Archive for March, 2019

Apple Kills AirPower…. Why This Is Embarrassing For Apple And The Right Decision For Them

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 30, 2019 by itnerd

Yesterday, Apple killed AirPower. That’s their wireless charging mat which was announced in 2017 alongside the iPhone X that would have been radically different than anything else on the market. The idea was that you could place an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and a pair of AirPods in their wireless charging case anywhere on the mat and they would all charge and you could see the status of charging on your iPhone. That’s important as pretty much every other charging mat requires you to place the device in a specific location to get it to charge. So this would have been different.

Except that they killed it. Apparently according to TechCrunch, Apple couldn’t meet their own quality standards so they killed it. That might have something to do with the fact that heat was an issue according to John Gruber who posted this when the iPhone XS/XR and Apple Watch 4 were announced. Along with this Tweet:

He is in a position to know these things having inside knowledge of Apple. In fact he predicted that it would be killed last September when Apple started to scrub any mention of AirPower off their site. Though there was hope with signs of AirPower popping up here and there as recently as the last couple of weeks.

So seeing as Apple announced this late on a Friday, they clearly knew that this would be embarrassing as they pre-announced a product that they couldn’t actually build. And it is embarrassing for a company who makes as much noise as they do about making the best products. Hopefully Apple learns from this and doesn’t do this again because they deserve the egg that’s on their face right now.

The flip side to that is that it is better to kill the product than to release something that could be dangerous. And thus doing a version of what Samsung did with the Note a couple of years ago where they had a phone that was literally blowing up. Though I will say this, if Apple has such “high standards”, why don’t they apply them to address #KeyboardGate and #FlexGate? Surely all their products deserve the same “high standards”.

In any case, RIP AirPower. We hardly knew ye.

 

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Facebook Slapped With Lawsuit From Feds Over Discrimination

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 29, 2019 by itnerd

Adding to Facebook’s problems is this from The Department of Housing and Urban Development in the US. They are suing social media giant Facebook for allegedly violating the Fair Housing Act.

HUD says Facebook does so by “encouraging, enabling and causing housing discrimination” when it allows companies that use their platform to improperly shield who can see certain housing ads. In the charging document, HUD accuses Facebook of unlawfully discriminating against people based on race, religion, familial status, disability and other characteristics that closely align with the 1968 Fair House Act’s protected classes.

HUD also alleges Facebook allowed advertisers certain tools on their advertising platform that could exclude people who were classified as “non-American-born,” “non-Christian” or “interested in Hispanic culture,” among other things. It also said advertisers could exclude people based on ZIP code, essentially “drawing a red line around those neighborhoods on a map.” “Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face.”

Facebook responded like this:

We’re surprised by HUD’s decision, as we’ve been working with them to address their concerns and have taken significant steps to prevent ads discrimination. 

And:

While we were eager to find a solution,” Facebook added. “HUD insisted on access to sensitive information — like user data — without adequate safeguards. We’re disappointed by today’s developments, but we’ll continue working with civil rights experts on these issues

Everywhere you turn, Facebook is being accused of something. That suggests to me that a few more of these situations are likely to pop up. And that’s very bad news for Facebook who really wants to be seen as the poster child for bad behavior.

Axe Throwing Entrepreneurs Launch New Scoring Software Apps

Posted in Commentary on March 28, 2019 by itnerd

Canadian entrepreneurs James Anderson and Brett Easton have unveiled a new, interactive scoring software for the rapidly-growing sport of axe throwing.

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The enthusiastic business partners own Forged Axe Throwing in Whistler and have spent the past twelve months developing the scoring software that will now be rolled out globally to affiliated World Axe Throwing League (WATL) clubs.

The software is built as a responsive web application and is designed for use on Apple iPads, although still works on any touchscreen tablet or phone.

Axe throwing has enjoyed a surge in popularity over recent years, with more and more people taking part recreationally and competitively. The software is, in part, a response to the increase of local league tournaments and competitions that are proving so influential in furthering this inclusive community.

Current features include:

  • Real-time leaderboard
  • Ability to livestream league finals and regular matches including leaderboard
  • Player profile with pictures
  • Player cards – similar to hero hockey player cards
  • Achievement awards
  • Coming Soon: Team play scoring

 

 

Tech Companies Continue Decade-Plus History of Setting LGBTQ Workplace Inclusion Standards: HRC

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 28, 2019 by itnerd

Tech companies continue to work toward LGBTQ workplace equality and inclusion, according to the 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) issued today by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization.

The HRC Foundation has strengthened criteria to meet the needs of LGBTQ workers in the most rigorous scorecard to date. Five hundred and seventy-one companies have been designated a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality for their efforts in satisfying all of the CEI’s criteria results in a 100 percent ranking. Sixty-three are tech giants such as Apple, Citrix, Dell, HP, Intel and Microsoft.

HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) is America’s premiere benchmarking tool for LGBTQ workplace equality. The results of this year’s CEI, showcases how hundreds of U.S.-based multinational companies are not only promoting LGBTQ-friendly workplace policies in the U.S., but helping to advance the cause of LGBTQ inclusion in the workplace abroad.

The CEI rates companies and top law firms on detailed criteria in four broad categories:

  • Non-discrimination policies
  • Employment benefits
  • upporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility including public commitment to LGBTQ equality
  • Responsible citizenship

The full report is available online at www.hrc.org/cei.

72% of Canadians are more alarmed than ever about their privacy: Norton LifeLock

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 28, 2019 by itnerd

In today’s connected world, businesses are prime targets for cyber attacks and unintentional missteps can result in critical exposure of consumers’ sensitive personal information. According to the 2018 Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report, released today, from Norton LifeLock, a Symantec company, based on an online survey conducted by The Harris Poll of over 1,000 adults, nearly three out of four Canadians (72 per cent) are more alarmed than ever about their privacy. However, the majority accept certain risks to their online privacy in exchange for convenience (70 per cent) and are willing to sell or give away certain personal information, such as their location (57 per cent) and internet search history (53 per cent), to companies.

In the age of information sharing, control is now at the heart of society’s privacy paradox – from who should have it to what the consequences should be when it is mishandled. In fact, 97 per cent of Canadians believe it is important to require that companies give customers control of how their personal data is used, while over half (53 per cent) believe it is absolutely essential. Adequate recourse is also expected when personal information is not protected, with 56 per cent of consumers believing it is absolutely essential that companies be required to provide a way for consumers to report misuse of their personal data, or consequently be fined.

Additional Canadian findings include:

  • People view data protection as a right – not a privilege. Most Canadians are not willing to pay organizations to ensure protection of their personal information. This is true when it comes to social media providers, with 82 per cent of consumers saying they are not willing to pay providers to ensure their personal information is protected when using them, retailers (77 per cent), healthcare institutions (71 per cent) and financial institutions (69 per cent).
  • Canadians have little or no trust in social media providers. 95 per cent of Canadians express little or no trust in social media providers when it comes to managing and protecting their personal information. In fact, 1 in 5 Canadians with a social media account (20 per cent) have deleted an account in the past 12 months due to privacy concerns.
  • Despite concerns, Canadians embrace data sharing. While 87 per cent of Canadians are concerned about their privacy, many say they are willing to sell or give away certain personal data, including Internet search history (18 per cent would give away for free, 35 per cent would sell) and location (20 per cent would give away, 37 per cent would sell). Some are even willing to provide identification document information, such as driver’s license or passport information (15% would give away, 19% would sell).
  • Younger generations are not tied to their personal information. Younger generations are significantly more likely to embrace data sharing in the digital age, with more of those who are 18-53 willing to sell or give away certain personal information, such as their location (66 per cent versus 44 per cent) or internet search history (65 per cent versus 37 per cent), compared to those who are 54 and older.

 

What’s Next for Cyber Safety?

Over the last year alone, more than 9 million Canadians experienced cyber crime – that’s one in three Canadians (32 per cent) – and 55 per cent believe it’s likely they will experience cyber crime in the next year. As a result of cyber crime in the past year, losses totaled an estimated $1.9 billion and 35.8 million hours lost dealing with the aftermath, with more than a quarter of Canadians (28 per cent) spending a week or longer dealing with the problem.

There are several best practices consumers can follow to help safeguard against online threats:

  • Never open suspicious-looking emails: Cyber criminals send fake emails or texts that may look legitimate. The links in these emails or texts contain malicious software that can download malware and spyware. The software may be able to mine your computer for personal information, which is then sent to a remote computer where the attacker could sell the information on the dark web or use the information to commit identity theft.
  • Make use of a VPN on public Wi-Fi: Many public Wi-Fi connections are unencrypted. This could give cyber criminals a chance to snoop on data being sent and received by your device. If there are software vulnerabilities on your device, attackers can inject malware to help them gain access to your data. In some cases, attackers create fake Wi-Fi hotspots purporting to be legitimate networks.
  • Own your online presence: Carefully read the terms and conditions before opening an account or downloading an application, including social media accounts. Be sure to, set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing.
  • Get two steps ahead and manage your passwords: Switch on two-step verification or multi-factor authentication wherever offered to help prevent unauthorized access to your online accounts. Always change the default passwords to something strong and unique on your devices, services, and Wi-Fi networks.

To learn more about the real impact of cyber crime and how consumers can help protect their online privacy, identity, and digital information, visit here.

 

About the Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report (NCSIR)

The Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report is based on an online survey of 1,026 Canadian adults (aged 18+), commissioned by Norton LifeLock and produced by The Harris Poll, an independent research firm. Data were collected in October 2018. Data are weighted where necessary by age, gender, race, education, region, knowledge of official languages, marital status, and employment status to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

How Norton LifeLock Defines Cyber Crime

The definition of cyber crime continues to evolve as avenues open up that allow cyber criminals to target consumers in new ways. Each year, we will evaluate current cyber crime trends and update the report’s methodology as needed, to ensure the Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report provides an accurate snapshot of the impact of cyber crime as it stands today. In the 2018 Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report, cyber crime is defined as having personally experienced a crime committed with devices over the internet, including, but not limited to, detecting unauthorized access on an online account, learning information was exposed in a data breach, and detecting malicious software on a device. Visit https://www.symantec.com/about/newsroom/press-kits/2018-norton-lifelock-cyber-safety-insights-report to learn more.

OpenText collaborates With Pharmascience To Provide Critical Information Management

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 28, 2019 by itnerd

OpenText has announced Pharmascience, a leading Canadian manufacturer of branded and generic pharmaceutical drugs, has deployed OpenText Content Suite to help manage its complex document management requirements.

Pharmascience produces over 2,000 products with sales in over 60 countries worldwide. In Canada alone, more than 45 million prescriptions a year are filled with Pharmascience products. The company needed a scalable Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution to manage and secure its document lifecycle and help respond to increasing regulatory demands. It needed a full range of document governance tools, including workflow management, version control and audit trails. OpenText Content Suite and OpenText Regulated Documents, helped to build a strategic, centralized repository for its most valuable business content.

OpenText Professional Services worked with the expert team at Pharmascience to execute this ambitious digital transformation. The Pharmascience team brought their understanding of the regulatory and governance challenges to the table, while OpenText was able to deliver proactive solutions leveraging EIM expertise developed by working with 20 of the top 20 Life Sciences organizations worldwide.

Reinforcing its IT operational agility, Pharmascience is now working with OpenText Managed Services to handle ongoing Enterprise Information Management functions, ensuring in-house experts can focus on other critical business needs.

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.

TekSavvy Expands To Manitoba, Alberta, B.C. & Saskatchewan

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 28, 2019 by itnerd

TekSavvy today announced the launch of its high-speed internet services into Western Canada including Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C.

Customers looking for an alternative to the big guys can now choose from 4 different high-speed cable internet service packages starting at $23.95 per month. Offering speeds up to 150Mbps and unlimited usage, TekSavvy has a value option for everyone.

TekSavvy has been providing Canadians with reliable telecom services for more than 20 years and has won numerous awards for the quality of its service and for its commitment to fighting for consumers’ rights online. With offices in Chatham, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec TekSavvy is Canada’s largest independent telecom service company with over 300,000 customers from coast to coast.