Archive for December 5, 2017

An Update To My Linksys Customer Service #EpicFail

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 5, 2017 by itnerd

I wanted to provide an update to this customer service fail that I had with my Linksys WRT32X and also to provide a path to get yourself back online if you’re in this situation. Seeing as I got about 35 emails from owners of the WRT32X who were in the same boat as I was, I know that the latter is important. It turned out that the Linksys Community Forums provided a workaround to this issue. I say workaround for reasons that will become clear in a second. If you read message six of this thread which I found via this thread will describe a workaround that will get you online that involves using the previous firmware and doing a 30-30-30 reset. So what is the 30-30-30 reset you ask? Well, it’s:

  1. Press and hold the reset button for 30 seconds.
  2. While holding the reset button, pull the power cord and keep holding the reset button for 30 seconds.
  3. While holding the reset button, plug the power cord back in and keep holding the reset button for 30 seconds.

This will reset the router back to factory defaults. It is important that you follow the instructions to the letter. Including the parts about unplugging your Internet modem and skipping the wizard driven setup so that you don’t re-download the problematic firmware that Linksys pushed to these routers.

Now this is only a workaround because Linksys still has problematic firmware that is still being pushed to these routers despite the fact that it’s pretty clear now that the firmware is the issue. Linksys really needs to step up to the plate and put out a functional firmware update that doesn’t cause this issue. And they need to do so quickly because based on the emails that I’ve received from affected WRT32X owners, many are considering dumping their routers for the competition. Something that is validated by the fact that ASUS and one other brand of networking gear are all to eager to hand over gaming routers to me to review. That’s not good if you’re Linksys.

Also of note, Linksys has not reached out to me in regards to swapping this router out. But seeing as I called a halt to proceedings on Sunday, I don’t expect them to even though on Sunday night a person from Linksys going by the name of “Grayson” promised to reach out to me on Monday even though I had put a halt to proceedings. Read into that what you will about the type of service Linksys provides.

UPDATE: So no more than five minutes after I posted this story, “Grayson” from Linksys customer service called to arrange for the replacement of my WRT32X. I told him that I had brought it back to life and there was no need for a replacement. Besides, not that I told him this, but I am currently its direct competitor from ASUS at the moment. Coincidence? The cynic in my says not.

UPDATE #2: I’ve come across some download links from Linksys for those who have been wanting to flash their WRT32X with firmware that actually works:

In my case, I can validate that using the 1.0.170828.208 worked for me before I swapped the WRT32X for the ones that different networking companies have been sending me to review. But from what I see online, it hasn’t worked for everyone. Thus your mileage may vary on this front.

UPDATE #3: One thing that I did notice since replacing the WRT32X is that some really odd and hard to narrow down networking related issues that I’ve been having since I’ve put the WRT32X into service have gone away. I guess I should have swapped it sooner as it was clearly problematic. I should also mention that if you look at this thread, people are getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of action by Linksys on this front. Some are swapping the WRT32X for another one and turning off the auto update function. Other are just swapping it for another brand. That’s not good if you’re Linksys.

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PayPal Subsidiary Pwned…. 1.6 Million Customers Affected

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 5, 2017 by itnerd

Bleepingcomputer has details on a hack of a subsidiary in Canada:

PayPal says that one of the companies it recently acquired suffered a security incident during which an attacker appears to have accessed servers that stored information for 1.6 million customers. The victim of the security breach is TIO Networks, a Canadian company that runs a network of over 60,000 utility and bills payment kiosks across North America. PayPal acquired TIO Networks this past July for $238 million in cash.

PayPal reportedly suspended the operations of TIO’s network on November 10th. Though we are only finding out about this hack a month later via a press release. That’s a bit of a #fail. As always, affected customers will be notified and the usual free credit monitoring is being offered. But you have to wonder what it will take to make companies do more to protect themselves from pwnage?

GM Introduces Marketplace: Industry’s First Commerce Platform For On-Demand Reservations & Purchases

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 5, 2017 by itnerd

Starting today, General Motors is rolling out the automotive industry’s first commerce platform for on-demand reservations and purchases of goods and services. With Marketplace, drivers can now order and pay for their favorite coffee — and much more — on the way to work with a simple tap on the dash.

Marketplace allows customers to order food, find the closest gas station to save on fuel, and make dinner reservations on the go. This means Marketplace gives drivers of eligible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles the opportunity to more safely interact with a growing number of their favorite brands in retail, fuel, hospitality, food, hotel and transportation through the in-vehicle touchscreen.

Here’s a video of GM Marketplace in action:

Marketplace also features a “Shop” section dedicated to offers specific to GM vehicles, for instance purchasing Wi-Fi data, discounts for an oil change or deals on GM accessories. Simple on-screen notifications can identify relevant offers.

Leveraging the embedded 4G LTE connectivity, GM is adding Marketplace to millions of existing 2017 and 2018 model-year cars, trucks and crossovers that have compatible infotainment systems, with continued rollout to compatible new vehicles. A separate data plan is not required to use Marketplace.

Marketplace is designed to be used while driving. It leverages machine learning from real-time interaction data, such as location, time of day and a driver’s established digital relationship with third-party merchants, to offer highly personalized experiences.

Adhering to industry distracted driving guidelines, as well as GM’s strict in-house safety guiding principles, GM designs its in-vehicle systems to minimize manual interactions, helping drivers keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

The first brands accessible through Marketplace include:

  • GM lets customers buy 4G LTE Data packages, extend their OnStar subscription or receive offers for certified service, parts and accessories for their specific vehicle.
  • Starbucks offers another convenient way for customers to order ahead and enjoy their favorite handcrafted beverage or food item. And as part of the Starbucks Rewards program, members enjoy more value by earning Rewards towards free food and drink. (Early 2018)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts will help customers start their day off right through an experience that allows DD Perks members to preorder and pay onscreen for their favorite coffee and donut, at their preferred pickup location.
  • Wingstop will allow you to skip the wait by re-ordering your favorites and paying ahead, so you can get home in time for the big game
  • TGI Fridays will let customers schedule a table reservation for them and their closest friends and family when they need a break from the week.
  • Shell will enable the exceptional driver experience, providing ease of payment and savings with INSTANT GOLD STATUS in the Fuel Rewards® program. Customers’ closest Shell station will be identified and station amenities showcased among the largest fuel station network in the U.S., with the ability to pay in-dash coming soon.
  • ExxonMobil will quickly locate Exxon and Mobil fuel stations with details of what they offer, route you there and get you back on the road faster.
  • Priceline.com gives drivers access to hundreds of thousands of hotels and exclusive hotel savings on the go.
  • Parkopedia allows drivers to find, reserve and pay for parking, all at the click of a button.
  • Applebee’s ensures customers are never too far from Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood whether close to home or miles away with the ability to locate their nearest restaurant, order featured menu items and reorder recent favorites through the convenience of their vehicle’s touchscreen.
  • IHOP makes it easy for guests to enjoy hot, fresh all-day breakfast favorites like fluffy buttermilk pancakes on the go, thanks to safe and secure on-dash ordering and location service capabilities that help search and find the nearest restaurant for pickup.
  • delivery.com empowers the neighborhood economy by enabling customers to order online from their favorite local restaurants, wine and spirits shops, grocery stores and laundry and dry-cleaning providers.

To allow merchants to efficiently and quickly integrate their content as part of the in-vehicle Marketplace ecosystem, General Motors is working with three main platform partners: Xevo in Seattle, Washington; Conversable in Austin, Texas; and Sionic Mobile in Atlanta, Georgia. Merchants interested in Marketplace can contact the above platform partners or email GM at Marketplace@onstar.com.

MAGIX Releases Free Mobile App Called Looparoid

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 5, 2017 by itnerd

With Looparoid, MAGIX delivers a free Android app to create breathtaking photo stories and can be downloaded straight from the Google Play Store. Entertaining animated GIFs from photos are created in seconds.

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Whether its your last vacation, home improvement project or dinner with friends: Looparoid can bring up to 8 images together to create one story. It’s super simple to use, the user selects their favorite photos, picks a fitting frame in a Polaroid style and then adds a title – and it’s done! In no time at all, the completed Looparoid can be shared instantly via messenger.

Looparoid is the result of years of experience in the development of user-friendly desktop and mobile apps for photo and video editing from the MAGIX team. Continued development and innovative functions for Looparoid have already been planned for the immediate future.

Looparoid is now available for free in the Google Play Store and is compatible with Android 5.0 version and higher.

Letingtech Announces the World’s First Smart Glasses with Alexa & Smart Home Control

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 5, 2017 by itnerd

Letingtech announces the launch of LET Glass, the world’s first AI glasses supported by military bone conduction technology. LET Glass revolutionizes the way you control your smart home. It frees your hands from physical handling of your devices and immerse you in a smart world with the easiest operating mode. LET will be available on Indiegogo on December 5, starting at $99.

LET Glass integrates audio entertainment, telephone communication and voice interaction into one pair of glasses. By connecting to Alexa and similar voice control systems through its mobile APP, you can play with your phone without a single touch on it. Features include:

  • What it does — Smart Home Control via Alexa, Music, Calls, Online Information Navigation
  • AI voice control — Talk into the built-in mic on LET Glass for voice interaction
  • Bone conduction technology — Listen to the sound from LET Glass while keeping open ears to the surroundings
  • Gesture control — Tap on the legs of LET Glass for remote control
  • Prescription Lenses — Customize your LET Glass with multiple styles of frames and lens
  • On Head Detection — Auto power switch as you put it on and off your head

About LET: Letingtech is a start-up company founded by a group of engineers with extensive product development experience. It focuses on smart hardware development and aims to build the most high-quality and cost-effective audio-visual products to wow the consumers. LET Smart Glasses have re-defined high technology glasses and become the first brand of smart glasses. Find out more at https://www.letglass.com/.