2 Reasons OSX Mavericks Matter to Educators

Apple last week launched OSX Mavericks, the free and latest version of its desktop operating system. Notably, the tech giant ditched its cat-based naming scheme in favor of one themed after California locations (Mavericks is a well-known surfing spot in Northern California). That’s all fine and good, but what about the new features? More specifically, what does Mavericks bring to education?

It turns out that there are two big features of particular note to educators.

  • iWork and iLife are now free
  • iBooks for iOS and for Macs

Microsoft: Windows XP Infection Rate May Jump 66% After Patches End In April

by Gregg Keizer @ ComputerWorld.com

Microsoft yesterday again put the scare into Windows XP users, telling them that after April 8, 2014, the chance that malware will infect their PCs could jump by two-thirds.

The claim, made by Tim Rains, director of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing group, came on the heels of the release of the company’s twice-annual Security Intelligence Report (download PDF).

Following up on comments he made in August, Rains again warned Windows XP stragglers to expect an increase in attacks when the aged operating system exits support in five months.

“After end of support, attackers will have an advantage over defenders who continue to run Windows XP,” Rains asserted in a Tuesday post to a company blog. “After April next year, when we release monthly security updates for supported versions of Windows, attackers will try and reverse engineer them to identify any vulnerabilities that also exist in Windows XP. If they succeed, attackers will have the capability to develop exploit code to take advantage of them.”

Full post.

Google+ Popularity Jumps With 540 Million Monthly Users

by Sharon Gaudin @ ComputerWorld.com

Have you been using Google+ lately? If you have, you haven’t been alone. According to Google, the number of monthly active users on Google+ jumped from 390 million in May to 540 million users today.

“With 540 million people active across Google each month, 300 million people active in just the stream and more than 1.5 billion photos uploaded every week, the Google+ community is growing faster than we ever could have imagined,” wrote Vic Gundotra, a Google senior vice president, in ablog post. “Today’s updates are our way of saying ‘thank you.’ We hope they save you time and help you share your story.”

And in that vein, Google announced improvements to Google+ Hangouts and the photo feature that are aimed at making it easier to message, photo edit and make video calls.

Full post here.

WSJ: FAA Says Electronic Devices Can Be Used During All Phases of Flights

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced a plan to lift restrictions of electronic device usage during certain portions of airline flights.  Under new regulations electronic devices can be used during all phases of flights.  Here is their news alert:

Federal aviation regulators unveiled steps to lift restrictions on fliers’ electronic devices, concluding that tablets, e-readers and other gadgets generally can be used during all phases of flight by the end of this year.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s decision effectively ends years of safety debates over the use of the devices. The FAA said it is providing airlines with guidelines to carry out the new policy.

More information is available here.

Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus Free for Students Beginning December 1, 2013

office365

According to Microsoft’s new announcement at Educause 2013: “Beginning December 1, 2013, education institutions worldwide that license Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus for staff and faculty can provide access to Office 365 ProPlus for students at no additional cost. More than 35,000 institutions are automatically eligible to deliver the Student Advantage benefit to their students.” This will be under the new Student Advantage program.

For the past year and one-half Microsoft has made Office 365 (its cloud based suite) available to students for free.  But the ProPlus version will now allow students to access to the full core suite of Office desktop applications in addition to the cloud based products.

Details about this are on Microsoft’s education portal, in this article at thejournal.com, and in this CampusTechnology.com story.