Archive for February 8, 2017

Mind Your Manners and Mobiles This Valentine’s Day: OpenTable

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 8, 2017 by itnerd

OpenTable today announced the findings of a new survey, revealing most Canadians (73 per cent) believe using a mobile phone too much while dining out for Valentine’s Day is a romance deal breaker. Conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of OpenTable in December 2016 among 1,012 Canadian adults, the survey found that being rude to restaurant staff, bad table manners, political talk or mention of an ex are also romance deal breakers. Additional findings of the survey include that 68 per cent of Canadians plan to dine out to mark the romantic holiday this year, and most Canadians (81 per cent) think it’s acceptable to throw caution to the wind and break their diets when dining out for Valentine’s Day.

The mobile generation gap

While the majority (63 per cent) of Canadians say it’s never acceptable to use a mobile phone when dining out for Valentine’s Day, there are differences of opinion between generations. The majority of Millennials (59 per cent) find it acceptable to use a mobile phone when dining out for the holiday, while only 18 per cent of Boomers believe the same. Those from Generation X fell in the middle, at 43 per cent. In fact, many Millennials indicated that it’s acceptable to use a mobile phone during a Valentine’s Day meal to take a selfie or photo with their date (36 per cent), take photos of food/drinks (24 per cent) and to check/respond to messages (22 per cent).

Manners matter

In addition to excessive mobile phone use, other romance deal breakers include being rude to restaurant staff (70 per cent), bad table manners such as loud chewing and/or elbows on the table (65 per cent) and talking about an ex (64 per cent). When it comes to discussing politics, the generations seem to be divided, with 46 per cent of Boomers believing it’s a romance deal breaker when dining out for Valentine’s Day and only 29 per cent of Millennials saying it’s taboo.

Diets take a hiatus

The survey also found that Canadians may already be making exceptions for any weight-loss goals they may have set for the New Year, with roughly four out of five (81 per cent) indicating it’s acceptable to break a diet when dining out for Valentine’s Day.  

Additionally, many Canadians won’t be letting the winter weather ruin the opportunity to dine out, with more than two-thirds (68 per cent) indicating they are planning to dine out at a restaurant in celebration of Valentine’s Day this year, including 47 per cent of singles.

Sparking new romance

Interestingly, many Canadians think dining out for Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be limited to those in long-term romantic relationships. Nearly half (47 per cent) of Canadians say it’s acceptable to go out for a meal for Valentine’s Day after dating for less than one month — however only 19 per cent say it’s acceptable for a first date. 

Making meals special

When asked what a date could do to make a Valentine’s celebration at a restaurant more special, over half of Canadians cited dressing up more than usual or arriving early with flowers and/or a gift (52 per cent each), and nearly half (47 per cent) indicated arranging for a special table at a restaurant could help boost the romance.

It seems most Canadians would like to keep romance alive beyond this day of love, with three quarters (75 per cent) indicating they would like more spontaneous Valentine’s Day-style dinners throughout the year.

Dinner do’s and don’ts

While chivalry may not be dead, ordering on behalf of your dinner date is a practice of yesteryear — only 23 per cent of Canadians indicated they would like someone to order on their behalf if they were dining out for Valentine’s Day. However, most Canadians (70 per cent) believe sharing a dish when dining out for Valentine’s Day is a romantic gesture.

For ideas to spark romance and inspire your Valentine’s Day plans this year, check out OpenTable’s recent list of the 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada for 2017, or find more tips and trends for Valentine’s Day on the OpenTable Blog.



#Fail: Telus Customer Loses Phone… Then Gets A Massive Bill

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 8, 2017 by itnerd

Yesterday, CBC reported that a Canadian Telus customer was hit with $24K cell phone bill after someone used his phone fraudulently.  Jesse Janssen, from Vancouver, knew he had lost his phone, however was shocked to receive a bill for roaming charges of $24,225.80, instead of his monthly charge of $67.

He knew he had not authorized these charges and was shocked when Telus informed him that it had received permission, via his cell phone, to run up this huge bill. Janssen soon learned that anyone with access to a phone with a Telus cellular plan can give consent by simply replying “yes” to a text message sent by the company.


Lisa Baergen, director at award-winning biometrics company,  NuData Security had this to say which I think sums up this situation: 

“This story points to a much needed paradigm shift in how we think about authentication, whereby identity isn’t tested with a single factor such as a simple ‘yes’ via text message, password, physical biometric or any other single data point. Instead, the verification should be based on multiple factors that are combined and analyzed to give a more complete risk assessment of the user – even if legitimate credentials are presented by the fraudster. The test should also be based on dynamically generated information that isn’t stored and therefore isn’t subject to theft, mimicry or spoofing. There are tools, such as passive biometrics, on the market now that base their verification test on dynamic data, not solely single-factor data such as a password or 2FA. These multi-factor methods are the only way we are going to move beyond much of this identity fraud in the future.”

One has to wonder if Telus among other carriers will look at this and improve their processes to stop this sort of thing from happening in the future. Telus, Rogers, Bell, the ball is in your court.

Lighthouse Labs’ HTML500 Returns To Toronto February 18

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 8, 2017 by itnerd

The HTML500, returns after a year hiatus, kicking off in Toronto on February 18th. 2500+ Canadians of all ages will participate in Canada’s largest free learn to code event. With high industry demand and a coding labour skills gap predicted to hit 200,000 jobs by 2020, the HTML500 will provide free access for anyone looking to take ownership of their digital literacy. 

With it’s massively successful inaugural run in February 2014, the HTML500 has seen substantial growth with its expansion the following year to four cities and over 7000 on the waitlist. More than 50% of event participants were women. In 2017, the HTML500 will expand across Canada, with nine stops between February-April including; Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa, Halifax, Victoria, London and Saskatoon, empowering over 2500 Canadians to create through code. Participants of all ages and walks of lives are welcome to attend the event.

Lighthouse Labs is the key driver behind the HTML500, and their mission is to empower the next generation of developers and transform the way tech education is delivered, which has culminated in the creation of the HTML500. 

A central goal of HTML500 is to make coding accessible to everyone. Several Toronto-based impact organizations were invited to participate with reserved seats allotted for their members. On February 18, the following organizations will be participating: Women Who Code, StartProud (VentureOut), Sunshine Foundation, Sketch, along with 20 teachers from Kids Code Jeunesse.

WHERE: MaRS Discovery District, 101 College Street, Toronto

WHEN: Saturday, February 18th 2017 FROM 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

To sign-up, click here. Follow the HTML500 on Twitter: @TheHTML500

FTC Spanks Vizio For $2.2 Million For Collecting Data From Smart TV’s Without User Consent

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 8, 2017 by itnerd

I am no fan of smart TVs. I cite these four examples of why you should not ever buy one. And you will not see me with one in my home. Now there’s a fifth reason not to buy one. The FTC just made smart TV manufacturer Vizio pay $2.2 million dollars to settle a case where Vizio had been collecting data on what owners of their smart TVs were doing without their consent:

The stipulated federal court order requires VIZIO to prominently disclose and obtain affirmative express consent for its data collection and sharing practices, and prohibits misrepresentations about the privacy, security, or confidentiality of consumer information they collect. It also requires the company to delete data collected before March 1, 2016, and to implement a comprehensive data privacy program and biennial assessments of that program.

According to the agencies’ complaint, starting in February 2014, VIZIO, Inc. and an affiliated company have manufactured VIZIO smart TVs that capture second-by-second information about video displayed on the smart TV, including video from consumer cable, broadband, set-top box, DVD, over-the-air broadcasts, and streaming devices.

In addition, VIZIO facilitated appending specific demographic information to the viewing data, such as sex, age, income, marital status, household size, education level, home ownership, and household value, the agencies allege. VIZIO sold this information to third parties, who used it for various purposes, including targeting advertising to consumers across devices, according to the complaint.

According to the complaint, VIZIO touted its “Smart Interactivity” feature that “enables program offers and suggestions” but failed to inform consumers that the settings also enabled the collection of consumers’ viewing data. The complaint alleges that VIZIO’s data tracking—which occurred without viewers’ informed consent—was unfair and deceptive, in violation of the FTC Act and New Jersey consumer protection laws.

You have to wonder how many other smart TV makers are doing something like this? Care to place bets on that?

You Can’t Make This Up: Fire In Samsung Plant Caused By Faulty Batteries

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 8, 2017 by itnerd

This Samsung faulty battery story is like a zombie. It just won’t die. This was highlighted by a “minor” fire that required a response by 110 firefighters and 19 trucks to a factory operated by Samsung SDI. They supplied batteries for the infamous Galaxy Note 7. Apparently, this was the cause:

The fire was contained to a part of the site used for waste processing, including faulty batteries. There were no casualties or significant impact on the operations of the plant, although the local fire department was called, said a Samsung SDI spokesperson.

Guest Post: Sending Money? Now, there’s a Bot for That

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 8, 2017 by itnerd

By Meron Colbeci, Senior Director, Core Consumer Products, PayPal

By the year 2020, Gartner predicts that the average person will interact more with bots than they will with their partner. Bots have been around for more than 50 years, only now are they becoming a more visible part of our lives by helping to automate tasks. From scheduling calendar reminders, to new-to-the-market financial bots offering instant updates on your bank balance or quickly tracking expenses, each interaction is efficient, personalized and contextual.

At PayPal, we’re focused on offering our customers a variety of innovative, easy and secure ways to move and manage their money. With this in mind, we built on the Slack platform to launch PayPal’s very first bot. With 5 million daily active users, Slack is a messaging platform for teams that centralizes your conversations and makes them instantly accessible wherever you go. Now with the PayPal bot, you can send money between PayPal accounts without leaving your Slack conversation.

Whether your colleague picked up the tab at lunch or you are chipping in for a group gift for a teammate’s birthday, sending money from your PayPal account to a friend’s is as easy as typing, “/PayPal send $5 to @Dave.” See for yourself!

To get started, install the PayPal bot available on the Slack App Directory. Once installed, link your PayPal account and set your preferred transaction settings, including when you want to review and approve transactions. The PayPal bot is available to Slack users in Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S.

Today, person-to-person payments (P2P) is one of the most used feature on PayPal. In 2015 alone, PayPal Holdings processed $41B in P2P volume across PayPal, Venmo and Xoom – a 42% increase in P2P TPV YoY. In-context P2P payment solutions like the PayPal bot, voice activated payments through our recent Siri integration and in email via Microsoft’s are examples of how PayPal is continually contextualizing how you move your money. Install the PayPal bot today by visiting the Slack App Directory

Here’s a video of the process in action: