Archive for January 2, 2020

Dell Announces A Dozen New Monitors At CES

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 2, 2020 by itnerd

Today at CES 2020, Dell is excited to introduce a dozen new monitors that deliver on their industry-leading reputation of being the world’s number one monitor company for 6 years running. They’re rolling out higher-resolution displays on larger sized screens, wide color coverage and better connectivity optimized for an excellent user experience – from the essential 19” to large-format 86”. And with 96% of employers sharing the belief that monitors are the number one driver for employee productivity. Here are the new displays they are introducing at CES today:

  • Dell 86 4K Interactive Touch Monitor (C8621QT) – In today’s fast-paced workplaces, collaboration is paramount and central to the culture and workflow. Dell has innovated for this collaborative environment an impressive 85.6-inch interactive touch display, digitizing yesterday’s whiteboards. The Dell 86 4K Interactive Touch Monitor is designed to connect users and increase collaboration in real-time, featuring 4K UHD resolution, 20-point multi-touch, USB-C connectivity, and Dell’s exclusive Screen Drop Feature which helps improve accessibility and reachability for users of different heights. The Dell 86 4K Interactive Touch Monitor (C8621QT) will be available worldwide on April 10, 2020. Starting price to be shared near availability date.
  • Dell UltraSharp 43 4K USB-C Monitor (U4320Q) – Workers can maximize productivity with the power to connect up to four PCs and view the content from each computer simultaneously– ideal for professionals in finance and engineering requiring multi-monitors with high resolution for details. The world’s first height-adjustable 42.5-inch 4K monitor also features USB-C connectivity that delivers up to 90W power. Better resolution and more immersive monitors are said to increase overall productivity while reduced clutter and better connectivity drives a better employee experience. The Dell UltraSharp 43 4K USB-C Monitor (U4320Q) will be available worldwide on January 30, 2020 starting at $1,049.99 USD
  • Dell UltraSharp 27 4K USB-C Monitor (U2720Q) – We know better than anyone that creators need technology that can produce rich, accurate color. In fact, 67% of employers consider wide color coverage, accuracy and calibration to be high priorities in their consideration of monitor investments. With wide color coverage including 95% DCI-P3, users can experience true color reproduction on this 4K UHD resolution monitor with VESA DisplayHDR 400, making it the perfect choice for users who value content displayed in accurate color and striking clarity. With a small, compact base and virtually borderless InfinityEdge, this monitor offers an almost uninterrupted view in a multiple screen setup for added productivity. Also available in 25-inch with QHD resolution – Dell UltraSharp 25 USB-C Monitor (U2520Q). The Dell UltraSharp 27 4K USB-C Monitor (U2720Q) and Dell UltraSharp 25 USB-C Monitor (U2520D) will be available worldwide January 30, 2020 starting at $709.99 USD (U2720Q) and $479.99 USD (U2520Q).
  • P series & E series Monitors (P2421D/DC, P2720D/DC, E19/20/2220 H & E24/2720H/HS) – We are reimagining affordable, everyday monitors with the refresh of our P series and E series monitors. Screen sizes vary from 19” to 27” to meet the needs of all users in the workplace. P series Monitors offer improved resolution (from FHD to QHD), seamless connectivity with USB-C and new multitasking features. E Series Monitors offer integrated speakers as well as height adjustability to help with improved ergonomics designed for better productivity. A recent study found that 92% of employees believed that ergonomically optimized monitors help improve their well-being and overall performance. Dell 27 Monitor (P2720D) and Dell 27 USB-C Monitor (P2720DC) are both available now at $449.99 and $479.99 USD respectively. Dell 24 Monitor (P2421D) and Dell 24 USB-C Monitor (P2421DC) will be available worldwide on February 27, 2020. Starting prices to be shared near availability date. The Dell E-series Monitors will be available worldwide on Jan.8, 2020 starting at $109.99 USD (E1920H), $119.99 USD (E2020H), $139.99 USD (E2220H), $169.99 USD (E2420H), $209.99 USD (E2420HS), $249.99 USD (E2720H) and $289.99 USD (E2720HS).

All the new monitors also include improved multitasking features enabled by the updated Dell Display Manager — featuring remote management and quick access keys, along with more preset layouts to make the viewing experience customizable for each user.

It’s 2020 And Adobe Flash Is About To Die…. So Why Does Rogers Ignite TV Still Support Flash?

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 2, 2020 by itnerd

Adobe Flash is horrifically insecure, so much so that Adobe is killing Flash this year as they can’t seem to fix the security issues that Flash has. That begs this question. Why is it that Rogers Ignite TV still supports Adobe Flash? Don’t believe me?  Check the screen shot below which came from this page on the Rogers website:

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While I will concede that this page was last updated in August of 2019, it doesn’t even remotely make sense why Rogers Ignite TV still supports a plug in that quite literally nobody on the planet should be running because it is not only insecure, but nobody has any practical need for it as most online properties have transitioned away from Adobe Flash ages ago. Example, Google Chrome which has a sandboxed version of Flash which makes it marginally safer to use as it is off by default and (hopefully) doesn’t have access to your PC or Mac as whole has been prompting for a while now that its support for Flash will die in 2020. Why does that matter? Because without a browser that has a copy of the Flash plug-in installed, Ignite TV’s watch anywhere functionality won’t work.

Since I cannot be the only one that thought this, I trolled Twitter to find out if this question has been asked of Rogers, this is the best that I could come up with:

You’ll note that the Rogers Helps Twitter account completely dodged the question about not using Flash in the first place as Ignite TV is a very new service. Though I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that Rogers Ignite was bought from Comcast and Rogers took it from Comcast as is. But they do say that they will have “a new feature to replace Flash that will support Ignite TV in online browsers” and they will share more details soon. But here’s the problem that they face:

  • Microsoft says it plans to disable Flash by default in Edge and Internet Explorer in mid to late 2019, with a full removal from all supported versions of Windows by 2020.
  • Google will remove flash “toward the end of 2020”
  • Mozilla says Firefox users need to choose which websites are able to run Flash (or not run Flash). Only users running the ESR version of Firefox will be able to run Flash up until the end of 2020. Those uses are usually corporate users and not consumers users.
  • Apple is also supportive of the 2020 end of life for Flash, and Safari currently requires explicit approval on each website even when Mac users opt to install Flash.

And in the case of everything that I linked to above, all of the above has been floating around since at least the latter half of 2017. Which means that this is something that Rogers should have been planning for ages ago.

The fact is that Rogers doesn’t have a whole lot of time to introduce their “new feature to replace Flash that will support Ignite TV in online browsers”. Meaning that as browsers stop supporting Adobe Flash this year, angry Ignite TV users who watch TV in a browser using Flash may bombard Rogers with questions about what they will to to fix that situation when their browser of choice no longer works with Ignite TV. And when they find out that there was a significant lead time for Rogers to transition to something else, Rogers may find those customer’s patience with Rogers may be very, very thin. Thus this will be a story to watch in 2020 as Rogers will have to navigate this situation in a way that doesn’t cause this to become a train wreck next to a dumpster fire.

If they can.

How To Check If The New Car That You Want Has Apple CarPlay AND Android Auto Included

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 2, 2020 by itnerd

I had a client of mine tell me a story about their hunt for a new car. In short, they went to the dealer, got the specs, test drove the car, and liked it. Then they asked if it came with Apple CarPlay. The dealer said no. They then got up and walked out of the dealership. In their case, Apple CarPlay was a critical item for them. Thus if a car didn’t have it, they weren’t interested in that car. Then they had a question for me, how can they tell up front what cars come with Apple CarPlay.

Now their reaction isn’t unique. Having Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto is a major selling point for car buyers. And any car company that doesn’t have one, the other, or both may lose a sale. Fortunately for car buyers, this is easy to research before you go to the dealership. Both Apple and Google maintain compatibility lists which you can see via the links below:

Now if I were you, I would be looking to have both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in your next new vehicle. Here’s why. At some point down the road (excuse the pun) you may want to go from Team Android to Team iPhone or vice versa for your next new smartphone. Thus a car that supports both is one that will cause you way less frustration as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are far easier to use than most if not all car makers built in systems. Thus checking to see if the car that you’re interested in has both is a worthwhile investment in your time as there are car companies that only support one of these systems. Porsche for example only supports Apple CarPlay for reasons that you can read about here. No Lexus vehicle that I am aware of supports Android Auto, and only some 2019 model year vehicles support Apple CarPlay. My last example comes from sister brand Toyota. A small number of 2019 model year vehicles and a larger number of model year 2020 vehicles support CarPlay. But only a small number of 2020 Toyota vehicles support Android Auto. Thus you need to do your homework before going to the dealer.

Finally, one last piece of advice that I would have is once you choose your vehicle, which is to make sure the dealer sets up your phone and walks you through how everything works. This is something that I strongly feel that this should be a given when you buy a car these days. But I hate to say that it isn’t. In many cases they do nothing other than pair your phone via Bluetooth and that’s it. So if that happens to you, you do have another option. Both Apple and Google have tutorials that can get you started with either of their systems. I’d peruse those to help you use both these systems in your shiny new car.

Sonos Creates Problems That It Didn’t Need With Its New “Trade Up” Program

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 2, 2020 by itnerd

Happy new year! Here’s the first controversy of the year for your reading pleasure.

Sonos has a new “Trade Up Program” that if you take advantage of it, nets existing customers a 30% discount off a new devices. That sounds great…. But here’s where the problems start. To get this discount, you have put your existing Sonos speaker in what Sonos calls “Recycle Mode”. That starts a 21 day countdown that at the end of the 21 days, your existing Sonos device gets “bricked”. And by “bricked” I mean it no longer works. Forever. You can then take it to your local eWaste recycling center or send it back to them.

So let’s recap:

  1. You want a new Sonos speaker and you want to take advantage of their 30% discount for existing customers.
  2. You have to agree to “brick” a perfectly working speaker to get said 30% discount.

Perhaps I am missing something but how does that begin to make sense?

Sonos is effectively asking their customers to create eWaste by “bricking” their speakers which are working just fine so that they can get a deal on a new one at a discount. And while Sonos tries to spin this as a “simple, sustainable way for you to recycle your used devices and upgrade to a better listening experience”, it is anything but. 

The thing is that quality audio gear, and I would put Sonos under the category of quality audio gear, lasts a very long time. Thus they could easily be resold to someone and not create the eWaste that Sonos wants you to create just to get a deal. Thus if it was me who wanted to upgrade their audio game, I would follow these instructions to reset the speaker back to factory defaults, and then offer it up for sale on Craigslist. That makes way more sense. Then with the cash that I just got from responsibly selling a perfectly working speaker, I would have to think long and hard if I wanted another Sonos speaker given this rather ill advised scheme. Maybe I would buy another Sonos product, maybe I would look at something else. The fact is that the company has now given one reason to consider other options.