Another, another WordEngine update

Update received 20th April:  WordEngine reports that their system is now functioning properly.

I believe that V-check is now properly functioning, and that people who had problems with v-check before should be able to retake it. If there are still any problems, please contact WordEngine directly in English or Japanese, or me (in English).

Update received 19th April:  They are still experiencing some critical errors. I’m sorry to say, if you haven’t done your V-check, hopefully all will be good for you to try again Friday.

What is Web 3.0? And social media ethics and privacy in education

This article was first published at HelloSpace.Me/blog.

Currently we’re in “Web 2.0”, but transitioning to 3.0. What does that mean? I’ll give you a super quick history lesson. The first version of the internet contained static (boring) pages. Basically, they were placeholders until web gurus, marketers, and admin could figure out what to do. The first websites were basically static billboards. Companies like Coca Cola needed to claim their domain, so that they could retain control of their company image. Some guy even bought madona.com, and the real Madona had to take him to court, which set a precedent on ownership rights.

When interaction capabilities were beginning to be built into web experiences with platforms like PHPBB, Friendster, MySpace, etc, this became known as “Web 2.0” as interaction became a distinct evolution from the billboard-like experiences we had before. Of course, because there’s things to do and hold our attention, new independent websites like YouTube, the early Twitter and FaceBook exploded in popularity (YouTube was eventually bought by Google).

CC0 UnSplash, https://www.pexels.com/photo/meeting-pencils-macbook-notebooks-40120/

CC0 UnSplash, https://www.pexels.com/photo/meeting-pencils-macbook-notebooks-40120/

So, that is the internet we’ve experienced up until this year. For a few years now, people like me (Andrew) has expressed serious concerns about privacy, and our rights to own our data (see bibliography at the bottom of this article). These were ignored. Basically, people ignore or remain naive to an issue until we or our friends are hurt, then we hear or tell everyone around us about it, and then change our behaviour. With revelations that the US intelligence community has been vacuuming up our data as it passes through US territory, the constant leak of passwords and private information from Yahoo, and now Facebook (via Cambridge Analytica), and the missuse and abuse of trust, we’re now on the verge of changing the internet again.

So, what will Web 3.0 look like?

We’ve already started evolving into that. You’ve seen vestiges of it already in place. The fact that you’re reading this is apart of Web 3.0 already. Let me explain.

The new internet will be about security, privacy, and human rights; both in support and opposition to it. Security, privacy, and human rights in the digital realm is the new activists battle ground. In China, we see the government demanding to snoop and spy on their citizens. Encryption and VPNs are now banned in China, except where it would interrupt international commerce and trade. In the US we see election candidates wanting to snoop and spy on citizens, and use that information to influence your thinking. In Europe and Switzerland, we see that snooping and spying on citizens are outlawed, except in cases approved by the court (with a search warrant like process) to allow for criminal investigation. The worst that can happen with your personal data is:

1. Governments will use it to falsely accuse you of crimes and punish you. We see this already happening to human rights advocates in Vietnam and China, and against minority groups in the US.

2. Abused by employees of the government to monitor people within their own families or neighborhoods. Also employers abuse their access and privilege to spy on employees, which has had serious consequences already.

3. Accessed by criminals to steal your personal data. Identity theft is a very common digital crime. Criminals can impersonate you, and take out credit cards and loans in your name. They then wrack up a debit of which you are responsible for, and it destroys the credit rating of Americans, which is particularly harmful to them. This type of crime is difficult for the police to investigate as it is often committed internationally, and because your own personal computer security is so bad, the police can’t even determine how the criminals got your data, so beginning an investigation is difficult.

Group discussion. CC0 Startup Stock Photos, https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-office-team-collaboration-7075/

Group discussion. CC0 Startup Stock Photos, https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-office-team-collaboration-7075/

What you can do?

Here are the tools and features of Web 3.0:

SSL certificates. Basic SSL certificates are available to all our customers for free. These are the green padlocks you see in the address bar of your browser. The web address should start with “https” not “http”; the ‘s’ indicates a secure and encrypted connection. That means, if you’re using public wifi, criminals cannot see your login username or password, but they can if you didn’t use an SSL connection.

FireFox or Brave. These are web browsers that are so much more secure than Microsoft Explorer or Edge. Set these to “Never remember browsing history”, or “Clear browsing data after closing”, and never store passwords.

For secure communication, use Whatsapp, the best is Telegram.

For secure email use Gmail or protonmail.com (Yahoo often gets hacked, so never use it). Just know that Gmail is owned by Google, and so any data you have there, is accessible by Google (and their national government).

Use a VPN like PureVPN or similar. A VPN hides your geographical location, and encrypts your data, so no-one can snoop on your communications. Never use a “free” VPN. They make money from selling your data. Always pay for a VPN, because those companies make money from you, not from selling your data.

For cloud and online file storage, don’t use DropBox, it is not secure. Use Tresorit. Tresorit has never been hacked, and is the most secure system we know. Tresorit also synchronises your files between computers, office network, or just your only computer and cloud. If your house is ever burgled or burnt down, you haven’t lost your important files.

Don’t use Google for searches. Google also vacuums up your data, information, interests, search history, everything. They can match it to you via your ip address whether your signed in or not. Use Duckduckgo.com instead. They do not store your data, and they redirect your searches to a variety of search engines, and so you get a wider variety of responses anyway, and your searches are anonymised. That means, that health problem you think you have, you won’t see ads for treatments appearing on every website you visit. Fun Freaky fact: Amazon knows if a woman is pregnant before she does, just by analysing her searches, and comparing it to historical data of women who have bought baby items.

For your own website, of course use us, HelloSpace.Me. Our servers are expertly maintained, and are physically located in Switzerland. That means your data is protected under Swiss Privacy laws, and under Swiss Data Protection laws. Which means, only a judge in a criminal investigation can allow access to our servers, but only to a specific persons account. So far, we’ve never received such a request; if we do, we will seek legal advice before permitting investigators access. Conversely, US intelligence already has unfettered access to US webhosting companies anyway, which makes us the best option. Finally, we keep your data to ourselves, and we only collect the vital data we need so that you can maintain the essential functions of your account with us. We do not over-collect (get data we don’t need), and we do not share or sell it to anyone. There are some services where this is necessary, such as your domain registration, and any additional features you purchase for your website that are provided by third-party sellers.

Never over-share your information. Avoid publicising your identifying data like your date of birth, place of birth, mother’s maiden name, your preferred bank, and such. Don’t engage in/with political messages whilst using your real name. Use a pseudonym (which were commonly used in Web 1.0 and early 2.0) with a VPN when you’re engaging in political or social activism.

For more information, see Andrew’s publications:

Another update about WordEngine

It is always difficult to do updates on a system, especially a very complex website. I’ve received communication from students and WordEngine about this. WordEngine is working very hard to fix bugs (problems) with the new features of their system. What can you do?

  1. Wait
  2. Clear the cookies in your browser; here is how: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=how+to+clear+cookies+in+browser&t=ffab&ia=web
  3. On Wednesday/Thursday try again
  4. Don’t stress; don’t panic
  5. Enjoy life

The people at WordEngine apologise for any difficulties you are having. For now, just relax.

About WordEngine

Thanks to the three students who have asked about this. I didn’t know that this year the system is so different. Last year, WordEngine was an app to download, and a card to buy for students who don’t have their own credit cards. This year, I was told in an email in early March that the system is different and works on all smartphones, tablets and computers. They did not say that there is no smartphone app for iOS or Android anymore. The steps:

  1. In your web browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Brave, etc)
  2. Type wordengine.jp, press “Go” or “Enter”. You should arrive at http://www.wordengine.jp/go/ and,
  3. Bookmark it, or Add to Favourites.

Now, just use WordEngine from the website; no app needed. Yay!

Next steps (at home):

  1. Do V-check (to get your vocabulary size)
  2. Enter your card code for paid access
  3. Join the class group
  4. Study each week, Monday to Saturday at least 150 correct answers each week (about 10 minutes a day)

More information about learning vocabulary, go to Winjeel.Com > English Classes > Vocabulary.

Homework Quarter 1

All classes:

  • Classroom Vocabulary Quiz this week.
  • WordEngine: Get more than 150 correct responses each week.
  • Asano Books has left the campus, but you can still go to their shop near Nagoya University

Oral Communication FB

  • Review Orbits, Unit 0, 1, 2 Pronunciation, Small Talk, Vocabulary, Culture Note, and Conversation Strategies.
  • Preview Orbits Unit 3, Vocabulary, and article
  • Do WordEngine and get more than 150 correct responses each week. Study at least 10 minutes a day, every day.
  • Have fun

Oral Communication B & P

  • Review Orbits, Unit 0, 1, 2 Pronunciation, vocabulary, articles, dialogues, Small Talk (p7), Classroom Vocabulary (p11-13).
  • Preview Orbits Unit 3, Vocabulary and article.
  • Do WordEngine and get more than 150 correct responses each week. Study at least 10 minutes a day, every day.
  • Have fun

Communication Skills

  • Review Orbits, Units 0, 1, Classroom Vocabulary (p14-16), and small talk p10.
  • Preview Orbits Unit 1, Vocabulary (p15)
  • Review Into Literacy, Article: Extensive Reading, vocabulary p26 & article p27.
  • Preview Into Literacy, article, Book Clubs, p105-106.
  • Do WordEngine, and get more than 150 correct responses each week. Study at least 10 minutes a day, every day.
  • Do Extensive Reading (ER), read about 4,000 words each week.
    • Prepare a report/summary about your ER book for each Thursday
  • Have fun

Literacy

  • Complete the library scavenger hunt (the questions we started in the library), and choose your first ER book. Read about
    • Week 1: 1,000 words (reports due each Monday)
    • Week 2: 2,000 words
    • Week 3 & all year 3,500 words each week.
    • Prepare a report/summary about your ER book for Thursday
  • Review Emails (p49-53); study Classroom Language in Into Literacy, p9-11.
  • Preview Into Literacy, Extensive Reading vocabulary p26, read Extensive Reading p27, prepare answers for discussion
  • Task 1: Write a simple email (in Word) to your teacher, print it onto paper, submit on Monday 23rd April. Topic: Any imaginary problem about the class.
  • Signup to WordEngine, do V-check, join the class group.
  • Have fun

URGENT: Voice Actors Needed in Nagoya

URGENT: Voice actors needed for a short project. The project is to make course audio materials to support English language listening skills development. Two male and two female young-adults are needed. Preference given to Native English speakers, and Chinese or Korean speakers with very, very good English speaking/pronunciation skills.
Applicants should record two one-minute audio files of themselves:
1. Talking about their voice acting skills, or why they like voice acting, or anything related to voice acting
2. Monologue from a movie, play, poem, or any other creative performance written by someone else.
Pay is ¥5,000 up to ¥10,000 per person (for up to 4 hours of work); transport costs will be paid (applicants should be resident in either Aichi, Gifu, or Mie). Recording will be done at Nanzan University (accessible via the Yagoto Nisseki Station on the Meijo Line; https://goo.gl/maps/tamyXHrHcNM2).
Even if you can’t participate in this, please tell others who might be interested and share this weblink.

I hope to record this week, or next. Contact me for details.

Sound recording. CC0 Pixabay, https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-recordering-microphone-55800/

Sound recording. CC0 Pixabay, https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-recordering-microphone-55800/