Archive for May 9, 2018

Bell Further Twists The Screws On Rogers By Rolling Out All Fibre Network In Orillia

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 9, 2018 by itnerd

If you’re Rogers, Bell must be making life miserable for you. First they rolled out an all fibre network in Toronto, then they rolled it out to a number of places east of Toronto. Now cottage country is going to get some all fibre love as Bell is rolling out their all fibre offering to Orillia which is north of Toronto:

Fully funded by Bell, the network deployment will include more than 260 kilometres of new fibre installation and employ local workers in design and construction. Broad availability of Bell’s all-fibre connections in Orillia is expected by the first quarter of 2019. 

“Bell’s investment will put Orillia among the top 10 per cent of communities across Canada for high-speed connectivity,” said Dan Landry, Manager of Business Retention and Expansion with the Orillia Economic Development Office. “The City of Orillia will now be able to provide businesses and residents with full confidence they will have true fibre connectivity as a resource.”

With every city that Bell adds to their list of places where you can sign up for their all fibre offering, they make life more and more difficult for Rogers as from a technology standpoint, they have the upper hand on Rogers. I fully expect these announcements by Bell to become more and more frequent so that they continue to make life more and more difficult for Rogers and leave them with no path to recover.

Advertisements

Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday Dump May Leave PCs Unable To Boot

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 9, 2018 by itnerd

Well, Patch Tuesday was yesterday, and for some users today is Problem Wednesday as the first dump of patches for Windows 10’s April 2018 update is causing issues for some. Specifically, a number of users have reported that installing the update is causing their computers to be unable to boot according to a large number of users on Microsoft’s Answers forum.

Microsoft hasn’t responded to this latest issue with the April 2018 update, seeing as it has had other issues. But one workaround in the absence of an official Microsoft solution is to try the following:

  • Hit F11 as soon as the computer powers on. This can get you to the Advanced Startup Options menu, but it also depends on the manufacturer. And if nothing works, the PC should automatically boot to Advanced Startup after several failed boot attempts.
  • In Advanced options, click “Go back to the previous build”.
  • If that doesn’t work, your only option is to do a System Restore

 

Nonda App Update Brings Crypto Currency Mining Features…. Is This A Problem?

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 9, 2018 by itnerd

A reader tipped me off to an app update to the Nonda app that rolled out in the last 24 hours. As part of the release notes, it says that there are “additional features for you to discover.”

IMG_1517

That got his attention and he started to look around the app. That’s when he came across this:

IMG_1515

It appears that there are crypto currency mining features that are now present in the app as of this update, or one before it. Now if you’re not familiar with the concept of crypto currency mining, there’s a Forbes article that I’ve linked to that will fully explain it. But in short, mining crypto currency requires the use of CPUs. Sometimes other people’s CPUs. And sometimes it may be done with or without your permission. For example, the recent case of cryptojacking where going to a specially crafted webpage enlists your computer to mine crypto curruency without your permission. That of course is bad.

The reader then clicked on the “?” to get more info, and he got this:

IMG_1516

Clearly Nonda hasn’t got any documentation on this which is a #Fail. But here’s what’s worse. This feature appears to have been partially turned on by default based on the fact that it selected a mining device all by itself. But it needs you to press the “Start Mining” button to make anything happen. He figured that out because he clicked on “Close All Mining Data” at the bottom of the screen and he got this:

IMG_1518

So, what what does all this mean?

I do not think that Nonda is up to anything nefarious as you have to click “Start Mining” for it to actually mine anything. But in the absence of any documentation that says what this feature does, there’s enough here that may get the attention of users in a negative way. And their cute entry in their release note of “additional features for you to discover” doesn’t help with that at all. Nonda would do itself a huge favor by coming completely clean about what this feature is and how it works. Because if they don’t they really risk eroding the trust that users of Nonda products have with the company.

So how about it Nonda?

UPDATE: Further confirmation that the Nonda app selects a mining device by default can be found in this screenshot:

IMG_1519.PNG

By default, it selects the mileage trip and battery voltage options to give it the mining power of 60 that you see at the top of the screen. When you click on “Close Mining Data”, it de-selects those options.

UPDATE #2: There is now a FAQ that speaks to this. It says in part:

You might notice that there is a CarBlock Token page after the latest app update 6.2.7 and wonder what it is. This page may help you to understand this feature better. 

CarBlock Token is the rewards that we provide to every customer. You need to have a ZUS car charger to activate the feature and it would give you income when you drive your car using the charger.  There would be a variety kinds of factors that affect your daily CarBlock Token income.  

So basically, the company is giving you a way to mine crypto currency. I suppose that’s cool. But their rollout of this feature sucks because at least one person was bothered enough by it to reach out to me. And I in turn posted this story. Nonda really needs to handle this sort of thing better going forward.

UPDATE #3: A reader pointed out that there is no privacy policy in regards to this. Nor is there any info on how your data might used or shared. #Fail

New Xerox Production Press Creates Striking CMYK, Rich Metallics & Iridescent Special Effects

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 9, 2018 by itnerd

The company that invented the copier, laser printing and print-on-demand is announcing another first in the world of print – a high speed, six station color press that combines four-color printing with up to two specialty dry inks in one printing pass. The Xerox Iridesse Production Press is the only digital press that can print metallic gold or silver dry ink, CMYK and clear dry ink in a single pass, giving print providers an immediate competitive edge in the growing digital print enhancement market.

Iridesse eliminates multiple presses and processes usually required for print embellishments, increasing capacity and profits for customers. According to Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, digital print enhancement can result in a rapid return on investment as print service providers’ profit margins on such embellishments can be as high as 50 to 400 percent.

With two inline specialty dry ink stations, customers can create lucrative applications with spot colors, metallic and mixed metallic gradients, and specialty enhancements. Gold and silver dry metallic inks can be used on their own or layered under or over CMYK to create unique iridescent palettes. A layer of clear dry ink can be added for an extra touch of dimension or texture.

No designer, no problem

Xerox FreeFlow Core’s pre-built workflows enable print providers to automatically and selectively transform text and graphics for printing gold and silver without editing the source documents. This simplifies enhancing existing applications with high-value embellishments.

Printing at speeds up to 120 pages per minute, the press can run stocks from 52 -400 gsm. Additional press features include:

  • The High Definition Emulsion Aggregate (HD EA) Toner process results in the optimal particle size to deliver lower gloss, smooth tints and fine detail more consistently.
  • The Xerox EX-P 6 Print Server by Fiery enables customers to create customized workflows for metallic applications with advanced RIP capabilities and color management tools.
  • Two Dual Advanced High Capacity Feeders, Bypass and Inserter options let customers run up to eight different stocks in a single job, or do production runs with a total of 12,500 sheets.
  • A variety of finishing options are available including the new Xerox Crease and Two-sided Trimmer, which creates a durable crease fold and gives booklets a premium quality edge when used with the Xerox Production Ready Booklet Maker Finisher and Xerox SquareFold Trimmer Modules.

Availability

The Iridesse Production Press will be available for order taking starting in June 2018. Please check with your local sales representative for regional availability.

 

Possible Fix For macOS Users Who Need DisplayLink Support In High Sierra

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 9, 2018 by itnerd

When macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 hit the streets, it broke support for DisplayLink which enraged many of the Mac faithful. There may be an end in sight to this as new DisplayLink USB Graphics Software has been posted to fix this. However, it’s a beta so that’s a use at your own risk sort of thing. But if you need this support because you need to run macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, this may be your only option. Just make sure you read the Release Notes for more info and make sure you back up your Mac before diving in.

Bug In iOS 11.3 & Upcoming 11.4 Can Crash iDevices Via Unicode Text… Possibly Other Devices Too

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 9, 2018 by itnerd

Crashing iDevices via text seems to be a thing as of late. After these examples of this behavior, the word is out of another one. It’s called the “black dot of death” and here’s the video:

If a specially crafted text message with some unicode text that appears as a “black dot” is sent through Messages, it will result in repeated crashes when the recipient tries to read it. This also appears to have a similar effect on macOS from some reports that I have read, and it is likely that other platforms such as watchOS and tvOS would be the same. This exploit works on 11.3 and betas of 11.4 which means that it could be fixed in time for the release of 11.4.

Until Apple releases an OS update to address the root cause, you just need to find a way to get out of the messages detail screen. You could try force-quitting the Messages app and using 3D Touch to open a New Message pane. Assuming your iDevice supports 3D Touch of course. You can then backtrack to the main Messages list and delete the malicious conversation thread. You could also go onto another iCloud synced device and delete the message remotely.

If you’re really interested in a very deep discussion of this issue, this explanation by Tom Scott can help you to get that.

Charges Against Nova Scotia Teen Who Pwned FOI Requests Website Dropped

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 9, 2018 by itnerd

It appears that there is common sense in the world as news is filtering out that a teen in Nova Scotia who was arrested last month for figuring out how to mass download freedom of information requests, effectively pwning the site, have been dropped:

Halifax Regional Police say they won’t be charging a 19-year-old man arrested last month for downloading files from Nova Scotia’s freedom-of-information portal.

Spokesperson Neera Ritcey said in an email Monday that after a thorough investigation, police determined there were no grounds to lay a charge of unauthorized use of a computer against the teen.

Now that is the correct outcome as this teen didn’t have any ill will. He was just curious. Hopefully he learns from this and is a bit more circumspect going forward. The only downside to all of this is that the Nova Scotia government has to notify people that their data has been improperly accessed. But I say that they wouldn’t have to do that if the data was properly secured in the first place.