Why Schools Love Chromebooks, Browse the Web Like It’s 1999… [Tech News Digest]

Chromebooks cane it in the classroom, Oldweb.today recalls the early Web, Google Street View visits Machu Picchu, Psychonauts is getting a sequel, and the movie mashup to end all mashups.

Chromebooks Claim the Classroom

New figures suggest that Chromebooks are much more popular in classrooms than previously thought. In fact, according to a report from Futuresource Consulting, Chromebooks make up more than half of all the devices used in U.S. schools. This rise in popularity has come at the expense of Microsoft and Apple, both of which have lost significant market share in this sector.

AS reported by CNBC, in K-12 education, 51 percent of the devices bought by schools and school districts in Q3 2015 were Chromebooks. This compares to 23 percent for Windows, 17 percent for iOS, and 7 percent for OS X. Linux barely even registers, even though Chrome OS is technically Linux. This switch to Chromebooks has been swift, all happening over the past three years.

There is really only one reason why Chromebooks are popular in schools: they’re cheap. If faced with buying hundreds or thousands of new computers, most schools will pick the affordable option, which certainly isn’t Macs and iPads, or even Windows laptops of late. However, Microsoft is fighting back with a range of affordable computers, so things could change soon.

Browse the Web Like You’re Old

You can now experience the Web as it existed in the 1990s, whether for nostalgia (if you’re of a certain age), or intrigue (if you’re young enough to think smartphones have always existed). This is all thanks to Oldweb.today, which emulates old browsers, takes you to old versions of the websites you love, and recreates the frustrations of using the Internet 20 years ago.

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Oldweb.today, as developed by Ilya Kreymer and Dragan Espenschied, with help from media arts foundation Rhizome, lets you choose an old browser and then travel back in time. There are old versions of Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, and even Mosaic. All of which suck when compared to Chrome, Firefox, or even Microsoft Edge.

As Rhizome explains, Oldweb.today is designed to show how the Internet has evolved into an integral part of the human existence:

“Today’s web browsers want to be invisible, merging with the visual environment of the desktop in an effort to convince users to treat “the cloud” as just an extension of their hard drive. In the 1990s, browser design took nearly the opposite approach, using iconography associated with travel to convey the feeling of going on a journey.”

Therefore, there is an important point being made here, beyond simply showing us how lucky we are to have broadband. Which is to remind us all how much the core experience of browsing the Web has changed over the past 20 years. It’s now an extension of everyday life, for better or worse.

Explore Machu Picchu With Google

Machu Picchu in Peru is a destination on more bucket lists than most. It’s not hard to see why either, as the heart of the Inca Empire can be described as ancient, beautiful, breathtaking, and whatever other flowery adjectives you can think of.

The only problem with Machu Picchu is how remote it is, which makes it extremely difficult to get to. Thankfully, Google has made the trip to Machu Picchu, which means we can all enjoy a tour of this magical place, albeit virtually.

Having already transported us to places as varied as CERN and Antarctica, Google has now sent its Street View cameras to Machu Picchu. The results are spectacular, but nothing can compare to actually going there yourself, which means Machhu Picchu is likely to remain a permanent fixture on many people’s bucket lists.

Double Fine Teases Psychonauts 2

Double Fine Productions have announced it’s making a sequel to the cult classic Psychonauts. The game, unimaginatively titled Psychonauts 2, will be paid for by a combination of crowdfunding and private investment. Double Fine has already secured an investor, who has mysteriously chosen not to be named publicly.

The crowdfunding of $3.3 million or more will be organized through Fig, a new crowdfunding platform focused on games and offering investment opportunities. It’s surely no coincidence that the founder of Fig is the former COO or Double Fine, and current Double Fine studio head Tim Schafer acts as an advisor to Fig.

The original Psychonauts was a mild hit at launch but has sold well ever since. Psychonauts 2 is due to be released at the end of 2018 on PC, Max, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

The 2015 Movie Trailer Mashup

And finally, we have a video showing every single movie trailer released in 2015. However, rather than trying to cram full trailers into a video several hours long, Sleepy Skunk has expertly mashed them up into a six minute video. Which is short enough for anyone to watch.

Hundreds of films have been released this year, but most of us will have only had the time and inclination to see a handful. Therefore, Sleepy Skunk has provided a handy guide to all of the movies featured in the video. How many of them have you seen? Shamefully, I have only seen 12 so far.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Does your child use a Chromebook? Do you remember the Internet as it was in the 1990s? Is Google Street View the closest you have got to Machu Picchu? Will you be buying Psychonauts 2? What was your favorite movie of 2015?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credits: Kevin Jarrett via Flickr

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