Explainer: What Is Google FLoC?

Worried about browser cookies?

Would a central cookie authority make anything better?

Am I FLoCed?

Read about Google’s FLoC proposal here.

Google says it will block third-party cookies from its Chrome browser and instead will use what’s called Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC. It’s billed as a privacy-preserving platform that lets advertisers reach users using behavioral targeting without needing third-party data. The news has received negative attention from other tech companies and it’s even run afoul of Europe’s GDPR policy. Here’s what FLoC is and the impact on your privacy.

Source: Explainer: What Is Google FLoC? – Flipboard

It’s not about the subscribers but…

I started this blog mainly as a way of remembering things I’d come across during my researches. As I was recording things anyway it seemed reasonable to make it available to everyone.

Based on that extremely slim reasoning the blog has grown until now when I have noticed that it has 3000 email subscribers.

That’s exciting, humbling and terrifying in equal measure. Thanks for dropping by.

File:Thank-you-word-cloud.jpg
Ashashyou, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Why Apple’s new privacy feature is such a big deal – from The Verge

There’s a massive fight taking place. Ostensibly about privacy on the net, in reality it’s about who gets control.

Google Analytics - Tracking Code | Uploaded with Skitch | Wesley Fryer |  Flickr
Wesley Fryer https://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/6635768527

Read more here.

Apple’s latest iPhone update, iOS 14.5, brings a host of new features that customers will likely see and enjoy — better Face ID unlocking when wearing a mask (for Apple Watch users only), new emoji, support for PS5 and Xbox Series X controllers, and more. But the new update also adds a much more important and controversial new feature: App Tracking Transparency. That’s Apple’s name for a privacy feature that’s shaping up to be the company’s next big fight.

The change has been a contentious one. Apple originally announced the feature alongside the rest of iOS 14 last June but has delayed the release until now to give developers more time to adapt to the changes. It’s finally live, though, setting the stage for what could be a massive fight between the Cupertino tech giant and competitors like Facebook.

Source: Why Apple’s new privacy feature is such a big deal – The Verge

New resources on the gender gap in computer science

A continuing disappointment in Computing is the large and accelerating gender disparity in its recruitment. Due in part, I think, to some muddled thinking that occasionally equates computing with the often sexist pastime of computer gaming attracting female students to Computer Science is hard and getting harder.

Three poster images next to each other that have stats from a Google commissioned research study with K-12 young women's quotes next to the stats.  First poster: 9% of girls think learning computer science is important. 91% do not. Quotes on this poster next to the 9% stat, in small font: It's exciting. Building stuff is fun.I'm good at it. It's rewarding. It could be a career, I love it.  Quotes under the 91% stat, in much larger font: I've never considered it. It's too hard. I'm the only girl in the class. It's geeky. It's what the boys do. I don't belong. My school doesn't teach it.  Second poster: 12% girls are likely to pursue a career in computer science. 88% are not.  Quotes on this poster next to the 12% stat, in small font: I met some amazing computer scientists. I feel inspired. I'm good at it. Quotes on the poster next to the 88% stat in much larger font: I feel judged. I don't know what a computer scientist does. It's a boys career. None of my friends want to either. I don't know any female engineers.  Third poster: 29% of parents of girls are eager for them to pursue a computer science career. 71% are not. Quotes in small font next to the 29% stat: It's a good opportunity. She really enjoys it. Tech is the future. She is so talented. Quotes, in much larger font next to the 71% stat: It's a man's job. I won't be able to help her.Can she do it? It might be too hard.I want her to do a more traditional job.

This resource helps to address the problem.

When it comes to computer science, we still have a lot of work to do to address gaps in education. That’s evident in our latest report with Gallup, Current Perspectives and Continuing Challenges in Computer Science Education in US K-12 Schools. This report is our most recent in a multiple-year series of Diversity in K12 CS education reports with Gallup in an effort to share new research with advocates, administrators, nonprofit partners and the tech industry to continue addressing gaps in computer science education.

Source: New resources on the gender gap in computer science

Tips from Google’s resilience expert on avoiding burnout

Helpful advice for these difficult times.

A college soccer player, Lauren Whitt was sidelined by two knee injuries that took her off the field during her sophomore and junior year. This was incredibly frustrating — she’d played soccer most of her life and had even won a Pan-American gold medal with the U.S. Youth National Soccer team. She realized she was going to need to find a way to cope.

“I began to study the idea of resilience more,” Lauren says. “How it changes your body and your life. It sort of became my personal mission.” A few years later, it became the subject for her doctoral dissertation — today, it’s the focus of her work.

Lauren is the head of global resilience at Google, a job that’s been crucial this last year. Even as vaccines become available, so many stressors remain: Searches for the term “pandemic fatigue” increased more than 300% during the past month in the U.S., and “job burnout quiz” was a breakout search over the past three months. These things are exactly what Lauren hopes to alleviate through her programs that help Googlers build resilience, deal with stress and develop skills to tackle new challenges.

But resilience isn’t only about helping people cope with the negative; it’s also about giving them more room to experience the positive. Lauren wants to help Googlers feel creative and productive so they can thrive at work. “I’m so passionate about this work because I think that while I’m not personally making something that launches us all into the future, I can help the people at Google who are doing that be their best.”

Source: Tips from Google’s resilience expert on avoiding burnout

Top 12 PowerPoint New Features | PowerPoint Updates and Tips for Spring 2021 – #MIEexpert

A step-by-step tutorial on 12 PowerPoint New Features. These include PowerPoint tips on using PowerPoint Live in Microsoft Teams, presenting directly from PowerPoint into Teams, Convert Word to PowerPoint, Auto Fix, PowerPoint for Mac updates and lots more. This is the modern and AI-infused PowerPoint, so check it out and learn the latest and greatest for Microsoft PowerPoint. This is not your parents’ PowerPoint!

11 Uses for Your Old Smartphone

If you are at all interested in tech you are likely to have some unused phones lurking in a drawer. Why not put them to use?

Every day, we walk around with a supercomputer in our pockets. It checks the weather, searches the internet, plays games, streams media, takes pictures, and analyzes data. Smartphones are great, except for the fact that newer, better versions are always on the horizon.

Most of us can probably use the same phone for years, but the upgrade cycle means it’s always tempting to splurge on a shinier model. You can save a few bucks by trading your old phone in when you buy a new one, but there are times you end up with an extra, aging smartphone hanging around.

Instead of letting that device collect dust, reuse it! If it connects to Wi-Fi, it can still be a handy addition to the household. Here are a few cool things you can do with your old smartphone.

Source: 11 Uses for Your Old Smartphone

The Importance of Scheduling Nothing

This is published on a Friday and that’s a great day to go to your calendar, find some free time, and schedule some reflective time.

If you were to see my calendar, you’d probably notice a host of time slots greyed out but with no indication of what’s going on. There is no problem with my Outlook or printer. The grey sections reflect “buffers,” or time periods I’ve purposely kept clear of meetings.

In aggregate, I schedule between 90 minutes and two hours of these buffers every day broken down into 30- to 90-minute blocks. Its a system I developed over the last several years in response to a schedule that was becoming so jammed with back-to-back meetings that I had little time left to process what was going on around me or just think.

At first, these buffers felt like indulgences. I could have been using the time to catch up on meetings I had pushed out or said “no” to. But over time I realized not only were these breaks important, they were absolutely necessary in order for me to do my job.

Heres why:

via The Importance of Scheduling Nothing | LinkedIn.

10 things academics say students get wrong in exams | #mieexpert

Why yes, it is that time of year again. Why do you ask?

Not many students would admit to enjoying taking exams or writing essays, but if you want to get a degree, they’re an ordeal you have to survive.

So we’ve worked out how to make the whole thing a little less stressful. We’ve persuaded four academics from a range of subject areas to tell us the top 10 things students get wrong in exams and coursework. This is what they’ve told us:

via 10 things academics say students get wrong in exams | Education | guardian.co.uk.