Epic Games Has Bigger Problems Than It’s Fight With Apple

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 18, 2020 by itnerd

Fun fact. Epic Games has a Chinese company that owns 40% of the company. That Chinese company is Tencent who owns portions of many American businesses including Epic. And they’re now under investigation by US authorities on orders of President Trump:

The Trump administration has asked gaming companies to provide information about their data-security protocols involving Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., people familiar with the matter said.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which is chaired by the Treasury Department, has sent letters to companies, including Epic Games Inc., Riot Games and others, to inquire about their security protocols in handling Americans’ personal data, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

Tencent, the world’s largest gaming company, owns Los Angeles-based Riot and has a 40% stake in Epic, which is the maker of the popular video game Fortnite. Representatives for the companies declined to comment or didn’t immediately respond. The Treasury Department declined to comment.

Well, Epic’s fight with Apple over Fortnite now seems to be the least of their problems. If I were Epic, I’d focus on what is important as I would assume that being associated with a Chinese company in the current company is not going to be too good for Epic in long term. And if Epic would have to divest the Tencent investment, that would really hurt.

Jump Back Into The Action With Rainbow Six Siege Canada Division Stage 2!

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 18, 2020 by itnerd

Not only is it the beginning of the weekend, but Friday also brings us back to the action we’ve been missing with the Rainbow Six Siege Canada Division Stage 2!

Today’s match will be between @NordikGG vs @AltioraGG. As always, you can tune into the matches every Friday at 6PM EDT/3PM PDT on http://Twitch.tv/Rainbow6.

Epic Game To macOS Users…. Fortnite Is Kind Of Done On The Mac

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 18, 2020 by itnerd

Epic Games has announced that “Fortnite: Save the World” will no longer be playable on macOS. This is due to the fact that Apple has terminated their developer account:

Apple is preventing Epic from signing games and patches for distribution on Mac, which ends our ability to develop and offer Fortnite: Save the World for the platform. Specifically, our upcoming v14.20 release will cause bugs for players on v13.40, resulting in a very poor experience. Since we are no longer able to sign updates and release fixes for these issues, beginning September 23, 2020, Fortnite: Save the World will no longer be playable on macOS.

We are issuing a refund for all players who purchased any Save the World Founder’s or Starter Packs (including Upgrades) and played Save the World on macOS between September 17, 2019 and September 17, 2020. Additionally, any purchased V-Bucks spent on Llamas on macOS in this period will also be refunded. As of today, September 17, 2020, Save the World Starter Packs will no longer be available for purchase on macOS.

Please note: It may take up until October 2, 2020 to receive the refund in your bank account. 

But there’s also this:

Fortnite: Battle Royale remains playable for Mac users at this time on the v13.40 build, but is no longer receiving version updates due to Apple’s actions.

To the shock of nobody, Epic is still implying that this is Apple’s fault despite the fact that Epic created this situation. That’s pretty sad. Maybe Epic should take a look in a mirror and rethink their actions.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses If Augmented Reality Will Harm The Influencer Business for Good

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 18, 2020 by itnerd

Gucci, an Italian luxury brand, is the first to get on the potential Generation Z market, shifting their efforts to Snapchat’s augmented reality (AR) shopping features. The app now offers lenses allowing users to virtually try on Gucci sneakers and purchase them directly through a “Shop now” button. 

As AR offers an effortless try-on of brand products, it technically eliminates intermediaries between brands and prospective consumers. This innovation makes Snapchat users self-influenced. 

Another iceberg approaching influencers’ fleet

The advertising industry values influencers for their ability to integrate brands into personal experiences in a way that speaks to their customers. People crave to have the same experience, which makes them want to buy things and eventually leads to successful sales. With the opportunity to self-influence by trying on lenses with different outfits, there is a chance that brands will no longer need influencers. Friends and family trying on designer pieces for free without leaving their apartment might become more inspiring and influential.

“There are multiple businesses that were once threatened by digitalization. Books, newspapers, and magazines were expected to vanish from the face of the earth, but are still here. What digitalization has done is created an omnichannel consumption and expanded audiences for the same products. The same might happen to online try-outs: they will become a convenient tool for making shopping decisions, but will not replace influencers. People will still be looking for ideas and inspirations outside their own imagination,” says Ruby Gonzales, Head of Communications at NordVPN.

The youth’s increased digital vulnerability 

As exciting as technology is, it has its own drawbacks. Snapchat reaches at least 105 million people a month in the United States alone, including over 90% of 13-24-year-olds and over 78% of 18-24 year-olds. According to Pew Research Center, Generation Z is the most vulnerable to phishing attacks.

“Every new tool means more sharing. Each shared picture is a disclosure of personal aspects of life, making people more vulnerable. Oversharing fuels cybercrime. It is advised to always think twice before taking a picture, making sure the snap doesn’t reveal the home address or other information that can be used to trace a person,” says Ruby Gonzalez.

BREAKING: Trump Bans TikTok & WeChat Starting On Sunday

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 18, 2020 by itnerd

The Trump administration has dropped the hammer on Chinese owned apps WeChat and TikTok. Starting on Sunday they will no longer be allowed to be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in the US. Numerous news outlets are reporting this but I will quote the New York Times:

The restrictions will ban the transferring of funds or processing of payments through WeChat within the United States as of Sunday. In the case of WeChat, the restrictions will also prevent any company from offering internet hosting, content delivery networks, internet transit or peering services to WeChat, or using the app’s code in other software or services in the United States.

Those same prohibitions on providing services go into effect on Nov. 12 for TikTok.

Expect China to react to this instantly to this as this is a swift kick in the nether regions for them. Not to mention for the 100 million or so Americans who use these apps.

This is going to get ugly in a hurry.

Oracle Is In Touching Distance Of Owning TikTok…. Maybe

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 17, 2020 by itnerd

Oracle and a range of investors appear to be close to taking ownership of TikTok’s U.S. operations. Of course this assumes that the deal gets approval from President Donald Trump. And The Chinese don’t stop it. Here’s what Bloomberg had to say:

The Treasury Department, TikTok owner ByteDance Ltd. and Oracle Corp. have tentatively agreed to terms for Oracle’s bid for the U.S. operations of the social-media service, according to people familiar with the matter.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent Bytedance a revised terms sheet late Wednesday and the company and Oracle accepted it, the people said. They described the changes as addressing national security concerns about the transaction and asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

And:

Any deal needs to be approved by both Trump — who could still reject the transaction — and the Chinese government, where officials have accused the U.S. of “economic bullying.”

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is aware of the revised terms but hasn’t reviewed the latest details in depth and hasn’t weighed in on whether Trump should sign off on the deal, one person familiar with the matter said.

This should prove interesting. While this seems like we are near the end of this saga, we’re not. Trump might wake up one morning, see something on his Twitter feed that angers him, and nuke the deal. Or the Chinese may stop it. So watch this space as this story is sure to develop further.

BREAKING: Canada Revenue Agency Now Says 48500 Accounts Affected By Credential Stuffing Attack

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 17, 2020 by itnerd

Well, this is a wee bit alarming.

The Canada Revenue Agency or CRA for short now says a mind blowing 48500 accounts were affected by the credential stuffing attack that happened in August that forced the CRA website offline for a few days and affected a number of government departments in the process while security was improved. CTV News has the details:

In a major update to the impact of a series of credential stuffing attacks on government websites including the Canada Revenue Agency, the country’s top information officer now says that “suspicious activities” have been found on 48,500 CRA user accounts.

And:

While it was initially reported that 5,500 CRA account users had their personal information accessed, officials then updated that number, saying a total of 11,200 accounts across Government of Canada services were compromised in the attacks. These included cyberattacks directly targeting both CRA accounts as well as “GCKey” accounts, which can be used by 30 government departments and agencies to access other online portals such as veterans’ benefits and immigration applications.

Every Canadian should be running to the CRA website and doing the following right now:

  1. Log in and see if you can still do so. If you cannot, you may have a problem.
  2. If you can log in, check to see if you applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. If you haven’t but the CRA website says you have, you have a problem.
  3. Check to see if your address or banking information has changed. If it has you have a problem.

Now if any of the above falls under the “you have a problem” category, you should do what is recommended in this release from the CRA, which is to call 1-800-959-8281 (English) or 1-800-959-7383 (French) immediately.

If all is well with your CRA account, I would instantly change your password to something is at least 8 characters long, contains an uppercase letter, a number, and for bonus points a special character (!@#$%^&* for example). And I would enable email notifications on your account so that you can get notified of any changes. Especially ones that you didn’t make.

The bottom line is that the Government of Canada has now seriously dropped the ball here. To have about 4 times as many people affected by this hack is appalling. And they are beyond due to answer some serious questions about why this happened and why they should be trusted to protect the personal information of Canadians going forward.

OVHcloud named as a Contender in IDC MarketScape

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 17, 2020 by itnerd

The IDC MarketScape report assessed and selected OVHcloud among 8 companies operating on the public cloud market. The criteria for this study are based on a strict evaluation grid: the variety of services offered by the companies, as well as their size and global footprint. The IDC MarketScape methodology helps evaluate vendors and advise IT buyers to choose the right public cloud technologies.

One of OVHcloud‘s strengths highlighted in the study, lies in a complete portfolio of IaaS solutions that include dedicated servers and private cloud, in addition to its public cloud offering.

Positioned on a transparent, predictable and competitive model, this range of solutions helps develop a strong and recognized value proposition in the cloud market. OVHcloud’s public cloud offering stands out for its compliance with the values of data sovereignty as enacted by the European legal framework on data protection.The study finally notes that OVHcloud has invested in a rich ecosystem in order to offer qualified software and applications to its customers.

The excerpt of the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Public Cloud Infrastructure as a Service 2020 Vendor Assessment ( Doc #US46795720, September 2020) report can be viewed by clicking here.

iRobot Introduces the Roomba® i3+

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 17, 2020 by itnerd

iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), the leader in consumer robots, today expanded its Roomba® robot vacuum lineup with the launch of the new Roomba® i3+, a stylish new Roomba vacuum packed with advanced features. Starting at $599 USD, the Roomba i3+ offers intelligent navigation, self-emptying capability with Clean Base® Automatic Dirt Disposal, and an expanded range of personalized cleaning features powered by the recently launched iRobot Genius Home Intelligence

Take vacuuming off your plate

Similar to the iRobot Roomba i7+ and Roomba s9+ robot vacuums, the Roomba i3+ comes equipped with the Clean Base® Automatic Dirt Disposal. With Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal, the robot empties debris on its own, with no intervention from the user. Consumers don’t have to think about emptying the bin for months at a time or worrying the robot won’t finish the job due to a full bin. The Roomba i3+ automatically empties up to 60 days’ worth of dirt and debris into the Clean Base, which doubles as the robot’s charging station. The debris is then locked away in the Clean Base’s enclosed AllergenLock™ bag that uses four layers of allergen blocking material to trap 99 percent of pollen and mold.

The Roomba i3+ purposefully and logically cleans in neat rows to navigate multiple rooms within the home, across hard floors and carpet. If the robot’s battery runs low, the Roomba i3+ will automatically recharge and resume cleaning until the job is complete.

The Roomba i3+ is also equipped with a High-Efficiency Filter that captures 99 percent of pollen, mold, dust mites, and cat and dog allergens. The robot’s 3-Stage Cleaning System consists of Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes that work together to effectively clean, a specially designed Edge-Sweeping Brush to get into corners, and 10X the Power-Lifting Suction as compared to Roomba 600 Series. Using patented Dirt Detect™ technology, the Roomba i3+ knows where dirt builds up and focuses cleaning in those specific areas.

Adapts to your life, listens to your voice

The Roomba i3+ brings a thoughtful new design that fits well into consumers’ homes, with a durable, woven texture that minimizes fingerprints and collects less dust. The hidden-until-lit light ring helps the robot blend into the background, only lighting up to communicate robot behaviors or notifications when the robot is actively cleaning.

Users can also get more out of their Roomba i3+ with the newly redesigned iRobot Home App, powered by iRobot Genius™, which takes users beyond standard app control to give them a personalized cleaning experience. Available for iOS and Android devices, iRobot’s state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and home understanding capabilities enable the Roomba i3+ to learn how you like to clean. The Roomba i3+ will offer personalized suggestions via the iRobot Home App, such as recommended cleaning schedules based on past cleaning jobs and helpful cleaning suggestions during pet-shedding or allergy seasons.

Event-based automations can be set up directly within the iRobot Home App, an exclusive capability for iRobot customers that is powered by iRobot Genius™ and IFTTT Connect. Whether you’re heading off to work or going for a hike, the Roomba i3+ can begin cleaning when prompted by location-based services like Life360 or from smart home devices, like the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. When paired with Alexa enabled devices or the Google Assistant, users can control the Roomba i3+ with just the sound of their voice. The Roomba i3+ also supports Imprint Link™ Technology so that it can team up with the iRobot Braava jet® m6 mopping robot to deliver an extra level of clean.

Pricing and Availability

The Roomba i3+ robot vacuum is available immediately for purchase online in the U.S. ($599 USD) and Canada ($749 CAD) on www.irobot.com and www.irobot.ca, and in retailers later this September. The Roomba i3 robot vacuum can also be purchased without the Clean Base® starting at $399 USD and $499 CAD. The Roomba i3+ is expected to be available in other international markets beginning in Q1 2021.

Roomba i3+ robot vacuum photos, videos and information can be found at: https://media.irobot.com/media-kits.

Oral-B Announces The Oral-B iO

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 16, 2020 by itnerd

Following up on the amazing Oral-B Genius X 10000 which I gave an IT Nerd Award to last year, comes the Oral-B iO. The Oral-B iO introduces a new era in brushing and is a monumental leap in innovative oral care technology combining the best-ever clinical performance with a superior user experience, making it one of the industry’s most advanced brushing products Oral-B iO was designed as a result of insights collected from more than six years of product research and over 250 patents from around the world.

The iO wakes up with you every morning and greets you before you go to bed every evening. WIth its built in 3D tracking and AI recognition, the toothbrush says “Good Morning” and “Good Evening” on its interface (the first-of-its-kind), counts down two minutes while you brush, and even shares a smiley face once you’ve finished your brushing. The iO also gives you personalized brushing encouragement delivered in real time, offering seven modes depending on what your goals are (ie. whiten, sensitive, daily clean). The Oral-B iO uniquely features a frictionless magnetic drive, which distributes energy evenly to the tips of the bristles to create revolutionary micro-vibrations. When combined with oscillation rotation, the brush distributes a professional-grade, tooth-by-tooth cleaning, resulting in Oral-B’s smoothest and quietest cleaning experience yet.

When compared to manual toothbrushes, Oral-B iO can help improve healthier gums in just one week with six times more plaque removal along the gumline.

The Oral-B iO is the result of years of expert development, Oral-B iO  strikes the right balance between effectiveness and experience and reimagines how a brush performs, cleans and feels.

The Oral-B iO is available in 4 different colours – Black Onyx, White Alabaster, Violet Ametrine and Rose Quartz, sold at local retail stores and amazon.ca from $259.99.