Archive for February 1, 2018

The Latest In Home Technologies: Wi-Fi Thermostats

Posted in Commentary on February 1, 2018 by itnerd

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t is always great to be in touch with all of the latest technologies that are modernizing every aspect of life. From travel to interaction and communication, technology impacts on day-to-day routines. And one area that is being enhanced by the advent of certain technologies is the home.

 

Since the home should be a place to unwind, it only makes sense to utilize technology in a way that makes relaxing at home even more convenient. If you want to install some cool new technology in your home, you should consider trading out your ancient furnace for a Wi-Fi thermostat. Wi-Fi thermostats have a range of advantages, including:

  • Energy savings, as their easy-to-control features allow you to save up to 30% on energy bills per year.

  • Better for the environment – Energy savings will not only benefit your wallet, but also the impact that heating and cooling our homes  has on the ecosystem.

  • Super convenient – Wi-Fi thermostats can be controlled from any device that is connected to Wi-Fi.

With these and other benefits to Wi-Fi thermostats, it only makes sense for IT nerds to install these ultra beneficial home gadgets for the sake of the environment and your own safety and convenience.

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#Fail: PC Optimum Launch Plagued With Problems

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 1, 2018 by itnerd

Today was the day that the new PC Optimum rewards program was supposed to launch. The program takes the old PC Plus rewards program that grocery store Loblaw used, and the Shoppers Optimum program that pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart used, and merge them in to one program seeing as both retailers are owned by the same company. The process to sign up for this new program was billed as being seamless, and there was a new app on offer to make it easy to track rewards and earn points, but apparently both assertions by the company have entered #fail country:

I can verify that my experience transitioning over to the new program was sub optimal. The app tends to crash, as well as not display information correctly. Plus my sign up experience wasn’t great as it took a few tries before it worked. Clearly there are issues to iron out and I would recommend that they need to do this quickly as PC Optimum is trending on Twitter for all the wrong reasons and it’s getting the attention of the media. And that’s bad press that this company cannot afford.

UPDATE:  If you’re running the iOS version of the PC Optimum app, you should check for an update that appears to solve the crash problems and other issues that I wrote about.

UPDATE #2: The #fail continues. My wife registered for PC Optimum and it was a frustrating experience for her that left her repeatedly saying “I hate Loblaws.” And during that process, she found another bug in the PC Optimum app for iOS. Location services doesn’t work properly. When she tried to use it to find the nearest store, this is what she consistently got:

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I tried the same exercise on my iPhone 7 Plus and it only worked for me about six out of ten times. Where in he case, it worked zero out of ten times on her iPhone 6. Either way, it is becoming clear that those behind this PC Optimum rollout didn’t have all their ducks in a row prior to rolling this out.

UPDATE #3: A update to the iOS app was pushed out on Sunday to fix the bug that my wife found. We also leveraged the “household” function to pool our points together to get a free week’s worth of groceries. That made my wife forget about some of the frustration to get to this point. Though, that two was a frustrating experience as it took almost an hour for us to set up that function as you need to invite people to join your household and it takes that long for the invitation to arrive by email. But once you accept the invitation, the confirmation is instant. Why that makes sense I have have no idea.

Windows Defender To Defend You Against Scareware

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 1, 2018 by itnerd

I’m pretty sure that we’ve all seen programs that claim any of the following:

  • You have out of date drivers
  • You have thousands of registry errors
  • You’re infected with viruses.

And said program will claim to fix all of that for a tidy sum of cash. Now, these programs  are called “scareware” because they are meant to scare you into handing over your hard earned money to a bunch of lying scumbags. These sorts of apps are a problem. And Microsoft is going to solve that problem via an update to Windows Defender:

Starting March 1, 2018Windows Defender Antivirus and other Microsoft security products will classify programs that display coercive messages as unwanted software, which will be detected and removed. If you’re a software developer and want to validate the detection of your programs, visit the Windows Defender Security Intelligence portal.

So if you’re in the business of trying to fleece people of their cash using scareware, your days are numbered if Microsoft has its way. I for one will be interested to see how this will work when it finally rolls out. As well as if it can help to protect users from dodgy software.