Archive for October, 2020

Review: iPhone 12 Pro

Posted in Products with tags on October 30, 2020 by itnerd

Grab some snacks and a drink. This will be a long review.

I’ve got the new iPhone 12 Pro. Graphite to be precise. It’s replacing my iPhone XS. This is the first major redesign since the iPhone X, and I am not just talking about the physical design. All the iPhone 12 models have 5G and a lot of new camera hardware. Not to mention they are all OLED screens across the board capable of HDR playback. And there’s the A14 processor that is supposed to crush anything in the Android space. That’s a lot of change. Let’s dive in. Starting with the unboxing. Here’s what you get inside the box once you remove the phone:

You get a USB-C to Lightning cable, SIM ejector tool, paperwork, and a single Apple Sticker down from two Apple stickers that were in the box last year. There’s no AC adapter in the box. And if you don’t have one that is USB-C lying around, you’re shelling out $25 CDN for one from Apple. Apple says that they are trying to protect the environment by doing this. But I call BS on that because unlike the Apple Watch Series 6 which comes with a USB-A cable which enables you to recycle any Apple power adapter that you have lying around, you can’t do that with the iPhone 12 Pro without springing for a USB-C power adapter. To me this is a bit of a cash grab. Which isn’t cool given how much this phone costs.The net result is that this move is guaranteed to get some people upset. Specifically new users and those who think that spending four digits on a phone should get you a power adapter in the box.

Oh by the way, Apple is also not including the wired ear phones this time around. They sounded horrible so there’s no great loss there. Which likely explains why nobody seems to care about that. Though the cynic in me says that this was a move to make people more likely to buy AirPods.

Having said all of that, the box that the iPhone 12 Pro comes in is way thinner:

The black box is the iPhone 12 Pro. The white box is the iPhone XS. I guess you can ship way more iPhones in a plane since they each take up way less real estate. That is good for the environment.

Now onto the phone itself:

The design reminds me of the iPhone 4 & 5 which as far as I was concerned were the best looking iPhones ever due to the flat sides. But unlike those iPhones, the display is flush with the rest of the iPhone. And it’s comfortable to hold without a case. The sides are made of surgical grade stainless steel, and they are a major fingerprint magnet. The back is matte glass, and is not a fingerprint magnet. If fingerprints bother you, I’d advise getting a case. This is the graphite color which is apparently the new space grey. I chose it to match my space grey Apple Watch. They do have a four color choices in case graphite doesn’t do it for you.

As for the screen, it’s an OLED screen capable of HDR playback. To me, it seems a bit warmer than my iPhone XS, somewhat brighter, and the bezels are thinner than before. It’s a 6.1″ screen but it doesn’t really take up that more real estate than the XS which I appreciate. Apple has a new feature called the “ceramic shield” that makes the display 4x more shatter resistant. Should you believe that? Well, EveryingApplePro and MobileReviewsEh tested these screens in different ways and found them to be more durable than they expected. But if I were you, I’d put a tempered screen protector on it to be safe. Because even if it is more shatter resistant, it’s not going to be scratch resistant just like the iPhone 11 wasn’t all that scratch resistant. That’s because scratch resistance is inversely proportional to shatter resistance 100% of the time. Or put another way, if you want shatter resistance, you can’t have scratch resistance. And early reports from iPhone 12/ 12 Pro owners who didn’t use screen protectors along with a test from JerryRigEverything appears to confirm that. The display support’s Apple’s True Tone feature which adjusts the screen to ensure that colors are accurate regardless of the lighting conditions as well as P3 wide color for accurate color reproduction. You also get 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio as well as 800 nits max brightness and 1200 nits max brightness when watching HDR content. The screen has a resolution of 2532‑by‑1170-pixel resolution at 460 ppi. One downside to the screen is that Apple has yet again gone to Haptic Touch or long presses rather than 3D Touch which was a much better user interface for facilitating extra functionality within apps. I know that Apple has been ripping out 3D touch out of all their products to make all their products behave the same. But I really think that this is a mistake by Apple as it really throws those who have had 3D touch iPhones and Apple Watches for a loop when interacting with the phone.

Since we’re talking about the screen, let’s get to elephant in the room. The display is a 60 Hz refresh rate display. A lot of Android phones come with 90 Hz, 120 Hz, and a few even have 144 Hz refresh rate displays. And even Apple has the iPad Pro with a 120 Hz variable refresh rate display. So why doesn’t the iPhone 12 Pro have a display with a refresh rate above 60 Hz? I’m guessing that they couldn’t get the OLED screens that they wanted to have a high refresh rate display they way they wanted to. Or they wanted to persevere battery life as high refresh rate displays tend to obliterate battery life. But here’s the reality. Go try one. You’ll see that it is insanely smooth when scrolling and I seriously doubt that you’ll miss not having a high refresh rate display. That makes this a non-issue in my mind. At least for this year. Next year might be different if the iPhone 13 or whatever it is called doesn’t show up with a high refresh rate for those who really care.

The display is very easy to read in most lighting conditions including bright sunlight. The iPhone 12 Pro is capable of HDR playback. And the test videos that I played on it looked stunning. If that’s not enough, the iPhone 12 Pro is also capable of recording Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10 video in 4k60, which is mind blowing considering that this is a phone and not a cinema quality video camera. I should note that only the pro models are capable of recording in Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10 video in 4k60. The non pro models can “only” record Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10 video in 4k30. And no other phone currently does Dolby Vision HDR recording of any sort. To test this, I recorded a 40 second video of a hike that my wife and I did north of Barrie last weekend. If you can, view this on a device that does 4K HDR playback or turn on HDR on your browser and set the resolution to 4K:

Besides the stereo separation for the audio, the color reproduction is simply amazing. I do notice that the video has some sort of auto-focus issue. I’m not sure if that’s due to what the phone has to do stabilize the image or the phone is simply hunting for an object to focus on. But other than that, the video quality is very good. Now if you want better image stabilization, the upcoming iPhone 12 Pro Max has a In-body image stabilization (IBIS)  system that stabilizes the entire image sensor rather than just the optics which may lead to better quality video. That’s on top of having a bigger sensor to start with. Now I suspect that once these phones get out there, and videos recorded in these format start to appear en masse, it will force YouTube to support Dolby Vision HDR and companies that make TVs will have to do exactly the same thing.

If you’re going to have a great display, you need quality speakers to go with them. I found that they are loud and clear. Music sounds good with clear bass and treble.

Storage options start with 128GB, then go to 256GB and then 512GB. I got the 256GB model. It’s IP68 rated to a maximum of 6 metres for up to 30 minutes instead of 4 metres for 30 minutes like the iPhone 11 from last year. You still get a Lightning connector on the bottom instead of USB-C for data transfer and charging, and it has one new party trick. Apple has resurrected the MagSafe name to use it for a bunch of magnetic accessories that attach to the back of the iPhone. The MagSafe charger for example offers 15W fast wireless chargers. Though if you’re not using a MagSafe charger, you’re stuck at 7.5w for wireless charging. I personally am not interested in this feature as when I charge it’s either in my car, or on a wireless charger next to my bed at night. But it’s clear that this is the first step in killing the Lightning port in favor of a port-less iPhone in the future. That also likely explains why Apple still hasn’t gone to USB-C in this iPhone.

5G is the big feature for the iPhone 12 Pro. But what is equally as big is the fact that Apple has finally dumped the horrible Intel LTE modems that have been used by Apple for years (and Apple now owns by the way) for Qualcomm modems which are now available to Apple now that Apple and Qualcomm have stopped suing each other. This allows the iPhone 12 to be way faster than I am used to on the TELUS network. Here’s an LTE score taken in Etobicoke Ontario:

This is about 100Mbps higher versus what I was able to get on the iPhone XS on LTE. That’s quick and basically says that you will have better LTE speeds if 5G isn’t available in your area. But 5G is available in my area and this is what I got:

Now while this isn’t the 1.7 Gbps peak speeds that TELUS claims as their theoretical maximum speed, it’s not slow. I suspect that if I go to other areas of Toronto, I’d get faster speeds. I’ll be doing that and I’ll let you know what I get in a future story. To stop you from chewing through your battery life, Apple has a feature that will switch between LTE and 5G depending on your data needs to save power.

Another point. Since I am in Canada, the version of 5G that I am getting is the “Sub-6” version of 5G which gives you a bit of a speed increase and has better signal coverage and better building penetration. Americans get a US only version of the iPhone 12 which gets support for “Sub-6” and the “millimeter wave” version of 5G which has neither of those things in exchange for super fast speeds if you are in the right area and you are pointed in the right direction. If you prefer to save your mobile data, you get WiFi 6 as part of the deal, which is very fast as well if you have a WiFi 6 router like I do.

Inside you get the A14 Bionic processor which according to benchmarks is yet again the fastest processor in a mobile phone. It is 20% faster than the A13 Bionic that was in the iPhone 11. And to be frank, it’s complete overkill for an iPhone as it is faster than some of Apple’s macOS desktops and laptops. But we should take it as it’s really fast while being power efficient. Win/win. Now if you pair the A14 Bionic with 6GB of RAM which is up from the 4GB in the non pro models, and it’s also up from any other earlier iPhone model. This is going to help with running multiple apps and muti-tasking. But it also helps with all the computational photography that the iPhone 12 Pro is capable of. And I suspect that this is the reason why Apple’s upcoming (via a software update presumably) ProRaw format where you can get a highly detailed picture with all of the computational photography info included is only available on the pro models. Meaning that for those who want to take a photo and make it beyond perfect in Photoshop, the is the phone for you. Not to mention doing 4k60 video which as mentioned earlier is another pro only feature. But here’s the real reason why you should care that this phone comes with the A14 Bionic and 6GB of RAM. When iOS 18 comes out in four years time, this phone will still feel fast. Speaking of iOS, it comes out of the box with iOS 14.1 which is pretty stable and does what you expect iOS to do.

So let’s get to the cameras. You get three cameras at 12 megapixels:

  • Ultra Wide – ƒ/2.4 aperture and 120° field of view
  • Wide – ƒ/1.6 aperture
  • Telephoto cameras – ƒ/2.0 aperture 

What does that look like? Here’s the telephoto camera:

And the wide camera:

And finally ultra wide:

And check this out. My wife and I took a photo side by side in the same marginally dark forest. Her using her iPhone XR. And yours truly on the iPhone 12 Pro. First the iPhone XR:

And here’s the iPhone 12 Pro:

Overall, the iPhone 12 Pro picture looks brighter than the iPhone XR picture. It also has a bit more detail. You can likely thank the computational photography on the iPhone 12 Pro for that. And that computational photography works on all the lenses unlike last year’s iPhones.

I am going to focus on the telephoto lens for a moment. The detail that you get from this camera is great for macro shots as evidenced here:

New to the iPhone 12 Pro is a LIDAR sensor. This sensor has great promise in the future for things like AR applications (though in the here and now, you can use the measure app to accurately measure humans and other objects). But at present, it is being best used for better portrait mode photos because it can not only perform amazing levels of depth perception, but it can make the auto focus from the rear cameras insanely good. Especially at night for both of those items as evidenced by this picture which also took advantage of Apple’s Night Mode tech to give you better pictures in low light situations:

I don’t have a need for doing night selfies. In fact I rarely take selfies at all. But Night Mode selfies may be a thing for some and based on this photo, they would be pretty good:

But I think the best example of Night Mode is to see what the same shot looks like without it. So My wife and I took identical pictures on our balcony. One was on my wife’s iPhone XR and one was on the iPhone 12 Pro.

First the iPhone XR:

Then the iPhone 12 Pro:

The grassy area is the key reason that the Night Mode photo wins. You can actually see it in a good amount of detail.

By the way, Night Mode works on all the lenses for the first time. Ditto for Apple’s Deep Fusion feature which makes your photos look sharper with better colors.

Finally there’s battery life. As I am typing this, I’ve had this phone for a week. But I will give you my last three days.

Here’s Monday where I was working from my home office all day on WiFi 6:

Here’s Tuesday where I went out a couple of times for a couple of hours and I was on 5G and WiFi 6:

This is Wednesday where I mostly worked at home. But I made a trip out to UPS to ship something out:

On each one of those days, I ended the day at or just below 50%. And I was using the phone to check email, surf, and use Reddit among other things. In other words, I was not using this phone lightly. So if I can get this sort of performance out of the iPhone 12 Pro, you should be able to do that well or better.

There’s one other other item. The iPhone 12 has a U1 chip to allow you to unlock a car that is compatible with it. Which at this point is any BMW made after July of this year. It will also work with the new HomePod Mini to precisely position you in your home. And it will work with the much rumored AirTags product which is a Tile like tracker. That’s great for the future, but in the here and now, they will help you to AirDrop files better.

So, should you buy the iPhone 12 Pro? Well, I think it comes down to this:

  • If you want better photo quality than the iPhone 12, then it’s worth it.
  • If you want to leverage the upcoming ProRaw format from Apple, then it’s worth it.
  • If having the extra 2GB of RAM is worth it to you, then buy the iPhone 12 Pro.
  • If you are coming from an iPhone X, XR, or XS or earlier, then you are in the target market for the iPhone 12 Pro.

There is one other thing to consider. If photo quality matters to you, then it may even be worth waiting for the iPhone 12 Pro Max which gives you even better camera optics including In-body image stabilization (IBIS) which may give you better pictures than the iPhone 12 Pro. Not to mention that the iPhone 12 Pro Max will have a bigger battery due to the fact that it is a physically bigger phone. With a bigger price tag to match. But if photos aren’t top of mind, then the iPhone 12 would be the way to go. You’ll give up some of the photo quality of the iPhone 12 Pro and save $200 CDN in the process seeing as the iPhone 12 Pro starts at $1399 CDN with 128GB. Of course that assumes that you get the iPhone 12 with 128GB as well. Which if you fit the use case for an iPhone 12 you should as it’s only $70 over the base price of $1129 CDN with 64GB of RAM.

The iPhone 12 Pro is an impressive smartphone package thanks to its worthwhile camera upgrades. But it is going to face some tough competition from the iPhone 12. You can’t really go wrong either way. But for me, the iPhone 12 Pro is the choice for me. And I think it may be the choice for many.

Digitized Companies Fairing Better Through COVID-19: SAP & IDC Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 29, 2020 by itnerd

A new SAP study conducted in partnership with IDC Canada discovered that companies that were well into their digital transformation, performed better through the COVID-19 pandemic, while companies without a robust digital strategy are being left behind.

The study found that while 95 per cent of enterprises surveyed had established a formal digital strategy, up from 85 per cent in 2019, most companies were at wildly different stages on their journey to becoming a digitally transformed “intelligent enterprise.”

Of the 17 per cent of Canadian enterprises identified as Intelligent Enterprise (IE) Leaders, 82 per cent have a digital strategy that is fully integrated into the core of the business or is complete and already producing significant results. At the other end of the spectrum, 98 per cent of Canadian enterprises categorized as IE Observers (14%) are only just beginning to build their digital strategies or executing on them. This divide in digital readiness has revealed a clear connection between COVID-19 resiliency and IE progress. 

The study examined the impact of COVID-19 on organizations’ revenue, workforce, operational capacity, and facilities. While these core business functions have been impacted in two thirds of Canadian enterprises, IE Leaders have been more resilient, with 14 per cent of IE Leaders indicating they expect a revenue increase during the pandemic.

The new study also found key attributes that have helped IE Leaders remain resilient through the pandemic:

  • 49 per cent of IE Leaders are very willing to adjust their workforce mix to support digital initiatives, compared with only 7 per cent of IE Observers.
  • 91 per cent of IE Leaders believe it is very important to improve employee experience while improving customer experience, compared to 42 per cent of IE Observers.
  • 47 per cent of IE Leaders have a change management strategy that is fully integrated into the digital strategy, as compared with IE Observers, who either are still developing a change management strategy or do not have one at all.  

Created by IDC Canada, The Intelligent Enterprise: Building an Agile and Resilient Business, can be read here.

Element AI Founder Releases 2020 Global AI Talent Report

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 29, 2020 by itnerd

Jean-François (JF) Gagné, CEO and Founder of Element AI, a global developer of artificial intelligence-powered (AI) solutions and software, today announced the release of the third annual Global AI Talent Report. The 2020 report examines the most current global patterns for the worldwide AI talent pool.

This year, research methods have been expanded to take a broader look at the primary technical roles attracting more people to the AI industry and had many findings. The supply of technical AI talent has grown significantly all over the world to try and meet demand during the last several years. While the COVID-19 pandemic has put a dent in demand in most major markets, it may have a surprising result in more talent going to emerging AI hotspots.The report shows that already there is notable development of more AI-related talent in countries like Brazil and India, as AI tooling becomes democratized and the training needed is more accessible via online courses.

The 2020 Global AI Talent Report also finds:

  • Top AI talent remains global and highly mobile
  • The gender imbalance between males and females in AI research has not changed
  • Few of those employed in the AI industry are conducting fundamental research

The complete 2020 Global AI Talent Report with detailed citations, methodologies, and graphical diagrams is available now on the JF Gagné website here.

Methodology

This year’s AI Talent Report adds estimates of various other critical specialized technical roles in the value chain related to developing an AI product: ML engineering, technical implementation, and data architecture. JF Gagné and his team measured the size of the available talent pool for industry through self-reported data on social media and demand via the monthly total job postings for the same roles. The team expanded its view of those contributing to AI research by moving from analyzing conferences as a proxy—whose limited seats don’t fully capture the growth of the ecosystem—to postings in arXiv. ArXiv is an open-access repository where researchers pre-publish their papers and is a credible resource for measuring the census of AI research, with a broader view of AI growth by observing included papers on applied methods.

Google Pixel 5 Is Now Available On The TELUS 5G Network

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 29, 2020 by itnerd

The Google Pixel 5 is now available at TELUS. The latest 5G enabled device allows for fast downloads and streaming all for $0 upfront with TELUS Easy Payment® on the fastest 5G network in Canada providing speeds up to 1.7 Gbps.

The Pixel 5 is the phone made the Google way – bringing together the best of Google hardware, software and AI together – all at an affordable price. Key features include: 

  • A camera that helps you take your best shots. Have a photo shoot day or night, capture moments with stunning clarity, and  take clips with Hollywood-inspired effects.
  • A phone that’s also a wireless charger. Charge wirelessly, stay powered up all day, and get up to 48 hours of battery life when you need it most with Extreme Battery Saver.
  • Protection from security threats and water spills. A water-resistant metal body and superhero-level security chip help ensure that your data, and device, stay protected.

TELUS 5G will be available at no additional cost on TELUS Peace of Mind plans, starting at only $75/20GB of high-speed data until October 31, with endless data and no overage fees.

Thales Launches Identity Verification Suite

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 29, 2020 by itnerd

Thales, world leader in digital security, has launched its Identity Verification Suite, in response to the rising need of remote client onboarding. With privacy and user experience as its heart, the IDV Suite enables a secure and 100%-AI identity verification service. It integrates the latest facial recognition technology, document security features recognition and machine learning engines. The solution addresses the Covid-19 environment with touchless interactions, allowing service providers to reach end users via their mobile handsets or the web.  

Secure identity verification has become a crucial part of online security and digital onboarding, and constitutes a significant opportunity for businesses. In cases such as digital enrolment or KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations, ID verification is critical in order to efficiently detect fraud and therefore build user trust in the digital world. 

The IDV Suite designed by Thales allows a secure and smooth user journey for markets from the travel industry (airlines and airport security, car rental companies, public and private transportation), telecom operators, banks, citizen services (International Driving Permit), and all types of online service providers looking to meet their KYC needs. To ease the deployment of the solution, Thales provides flexible onboarding options including a highly secure connection to Thales IDV server in SaaS (Solution as a service) mode.

The modular solution offers flexibility to deploy a single solution across all channels, whether through mobile applications, websites, or a network of dedicated document scanners, thus aligning with the security expectations of each industry.  From checking the validity of the Machine-Readable Zone (MRZ) of an ID document to more advanced control under white light, infra-red and UV checks, the suite can also securely perform contactless NFC verification using the chip of e-documents. 

Advanced facial biometric technology is also a key feature in the IDV Suite, integrating passive liveness detection to facilitate end-user experience. The customer is asked to take a selfie, and then the solution transparently analyzes the liveness of the selfie and securely matches it against the portrait on the ID document, allowing for quick and efficient identity biometric verification. 

New TELUS Online Security Helps To Protect Canadian Consumers

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 29, 2020 by itnerd

Nearly nine in ten Canadians wish their internet was more secure, but only 18 percent report using tools to protect their identity online2. To enable Canadians with tools to protect themselves, TELUS, a world-leading communications and information technology company, today announced that TELUS Online Security Powered by NortonLifeLock is now available throughout Canada. TELUS Online Security, Canada’s most comprehensive all-in-one protection3, features Cyber Safety and privacy solutions from NortonLifeLock to help Canadians protect their identity, devices, and online privacy. TELUS Online Security was previously available only to TELUS Internet customers in B.C. and Alberta.

Thousands of Canadians have collectively lost more than $60 million to fraud this year alone1. Scams related to COVID-19 have been a major contributor, with 42 per cent of Canadians having experienced at least one type of cyber security incident since the pandemic began5.

TELUS Online Security is available in three plan options to help ensure customers can choose the solution that best fits their needs:

TELUS Online Security Ultimate

  • All-in-one protection for your connected devices and online privacy and identity. Up to 20 devices are protected from viruses, ransomware, and other online threats.
  • Defends your online privacy with bank-grade encryption when connecting to Wi-Fi with Secure VPN.
  • Should you become a victim of identity theft, an Identity Restoration Specialist will work with you to help resolve it. And, you’re covered for qualified Personal Expense Reimbursement plus Coverage for Lawyers and Experts up to $1 million4.

TELUS Online Security Complete

  • All-in-one protection for your connected devices and online privacy and identity. Up to 10 devices are protected from viruses, ransomware, and other online threats.
  • Defends your online privacy with bank-grade encryption when connecting to Wi-Fi with Secure VPN.
  • Should you become a victim of identity theft, an Identity Restoration Specialist will work with you to help resolve it. And, you’re covered for qualified Personal Expense Reimbursement plus Coverage for Lawyers and Experts up to $100,0004.

TELUS Online Security Standard

  • All-in-one protection for your connected devices and online privacy and identity. Up to 2 devices are protected from viruses, ransomware, and other online threats.
  • Defends your online privacy with bank-grade encryption when connecting to Wi-Fi with Secure VPN.
  • Should you become a victim of identity theft, the Identity Theft Reimbursement Coverage is there to help with coverage for qualified Personal Expense Reimbursement plus Coverage for Lawyers and Experts up to $25,0004.

At this time, TELUS Online Security is not available in Quebec. For more information, please visit telus.com/onlinesecurity.

*No one can prevent all cyber crime or identity theft.

1 Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm

2 Angus Reid report commissioned by TELUS.

3 Applies to TELUS Online Security Standard plan and above.

4 The Identity Theft Reimbursement Coverage, with a limit of up to $25,000 for Basic Plus, up to $100,000 for Premium and up to $1 Million for Premium Plus, is underwritten and administered by American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, an Assurant company. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions. Review the Summary of Benefits under the Insurance Coverage (Canada) here.

5 Statistics Canada, “Canadians spend more money and time online during pandemic and over two-fifths report a cyber incident,” https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/201014/dq201014a-eng.htm

LinkedIn launches New Tools & Insights To Help Job Seekers Find Their Next Career Opportunity

Posted in Commentary on October 29, 2020 by itnerd

Today, LinkedIn is announcing the launch of new tools and insights geared towards helping those who are unemployed find their next opportunity. You can read the full news from LinkedIn’s Head of Product here. Here are the headlines:

  • LinkedIn is launching a new, interactive Career Explorer tool. We know one of the biggest barriers to taking a next step is understanding how the skills you have translate into jobs. People will be able to put in their current or recent job, and see alternate career paths that may be a fit for them based on the top skills LinkedIn’s data shows they already have. We’re rolling out this tool in beta globally in English starting today, with additional localizations and enhancements in the coming months. This is just one resource we’ve created to help jobseekers and leaders better understand how to help people quickly and successfully find their next role.
  • Members that indicate they are Open to Work are hearing back more quickly. We know that some job seekers are hesitant to share their employment status with their community, worrying that being out of work could hurt their search. But NEW data shows sharing your status may be key to finding your next job. More than three million members globally have chosen to add our new #OpenToWork profile photo frame, and are receiving on average 40% more InMails from recruiters and are 20% more likely to receive messages from the broader LinkedIn community.
  • LinkedIn has identified the top trending skills on LinkedIn globally since COVID-19 hit and made courses free to learn them to help job seekers prepare for the future and get in-demand roles. Topping the list are digital skills like programming and digital marketing, and skills to help navigate an economic downturn like finance and data analysis. We’re also introducing new interview prep for in demand jobs, like project manager and software engineer, so you can improve your chance of landing those most sought-after roles. 
  • New tools to share that you’re hiringWe’re also rolling out a new #Hiring profile photo frame, which makes it easy for anyone — from someone at a large company to the owner of small businesses — to add a job directly to their profile and a #Hiring frame around their photo. Job seekers will be able to see who’s hiring directly in their LinkedIn feed and apply to relevant jobs. In addition, employers can now post a job for free on LinkedIn. This feature will be available to all LinkedIn members, and it is particularly valuable for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as they continue their recovery and compete for qualified talent.

ESET issues its Q3 2020 Threat Report

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 29, 2020 by itnerd

ESET, a global leader in cybersecurity, has released its Q3 2020 Threat Report, summarizing key statistics from ESET detection systems and highlighting notable examples of ESET’s cybersecurity research – including previously unpublished ESET research updates. The report and its findings were exclusively presented during the “ESET European Cyber Security Day – Towards a Secure Post-COVID Future” virtual event.

After months of abusing the COVID-19 theme in their campaigns, cybercriminals appear to have returned to their usual tactics in the third quarter of 2020, the Q3 2020 Threat Report shows. An area where the risks remain particularly high, however, is remote work.

ESET telemetry showed further growth in attacks targeting Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), which grew throughout H1. While the number of unique clients targeted rose by more than a third, the total number of attack attempts surged by 140%.

Other key trends observed in Q3 were the revival of cryptominers, Emotet returning to the scene after months of inactivity, and Android banking malware surging following the source code release of the notorious mobile banking trojan Cerberus. 

The ESET Q3 2020 Threat Report also reviews the most important findings and achievements by ESET researchers. Among many other findings, they uncovered more Wi‑Fi chips vulnerable to KrØØk-like bugs, exposed Mac malware bundled with a cryptocurrency trading application, discovered CDRThief targeting Linux VoIP softswitches, and delved into KryptoCibule, a triple threat in regard to cryptocurrencies.

The exclusive research presented in the Q3 2020 Threat Report includes campaigns leveraging malicious MAXScripts, the spread of Latin American banking trojans to Europe, new activity of the TA410 threat group and a look into the updated arsenal of the Gamaredon Group. 

Besides these findings, the report also recapitulates the many virtual talks held by ESET research specialists in Q3, introduces talks planned for the upcoming quarter and provides an overview of ESET’s contributions to the MITRE ATT&CK knowledge base. 

For more information, check out our ESET Threat Report Q3 2020 on WeLiveSecurity. 

New Look Vision Group Launches The Ultimate Digital Eyewear Experience At New Look Eyewear & IRIS

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 29, 2020 by itnerd

With the pandemic continuing to limit in-person shopping at retail stores, New Look Vision Group launched its precision-enabled eyewear app, available at New Look Eyewear and IRIS stores and online.

Born out of the investment and partnership with innovative eyewear startup Topology, this touchless optical solution is designed with the optician at the center of the experience and focuses on providing each customer with tailored eyewear that achieves the same quality vision as when bought in a store.

Using Topology’s advanced technology to solve the challenges of taking precise measurements for glasses outside an eyewear store, the New Look Eyewear and IRIS apps makes it easy to try on single-vision glasses with an optician via video appointment, safely from the comfort of their homes. They use the latest 3D technology to scan 20,000 data points on a person’s face, taking ultra-precise measurements and making it the most accurate technology on the market. This level of precision helps ensure better fitting frames and optimal comfort, regardless of the size or shape of a person’s face.

While the New Look Eyewear and IRIS apps’ advanced facial scanning technology is its major function, they also offer a number of other cutting-edge features to give customers the ultimate digital eyewear experience:

  • Full Customization. Customers can design their own pair of eyewear to ensure they are specifically tailored for them. Customers start by choosing from a wide variety of frame styles, shapes, and colours. From there they can further refine their style by tweaking the height, width and vertical drop to suit their vision needs and taste. And because the glasses are made to measure, they feel lighter as the weight is perfectly distributed to their facial features.
  • Convenience. Virtual appointment bookings allow customers to have a live consultation with opticians from the time and place of their choosing. The New Look Eyewear and IRIS apps even saves their facial scan and measurements for use in future appointments, so they don’t have to go through the entire process every time they get a new pair of glasses.
  • Added Safety. In light of physical distancing measures during COVID-19, the New Look Eyewear and IRIS apps give customers peace of mind by helping them to shop for frames and prescription lenses virtually.
  • Pricing. The New Look Eyewear app will feature their latest private-label collection, Madison, at a competitive price point of $239 for single-vision lens packages (frame + lenses). It will also feature the Lya collection from Iris at a price starting at $289 for single-vision lens packages (frame + lenses).

Once you’ve booked a virtual appointment online, users are invited to download the apps in the App Store for iPhone 10 and newer, and for iPad Pro. For those who are unable to access the apps on their device, they can experience its technology and safety benefits in store at select locations, including 12 New Look Eyewear stores in Quebec and select IRIS locations in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

In Depth: InterracialDatingCentral.com

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 29, 2020 by itnerd

Since June 12, 1967 also known as “Loving Day” named for the landmark Supreme Court case Loving v Virginia which legalized interracial marriage in the United States, interracial and interethnic marriages and relationships have been on the rise, with numbers steadily growing each decade. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2012-2016, interracial marriages have increased from 7.4% (in 2000) up to 10.2%. As of 2020, people who identify as being in an interracial relationship or marriage hovers around 15% of the U.S. population. The majority of mixed-race relationships continue to surround major metropolitan hubs and significantly taper out in more rural communities America’s heartland still making it challenging to feel at ease. This is something that I am familiar with as I am a Black male that is married to someone who is of Chinese extraction. And that has been a challenge before we got married and after.

Ironically, it was an Australian man who launched the world’s largest online interracial dating community, InterracialDatingCentral, back in 2004, sixteen years before popular culture made it as widely accepted as it is today. Robert Thompson was in the U.S. on a work visa in the early 2000s, working 14 hour days at a Silicon Valley startup and looking to date while in the states. Eventually, Robert connected with an African-born (Robert declines to mention her exact nationality) woman and the two started dating. His then girlfriend suggested he create a dating website for Black women who were open to or looking to date across racial and ethnic lines. So he launched the website AfroRomance.com. They eventually broke up and one night I was on my own dating site and met another African women who became his wife.

In 2004, Thompson launched his second website, InterracialDatingCentral.com, to accommodate all singles open to dating outside their race and the website quickly exploded in popularity. With 10 million members, worldwide, thousands of documented success stories and 2 million followers on social media, InterracialDatingCentral remains more than a dating website. Their Facebook page is the hub of their community where couples and families are able to share their stories, concerns, experiences and celebrations of love in an insulated and supportive environment. The IDC Facebook page, with 1.75 Million members, has extraordinary social engagement for its posts.

To me this is a good news story as I strongly believe that people regardless of race should have the opportunity to love the person that most appeals to them. And the fact that tech can play a part in this is a bonus.