Archive for January, 2017

Online Coaching Tool CoachThem Launched

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 31, 2017 by itnerd

Recently retired Montreal Canadien defenseman Mike Weaver and Florida Panthers Goaltending Coach, Robb Tallas have channeled their years of on and off-ice experience in professional hockey to develop CoachThem, an online resource web app geared towards coaches of all levels.

In addition to their NHL playing careers, both Weaver and Tallas have spent years running elite training camps for aspiring hockey players. This ongoing coaching experience has led them to embrace the benefits that technology brings to hockey coaches, associations and ultimately aspiring athletes, to aid in developing, maintaining and leading effective practices. It all began when Weaver played for the Florida Panthers, and he and Tallas had a discussion about the gap n the market – there was a need for something simple that worked on all platforms, across all operating systems.

CoachThem, provides coaches and associations with a digital platform to create, custom practices, drills, and share with the sports community. Gone are the days of binders and lost sheets of paper – this web-based tool allows anyone to compile practices on any device or operating system.

The tool provides coaches with the ability to:

  • CREATE – Draw digital drills with a mouse, finger or pencil. Never been easier.
  • ORGANIZE – Create practices before arrival to the rink. Stay informed.
  • DISCOVER – The marketplace feature offers new and unique drills. Grow as a Coach.
  • SHARE – Share with your Coaching staff, association or a friend. Makes the game better.
  • CUSTOMIZE – Create personal groups to share information. Spread the Love of the game.
  • EDUCATION – Learn more about the game through video tutorials. Teach accurately.

Operating as a web app, there is no need for downloads or updates – CoachThem is constantly evolving and subscribers will be privy to the most recent version each and every time they log on. There is no use of Adobe Flash Plugin which has been known to cause damage to computers due to it’s vulnerability to hackers.

The tool is available on an annual subscription basis, for $5 per month. That fee allows access to the Marketplace, where additional information, drills, customized practices created by the former NHL players and current NHL coaches can be accessed.

Here’s a video of CoachThem in action:

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My Trip To India & Germany – Part 8

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 31, 2017 by itnerd

A reader just e-mailed me asking this question:

Hey IT Nerd. During your most recent trip, you used Rogers Roam Like Home roaming feature. I didn’t see you draw a conclusion about whether it is good, bad, or ugly. What are your thoughts on it? 

Thanks!

Thanks for the reminder. I completely forgot about tying up this loose end from my trip.

Roam Like Home was seamless. Every country (US for about 45 minutes, India for just over 2.5 days, Germany for just over a day) that I went to, I got a text message like this one when I took my phone out of airplane mode:

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It was seamless as everything worked right out of the gate and I didn’t really have to do anything special. That was great. I had access to my Toronto cell phone number in case it was needed and I had access to the data on my data plan which meant I got my e-mail, I could see Twitter, use Apple Maps or whatever. No complaints on that front.

Here’s where I feel that Roam Like Home doesn’t measure up – The cost. If I do the math on how much this might cost me (as I have not received my Rogers bill yet, thus I am estimating), I get this:

  • I was on the ground in the US for 45 minutes: $5
  • I was on the ground in India for just over 2.5 days: $30
  • I was on the ground in Germany for just over a day: $20

Total cost: $55

The FAQ for Roam Like Home indicates that I am charged per 24 hour period. Thus I assume that I have to round up the number of days to get the final cost. If that is the case (and even if it isn’t), that’s not cheap. To give you some perspective, the last time I was in India, I used a Vodafone India SIM for roughly $12 CDN for the entire week that I was there. That makes the $30 CDN that Rogers is likely going to charge me for roaming in that country for just over 2.5 days steep by comparison and reconfirms the fact that if you want to travel abroad with your mobile phone, the best option is to get an unlocked device and buy a local SIM card. The only scenario that I can see myself using Roam Like Home in the future is if I go to the USA as the $5 a day is reasonable. Thus my recommendation is that if you don’t want the hassle of getting a local SIM or you don’t have an unlocked phone, Roam Like Home from Rogers is seamless, convenient and it works. But you will pay a hefty premium for that. I’m not sure it’s entirely worth it unless you really need access to your Canadian phone number.

#Fail: LG’s UltraFine 5K Display Is Useless When It’s Within 2M Of Router

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 31, 2017 by itnerd

You have to wonder if anyone QA’s their products these days. I say that because this story from 9to5Mac details how the LG UltraFine 5K Display which is Apple’s recommended monitor for their new MacBook Pro notebooks is pretty much useless when it is within 2M (about 6 feet) of a wireless router:

The problem is UltraFine 5K Display becomes unusable when positioned within 6.6-feet of a router. I discovered this issue after purchasing my own UltraFine 5K Display last week and thinking something was defective with my hardware.

Right out of the box, UltraFine 5K Display was hardly usable as it would consistently disconnect and even freeze my MacBook Pro which made it unusable for work on Thursday and Friday. Connecting it to my MacBook Pro consistently resulted in needing to reboot my machine to continue working.

And:

I moved my router from the office to the living room and tested UltraFine 5K Display with my MacBook Pro on my desk and found that it stayed connected  in this spot for the first time.

Since moving the router to another room, UltraFine 5K Display has remained connected without issue.

I’d bet that other products besides routers will trigger this behavior. Nobody has stumbled upon them yet.

Given the amount of money and time poured into these products, you’d think they’d have done proper EMI susceptibility testing at some point. It’s moderately expensive, but easy enough for LG to afford. But clearly they didn’t do that, and now it’s an issue. If I owned one of these, I’d have to be pushing for them to take it back. Plus, Apple must have some egg on their faces as well seeing as they’ve recommended this monitor as they’re out of the monitor business. Perhaps they should choose their partners more carefully?

Yet Another Security Flaw Found In Netgear Routers

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 31, 2017 by itnerd

Seriously, what is up with Netgear these days?

After having some serious security flaws pop up last year, comes this latest one found by researcher Simon Kenin of Trustwave. According to this post, he found that by triggering an error message, the router can be tricked into handing over a numerical code that can then be used with the password recovery tool to retrieve the router’s administrator credentials. But what is worse is that Kenin also discovered that in many cases, the numerical code is not even necessary, and that random strings sent directly to the password recovery script would still cause the login information to be displayed. From there, it’s a trivial task to pwn the router. There are 31 different Netgear router models that are affected by this flaw and Netgear advises that you update your firmware right now.

Charming.

You really have to wonder if Netgear takes the security of its products seriously. I get that any vendor can have security issues with their products. But the scale that Netgear seems to have these sorts of issues seems really high to me.

Canadian Tech Community Pens Open Letter In Response To Trump’s #MuslimBan

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 31, 2017 by itnerd

Over the weekend, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning travel to the United States from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia for 90 days. He’s also suspended bringing in refugees from Syria for an indefinite amount of time. Because those countries are Muslim majority countries, he’s effectively banning people based on faith.

In response to this, The Canadian tech community has issued an open letter to the world that condemns the actions taken by President Trump. The letter also calls on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to immediately give temporary residency to those displaced by the U.S. order. That’s something that may happen tonight as the Canadian Parliament is going to hold an emergency debate on the issue. As I type this, over 1000 people from 600 companies have signed this letter. Many of whom are C-Level execs, and includes many notable names in Canada’s tech community. These people have joined their counterparts in the US who have also denounced this move by Trump.

My take on this issue goes something like this. We all benefit from having diverse views and experiences at the table. We hurt ourselves when we exclude people for any reason from any discussion. This ban is nothing short of overt racism towards those of the Muslim faith. Thus this cannot be tolerated.

You can add your name to the letter here.

Review: Noyce 4m Lightning To USB Cable

Posted in Products with tags on January 30, 2017 by itnerd

I have a very unique cable in my possession to review. It’s the Noyce 4m Lightning To USB cable. Here’s a look at it:

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This cable has a bunch of things going for it. Let’s start with the fact that the cable is 4m long. That’s 13 feet in old money. That’s an insanely long cable which makes it perfect for desks, or your bedside, or any use case where length matters. Here’s another item that this cable has going for it:

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To keep things neat and tidy, not to mention looking classy, there’s this Brazilian leather strap.

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The ends are apparently tested to be able to bend 5000 times for durablity. Not only that, I found that this connector fit into the cases that I tried it with.

What’s missing from this cable? MFI certification. That’s clear when I check this Amazon page which says this:

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Thus if you buy this cable, be prepared for it to not work with your iDevice. Though in my testing, it worked with every iPhone I tried it with. This cable costs $19.90 on Amazon. In short, I love the length, the leather strap, and the fact that it’s durable. But the lack of MFI certification gives me cause to pause as that is important. Thus you should keep that in mind if you choose to buy this cable.

An Update On Australian Hyundai Owners Attempts To Get Android Auto/Apple CarPlay

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 29, 2017 by itnerd

Seeing as some progres is being made for Canadian Hyundai owners to get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in their cars, I’m going to focus on Australian Hyundai owerns to get the same in their cars.

The people behind this in Australia have set up a Facebook page which is only 4 months old and already has attracted 133 members. That’s a signifcant jump from when this page was set up last October. On top of that, 121 members have now signed a petition to asking Hyundai Australia to implement Apple CarPlay/Android Auto in the Hyundai Tucson. But the most striking thing is the comments on the Facebook page. Here’s some examples: 

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Clearly Hyundai Australia has a major perception problem. In my opinion, it would be smart if Hyundai Australia got out in front of this before it really spirals out of control because of negative press. The person behind this Facebook page is going to e-mail the CEO of Hyundai Australia to see that will generate some action. I’m also going to try and see if there’s any chance to get a word with Hyundai Australia to see if I can get their side of the story as well. Thus watch this space.