#Fail: Marketo Forgets To Re-Register Their Domain

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 25, 2017 by itnerd

For those of you who don’t know who Marketo is, they make marketing automation software to help companies engage with their own customer base. It’s a cloud product and it had a major #fail.

This morning, Marketo users were reporting trouble with logging on to its website. That soon led to #Marketo trending on Twitter. So, what was the cause? Here’s what Marketo CEO Steve Lucas had to say on Twitter:

This was then followed by this:

Then this:

So… What was the issue? Cue the Twitterverse:

Wow. That’s a #fail. A marketing company that makes software that resides in the cloud who couldn’t keep their own domain registered. Someone was asleep at the switch. Fortunately, the Twitterverse has a sense of humor:

While there is a bit of a sense of humor about this, a whole lot of people at Marketo HQ have some explaining to do to customers over the next few days. After all, you can’t have a #fail like this with a cloud based product without some repercussions.

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#Fail: iRobot Wants To Sell Maps Of Your Home

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 25, 2017 by itnerd

The maker of the Roomba robot vacuum, iRobot has found itself embroiled in a privacy storm after its chief executive suggested it may begin selling floor plans of customers’ homes, derived from the movement data of their autonomous servants:

No. Seriously. I am not making this up. Here’s the proof:

“There’s an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared,” said [iRobot CEO Colin] Angle.

Remember the days when worrying about the Internet of Things meant that you were worrying about someone pwning said thing on the Internet and causing you some grief? Yeah, 2016 was such a good year. In any case, this is a stupid idea. Why? It’s a slippery slope. Targeted ads, law enforcement wanting to get their hands on this data…. That’s just two ways that I can think of that this can go horribly sideways. Now you could opt out…. But:

The iRobot Home app does clearly inform users that they are capable of turning off the cloud sharing functions on their Roomba. But the actual terms of service document is written in typically convoluted legal language. The privacy policy frames most data collection as something that will just make your device better and improve overall user experience. A section of the policy on sharing personal information with third parties bullet points out the situations in which iRobot could share this data.

That doesn’t inspire confidence. I’m going to keep an eye on this as this is guaranteed to blow up. Which means I’ll be reporting on this again in the not too distant future.

Microsoft Says That It’s Not Killing Microsoft Paint Due To Public Pressure

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 25, 2017 by itnerd

Yesterday I posted that Microsoft was going to kill Microsoft Paint after being part of Windows 10 for just over 3 decades. Well, there was a plot twist that I didn’t see coming. Apparently people like Microsoft Paint and told Microsoft so. Thus the software said late Monday that it will not be killing off its Paint app in the next update of Windows 10. It will be made available via the Windows Store for free and will not be completely removed:

The U.S. technology company recently released a list which labeled Paint “deprecated,” meaning it was considering removing the app when the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update gets released later this year. Fans on social media decried the potential death of Paint, which has been in existence for 32 years. But Microsoft released a blog post shortly after to clarify that Paint would not be completely removed, but instead made available via the Windows Store for free. “Today, we’ve seen an incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia around MS Paint. If there’s anything we learned, it’s that after 32 years, MS Paint has a lot of fans. It’s been amazing to see so much love for our trusty old app,” Megan Saunders, a general manager at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post on Monday. “Amidst today’s commentary around MS Paint we wanted to take this opportunity to set the record straight, clear up some confusion and share some good news: MS Paint is here to stay, it will just have a new home soon, in the Windows Store where it will be available for free.”

This is an interesting reaction and one that I would not have expected. Who knew that so many people loved Microsoft Paint? But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. It hasn’t changed all that much over the years, so people are comfortable with how it works. Plus it’s kind of handy to have as a quick and dirty file conversion tool for different graphics formats. That might explain what happened in the last 24 hours or so.

Long live Microsoft Paint!

Flash To Be Deep Sixed By Adobe By 2020

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 25, 2017 by itnerd

Somewhere Steve Jobs is declaring victory when it comes to killing Adobe Flash. The news is out that the once popular, but now exploit ridden browser plug in will be dead by 2020:

The software company’s decision to phase out Flash is noteworthy considering that the software has been synonymous with Adobe since its debut for playing videos and animations in web browsers. As the Internet matured and grew in popularity over the years, so did Flash, which became one of the most widely used ways for people to watch video clips and play online video games.

But as more people used Flash, criminals increasingly found ways to exploit security vulnerabilities in the technology and hack into people’s computers. Flash’s increasing holes and bugs soon became a source of frustration for some of the world’s biggest technology companies.

Frankly, Flash won’t be missed. With standards such as HTML 5 and Web GL, there are way better and safer ways to display web content than Flash.

R.I.P. Flash.

UPDATE: Here’s the official word from Adobe.

Force Quitting iOS Apps…. Yes Or No?

Posted in Tips with tags on July 25, 2017 by itnerd

Something that I come across from time to time are people who insist of force quitting iOS apps which is done by double clicking the home button, and then swiping the app or apps that they want to force quit. The word on the street is that you save your battery life, RAM and CPU power by doing so. But is that true or not? The answer is perhaps a bit more nuanced than a simple yes or now answer. Let’s start discussing this by looking at what Apple says in this document:

When you double-click the Home button, your recently used apps appear. The apps aren’t open, but they’re in standby mode to help you navigate and multitask. You should force an app to close only when it’s unresponsive.

In other words, the apps that are in the background aren’t consuming that much RAM and they aren’t using any CPU or battery life. And the thing is, iOS is exceptionally good at making sure that these apps behave. In fact, it actually takes more CPU and battery power to force quit and restart an app than it does to simply leave it there. Thus you shouldn’t force quit an app unless it’s crashed or something.

Now there is one scenario where I can see where that you might save some CPU and battery power by force quitting an app. It is possible that an app that uses location services functionality that is set to always active may not be put into standby as it is periodically polling for your (or more accurately the iPhone’s) location. Thus logic suggests that force quitting one of these apps may actually save you battery life if you don’t need the functionality that the app provides.

Now you’re likely wondering what I do. I will admit to force quitting apps like Garmin Connect, Runtastic Pro among other fitness apps that I have on my iPhone for the reasons that I stated above. But most of my other apps like Maps, Calendar and the like are always running. I can’t say if that makes a difference or not and perhaps someone should take a look at this empirically to see what the truth is. In the meantime the question of whether you should force quit an app on the iOS platform is not a yes or no answer. At least not at the present time.

Microsoft Paint To Be Axed In Fall Windows 10 Update

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 24, 2017 by itnerd

If you’re really attached to Microsoft paint, I have bad news for you. If you go to this link, you’ll see that Microsoft Paint is among the features to be deprecated by Microsoft in what is called the “Fall Creators Update” to Windows 10.

That sounds like a big deal, but I don’t think so. Here’s why:

  1. Microsoft Paint hasn’t been updated in a very long time. Thus most people end up using a more feature rich app.
  2. The Creators Update that popped up in April brought Paint3D to the table.

With those in mind, I think that it’s safe to say that after a 32 year run, it’s time for Microsoft Paint to ride off into the sunset.

Now before I go, I would suggest that anyone who administers PCs for a living take a look at the link above to see what other features are being axed. The removal of Microsoft Paint may be trivial, but some of the other features that are being removed may not be for your use case.

In Depth: Hyundai BlueLink

Posted in Products with tags on July 24, 2017 by itnerd

Hyundai Canada is rolling out a new piece of technology that is really going to shake things up for those looking for the coolest tech in their next car. Called BlueLink, it’s a connected vehicle system that gives you the following via an app and a telematics system connected by Bell:

Local Search: If you need some gas or coffee, you can have your car find you the nearest Esso or Starbucks.

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Powered by Google, you can use your voice to say things like “find me a coffee” or “find me a gas station” to have the system find you what you need. All you need do is press the voice command button on the steering wheel. What’s cool is that when I demoed it, the voice commands worked flawlessly and the system displayed the opening and closing hours and offered to navigate you to the destination.

Vehicle Car Care Information: If you’ve ever wondered about the health of your car, you can check the health of your car on demand. You can also set up monthly health reports that will be delivered to you by e-mail. That way, you’re never in the dark about the health of your Hyundai.

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All of this can be done via the app (which is available for Android, iOS, and BlackBerry, though the screenshots are from the iOS version of the app) or from the infotainment screen inside of the car.

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Even if you don’t find anything amiss you can set reminders to make sure your vehicle is taken care of, and you can find your nearest Hyundai dealer should the need arise.

Automatic Crash Notifications: If the worst possible scenario should happen and you find yourself in an accident, emergency services can be automatically contacted.

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As you can see from this picture, it will send your exact location in the form of longitude and latitude co-ordinates so that emergency services can find you if you can’t say where you are. It’s also great if you run into trouble in a rural part of Canada or you’re in an unfamiliar location. If however you need to get emergency services on demand, the rear-view mirror has buttons to immediately connect you.

Roadside Assistance: If you get a flat tire or some other mechanical issue while you’re on the road, the system can connect you to roadside assistance either via the app or via the button on the rear-view mirror. Here’s what it looks like from the app.

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Find My Car: If you have a habit of misplacing your car in large parking lots, Hyundai can help you with that. BlueLink will show you your car’s location on a map and give you directions to get there. If you still need help once you get closer, you can flash the lights or honk the horn to lead you to your car. I’d like to show a screen shot of the Find My Car function from the app to highlight one key feature:

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The Find My Car feature, along with many other features within the BlueLink app, is protected by a PIN that is independent of the phone’s PIN. The reason for that is that Hyundai makes the correct assumption that not everyone uses a PIN on their phone. Thus they have to take steps to ensure that your Hyundai is protected from someone with less than honorable intentions who happens to get their hands on your phone. This is a good call on their part as it shows that Hyundai really thought about security when it comes to BlueLink.

 

Remote Start: The really cool feature that you’ll love is remote start. Not only can you start your Hyundai remotely with the app, you can also set the cabin temperature and even turn on the heated steering wheel and save up to three pre-set configurations of your favorite cabin settings. Say one for winter, one for summer and one for spring/fall. I had a chance to demo this at Hyundai Canada’s headquarters recently and I was able to take this video of the iOS version of the BlueLink app starting a brand new 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT remotely:

On to of starting your car, you can also use the app to see if your doors are locked, unlocked, or open. Not to mention you can see if the trunk or hood is open or closed.

The most impressive feature of Hyundai BlueLink is the fact that you get to use it free of charge for five years which matches the length of Hyundai’s factory warranty. That’s a brilliant idea as it sets it apart from BlueLink’s competition who offer free service for much shorter amounts of time. Plus I imagine that you will be more likely to pay for it once the five years is up because you’ve been immersed in the technology for so long.

BlueLink is rolling in Canada out starting the the aforementioned 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT which is coming to Canada shortly. As Hyundai refreshes their lineup over the next couple of years, BlueLink will make appearances in those vehicles as well. If you’re in a market for a car, and you like to have your car as part of your connected life, you should take a look at Hyundai vehicles equipped with BlueLink as it clearly is going to make waves in the automotive landscape.