Archive for October 23, 2018

ASUS Republic of Gamers to Launches ROG Phone

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 23, 2018 by itnerd

ASUSRepublic of Gamers (ROG) today announces launch details for the ROG Phone, a game-changing 6-inch smartphone designed specifically for high-performance mobile gaming. The ROG Phone is available for pre-order on October 18th for the starting price of $1,199 CAD. The full range of accessories available for the phone will also be available starting in Q4.

In a separate announcement today, NRG announced a new technology collaboration with Qualcomm that includes a significant role for ASUS and the ROG phone. In the announcement NRG announced that the esports team will utilize the ROG Phone exclusively as their performance training devices.

ROG Phone

With pure ROG gaming DNA at its core, and powered by the world’s fastest speed-binned 2.96GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with gaming-optimized Qualcomm Adreno 630 GPU, the ROG Phone breaks every rule to go where rivals fear to tread. The ROG phone will be available with two different storage configurations: a 128GB and 512GB version.

ROG Phone is built to win: its unique GameCool vapour-chamber cooling system — with detachable AeroActive Cooler for an extra cooling boost — sustains blur-free high frame rates in the heat of battle, while its no-compromise AMOLED display blends a blazing 90Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time with gorgeous HDR visuals.

The ultra-comfortable design of ROG Phone includes unique side-mounted ports, and the enhanced, ultra-responsive game controls — including two programmable ultrasonic AirTriggers and advanced force-feedback haptics — lets gamers focus all their skills on the game, giving them the edge they need for total domination.

ROG Phone Accessories

The Mobile Desktop Dock allows gamers to connect ROG Phone to an external 4K UHD monitor, mouse and keyboard. ROG Phone can be used as an auxiliary display, hooked up to a wired gigabit LAN and drive a 5.1-channel surround-sound system via the SP/DIF output. A convenient mobile and desktop switch allows users to seamlessly transition from their phone to their desktop or gaming laptop, without having to adjust their current setup.

The TwinView Dock turns ROG Phone into a powerful dual-screen console for the ultimate gaming and live-streaming experience, or to allow for simultaneous viewing of a game map and gameplay at the same time – on supported games. As well as a 6-inch AMOLED (2160 x 1080) auxiliary screen that’s great for split-screen live-streaming, extended game display or group communication, it packs a front-facing quad-speaker system, two extra physical trigger buttons, dual-haptic force-feedback engine, an enhanced cooling system and a high-capacity 6000mAh extended battery pack.

With the Gamevice Controller and the WiGig Dock — using 60GHz 802.11ad Wi-Fi — ROG Phone morphs into a portable console, supplying a living room experience, with a full inventory of physical gaming controls and ultra-low-latency wireless display connectivity for a seamless big-screen gaming experience that’s perfect for group viewing. The Gamevice Controller can be purchased separately, and packs dual analog joysticks, left and right fire triggers and bumpers, a D-pad, along with A,B,X,Y and L3, R3 buttons.

With the ASUS Professional Dock, users can connect their smartphone to a big-screen TV or monitor for a cinematic gaming experience. There’s also a network port for fast, stable wired internet connections.The Gigabit Ethernet port lets users enjoy fast and stable wired network connections, while the USB ports allow users to connect a mouse and keyboard for a more comfortable gaming experience.

The ROG Phone Case is designed to provide premium protection for the ROG Phone, keeping it safe from everyday scratches, knocks and bumps. It protects the entire phone, without hindering charging or access to the exclusive AirTriggers.

NRG Esports and ROG Phone
NRG Esports is one of the globe’s leading esports organizations and participates in some of the most high profile global franchised leagues. Founded by former Vice President of Apple and co-owner of the Sacramento Kings, Andy Miller, NRG is led by a roundtable of expertise in the traditional sports and tech industries, with such investment from the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Tiesto, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez. NRG’s Overwatch League Team, the “San Francisco Shock” is a participant in the industry leading geo-located franchised league. The companies unveiled the collaboration on Thursday with an announcement video focused on NRG’s “Clash Royale” roster.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

The ASUS ROG Phone is available for pre-order online at the Best Buy Canada starting on October 18th. The 128GB will be available for $1,199 CAD.

Accessory availability to be announced in the coming weeks. For more detailed information, including updated where to buy information please visit the ROG Phone webpage.

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ASUS Chromebook C223, C423 and C523 Announced

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 23, 2018 by itnerd

ASUS today announced three new ultralight, ultrathin laptops in the ASUS Chromebook series: the 14-inch ASUS Chromebook C423, the 15.6-inch ASUS Chromebook C523 and the 11.6-inch ASUS Chromebook C223.

Designed with a premium look and feel — including aluminum-finished lids on ASUS Chromebook C423 and ASUS Chromebook C523 — the new series combines style with effortless mobility and a choice of three screen sizes. The two larger models feature ASUS NanoEdge ultra-narrow-bezel displays for the first time, giving an improved screen-to-body ratio of up to 80% that makes them more compact than ever.

The power-efficient ASUS Chromebook series is designed to last for up to 10 hours on a single charge, so users can work or play throughout the day while they’re on the move, and the powerful up to quad-core Intel processors deliver speedy performance for popular apps. With robust security, convenient features, the full power of G Suite and access to millions of Android apps on Google Play, the new ASUS Chromebook series is the ideal choice for anyone who’s always on the go.

ASUS Chromebook C423 and C523: Ultra-compact NanoEdge design

ASUS Chromebook C423 and C523 feature 14-inch and 15.6-inch ASUS NanoEdge anti-glare displays, with up to FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution and ultra-narrow side bezels — just 5.8mm on ASUS Chromebook C423 — that maximize the screen area for immersive visuals while minimizing the footprint. Touchscreen options are also available, with 10-point multitouch capability for an even more intuitive experience.

These models also feature a versatile and durable 180° lay-flat hinge for easy sharing of screen contents with friends or colleagues. The hinge is subjected to a grueling 20,000-cycle open-and-close test to ensure long-term reliability.

ASUS Chromebook C223: ultra-compact, ultralight and ultraslim

Designed for users needing the ultimate portability, ASUS Chromebook C223 is a compact and lightweight 11.6-inch laptop with a footprint that’s smaller than a sheet of A4 paper, a weight of just 999g, and an ultraslim 17.25mm profile that makes it one of the thinnest 11.6-inch Chromebooks on the market. ASUS Chromebook C223 is available in three refreshingly stylish colors: Space Grey, Red and Night Blue.

All-day performance

The new ASUS Chromebook series is designed to combine maximum on-the-go flexibility with speedy performance for everyday tasks. Using power-efficient up to quad-core Intel processors, users can enjoy up to 10 hours battery life for all-day autonomy.

Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi is integrated for strong, stable signals and fast data-transmission speeds. All models feature USB Type-C (USB-C) ports — two on ASUS Chromebook C423 and C523, one on ASUS Chromebook C223 — and two USB Type-A ports for easy device connections, along with a microSD card slot for effortless storage expansion.

Full-size, ergonomic keyboards with 1.4mm key travel ensure supreme typing comfort, and the super-large touchpad gives smoother control with intuitive multitouch gestures.

As well as featuring the best of Google out of the box, the new ASUS Chromebook series fully supports Google Play, so users can enjoy all their favorite Android apps for work, play, or creativity. With automatic updates and built-in anti-virus protection, Chrome OS frees users from the worry of keeping their device safe, secure and always up to date, and as it’s built on the security of personal Google accounts, all private documents, emails, photos and personal data are kept safe at all times.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

ASUS Chromebook C423, ASUS Chromebook C523 and ASUS Chromebook C223 will be available from October 23, 2018 for pre-order in Canada. See below for availability and pricing information. Please contact your local ASUS representative for further information.

  • ASUS ChromeBook C223: $299 (MSRP), available at Best Buy Canada.
  • ASUS ChromeBook C423: $449 (MSRP), available at Staples Canada.
  • ASUS ChromeBook C523: $349 – $499 (MSRP, dependent on configuration), available at select retailers, include Best Buy Canada.

FlexJobs’ Survey Challenges Misconceptions About Digital Nomads

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 23, 2018 by itnerd

FlexJobs has released new insights from its Sept/Oct 2018 survey, which gathered responses from over 500 digital nomads about key topics related to their digital nomad career, lifestyle and workstyle. Based on this survey, the profile of the average digital nomad is a married female Gen Xer who is an experienced employee working at a company at least 40 hrs a week in the writing, education and training, or administrative career fields. She has health insurance, is saving for retirement, and has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Interesting highlights include: Visit https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/flexjobs-digital-nomad-survey-insights-remote-lifestyle/ for the full report.

  • Only 27% of respondents identified as Gen Z or millennials, with 41% identifying as Gen Xers, and 32% as baby boomers or the silent generation.
  • 61% of digital nomads are married and 39% are unmarried.  26% of digital nomads have children 18 and under.
  • More digital nomads are employed by a company (35%) versus being freelancers (28%) or business owners (18%).
  • 38% say they feel less stressed financially as a digital nomad and 34% say there is no difference in financial stress than when they worked a traditional job.
  • Nearly one fifth (18%) report making six figures or more and 22% make between $50,000 and $99,999. The average U.S. worker today earns roughly $46,641 a year.
  • 74% of digital nomads have health insurance and 55% are saving for retirement.
  • The majority work from their hotel/hostel (46%), coffee shop or local dining establishment (45%). Less than one-fifth work in co-working spaces (19%).
  • 31% of married digital nomads have spouses who travel with them full-time, 38% travel with them part-time, and 32% don’t travel with their digital nomad partner at all
  • Only 6% have participated in travel programs for nomads, such as Remote Year or Hacker Paradise. Just 5% have used co-living spaces, such as Outsite or Nomad House

To help digital nomads and other job seekers interested in finding remote jobs that allow candidates to be based from anywhere in the world, FlexJobs has also compiled the Top 30 Companies Currently Hiring for Work-from-Anywhere Remote Jobs.This list is based on an analysis of remote job listings from over 50,000 companies in the FlexJobs database between Jan. 1, 2018 – Aug. 31, 2018. The companies on this list had the most job listings that met the following criteria:

  • A “Work-from-Anywhere” remote job without location restrictions
  • Fully remote jobs that don’t require any time in the office
  • Offer either full-time or part-time schedules

Mental health counselor, full stack developer, sales operation specialist, and marketing designer are examples of work-from-anywhere jobs currently hiring.

And for a first-hand view of the digital nomad lifestyle, FlexJobs has partnered with Jason Byer who is currently traveling the U.S. with his family while maintaining his full-time job with crowdSPRING. With weekly videos and monthly blog posts, Jason provides a first-hand look at his digital nomad adventures, discussing various topics such as how to talk to your boss about becoming a nomad, how he structures his day, works from new locations, and finds time to explore.

OpenText Qfinity On Amazon Connect Enables Intelligent & Connected Customer Service

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 23, 2018 by itnerd

OpenText a global leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM), today announced the availability of OpenText Qfiniti for Amazon Connect, a self-service, cloud-based contact center solution that enables any business to deliver better customer service at a lower cost. OpenText Qfiniti is available now on AWS Marketplace.

OpenText Qfiniti provides organizations using Amazon Connect with a robust SaaS workforce optimization solution, including full call playback and advanced analytics. Qfiniti offers enterprise-class capabilities including contact center recording playback, custom quality monitoring forms, desktop screen capture, user configurable muting and masking of voice and screen activity for payment card industry compliance, and advanced analytics.

OpenText enables organizations to gain insight through market leading information management solutions, on-premises or in the cloud. For more information about OpenText visit opentext.com.

Apple iCloud Not Behaving For Many Users [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 23, 2018 by itnerd

As I type this Apple has acknowledged multiple problems with their iCloud services via the Apple System Status page. The issues seem to have started at 11:51AM EST and are noted with the following text:

Some users are affected

Users may be experiencing slower than normal performance with this service.

That says to me that the service is degraded rather than being down outright. That’s still not a good situation though. There’s no ETA in terms of when normal service might be restored. But it’s been a few hours since things went sideways so I don’t expect this to go away soon as it’s clearly serious in nature.

Stay tuned to this post for updates.

UPDATE: These issues were resolved at 2AM EST. Affected services included:

  • Back to My Mac
  • Documents in the Cloud
  • Find My Friends
  • Find My iPhone
  • iWork for iCloud
  • Mail Drop
  • Photos
  • iCloud Account & Sign In
  • iCloud Backup
  • iCloud Bookmarks & Tabs
  • iCloud Calendar
  • iCloud Contacts
  • iCloud Drive
  • iCloud Keychain
  • iCloud Mail
  • iCloud Notes
  • iCloud Reminders
  • iCloud Storage Upgrades
  • iCloud Web Apps (iCloud.com)

Review: SureCall N-Range

Posted in Products with tags on October 23, 2018 by itnerd

A couple of months ago I reviewed the SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 in car cell phone booster. In that review I said this:

Regardless of where you purchase it the SureCall Fusion2Go is easy to install, works well, and deserves a place in your vehicle if you tend to drive into areas that have spotty cell phone coverage.

Well I’m back to review SureCall’s latest cell phone booster which is dubbed the N-Range:

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Now the N-Range has a slightly different use case. This product is for someone who needs a cell phone booster for multiple vehicles. For example, a rental car. It’s also aimed  at someone who only needs to boost the signal of a single cell phone. So if you want two or more people to stay connected at all times, the Fusion2Go 3.0 would be a better option. The N-Range is made up of three parts:

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An antenna that is magnetic and sits on the roof.

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A phone mount that doubles as an in car antenna to rebroadcast the cell signal. It is designed to be mounted on the HVAC vents and comes with the hardware to do so. There’s also a magnetic puck that you attach to your phone to allow it to stick to the phone mount.

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A 12 volt plug that powers the entire setup.

Like the FusionToGo 3.0, the setup of the N-Range is absurdly simple and you’ll be up and running in way under 10 minutes. But the real question is does it work? To find out, I drove out to a section of Caledon Ontario that has sketchy cell phone coverage and threw my iPhone XS into field test mode which would allow me to accurately measure signal strength. Now this feature is usually hidden, but if you’re interested in how to enable this on iOS, here’s an article that speaks to that. But I before I get ahead of myself, here’s a screenshot of what a good signal in my area of Toronto looks like:

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The above screenshot was taken the last time I reviewed a SureCall device and it was taken near my home in Toronto. The number you’re interested in is the RSRP0 number which is – 78 dB. RSRP stands for Reference Signal Received Power which is a way of measuring cell phone signal quality. This is a decent number based on the fact that signal quality can range from -40 dB to -130 dB, with -40 being the best possible signal and -130 being the worst. In general, any result that is into the triple digits is going to cause issues with voice calls being garbled or dropped, or you will find it difficult to send or receive email or post status updates to Facebook.

Now this is what I got I Caledon before I switched on the N-Range:

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You can see here that it was -109 db which is bad. Not bad enough for me to not be able to make a call. But refreshing Twitter was often problematic. Ditto for Instagram. After I switched on the N-Range and placed the phone on the mount I got this:

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As you can see, the RSRP0 was -97 db. That was enough of a reduction that made things much better when I tried to refresh Instagram or Twitter. The one thing that I will note is that for best results you need to have the phone on the phone mount. As far as I am concerned, while it isn’t as powerful as the the Fusion2Go 3.0, it is still a very useful piece of kit that clearly works as advertised.

N-Range is available now at Amazon, TheSource, and SignalBoost Central. It goes for $199 USD or $249 CAD. If you fit the use case of N-Range, I would say that it deserves a place in your car without a doubt.