New Amazon/Kindle services

Amazon has two new services that may be of interest to Kindle users.

First. you now can store up to 5 gigabytes of documents using your Kindle account. You may have already sent pdfs to be read on the Kindle, but this is an expanded version of the service. I wonder if this is response to the added capacity offered by Google.

Personal documents are now in Amazon Cloud Drive: Starting today, all personal documents that you have archived in your Kindle Library will be available to access, delete, organize, and share from your Amazon Cloud Drive. You can see these documents in a new “My Send-to-Kindle Docs” folder alongside all of your saved content such as photos and personal videos.

There is no action required on your part. Your personal documents features will continue to work just as they have in the past. And as always, you can use Manage Your Kindle to see a list of your documents, re-deliver them to Kindle devices and free reading apps, delete them, or turn off auto-saving of documents to the cloud. Documents will be delivered just as they have in the past and you will continue to have 5 GB of free cloud storage for your personal documents. Just “Send Once, Read Everywhere.”

I also noticed a message indicating that I set whether I want automatic updates to my Kindle books. As a Kindle author of what I consider a textbook, I think this is a great feature and a service not available through traditional publishers. I can update the book when appropriate and offer students access to more current content. This is a significant limitation of traditional publishers who tend to consider updates every 3 years or so. If you are a Kindle user, sign in to your Amazon account and you should note a link allowing you to turn updates on (or leave it off if you want).



Documents stored in their native format: Also starting today, new documents that you save to the cloud with Send to Kindle will be stored in their native format (e.g. MS Word, TXT) so you can access them anywhere from Amazon Cloud Drive.

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Password vault

After posting yesterday about the challenge of changing passwords, today I came across this tutorial from Leo Laporte describing the installation and use of LastPass. Too much time devoted to the selection of a master password, but the rest is helpful.

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Passwords and Heartbleed

Yahoo! sent an email yesterday indicating that because of the Heartbleed vulnerability, my account was being locked and I needed to go through a process to change my password. I am a heavy Flickr user so this required a response. I was initially skeptical because of the built in form, but I then tried to connect directly to Flickr and found that I was indeed blocked and the same form appeared. Changing passwords is a hassle. I explore so many services using so many devices that any adjustment even for one account requires considerable effort. I am guessing I will have to now update a dozen devices (phone, ipads, desktops, laptops) in order to access my Flickr account. I know, I know – I should be a model of sound security practices. I also should not complain for what my son refers to as a “first world problem” and appreciate I have this number of devices. Still …

I do use multiple passwords limiting the damage I would experience should one of my passwords become known. My Google resources are protected by two-factor authentication (I receive a passcode on my phone when I attempt to connect from a different machine, a different location and some other unknown situations I have yet to figure out). I also understand there are ways to use a one password system that controls multiple passwords for individual accounts, but these systems scare me and I am afraid to place all of my accounts under the control of a single company.

Anyway, there is a way to check for the Heartbleed vulnerability - (lastpass is a provider one of the one password solutions I describe above). I tried the technique on a server I use and discovered the following: Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 12.20.45 PM

Time to make some more changes.

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New online threat

This has been all over the Internet this evening – the heartbleed bug.  Here is an description from TechCrunch.

For more information.

Mashable suggestions for the sites that require password changes.

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Years of living dangerously

Showtime has a new series focused on climate change – Years of Living Dangerously. Despite the position of the anti-science nay-sayers, this is an important issues. Like misrepresenting the Affordable Care Act as Obamacare, climate change has sometimes been called global warming allowing simplistic talking heads to mislead uninformed listeners whenever a blizzard sweeps through. The series web site (see link) offers teachers suggestions for classroom use.

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Web literacy?

There seem to be a growing number of literacies. I guess it depends on how specifically you think the label should be applied. This site developed by Mozilla offers tutorials intended to develop your understanding of web site development. Clearly, anyone can now generate content available online without knowing much about html, css, etc. However, perhaps if you are an advocate of the Program or be Programmed perspective, you could use these resources to develop a very thorough understanding of what goes on to get content to you. I do not intend to make light of this knowledge – there is something quite satisfying in creating from scratch.

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Billionaires, education, and the rest of us

This Education Dive article identifies the 10 billionaires putting the most money into education and some comments on where it is going. What you will likely conclude is that most mix goals you support and others you oppose. Such is the challenge of gift horses.

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A little help here

I generate few presentations in Google docs so I was slow to discover this feature (I knew it existed for word processing). I use Explain Everything to develop presentations to cover when I am going to be out of town. AERA begins the end of this week. Moving content from Google into Explain Everything on the iPad is one of the options for input. When I opened up a PowerPoint in Google Docs, I found that it offered me suggestions for additional information. While I am not certain I would base lecture content on Wikipedia (no reflection on the ‘pedia), it was interesting to view how Google interpreted my content and the resources that were recommended.


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Textbooks – bubble or not

Evidently some feel that there is an opportunity to “disrupt” the educational content industry (formerly known as textbook publishing). Books cost a lot and some students find reading books a struggle. Various entrepreneurs recognize this as an opportunity, but now feel frustrated that their brilliance has allowed them to make little head way. Perhaps educational institutions fail to grasp the advances they offer and the institutions must be circumvented if “progress” is to be made. [my quick summary of what companies attempt to disrupt education have concluded based on Matt Greenfield post in Disrupt Education).

One thing that I fail to grasp (me talking now) in the outsider view of educational activity is just how those who are frustrated understand learning to happen. There seems to be an assumption that the “things” that offer information or the “processes” that encourage interaction with these things are somehow flawed. Perhaps so, but a clear description of just where things break down is lacking. If the solution was simple educational researchers would have offered solutions long ago. Why would those with a motive to start a business have insights that those who spend their careers analyzing teaching and learning do not?

Perhaps a more productive model would require evidence before expecting sales.

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The kids should see this

There are many who describe the online service they provide as archiving. I think of this as the identification, collection, and organization of valuable, existing resources. The provider does not generate the resources but provides a “value added” service built from existing content.

The Kids Should See this is an interesting example of such a service. This blog offers interesting video not specifically developed for educational purposes, but which clearly offer educational value.

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