Holiday Flyers: Microsoft, Chromebook, 3D Printing, Makers

I had a lot of fun making these flyers using Powerpoint. It was the first time I’d ever used Powerpoint to create flyers, believe it or not!

Note: These were published as a series of blog entries at TCEA.org Technotes Blog! TCEA.org is a non-profit education organization. Check it out at http://www.tcea.org/blog. In the interests of full disclosure, Miguel Guhlin serves as a Director of Professional Development; find out more about his work at http://ly.tcea.org/connect

While some report that 3D printing isn’t a thing anymore, it remains one of the top tech trends for the foreseeable future. That may be because 3D printers are finding their way into classrooms and homes with startling alacrity. This blog entry shares a few choices for printers, design tools, and sources, as well as mobile device apps.
merry

3D Printers for Home

Wondering what printers you can get for your home? Consider these three offerings, ranging from least expensive to most expensive. The Dremel IdeaBuilder packs a punch to your wallet, but offers the most flexibility and versatility in its options. The Mod T also has adherents who praise its small size as perfect for your office desk. Whether you’re looking for a home printer, or considering a small 3D printer for the classroom, there’s something available to match your budget.

Looking for 3D Printing Designs and Tools?

Look no further than Thingiverse and 3D Warehouse! They have literally thousands of designs already created and ready to modify or use as is. And if you want to design your own, consider these two programs for use on your device of choice:
  • Tinkercad – A wonderfully easy to use, web-based 3D printing tool.
  • SketchUp Pro – This $695 program for Mac and Windows computers is available at NO CHARGE to K-12 public schools! Click the link to find out more about TCEA’s offer.
  • My SketchUp – This browser-based version works great on Chromebooks and is available at no charge.

3D Printable Ornaments

Never worry about breaking glass ornaments again with 3D filament-based tree decorations. These curios are easy to design, modify, and print for home and office. More importantly, they make it easy to print take-home designs for students.
Find more designs online with these apps at Thingiverse using their iOS app (free) , and 3D Warehouse using SketchUp Viewer for iOS ($14.99).
  1. Free Office 365 Account: Students and teachers get the online versions of Office plus 1TB online storage for free! Get it at http://office.com/teachers 
  2. Office Mix: You can add Office Mix to Powerpoint 2016 to create screencasts, video, narrated slide shows, and more! Get it at http://mix.office.com 
  3. Office Lens: Get this document scanner and whiteboard capture tool! You can save to PDF, Mail, Photo Library, as well as Immersive Reader, OneNote, and Office apps. Get it via your mobile device in the iOS App store, Google Play Store, or Windows Store. 
  4. OneNote: A fantastic app for keeping track of every day notes, collaborative lesson planning, and online notebooks. Add OneNote 2016 and Immersive Reader to reach various populations of students! Get it at http://onenote.com 
  5. Sway: A joy to use, Microsoft Sway presents an alternative presentation and storytelling tool. Use any mobile device to create web-friendly, simple yet powerful content for others. Get started at http://sway.com 
  6. Touch Develop: Combined with the Creative Coding through Games and Apps (CCGA) curriculum, create engaging apps that work on any device. Get started at http://ly.tcea.org/ccga 
  7. Microsoft Selfie: For your iOS device, this app makes taking beautiful images possible with automatic touchup features. Get it at http://ly.tcea.org/iosselfie 
  8. Docs.com: Create Sway powered web pages, share Office365 documents, and more with others. Get started at http://docs.com 
  9. Translator: Overcome the language barrier. Use your camera, voice, or keyboard to translate on-the-go, even without an Internet connection. Get it in the iOS, Android or Windows Store. 
  10. OneNote Web Clipper: Clip web page content and save it directly to your OneNote Notebook using Clipper. Get it online at https://www.onenote.com/clipper 
  11. Snip: Why just show when  you can show-and-tell? Share your idea in 3 easy steps or less! Get it at http://mix.office.com/snip 
  12. Fresh Paint: Create anything–original artwork, turn photos into beautiful paintings, and more! Get it in the Windows Store. 


magic
  
Build It!
1.KEVA Planks: Model construction creativity with KEVA Planks, cuboid wooden block toys for children. Explore STEM lessons at http://www.kevaplanks.com/stem
2.Play Well with Legos : Use legos to build marble runs, craft poetry bricks and more. And get Lego Digital Designer – http://ldd.lego.com/en-us/
3.Makedo Cardboard Kit : Use Makedo to make magical cardboard creations! Find out more at https://www.make.do Also explore digital origami tools!
Make It Digital!
4.BeeBot Model coding with the BeeBot floor robot. Check out available curriculum!
5.Ozobot A tiny robot that makes coding approachable for youngsters! http://ozobot.com and…
One bonus tip:
6. Minecraft- Education Edition :Use Minecraft to create and design objects in 3D virtual space. Learn more about the possibilities at http://ly.tcea.org/tceamee
Get access to more cool maker ideas at http://ly.tcea.org/makermagic

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Lessons from Chromebook Educators

Note: This blog entry originally published at TCEA’s TechNotes blog.

“Figure out which toys your friends can play with,” I remember my Mom saying to me before a sleepover with classmates. “And put the ones you don’t want to see damaged, lost, or stolen away.” It’s advice that I took to heart and shared with my own children before they had friends over. Here’s some advice you may want to consider before deploying Chromebooks in schools…or, consider leaving your “best practices” in the comments.

Best Practice #1 – Establish procedures before issuing Chromebooks.

Setting ground rules can certainly help you avoid trouble and heartache down the line. The advice is definitely worth taking when it comes to inviting students and staff to use any kind of device, even durable Chromebooks, in your classroom, library, or school. TCEA member Erin Laughlin (@MrsErinLaughlin) recommends that you consider your responses to questions like the ones below:
  • How will students be issued Chromebooks?
  • How should students be advised to transport Chromebooks?
  • What happens when there is a substitute teacher in the room? Will students be permitted to take advantage of the Chromebook?
  • What should be done when a Chromebook suffers damage?
In response to the last question, one teacher in Fairfield ISD during their Eagle Leadership Academy,pointed out that damage had occurred to a school-owned Chromebook issued to a student. “What did you do?” I asked, wondering if the student was to be forced to reimburse the district or forced to replace the device. “We made sure it wasn’t malicious and then just worked to get it fixed or replaced. No action was taken since this was an accident.” Erin also suggests having rules like these in place:
  • No food or drinks should be in sight when Chromebooks are out.
  • Carry Chromebooks with two hands at all times.
  • Do not get a Chromebook if teacher is out of the room.
  • Nothing should be on the desk except the Chromebook unless told otherwise.
  • Students should only be on websites assigned or approved by teacher.
  • Have students and parents sign a statement saying they will abide by the rules.
  • Have reasonable consequences for students who aren’t following the rules (taking away the Chromebook should be your last resort).
As you might imagine, some common-sense suggestions include assigning a student to be in charge of the Chromebooks, ensuring monitoring of issuance and receipt of devices by class members. Also, consider including a Google Form to let students report how a Chromebook was damaged. Another point to consider is to be sure to label your class Chromebooks so they will be easy to locate in case they leave your classroom. Finally, Kim from Fairfield ISD suggests that the teacher and students get in the habit of plugging in Chromebooks correctly so they are charged for the next group.

Best Practice #2 – Teach Chromebook basics along with digital citizenship.

“You can’t issue students devices until they’ve had digital citizenship lessons required by eRate.” And, of course, digital citizenship lessons also ensure that you can discuss important issues about caring for other people’s equipment. In my experience, students often take great care of equipment issued to them when there is a culture of care cultivated in the school as a whole. Keys aren’t ripped off keyboards in classrooms where the teacher makes every effort to care for his/her technology and assigns students the jobs of cable management, removing dust from devices, and cleaning keyboards/screens. Yet every device brings its own challenges, and Chromebooks are no different. Providing an overview of Chromebook and Google Apps tips ensure that students feel confident in using new technologies, rather than frustrated.

Best Practice #3 – Promote collaboration.

“My two favorite tools for a 1-to-1 classroom,” I shared at the recent Tots and Technology Conferences that took place in Galveston and Frisco this past summer, “include Nearpod.com and Seesaw.com.” Each of these provides critical tools that you need as a teacher to share your screen and presentations with students, as well as collect their work. Nearpod serves as a presentation and eyeball management tool for you, pushing your screen out to all student Chromebooks. Seesaw serves as a digital portfolio that collects students’ digital and physical work in one virtual space that is easily shared but manageable.
ChromebookNote: Scan the QR code shown right using the Seesaw app on your device of choice to get Seesaw Plus for free for 30 days!
Let’s quickly explore some other top tips for promoting collaboration:
  • Quiz tools: Other ways to engage students include quizzing tools like Quizizz.com and Kahoot.com. Quizizz allows students to login with their Google account, and all completed assignments are reported and available in Google Classroom.
  • Easy video assessment: Use tools like EdPuzzle and/or FlipGrid to take already existing videos from YouTube, Khan Academy, etc. or put your own online, then add your voice and questions to create an interactive video lesson. You’ll be able to see how many times your students watch your interactive video lessons, how many times they attempt a question, and the responses given.
  • Share web links with Google Tones: Facilitate the sharing of complex uniform resource locators (URLs) using Google Tone.
  • Take screenshots or record video screencasts: Use tools like the Nimbus Screenshot/Screencast extension for Google Chrome to quickly capture your screen for a flipped lesson or explanation.
  • Use Google Classroom to create a virtual classroom presence for students, blending in Google Calendar and YouTube videos to facilitate online learning.
  • Use badges in your classroom: TCEA member Joe Camacho (@CamachoEdTech) recommends setting up and issuing badges to celebrate student learning and sharing. Students can learn Google Apps tools such as Sites, Classroom, Forms, Docs, Drawings, and Slides, as well as other tools in use like DocHub, Flubaroo, Edpuzzle, Kahoot, Quizizz, creating screencasts, and Padlet.
Another neat tip for promoting collaboration and sharing comes from Erin Laughlin again. She suggests creating a “shark tank” in your classroom, having older students create products that are evaluated by younger students serving as “the sharks.” Older students pitch their solution to a problem using Google Hangouts, bridging the distance between their classroom at one campus and another. Of course, this activity can also be done at even greater distances. If that is of interest, consider the Connecting for a Cause website, where students create a Google Sites web presence that represents their cause.




Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Run Android on Google Chromebook This Year 2016

Google’s announcement that the Google Play Store with its Android apps will be available to some models of Chromebooks may be a game changer for education. 

Read the rest of this blog entry online at TCEA’s TechNotes blog.


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Audio Editing Made Beautiful on #Chromebook

Ever had to do any audio editing on a Chromebook? I have, and the only client out there that worked well (like Audacity) costs TOO MUCH money. I won’t even mention the client since it is darn expensive and I have no doubt that many folks paid a lot for it…just a twisted pricing model!

Ok, that aside, what if you could edit audio files on a Chromebook at low-cost, or even better, no cost if you’re a school district or educational institution? What about if that solution could save straight to GoogleDrive? Interested?

= Group Licensing =
Very cheap (likely free) MP3 exporting for school districts, non-profits, and other groups that make this world a better place. Describe your group to us for details:
https://beautifulaudioeditor.appspot.com/submitFeedback

If you’re looking for something like that, then be sure to check out the Beautiful Audio Editor–which allows you to export MP3 audio for one-time fee of $3.18 (pay attention, ONE time fee). Earlier today, I recorded audio from a presentation at TCEA TECSIG–with the presenters’ support and permission–on my iPhone using Voice Record Pro, but didn’t have an easy way to make some edits to the file (ok, Voice Record Pro has built-in audio editing but I didn’t want to try to do it on my iPhone with Voice Record Pro or Hokusai).

Problem: How to edit pre-recorded audio on my Chromebook?

Note: This process ultimately failed with a 51 minute file but I retain high hopes for Beautiful Audio Editor. Step 3 is where it all went wrong!! Again, I think it’s the SIZE of the audio file. I was successful with smaller audio files.


STEP 1 – ACCESS MY AUDIO FILE VIA WIFI DRIVE
The first step was to flip Voice Record Pro into a WiFi drive–which is a way to transfer files over wireless connection–so I could access the audio off my phone via my Chromebook:

Add caption

Before exporting the recorded file from Voice Record Pro, I converted it to MP3…a nice feature in Voice Record Pro! After doing this, I saved the file to my Chromebook.

STEP 2 – IMPORT AUDIO INTO BEAUTIFUL AUDIO EDITOR
Here’s what it looks like at the IMPORT audio stage:

Once that was done, I was able to listen to the audio and make adjustments (edit/cut) content, not unlike Audacity on a desktop/laptop computer.

Note that I did pay $3.18 to get the MP3 export feature, but it looks like WAV export format is available at no cost…and you could just convert that WAV file with web-based tools like Media.io or Online-Convert.com.

STEP 3 – SAVE EDITED AUDIO FILE
As you might imagine, I had high hopes that I would be able to save my 51 minute audio recording of collegial coaching presentation, but alas, it was not meant to be. This process DID work with smaller files, though.

Problems Encountered While Saving
Of course, I had hoped this solution would work perfectly. It did not FOR LARGE AUDIO files, but it did for short stuff (which may make it appropriate for Chromebook Education users!). As you can see, I was instructed to download the audioproject file but was unable to do so successfully, receiving the error Failed-No File.

CollegialCoaching_edited_mguhlin.audioprojectThe server could not find the file.

I next tried to save the edited audio file using WAV, MP3 or SAVE TO GOOGLEDRIVE options…notice what happens:

One second, the .WAV button appears, but the next (after clicking it), the button disappears!


Hmm…the same thing happened with the MP3 file, too.

So, SAVE to Google Drive failed as well. This left me with 51 minute audio-edited file with no way to save it!! As you can see, file generated is zero bytes long…so, no data.

I’m looking forward to the Beautiful Audio Editor folks fixing this!


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

MyNotes: Nothing Stopping You Now – #Skype on #Chromebook

“You know,” shared a colleague going to Gabon, “I love Chromebook! I probably would have gotten a Chromebook if I could Skype on it! But I did get a good deal on my under $700 Lenovo laptop!” Ah, what a difference a few months makes.

Now, Skype works on Chromebooks! Using an Acer C720 Chromebook, I was able to easily follow the instructions outlined in this MakeUseOf.com article entitled, How to Install Skype on a Chromebook. (lots of screenshots there!).

The steps are fairly straightforward, but, of course, what follows are my notes:

1) Check to see if you’re running a 32bit or 64bit. To do that, just go to your Chrome settings and click About. You’ll be able to see fairly quickly…

2) Download and unzip the following two files:

Leave the unzipped files in your Downloads folder.

2) Turn on Developer Mode by going to the 3 horizontal bars in the top right corner of the screen then choosing MoreTools–>Extensions.

3) While still in Developer Mode, click on Load unpacked extension, choosing both the ARChon unzipped file (which will have a funky folder name unzipped), and the Skype unzipped file.

4) Go to Apps and select Skype to start it up.


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Podcast: #TCEA15 1 to 1 Chromebook Presentation by Temple ISD

Earlier today, I had the opportunity to see what Temple ISD was doing in regards to the 9th Grade Chromebook initiative, a 1 to 1 program. Aside from a snazzy slideshow (nice job!), they had some core beliefs that jumped out at me:
  1. “Students who do not have technology outside of school are at an academic disadvantage”
  2. We believe that putting a Chromebook in the hands of every HS student will have a substantial impact.
  3. Having technology at home extends the learning environment beyond the walls of the classroom.

  1. 1 to 1 is concentrated on students and the device of choice is Chromebooks
  2. 8600 students allows a 5 year rotation schedule
  3. Presentation is adapted from one done at the State Capitol lately.
  4. This has been a dream for a long time.
  5. “Students who do not have technology outside of school are at an academic disadvantage”
  6. Continuum…Motive, Method, Benefit, Stories
  7. 75% of TISD students qualify for free or reduced lunch
  8. 27% of TISD students do NOT have a computer in their own
  9. 27% of TISD students do not have internet access at home
  10. Successful plans are built in the right order with the right people.
  11. “Technology is not even a blip on the radar in our district. I realize that is going to require money. Let’s do something about it. So, we began a journey on how to fund a technology initiative.”
  12. Building a Plan:
    1. Superintendent Leadership
    2. Implementation Plan: 1 to 1 starting at 9th grade. Prior to that, 2 to 1 cart solution of Chromebooks. Prior to that, we did some training.
    3. infrastructure,
    4. policies and procedure:
    5. equipment selection and management,
    6. support personnel allocation,
    7. digital textbooks and resources,
    8. student and staff training: spent 2 days, paid subs for high school teacher and TCEA did the initial training. The 2nd day, staff received a chromebook and developed a small project.
  13. We believe that putting a Chromebook in the hands of every HS student will have a substantial impact.
  14. By 2017 every HS student will have a Chromebook.
  15. Diploma=Chromebook
    1. Kids are going to take that device they received at 9th year. When they earn 11.5 credits, they can take the device home in the summer.
  16. Over 5million companies are using GoogleApps
  17. Having technology at home extends the learning environment beyond the walls of the classroom.
  18. MiFi available for student checkout (Verizon). It’s attached to the MAC address of the Chromebook and GOGuardian is being used on Chromebooks.
  19. Requirements
    1. Parents must attend information meeting.
      1. Digital citizenship
      2. $31 insurance fee for Chromebook…students had sponsors.
      3. Focus of the 1:1 initiative:
        1. Access to digital resources
        2. individualized learning
        3. creativity and innovation
        4. critical thinking and problem solving
        5. communication and collaboration
        6. technology literacy skills
        7. college and career readiness
  20. Technology Integration Guidelines (click link or see resources section below)
  21. Check Out Process
    1. Parent Informational meeting
    2. intensive in-class student training
    3. forms submitted
    4. chromebook distribution
      1. Chromebooks will be checked in over the summer break. When students graduate, they will take their Chromebooks with them.
      2. Insurance coverage is required ($31). Annual fee and covers the following:
        1. accidental damage
        2. cracked screens
        3. liquid submersion
        4. theft
        5. fire, flood, etc.
      3. Repair process
        1. students brings damaged/malfunctioning chromebook to THS tech spot for evaluation
        2. student may be issued a temporary replacement
        3. the student’s chromebook will be returned, when it is functioning properly
      4. Loss or Theft
        1. If there is a loss or theft the student must report this to the THS Tech Help Center Immediately.
        2. A theft report is required by insurance for replacement of the Chromebook
        3. GoGuardian provides Chromebook monitoring, filtering, and anti-theft for schools
      5. Review of Securly vs GoGuardian.
      6. General Use
        1. Use caution when eating or drinking around the Chromebook
        2. Cords, cables and removable storage devices must be inserted carefully into the Chromebook
        3. Chromebooks must be in the TISD case at all times
        4. Students should never carry the Chromebook while screen is open
        5. Do not place anything on top of or inside of the Chromebook
      7. Products:
        1. GoGuardian
        2. Hapara

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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Email Encryption – Easier Than Ever with @Whiteoutio @olivergajek #chromebook #android #ios

Note: This blog entry has been updated to reflect new information from the WhiteOut.io creators! All good stuff!

Source: https://whiteout.io/

Earlier today, I received an email from Oliver at Whiteout:

We’re just launching Whiteout Mail, an integrated solution for adding end-to-end encryption to your existing email address. Think of it as Thunderbird+Enigmail+GPGTools, all integrated, easy to use, and running in the browser and on your mobile devices. Installed in six minutes or less. Open source and free. So that more people can start encrypting their important messages. 

Oliver wasn’t kidding! I’ve covered how you can encrypt your email/SMS/Evernote notes using free, open source tools like ParanoiaWorks, as well as file attachments, and/or use Mozilla Thunderbird with ENIGMAil or Mailvelope.

This integrated encrypted email solution makes encryption your email communications fairly easy. It currently works on some popular platforms and more are coming:

As you can see from the image above, iOS, Windows and Firefox OS are not yet supported…and it doesn’t seem to work in Firefox browser. Still, if you’re a Google Chrome browser user, this will work fine both as an app or in your Google Chrome web browser!

You can use an existing PGP private key, or create a new one.  In the future, you will be able to load PGP keys from your computer’s clipboard (coming soon in a future release!)!

The problem I ran into using a text file was that my PGP key lacked a “asc” filename extension.

UPDATE: As of 02/03/2015, the “.asc” filename extension requirement has been removed! Yay!

However, you can take your text file your PGP private keys and then change the filename extension (e.g. mykeys.asc). Or, once you create a new set of PGP keys, you can export your keypair via Whiteout.io

If you export your keypair–which you’ll want to save in a safe place, probably encrypted in a Veracrypt drive or at least protected by ParanoiaWorks SSE encryption tool–you can share the public key with others so they can send you encrypted email:

—–BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—– 

Version: OpenPGP.js v0.9.0

Comment: Whiteout Mail – https://whiteout.io 

xsBNBFTPn/QBCACjZaVuWfUsMxyES8oRCcTFithhcoTG4S9fJ71XL5r2lP2l
j3TN1geiQvNXPC7Q0IoTTcOl4YX7fFESrSfUde4CMxcEddbb2ATrA0G3q7r9
yVF/rBItGo0GDUaAdOr/cCPZbqztBHHmlfMeu3GtXzySFC2jAQ1kY1hXKodY
YbuhmUok/2QrbU30L6zshyJKINT0v9nSGn03zh5m4Tnl4oy96RqBqNvYI3Xl
f6L5ZFDX2O+0RCRO/ZcogjuPrt16eetPxieK6ZIxRFovcafVfzsEmVp+ItUu
dLTIkKH6KZvnpn/+IM9BXofsY6SM0jTe/FasHzCeA7UCqCXHgZj8GQc9ABEB
AAHNIVdoaXRlb3V0IFVzZXIgPG1ndWhsaW5AZ21haWwuY29tPsLAcgQQAQgA
JgUCVM+f9AYLCQgHAwIJEAx2ynpFYOk0BBUIAgoDFgIBAhsDAh4BAAC3VAf/
Y8XJd3/dBzFjRtVHUgtIK20/ZcTWWw5EWvEw1FtbBwNak1F91F7mB3NQjtCY
O/5Ao/fs9XqhVKrlOZ7dnhUW3I8IuIroTXi9yCBuT2aCcEV6fiUXk2Os+y3O
EZZKMihiuG3WQewGggHk42tj/KSiPlqKS7owbOc1d/NBbyRbBELWrGFwUWbf
xdMD0U089HiNeausvk50l4ROosppLOz2xTJDFTKjIHycnT4Vih3dTVS2thg4
psaEF9nTe1XW9XlZlLeZW3y8BcY2qL7SAGQ5lPP9l55dko4nnypl0e3thFA3
azvjDRAOLTS4EiepsLdm6xzhxCg8PEaTlGMkzWPHSM7ATQRUz5/0AQgA4Wkz
04j3Dste9quDInK668M3bmczqknssLOlYubmiUqNYWCJlcB4LFxbMRhJ6v8d
aXJKikDvna61ahgVVvsHDAwASCmlw7ungtG4WHGBSVZEHBmowTKPPCiVlGe3
5B7/qJSow5VhL54uVhya7FfxjqIzaoRPpG50WMPPjxW9BKemDWbsIg1TGfzb
BVlB91B1sB+eW38J1T77q1fpsrkWzCoRz/b557XRM2YxEhsPFMdxR/aaF1z5
3GuCuco4pFUTNAvpqkHhifZeOX0Cg+5Lpr0n4z2ZjeSp9kg/tqEzrxBthQ65
PL3MaAoQpc06Y+FhiknM3hE462uZXggF6Hm3zQARAQABwsBfBBgBCAATBQJU
z5/1CRAMdsp6RWDpNAIbDAAAvlkH/Rx3GwOIyTOFs5iV+DkTjh1kN53oXqK/
d7uQ/q9Nw3QDOxVh4c45HVsqgJH/xRBtnede/GgkoNm8vkKomOtchk+0X423
vK7fvHdBtBYRzK7DDX4eBNj33e7Vf4wXNTwK4swJ5LxXB1Uudehn2F3Bn+/i
noZoW0cV6EsEAezZQkuxLts16WgpK3+N8sbTAL7XyTq2kt/x0Xgt3d5y4uRj
XhoMaSq0KhP85OkOExy9QtyE+u4/NMDB0jx7rh9W2cPTxsJHDGxsm0AB4OKW
syDl7DlIEz0mCaJPuHPQP8zYz97EKFlyzD8F88ZImSXMF+TX7Zg41RT01+dE
CEljKLC/mwc=
=mOEy
—–END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–

One of the caveats of this service worth mentioning:

As we are based on the OpenPGP standard we protect your message content but not its metadata and we do not provide anonymity. Sender, recipient, subject and date are transmitted via standard SMTP in the clear. You may want to keep that in mind when deciding if and when to use our app.

So, this presents a problem. That’s why other solutions like Tutanota.de and ProtonMail.ch are worthwhile alternatives, providing encryption. You can see email below:

Here’s an encrypted email in Gmail…but if you look at it in Whiteout, the message simply appears after you login:

Some of their features:

  • Whiteout Mail can be used with your existing email provider over IMAP. Also, coming soon, with an encrypted mailbox hosted by us, offering seamless integration with the app.
  • End-to-end encryption and private/public key management is implemented via the OpenPGP protocol. Our source code is published and open for inspection.
  • Your message is en­cryp­ted on the client and will never be transmitted or stored in the clear.
One question came to mind:

Is Mailvelope easier to use? Not surprisingly, I was able to import–copy-n-paste or exported keypair file–my Whiteout generated PGP public/private keys into Mailvelope, and decrypt Oliver’s encrypted email to me from within Gmail. So, yes, this is quite easy and less trouble. Benefit of Whiteoutio is that I didn’t have to consciously worry about it…I just did it by sending a secure email.

KEY MANAGEMENT
One of the questions I had was about key management. Essentially, will Whiteout.io handle key management for users? This may be the biggest draw for folks who are looking for an easy way to handle things, and not mess with keys. With tools like Mailvelope, etc., you have to manage public keys from folks “out there.” This can be a real hassle.
It appears from this blog entry, that Whiteout handles getting ahold of people’s public keys:

This is why we, as a service provider for encrypted email, believe that one major way we can provide value to users is key management. Not only does Whiteout Mail automate public key discovery when typing in a recipient’s email address, we also want to make private key management so easy that it becomes basically invisible to users (unless users explicitly want to dig deeper, of course).

I would love to read more about this. Key management is a big time-saver, especially if it syncs up to some public key server somewhere. I’m still not sure how to add public keys from friends I find online who may haven’t synced things up to a key server, but that would be interesting to see/try.
Thanks to Oliver for the heads-up about this exciting new email encryption tool, Whiteout.io!!

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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