Archive for May 15, 2019

Trump To Ban Huawei In The US: Reuters

Posted in Commentary on May 15, 2019 by itnerd

I guess we now know why Huawei was willing to sign “no spy” agreements with countries who were concerned about the potential of them spying on said countries. Reuters is reporting that US President Donald Trump is about to sign an executive order that paves the way to ban Huawei gear from the country:

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order this week barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms posing a national security risk, paving the way for a ban on doing business with China’s Huawei, three U.S. officials familiar with the plan told Reuters.

The order, which will not name specific countries or companies, has been under consideration for more than a year but has repeatedly been delayed, the sources said, asking not to be named because the preparations remain confidential. It could be delayed again, they said.

The executive order would invoke the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president the authority to regulate commerce in response to a national emergency that threatens the United States. The order will direct the Commerce Department, working with other government agencies, to draw up a plan for enforcement, the sources said.

So in other words, he’s using a back door of sorts to ban Huawei from being used on cell networks in the country. While this won’t harm the bigger cell phone providers in the US, smaller carriers may be affected by this. But the bigger is that this is not only a big slap to Huawei with potential knock on effects with other countries who are thinking about banning their gear, but it’s likely not to help China/US relations which at present are at an all time low.

UPDATE: At just after 5PM today the executive order was signed. Let the games begin.


Review: 2019 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD – Part 3

Posted in Products with tags on May 15, 2019 by itnerd

The interior of the Mazda3 Sport GT AWD is outstanding the mix of black and red leather really sets it off and makes it stand out. I got a ton of compliments about it from those who were in the car and total strangers. Let’s take a look at the interior to see why it generates this sort of reaction:


The drivers seat is a comfortable place to be. It’s leather, power adjustable in ten ways with two memory settings. While it could have a bit more bolstering in the lower part of the seat and be slightly wider, you’ll find no issues with it.


The mirror, door locks, and window controls are lit and easy to reach. There’s a leather and piano black finish along with silver trim around the speakers that gives the interior an upscale feel.


Here you can see the buttons for the electronic overseers as well as the driver seat memory settings. You can also see the pedals and the dead pedal.


There’s also this storage area for coins under the buttons for the seat settings.


The steering wheel is on the thick side and much like the Mazda3 Sedan that I tested recently, I never really got comfortable with it. It is heated and has all the controls that you need to use the infotainment system and cruise control. There are also paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.


The gauge cluster is made up of two real gauges on the outside, and a TFT screen in the middle which you can flip through a series of screens that allow you to get the information that you need. It’s generally bright and easy to read, though I did note that it is sometimes prone to glare.


Moving to the center of the dash, there’s a 8.8″ widescreen for the infotainment system. The screen is bright and very, very sharp. I’ll have more on this and the whole infotainment system tomorrow.


Below the screen are the controls for the dual zone HVAC system which includes the controls for the heated front seats and the heated steering wheel. Right below that is a USB port to plug your phone into.

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Right under the HVAC controls is a cubby that also contains a pair of cupholders. I have to admit that when I first saw this, I was dubious that it would pass my Venti Starbucks drink test. But….


… But it did pass. Though I did note that this venti Starbucks drink was a bit too loose in the cupholder for my liking.


Here you can see the leather wrapped gear shift, the redesigned HMI Commander Switch, as well as the parking brake, auto hold switch and the sport switch on the left. You can also see the fingerprints that tend to get left behind on a piano black finish like this.


Flip up the armrest and you get this storage area complete with a USB port and 12V outlet.


There’s a decent sized glovebox.


You also get a decent sized powered moonroof.


The back seats are a decent place to be for two adults as I tested that with two six foot tall adults during the week I had the Mazda3. Three adults back here is a non-starter because of the tunnel in middle of the floor.


There’s a pair of cupholders in an armrest that flips down from middle of the back seats.


My wife noted that there were plenty of anchors for a child seat in the Mazda3 Sport. That is a big bonus for a small family.

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The cargo area with the seats up can hold a lot of stuff and it is deep. But if you need more space you can flip down the 60/40 folding rear seats to get an almost flat floor to slide your gear into.


The rear seats flip down with ease via the button to the right of the seatbelt.


As you can see, the Mazda3 Sport holds our weekly shopping with ease.


One nice touch is that the rear hatch as a button to lock all the doors. I don’t recall ever seeing that in a vehicle before. Thus that’s good thinking on Mazda’s part as it’s very handy.

Overall the interior is first class in every way possible. Mazda really did a great job putting the interior together as it it really impressed anyone who saw it. The interior is also very quiet. More so than I expected it to be. I should also note that there’s very good vision in every direction for the driver. No rattles, squeaks, or other annoyances were noted during my week with the Mazda3 Sport AWD.

Tomorrow I will talk about the technology in the Mazda3 Sport GT AWD which has made a massive transformation for 2019. Stay tuned for that.

Canadian Court Says The Obvious: You Cannot Say Whatever You Want Online And Get Away With It

Posted in Commentary on May 15, 2019 by itnerd

For whatever reason, people these days believe that you can say the most hateful, vile and distasteful things online without any consequences. But that’s not true. It never has been. And that fact has been reinforced by a recent court decision that CBC News is highlighting:

A former Mississauga, Ont., mayoral candidate charged two years ago with a hate crime, displayed “horrific” behaviour when he made “hateful Islamophobic” comments against Paramount Fine Foods owner Mohamad Fakih, a judge has ruled.

In a decision released Monday, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded $2.5 million in damages to Fakih and Paramount, a chain of Middle Eastern restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area, for defamation over a series of videos and online posts made by Kevin Johnston, some on his website Freedom Report, starting in July 2017. 


From July 23 to Aug. 1 of 2018, the judgment says, the defendants published eight videos making false and malicious statements, including that Fakih was an “economic terrorist” who was under investigation by CSIS and that Paramount was “little more than a front” whose purpose was to facilitate “Islamic discussion.”

After being hit with a libel suit, the ruling says, Johnston responded with even more false information, this time claiming Fakih was funding terror groups and using his restaurants to bring in “illegal aliens.”

“Mr. Johnston profits from the promotion of hatred. He takes paid speaking engagements featuring anti-Muslim statements, and Freedom Report solicits donations,” the decision says. 

In addition to the videos, the decision says, Johnston approached Fakih while he was at Erin Mills Town Centre mall with his three children, accusing him of being a terrorist and snapping photos of them, even following them into the parking lot as they tried to leave the mall.

While some of this does extend to the real world, this guy clearly uses the Internet to push his racist and hateful agenda because of the potential reach that it gives him. And let’s be clear. None of this is acceptable and it should be punished accordingly. But if you ask me, the courts shouldn’t be alone in this. Companies like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter need to get way more aggressive when dealing with hate speech. While part of me is wary of social media companies acting as judge and jury, something like this clearly crosses the line. And when it does cross that line, it has to be nuked out of existence instantly. The fact is that blatant racism cannot be allowed to exist in a free and democratic society. Which is why a decision like this is so important as it reinforces that fact.