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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Teacher in Ghana who used blackboard to explain computers gets some Microsoft love

Teaching kids how to use a computer is hard enough already, since they’re kids, but just try doing it without any computers. That was the task undertaken by Richard Appiah Akoto in Ghana, and his innovative (and labor-intensive) solution was to draw the computer or application on the blackboard in great detail. His hard work went viral and now Microsoft has stepped in to help out.

Akoto teaches at Betenase Municipal Assembly Junior High in the small town of Sekyedomase. He had posted pictures of his magnum opus, a stunning rendition of a complete Microsoft Word window, to Facebook. “I love ma students so have to do what will make them understand wat am teaching,” he wrote. He looks harried in the last image of the sequence.

The post blew up (9.3K reactions at this point), and Microsoft, which has for years been rather quietly promoting early access to computing and engineering education, took notice. It happened to be just before the company’s Education Exchange in Singapore, and they flew him out.

Akoto in Singapore.

It was Akoto’s first time outside of Ghana, and at the conference, a gathering of education leaders from around the world, he described his all-too-common dilemma: The only computers available — one belonging to the school and Akoto’s personal laptop — were broken.

“I wanted to teach them how to launch Microsoft Word. But I had no computer to show them,” he said in an interview with Microsoft at the event. “I had to do my best. So, I decided to draw what the screen looks like on the blackboard with chalk.”

“I have been doing this every time the lesson I’m teaching demands it,” he continued. “I’ve drawn monitors, system units, keyboards, a mouse, a formatting toolbar, a drawing toolbar, and so on. The students were okay with that. They are used to me doing everything on the board for them.”

Pursuing such a difficult method instead of giving up under such circumstances is more than a little admirable, and the kids are certainly better off for having a teacher dedicated to his class and subject. A little computer literacy can make a big difference.

“They have some knowledge about computers, but they don’t know how to actually operate one,” Akoto said. So Microsoft has offered to provide “device and software support” for the school (I’ve asked for specifics, though they may depend on the school’s needs), and Akoto will get a chance to go through Microsoft’s educator certification program (which has other benefits).

Obviously if this school is having this issue, countless more are as well, and could use similar support. And as Akoto himself eloquently pointed out to NPR when his post first went viral, “They are lacking more than just equipment.”

But at least in this case there are a couple of hundred students who will be getting an opportunity they didn’t have before. That’s a start.


Source: TechCrunch

Google spent about $270K to close pay gaps across race and gender

Google says there are currently no “statistically significant” pay gaps at the company across race and gender. This is based on the company’s most recent pay analysis, where it looked at unexplained pay discrepancies based on gender and race and then made adjustments where necessary, Google wrote in a blog post today.

In total, Google found statistically significant pay differences for 228 employees across six job groups. So, Google increased the compensation for each of those employees, which came out to about $270,000 in total before finalizing compensation planning. That group of 228 employees included women and men from several countries, including the U.S., as well as black and Latinx employees in the U.S.

In its analysis, Google says it looked at every job group with at least 30 employees and at least five people for every demographic group for which Google has data, like race and gender. You can read more about Google’s methodology on its blog.

Earlier this year, Google was hit with a revised gender-pay class-action lawsuit that alleges Google underpaid women in comparison with their male counterparts and asked new hires about their prior salaries.

The revised lawsuit added a fourth complainant, Heidi Lamar, who was a teacher at Google’s Children Center in Palo Alto for four years. The original suit was dismissed in December due to the fact the plaintiffs defined the class of affected workers too broadly. Now, the revised lawsuit focuses on those who hold engineer, manager, sales or early childhood education positions.

Prior to the class-action lawsuit, the Department of Labor looked into Google’s pay practices. Last January, the DoL filed a lawsuit against Google in an attempt to gain compensation data, as part of a routine compliance evaluation. In April, the DoL testified in court that pay inequities at Google are “systemic.”

Google, however, denied the DoL’s claims that the pay inequities at the company were systemic. In June, an administrative law judge sided with Google, ruling that it did not need to hand over all of the data the DoL requested.


Source: TechCrunch

New Sanctions Against Russia Finally Take the Country's Online Chaos Seriously

From election meddling to NotPetya to grid hacking, Russia’s digital provocations are no longer being ignored.
Source: Wired

Gas vs. Electric: How Far Can a Car Go With Different Fuel Sources?

A typical car can travel 30 miles on just one gallon of gasoline. How do electric vehicles stack up?
Source: Wired

How 'Atlanta,' the Most Innovative Show on TV, Reinvented Itself Again

In Season 2, the FX show is transforming TV again—by turning the camera on the prejudices and motivations of its audience.
Source: Wired

Android Wear is becoming ‘Wear OS by Google’

Android Wear hasn’t exactly been the rocket ship of success Google was no doubt banking on when it was launched four years ago this week.

After a slow start, the company issued a 2.0 refresh of the wearable operating system in early 2017 — but the update was fairly minimal and didn’t appear to move the needle. A few months after the new version was announced, Tizen overtook Wear in global market share, courtesy of Samsung’s adoption of the open operating system.

Perhaps Wear needs a new coat of paint — or at the very least, a new name. It’s getting the latter today. Google announced via blog post that Android Wear is now Wear OS. Or, more accurately, Wear OS  by Google.

The news comes ahead of BaselWorld, next week’s big watch and jewelry show in Switzerland. For now, the change doesn’t appear to involve much more than the rename, though the company may be saving additional details for the big show.

“We’re announcing a new name that better reflects our technology, vision, and most important of all—the people who wear our watches,” Wear OS Director of Product, Dennis Troper said in the post. “We’re now Wear OS by Google, a wearables operating system for everyone.”

Watching making conglomerate Fossil Group appears to be behind the spirit of the rebrand. “In 2017, Fossil Group nearly doubled its wearables business to more than $300 million, including 20 percent of watch sales in Q4,” the company’s Chief Strategy and Digital Officer, Greg McKelvey said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “And we expect to see continued growth in the category. Many of our smartwatch customers are iOS users, so we are confident in and eager to see the added benefits that both Android and iOS phone users globally will experience as Wear OS by Google rolls out in 2018.”

The new name will be rolling out to the app and watch over the course of the next few weeks, according to the company.


Source: TechCrunch

GM will build its production autonomous Cruise cars at Michigan assembly plant

GM revealed today that it’s going to be starting proper production of its Cruise autonomous vehicle at its Orion township assembly plant in Michigan, with the roof modules for the vehicles assembled nearby at its Brownstown battery assembly plant. Alongside the Cruise AV, Orion will also continue to build the Bolt EV, as well as the Chevrolet Sonic .

Alongside the announcement, GM reiterated its intent to commercialize the autonomous vehicle work it’s been doing through its self-driving subsidiary Cruise along with its own self-driving engineering and manufacturing resources. The production version of the Cruise AV, revealed earlier this year, doesn’t have any steering wheel or brake or gas pedals.

To get the facilities ready for Cruise AV production, GM is investing more than $100 million in both Orion and Brownstone, and production of the roof modules for the vehicles has already started, according to the automaker, with actual vehicle production expected to begin in 2019. Cruise’s test vehicles, which are now three generations old, have also been assembled at the Orion facility.

This news comes on the heels of a report from The Information that claims Cruise’s path to production self-driving has not been as smooth as GM would like you to believe.


Source: TechCrunch

Google will start testing playable in-game ads – CNET

The company is launching mini-games that will reward players, as well as multi-option video ads that let players choose what they want to watch.
Source: CNET

2018 Mazda6 gets a whole lot fancier for not a lot more money – Roadshow

Mazda’s mid-size is set to hit showrooms next month but how much will it cost now that it’s packed with premium?
Source: CNET

Google announces new name for Android Wear: Wear OS – CNET

Android’s line-up of wearables isn’t Android Wear anymore. You can call it by its new name, Wear OS.
Source: CNET

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