Archive for August 1, 2018

New HP Solutions To Reinvent In-store Experiences

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

HP Inc. today unveiled a new portfolio of devices and service offerings designed to enhance the retail shopping experience. The HP Engage portfolio provides sleek, versatile, and secure technology that meets the evolving needs of retail and hospitality customers. HP’s new retail solutions will also be available through its Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) offering.

The shift to digital is changing the way consumers interact with businesses, and mobile devices alone will influence $1.4 trillion in U.S. sales by 2021. Retail and hospitality customers are increasingly looking for technology that allows for a more engaging, interactive, and personal experience throughout their stores, which requires sales associates to be equipped with more versatile devices built for both stationary and on-the-go interaction.

Connect with Customers Where It Matters Most

The HP Engage Go Convertible is a flexible solution with an innovative docking design for seamless transitions between fixed and mobile operations to enable rich, secure customer experiences. The HP Engage Go Convertible System features:

  • Sleek design, seamless mobility that delivers an optimized customer experience for retailers and hospitality associates to check inventory on the fly, complete registrations, and close sales – at the counter or out on the floor.
  • Customer and business data protection that safeguards customer and business information with a self-healing PC BIOS, new HP Smart Dock tablet-locking experience to help prevent theft from the dock, and two-factor authentication with the optional integrated fingerprint reader or NFC reader.
  • Durable and fast performance that’s built to last. Powered by Windows 10 and the performance of 7th Gen Intel ® Core™ processors, the HP Engage Go Convertible system stands up to demanding retail or hospitality environments and is designed to pass MIL-STD 810G testing.

The HP Engage Go Mobile System is the companion device to HP Engage Go Convertible and is available without the dock for mobile operations only. HP Engage Go Mobile delivers the same design, security, and durability features of the convertible system. With up to 13 hours of battery life and HP Fast Charge to charge 50 percent of the battery in just 30 minutes, HP Engage Go Mobile is built for outstanding on-the-go experiences.

Do More in Store and Beyond

The HP Engage Flex Pro and HP Engage Flex Pro-C are modular system platforms with enhanced security that provide retailers and hospitality operators flexibility to manage their business from the store floor to the back office, with performance capabilities to handle the most demanding environments. The all-new HP Engage Flex Pro-C delivers all the same capabilities as the HP Engage Flex Pro and is 30 percent smaller than the previous generation. The HP Engage Flex Pro and HP Engage Flex Pro-C feature:

  • Maximum flexibility allowing retailers to configure the perfect solution for point of sale, video surveillance, processing/controlling, or digital signage with flexible connectivity, graphics, networking, and accessory options.
  • Expandable, long-life performance to tackle every retail and hospitality challenge with Windows 10 and an 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processor paired with Intel® Optane™ memory. Adjust capacity with storage options like an Intel® Optane™ SSD, SATA or M.2 – up to five on HP Engage Flex Pro and up to four on HP Engage Flex Pro-C.
  • Security, manageability and reliability with hardware-enforced self-healing protection from HP Sure Start Gen4. Manage your system across the OS with HP Manageability Integration Kit, maintain critical OS processes with HP Sure Run, and restore your image over a network with HP Sure Recover.

Available as a service with HP Device-as-a-Service

HP is extending its Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) offering to HP Engage portfolio products to make it easier for retailers and hospitality customers to acquire, support, and manage the technology they need to drive their business. With HP DaaS, customers get the right devices and lifecycle services to increase efficiency, improve customer experience, and free up IT resources. Businesses also benefit from the analytics and proactive management capabilities of HP DaaS, which provide actionable device health analytics and predictive insights to uncover potential device issues and security risks, so they can be addressed before they impact customer experiences or employee productivity. To learn more about HP Device as a Service plans and capabilities, visit www.hp.com/go/DaaS.

For more information about HP Retail Solutions, visit www.hp.com/go/retail.

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HP Launches Print Industry’s First Bug Bounty Program

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

HP Inc. today announced the world’s first Bug Bounty Program for the Print industry. The program underscores HP’s commitment to delivering the World’s Most Secure Printers, providing trusted and resilient security technology from the hardware up.

This new program complements HP’s long established internal secure development processes, designed to ensure that products are developed with security in mind, throughout the development lifecycle.

In today’s evolving threat landscape where sophisticated malware targets businesses and individuals, protecting connected devices, like printers, at the edge of the network continues to be paramount.

HP selected BugCrowd to coordinate this private program for a selection of offensive security researchers to help identify vulnerabilities, helping raise the bar in security testing for printer security with an incentive-based model.

BugCrowd was selected for its trusted research contacts and versatile platform. The program will run indefinitely and is privately managed to ensure all vulnerabilities are disclosed.

According to a recent BugCrowd report, the emerging top attack vectors have been endpoint focused. Over the past year, there has been an increase of 21% in total vulnerabilities reported and an increase of 36% in total bug bounty payouts.

Security leaders are realizing better awareness and information about disclosed vulnerabilities is critical to their operational success.

Program highlights include:

  • HP is committed to improving our overall printer device security and protection mechanisms.  The bounty program is indefinite and highlights HP’s effort to reduce potential exposure points and vulnerabilities in Printers.
  • The program has been designed with BugCrowd for fair and equitable pay-outs based on vulnerability, regardless of geographic location.
  • BugCrowd will verify bugs and reward researchers based on the severity of the flaw bounty pay-outs will range from $500 to $10,000.
  • If a researcher reports a qualifying vulnerability already found internally by HP, HP will assess and reward the disclosed vulnerability in good faith.
  • Vulnerabilities found by researchers in the private program are required to be reported to BugCrowd.

The most up-to-date information on the HP Bug Bounty can be found on BugCrowd website.

 

Bell’s Fibre Push Continues Into Manitoba

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

It’s clear that Bell is not slowing down when it comes to getting their Fibre Internet network into as many places as possible. I say that because the City of Winkler is next on the list according to a press release that the telco put out today. Keep in mind that from a technical standpoint, Bell has a superior offering with their Fibre network which is so far beyond anything that arch rival Rogers can offer, it will be only a matter of time before Rogers is a non-factor in the Internet game in Canada. The first customer connections should come “later this summer.”

I wonder who’s going to be next on Bell’s list to get their Fiber Internet offering?

Reddit Pwned….. Email Addresses And MAYBE Passwords Leaked

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

Earlier today Reddit  announced that it has suffered a data breach. If you read the document that I linked to, it will give you specifics as to what was hacked. But in short, a hacker gained access to a 2007 database backup that included old salted and hashed passwords. Meaning that they were not in a state that the passwords were readable. At least not without some work. Email digests sent by Reddit in June 2018 were also obtained.

The data breach occurred between June 14 and June 18, with hackers accessing Reddit employee accounts through the company’s cloud and source code hosting providers rather than the site itself. Those systems used SMS-based two-factor authentication that failed, and the main attack happened through SMS intercept.

Reddit is sending emails to users affected by the database hack, which means that if you signed up for Reddit before 2007 or during 2007, you should check your inbox. The site will be resetting the passwords of affected users. But if you use the site, you should really consider updating your password to something strong and unique as well as enabling two-factor authentication as that runs on a different mechanism than the one that was exploited in this hack.

Our 2018 Vacation – Part 3: Day 2 In Gananoque

Posted in Commentary on August 1, 2018 by itnerd

Today was a very interesting day. Despite our desire not to vacation in the United States because it’s currently not a friendly place to be at the moment, it seems that we were going to the US side of the Thousand Islands as part of a boat cruise to see a castle. That required our passports which we had brought with us. But let’s start a breakfast and work from there. If you recall, we were staying at a bed and breakfast called Seaway Manor. The people who run this place really go above and beyond for their guests. While they did have a set breakfast menu, when I asked for cereal, they not only provided that, but they got the run down on what I liked to eat so they could serve up exactly what I would like. I was pretty impressed with that.

So after breakfast, which my wife and I agreed was great, we made the 15 minute drive to Rockport Ontario where we could get on to the cruise boat that my wife booked for us through Rockport Cruises. Now in the dock area, I managed to get some pictures of the area:

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Now the cruise was scheduled to be four hours. Roughly 45 minutes to get to the castle. Two hours on the castle grounds, and an hour to come back. Thus after boarding, I started to snap pictures of the Thousand Islands:

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Now the Thousand Islands is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway which sits between Canada  and the US. Besides being used to get tons of goods from overseas into the heart of North America, it’s a popular vacation spot for people from both countries and beyond. To illustrate this, the picture below is of a house on the Canadian side of the seaway, and an island that is on the US side with a bridge in between which is the world’s smallest international bridge:

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Here’s the approach to our destination. Boldt Castle. The Wikipedia article that I linked to gives you the history which is a very interesting one that is romantic as well. The castle sits on Heart Island which is on the US side of the seaway.

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And when you dock, you’ll be reminded of the fact that you’re in the United States Of America:

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This is where you need your passport. No passport, no castle tour. To be fair, you get asked for your passport when you buy your ticket (prices and schedules can be found here). After you get through this checkpoint, you have to buy a ticket to the castle or to the boat house that’s a short boat ride away:

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My wife and I didn’t go to the boat house as you need about two hours to tour the castle and another 30-40 minutes to tour the boat house, and our boat pickup was exactly two hours after they dropped us off. Here’s the pricing for all of that:

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Top tip #1:  They take US Dollars (Canadian money is no good here) and credit cards. Debit cards don’t work here but they do have an ATM that spits out US dollars apparently.

Top tip #2: Bring a set of headphones and connect your smartphone to the Boldt Castle WiFi. Then download the Boldt Castle App from the App Store or from Google Play. That will allow you to have a guided audio tour of the grounds that is really useful. I should warn you that the WiFi won’t allow you to check your email or play Fortnite. It’s only for use for the app.

Top tip #3: Expect to have your Canadian cell phone roam onto a US carrier either when you hit the dock in Rockport Ontario, or as soon as you get out on the water depending on who your carrier is. Thus it helps to have a roaming plan to keep your costs down such as Telus Easy Roam in my case which allowed me to roam for $7. Alternately, if you want to avoid roaming charges, you should put your phone into airplane mode before you hit the dock in Rockport.

As I said earlier, the tour takes two hours and here’s a sampling of what you will see starting with the inside of the castle:

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And on the outside:

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It is a very impressive place and well worth the visit. On the way back to Rockport, we got a look at some high end cottages on “millionaires row.”

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The one thing that happened on the return trip is that my iPhone 7 Plus got down to 20% left in the battery. That’s likely due to the 150 or so pictures that I took, and then subsequently uploaded to iCloud using the WiFi offered by the bed and breakfast that we were staying at. To the other guests of the Seaway Manor who’s bandwidth I monopolized, I am sorry. But at least I had a backup battery pack to top off the phone’s battery until I got back to the car.

Upon returning to the bed and breakfast and resting up, it was time for dinner. We headed out to Kingston again and went to the place on the left called Atomica:

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This place has great pizza. And you can watch it being made right in front of you if you’re seated in the right place:

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If you love your pizza, you have to come to this place. Then it was off to to Mio Gelato for some dessert. Then back to the bed and breakfast for some sleep.

Next up was a hike assuming that the weather co-operates. Find out how that goes tomorrow.

The IT Nerd Back To School Buying Guide

Posted in Commentary on August 1, 2018 by itnerd

Students heading off to university this fall are eagerly awaiting that first taste of freedom. Little do they know this new-found freedom also means giving up the comfortable amenities of home. Say buh-bye to mom’s cooking and a big hello to showering in flip flops. Not to worry. Here is a roster full of ideas for the new grad to make sure the dorm room feels like home. Although I can’t promise clean sheets…

Linksys Velop Intelligent Mesh Wifi System – $129.99 USD (1-pack), $199.99 USD (2-pack), $299.99 USD (3-pack)

VELOP sets up in minutes and delivers flawless, ultra-fast, full-strength signal throughout your home. Because not every home is the same, this modular system lets you buy as few or as many VELOP nodes as you need, and place them wherever you need them, making dead spots a thing of the past. With powerful dual-band mesh technology, you’ll get seamless roaming and maximum speed right out to the edge of your network, even when everyone’s streaming their favourite shows. Read the review here.

Roku Streaming Stick + – $89.99 CAD

With brilliant picture quality, 4x the wireless range, and a new voice remote, the new Roku Streaming Stick+ is just like Roku’s portable Streaming Stick, super-charged. The Streaming Stick+ offers high-performance portability and is compatible with 4K and HDR TV’s. The convenience of this streaming player can allow you to stream from any location that offers wireless internet. Read the review here.

Roku Express – $44.99 CAD

The new Roku Express is five times more powerful than its predecessor, and offers easy HD streaming at an affordable price. Easy to set up and use, the Express comes with a remote control that makes finding something to watch a snap. And with over 150,000 movies and TV shows available (including lots of free content), you will never run out of things to watch! Read the review here.

Safe by HUB6– $299.00 CAD

For veteran students who are living off-campus, protect your belongings with an affordable security system. Safe uses the security system hardware you already have and frees you from long-term contracts or monthly fees.. It redirects any alerts triggered by your system to your phone, friend, or HUB6’s Professional

Teksavvy DSL Service Packages from ($20-$35/month)

Wherever you’re living, to do everything you want from studying to gaming you have to have access to high speed internet service. TekSavvy give you the chance to avoid the usual telcos and offers high speed internet at an affordable price. You can sign up for an unlimited internet package that offers TekSavvy’s highest speed internet (50 MBPS) for just $30/month for 12 months. So, if you’re tired of getting your internet from the big guys check out TekSavvy, it’s different, in a good way.

HP Spectre x360

The Spectre x360 is an unbelievably thin PC with a battery life to take students from their first class of the day through to a late-night studying session. This convertible notebook can easily be flipped into a tablet, and has a screen built with durable glass to reduce bumps and scratches. The Spectre x360 is available hereand begins at $1399.99.

HP Sprocket

With HP Sprocket, students can quickly print and share every memory they make when they go back to school. The Sprocket Photo Printer easily connects to a smartphone, and photos can be customized with filters, colourful frames, text and stickers. The Sprocket Photo Printer easily connects to a smartphone, and photos can be customized with filters, colourful frames, text and stickers. And, the Sprocket LED String Light Clips make for the perfect way to decorate a new dorm room. Sprocket is available herefor $159.99.