Trump Declares Twitter A National Security Threat After #DiaperDon Trends On Twitter…. WTF?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on November 27, 2020 by itnerd

President Donald Trump has officially jumped the shark now. I say that because he spent last night railing against Section 230, which is part of a law that allows tech companies to set their own rules about how they regulate content on their platforms. This because he was upset that #DiaperDon started to trend on Twitter because of a sometimes-tense news conference in which Trump snapped at the Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason, who asked the president whether he would concede if the Electoral College voted to officially make Joe Biden the winner of the US election, as it is scheduled to do on December 14.

Here’s a look at what #DiaperDon looks like on Twitter. It’s kind of funny actually.

You know, this guy has the thinnest orange skin I have ever seen. He clearly can’t take any criticism, and he lashes out in ways that lack any logic. Just because he doesn’t like a hashtag that is trending on Twitter doesn’t mean that social media is a national security threat.

But in all seriousness, bias in social media against Conservatives is a very common trope by Conservatives. And I would have one piece of advice for them seeing as any sort of bias against Conservatives seems not to be there. Crying wolf about censorship is a self-defeating strategy that will only make people not listen when it actually happens.

Rebecca Leach Joins Cisco AppDynamics As Country Manager for Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 27, 2020 by itnerd

AppDynamics, part of Cisco and the world’s #1 Application Performance Monitoring (APM) solution and full-stack, business centric observability platform, today announced the appointment of Rebecca Leach as Country Manager for AppDynamics Canada. Based in Toronto, Rebecca will oversee AppDynamics’ continued expansion in the Canadian market.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, AppDynamics has helped customers throughout Canada shift to digital and support technologists who have found themselves under pressure and in need of observability tools to manage their complex IT stack. In the recent Agents of Transformation Report, 64 per cent of Canadian technologists interviewed said the pandemic had exposed weaknesses in digital strategies and 69 per cent of Canadian IT professionals said digital transformation projects had been implemented in weeks rather than the months or years it would have taken before the pandemic. AppDynamics supports businesses across industries in Canada to help prevent digital performance issues by monitoring cloud-native technologies and traditional infrastructure to understand exactly what drives user experiences and impacts the bottom line for businesses. 

Prior to joining the AppDynamics team, Rebecca was General Manager of Software Sales for Cisco in Canada, where she also acted as the lead for the company’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy in Canada. At AppDynamics, Rebecca will be responsible for growing the Canadian business with a focus on key sectors including government, finance and retail. Rebecca is also looking to continue her diversity and inclusion efforts as she cultivates a world-class team.

Recognizing the impact COVID-19 has had on IT teams now managing a surge of digital demands, pressure and accelerated timelines of digital transformation projects, AppDynamics is extending support to businesses with the offer of a free trial of its APM software and one-on-one meetings with a consultant. Visit https://www.appdynamics.com/covid-19/assist-program to get started.

New Canadian Black Friday & Cyber Week Data from Salesforce

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 26, 2020 by itnerd

With Black Friday (Nov 27) and Cyber Monday (Nov 30) quickly approaching, I wanted to share some Canadian research data from Salesforce.

The 2020 Shopping Index Report  predicts that this year’s COVID-19 shaped holiday shopping season will see a 30% spike in global online holiday sales, not surprising considering that 65% of Canadian shoppers plan to shop more online this year than they did in previous years. 

This holiday shopping season’s standout stats include: 

  • 89% of Canadians expect companies to accelerate online shopping capabilities
  • 2020 holiday sales are estimated at $5.1 trillion with a record high of $940 billion of these dollars to be spent online 
  • The surge in online transactions is expected to reach 18 percent of total retail sales globally 
  • Canadian customers estimate 53% of their interactions with businesses will take place online this year, compared to 34% in 2019

FOUR MAJOR 2020 HOLIDAY SHOPPING PREDICTIONS 

Prediction #1: Fulfillment Concerns Will Overshadow Brandy Loyalty

  • 700 million holiday packages are expected to be delayed as online orders exceed shipping capacity by 5% globally.
  • $40 billion in COVID-19 delivery surcharges are expected between November 15 and January 15 globally
  • Buy online, pickup in store offers will grow digital revenue by an average of 90% over last holiday season

Prediction #2: Cyber week growth despite the earlier holiday shopping trend 

  • Cyber Week digital traffic is expected to grow by 28% this year despite early holiday shopping leading to a $26 billion spending increase in October. 

Prediction #3: Growth in Online Shopping Means a Spike in Holiday Returns

  • $280 billion in online purchases are expected to be returned globally—30 percent of all purchases made. 
  • Consumers are predicted to engage 30% more with service agents this holiday season

Prediction #4: New Consumer Behaviours will Drive Hot Product Categories

  • Beauty, electronics and gaming will once again be top holiday spending categories in 2020 but home furnishings and decor, home fitness and toys are among the new leading categories this year

→ Link to entire holiday predictions press release HERE

SkipTheDishes CEO Comments On Pending Ontario Government Legislation To Cap Commissions For Food Delivery Services

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 26, 2020 by itnerd

I just received a statement from Kevin Edwards, CEO of SkipTheDishes about the Ontario Government’s efforts to put a cap on commissions that food delivery services can earn. Here’s the statement in full:

While we are glad the Ontario government recognizes the work SkipTheDishes has been doing since March to support our restaurant partners, we are disappointed that they have decided to regulate private enterprise by enforcing a commission cap on food delivery services operating in the province. 

Our restaurant partners are of the utmost importance to us. SkipTheDishes is a proud Canadian brand, and since the start of the pandemic we’ve worked tirelessly beside our restaurant partners and have proactively provided them with over $30 million dollars in industry leading support since March, months before being called upon by Premier Ford or Mayor Tory to do so.

When taking into account the 25% commission rebate we have implemented in affected regions of the province, all local, independent restaurant partners on the SkipTheDishes platform are already paying less than 20% in commission while their dining rooms are closed.

Since the start of the pandemic, SkipTheDishes has provided industry-leading support, which includes:

  • 25% commission rebate to our local, independent restaurant partners to help when they need it most
  • 0% commission rate for new restaurants joining the network during the lockdown period
  • 10% commission rate to any restaurant on Skip looking to utilize staff to facilitate their own delivery, connecting over 30,000 restaurants with millions of customers across the country
  • Additional marketing and order-driving initiatives to drive repeat orders and attract new customers for our restaurant partners, increasing incremental revenue
  • Streamlining our restaurant onboarding process, so that new partners join the network 40% faster
  • The continuation of our restaurant tipping initiative, which has seen over $1.2 million in generous donations from Skip customers go directly to local restaurants

We have been working directly with all levels of government in Ontario over the last few months on ways we can work together to best support the restaurant industry, and look forward to continuing those discussions over the next few weeks. 

ByteDance Gets 7 Day Extension To Divest TikTok

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 26, 2020 by itnerd

Apparently, the Trump Administration hasn’t forgotten about TikTok because they’ve given ByteDance who owns TikTok another seven days to unload TikTok says Reuters:

The administration previously had granted ByteDance a 15-day extension of the order issued in August, which was set to expire Friday. President Donald Trump on Aug. 14 had directed ByteDance to divest the app within 90 days.

The new deadline is Dec. 4, TikTok said in the filing. Under pressure from the U.S. government, ByteDance has been in talks for months to finalize a deal with Walmart Inc and Oracle Corp to shift TikTok’s U.S. assets into a new entity.

This might have something to do with the fact that ByteDance reportedly has a “new proposal” that’s aimed at addressing U.S. government concerns. It will be interesting to see what that is. As well as it will be interesting to see if other concerns in “Trump World” have any effect on this.

iRobot Posts Black Friday Deals

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 26, 2020 by itnerd

Just in time for your holiday shopping, iRobot’s Canadian deals that are now live on iRobot.ca

Roomba 675: Regular price = $369.99 CAD. Black Friday promo = $279.99  CAD

Roomba i3Regular price = $499.99. Black Friday promo = $399.99 CAD

Roomba i3+Regular price = $749.99 CAD. Black Friday promo = $549.99 CAD

Braava jet m6 robot mop (exclusive BLACK m6)Regular price = $649.99 CAD. Black Friday promo = $549.99 CAD

Check out all these deals on iRobot.ca today.

Bell Canada Tweets About Their Black Friday Sale…. And It Doesn’t Go Well For Them

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 26, 2020 by itnerd

Bell Canada has issues with their customer service. So much so, it’s the only reason why I personally haven’t switched from Rogers to Bell. This despite the fact that Bell has a superior Internet product when compared to anything that Rogers offers. But I won’t switch to a superior product to get inferior customer service. Clearly others have issues with Bell’s customer service as evidenced by what happened when Bell decided to Tweet about their Black Friday sale:

Things went to hell in a hand basket shortly after this was posted. Take this example (Warning: Spicy language):

Ouch. That will leave a mark. How about this one:

Two hours on hold with any and not getting any service is totally unacceptable. I can see why this person would be a wee bit ticked off.

One person had an issue with the fact that they were promoting a Black Friday sale during a pandemic:

That’s a fair point. I live in Toronto and along with Peel Region, and we’re in lockdown again. And that’s true in a few other places in Canada. Which is a big hint that maybe this was an ill timed Tweet as people should be staying home as much as possible.

Back to the customer service complaints:

Bell employees and their contractors have been caught doing some shady things when it comes to getting people onboard and keeping them as Bell customers. Such as up-selling at all costs, as well as having contractors who do door to door sales say and do anything to get you onboard. Something that their contractors confirmed but Bell denied until their contractors were caught red handed. As for Bell changing their pricing on a whim. A judge did say that they can’t do that. Thus it would be interesting to see if that still happens.

If you scroll through the entire thread, you’ll see a lot of this sort of sentiment. It has the feel of that time when Rogers tried to promote their One Number service with the hashtag #Rogers1Number and that went totally off the rails when people hijacked the hashtag to complain about poor customer service from Rogers. At least in that instance, Rogers took it on the chin and publicly admitted that they had customer service issues that they needed to address. But I don’t see Bell doing that here. They don’t strike me as the sort of company who would actually admit to having a problem, owning it, and making changes. After all, having great tech only gets you so far.

New Workforce Challenges Emerge In Canada As Remote Work Expands: SAP

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 25, 2020 by itnerd

Changes to the workplace are accelerating in Canada, forcing leaders to adapt to unexpected disruptions, anticipate future challenges, and plan for strategic changes, according to a survey released today by Oxford Economics, the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and SAP SuccessFactors, a division of SAP SE.

Some 50 per cent of Canadian respondents said they expect flexible work policies to be a talent differentiator, according to the report “The Future of Work Arrives Early: How HR Leaders are Leveraging the Lessons of Disruptions.” However, 57 per cent expect maintaining productivity given new ways of working to be an ongoing challenge. More than 37 per cent of respondents said that establishing a culture that supports remote employees will also be a challenge when the pandemic subsides, and most acknowledge that their workers have had very different experiences depending on if they are salaried, hourly, office or field workers. Nearly 30 per cent of respondents plan to invest in listening tools or employee surveys, which could help organizations keep a pulse on employee sentiment as changes to the workplace continue.

The report found that 74 per cent of respondents in Canada said their company has the technology it needs to navigate the changing work environment, and 37 per cent expect to invest in remote collaboration tools. Still, only 22 per cent of respondents said that their workers can work remotely and have the necessary technology and environment to do so effectively. Some 38 per cent of respondents expect to reduce their office footprint.

When it comes to attracting talent, 17 per cent of respondents in Canada believe competing for talent will be a major challenge. Top factors to attract and retain talent include flexible work policies (62 per cent), finding new ways of delivering/selling/marketing existing products and services (61 per cent), and the financial stability of the organization (59 per cent).

Looking forward, only 27 per cent of respondents in Canada are planning to invest in learning programs for reskilling and upskilling over the next 12 months. This compares to 22 per cent of U.S. respondents and 38 per cent of respondents outside of the U.S., despite employee readiness to learn new skills.

The Future of Work Arrives Early: How HR Leaders are Leveraging the Lessons of Disruption” reportsurveyed HR leaders in 10 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The data in this press release represents more than 300 HR leaders in Canada. Download the Canadian report and the global report.

Darktrace Comments On Cyber Threats Lurking ahead Of Black Friday/Cyber Monday

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 25, 2020 by itnerd

As we near Black Friday and Cyber Monday, widely recognized as one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, consumers and businesses alike are prepping for the inevitable influx of online shopping brought forth by the past year of increased remote work and social distancing. The need for online operations to run smoothly is greater and so is the need for organizational data to stay secure from cyber threat.

David Masson, Director of Enterprise Security, Darktrace had this to say:

We are now battling attackers that understand their victims’ business models extremely well – using this knowledge to hit where, and when, it hurts the most. Black Friday is typically a busy and important day for retail, but now with increased pressure on online shopping, hackers are preparing attacks to profit from this and take advantage.

Hackers are using ransomware to not just disrupt the cyber realm, but also to grind organizations to a halt and interrupt critical business processes – we can expect many more of these types of attacks to hit the retail sector at the tail end of this year. At Darktrace, we’ve seen the rising trend in ransomware firsthand, and our AI has already stopped several attempted ransomware attacks across the retail sector in the past month alone. 

As the retail sector braces itself for an online shopping season like never before, with a more stretched out timeframe than just one day of deals and savings for their customers, companies must proceed with caution. Increasing their cyber defenses are critical for benefiting from strong sales and keeping their businesses operational. Artificial intelligence is already a crucial ally for the retail sector across Canada – the technology is always on, it doesn’t take breaks and it augments human defenders at a time that will make or break many retailers.

ESET Launches Safer Kids Online

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 25, 2020 by itnerd

ESET, a global leader in cybersecurity, recently announced the launch of Safer Kids Online, a new resource platform for kids, parents and educators dedicated to building a safer online environment for children across North America. The website and corresponding newsletter features blogs, vlogs, parental guidance and expert insight that helps children enjoy the full potential of the Internet in a secure digital world.

While the Internet can be a valuable resource for information and news and provide a vital connection to the outside world – especially as many children are now learning from home – it can expose children to cyberbullying, unsolicited attention and inappropriate or unsafe content. 

It can also expose children to identity theft. 

According to a 2018 study by Javelin Strategy & Research, more than one million children were the victims of identity theft in 2017, with two-thirds of those children under the age of eight and 20 per cent between the ages of eight and 12.

In addition to drawing on the knowledge of ESET’s cybersecurity professionals, the content on Safer Kids Online will be developed in consultation with child Internet safety experts and feature a variety of topics, including social media, cyberbullying, creating strong passwords, how to recognize malware and how to stay safe while gaming online. To find out more or to sign up for Safer Kids Online monthly newsletter, visit www.saferkidsonline.eset.com.

To further support its efforts to foster a safe Internet for kids, ESET has become a member of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), an international, non-profit organization that brings together leaders in industry, government and non-profit sectors to collaborate and innovate new solutions and policies in the field of online safety.

For more information, visit www.saferkidsonline.eset.com