Tech round-up for March 28: Download your Facebook data, Microsoft changes terms of service, Apple's low-priced iPad, Dota 2 in Vancouver,

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, will we ever stop talking about Facebook? Plus, Microsoft is worried about offensive language and the world’s biggest esports tournament comes to Vancouver. But first, Apple announces a line of lower-priced iPads.

Apple’s new iPad is priced for classrooms

At an education-themed event at a Chicago school yesterday, Apple revealed a new iteration of iPad.

It’s priced at Cdn$429 for Wi-Fi only, or $599 for Wi-Fi and cellular. Schools can purchase the new devices for only $399.

The new model is 9.7-inches and is equipped with 32 GB of storage. It’s got much of the functionality of the iPad Pro including the A10 Fusion chip and Touch ID, as well as augmented reality (AR) apps and experiences. It also supports the Apple Pencil, a powerful stylus tool that enables all kinds of activities, including note taking and drawing.

But while Apple’s dropped the price of its base iPad, the Apple Pencil is still priced at $129 in Canada ($115 for schools).

At the same event, Apple showed off Schoolwork, a Mac and iPad app designed for teachers that helps manage a classroom. Educators using it can create assignments and track student progress, distribute announcements an assignments, and deploy other apps.

This is all furthering Apple’s drive to support education, which includes the curricula Everyone Can Code, and the newly announced Everyone Can Create.

Take a look at how much Facebook knows about you

Yes, we’re still talking about Facebook. Yes, you should be paying attention.

More importantly, you should see just how much the social network knows about you. Thankfully, this is actually pretty easy to do by downloading a copy of your Facebook data archive.

Start by navigating to your Facebook settings page and clicking on the link at the bottom to, “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” On the resulting page, you’ll be able to have Facebook begin collecting your complete archive for download.

How big this archive is, and how long it takes to prepare and download, depends entirely on how long you’ve been a Facebook user and how active you’ve been in that time.

I’ve been on the system since 2007, but have been sporadically active. My archive contained every photo and video I’ve posted – including Instagram posts, because it’s owned by Facebook – as well as every message I’ve sent and received, including any photos or videos that were attached to those.

It also included a list of every location Facebook had tagged me in the past four years, recentl logins and logouts, and a list of IP addresses from which I’ve accessed the network.

More interesting were the data on advertising, including a list of topics, ads that I’ve clicked on, and advertisers who have my contact information. There were some listed there that surprised me.

It’s worth taking a look at just how much Facebook knows about you so you can make informed decisions.

Microsoft is updating its terms of service for online channels

Effective May 1, 2018, Microsoft is making some changes to its service agreement.

The inclusion of the term “offensive language” in the Code of Conduct has got people talking about what the change to service terms really means.

Professional Troublemaker presents some use cases that reveal how problematic the new terms could be, and Popular Mechanics explains how the vagueness and indifference to consent is particularly troublesome.

I believe that the intent here is well meaning, but the execution certainly isn’t. There needs to be much more clarity around the definitions of terms like “offensive”. I think Microsoft would be well suited to provide some examples of everyday activities and behaviours that do and do not violate the terms. And they should also clarify how decisions will be made to declare things to be offensive, and what that process might look like.

Then we’d have a bit more to challenge.

Dota 2 tournament to be held in Vancouver

Every day, millions of players across the globe play Dota 2, a free-to-play game published by Valve on its Steam platform. It’s a team-based game where players defend their base, while trying to destroy their opponents.

Every year, teams gather and compete in the International, one of the world’s biggest esports competitions. Last year, the prize pool topped US$24 million.

This year, the tournament is being held in Vancouver. From August 20 through August 25, the International will take over Rogers Arena.

Tickets were priced at Cdn$125 for the mideweek preliminaries, with finals tickets costing $250. But they sold out last Friday (March 23) on the day they were released.

Curious to know what all the fuss is about? Here’s a recap of the final day of competition from last year’s International.


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