Archive for August 6, 2019

If You Have A Ring Doorbell, Law Enforcement Can Get Video From It Simply By Asking For It

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 6, 2019 by itnerd

A report in GovTech caught my eye this morning as it had news that Amazon is working with police to provide access to video from the popular Ring doorbells simply by having the cops ask for it:

What has raised eyebrows, however, is the company’s push for partnerships with law enforcement agencies across the country, a fact that some feel has allowed police to create informal surveillance networks in hundreds of neighborhoods. 

Under Ring partnerships, police are provided with a special portal that allows them to communicate with and request video from community residents.  

Amazon offers these partnerships for free, in exchange for the signing of a memo of understanding that has also caused controversy. Critics allege these memos allow Amazon the unprecedented ability to ghostwrite a majority of law enforcement’s press releases about the product, leading to accusations that “Ring is using local police as a de facto advertising firm.”

“What we’re talking about is a private company trying to disrupt the public safety infrastructure of this country in the same way that companies have gone into other parts of our society,” said Dave Maass, senior investigative researcher with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 

Among other things, Maass sees the product as problematic for both consumer privacy and cybersecurity. 

“Information is being collected on people who are just going about their lives. Not necessarily doing anything nefarious, yet they’re having information collected on them anyway,” he said. “By deploying tens of thousands of these cameras in any given community, you’re also creating a very wide surface area for attack [for hackers],” he went on. “We’ve seen over the years that IoT devices — specifically web cameras and CCTV cameras — have proven very rich targets for malicious actors.” 

However, here’s the other side of this:

However, he [Tony Botti, public information officer for the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office] noted, there is a workaround if a resident happens to reject a police request. If the community member doesn’t want to supply a Ring video that seems vital to a local law enforcement investigation, police can contact Amazon, which will then essentially “subpoena” the video. 

“If we ask within 60 days of the recording and as long as it’s been uploaded to the cloud, then Ring can take it out of the cloud and send it to us legally so that we can use it as part of our investigation,” he said

There’s a whole number of ways that this isn’t good. Privacy for example is at the top of the list. Unauthorized access is second on that list as I would be concerned at someone trolling through videos that a Ring Doorbell records for giggles. But on the other hand, you could make an arrangement that this shouldn’t be an issue because if you have video that could help the cops, any good citizen should want to hand it over. Thus eliminating the need for the cops to troll through your video. In other words, this is a complex issue that likely needs debating in public and Amazon answering some pointed questions before this goes away.

 

 

Advertisements

ASUS Announces ROG Strix XG438Q, the Largest 4K UHD FreeSync 2 HDR Gaming Monitor

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 6, 2019 by itnerd

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced Strix XG438Q, the world’s biggest and fastest 4K UHD FreeSync 2 HDR gaming monitor, offering the perfect balance of smooth visuals and high contrast HDR performance for incredibly immersive gameplay. The new display features a 43-inch 4K UHD panel with an astonishing 120Hz refresh rate, high-dynamic-range (HDR) technology with 90% DCI-P3 professional colour gamut coverage and exceptional contrast for DisplayHDR™ 600 certification, plus support for AMD Radeon™ FreeSync™ 2 HDR technology.

Strix XG438Q also includes GameFast Input technology for responsive, lag-free control that heightens gameplay experiences and gives games a vital edge over their opponents.

 

Big-screen, no-distraction gaming and entertainment in full 4K HDR glory

The standout feature of Strix XG438Q is its vast 43-inch panel, which delivers big-screen gaming and entertainment experience without sacrificing the high- and variable-refresh-rate technologies usually found only in smaller panels.

Strix XG438Q also has a special anti-glare coating to deliver a consistent viewing experience across the display under all types of indoor lighting conditions, enabling the enjoyment of on-screen content without distraction – making the display perfect for everything from fast-action gaming to kicking back to watch a movie.

 

Ultra-fluid performance for super-smooth gameplay, and superb colour accuracy

Strix XG438Q is loaded with technology to deliver world-leading gaming experiences and superior visual fidelity on a 43-inch display. The ultrafast 120Hz refresh rate, ensures that even the fastest-paced games played at the highest visual settings remain buttery-smooth and completely lag-free. The display also features Radeon™ FreeSync™ 2 HDR technology to render buttery-smooth visuals with low latency and improved brightness and contrast. In particular, FreeSync 2 stipulates low-latency processing for both standard and HDR content, reducing the input lag typically associated with HDR content. ASUS-exclusive GameFast Input technology further reduces input lag, by providing faster motion delivery so gamers are always up to speed with the action – affording them precious extra milliseconds to respond.

Brilliant brightness, contrast and colour accuracy are also cornerstones of Strix XG438Q. The display supports HDR technology across a range of luminance up to 700cd/m2 to deliver a wider colour range and higher contrast than traditional monitors – so the brightest whites and the darkest blacks bring out details like never before. Strix XG438Q also delivers DCI-P3 90% colour gamut and contrast performance that meets the requirement for DisplayHDR™ 600 certification, making it ideal for professional design endeavors.

 

Ready for kick-back entertainment, with included remote control and integrated speakers

Strix XG438Q’s expansive 4K UHD panel lends itself to enjoyment of all kinds of entertainment, from gaming to television and movies. The included remote control makes it easy to manage the monitor’s output, enabling at-a-distance control of the on-screen display (OSD) to make quick adjustments to brightness, contrast, input source and other settings. The remote zapper also includes volume-control buttons – perfect for fine-tuning the output of Strix XG438Q’s integrated 10W stereo speakers.

 

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

ASUS ROG Strix XG438Q will be available in Canada in Q3. Please contact your local ASUS representative for further information.

ASUS Announces 4K UHD Mini LED ProArt PA32UCX Professional Display

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 6, 2019 by itnerd

ASUS today announced ProArt PA32UCX, the world’s first 32-inch 4K UHD HDR display with a peak brightness of 1,200 nits and mini-LED backlighting. This technology enables 1,152 zones of local dimming control and support for multiple HDR formats, including Dolby Vision®, HLG and HDR-10 to produce the brightest whites and the deepest blacks with sharper, more detailed imagery.

The first PC displays to support Dolby Vision have been developed in partnership with Dolby®, and they are made for content creators who demand exceptional display performance and colour accuracy for their visual workflows.

ProArt PA32UCX perfectly translates a story to the screen with its true 10-bit colour and quantum-dot technology that provide wide-gamut support for the DCI-P3, Rec. 709, Rec. 2020, sRGB and Adobe RGB colour spaces. It also offers a rich selection of connectivity, including dual Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort and three HDMI 2.0 ports.

ProArt PA32UCX also includes advanced calibration technology. Certified for both Windows and macOS, every PA32UCX is pre-calibrated to ensure Delta-E (∆E) <1 colour accuracy, providing an ideal solution for filmmakers and professionals working in video post-production, or anyone looking for exceptional colour fidelity.

 

Word’s first 4K display with mini-LED backlighting

The ProArt PA32UCX 4K UHD display is designed to deliver extremely sharp, detailed visuals. Its mini-LED backlight packs in smaller-sized LEDs to increase the granularity of brightness control. With local dimming that’s dynamically controlled across 1,152 zones, ProArt PA32UCX can reproduce brighter whites and deeper blacks to deliver the best contrast and accurate reproduction of HDR content. ProArt PA32UCX also has a peak luminance level of almost 1,200cd/m2, enabling it to achieve VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification and additional HDR standards, including Dolby Vision.

 

World’s first 4K UHD display with Dolby Vision support

ASUS Smart HDR Technology

ProArt PA32UCX monitors feature ASUS Smart HDR Technology, which supports multiple high-dynamic-range (HDR) formats and multiple PQ curves to suit the specific needs of content creators. Dolby Vision HDR transforms entertainment experiences with ultra-vivid quality, providing incredible brightness, contrast, colour and detail to make storytelling come alive. When compared to a standard picture, Dolby Vision can deliver colours never seen on a screen before, including highlights that are up to 40 times brighter and blacks that are 10 times darker.

HDR-10 support ensures compatibility with existing streaming video services and a growing list of HDR-enabled games, including hard-clipped, optimized and basic PQ curves. Hybrid log gamma (HLG) support addresses broadcast and satellite TV, including the BBC’s iPlayer and DirecTV.

 

World’s leading colour performance

Industry-Leading delta-E (∆E) <1

True 10-bit colour depth with 1,200 nits of peak brightness provides an entire spectrum of colours to work with for video editing and post-production. Quantum-dot technology supports the cinema-standard DCI-P3 colour gamut, resulting in more realistic colours. It also delivers a wide colour gamut of 99% DCI-P3, 99.5% Adobe RGB, 89% Rec. 2020, 100% sRGB and Rec. 709 for high-end video editing and post-production.

ProArt PA32UCX monitors are pre-calibrated to guarantee industry-leading delta-E (∆E) <1 colour accuracy. Each monitor features advanced gray-scale technology to ensure images are accurately reproduced onscreen. The monitor also includes technology to ensure 95% uniformity compensation to guard against brightness and chroma (colour) fluctuations across different parts of the screen.

 

ASUS ProArt Calibration Technology

Whether on a desktop or laptop, PC or Mac, ASUS ProArt Calibration Technology offers colour-accuracy tuning and uniformity compensation to make things easy when it’s time to recalibrate the display’s brightness and colour consistency. Users can choose from a variety of advanced setups to achieve optimum colour accuracy, and write back all colour parameter profiles on the monitor’s integrated scaler integrated circuit chip.

 

Ergonomic design

ProArt PA32UCX is created for everyday use, from the inside out. Its 32-inch screen is virtually frameless on three sides, making it perfect for side-by-side, multi-display setups. An ergonomic stand offers extensive swivel, tilt and height adjustments to ensure an ideal viewing position.

ProArt PA32UCX features an HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, Thunderbolt 3 USB-C and a USB hub, allowing content creators to conveniently connect to peripherals and gadgets, including a Blu-ray player.

 

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

ASUS ProArt PA32UCX will be available in Q3 in Canada. Please contact your local ASUS representative for further information.

The Great Canadian Road Trip II – Part 2: Edmundston NB To Charlottetown Prince Edward Island

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 6, 2019 by itnerd

Today was supposed to be an easy drive to Prince Edward Island and our final destination which was Charlottetown. But it didn’t start out that way because of my laser focus to get to Prince Edward Island. In short, I was so focused on getting out of Edmundston that I forgot to stop at the coffee shop down the street from the hotel that we stayed at the previous night. Instead, I simply used Apple Maps which is part of Apple CarPlay to route us to Prince Edward Island.

Top Tip: If you have Apple CarPlay and an iPhone, you can enter your destinations as appointments with a specific check in time as long as you enter an address with a postal code. That will allow your iPhone to tell you when you should leave based on the current traffic conditions, and it allows you too easily select the destination in Apple Maps within Apple CarPlay.

I’ll let my wife tell you what happened next:

At the start of Tuesday morning as we were starting our drive to Charlottetown my husband was a bit grumpy and jittery for a good cup of java beyond the one that we had just past the one in Edmonston. My husband hit the coffee icon on Apply CarPlay and started to head out to the first listing that popped up called Uptown Bakery in Andover.  I did a quick look up on my phone and called the business phone number and made a determination that the listing was outdated and it looks like it was out of business.  Then before my husband could go on another wild goose chase I searched and found a place called the Daily Dose Coffee and Tea House.  Two minutes later we were en-route to the Daily Dose. (Note: All pictures in the post are taken with the Nikon Coolpix P1000): 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is a lovely gem of a place.  It’s a cozy place that features artwork from local artists that you can purchase. This is best latte to be found between Edmonston and Charlottetown. Just for the record there are a few good coffee options in Edmonston but we had already left. And according to my Starbucks app and there are Starbucks in Dieppe, St John and Fredericton. 

I tried one of their Instagram worthy cherry hand pies and they taste as good as it looks.  Even though we were needed to start our drive we took time to enjoy the waterfront view. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For those who enjoy a great cup of tea the Daily Dose offers a good selection of Pluck Teas. We definitely stumbled upon a good thing. It is a shame that they do not have a website and hopefully will show up on searches on the next iteration of Apple Maps. In the meantime, here’s their Instagram. And their address is 1275 W Riverside Dr, Perth-Andover, NB E7H 5G9. 

With the coffee crisis over, we drove towards Charlottetown. Now while this was a 5.5 hour drive and we took about 6.5 hours because we took a few detours and breaks. For example, we took a detour to this place:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is the Hartland Covered Bridge which is world’s longest covered wooden bridge. We didn’t cross it as we were not sure that we could not guarantee that the bikes on our roof rack would fit into the bridge. So we settled for taking pictures.

We then got back on the Trans Canada Highway which eventually led to the Confederation Bridge.

fullsizeoutput_db9

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Just on the other side of the Confederation Bridge we found a bay with a railway caboose, a lighthouse, and a small gift shop.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One thing that we tripped over was a fox who apparently lived on the property and wasn’t really shy towards humans.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Also, we also tripped over a dock that seemed to be not frequently used.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

From here, it was another 50 minutes to our final destination which was the Hotel On Pownal in Charlottetown. I chose this hotel because it offered secure storage for our bikes which was in a room next to the front desk. We’re in a smallish room that didn’t exactly have a view. But we were fine with that. The only thing that was a downer was that we missed “happy hour” where the hotel serves up beer and wine.

After getting into the room, we went to a place that my wife chose called Fishbones which had decent fish and chips and fried clams with chowder which is what I and my wife had respectively. My wife did note that their white sangria was outstanding. One thing that I will note is that the first couple of local beers that I wanted to have were out of stock. That was weird.

Tomorrow we’ll figure out what we will do on our first full day in Charlottetown. Stay tuned for what we come up with.