Archive for August 2, 2018

If You Value Your Privacy, Stop Using CCleaner NOW!

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 2, 2018 by itnerd

Many people on the PC side of the fence and quite a few Mac users as well have been known to use CCleaner to clean up junk off their computers. I am included in that list. But I’ve stopped using and recommending it recently. The company behind CCleaner was bought by Avast last year. Since that happened I’ve seen advertising and what I consider malware creeping into the product.

It now seems that the product has completely jumped the shark as Avast has decided that it is perfectly fine to bundle in spyware as the software now has the ability to phone home. BetaNews first spotted this change with this text:

CCleaner now sends a heartbeat every 12 hours which reports up-to-date usage statistics to allow for faster delivery of bug fixes and product improvements

So the way I read this, it phones home every 12 hours and tells Avast how I am using the product.

#Fail.

It also seems to be turned on by default, which is a problem in the EU because the GDPR says that should be an opt in sort of thing. But even if you wanted to turn it off, it will just turn itself back on.

#EpicFail

Now this forum post from the company indicates that the blowback from this has been epic and that the company will address this “in the coming weeks” with a new version that they hope will pacify you. But I think that Avast has jumped the shark on the trust front a very long time ago. Remember, these were the guys who were doing a man in the middle attack with their Mac antivirus app in the interests of protecting you. Thus they have a bit of a track record in terms of not being trusted. My advice is to avoid CCleaner and delete it from your system. But if you need a utility like CCleaner, there are some options. On the Mac side of the fence, a great option is Onyx. On the PC side of the fence there’s KCleaner or WiseCleaner. Those are worth a look and they’re all free.

 

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Our 2018 Vacation – Part 4: Day 3 In Gananoque

Posted in Commentary on August 2, 2018 by itnerd

The weather in the form of rain got in the way of our plans for today. But we did get out and get in a hike. Though that didn’t exactly go as planned. But let me start at the beginning. I had some work to do after breakfast, so while I was doing that in our room. Meanwhile, my wife took a walk along Gananoque’s waterfront and took these photos with her iPhone 6:

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According to her it was a good walk as it was cool given it was first thing in the morning.

Next up was a hike. My wife and I when we were planning this trip were trying to figure out where we could hike in the area. She found a few places via Google, but I took the recommendation of a Boy Scout troop leader to use an app called All Trails which lists not only areas to hike in your vicinity, but provides ratings in terms of difficulty, as well as driving directions to get to the trail head. That led us to Rock Dunder which is a 3.7 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near Seeleys Bay, Ontario that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The property which is run by the Rideau Waterway Land Trust is open sunrise to sunset from May 15 – Nov 15 of each year. Use of the property outside of these times or without a Day Pass is trespassing. A day pass is $10. Getting there is challenging as there’s a very narrow gravel road that leads up to the trail head. I’ll show you how narrow it is later in this post.

Once we arrived and got ready, we headed out onto the trail. The good news is that the views are amazing. Here’s a sampling:

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Now while we did complete the hike, we were pretty much eaten alive by insects. Largely because we didn’t bring any bug spray. I got bitten twice while my wife got about 8 bites. And because it had just rained, the insects were out in force.

#Fail

Getting out of the trail via car was problematic. The road if you want to call it that in and out of this trail was very difficult to drive. Thus I had to put our Hyundai Tucson into ECO mode to take some of the edge off the throttle and turn on hill decent control to make sure I didn’t lose control. It’s the first time that I’ve used hill decent control and it worked abruptly, in the sense that the brakes would just come on suddenly, but well. Here’s a video of the decent that my wife took with her iPhone 6. I’ve deleted the audio as we were still kind of cursing about not having bug spray on hand. But you want to pay attention to the left side which falls off sharply in places and the right side which has nothing but trees. Either way, one mistake and things will get expensive:

So we returned to Seaway Manor to patch ourselves up and take a break. Then we headed out to dinner. Instead of driving to Kingston, we decided to try something local. So we walked up to King St. which is the main drag for the town. Along the way we saw this:

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A bed and breakfast up the street had a fish pond. That was kind of cool

Now once we were on King St., we went to The Old English Pub. Now the name fit the decor perfectly as it had the feel of an old English pub. The food was pretty good but the beer flights that they offered up were pretty impressive. In Toronto, you’re lucky to get a few ounces of beer in each glass that comes with the flight. But around these parts you easily get at least a pint of beer combined. And the beer options were plentiful. The only negative was kind of slow service, but that shouldn’t stop you from eating here.

After Dinner, we went to an ice cream shop that was just 0.5KM from our hotel:

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The ice cream is great and they do have a lot of variety from a couple different brands. The prices are reasonable as well. Though I will warn any American readers out there who plan to visit this place that they take American money at par. Which means that your ice cream is 30% more expensive. Thus bring Canadian money. Another warning that I have for you is that this place is cash only.

On the way back to the bed and breakfast we discovered this clock tower. The reason why I am pointing it out is that we’ve been hearing it since we’ve been here on the hour every hour and figured that it was coming from one of the churches in the area. But we were wrong on that front.

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Tomorrow is another day were the weather may affect our plans. Thus we’ll see what we come up with to keep us occupied.

 

Sonos Goes Public On Nasdaq Today

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 2, 2018 by itnerd

Sonos becomes a public company today, listing on Nasdaq as SONO. And when they ring the bell today, it will be a bell of their own creation, crafted by Sound Experience Leader Giles Martin and Academy Award-winning sound engineer Chris Jenkins.

Here are a few things you should know about Sonos:

  • Sonos has developed and refined the home sound system with a singular focus for over 16 years and has introduced 13 products into the market since 2005.
  • Sonos products are distributed in over 50 countries, with over 100 streaming services available globally.
  • Sonos homes listen to an average of 80% more music, and 93% of units shipped since launch in 2005 are still in use.
  • Approximately 38% of new product registrations in fiscal 2017 from existing customers expanding their system.

Sonos has done a lot in the last year:

  • In June, Sonos launched the most versatile smart speaker for both music and TV, Sonos Beam. Sonos Beam delivers three products in one from a compact size – a smart speaker with Amazon Alexa and future support of additional voice assistance over time including Google Assistant coming later this year.
  • Available via a software update in July, AirPlay 2 is now available on Sonos. Customers enjoying AirPlay 2 on Sonos will also gain a new voice experience with the addition of Siri. Ask Siri to play any track, album, or playlist on Apple Music by using an iOS device to start playing on Sonos.
  • Sonos recently announced a bold new partnership with IKEA, a collaboration aimed at democratizing sound and design in the home.
  • In October 2017, Sonos launched its first voice-enabled wireless speaker, Sonos One. Similar to Sonos Beam, Sonos One is capable of supporting multiple voice services and playing music, podcasts, audiobooks, and other sonic content from more than 100 streaming services.

Congratulations to Sonos for going public today!