Martello to Receive Funding from the Government of Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 25, 2018 by itnerd

Martello Technologies Group Inc. is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement to receive a contribution of up to $2 million (CDN) from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), a federally funded program that supports Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help develop and commercialize innovative technologies, products and services. The funding, which has not yet been received by the company, will accelerate the development of a service-aware SD-WAN solution by Martello, including the hiring of 11 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) employees in Canada.

Digital transformation has resulted in rising demand for bandwidth-intensive real-time services like unified communications and video streaming. This has created a network performance management challenge, and an opportunity for Martello. The company’s solution will simplify and automate performance management, so that businesses can manage the performance of these services on networks with only minimal IT intervention. In order to receive the contribution from NRC IRAP, Martello must meet all conditions of the contribution, which include maintaining adequate records and submitting periodic status reports.

Martello, a part of the Wesley Clover family of companies backed by Sir Terry Matthews, has been recognized for its strategy and technology. In September, the company received a Frost & Sullivan Leadership Award for NPM (Network Performance Management) and ranked as Ottawa’s Fastest Growing Company at No. 28 on the Growth 500 list of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies. In August 2018, the company received the INTERNET TELEPHONY SD-WAN Product of the Year Award, and in June debuted on the Branham 300 listing of Canada’s top ICT (Information and Communications Technology) companies. The company recently went public with a TSXV listing, following the closure of an oversubscribed $7.5 million private placement. The company’s ambitious growth plans include future merger and acquisition activity, an area in which the company has a positive track record. In December 2017, Martello merged with SD-WAN player Elfiq Networks.

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Airthings Introduces First Live Global Radon Map

Posted in Commentary on September 25, 2018 by itnerd

Airthings officially unveils the world’s first-ever, live global Radon map, RadonMap.com, powered by unique consumer-generated sensor data compiled from around the world. RadonMap.com updates Radon level data regularly, arming users with current and historical data and serving as an indispensable and revolutionary tool for anyone looking to keep their families, employees, tenants and students healthy, safe and productive.

RadonMap.com aggregates radon level data from Airthings’ industry-leading devices dispersed all over North America, Europe and beyond to provide accurate, local radon readings for users seeking current and reliable insight into the dangerous indoor gas and how much exposure they are subjected to daily.

Previously, gaining an understanding of localized Radon readings was only possible through professionally-administered tests or outdated government data, offering an inaccurate, one-time snapshot rather than a constantly-evolving picture. Now, with the introduction of the Airthings RadonMap.com, Radon levels and fluctuations can be tracked accurately through a community of user-generated data. RadonMap.cominstantly becomes the most reliable and up-to-date information source available for alerting the public about the presence of Radon in their environments and enabling them to take corrective action, if necessary, before a situation becomes critical.

Radon is frequently overlooked in favor of other air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, however it warrants serious consideration as a health risk in the US. Radon is an odorless, radioactive gas that comes from the earth beneath us. The risks from Radon are cumulative and levels fluctuate frequently based on environmental factors,  exposure can cause life-threatening health effects, most notably lung cancer.

In addition to measuring Radon levels, Airthings continues to spearhead innovation in the smart home category by introducing product offerings that address overall air quality, indoors and outdoors. With the newly-released Airthings Dashboard, users have access to complete Indoor Air Quality data from their Airthings smart devices and can compare data and receive tips to reduce indoor air hazards, optimize ventilation and save energy. Anyone with an Airthings Wave has a comprehensive one-stop shop for comparing radon levels in rooms throughout their home, and with the addition of outdoor air data, customers will gain visibility of the real-time Outdoor Air Quality Index, pollutants, pollen and more giving them the full picture of both their indoor and outdoor air.

To see how homes in your area fare, visit RadonMap.com for a localized analysis and advice on what to do next. To find out more information on Radon, Indoor Air Quality and why long-term monitoring is important, visit the Airthings website at

Review: macOS Mojave

Posted in Products with tags on September 25, 2018 by itnerd

Last year’s macOS High Sierra was a bit of a disaster for Apple. It was buggy and it also suffered from a very nasty and embarrassing bug that allowed anyone to gain root level access. The optics were not that good for Apple. Thus they had to bring something to the table that was much, much better. macOS Mojave was intended to be that.

From an install standpoint, it was easy and orderly. I had no hiccups or anything like that with any of the machines that I tried it on. And it took under an hour for the most part.

First, let’s deal with the one feature that people are making a big deal about. Dark Mode. While for me it’s not a game changer, many of my friends who do photo editing and video editing for a living are thrilled to bits that this feature is present as it makes it easier to do what they have to do for 8 to 10 hours a day. You’ll be asked to enable it after you install Mojave (Which by the way, I did not. But I did try it to see what it was like before switching back to a normal desktop).

But one feature that does mean something to me is Desktop Stacks. It automatically groups items on your desktop into “stacks” of similar types of things. So one stack collects images, another collects screenshots, another collects PDFs, and so on. Because of that, I am able to find stuff quickly and easily.

Another feature that means something to me is that screenshots works in a similar fashion just like it does on iOS. Press Shift-Command-5 and a small panel will appear at the bottom of the screen. There are three screenshot buttons that let you capture the entire screen, a window or a selection of your screen. Likewise, the two video-recording buttons let you record your entire screen or a selection of it. On the left is an X button to close the screenshot panel, but you can also just hit the Escape key to exit out. On the right side is an Options button. It lets you choose where to save your screenshot — Desktop, Documents, Clipboard, Mail, Messages or Preview — and set a 5- or 10-second delay so you can line up items that might otherwise disappear when you engage your screenshot tool. This is a definite boost for someone like me who takes screenshots frequently.

There’s a bunch of random stuff that you might or might not care about:

  • Dynamic Desktop lets you choose from one of two wallpapers that automatically change throughout the day. Yawn.
  • There’s a new Gallery view option in Finder which seems like it could be helpful for photographers.
  • Safari is also doing more to block websites from tracking you around the web. Everyone should care about that. Though I suspect Facebook among others will be none too pleased.
  • There’s now a feature where passwords can be audited and strong passwords are enforced with websites and the like.
  • Apple is working on a way to port iOS apps to macOS. Why I am not sure. But as proof of their efforts, Notes, News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home have been ported across and work much like the iOS versions. With the exception of News which didn’t work for me because I am in Canada and sometimes Canada can’t get nice things from Apple like Apple Pay Cash and News. But I digress. This is clearly meant as part of Apple’s strategy to drive you to use iCloud more as they hope that you’ll store data in iCloud so that all your iDevices get access to it.
  • The Mac App Store has been redesigned and that’s something that has been long overdue as the look of it was very dated.
  • 32-Bit apps on the Mac are on the way out and the OS will let you know when you run one of them so that you can update it because next year, you won’t be able to run that app at all.
  • Siri seems marginally smarter. But not as smart as Siri on my Apple Watch or my iPhone.
  • Software update is now outside the App Store and inside System Preferences where it should have been in the first place.
  • Messages is now exclusively an iMessage/SMS client. Support for AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, and any other service based on the XMPP/Jabber protocol is gone.
  • The ability to add social networking accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is gone. I’m guessing that it also means that Apple doesn’t have to fix this issue that I reported to them.
  • OpenGL and OpenCL support is gone in favor of Apple’s in house Metal graphics API. Something that has already riled up game developers who are now making noises about abandoning the Mac platform. Their anger makes zero sense as OpenGL and OpenCL support are largely dead or dying APIs anyway.
  • Back To My Mac is gone. What you didn’t use it? Neither did anyone else.
  • There’s a new login screen with easier to read text. If you’re 45 or older, you’ll rejoice over this change.

So let’s get to security. Apple is trying to up their game when it comes to security. To that end, apps are now required to get your permission to access your Mac’s microphone and camera. Which makes macOS kind of like iOS which has done that for years. It’s also supposed to protect your personal info like contacts and the like. But right out of the gate that’s already been proven to be flawed and will likely require a fix sooner rather than later. It also requires apps like Carbon Copy Cloner to be given full access to the disk. Now all of this won’t bother more technical users. But I can see how less technical users might be a bit peeved by all this extra security. Though I will note that all this extra security is for the benefit of everyone.

Bugs? I haven’t found anything of note so far. But it’s early days yet on that front so we’ll see in the coming days.

Is Mojave worth the upgrade? Well, it’s free and brings a number of interesting new features to the table and is a much better effort than High Sierra was. But as always I’d wait until the first bug fix update appears before making the jump.

 

Ricoh taps Pulse Secure for global access protection against cyberattacks

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 25, 2018 by itnerd

Pulse Secure, the leading provider of Secure Access solutions to both enterprises and service providers, today announced that Ricoh Group has successfully deployed Pulse Access Suite Enterprise Edition to enhance secure access for always-on network connectivity protecting approximately 97,000 employees worldwide.

Ricoh Group is a global provider of technology that transforms business processes and information management to help organizations be more agile, productive and profitable. Ricoh is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan with operations in over 200 countries.

Following a series of WannaCry cyber-attacks in 2017 against high-profile companies that led to the disclosure of personal information, senior executives began a strategic project across the Group to implement additional security measures to further strengthen network controls.

To provide safe network connectivity for employees, the security operations division reviewed its infrastructure to look at ways it could strengthen its overall security posture.

Ricoh has deployed Pulse Access Suite Enterprise Edition at data centers in Tokyo and Osaka along with Pulse Secure license servers to aid flexible deployment of security resources. Pulse Access Suite includes Pulse Policy Secure to deliver Network Access Control (NAC) with granular policy enforcement and integrated management capabilities.

The new Pulse Secure VPN and Network Access Control (NAC) solution allows Ricoh to maintain 5,000 simultaneous connections per location to support secure access for 10,000 sales employees and around 4,000 support engineers spread across multiple times zones. The solution includes local host device validation to ensure connecting devices have required OS patches and active anti-malware protection. Through the simplicity and reliability of the Pulse Secure solution, Ricoh has also moved its previously outsourced VPN management and maintenance functions back in-house leading to a 60 percent reduction in its secure network access budget.

The use of Pulse Cloud Secure with its secure access and single sign-on to cloud apps and services has also helped Ricoh deliver on its “Work Reform” program and group-wide migration to Microsoft Office 365. With Pulse Secure, Ricoh has created a secure environment in which employees can access IT resources from anywhere using a wider variety of devices.

A full case study of the Pulse Secure deployment at Ricoh Group is available here.

 

ASUS Republic of Gamers Collaborates with Activision and Intel to Introduce Limited Edition Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Products

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 25, 2018 by itnerd

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG), announced a collaboration with Activision and Intel to produce a range of limited edition Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 products in advance of the upcoming release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on PC. Expanding on the recently announced partnership with Activision, which allows consumers who purchase qualifying  ASUS and ROG products access to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, similarly, consumers who purchase certain limited edition ROG Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 products will receive a game code that will allow them to access the Digital Standard Edition for PC at launch. In addition, a unique integration with ROG’s AURA Sync technology allows theCall of Duty: Black Ops 4 emblems and RGB lighting elements to echo what’s happening during gameplay.

Experience Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on the Latest ASUS and ROG Hardware

Intel collaborated with Activision to help optimize the PC version of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 for PC gamers, and worked closely with ASUS and Republic of Gamers to create products, like the ROG Strix GL12, that take advantage of the latest Intel Core processors to deliver the premium performance that gamers expect :

ROG Strix GL12 Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Edition:The limited edition GL12 gaming desktop contains the best-in-class hardware, to deliver exceptional realism in and smooth gameplay in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. The GL12 is equipped with a factory-overclocked 8thGen Intel® Core™i7-8700K processor and a brand-new NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX2080 graphics card. Specially designed for Call of Duty, the front façade includes the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 emblem and orange slashes, in addition to AURA Sync RGB lighting, and the specially-integrated Call of Duty lighting effects which interact with gameplay. In addition, the side panel is emblazoned with the Black Ops series skull. The GL12 will come with a game code that will allow purchasers to access the Digital Standard Edition for PC.

ROG Gaming Motherboard Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 Edition:This upcoming motherboard will support the latest Intel chipset and is the perfect foundation for a Call of Duty gaming rig, as it combines substantial power, smart cooling and faster memory support under a stealthy skin. Loaded with renowned ROG features, from one-click overclocking and cooling to attention-grabbing AURA Sync illumination, this special edition is crafted for the battle ground and will let you become the hero. The soon-to-be-announced motherboard will include a game code allowing access to the Digital Standard Edition for PC

Customized Call of Duty Design Elements, Emblems and AURA Sync Integration into Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 for an Enhanced Gaming Experience

For other limited edition Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 products, ROG worked with Activision to include design elements and emblems from the game. In addition, the design elements will incorporate customized AURA Sync capabilities and effects within Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 for PC to AURA Sync capable devices, mentioned in the previous partnership announcement. AURA Sync coordinates colours and effects with compatible RGB-lit products like laptops, desktops, headsets, keyboards, mice, and motherboards, among others, making it easy for users to personalize their entire gaming set upto a consistent look and feel.

ASUS AURA Gaming: Immersive Gaming Experience with RGB Lighting

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4for PC gives the ROG community a totally unique experience that’s possible with AURA Sync-enabled hardware. When playing Black Ops 4, the RGB lighting signals changes in environment and offers crucial visual cues based on the in-game action. With rows of keys that change colour when a player’s health drops and switch off as a player’s ammo runs low, players are more in tune with the game and better equipped to handle high-stress situations.

Additional Black Ops 4 ROG Products:

Additional Black Ops 4 ROG Products that take advantage of AURA Sync and AURA Gaming, include:

ROG Strix GeForce® RTX 2080 Ti OC Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 Edition:

The new ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti utilizes a custom circuit board engineered to ensure the highest performance from the GPU. With 16 phases, the ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti has copious power on demand for both automatic clock scaling and manual overclocking. Premium alloy chokes and solid polymer capacitors ensure the GPU is fed with pristine power.AURA Sync RGB lighting illuminates the backplate and shroud with customizable colours and effects that are easy to synchronize with compatible components.The ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti will be packaged with a game code that will allow purchasers to access the Digital Standard Edition for PC.

ROG Swift PG258Q Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 Edition:

The Black Ops 4 Edition ROG Swift PG258Q gaming monitor is all about speed — making it the perfect monitor for Call of Duty’s fast-paced matches. The Full HD monitor is one of the fastest on the market, with a 240Hz native refresh rate, 1ms response time and NVIDIA® G-SYNC™ technology for buttery-smooth gameplay in high-fidelity. In addition to matching the game with technical ability, the limited edition comes complete with design elements inspired by Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. In addition, the PG258Q will also come with a game code that will allow purchasers to access the Digital Standard Edition for PC.

ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 Edition:

Sporting a Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 motif and a uniquely loaded web UI, the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 supplies menacing performance that is perfect for Call of Duty gameplay. 2.5G Ethernet and next-gen 802.11ax performance is fueled by a 1.8GHz quad-core processor, delivering the power to dominate online skirmishes even when multiple clients are vying for network bandwidth. The Digital Standard Edition for PC will also be included with purchase.

ROG Strix Flare Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 Edition:

The ROG Strix Flare Black Ops 4 Edition is a mechanical gaming keyboard that features immersive ASUS AURA Sync and AURA Gaming lighting, in addition to rapid-response Cherry MX RGB switches, dedicated media controls, and an ergonomic wrist rest. RGB Lighting includes vibrant pre-key RGB backlighting and ambient under glow on both sides of the keyboard, and users can customize an illuminated Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 badge to their preference.

ROG Gladius II Origin Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 Edition:

The ROG Gladius II Origin Black Ops 4 Edition is an optical gaming mouse that extends on-screen action to the illuminations of your mouse through AURA Gaming. The 12,000-dpi sensor tracks every movement precisely, while the exclusive socket design speeds the fitting of sweet-spot switches. Right-handed ergonomics meticulously designed in collaboration with esports pros imbue expert comfort into every sweep and shot.

The ROG Strix Edge Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 Edition:

The ROG Strix Edge Black Ops 4 Edition is a large, portrait gaming mouse pad with an optimized cloth surface that provides accurate, responsive tracking for outstanding gaming performance. Rounding out the collection of Black Ops 4 Editions peripherals, the ROG Strix Edge features design elements and graphics inspired by Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

The ROGStrix GL12 – Black Ops 4 Edition will be available for pre-order today for $3,499 at select etailers. For more information, including updated where to buy links, please visit: https://www.asus.com/Tower-PCs/ROG-Strix-GL12-Call-of-Duty-Black-Ops-4-Edition/.

Additional limited edition Black Ops 4 ROG Products will be available dependent upon region, and pricing and configurations will be announced at launch.

 

Review: AERZ AirPod/Earbuds Covers

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 24, 2018 by itnerd

Apple AirPods and Earbuds are different as the former is wireless and the latter is wired. But they do have one thing in common. They don’t stay in your ears. They fall out of your ears easily and in the case of the AirPods, that can get expensive. They also are not as great sounding as third party earphones because they don’t fit in your ear well enough. That’s where Wonderful Things Factory comes in to help with that. They have a product called AERZ which pro-ports to improve the sound quality and comfort of your Apple AirPods and Apple Earbuds.

 

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They are a pair or silicone skins that go on top of the AirPods or Earbuds. Thus they look like this once they are installed:

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One thing that I should note is that they appear to be right and left specific. Keep that in mind when you install them. By the installation is dead easy and takes seconds. So, now that they’re installed, do they stay in your ears and does the sound quality improve?

Enter my wife who tested the sound quality with and without the AERZ using a pair of Apple Earbuds. She did notice a marginal improvement in audio quality. While not to the level of the BEATS earphones that she normally uses, it was noticeable. That allowed me to move on the big ticket item. Does the AERZ allow the EarPods to stay in place? To test that she went on a run around the block. She sprinted around the block which got her super sweaty and caused lots of movement which she thought would dislodge the Earbuds. But the Earbuds stayed in her ears during her first trip around the block. So she did another run around the block and got the same outcome. The net result is that the AERZ do everything that they say and are totally worth getting if you have Apple EarPods or Earbuds. They come in five different colors and will cost you $15 USD on the Wonderful Things Factory website.

PayPal Hosts Twitch Stream To Show How Gamers Can Us PayPal

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 24, 2018 by itnerd

PayPal is planning to host a Twitch stream on Friday, September 28 from 4pm-6pm EST.. The stream will feature two popular Canadian streamers, Kaitlyn and Brotatoe, teaming up to play Fortnite and showcase the many ways gamers can use PayPal. This session will be very enlightening and ties in to this story that I posted earlier today. So plan on joining in.