Archive for April 6, 2018

Facebook Makes Changes To Fight Election Meddling…. But You Should Still #DeleteFacebook

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 6, 2018 by itnerd

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is due to testify in front of Congress next week. Perhaps to get ahead of the story, Facebook decided today was a good day to roll out a bunch of changes to stop election meddling. You can read the full details in this Facebook blog post. But here’s the highlights:

  • Starting this spring the social media company will begin labeling all political and issue ads
  • Facebook will be showing who paid for the ads
  • It will require anyone who wants to run a political or issue ad to verify their identity and location.
  • The ads will be put into a searchable database, which will be released in June. The database will include details on how much the ads cost and what kinds of people the advertisers were targeting. Ads will stay in the database for four years.
  • Facebook is also going to start verifying the people behind large Pages.

Zuckerberg had this to say in his own post:

These steps by themselves won’t stop all people trying to game the system. But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads

While these changes are good and long overdue, I seriously do not think that this will stop “Zuck” from getting roasted by Congress next week. After all, it’s an election year which isn’t good for him as all these politicians will want to put on a show. But more to the point, he’s really going to get grilled because Facebook’s entire business model is built upon grabbing all the information it can on as many people as possible, and he hasn’t yet come up with an argument that speaks to why that is a good thing and why his company can be trusted with that amount of information. Thus you should still #DeleteFacebook if you haven’t already.

 

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In Depth: Hyundai Express Shopping

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 6, 2018 by itnerd

I guess that I have become one of those people who expects to do everything online. I buy everything from clothes to food online. Thus why shouldn’t I be able to buy my car online?

We’re not there yet. But Hyundai Canada is in the neighborhood of being able to buy a car online as they’re introduced a concept called Express Shopping. By going to Hyundai Canada’s website, a customer who wants a new Hyundai vehicle can:

  • Build and price the car of their choice right on the website
  • Request a trade-in appraisal from their local Hyundai dealership
  • Apply for credit approval for financing or leasing
  • Schedule an appointment at the dealership of their choosing.
  • Customers will receive a final price in their digital shopping cart so they know exactly what they will pay for their new vehicle before visiting a dealership.
  • Accurate inventory will be available.

Now let me focus on these six items. Seeing as from experience I already research and compare cars on line, once I’ve made my decision I can expedite the process of getting that car. On top of that, the fact that I can schedule an appointment at the dealership of my choice is pretty cool as it makes the whole process of buying a car go a whole lot faster.

There’s a second update coming later in 2018 that will allow the customer and dealership to agree on a price before the customer visits the dealership. That minimizes the one thing that I hate most about the car buying process which is the negotiation process. It can be stressful and anything that can be done to make that process less stressful would be welcome.

I had a quick word with Lawrence Hamilton who is the Director of Marketing for Hyundai Canada about the thinking behind this effort and how it’s been received in the marketplace.

The IT Nerd: What sort of thinking went into this based on customer needs?

Lawrence Hamilton: Hyundai Express Shopping was first launched in mid-June 2017, accessible through our corporate website. We know consumers are already going beyond traditional brick-and-mortar stores and are researching more goods and services online, and this includes cars. We wanted to bring more of the vehicle shopping experience online to help customers save time and offer them more convenience.

What we announced on February 15th, is that we’re now going to be providing this digital platform to dealerships across the country so they can use it on their websites. In doing this, we are offering dealerships the capacity to service their customers in a more modern way, and enabling them to become omni-channel businesses with this online portal.

Hyundai Express Shopping aims to make the buying experience more transparent so customers will know exactly what they’ll pay for their chosen vehicle even before going into their local dealership. It also makes the sales person’s job easier as the paperwork is complete and they can focus more attention to educating customers on the benefits of the Hyundai vehicle.

Hyundai Shopping Express does not replace the dealership sales model, because customers will still visit their local dealership to test drive their chosen vehicle, and to sign the contract — at which point they would arrange for delivery and pick up of the vehicle. It really enhances the dealership model.

 

The IT Nerd: What has the reaction in the marketplace been?

Lawrence Hamilton: We’ve heard far more from dealers that are interested and excited by the prospect of having Hyundai Express integrated into their websites. More and more, businesses in the consumer goods sector are recognizing how much the consumer shopping experience is taking place online and it’s time for the automotive industry to embrace this trend. We already have dealers in various stages of enhancing their capacity for online communication with their customers, Hyundai Express will accelerate that natural development and create a universal set of capabilities for dealers nation-wide.

The Hyundai Express Shopping platform is modular, so customers can use as much (or as little) of it as they like. We believe that with Hyundai Express Shopping, the buying experience can be much more streamlined, transparent and pleasant for both the dealer and the customer.

Regarding rollout, we currently have 217 dealerships in Canada. This spring, we will pilot Hyundai Express Shopping with approximately 10 per cent of our dealer network across the country before expanding it nationally later this year.

 

When it comes to the car buying experience, it goes beyond horsepower, fuel economy and how close the dealership is to your house when you need service. It is also about the ease of actually buying the car. An initiative like Express Shopping is something that is really going to tip the scales in favor of Hyundai Canada because car buyers like me who leverage online tools for anything and everything will really appreciate what Hyundai Canada is serving up to car buyers. Not to mention those who just want an easier car buying experience when it comes to their next vehicle.

 

Roku Announces Sanyo as its Newest Roku TV Brand

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 6, 2018 by itnerd

Roku today announced that the Sanyo brand is now part of the Roku TV licensing program. Funai Corporation expects to ship the first Sanyo Roku TVs in Canada this quarter.

The Roku TV licensing program offers TV OEM partners an easy, efficient, and cost-effective way to build smart TVs that consumers love to use. The Roku operating system provides consumers with access to an ever-growing library of content as well as regular, automatic updates so they can be sure they have the latest and greatest features.

Sanyo joins RCA, Insignia And Sharp as partners with Roku.

 

Sears Holding And Delta Pwned Via Third Party…. Payment Card Info Swiped..

Posted in Commentary with tags , on April 6, 2018 by itnerd

I don’t think I’ve ever written about two companies being pwned at the same time before. But today I am going to discuss that a data breach at a software services provider called [ 24]7.ai has led to payment card info being swiped from customers of Sears Holding and Delta Airlines. Details from Reuters:

Technology firm [ 24]7.ai, which provides online support services for Delta, Sears and Kmart among other companies, found that a cyber security incident affected online customer payment information of its clients, it said.

The incident happened on or after Sept. 26, 2017 last year and was found and resolved on Oct. 12, the company said.

Sears is aware that about 100,000 customers may have had their payment info swiped. Delta says “a small subset of its customers would have had their information exposed” but it cannot say for sure if the info was access or compromised. In both cases, it highlights what can happen if you give third parties access to your customer data. Which means giving third parties access to your data customer data is risky. Thus you need to ensure that they keep a close eye on how they manage that data or you can end up like these two companies.

Russia Is Starting The Process To Ban Telegram

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 6, 2018 by itnerd

You might recall that I posted a story about Russia wanting to get its hands on the encryption keys related to Telegram, the popular messaging app. Which of course wasn’t going to happen because can’t. As a result, The BBC is reporting today that the Roskomnadzor media regulator has begun legal proceedings to block the app in the country.

My thought on this is simple. I think Russia can try to block Telegram, but I suspect that that won’t kill the service. So I expect a game of cat and mouse to commence. Let’s see who comes out on top.

Facebook Quietly Cancels Plans To Vacuum Up Hospital Patient Data

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 6, 2018 by itnerd

Facebook has reportedly paused an initiative in which a number of hospitals were asked to share patient data with the social network according to CNBC. Likely because the ongoing gong show of their data handling issues would have likely got in the way.

I will concede that the data would have been anonymized. And the whole scheme would have helped both patients and hospitals. But one big reason why this is a horrible idea is that this was apparently led out of building on the Facebook campus where all the top secret stuff goes on:

The exploratory effort to share medical-related data was led by an interventional cardiologist called Freddy Abnousi, who describes his role on LinkedIn as “leading top-secret projects.” It was under the purview of Regina Dugan, the head of Facebook’s “Building 8” experiment projects group, before she left in October 2017.

Honestly, that doesn’t inspire confidence. And I want you to think about this in the context of everything that has been uncovered in terms of Facebook and its ability to handle your data. Because on the surface, this seems to be a horrific idea. As in letting them have access to your medical records (anonymous or not) is downright scary. Hopefully this plan gets deep sixed and never sees the light of day. But it does beg the question: What other initiatives like this exist within Facebook?