By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's first-hit-free department
An anonymous reader writes with news on Coursera partnering with publishers to give students access to more textbooks. From the article: "Online learning startup Coursera on Wednesday announced a partnership with Chegg, a student hub for various educational tools and materials, as well as five publishers to offer students free textbooks during their courses. Professors teaching courses on Coursera have previously only been able to assign content freely available on the Web, but as of today they will also be able to provide an even wider variety of curated teaching and learning materials at no cost to the student."
Zero cost, but not without cost
: "Starting today, publishers Cengage Learning, Macmillan Higher Education,Oxford University Press SAGE, and Wiley will experiment with offering versions of their e-textbooks, delivered via Chegg’s DRM-protected e-Reader, to Coursera students. We are also actively discussing pilot agreements and related alliances with Springer and other publishers. ... The publisher content will be free and available for enrolled students for the duration of the class. If you wish to use the e-textbook before or after the course, they will be available for purchase."Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's electric-eye department
hypnosec tipped us to news that India is rolling out a new intrusive monitoring system, using the authority of a 2000 telecom law. Quoting The Times of India
: "However, Pavan Duggal, a Supreme Court advocate specialising in cyberlaw, said the government has given itself unprecedented powers to monitor private Internet records of citizens. 'This system is capable of abuse,' he said. The Central Monitoring System, being set up by the Centre for Development of Telematics, plugs into telecom gear and gives central and state investigative agencies a single point of access to call records, text messages, and emails as well as the geographical location of individuals."
Privacy advocates are worried about abuse
, partially because India has no effective privacy legislation, and the "...Indian government under PM Manmohan Singh has taken an increasingly uncompromising stance when it comes to online freedoms, with the stated aim usually to preserve social order
and national security or fight 'harmful' defamation."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's every-cloud-is-lined-with-your-silver department
Nerval's Lobster writes "As we discussed yesterday, Adobe plans on focusing the bulk of its software-development efforts on its Creative Cloud offering, with no plans to further update its 'boxed' Creative Suite products. The move isn't surprising, considering the tech industry's general movement toward the cloud over the past few years. Creative Cloud will cost $19.99 per month for a 'single app' version that features the full version of 'selected apps,' 20GB of cloud storage, and limited access to services. Those who opt for the 'complete' version will pay $49.99 per month for every Creative Cloud app, 20GB of cloud storage, and full access to services; it also requires an annual commitment. At that price, it would take a little over a year for a customer spending $49.99 per month to exceed the full retail cost of box-based Adobe Creative Suite 6, which currently retails for $599.99 at Staples and $403.99 on Amazon. In a recent interview with Mashable, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen insisted that the Creative Cloud's cost to customers is lower, especially since they won't have to pay for cloud storage and other services — never mind that 20GB doesn't carry anyone far when it comes to visual design. However much customers stand to benefit from the cloud, it's easy to see that, over a long enough timeline, and with the right financial model in place, the companies providing those services stand to benefit even more than they did with boxed software. That's liable to make just as many people angry as happy, no?"Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hey-everybody-let's-complain-about-the-start-menu-some-more department
jones_supa writes "Microsoft has confirmed to be preparing to reverse course over elements of Windows 8. 'Key aspects' of how the software is used will be changed when Microsoft releases an updated version of the operating system this year, Tami Reller, head of marketing and finance for the Windows business, said in an interview with the Financial Times. Referring to difficulties many users have had with mastering the software, she added: 'The learning curve is definitely real.'"
While this decision is generally being framed as a frantic backtrack for Microsoft, it comes as the company has recently passed 100 million Windows 8 licenses sold
. Clearly they see this as more of a course adjustment
than bailing water from a sinking ship. Microsoft also plans to preview the update called 'Windows Blue' in June
.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's friends-don't-let-friends-glass-and-drive department
Sean Hollister at The Verge was recently outfitted with Google Glass, and he provides a report on some basic usage
. There's a learning curve — the device relies heavily on what information you push from your phone, so if you haven't thought through ever use-case, you'll find yourself reaching for your phone fairly often. Hollister took Glass on the road for use as a kind of heads-up display while driving, and he says it felt awesome, but dangerous. "You have to look directly at what you’re photographing, so you won’t be getting any safe photographs unless they’re photos of the road. More importantly, Glass' ability to look up important information on the go is extremely thin right now. ... While I loved having turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps navigation floating in my peripheral vision, the display wasn't bright enough for me to see those directions while looking out the windshield of my car. I had to glance up towards the car's ceiling, or place a hand behind the cube to see where I was going. ... When another person called, I was able to pick up easily enough by tapping Glass at my temple, but the bone-conducting speaker wasn't loud enough to hear over the noise of the car. I had to enunciate extremely clearly and loudly for Glass to interpret my voice searches correctly." Hollister says Glass has a lot of potential — the things that don't work well are at least close. CNET's Scott Stein also provided a detailed perspective on how Glass works for somebody who already wears glasses
: "I can see the screen with some twiddling. Glass can end up tipping to the side, and I need to prop it up with my fingers, since the nose piece isn't seated on my nose any longer."Read Replies (0)