Australian titles will be added and delivery time will reduce to a few hours, via a delivery partner in Melbourne.  However, Tony Nash, CEO of Aust’s biggest online book retailer Booktopia, is not fazed and expects Booktopia sales to rise from $52 million a year ago to $80 million in 2016 after the acquisition of Bookworld in 2015. Australian online book sales have risen 15.5% a year. The number of print book sales is rising; ebooks have 20% of the market.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/amazon-steps-up-australian-book-sales-through-the-book-depository-20160201-gmitij.html

http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/amazons-book-depository-stocking-up-on-australian-books-20160202-gmjlfl.html

 

Thriving societies produce great books: can Australia keep up?

What is Australia doing to protect its publishing industry? Should we allow parallel imports? Will cheaper books increase the amount of reading?

http://theconversation.com/friday-essay-thriving-societies-produce-great-books-can-australia-keep-up-54473

Top Google and YouTube searches 2013

Google Zeitgeist 2013

Google processes 2 out of every 3 search requests on the internet – so what did the world search for in 2013?

Top 10 global trending searches of 2013

1. Nelson Mandela 2. Paul Walker 3. iPhone 5s 4. Cory Monteith 5. Harlem Shake 6. Boston Marathon 7. Royal Baby 8. Samsung Galaxy s4 9. PlayStation 4 10. North Korea

Cool video: http://www.google.com/trends/topcharts?zg=full

Top 100 searches picture gallery (good for a quiz):  http://www.google.com/trends/topcharts?zg=full

Google Trends Australia 2013

Most searched – Easter, Melbourne Cup, Movies…

People – Paul Walker, Cory Monteith, Nelson Mandela, Tony Abbott…. Athletes – Sonny Bill Williams, Federer, LeBron James…

Overseas destinations – Disneyland, Dubai, China, London…

What is….twerking, love, gluten… http://www.google.com/trends/topcharts?date=2013

YouTube Rewind 2013

Top videos 2013 (global) – Includes Volvo trucks with Van Damme; Harlem Shake (army); baby & me (Evian)… https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSTz8jpJdr5pn9LFw-pXbg0IOFy2Z_td_

Top videos Aust. 2013 – Ylvis the fox (What does the fox say?); How animals eat their food; YOLO (Adam Levine)…. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtrr-XW7pnGDOwdZ17JEGSFkOKdwRVQE2

Top music videos (global) – Psy; Miley; Katy; Pink… https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtrr-XW7pnGDUy4BaN4z62fL4aWAMtqd1

YouTubers star in a mashup of the year’s popular moments: https://www.youtube.com/user/theyearinreview

The 10 weirdest science stories of 2013

Dogs can tell left from right. Cats – they just don’t care. There are 10 smells – and popcorn is one. Compiled by the Aust. Science Media Centre, RiAus and CSIRO.

http://riaus.org.au/podcast/a-week-in-science-13-december-2013/

ICT news and ACARA: technologies

State of the web report by Mary Meeker (from Internet Trends D11 conference- 28 May 2013)
Each year Meeker analyses the web and makes a detailed report. Fascinating info includes: Facebook leads social media, but YouTube, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram are rising fast. Mobile traffic is growing sharply. Smartphone users reach for their phone 150 times per day. 17% of Australians say they share “everything” or “most things” online (world av. 24%). We are heading for a new computing cycle, following the rise of smartphones & tablets – wearable, drivable, flyable, scannable technology.
7 interesting graphs: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/30/internet-facts_n_3361077.html
Full report (117 slides!):  http://au.businessinsider.com/mary-meekers-latest-masterful-presentation-on-the-state-of-the-web-2013-5#meeker-preso042-42
 
7 things you need to know about Apple iOS7
From this week’s Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. Tim Cook says it’s the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone. Cleaner icons & fonts; true multitasking; new camera app with filtering; male or female Siri (Siri soon to be integrated into cars); autodownloads of App Store updates; iTunes radio.
http://www.crn.com.au/News/346248,7-things-you-need-to-know-about-apple-ios7.aspx

Apple iTunes Radio
Announced this week and available later in the year in Aust. You can browse by popular tunes, by mood, feel or genre. Choose a  station or set up your own. Also works with Apple TV.

Music streaming services in Australia
Excellent overview of all the music streaming choices in Aust. – from free Pandora (awesome) to Spotify, JB Hi-Fi Now, Samsung Music Hub, Songl, Rdio and more. Using these services is just like tuning in to a radio station – but one that you can program by artist, genre or mood. With free Pandora, you may never need to buy songs again!
http://www.cnet.com.au/australian-music-streaming-services-compared-339331668.htm

ACARA: technologies
Computer coding is a feature of the Draft Foundation to Year 10: Technologies curriculum. “The Draft Australian Curriculum: Technologies draws together the distinct but related subjects of Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies. It will ensure that all students benefit from learning about and working with traditional, contemporary and emerging technologies that shape the world in which we live. In creating solutions, as well as responding to the designed world, students will contribute to sustainable patterns of living for themselves and others.”
http://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum/technologies.html

Why programming is the core skill of the 21st century
It’s never been easier, more accessible or more essential to learn coding skills.
http://readwrite.com/2013/05/31/programming-core-skill-21st-century?utm_source=ReadWrite+Newsletters&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=6cba04fb0a-RWWDailyNewsletter&utm_term=0_9fbeb5d667-6cba04fb0a-201316605

Learn computerese as a second language
http://theconversation.com/learn-computerese-as-a-second-language-thats-code-for-code-14989

Codecademy
Online interactive platform that offers free coding classes in programming languages. Users get badges and scores for exercises.
http://www.codecademy.com/

Code.org
Supports and promotes the learning of coding. Testimonials from Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, will.i.am, Ashton Kutcher…
http://www.code.org/

Flickr
Yahoo, owner of Flickr, recently announced some updates. “Photos are now arranged in an attractive lattice design that is less cluttered with text and comments, and it has two killer features: photos can be stored as high-resolution images and are not cropped, and Flickr will offer one terabyte of free storage to every user: enough for more than 500,000 photos each, depending on resolution”.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/personal-tech/yahoo-and-google-roll-out-new-features-amid-internet-battle/story-e6frgazf-1226648603388
 
 Adobe CS6 last version before cloud and pay per user
Goodbye to Creative Suite (Photoshop etc) – it is now Creative Cloud and will involve buying monthly subscriptions. Not sure how this will work in schools.
http://gizmodo.com/say-goodbye-to-creative-suite-adobe-rebrands-cs-as-cre-493155052

Apple Maps improves
Improvements have been added steadily with regular updates on iOS6. Apple Maps is nearly 5 times more data-efficient than Google Maps because it uses vector graphics, where no new data needs to be downloaded to zoom in on a map (1.3mb to download a Google map but only 300kb for an Apple map).
http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/smartphone-apps/apple-maps-back-on-track-20130529-2na51.html

Gmail tabs
Gmail is the world’s most popular email service. Google is cutting the clutter from Gmail inboxes with a new design that incorporates tabs. Important emails will go in the Primary tab – other tabs could include Social (Facebook notifications etc), Promotions (ads), Updates (bills, confirmations etc), Forums (messages from online groups). The use of the tabs is optional and you can choose which ones you want.
http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57586732-285/getting-started-with-the-new-gmail-tabs/#!

SMH and The Age paywalls
From 2 July, Fairfax Media will introduce a paywall and digital subscriptions for these 2 papers. Online readers will be allowed 30 free articles using web or mobile, before being asked to pay for a subscription. For tablets, some sections will be free and others will be for paying readers. So in July, all major Aust. papers will be charging for web, mobile & app access. “Digital subscribers will also have access to new features including research tool Zoom, specialist eBook collection Shortbooks and rewards program, My Benefits”.
http://www.bandt.com.au/news/media/fairfax-to-erect-paywall-in-july