Archive for September 10, 2019

ASUS Announces I Am ProArtist Campaign

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 10, 2019 by itnerd

ASUS today announced I am ProArtist, a worldwide contest that invites content creators to submit their best original 2D or 3D digital artwork or film clip for a chance to win ASUS ProArt products. Prizes on offer include ProArt Display PA32UC, PA27AC, PA24AC, ProArt Station PA90, ProArt StudioBook Pro 17, and Mini PC PB60G.

The I am ProArtist campaign is live today, and the competition runs globally until September 30, 2019. Full details are available at the campaign website:

The spark of inspiration can ignite at any time and content creators need a trusted, professional platform that matches the way they work and gives them the power to realize their creative vision. Inspired by professionals, every aspect of the ProArt platform is built to remove creative barriers and deliver the immense performance professionals demand to support the creative process and bring the best ideas to life.

That is the ProArt brand promise, and we believe everyone can be a ProArtist. It is about being proud of individuality, persistent in seeking perfection and strong-spirited in chosen fields of excellence. To celebrate the wellspring of creativity empowered by ProArt we want content creators of all abilities to produce an original artwork and share its story.

How to enter the I Am ProArtist global challenge

All adults aged 18 or more are eligible to participate in the I am ProArtist competition, and each eligible contest is permitted to submit one entry in each of the three activity categories – True Colour, Pixel Perfection and Mighty Mini. The fundamental design requirements of each activity category are as follows:

  • True Colour (2D graphic design): Submit an original 2D picture or design in JPEG or PNG format. The resolution should be 2560 x 1440, and the maximum acceptable file size is 5MB.
  • Pixel Perfection (film production): Submit an original film clip in MP4 format. The maximum acceptable running time 20 seconds, and the maximum acceptable file size is 50MB.
  • Mighty Mini (3D design): Submit an original 3D-design work in JPEG or PNG format. The resolution should be 2560 x 1440, and the maximum acceptable file size is 5MB.

Entrants must also include a story with each submission. This story should summarize the background or design inspiration behind the original creation.

How to win I am ProArtist prizes

One winner for each activity category will be chosen based on votes in the form of ‘likes’ from the public and a creativity assessment by ASUS, with each aspect carrying a 50% weighting. Public votes are important, so entrants are encouraged to share their entry on social media – using the hashtag #IamProArtist.

The I am ProArtist winners, awards and lucky draw

Following the close of the competition on September 30, 2019, public votes will be tallied, and ASUS will then consider all entries for their creativity. The final winners will be announced on October 30, 2019. The prizes for each activity category are as follows:

  • True Colour: ASUS ProArt Display PA27AC
  • Pixel Perfection: ASUS ProArt Display PA32UC
  • Mighty Mini: ASUS ProArt Station PA90

In addition to these main prize tiers, we’ll also be awarding three additional prizes via a lucky draw for those otherwise ineligible to enter the main I am ProArtist competition. Winners will be chosen from those sharing the #IamProArtist campaign hashtag on social media. Prizes for this lucky draw include a ProArt StudioBook Pro17, ProArt Display PA24AC and Mini PC PB60G.




IoT Is A Hot Topic In Cybercriminal Underground: Trend Micro

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 10, 2019 by itnerd

Trend Micro Incorporated today released new research detailing a fast-growing market for IoT attacks. Cybercriminals from around the world are actively discussing how to compromise connected devices, and how to leverage these devices for moneymaking schemes.

Trend Micro Research analyzed forums in the Russian, Portuguese, English, Arabic, and Spanish language-based underground markets to determine how cybercriminals are abusing and monetizing connected devices. The results reveal that the most advanced criminal markets are Russian- and Portuguese-speaking forums, in which financially driven attacks are most prominent. In these forums, cybercriminal activity is focused on selling access to compromised devices – mainly routers, webcams and printers – so they can be leveraged for attacks.

According to Trend Micro’s findings, most conversations and active monetization schemes are focused on consumer devices. However, discussions on how to discover and compromise connected industrial machinery are also occurring, especially the vital programmable logic controllers (PLCs) used to control large-scale manufacturing equipment. The most likely business plan to monetize attacks against these industrial devices involves digital extortion attacks that threaten production downtime.

Additionally, the report predicts an increase in IoT attack toolkits targeting a broader range of consumer devices, such as virtual reality devices. The opportunities for attackers will also multiply as more devices are connected to the internet, driven by 5G implementations.

Trend Micro urges manufacturers to partner with IoT security experts to mitigate cyber-related risks from the design phase. End users and integrators should also gain visibility and control over connected devices to be aware of and curb their cyber risk.

The full report, The Internet of Things in the Criminal Underground, can be found here:

Dell EMC Announces New Updates To High-End Storage Portfolio

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 10, 2019 by itnerd

Dell Technologies is announcing significant updates to Dell EMC PowerMax, incorporating next-generation technologies to ensure best-in-class performance for today and tomorrow’s most critical applications.

Since launching in 2018, Dell EMC PowerMax has helped high-end storage customers across all industries, including top-tier banks, cloud service providers and healthcare companies, support their most demanding applications where low latency is key and the highest resiliency is paramount. Dell EMC is the undisputed leader of the high-end storage market according to IDC with a 43.9% share; nearly triple that of the next highest competitor.

An Industry-First: Dell EMC PowerMax Introduces Dual Port SCM SSDs as Persistent Storage

Dell EMC PowerMax is first-to-market with dual port Intel® Optane™ SSDs and the use of Storage Class Memory (SCM) as persistent storage. The dual port Intel®Optane™ SSDs are the result of co-development between Dell and Intel and mark the latest innovation stemming from a decades-long partnership between the two companies.

Dell Technologies is also announcing that NVMe-oF is now available for all PowerMax arrays, enabling true end-to-end NVMe to deliver the performance and lower latency required by today’s modern enterprise.

End-to-end NVMe on PowerMax is made possible by newly qualified PowerMax 32Gb FC I/O modules, 32Gb Connectrix switches, directors and 32Gb NVMe host adapters with Dell EMC PowerPath multipathing software. Dell EMC PowerPath, known for its resiliency and migration capabilities, is the first enterprise-class SAN multipathing software with full support for NVMe-oF.

The combination of PowerMax’s unique, scale-out, end-to-end NVMe architecture and this industry-first use of SCM provides customers with a faster, more efficient storage system that delivers these performance improvements:    

  • Up to 15M IOPS
  • Up to 350GB/sec Bandwidth
  • Up to 50% Better Response Times
  • Sub-100us (microseconds) Read Response Times

PowerMax’s built-in machine learning engine leverages predictive analytics and pattern recognition to automatically place data on the correct media type (SCM or Flash) based on its IO profile. PowerMax analyzes and forecasts 40 million data sets in real-time, driving 6 billion decisions per day [vii], resulting in significant time savings and maximum performance at minimum cost.

Streamline Operations and Speed Application Development

Dell EMC PowerMax now allows customers to easily automate infrastructure operations and DevOps workflows. Customers can now serve PowerMax storage for configuration management and application deployment, including containerized workloads. And PowerMax’s automated infrastructure provisioning and management tasks enable customers’ agile and efficient IT operations with:

  • VMware vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) plug-in, available now on the VMware Solutions Exchange, allows customers to develop end-to-end automation routines including provisioning, data protection and host operations. Customers can also offer these automated routines as self-service catalog items on the VMware vRealize Automation platform.
  • Pre-built Ansible modules allow customers to create Playbooks for storage provisioning, snapshots and data management workflows for consistent and automated operations. These modules are available on GitHub now.
  • The new Container Storage Interface (CSI) plug-in for PowerMax provisions and manages storage for workloads running on Kubernetes. The CSI plugin, available now on GitHub, extends PowerMax’s uncompromising performance and world class data services to a growing number of applications built on a micro-services-based architecture.

Cloud Flexibility with Dell EMC PowerMax

Customers can now incorporate Dell EMC PowerMax into their multi-cloud strategies in a variety of different ways, all of which provide world class availability, flexibility, security and performance with the agility of hybrid cloud operations.

First, the just-released Dell Technologies Cloud Validated Designs for Dell EMC PowerMax helps organizations build their own hybrid cloud infrastructure while offering deployment flexibility for workloads that have unique external storage-specific requirements, including independent capacity scaling and advanced features such as integrated data protection.

Dell EMC storage arrays PowerMax and Unity XT are the first to be validated with VMware Cloud Foundation through Fibre Channel as primary storage, within workload domains, in addition to existing support through Network File System (NFS) protocol.

Dell EMC Cloud Storage Services delivers Dell EMC Storage as a public cloud service for Disaster Recovery across AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, plus many multi-cloud use cases including analytics and test/dev. Cloud Storage Services is designed to save time on system management, provides enterprise-grade data security, performance, capacity, replication, and availability in public clouds.


PowerMax with NVMe-oF, dual port Intel® Optane™ SSDs will be available globally on Monday, September 16. Dell Technologies Cloud Validated Designs for Dell EMC PowerMax, Dell EMC Cloud Storage Services and the plug-ins mentioned above are available now.

So What Did Apple Announce At Their 2019 iPhone Event?

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 10, 2019 by itnerd

Today was Apple’s latest event where products such as the new iPhone and Apple Watch (though I did put some cold water on that) were due to be announced. So what did get announced? Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Apple spoke about Apple Arcade. They demoed games from game makers Capcom, Annapurna Interactive, and Konami. Most importantly, it will be $4.99 USD a month for a family subscription starting on September 19th. 150 countries around the world will get it, and more than 100 games in the launch catalog.
  • Over to Apple TV+. Apple shared the trailer for See which is one of the shows that Apple is developing and stars Jason Momoa (AKA Aquaman from Justice League). The first shows will be available on November 1st in over 100 countries. And it will cost $4.99 US a month for a family subscription. Plus if you buy a MacBook or iDevice starting today, you get Apple TO+ for free for one year. Take that Netflix and Disney+. Though those two services have way more content.
  • In a bit of a surprise, the next stop was the iPad. Apple announced the 7th Generation iPad with a 10.2″ retina display. There’s a A10 Fusion chip powering it which isn’t exactly new. It will start $329 USD and can be ordered today. Educational customers pay $299 USD. It will start shipping on September 30.
  • Apple Watch was next. There are three new studies that Apple will be participating in via the Apple Watch Research app which is coming later this year. The three studies are the Apple Hearing Study to study the effects of sound noises. Apple Heart & Movement Study, and the Apple Women’s Health study. As for the watch itself, we now have the Series 5. It now comes with an always on display retina display using a LPTO display. Yet it still has an 18 hour battery life. It also has a compass on board complete with a compass app. The Series 5 cellular models support International emergency calling. And as expected, titanium and ceramic finishes along with recycled aluminum finishes. Apple Watch Nike models, with sport bands and reflective sport loops. New Hermes models with color blocked bands are on the table along with Hermes models in black, with space black stainless cases with black noir leather bands. Apple Watch Nike models, with sport bands and reflective sport loops. New Hermes models with color blocked bands. Series 5 GPS models start at $399 USD for the WiFi version and $499 USD for GPS + Cellular and are available to order today. Series 3 pricing drops to $199 USD.
  • Next up was the iPhone 11. It has an anodized aluminum and glass design. And the claimed toughest glass ever in a smartphone on front and back. There are six new colors, with new purple, white, yellow, green, black, and Product (RED). It has a 6.1″ Liquid Retina display, True Tone, wide color, Tap to wake, and Haptic Touch. Spatial audio, with immersive theater-like experience. Dolby Atmos. A 12MP TrueDepth front camera has wider sensor with 4k video on front camera is on board. A dual camera system with 12MP wide camera. 12MP Ultra Wide Camera with 120-degree field of view. Updated image pipeline. Added semantic rendering, to help people look even better. Next-gen smart HDR. Multi-scale tone mapping to treat highlights different in different parts of the image. There’s new portrait mode and night mode on board too. Video can switch between the lenses in 4K 60 FPS. And QuickTake is back! Simply tap and hold the shutter button when taking a picture to take a video. Oh yeah, there’s a A13 Bionic processor running the show which Apple says is the fastest GPU and CPU in a smart phone ever. It also has 1 hour more battery life than the iPhone XR. Apple must have figured out that price that they were asking for the previous XR was too expensive. Thus the price now starts at $699 USD.
  • Next up was the Phone 11 Pro and Pro Max. For the record, I hate that Pro Max name. It comes with surgical grade stainless steel. The back is a single piece of machined glass. It has a matte textured finish. It comes in Midnight Green, Space Grey, Silver, Gold. It still comes with a 1200 nit OLED display (5.8″ and 6.5″) that is claimed to be 15% more energy efficient. It only has haptic touch though. You get HDR10, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos. All that is now called the Super Retina XDR display. You get the A13 Bionic processor too. iPhone 11 Pro lasts 4 hours longer than iPhone Xs. And Apple joins the 21st century by including an fast charge 18-watt adapter in the box. It has three cameras. A 12MP wide camera with f/1.9 aperture. 12MP with f/2.0 aperture. Ultra wide f/2.4 and 120 field of view. It also shoots video at 4k60fps XDR video. WiFi 6 is on board as well. Face ID is faster and works from more angles. iPhone 11 Pro starts at $999 USD. iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at $1099 USD. Pre orders start Friday at 5AM PDT / 8AM EDT and shipping starts September 20. Sticking around are the iPhone XR at $599 USD and iPhone 8 at $449 USD. There are new cases as well.
  • Apple Retail was next. You can now pair any Apple Watch with any band in store or online. Apple now offers low monthly payments and trade in options. Oh, and if you are in NYC, the 5th Avenue store will reopen on September 20th.

That’s it. That was quite a bit. But not quite what I was expecting given the scale of the rumors that were floating around such as a Tile like device or sleep tracking. I’ll be checking to see if anything else appears so stay tuned to this page for updates.


UPDATE #2: MacRumors is reporting that watchOS 6 will be out for Series 3 and 4 Apple Watches on September 19. Other Apple Watches will get it later this fall. Whatever that means. MacRumors is also reporting that macOS Catalina will be out in October. Whatever that means.

UPDATE #3: 9to5mac has specs on the new Apple Watches. It’s intresting reading. Specifically this part:

While it wasn’t mentioned in the keynote, the new Apple Watch Series 5 indeed runs on a new Apple S5 chip inside: 64-bit dual-core S5 processor, up to 2x faster than S3 processor (includes W3 wireless chip)

That seems a bit odd. Last year the Series 4 promised that it was the S4 chip was 2x faster as per this cached webpage. Here are screenshots as proof of this:




Does that mean that the Series 5 is not any faster than the Series 4? I’d love for someone to serve up that answer. Because if it’s not any faster, and with no groundbreaking feature like ECG was last year, I’m not feeling a reason to upgrade from my Series 4.

But I’ve also noted something else. If you go to this page on and scroll to the bottom, you’ll see this:


Apple does not appear to be selling the Series 4 anymore. That’s weird. I’d say get one while you can and hopefully it will be discounted.

UPDATE #4: I found something else. Apple made a big deal about the LPTO display in the Apple Watch Series 5 that allows the display to be always on. The thing is that I found this in this cached webpage for the Series 4:


It too has an LPTO display. So… Unless this is a new version of this display, it kind of implies that Apple could have made the Series 4 to be always on. I guess we’ll have to wait until someone like iFixit does a teardown to discover if this is the same display or not. If it is, expect the class action lawsuit from ticked off Series 4 owners to be inbound.

Greater Toronto Area Commuters Fume Online As Presto Card System Exhibits It’s Latest #Fail Moment

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 10, 2019 by itnerd


Once upon a time, those living in the Greater Toronto Area were promised a new and easy way to take transit in the area. That was called the Presto Card. Similar to London’s Oyster card, it promised the ability to tap on and ride transit as well as manage and track what you spend on transit. However the rollout of the Presto Card system for those living in the Greater Toronto Area has been painful to say the least as problem after problem has cropped up. Anyone that I speak to doesn’t like Presto and those negative feelings towards the Presto card are likely to continue with the latest issue with the card. Apparently since the end of August, the transaction history and remaining balance on the card hasn’t been updating for Presto Card users. Something that I’ve been able to reproduce. This is a screenshot from my Presto Card app on my iPhone XS:


The card is my wife’s card and she uses it every single day. Yet there’s no updates on her travel activity since the end of August. This is the same when you check the Presto Card website. For example, when I try to list the activity history for September, this is what I get:


Clearly there is something wrong on the Presto end of the fence. But in the interest of trying to make sure that it wasn’t me, I uninstalled and reinstalled the app and it didn’t change anything. On top of that I cleared the cache of my browser and tried a different browser when using the Presto website and that did not change anything either. Thus proving that Presto has an issue. This morning, I reported this to Presto via Twitter:

Out of interest, I took a look around Twitter and it seems that I am not alone:

And from what I can tell, all the responses from Presto are less than helpful. Which means that negative feelings towards Presto will continue. If I were Presto, I’d admit to the fact that there is some sort of wide spread issue going on, I would apologize for said wide spread issue, then I would say when it is going to get fixed and make sure that they hit that target. And since this is the latest issue with the rollout of this fare payment system, Presto really needs to answer some tough questions about how they intend to reassure users of the Presto card system that they can get this back on track and that they can rely on this system. Because until they do that, people will continue to complain, negative press like this will be generated, and people will be less likely to take transit as they will have to deal with a fare payment system that clearly is sub optimal.

UPDATE: This appears to be resolved as of 9/11/2019.

UPDATE #2: The next day this issue resurfaced. Clearly Presto can’t get their act together.