62% Of Children Play Games Where They Interact With Others & Parents Are Concerned: McAfee

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 16, 2018 by itnerd

McAfee has that found the majority (95 per cent) of parents are worried about the risks their kids are exposed to while playing online video games, such as exposure to inappropriate content or nefarious people.

Highlights from the study:

  • 92 per cent of parents allow their children to play at least one hour of video games every day, with 8 per cent admitting that they allow their children to play more than five hours a day.
  • On average, children play video games for 2.13 hours a day or nearly 15 hours a week.
  • 62 per cent of children play games where they directly interact with other players, drastically increasing their risk of being targeted with inappropriate content or asked to share sensitive information.
  • 89 per cent of parents are aware of the dangers of this, with 71 per cent particularly concerned about them being groomed to share sensitive details or being shown inappropriate content such as violence (71 per cent), sexual images (77 per cent) or drugs (63 per cent).
  • 9 per cent admit to not monitoring at all, and 6 per cent don’t talk to their children about what is and isn’t appropriate behavior.
  • 44 per cent of parents admit to letting their children play games even when they are younger than the game’s age rating, with 13 per cent letting children play games with age ratings more than 5 years over their own age. This means that children as young as 12 could be playing games that have been exclusively rated for mature audiences due to intense portrayals of violence, strong sexual themes including nudity and rape, glamorization of use of drugs and more.

To learn more about the study and tips on how families can protect themselves from the risks of playing games online, check out this blog from McAfee’s Gary Davis:

Survey Methodology
McAfee commissioned OnePoll to conduct a survey of 5,000 parents of children ages 6 to 16 who play online or console games in Australia, Germany, Singapore, the U.S. and the U.K.


#Fail: Apple Maps Routing And Navigation Is DOWN World Wide [UPDATE: Resolved]

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 15, 2018 by itnerd

It appears that navigation and routing functions of Apple Maps are down at the moment. If you try to search for an address, this is what you see:apple2

What’s worse is that Apple either doesn’t want to acknowledge that they have an issue, or they are asleep at the switch. I posted this Tweet when I first noticed the issue:

Apple Support responded with this a few minutes later:

This was my reply:

You’d think a company that is approaching 1 Trillion dollars in market cap would be able to search Twitter and find Tweets like these:

And apparently this has been going on for hours which doesn’t look good if you’re Apple. Seeing as Apple isn’t admitting that there’s a problem, nobody knows how long before there is a fix for it. Thus Apple is going to have a long day fixing whatever is going on with Apple Maps and dealing with the PR fallout.


UPDATE #2: This is now resolved.

Review: KeySmart Nano Torch

Posted in Products with tags on June 15, 2018 by itnerd

I came across something the other day on Amazon that really caught my attention. It was the KeySmart Nano Torch which promises to be the “most powerful tiny flashlight.” And it is tiny.


It fits on my key chain and hardly takes up any real estate. It’s made of stainless steel so it should survive being in your pocket as well as looking cool in the process. It has a single LED bulb and is powered by a tiny LR521 179 battery. It shows up pre-assembled and all you do to activate it is twist the housing to the left until the light comes on.

So, the central question is, how bright is it? Well, I tested it in this dark room:


All you can see is the night light in this picture. So it’s pretty dark. But thanks to the Nano Torch, it lit it up pretty easily:


KeySmart says it’s good for 25 Lumens. given the results here, I believe it.

Gripes? I was trying hard to find something negative to say about this product and I can’t. I think that says something about the Nano Torch.

Thus if you want a bright flashlight that you’re always going to have at hand, this is the one to get. I got my Nano Torch (actually two of them as I got one for my wife) for $20.99 CDN on Amazon. The company sells them direct as well for $19.99 US.

Microsoft Says Windows 10 April 2018 Update Is Ready For Prime Time…. I Say Perhaps Not

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 15, 2018 by itnerd

The fine folks at Microsoft put out a blog post which trumpeted it’s use of AI to deliver a smooth roll out of the Windows 10 April 2018 update. Near the end of it, they say this:

Based on the update quality and reliability we are seeing through our AI approach, we are now expanding the release broadly to make the April 2018 Update (version 1803) fully available for all compatible devices running Windows 10 worldwide. Full availability is the final phase of our rollout process. You don’t have to do anything to get the update; it will rollout automatically to you through Windows Update.

Quality and reliability? Seriously? Tell that to the people who have been hit by issues related to this update. Most notably this one where your computer is basically unbootable after the update. Now I do have a fix for it but this issue should never have made it out of Microsoft’s QA labs. Then there’s this issue which to Microsoft’s credit they have fixed. And let’s not forget this issue which has been fixed as well. I could go on but I think you see my point here. Which is that this issue has been insanely problematic and Windows 10 users have suffered as a result. And that should never ever happen.

So Microsoft may say this update is ready for prime time. But I say that you should take that with a grain of salt. But if you fell like rolling the dice on this, make sure you have a backup of your computer in case things go south. Which is entirely possible given what has gone on to date.

GrayShift Claims USB Restricted Mode In iOS 12 Is Already “Defeated”

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 15, 2018 by itnerd

And so the arms race has begun.

Hot on the heels of Apple admitting that it was looking to stop brute force password exploits via USB by the addition of USB Restricted Mode, GrayShift who makes the GrayKey devices which are popular among law enforcement for cracking into iPhones claims they’ve already “defeated” this feature:

“Grayshift has gone to great lengths to future proof their technology and stated that they have already defeated this security feature in the beta build. Additionally, the GrayKey has built in future capabilities that will begin to be leveraged as time goes on,” a June email from a forensic expert who planned to meet with Grayshift, and seen by Motherboard, reads, although it is unclear from the email itself how much of this may be marketing bluff. “They seem very confident in their staying power for the future right now,” the email adds.

That implies that GrayShift have a beta copy of iOS 12 and they’ve tested it against their devices to come to this conclusion. Assuming they’re telling the truth of course. Which means that as the beta process for iOS 12 continues, Apple will likely try to figure out what they’ve done and close those attack vectors. Then GrayShift will most likely try to find new attack vectors. Thus, the arms race has begun between the two companies. The question is, will either side come out on top?

CRTC Ordered To Investigate The Sales Practices Of The “Big 3” Telecoms

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 14, 2018 by itnerd

I am going to go out and limb and say that execs at Bell, Rogers, and Telus might be a wee bit concerned by the fact that the Canadian Government has ordered the CRTC to investigate their sales practices:

The federal government is ordering an investigation following allegations that Canada’s largest telecommunications companies are using “misleading” and “aggressive” tactics to sell products and services.

Innovation, Science and Economic Minister Navdeep Bains has ordered the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to investigate and report on the sales practices used by Canada’s largest telecommunication companies. 

The minister also called for a public inquiry to allow Canadians to voice their concerns and said the resulting inquiry report will have to propose potential solutions.

What’s interesting is that Rogers, Telus, and even Shaw who owns Freedom Mobile claim to be open to a public inquiry. But there’s no comment from Bell. Seeing as they have been found to be the worst offenders when it comes to this sort of thing. I think it tells you all you need to know about Bell.

I think that we’ll figure out how much the telcos care about this if they go on an aggressive PR offensive and if they even make some sort of minimal decrease of your telco bill.

Stay tuned. The inquiry has until the end of February of next year to its work. And seeing  as next year is an election year, action might even be taken by the government if something pops up that they can lock on to so that they can score some cheap political points.

The IT Nerd 2018 Fathers’s Day Gift Guide

Posted in Commentary on June 14, 2018 by itnerd

Father’s Day is just around the corner and I have a short list of suggestions of a high tech nature that dad would love. If you think that there’s something else that should be on the list, drop me a note and let me know.

Linksys Velop Intelligent Mesh Wifi System – $129.99 USD (1-pack), $199.99 USD (2-pack), $299.99 USD (3-pack)

A great gift for Dad that will benefit the whole family, VELOP sets up in minutes and delivers flawless, ultra-fast, full-strength signal throughout your home. Because not every home is the same, this modular system lets you buy as few or as many VELOP nodes as you need, and place them wherever you need them, making dead spots a thing of the past. With powerful dual-band mesh technology, you’ll get seamless roaming and maximum speed right out to the edge of your network, even when everyone’s streaming their favourite shows. Read the review here.

Roku Streaming Stick + – $89.99 CAD

With brilliant picture quality, 4x the wireless range, and a new voice remote, the new Roku Streaming Stick+ is just like Roku’s portable Streaming Stick, super-charged. The Streaming Stick+ offers high-performance portability and is compatible with 4K and HDR TV’s. The convenience of this streaming player can allow Dads to stream from any location that offers wireless internet. Read the review here.

Roku Express – $44.99 CAD

The new Roku Express is five times more powerful than its predecessor, and offers easy HD streaming at an affordable price. Easy to set up and use, the Express comes with a remote control that makes finding something to watch a snap. And with over 150,000 movies and TV shows available (including lots of free content), Dad and the kids will never run out of things to watch! Read the review here.

Pulse Mini Speaker-$599 CDN

For something more versatile and capable of playing anywhere in the home, the PULSE MINI is more powerful and clear than many players twice its size. With Bluesound you can access and connect to internet radio stations, cloud music services, and your own local music library. Mini setup is simple, easily expandable and portable.

Nomad Universal Cable-$29 to $34 USD

The Nomad Universal Cable is a very practical gift option for dad as you can give him a cable that allows him to charge and sync any device, but his friends can do the same regardless of what device they have. Plus the cable is designed to survive anything. Read the review here.