Justin Trudeau is Wrong About Google’s Response to Bill C-18

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized Google for removing links to Canadian news articles in search results as part of a test for a small percentage of users, stating that it is a “terrible mistake”. However, his comments mislead on several critical issues with Bill C-18, a bill that mandates payments for links to news articles.

It cannot reasonably be said that Google is preventing Canadians from accessing news, since the removal of links from search results does not remove or block the site itself nor prevent anyone from accessing it directly. Furthermore, the bill would require payments to hundreds of broadcasters without any actual journalism or original news content.

Bill C-18 is not about payment for the reproduction of journalists’ work, but payment for links, indexing, and any other mechanism that facilitates access to news. The bill threatens the free flow of information online, and if it passes in its current form, it could create a framework that would threaten the foundational principles for how information flows online.

Google is rightly taking a stand against the bill’s threat to the free flow of information online by considering not linking to Canadian news articles.

(This article has been summarized using ChatGPT from Michael Geist’s excellent article found here. Posted date: 2023-02-25)

Ontario Curriculum Archive

Ontario educators, I’ve attempted to archive all curriculum-related documents here.

Please let me know if I’m missing anything.

If you have any old documents in your possession, please reach out to me via the comments below (or Twitter) and I’ll send you my email address.

If you wish to respond by Twitter, you can do so here.

https://github.com/pbeens/Curriculum/tree/master/Canada/Ontario

The 26th Annual Zoom International Student Film Festival

From an email shared on the Communications Technology email list:

The 26th Annual Zoom International Student Film Festival is now open for submissions! The festival is open to all high school students worldwide between the ages of 14-18 and it’s free to enter. It’s a great opportunity for students to showcase their work on an international scale! The festival will take place on April 20th @ 7PM. Deadline to submit a film is April 14th. For more information about the festival and/or to submit a film go to: https://earlhaig.ca/zoom/

Looking for Microsoft Office for Just $49?

I received an email this morning from Koingo Software, a company I first purchased from in 2008. They’ve now branched out into selling software deals, many of which are quite good.

The deal that I want to share today is Microsoft Office Professional 2021, for both Mac and Windows. These are not subscriptions, they are a one-time purchase of $49.99.

The regular price is $349, so this is a great deal.

You can purchase the Windows version here and the Mac version here.

I’m not sure how long this deal lasts so you may want to act fast.

How to Identify a Spam Message

Spammers just aren’t very smart.

I received a phone call from a friend concerned that her credit card was being charged for an antivirus program she no longer used. I asked her who the email was from and she replied it was from a cryptic Gmail account. No reputable business would send customers emails from a Gmail account. Yes, some small companies might use Gmail, but certainly not companies like McAfee or Norton.

Coincidentally, here’s an email I received a day or two after my friend. There were so many red flags I thought it would be interesting to share.

Click to enlarge

If you ever get an email you are unsure about, look for these giveaways:

  • Did it come from an email address associated with the company? If not, it’s likely spam.
  • Does it hype up the email with exclamation marks, use of bold lettering, or all-caps? If so, it’s likely spam.
  • Is the email sent directly to you or did you receive it because it was bcc’d (blind carbon copy) to you? If it was bcc’d to you, it’s likely spam.
  • Lastly, is the formatting professional? If not, it’s likely spam.

Are there any dead giveaways I’ve missed? If so, let me know in the comments below!

Ethics and Learning Technology

It’s great to hear from Dr. Chuck Severance again. I took many of his Python courses on Coursera and find him to be an excellent instructor.

In this short video he addresses privacy and LMSes and how schools pay little attention to privacy issues regarding their LMSes. He mentions how the vendors control all the data, and we have been pushing the priority of ethics and privacy concerns back.

I admit that in my classroom I didn’t know how private my students’ personal data truly was. I just trusted in the companies that hosted the LMSes (D2L, Google) that they would not abuse the information nor use it in unethical ways.

Did your school board address student privacy when it considered which LMS to use? Is its privacy policy or privacy study public? Please share!

Converting Lists of Data to CSV β€” Using a Colab Notebook Hosted in Gists

I’ve really been enjoying learning about data analysis lately. Part of what’s made it so enjoyable is the use of Colab, which is Google’s version of Jupyter Notebook.

I came across a need to convert some lists of data to a CSV (comma separated values) format so I could paste it into a Google Sheet. Not finding anything online to do I decided to write my own, and here is the product.

The Colab notebook I created has been saved as a “gist”, which is GitHub’s cousin for fast and easy file storage service. The Gist website is also very popular for sharing CSV files, which this search will attest to.

You’ll notice an “Open in Colab” button at the top, which is how you will open the document. A really nice feature is that it is fully usable without needing to save the file anywhere, but for those that do want to save their work, they can, into Google Drive.

When you first run it, you’ll get a scary message that was written by Google’s lawyers. You’ll see from the source code that the notebook’s not doing anything nefarious, so just trust me and click on “Run Anyway”. πŸ˜†

Google Colab Warning

This is a preview of the notebook. To open it, click here or on the filename on the bottom left corner of the preview.

Some Python programmers may want to remind me that I could have used Python’s built-in CSV library, but I felt Pandas would be faster, especially for large lists.

I hope some of you find this useful, although I’ll be happy if it gets some of you interested in Colab for Python programming or for data analysis, or even if it just introduces you to the Gist website.

Integrating Google Drive into Google Colab Notebooks

Why might we want to integrate Google Drive into Google Colab? The primary reason for this would be to easily access data files to use in your Colab notebooks. 

Here is a video that outlines the basic process. For written instructions, see below.

Integrating Google Drive into Google Colab is quite simple. The first step is to go to Google Colab, then open a new notebook.

Continue reading “Integrating Google Drive into Google Colab Notebooks”