Archive for March 29, 2017

Waterloo University Student Wins Gold At Bloomberg’s International Coding Competition In New York

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

Waterloo University took home the gold at Bloomberg’s international coding competition in New York! With a perfect score, Timothy Li, an 18-year-old freshman, received first place against 140 competitors across Canada, the United States and Europe in the Global CodeCon Finals (GCCF), a grueling 2-hour coding challenge.

Bloomberg engineer, Rangan Prabhakaran, created CodeCon in late 2014 as a way to help students improve their coding abilities. Throughout the year, competitions are held at leading universities and the winners are invited to face off in a final round of questions created by Bloomberg software engineers.

Contestants are not made aware of the problems beforehand, and are often surprised by their diverse nature – from working out how to arrange antique statues by height in as fewmoves as possible to writing a program to win at Pokémon Go. Questions were quite challenging, as one question, “Firefighter Tim,” had only a two percent success rate across the 140 finalists.

Given the prestige and competitive nature of the event, Timothy’s last-minute win was highly impressive.

Additional information on the event can also be found here.

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OpenTable Releases Major Updates To GuestCenter

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

OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations and part of The Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN), today announced details of major updates to its flagship restaurant management product, GuestCenter.

Designed to focus on availability and customization of the restaurant floor, the new functionality of GuestCenter gives restaurateurs greater control over the number of diners they welcome through their doors and where they seat them. This includes when they accept large party reservations and how they structure specific times within service, ensuring they can seat more diners more efficiently.

The update also enables restaurants to show availability for non-traditional seating. Opening up bar-side, high-top, counter and outdoor areas for reservations gives maximum choice to diners over where they are seated.

 

The key benefits of the GuestCenter product updates to restaurants include:

  • Even greater control over the diner flow through each service period
  • Categorization of table types to create additional availability by making bar-side, counter, high-top and outdoor seating bookable
  • Define large party size seating times for bigger groups at times when the restaurant can best accommodate them
  • Customization of shift periods within a service to offer different availability by peak and off-peak times

GuestCenter is OpenTable’s flagship cloud-based hospitality product for global restaurants. The product has been designed and custom-built from the ground up to help restaurants optimize their service and benefit from data-driven insights to ensure their restaurant runs as efficiently as possible. Available on iPad and desktop, GuestCenter provides restaurants with marketing and table management tools, enabling them to take round the clock, real-time reservations from diners across the world.

GuestCenter enables restaurants to surface real-time availability to the OpenTable diner network, which seats more than 21 million diners per month across more than 40,000 restaurants around the globe.

Here’s a video of GuestCenter in action:

Citrix Converts Samsung Galaxy S8 into Full Desktop

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

As enterprises increasingly embrace mobile business strategies, people continue to carry as many as three devices with them, including laptops, smartphones and tablets. To lighten that electronics load, make people more efficient and help businesses reduce costs, Samsung is introducing Samsung DeX that – when combined with Citrix Receiver – converts the new Samsung Galaxy S8 into a desktop environment that includes an optimized UI for multi-tasking with keyboard and mouse support, resizable window capabilities, task bar pop-up notifications and more.

The combination of Citrix and Samsung DeX unboxes the phone and provides employees with secure access to their digital workspace and all of the business apps and data they need to get their work done. Samsung is exclusively showcasing Citrix in Samsung DeX demos with XenApp and XenDesktop and Citrix Receiver that will be shown to media, customers and analysts during the Samsung Unpacked event today and at the Samsung Enterprise Mobility Analyst Day tomorrow in New York City.

In addition to the preferred solution that combines Citrix innovation with Samsung DeX, Citrix also offers support and integration for Samsung devices that include XenMobile enterprise mobility management, security features and secure virtual access to apps and desktops through XenApp and XenDesktop, and support for Secure Apps with Samsung Knox at the native Android OS layer.

Citrix XenMobile also supports new Samsung capability known as Enterprise Firmware-Over-The-Air (E-FOTA). Samsung E-FOTA enables IT admins to take greater control over when devices get updated, as well as what version is updated. This Samsung capability provides IT with native device control without sacrificing user flexibility.

This unique collaboration between Citrix and Samsung literally lightens the load for organizations and employees while providing greater security and flexibility for people who spend all or part of their day working outside of the office. This solution enhances security and productivity by enabling people to securely use their phone in the field. Then when they are in the office, they can connect to the Samsung DeX, converting their phone into a desktop-like experience without losing any phone capabilities to securely access their apps and data through Citrix Receiver, XenApp and XenDesktop.

For example, insurance claims adjusters can securely use their Samsung Galaxy S8 out in the field assessing claims, and then return to the office, plug into their DeX station and complete reports using a full desktop-like environment. Police officers can use their phones to enter tickets and take notes while on patrol using Citrix Secure Forms, and then return to the station, plug into the DeX station and complete their reports using a fully functional desktop-like environment.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone and Samsung DeX will be available in Q2, 2017.

Xerox Launches New Technology to Transform the Workplace

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

Xerox today launching 29 ConnectKey enabled printers and multifunction devices with simple and secure on-the-go capabilities, cloud connectivity, and access to productivity boosting features and apps.

The new ConnectKey portfolio transforms traditional printing devices into smart, connected workplace assistants that reflect the evolving needs of today’s businesses. Personalized workflows, one-touch access to the cloud and multi-layered security features are the new print, copy and fax.

The family of products includes a variety of sizes, speeds and capabilities to match the needs of small- and medium-sized businesses as well as large enterprises, with a consistent user experience across the portfolio.

The new products will be identified as the Xerox VersaLink and Xerox AltaLink series. The VersaLink devices are designed for small workgroups and distributed teams, and include 19 printers and multifunction printers (MFPs). The AltaLink series includes 10 MFPs designed for larger workgroups or print volume needs. Key attributes include:

  • Streamlined business processes – Off-the-shelf or created by channel partners, built-in apps from the Xerox App Gallery help organizations create workflows tailored to their specific operations. For example, patient records filing, real estate contract management and retail invoicing can be streamlined into fewer, faster steps using digital workflows enabled right from the device.
  • Industry-leading intuitive user experience – Benefiting from years of Xerox research in this area, all 29 products share a similar, customizable user interface, which is unique to Xerox workplace solutions and allows the user experience to move with you. The tablet-like touch screen interface can be personalized for different work environments or individual users.
  • Mobile and cloud ready – Information flows easily from the device to cloud repositories like Dropbox, Office 365 or Google Drive. Mobile workers can print wirelessly from any computing device.
  • Total security for both the device and your information – ConnectKey technology ensures comprehensive safety for system components and points of vulnerability. It offers protection from unauthorized access to devices; keeps confidential communications and information safe with encryption and image overwrite; audits device access attempts and protects both data and device from malicious intent.

By working with industry leaders in network security, ConnectKey-enabled devices offer added security – ensuring they are monitored and trusted in even the most security-conscious environments. AltaLink MFPs feature an added layer of security through our partnership with McAfee.

User proof point: Xerox ConnectKey a win for global manufacturer

CLIMAX is a global portable manufacturing company that offers on-site machining, welding and valve testing to its customers in the oil and gas, mining, heavy construction, power generation, shipbuilding and transportation industries. The company turned to the new Xerox devices because its employees need simple, secure and often on-the-go access to digital files for printing, sharing and storing.

 

Availability

The 29 Xerox AltaLink and Xerox VersaLink devices are available worldwide in the second quarter.

 

Samsung Launches Galaxy S8 & S8+

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

Samsung just announced the launch of the Galaxy S8 and S8+. This is more than just a phone launch for Samsung. It’s a reboot for the company following the exploding Note 7 debacle. They have to hit the S8 and S8+ out of the park or risk having their market share erode. Based on what I see, they have something that might do just that.

The S8 will come to the table with a big 5.8-inch display. If that’s not big enough, you get 6.2 inches on the S8+. One wonders how you will fit either phone in your pocket. Having said that, Both displays are also SuperAMOLED panels with QuadHD (2960×1440) with Samsung’s always-on display feature.

The CPU is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. You get 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage on board. A microSD slot allows you to add additional storage. It runs Android 7.0 with the “Samsung Experience 8.0” layered on top. Plus you get the new Siri competitor Bixby. More info on Bixby can be found here. But it promises to be game changing for the company. Samsung is also first to market by having Bluetooth 5.0 on board. Plus you get a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor alongside the camera which is a 12MP sensor for the rear and 8MP camera on the front of the phone. There’s also facial recognition and an iris scanner for security purposes. Before you ask, yes there is a headphone jack. I guess they lacked courage. But it hasn’t affected the ability to be water resistant as it sports IP68 dust/water resistance. There’s also a docking station option called Dex which allows it to be connected to a monitor or TV effectively turning it into an Android-run PC.

Now onto the most anticipated part of the phone. The battery. There’s a 3,000 mAh battery in the S8 and a 3,500 mAh battery in the S8+, both with fast charging. To make sure that they don’t explode, the batteries were put through what Samsung describes as their toughest battery tests ever. Because they know that if even one of these phones explodes, it’s game over for them from a PR standpoint.

Samsung will be opening up pre-orders on March 30th and it will be available for sale on April 21st. Samsung isn’t confirming pricing for the Galaxy S8 and the S8+ at this point. Several colors including black, gray, and silver will be available.

So, will you be getting an S8 or S8+? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

UPDATE: Telus reached out to me to say that their customers can pre-order online starting today! Deliveries start as early as April 17. To sweeten the deal and get the most out of their new smartphones, Telus customers who pre-order the new Samsung S8 and S8+, will also receive the Samsung Gear VR with controller.

Windows 10 Creators Update… Here’s What To Expect

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

Microsoft is in the process of rolling out the Windows 10 Creators Update, the latest major update to its current desktop operating system. Here’s what you can expect from the Creators Update:

  • Visual previews of tabs in Microsoft Edge.
  • Edge now has built-in support for ebooks.
  • Microsoft Paint now lets people create models in 3D.
  • Picture-in-Picture mode for videos. Essentially you can now have a small window with video playing on it placed on top of any other application.
  • Night Light: A baked in feature in Windows that will allow you to change the color and tone of display so that it doesn’t pain your eyes to look at the screen at night.
  • Dynamic Lock: The feature first requires you to pair your phone or tablet with the computer. Once done, it will automatically log you out everytime you’re away from desk (or technically speaking, the device is out of the computer’s proximity).
  • Native support for surround sound.
  • Ability to scribble and make notes on Microsoft’s Maps app.
  • Game mode: It “ensures” your computer is always maximizing its resources for an optimal gaming experience.
  • Built-in support for mixed reality handsets.

It should hit Windows Update on April 11th, but if you know where to look, you can get it today. Not that I would if I were you as there is the remote possibility that a critical bug will be found and addressed between now and April 11th. Plus, hardware and software vendors may need the additional time to do updates of their own to make sure that they can play nice with this update. The update will be free to all. More info can be found here.

 

Guest Post: DocLogix Discusses 8 Reasons Why Companies Should Treat Information As an Asset and Manage It Properly

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

When thinking about company assets, it’s usually financial or other material income and possessions that come to mind. Company directors tend to ignore another valuable asset – organization’s informational inventory.

Since we are already living in information-based economy, the way that companies manage information becomes a very important factor in their overall success in the market. Studies show that 83% of businesses mismanage and fail to take advantage of their company’s information, while information management is slated to grow rapidly, with Chief Data Officer demand growing 90% by 2019.

Companies that do not control their information are not in charge of the essence of their enterprise. They often find out that critical data is unavailable or lost at decision time. They also tend to be late when it comes to orders, payments or agreements, have higher activity costs and bigger mistake rate, since they cannot efficiently access their information. For example, an agreement that can be negotiated and signed in one day often takes more than a week. As a result, employees and clients usually lose trust in such organization, and employee turnover rate can be high.

DocLogix is a document and process management solution that helps companies properly deal with their overall informational assets. “If cash flow is the bloodline of a company, then information is its oxygen,” says Aurimas Bakas, board member of DocLogix. “Only the companies that balance those two vital processes will win against the competition, as only the managed information creates value.”

Here’s how automated information management works: all possible contracts, proposals, employee information, communication, tasks, responsible employees, and task progress becomes visible in one system, in real time. All information flows according to automated workflows ensuring the highest possible performance and accuracy.  The system is accessible remotely, from anywhere, and accurately shows who is working on which projects, which tasks are lagging behind and what needs more input from managers.

Here is the list of all the advantages of ECM (enterprise content management system):

  1. Better and quicker decision making. When a company installs ECM, a manager can instantly get all the information about current processes, and doesn’t have to rely on the one person familiar with that particular task or that one department of the company. Smart notes, reminders and controls for the assigned tasks will be issued so that everything is visible and performed on time. Decision making accelerates by a factor of three.
  1. Attractiveness to investors. Companies that have sharp information management practices are usually much more attractive to potential investors, as they appear to be information-savvy and accurate in their processes, thriving in the information age.
  1. Increase in transparency. Every employee can now check the status of a certain document or process, depending on their privilege level, so the company becomes 100% transparent.
  1. Going paperless and save. Thanks to the system, paper documents generated within the organization decreased by 60%. Costs for document printing and transfer get reduced by about 60%.
  1. Saving time. Document preparation takes up to 20% less work time.
  1. Easy dealing with compliance issues. ISO, Health & Safety and financial compliance becomes easily achievable to any organization.
  1. Increase in productivity. Companies that manage their information properly can achieve a significant productivity increase. For example, since DocLogix reduces workload related to the information, workload-related to information management can be reduced by 35%, meaning that more time might be dedicated to the primary production-related duties. Prepared templates and clear processes allow users to prepare documents correctly on the first attempt.
  1. Cooperation and responsibility. The company will have an overall increased cooperation and responsibility. Sometimes production companies have one irreplaceable person, because he keeps a lot of company information about tasks, employees and how things should function. With DocLogix, all information is stored in a structural environment, thus all employees are able to reach it based on their access level. Smart notes, reminders and controls for the assigned tasks will be issued so that everything is performed on time.

DocLogix is a unique ECM platform, recognized in 2016 as the most progressive in the world, flexibility being its biggest strength. Any workflow or document form can be customized, while different solutions can be offered, such as office management, contract management, project management and so on.