Archive for October, 2019

TekSavvy Cleans Up On The Awards Front

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 31, 2019 by itnerd

TekSavvy announced today that it has been named as the winner in the category for Internet Service Provider in four readers’ choice awards:

  • Niagara Falls Review – Readers’ Choice GOLD Award winner
  • NOW Magazine’s Best of Toronto 2019 (8thyear in a row)
  • Catharines Standard – Readers’ Choice Platinum Award winner
  • Welland Tribune – Readers’ Choice Platinum Award winner

TekSavvy has been proudly serving 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.

Twitter’s Ban On Political Ads Has Just Put Facebook Into A Bad Position

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 31, 2019 by itnerd


Yesterday, via a Tweet, the CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey said this:

If you click on the Tweet above, which I encourage you to do, you will see a long thread spelling out the reasons why Twitter is banning political ads. But in short, he explained that the company felt that the spread of opinion should be earned, not bought. And with both the UK and USA preparing for elections, I am certain the timing is no accident. Neither is the fact that the full rules are yet to be finalized but will be made available on or before November 15th. The new policy goes into effect on November 22nd. Which is right before the UK elections in December. And long before the US elections a year from now.

Now this move is guaranteed to do two things. First it is sure to take Twitter off the radar screens of many governments and politicians worldwide because it’s done something to address the issue of political ads and the damage they can do. But it also now puts the spotlight onto Facebook who makes tons of cash from political advertising and has proven that they don’t manage political ads very well. Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook are sure to feel the heat from all sides who will see them as being bad actors when it comes to this issue as they are refusing to do anything because Facebook sees this as a free speech issue. The problem is that whether this is a free speech issue or not, the perception that already exists is that Facebook is on the wrong side of this issue and the decision taken by Twitter is only going to solidify that perception. Which means that Facebook now has a choice. They can continue down the road of the status quo which is going to make this an a continuing issue for them and embolden the #DeleteFacebook crowd. Or they can copy Twitter and ban political ads which would be certain to upset some people. An example of this can be found here as the Trump campaign has reacted negatively to the Twitter political ad ban. Whichever way they choose to go, one thing is certain. Twitter’s decision to ban political ads is going to make life very, very bad for Facebook.


Guest Post: NordVPN Comments On The Five Measures They Are Taking To Enhance Their Security

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

In the aftermath of a security incident involving NordVPN and a third-party data center, the company is taking action to enhance its security. One of the first moves is a long-term strategic partnership with VerSprite — one of the leading cybersecurity consulting firms.

The partnership will include threat and vulnerability management, penetration testing, compliance management and assessment services. VerSprite will also help to form an independent cybersecurity advisory committee, which will consist of selected experts and oversee NordVPN’s security practices.

“We are planning to use not only our own knowledge, but to also take advice from the best cybersecurity experts and implement the best cybersecurity practices there are,” says Laura Tyrell, Head of Public Relations at NordVPN. “And this is the first of many steps we are going to take in order to bring the security of our service to a whole new level.”

According to NordVPN, they are ready to take action in five different fields to become more secure than ever. Here’s the list of the planned measures:

1. Partnership with the top cybersecurity consulting firm VerSprite. Penetration testers are a key part of NordVPN’s security efforts. Their job is to prod the infrastructure for weaknesses and mitigate the vulnerabilities. That’s why NordVPN is engaging in a long-term strategic partnership with VerSprite, a leading cybersecurity consulting firm.

VerSprite will work with NordVPN’s in-house team of penetration testers to challenge the infrastructure and ensure the security of customers. The main tasks covered in the new agreement include comprehensive penetration testing, intrusion handling, and source code analysis. VerSprite will also help to form an independent cybersecurity advisory committee.

2. Bug bounty program. Over the next few weeks, NordVPN is going to introduce a bug bounty program. Bug bounties reward cybersecurity experts for catching potential vulnerabilities and reporting to the developers so they can fix them. Bounty hunters will get a well-earned payout, and NordVPN users will get a service they know is scoured for bugs by thousands of people every day to make it as secure as possible.

3. Infrastructure security audit. NordVPN is planning to complete a full-scale third-party independent security audit in 2020. The audit will cover the infrastructure hardware, VPN software, backend architecture, backend source code, and internal procedures. The chosen vendor for the security audit will be announced in the future.

4. Vendor security assessment and higher security standards. NordVPN is planning to build a network of collocated servers. While still located in a data center, collocated servers are wholly owned exclusively by NordVPN. NordVPN is currently finishing its infrastructure review so that they can eliminate any exploitable vulnerabilities left by third-party server providers. NordVPN is committed to ensuring that their exclusively owned data centers maintain the highest security standards.

5. Diskless servers. NordVPN is planning to upgrade their entire infrastructure (currently featuring over 5100 servers) to RAM servers. This will allow to create a centrally controlled network where nothing is stored locally — not even an operating system. Everything the servers need to run will be provided by NordVPN’s secure central infrastructure. If anyone seizes one of these servers, they’ll find an empty piece of hardware with no data or configuration files on it.

“The changes we’ve outlined will make you significantly safer every time you use our service. Every part of NordVPN will become faster, stronger, and more secure – from our infrastructure and code to our teams and our partners,” says Laura Tyrell. “That’s our promise – we owe it to you.”

What happened last week

Last week, it was announced that 1 of more than 5000 NordVPN’s servers was accessed by an unauthorized third party. The hacker managed to access this single server located in Finland because of mistakes made by the data center owner, of which NordVPN was not aware.

However, NordVPN is sure that no customer data was affected or accessed by the malicious actor, as the server did not contain any user activity logs, usernames, or passwords. NordVPN’s service as a whole was not hacked, the code was not hacked, the VPN tunnel was not breached, and the NordVPN apps stayed unaffected.



Mujjo Adds Two New Touchscreen Gloves To Their Lineup

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

With winter just around the corner – Mujjo is about to introduce 2 new touchscreen gloves to their line-up.

Insulated Touchscreen Gloves
Last year, Mujjo released a bestseller. This year, listening to their customers, they’ve greatly improved insulation by adding an extra layer of Polar fleece making them extra warm and comfortable. Plus, the new thumb construction makes them fully responsive and optimized for larger screens.

Double-Insulated Touchscreen Gloves
As if that’s not enough, they’re also expanding the line-up with a completely re-engineered version able to withstand much colder temperatures.

Here’s how.. First off, the outer shell has been upgraded to a wind-resistant, heavier Micro Pique. Then, two extra layers of insulation were added to create a unique triple-layered construction.

To put it simply… Better insulation, better touch capabilities, and still looking cool as hell.


Find more info here.

Hisense Announces Quantum Dot TVs

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

With colours as vibrant as you would see in nature, the darkest blacks and brightest whites, Quantum Dot technology is providing an unparalleled TV viewing experience.

Quantum Dots are semiconductor nanocrystals that produce pure red, green and blue lights, supporting a TV display that is brighter, with sharper contrasts and more than a billion colours. Whether watching a movie, sports or your favourite sitcom or playing video games, doing so on a Quantum Dot TV will take you to new levels.

A Quantum Dot display is as much as 100 times brighter than a classic cathode ray tube or even liquid crystals. Quantum Dot LEDs have reached in excess of 9,000 candelas per square metre; by way of comparison, an LCD computer monitor is about 500 candelas per square metre.

The result is a bright, crisp picture that can keep up with the action on the screen.

Hisense currently offers Quantum Dot technology in two of its TV families

  • Q8 Series — The Q8 — available in 55-inch and 65-inch screens — is a 4K ULED set equipped with Android TV. Local dimming makes it easy to watch from almost any angle, and the colour, contrast and brightness is supported by Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range. It also has Motion Rate technology to minimize lag during fast-moving sequences — perfect for taking in a high-speed chase or action on the ice. The result is a brilliant picture with oceans that sparkle bluer, fiery reds burning hotter and grass that is always greener. The Android TV has Google Assistant built in, allowing seamless networking with your Google Home and voice-activated commands, It also means access to more than 500,000 movies and TV shows through streaming services like Netflix, Google Play, YouTube and Amazon Prime. The Q8 is now available at, Best, and other retailers across Canada.
  • Q9 Series — The superior picture quality and speed of the Q9 makes it an ideal TV for gamers. Similar to the Q8, it boasts more than a billion colours to maximize colour accuracy. It has 132 local dimming zones , Motion Rate technology and 1,000 nits peak brightness, so the picture looks great in a light or dark room. Connect to Google Home or Alexa and stream content in excess of a half-million shows and movies — using voice-activated controls. The Q9 is available at Visions Electronics and in Quebec at Brault & Martineau.

For more information, please visit

Dell Announces Latitude 7220 Rugged Extreme

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

Dell has announced the Latitude 7220 Rugged Extreme tablet, built to meet the demands of workers in harsh environments; from the factory floor to ambulances, desert sandstorms to Arctic conditions.

The lightest and most powerful rugged 12” tablet on the market today is designed to provide the mobility and connectivity to help field users stay productive; its durability offering peace of mind for those in some of the dirtiest, wettest, most challenging and most critical workplaces. Updated features include an enhanced 1000 NIT FHD display with anti-glare coatings, allowing customers to access and showcase their work even when out in direct sunlight. The screen is also glove responsive and multi-touch capable.

Secure and reliable communication is a priority for first responders, public safety organizations and service utilities’ organizations that need to operate when everything else is down. That’s why the Latitude 7220 Rugged Extreme was designed to offer a broad range of connectivity options, including access to FirstNet.

FirstNet – built with AT&T in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority – is designed for first responders and those critical to their emergency response. The FirstNet Ready Latitude 7220 Rugged Extreme supports access to the physically separate and dedicated FirstNet network core, FirstNet First Priority® – which includes always-on priority and preemption for first responders – and the FirstNet Band 14 spectrum.

With the Latitude 7220 Rugged Extreme and FirstNet services, first responders can connect to the critical information they need every day and in every emergency. This connectivity, combined with the built-in camera, means that first responders can make video calls and stream data from the field.

The Latitude 7220 Rugged Extreme offers performance and connectivity for ultimate field productivity:

  • High-performance processing power for the most in-demand field applications – The tablet can be configured to individual user needs, with options including the latest 8th Generation Intel Core Processors boasting up to 2TB of high performance and reliable PCIe solid state drives.
  • Reliability and safety in extreme environments – The tablet has passed MIL-STD-810G/H testing and is also IP-65 rated for protection against dust, dirt, and water ingress, along with hazardous location Class 1 Div 2 certifications. Drop tested from 4 ft and tested to withstand -20 to 145 Fahrenheit temperatures, the tablet is built to support you whatever the environment.
  • Uninterrupted power – Optional dual hot-swappable battery-architecture and on-the-go charging ecosystem for uninterrupted operation.
  • Optimal Screen Interactivity – Anti-glare treatments on the 1000 NIT FHD displays provides excellent readability in all conditions. The new Rugged Active Pen and glove-capable multi-touch functionality enables a reliable pen and touch experience.
  • Mission-critical connectivity – 802.11ax Wifi, global 4G/LTE broadband and assignable RF pass-through options for WWAN, WLAN and GPS mean users can easily stay connected wherever they are.
  • Integrated security features – A built-in infrared camera with Windows Hello facial recognition allows users to log in into their devices securely and easily. Optional next-generation fingerprint, contactless and contacted smartcard readers benefit those needing to balance the security of their data with user accessibility.
  • Easy integration – IT managers will appreciate the ease of deployment – the Latitude 7220 Rugged Extreme tablet is compatible with most existing Latitude Rugged Extreme tablet vehicle and desk docks and previous generation accessories.
  • Support services designed to make unplanned downtime a thing of the past – Dell Pro Support Plus service options include 24/7 access to the most experienced Dell technicians and same or next business day onsite repair after remote diagnosis.

Availability and Pricing

The new Latitude 7220 Rugged Extreme tablet will be available for sale on October 29, 2019, starting at $1,899 USD.

To see how Dell tests its Rugged devices, watch this video and learn more about Dell’s Rugged solutions at

Infographic: Small Businesses Are Moving To The Cloud

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

Cloud technologies dominate the IT priorities of Canadian small businesses, according to a new survey from CDW Canada, a leading provider of technology solutions and services for Canadian organizations.

The majority of small businesses surveyed (62 per cent) identified cloud as the most impactful emerging technology to their business, compared to others such as Internet of Things (18 per cent) and artificial intelligence (12 per cent). Canadian small businesses also indicated they were already investing in the cloud, with 74 per cent currently hosting servers or applications in the cloud.

Nearly half of Canadian small businesses surveyed (49 per cent) were hosting between zero and 24 per cent of their infrastructure in the cloud, while only six per cent indicated they were completely hosted in the cloud.

Finding the right solution still a challenge

Canadian small businesses cited finding solutions that fit the needs of their business (36 per cent) and the cost of solutions and equipment (33 per cent) as their biggest IT challenges. Cost was also one of the primary factors in how they evaluate technology purchases (67 per cent), but equally important was value (67 per cent) and the overall solution itself (52 per cent).

Small businesses are largely still on premises

As organizations continue their adoption of cloud, the trend toward remote work is slowly taking shape – but a majority of Canadian small businesses still only allow a small number of employees to do so. Sixty-eight per cent of respondents say that 0 to 24 per cent of their workers work remotely, while only 10 per cent of small businesses indicated 75 per cent or more of their employees were currently working remotely.

Other key findings from CDW’s Small Business Survey include:

  • Despite having a wide variety of devices for employees to work with, 76 per cent of workers are currently only using between one and two devices.
  • Small businesses may not be seeing the impact of certain emerging technologies as they ranked big data (four per cent), blockchain (three per cent), and 3D printing (two per cent) well below others such as cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and AI as technologies they expect will have the most impact on their business.
  • Less than 10 per cent of respondents cited a decline in their IT budgets, demonstrating the continued importance of technology in driving business growth.
CDW Canada conducted its survey of small businesses in Canada between August and September 2019.
CDW Small_Business_Month_Infographic FINAL.jpg


Is iOS 13 The Buggiest Version Of iOS Ever?

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

iOS 13 since it was released on September 19th has seen a rapid rate of updates to it. More than I have ever seen for an Apple OS in the 30 or so years that I have been following Apple. I illustrated this via a Tweet last night:

This Tweet got 21 likes as I type this. But it also got this reply:

And this reply:

So, that made me ask if iOS 13 was the buggiest iOS release ever. Well, I can say that iOS 13 did not get off to the best start. It shipped the day before the new iPhones came out (more on that in a moment) and it was insanely buggy and bordering on unusable. It was the source of a lot of anger online towards Apple as a result. Promised features were pulled shortly before the release. And in an unexpected move, iOS 13.1 went into beta BEFORE iOS 13 was even out to the public. That was the big hint that iOS 13 was a train wreck next to a dumpster fire. To top it all off, Apple moved the release of iOS 13.1 up by a week. I’m assuming that they did that because of how bad iOS 13 was.

So from what I just wrote above, you can surmise that iOS 13 was rushed out the door so that Apple could ship the new iPhones. I admit that’s a cynical view of things. But there’s no other logical explanation as to why Apple would ship something that bad out the door, then quickly shipped an update less than a week later. If you accept that Apple is likely still smarting from the drop in iPhone sales over the last year, this then seems very plausible. In other words, Apple clearly made a decision that shipping new iPhones was more important than shipping a mobile operating system that worked.

Now iOS 13.1 was actually usable unlike what Apple released the week before. But it was still buggy. In my case, I noted bugs in Mail and Apple CarPlay. But there were many other bugs that users saw. Many, many other bugs. But since iOS 13.1 appeared, Apple has been releasing updates at a rapid rate. You can see from my Tweet above how quickly they have been releasing updates as some of them only days apart. And things have improved at a marginal rate. This continued all the way up to yesterday’s release of iOS 13.2 which had a ton of bug fixes in it that Apple actually admitted to. And so far in the less than 24 hours that I have had it on my iPhone, it’s the best iOS 13 release yet. Though the bar was pretty low on that front.

So I guess you could make an argument that based on the above that iOS 13 is really really buggy. And you might be right. But I do not know if you could objectively say that it is the buggiest iOS release ever as nobody outside Apple would have the data required to confirm or deny that. Now to Apple’s credit, they are fixing bugs as fast as they can. And that’s a bit of a departure for Apple as this company has been known to do the exact opposite. But having said that, Apple should never have been in the position to be throwing updates out to the public as fast has they have been. Especially seeing as this is a company that is supposedly known for having the best user experience when it comes to their products. Clearly they are still dealing with the issues that I’ve raised in the past. If they were smart, they’d take my advice as to how to fix that as the current state of play is not good to say the least.

Speaking of the current state of play, I also posted this last night:

Anyone want to place a bet on whether that happens?

Schneider Electric’s Wiser Energy An Effective Way To Monitor Seasonal Electricity Use

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

Seasonal changes mean colder temperatures, longer nights and less time spent outdoors. As the weather turns, Canadians spend more time inside, using electricity to cook, cozy up on the couch for movie nights and entertain friends and family.

To help manage electricity use, Schneider Electric has created Wiser Energy, an integrated monitoring system for residential homes. The internet-connected device tracks and monitors energy activity and use to provide real-time, easy-to-understand data so homeowners can make their homes greener and more efficient—all through a convenient mobile-app.

As the seasons change, Wiser Energy can help Canadians:

  • Identify extra electricity consumption from having the oven and stove on more often while cooking and entertaining friends and family.
  • Understand how much electricity is being used from having an electric fireplace or space heater to warm up a room.
  • Leave for that fancy holiday party with peace of mind they remembered to turn off the hair straightener or clothing iron.

Wiser Energy easily connects to a residential electrical panel and Wi-Fi network. Over time, the system learns about a home to identify appliances and energy use patterns. Wiser Energy can help homeowners determine how they can change their habits to use energy smarter.

Product benefits include:

  • Peace of mind: Canadians can keep tabs on home activity from anywhere with an easy to use mobile app, so they can know when the garage door is opened, when the clothes are dry, or whether the sump pump is running.
  • Instant Alert Notification: Homeowners can be notified with instant, customizable alerts for appliances, so there’s no worrying whether the oven was left on or the curling iron was left plugged in.
  • Save Money: Reduce electricity bills with live energy tracking and detailed views by appliance, leading to lower energy consumption.

Wiser Energy is powered by the Sense app, whose intelligent home energy technology interprets the power usage and activity of devices in the home. Wiser Energy is available online through Home Depot.

For more information, visit:

BREAKING: Ontario Science Center Has Had A Data Breach

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

Thanks to tip from a reader of this blog, it has come to my attention that the Ontario Science Center has apparently had a data breach according to this. What is weird about that statement is that it isn’t posted to the Ontario Science Center website. The reader in question got it in an email. Thus I suspect that the broader public doesn’t know as a quick browse of their website indicates that they haven’t posted anything in the public realm about this.

Anyway, here’s the key details:

On August 16, 2019, the Ontario Science Centre received notification from Campaigner that someone made a copy of the Science Centre’s subscriber emails and names without authorization. No other personal identification, financial information or passwords were accessed.

An investigation conducted by Campaigner revealed that the credentials of a former employee were used from July 23 to August 7 to access and download the information contained in the Science Centre’s client account. Upon learning of the breach, Campaigner immediately discontinued use of the credentials and implemented further measures to prevent a similar issue happening in the future. Campaigner also notified law enforcement and are assisting the authorities in finding the perpetrator.

So what that says right off the top is that the Ontario Science Center would have had no clue about this had Campaigner not pointed it out. That’s not how things should work kids. In any case, the statement has all the usual things that companies say when they’ve been pwned in some way. Including the fact that the  Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has been contacted.

Yes, I am becoming a bit jaded because this sort of thing happens way too often.

It will be interesting to see if the Ontario Science Center will make a public disclosure beyond what they have already done. I’m keeping an eye out to see what happens next.

UPDATE: CBC News is now reporting on this. I don’t see any other media reports thus far.