Archive for May, 2018

Youth Transitioning Out Of foster Care Will Receive Free Smartphone Plans From Telus

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 31, 2018 by itnerd

Young people leaving foster care in Ontario will be able to stay connected with their vital support networks thanks to a new collaboration between Telus  and Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada (CAFC). Telus is expanding its Mobility for Good program to Ontario, offering youth transitioning from care a free smartphone and fully subsidized plan from Telus for two years. The program will assist up to 7,200 youth in the province who qualify to stay connected with friends, potential employers and peers, helping to prevent social isolation during a vulnerable stage of their lives as they transition to independent living.

The expansion of Telus Mobility for Good in Ontario builds upon Telus’ commitment to bridge the digital divide for Canadians, and strive for social and digital equality in our all-connected world. The program first launched last year in British Columbia, and earlier this month, expanded to Quebec. The program provides youth transitioning from care with a smartphone and Telus mobile plan at $0 per month, including unlimited nationwide talk and text and up to 3GB of monthly data usage. While Telus is providing the service to youth for free, the bills will appear in the youth’s name to help them build positive credit and gain the skills required to manage their finances in the future. Telus and CAFC plan to expand the program to more provinces across Canada later this year.

Each year approximately 2,300 youth, as young as 18, age out of Canada’s child welfare system, and are no longer eligible for the type of support they have been receiving while in care. They are often underprepared to transition to independent life and do not have the support of permanent families to help them get on their feet. Without the proper resources available, many young people leaving care find the transition to independence difficult to navigate.

In addition to Mobility for Good, in 2016 Telus introduced Internet for Good in British Columbia and Alberta, which offers $9.95 per month Internet to low-income single-parent families who receive financial or disability assistance from the provinces.

For more information on the Telus Mobility for Good Program in Ontario or to apply, please visit:



Review: 2018 Mazda CX-5 GT – Part 4

Posted in Products with tags on May 31, 2018 by itnerd

If you’re looking for technology in the Mazda CX-5, there’s a lot of it to be found. Some of it which is really different. Let’s start with the safety technology:

  • Blind Spot Monitoring: This system keeps an eye out for cars in your blind spots so that you don’t hit them when changing lanes. It works well as the area of detection was large enough to keep me safe, but not so large that it created false positives.
  • Lane Departure Warning With Lane Keep Assist: If you cross over into another lane, this system will buzz you on either the right or the left side. The buzz really gets your attention I must say. You can also set it to vibrate the steering wheel. However, it has one extra trick, the system will proactively guide the CX-5 back onto its intended path if the system thinks you’re getting out of shape. For what its worth, it was never overly intrusive when it did intervene.
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert: If you back out of a parking space in a busy shopping mall and you have limited visibility to your left and right, you’ll love this system as you will be warned of any cars that cross into your path.
  • Adaptive Front Lighting System and High Beam Control: I wrote about this previously and I have to admit that on some of the back roads that I drive at night, this feature came in handy. I was always able to see what was in front of me clearly. One thing that I really appreciated was the fact that the LED headlights were very bright.
  • Distance Recognition Support System: This feature measures the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead and recommends a comfortable following distance on the Active Driving Display as long as you are above 30 km/h.
  • Radar Based Cruise Control: I really liked this feature as you can set the speed you want and the distance that you want to have between yourself and the car in front of you, and you can pretty much let it slow down and speed up depending on the conditions. It’s very handy on long highway drives. One trick that it has is that it will slow the car down to a dead stop. Though you’ll have to get the CX-5 moving again once traffic starts to move.
  • Smart City Brake Support: Let’s say that you you do not react in time to a car that panic stops in front of you. This Mazda is capable of coming to a stop on it’s own, or slowing down enough to make the impact less severe. You can get more details on this system here. I should note that this is a standard feature regardless of the trim level
  • Rear Backup Camera: The camera is a fisheye camera that has an impressive degree of clarity. You can see anything and everything that is behind you when you’re backing up. One thing to note is that the camera is exposed, so it may become a dirt magnet that will affect what you can see.
  • You get anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, and electronic brake force distribution. Plus you get hill launch assist which keeps you from rolling backwards when you’re on a hill.
  • Finally, you get dual front air bags, dual front side air bags and dual side air curtains.

There’s one other piece of technology that I should point out:


This is the Mazda Active Driving Display, and this feature projects vehicle speed, chosen cruise-control speed, information from the navigation system (including turn-by-turn directions, distance and lane guidance) as well as notifications for the blind spot monitoring system, lane departure warning system, and road signs onto the windscreen. All of this information is within the line of sight of the driver, which means you never have to look away from the road. That’s why I consider it to be a piece of safety tech. Once I tweaked the position of the display, I found it to be extremely useful. The only thing that I should mention is that my Oakely Prizim Road driving sunglasses filters the display out. Thus choose your sunglasses carefully.

Is there anything missing from the safety tech? There are no backup sensors which give you audio cues of how close you are to an object when you are backing up. That could be a problem as many of the vehicles that the CX-5 competes against includes this feature.

Now how about actually driving the Mazda CX-5? You get a proximity key with push button start. Thus all you have to do is press a button on the driver’s door handle. Press it and the car will unlock. Get in, hit the start/stop button and drive away. One nice touch is that the start/stop button will light up with a green light if you press the brake pedal to start. That’s a nice touch to remind you to press the brake pedal to start the car. When you’ve reached your destination, press the start/stop button to turn off the car. Then get out of the car, close the door and walk away. You’ll hear two beeps. One after you close the door and one about 10 seconds later. When you hear both, the car is locked. You never need to pull out the key fob to do any of this. But the key fob does have the ability to lock and unlock the doors and it has the ever useful panic button. As an added bonus, it has a backup key inside the key fob should you need it.

Then there is Mazda Connect. The combination of the 7″ touchscreen  and the HMI (Human Machine Interface) Commander Switch gives the driver a easy to learn, easy to use infotainment system. I wrote about it in detail here. And before anyone asks, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay isn’t currently available, but it’s on the way.

The Mazda CX-5 has a 10 speaker Bose sound system that I have to admit that regardless where in the CX-5 I happened to be sitting, the sound was excellent as the highs and lows were perfect and the audio was well balanced when I tested it with my current audio torture playlist made up of Austra, Ruelle, TV On The Radio, Chemical Brothers, Electronic, Lana Del Rey and Black Coast among others. I should note that there is no CD player in the CX-5, but I don’t think you’ll miss it.

The final part of this review will tie up some loose ends and I’ll give you my final verdict. Watch for it on Friday.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses The Fact That Russia Is Intensifying Hacking Of Foreign Routers & Email Accounts

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 31, 2018 by itnerd

In the latest news, it has been reported that a new piece of Russian malware can infect consumers’ routers.

The malware comes from the group called Fancy Bear, believed to be a part of Russia’s military intelligence service. The software could be used to monitor and surveil any traffic that goes across a user’s router, to infect it or to block certain websites. About 500,000 devices globally are already infected with the malware, which could be used to form a network of zombie devices that could block sites by overloading their servers.

Meanwhile in Canada, a 23-year Russian old “hacker on fire” has just been sentenced to 5 years in prison.  Between 2010 and 2017, he stole a massive amount of  Yahoo data to gain access to private emails, while working for the FSB, a Russian spy agency. .

“We are living in times where no one can be certain about their online privacy – there are many interests at play. Many of them come from foreign governments, as in the case with router malware or the Russia-hired hacker stealing email data,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “Certainly, there are also hacks done purely for money, by stealing users’ information and demanding ransom. People log into their computers and don’t know if someone’s not reading their emails or stealing passwords. We recommend certain privacy precautions – no one can afford to be careless about their online security these days.”

  1. Protecting your router. The most secure solution is downloading the latest firmwarefrom the manufacturer’s site. For Netgear routers, users can go directly to, then Advanced options, Administration tab, and click update. For Linksys routers, users should visit the support website and download the firmware. Then they should use their default IP address to update the firmware. If a firmware update is not available, then users need to do a factory reset by pressing a reset button on their router. Other routers have similarly straightforward procedures for updating their firmware.
  2. Avoiding phishing emails. The hacker who worked for Russian intelligence, Karim Baratov, was sending phishing emails to specific people, tricking users into handing over their usernames and passwords, and then delivering their login information to the Russian FSB. To avoid similar hacks, users should be very careful not to click on any links in emails if they have any doubt about their legitimacy. Some tips to avoid phishing include checking the sender’s address – and if domain looks suspicious (, not opening the email. It’s also very important not to click on any links – you can hover your mouse on the button to see the destination link. Check if it looks legitimate and, especially, if it contains the “https”part to indicate a secure connection.

For additional safety, always use a VPN that encrypts a user’s online traffic into a secure tunnel. Using a VPN when browsing can protect you against malware and phishing that targets online access points.


iOS Users Can Now Store Messages In iCloud. Here’s How You Turn It On.

Posted in Tips with tags on May 30, 2018 by itnerd

If you upgraded to iOS 11.4 yesterday, you got a really useful feature that allows you to store messages in iCloud. What that means is that if you receive a message on one device, it shows up everywhere for that account. If you delete a message on one device, it goes away on (almost) every device.

Here’s how you enable it:

  1. Update your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to iOS 11.4 or later
  2. Open Settings
  3. Tap [Your Name] or Sign in to iCloud
  4. Tap iCloud
  5. Check that Messages is toggled on. It should look like this:


This feature is also going to be on macOS 10.13.5 whenever that ships. It’s not on Apple Watch 4.3.1, At least not yet.

UPDATE: This feature is now available in macOS 10.13.5. Here’s how you turn it on.

Review: 2018 Mazda CX-5 GT – Part 3

Posted in Products with tags on May 30, 2018 by itnerd

The GT trim level of the CX-5 is one nice place to spend time in. Let me walk you through the interior to illustrate why:


The door has leather accents and a fair amount of soft touch material. The audio is supplied by Bose.


Here’s a close look at the stitching which is top quality everywhere in the CX-5.


Something that I didn’t notice when I reviewed the CX-5 last year and I appreciate is the fact that the bottom of the door designed so that it keeps dirt off the bottom of the door sill. That means that dirt doesn’t get onto your pant leg.


The front seats are leather and heated. It’s ten way power adjustable with two memory settings. I found that there wasn’t enough thigh support for my very long legs but it was otherwise comfortable. In other words, your mileage may vary.


The foot area has a dead pedal for long drives.


The buttons for the electronic overseers, the button to open the rear hath, and levers for the hood and gas cap are on the left side.


The steering wheel is leather wrapped and heated. You also have the buttons for the cruise control as well as the infotainment system.


The gauge cluster is made up of two analog gauges, and a LCD panel that is on the right. The latter is customizable. It was easily readable in all lighting conditions.


The 7″ infotainment screen sits on the dash. Below that, you get the engine start/stop button below it as well as a couple of vents and the hazard lights.


Here you see the HVAC controls. Plus a cubby that fit my iPhone 7 Plus. You can also see the leather trim as well as a shiny piano black finish.


The leather wrapped gear shift, sport switch, HMI Commander switch, hill hold button and electronic parking brake are visible here. You get two cup holders just behind that.


The cup holders hold a Starbucks Venti sized coffee with ease.


You get a deep storage area that has a removable shelf, two USB ports, 12V outlet, and 3.5mm audio jack. When it’s closed, it is an armrest.


There’s a glove box on the right hand side.


You get a power moonroof that has a manual sunshade.


The rear seats are comfortable for two adults. Three could work if everyone is friendly. Three kids are no problem.


If you don’t need to seat three people, you’ll have access to a pair of cupholders and the switches for the heated seats and….


Plus you get a storage area and a pair of USB ports to keep your devices charged.


There’s ventilation for the back seat passengers.


There’s a fair amount of storage back here. Plus there’s 40-20-40 folding seats to crate more space should you need it.


You have a handle on the seats to allow you to fold them down.


And in the cargo area, you get another handle to do the same thing from there.


Not only were we able to get our groceries in here with ease, but my new Giant SLR1 front and rear carbon wheels for my road bike fit in here as well.


One thing that I didn’t notice the last time I reviewed the CX-5 is this 12V power connector in the cargo area.


There’s a handle on the rear hatch that allows you to close it without getting your hands dirty. But you don’t need it as it is powered.

Overall the interior is very upscale and well executed. Mazda really did a great job putting the interior together as it competes very well against others in the Compact SUV space in almost every way. I should also note that there’s very good vision in every direction for the driver. No rattles, squeaks, or other annoyances were noted during my week with the CX-5.

Tomorrow, I will be taking a look at the technology in the CX-5 which is very extensive. Stay tuned.

Yahoo Hacker Jailed Big Time

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 29, 2018 by itnerd

The computer hacker who worked with Russian spies was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for his role in a massive security breach at Yahoo. “U.S. Judge Vince Chhabria also fined Karim Baratov $250,000 during a sentencing hearing in San Francisco,” The Associated Press reports.

Baratov, 23, pleaded guilty in November to nine felony hacking charges. He acknowledged in his plea agreement that he began hacking as a teen seven years ago and charged customers $100 per hack to access web-based emails. Prosecutors allege he was “an international hacker for hire” who indiscriminately hacked for clients he did not know or vet, including dozens of jobs paid for by Russia’s Federal Security Service. Baratov, who was born in Kazakhstan but lived in Toronto, Canada, where he was arrested last year, charged customers to obtain another person’s webmail passwords by tricking them to enter their credentials into a fake password reset page. Prosecutors said Russian security service hired Baratov to target dozens of email accounts using information obtained from the Yahoo hack.

“Deterrence is particularly important in a case like this,” the judge said during the hearing. He rejected prosecutors call for a prison sentence of nearly 10 years, noting Baratov’s age and clean criminal record prior to his arrest. Baratov has been in custody since his arrest last year. He told the judge Tuesday that his time behind bars has been “a very humbling and eye-opening experience.” He apologized to those he hacked and promised “to be a better man” and obey the law upon his release. The judge said it is likely Baratov will be deported once he is released from prison.

Let’s be clear, there were some Russians that were indicted as part of this. However they were out of reach or prosecutors. That means that this guy was the fall guy. So this makes a great headline, but there are other parties out there that need to be punished.

HomePod To Become Available In Canada Among Other Countries

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 29, 2018 by itnerd

Apple today announced that the HomePod will be available in Canada, France, and Germany beginning June 18. HomePod will be available to order in white and space gray through Apple’s online store, retail stores, and the Apple Store app on iPhone and iPad, or at select authorized resellers like Best Buy where available. Expect to pay $449 CDN for one.

Will you be ordering one?