🎉 Chrome updates, using ChatGPT, dissecting privacy policies, and more – Of bits and bytes for August 14, 2023

The August feels

Ah, August. The month of anticipation, anxiety, and angst. If you are already back with students, congratulations, the hardest part of the month is over. In my district we have another week and a half to finish up PD for new programs, creating accounts for new students & staff, assigning equipment to new users, and so much more. It’s always a fun time, well, depending on your definition of fun.

“A smart writer once observed that to get people to build a boat, you don’t give a blueprint. You make them long for the edge of the sea.” – Steven Volk

Here’s to you, inspiring all to find what they long for and then helping them achieve it.

Internet Travels

Of bits and bytes is my weekly round up of interesting links and ideas I discovered on the internet. It is published on Mondays for the previous week


Google is removing the download bar that shows up when you download a file and moving it to an icon in the toolbar. This is a good idea, and puts Chrome more inline with how Firefox and Safari works. However, doing this in August is not a good time to do it for all of the poor school IT departments that will now have to handle a bunch of help desk tickets! If you don’t want this new behavior, the link will show you how to get the downloads bar back.

Last week I wrote about Google breaking the Chrome browser free from the operating system on Chromebooks. One nice feature of this change will be the ability to more easily use profiles on the Chromebooks. Currently, if you want to sign in to a personal Google profile, it has to be entirely separate from your school profile. This change won’t affect students though since they shouldn’t have access to personal Google accounts on their Chromebooks.

Google Docs is added eSignature capabilities. You’ll be able to sign PDFs directly in Google Drive. This features is only coming to Google Workspace Educational Plus subscribers. My district is on the free Google Workspace Fundamentals tier, so we unfortunately won’t be able to use it.


If you are looking at using ChatGPT as an assistant in your classroom this year, The Techy Coach has some tips and tricks for starting off your classroom.


Security is tough, you can leak information in ways that you can’t imagine. AI researchers have created a way to use AI to detect what you are typing in a Zoom conference with a 93% accuracy just by listening to your keyboard. Time to get a quieter keyboard!


The quickest way to get someone’s eyes to glaze over is to start talking law, and those privacy policies on all of the websites can help. However, if you are using those websites in your classroom, it’s a good idea to know what you data you are giving up. The Markup has a great guide on getting to the truth in privacy policies h/t – Assorted Stuff. Understanding what’s going on with your data is becoming more and more important.

I learned this week that Google Search can also perform grammar check.

Pot Pourri

File this under things that feel correct and now we have the research to back it up. Child stress impacts decline in old age.

Extra Credit

Here are extra links that I found interesting that may or may not be education related or interesting to you and I didn’t want to lose them.

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