Archive for August 20, 2019

Dell Introduces World’s Most Flexible Modular Zero-Footprint PC

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 20, 2019 by itnerd

Dell Technologies today announced the new OptiPlex 7070 Ultra, an innovative desktop that stores its small and powerful technology vertically inside a thin and light display stand. The industry’s most flexible, zero-footprint desktop design, the OptiPlex 7070 Ultra is beautiful, space-saving, and clutter-free; as well as fully modular so customers can configure and upgrade as needed throughout the product lifecycle. This means the PC and display of this zero-footprint desktop can be upgraded and serviced independently of one another.

Dell’s customer research shows companies like the ability to upgrade their systems. They also enjoy the aesthetics of the All-in-One. Because customers tend to upgrade their computers more frequently than their displays, the independent upgradability of the Ultra brings the best of the traditional desktop and the All-in-One together into a single, new, innovative platform.

Flexible, Upgradable, Innovative Design

The OptiPlex 7070 Ultra features configurable elements for ultimate flexibility and performance. Key features include:

  • Independent upgrade of the PC and display, so customers can swap out, upgrade or service any part at any time
  • A monitor stand that integrates the PC within and includes physical security options designed to protect against tampering
  • Flexible configurations ideal for multi-user, open-plan workspaces
  • Configurable to different use cases or work styles with compatible products like a height adjustable stand, fixed stand, VESA mount, Dell Single Monitor Arm | MSA20 for superior adjustability and Dell Dual Monitor Arm | MDA20 for added desk agility
  • Performance and scalability to match users’ needs, up to Intel® Core™ vPro™  i7 processors, 64GB of RAM, 1TB NVMe SSD and 2TB HDD

Additionally, a recent Dell study shows that using two monitors can boost worker productivity by up to 21%[8]. The Ultra can support up to three displays[9] – from 19 to 27 inches – for increased productivity. Power, data, video and audio are transmitted in one single cable when the Ultra is paired with Dell USB-C monitors.


New OptiPlex 7071 Tower Brings Immersive VR Consumption Capabilities to the Office


Dell also introduced the new OptiPlex 7071 Tower, ideal for businesses using VR content for activities such as training and sales environments. With premium performance, multiple expansion options and accessories tailored to the needs of today’s users, it’s the desktop that offers enhanced productivity options for everyday tasks. The most powerful OptiPlex yet, it can be configured with 9th Gen Intel®Core™ processors up to the new 95W, 8-core Core i9 processor with optional Intel vPro technology.

OptiPlex Optimized with Dell Technologies Unified Workspace

Earlier this year, Dell Technologies announced Unified Workspace, a visionary approach to end-user computing designed to give workers a frustration-free, ready-to-work experience while empowering IT with automated, open and intelligent management solutions. The new OptiPlex portfolio is optimized with Dell Technologies Unified Workspace so IT can easily deploy, secure, manage and support these devices, and users can be productive on day one.

The new Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra is an innovative desktop that stores its small and powerful technology vertically inside a thin and light display stand. The industry’s most flexible, zero-footprint desktop design, the OptiPlex 7070 Ultra is beautiful, space-saving, and clutter-free; as well as fully modular so customers can configure and upgrade as needed throughout the lifecycle of the product.

North America Availability:

  • The Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra will be available on September 24 with an average price of $749.
  • The Dell OptiPlex 7071 Tower will be available on September 24.


Review: 2019 Jeep Cherokee North – Part 2

Posted in Products with tags on August 20, 2019 by itnerd


This is the 2.4L 4 cylinder “Tiger Shark” engine that powers the 2019 Jeep Cherokee North. It puts out 180 HP and 170 pound feet of torque and is mated to a 9 speed automatic transmission that shifts very smoothly. If for some reason that isn’t enough power for you, Jeep can hook you up with either a 3.2L “Pentastar” V6 that puts out 271 HP and 239 pound feet of torque, or a 2.0L turbo 4 cylinder that puts out 270 HP and 295 pound feet of torque. But the base engine off the line and on the highway seems to be plenty powerful enough for me as I had no issue passing vehicles on the highway or merging safely onto the highway. Nor did I feel that I was lacking for power in any situation.

All the power goes to all four wheels via Jeep’s “Active Drive I” 4×4 system which can be left in auto mode to do all the thinking for you in terms of what wheels need power, or you can put it into one of three other modes depending on the terrain:

  • Sand/Mud
  • Snow
  • Sport

While it did rain in the first couple of days that I had the Cherokee, I did not notice the 4×4 system being used with the exception of feeling the rear differential engage off the line on one occasion. I was not able to reproduce that so I consider that to be a one off. Based on that, one could conclude that anything that it does, it tries to do so transparently which is the way it should be.

Handling is very, very good. I consider the Mazda CX-5 to be the gold standard in the compact SUV class for handling, and the Jeep handles well enough that I would put it into the same conversation as the Mazda. Though I will admit that the Mazda is a notch or two above the Jeep. I say that because the ride is firm yet compliant with the only thing that might be objectionable is going over a speed bump at anything over 10 KM/h. I also like that I can easily feel what the Jeep is doing underneath me which inspires confidence. Steering is also pretty good as it provides the feedback that you need to feel what the Jeep is doing.

Tire noise is very well muted and while engine noise is present, it isn’t objectionable. But it is perhaps more noticeable to the drive as the engine has a stop start feature that’s present to save gas. Now this is defeatable, but only until the next time you start the car. Thus leaving it on might be the best option. Speaking of gas, I am currently getting 11.4 L/100 KM which isn’t great, but I expect that to improve over the week that I am doing this review.

Tomorrow I will be walking you through the interior of the Jeep Cherokee North. It’s an interesting interior that I will be spending a lot of time to dissect. Stay tuned!

Apple’s Shoddy QA Strikes Again As They Accidentally Put Every iDevice On The Planet In Danger Of Pwnage

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 20, 2019 by itnerd

I’ve been saying for a couple of years now that Apple’s QA is an #EpicFail as we’ve seen example after example after example of high profile bugs with significant security impacts make it into the hands of the public. And this past weekend we saw the worst example of this take place.

It appears that when Apple released iOS 12.4, Apple somehow unpatched a fix that they made in iOS 12.3 that now makes it possible for one of the few, if not only times that I can remember to jailbreak the current version of iOS. While this does allow one to install any piece of software that they want and customize an iDevice any way they want, it also opens up a massive security nightmare. Apps, even ones that are on the App Store could contain malicious code that could allow an evil doer to do anything from steal data to take over the device remotely. The possibilities are endless on that front and it puts any iDevice on the planet in danger. What’s worse is that a hacker named @Pwn2Owned has released the jailbreak to the public. Making this quite literally a copy and paste exercise for anyone who wants to do bad things to iOS users. And in the process this ups the danger level substantially.

So how do you protect yourself from this? Well, you really can’t fully protect yourself? You could avoid downloading ANY application from any source including the App Store as any app could contain attack code. But that isn’t good enough. A threat actor could set up or compromise a webpage to detect an iOS device and download the attack code to it for example. And there would be no way for you to stop it. Thus you’re pretty much at the mercy of Apple to fix this quickly. It was hoped that since this went public on the weekend, and Apple already had the solution in hand, a fix would be out on Monday. But that didn’t happen which means that users remain unprotected.

The question is, how could a trillion dollar company let this happen? Apple isn’t saying anything, but it’s clear that the problems that I have highlighted are still present and either they are so systemic that Apple is having difficultly fixing them, or Apple for whatever reason won’t fix them. Either way that’s a huge problem for a company that is known for privacy and security. In fact, it makes Apple look like amateurs as these sorts of high profile security issues keep happening.

Apple really needs to wake up and smell the coffee. They have serious issues in their quality control processes. They need to fix those issues. And those fixes need to happen now. Perhaps using the methods that I describe here. Because as it stands, Apple is a joke because their marketing which touts how secure their products are, and the actual security of their products aren’t in sync. And that means that they forfeit the high ground on the security front.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses MasterChef Star’s Cyberattack Experience

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 20, 2019 by itnerd

In this digital era, when we sell and buy things online, no one can feel safe about their personal data anymore. Even celebrities are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Last year, a MasterChef finalist Dani Venn fell victim to cybercrime when $250,000 were stolen from her family.

“I thought that something like that would never happen to me,” says the reality TV star. She sold her family home in Melbourne and was planning to buy a new one via the electronic property transfer system Property Exchange Australia (PEXA). “So, for that short window between selling and buying, we were extremely vulnerable. And that’s the moment when the hackers struck and stole our home deposit of $250,000. We were left with no home and no money to buy a new one.”

The unknown hackers compromised the system via Venn’s conveyancer’s account and swiped all the money arranged for the new property. The cybercriminals used the “forgot password” function to intercept the email. They created a new user who changed the payment details of Venn’s transfer to relocate the funds to their bank account.

It took some effort for the stressful story to come to a happy ending, and Dani Venn recalls the incident as her family’s worst nightmare. The young family with two small children had all their life savings missing and no place to stay just because of a software security flaw. “We trusted the system, and we were left homeless,” regrets the famous chef.

After the story gained media attention, PEXA agreed to gift Dani her lost home deposit, so the family could proceed with purchasing their dream property. PEXA reportedly reviewed its security systems to take extra measures for protecting its customers against this type of fraud.

Started using cybersecurity tools

Today, Dani sees cybersecurity with new eyes. “I am more conscious and aware of online security and safety. I would never disclose sensitive information, like bank accounts, via email or online messaging platforms as I may have in the past.” The famous chef and entrepreneur says she takes the attitude that everything we do online is being watched. “That way, you are always thinking twice about sharing personal information.”

To feel safer on the internet, Dani Venn started using NordVPN – a virtual private network that provides her and her family with advanced security and complete privacy online. “Since the incident, I’ve changed the way I use the internet. I frequently change my passwords, and I’ve adopted all kinds of tools. For example, I use NordVPN, which encrypts my traffic, so no one could see what I browse, except me.”

The mother-of-two believes that people aren’t suspicious enough. “Vigilance is the best defense, after all. That’s why you shouldn’t ever click on questionable links or open emails from unknown sources. Take cybersecurity seriously. If you do not know a thing about the subject, and if you use no tools to protect yourself, you’re the target.”

Hackers pick opportunities, not victims

Dani Venn says the most important lesson she learned is not to give hackers opportunities. “Hackers do not pick their victims. They pick opportunities to create victims. For example, you’re browsing on a public Wi-Fi without NordVPN. The hacker is on the same Wi-Fi watching the traffic. If they spot that your traffic is not encrypted, they can spy on anything you’re doing. That’s how we were hacked. The system wasn’t secure, and the hackers exploited it.”

Dani Venn’s story reminds how easy it is to fall victim to cybercrime. Scamming attacks don’t just happen when you respond to dodgy emails. Hackers can find more sophisticated ways to trick you unexpectedly. To protect your sensitive information and improve your security online, the TV star advises using privacy software tools. Her personal recommendation goes to NordVPN.