It's October, which means pumpkins are showing up all over. Before you start carving jack o'lanterns for your home, carve out a few minutes to review this issue. It begins with an overview of a massive retail data breach, carried out by hackers as malicious as any Halloween ghouls. Make sure you're reviewing your payment card accounts regularly!
To really get in the spirit of October, check out the easy-to-make fall centerpieces in the Pinterest section, pumpkin recipes and costume ideas in Sites of the Month, and the time-lapse video of a giant pumpkin growing.
Speaking of growth, it's important to keep learning more about social media and other online topics. This issue includes an explanation of the recent brouhaha surrounding the Facebook Messenger app and teaches you what to do (and not do) when making a hashtag.
The goal of each of our eNewsletters is to keep our subscribers informed regarding their Internet connection and to improve their Internet experience. We think you'll find this information interesting.
To see what's inside this issue, simply scroll down the eNewsletter or click on the links within the index to the left. Thanks for reading!
- The eCurrents Team
Spotlighting Technology in our Schools
This year in each issue of Currents, 3 Rivers' printed semi-monthly customer newsletter, we let one of our local schools show you how its students are using technology. The upcoming November/December issue features Ennis School. To see past issues and technology stories from other schools, visit www.3rivers.net/newsletter-archives.
Ennis High School
In a small, little, rural town about 50 miles Southwest of Bozeman sits Ennis. This may be a small town, but when it comes to technology in the school they are second to none. The school has three PC computer labs along with an Apple Mac lab. Students begin taking technology classes when they're in Kindergarten and continue through High School. Most recently, the school district purchased iPads for all of the high school students, teachers, and Aids. They also purchased an iPad cart for the Elementary and Junior High classes.
Technology grants from businesses have helped to buy specialized equipment, creating a need for technol-ogy classes. In the high school students are using their iPads as their new textbooks. Math, English, and science classes all have ibooks or etext books. Students no longer have the burden of hauling around bulky books and notepads. Each iPad has text document software that is wirelessly connected to a printer, but in most cases they can send assignments electronically using Apps such as Canvas, Edmoto, and Gmail.
In order to run the iPads the school has set up a wireless network throughout all buildings on campus. The security program routes all searches back through filters even when students are not on campus. Students and teachers have found the transition to be pretty smooth after initial kinks were worked out. Students like having access to information literally at their fingertips, and see this as a tool that they will be using in the future both in college and the workforce.
Adding to the technology was a $15,000 video grant from 3 Rivers which allowed the school to purchase two Pana-sonic Video Cameras, tripods, a green screen, stage lights, microphones, and Tricaster live stream video station. Because of these purchases, Ennis started a new Broadcasting class. The students have to create a weekly broad-cast for the high school that is posted on the schools media site. The equipment is also being used in the Beginning Computer Applications and Advanced Computer Application classes as the student organizations. Last year three Business Professionals of America members used the equipment to help them take 2nd place in the state in Broadcast News Team and qualify for Nationals.
Ennis may be a small, class C school but their technology compares to schools three times their size. The school has done a great job of recognizing the future of technology and its importance in students' lives. With the support of the staff, community, and local organizations such as 3Rivers, the students in Ennis will be well prepared for our technological world.
Submitted by: Brad Mehr, Business and Technology Education, Ennis Public School
This Month's FAQ – Can The Facebook Messenger App Take Control Of My Phone?
Question: I've heard some people have privacy concerns about the standalone version of the Facebook Messenger app. Can this app really take control of my phone?
Answer: In mid-2014, Facebook rolled out the Facebook Messenger app, a standalone version of that social network's instant chat feature, which users accessed separately on their mobile devices (i.e., without launching the full Facebook app). That rollout prompted renewed interest in a December 2013 article by Sam Fiorella (circulated widely in August 2014) that warned potential Facebook Messenger users that the app's Terms of Service (TOS) "requires the acceptance of an alarming amount of personal data and direct control over your mobile device." Rumors started circulating that Facebook could use the app to surreptitiously take over users' smartphones to take photos or even make phone calls.
According to Facebook, those fears do not reflect reality. "If you want to send a selfie to a friend, the app needs permission to turn on your phone's camera and capture that photo," the company said in its message to users. "We don't turn on your camera or microphone when you aren't using the app." In other words, the Facebook Messenger app absolutely CANNOT do these things without YOU initiating them. It needs the permission in advance so that when you ask it to do these things, they work.
Sites Of The Month – Great Sites To Check Out In October
Has Your Vehicle Been Recalled? odi.nhtsa.dot.gov – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration makes it easy to check whether any vehicle recalls apply to you. Simply enter the model year, make, and model and do a quick search. You can also enter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to get more detailed repair information.
Sweet And Savory Pumpkin Recipes allrecipes.com – Pumpkin is the "in" ingredient this time of year, so join the fun by browsing through this collection of pumpkin recipes. You'll find Harvest Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Turkey Chili, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake, and more.
Easy Halloween Costumes For Kids diynetwork.com – If you haven't yet figured out what your kids will be for Halloween, you should be able to scare up some great ideas at this site. The costumes are adorable and can be put together pretty easily, even if you aren't the crafty type.
Advice That's Right On The Money smartaboutmoney.org – It pays to know as much as you can about money and you can learn a lot here. This site offers financial advice and information for all stages of life including calculators, quizzes, articles on hot topics, and an extensive resource library.
A hashtag is a phrase or keyword that is preceded by a pound (#) symbol and used by the micro-blogging community to create a thread of conversations around a specific theme or topic. Its purpose is to categorize topics, bring ideas together, inspire exchange, and encourage others to join in.
When you make a new hashtag, follow these guidelines:
Keep it brief. You only need to add a # before a word to make it a hashtag. The best hashtags are those composed of a single word or a few letters. Twitter experts recommend keeping the keyword under 6 characters.
Use only numbers and letters in your keyword. Hyphens and dashes will not work.
Don't use spaces. Hashtags do not support spaces. So if you're using two words, skip the space between them.
Don't use special characters. Hashtags only work with the # sign. Special characters like "!, $, %, ^, &, *, and +" will not work.
Don't start with or use only numbers. For example, hashtags like #123 or #123yo won't work. Numbers can be used at the end, as in #SXSW14.
In addition, don't use more than two hashtags in your post. It goes against social media etiquette.
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