Archive for November 23, 2020

Ubisoft Serves Up A Roadmap Of The Upcoming Rainbow Six Esports Events

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2020 by itnerd

With so much going on in the realm of Rainbow Six Esports, here is a summary of updates on the most anticipated upcoming events! The full update on the roadmap for the upcoming R6:S events is available here on Ubisoft.com.

  • North-American League Finals: The Canada Division Finals and relegation match will be held online from December 11th to 13th 2020. More details will be shared by the region in the coming weeks for this event as well as updates regarding US Division Finals.
  • SIX INVITATIONAL 2021:  Ubisoft is thrilled to announce that the fifth edition of the Six Invitational will happen in late February 2021. We have all been longing for a clash of the regions, a truly international tournament to determine which team and region is the best this season. All of us at Ubisoft are excited and hard at work to offer the best experience possible for our pro teams and viewers. The Six Invitational 2021 will gather 20 teams across the 4 main regions of the Rainbow Six Esports circuit, competing offline, in Europe and following strict sanitary safety measures. For safety reasons, there will be no audience on site. As unveiled during the Six Invitational 2020, the competition will now feature 20 teams battling it out to be crowned World Champions. 16 teams will qualify for the Six Invitational 2021 based on their ranking in the Global Points standings, while four additional slots – one per region – will be up for grabs through Open Qualifiers that will be held in December 2020.  
  • RAINBOW SIX WORLD CUP: Announcing the Rainbow Six World Cup last September was an exciting moment for all esports teams at Ubisoft. This competition will be a unique opportunity for local Rainbow Six communities around the world to share their love, pride and unconditional support to the team that will represent their country or region on the worldwide stage.  Considering the uncertainty around the evolution of the pandemic around the world in the coming months, they felt that they needed to take a step back and assess what they wanted to offer to the wider Siege family with the World Cup. Looking at learnings from other entertainment industries and considering that the World Cup is an independent layer of competition with no impact on the regular Rainbow Six Esports circuit, they took the difficult decision to postpone the Rainbow Six World Cup to 2022.   

Sonos Shares Holiday Promos And Giving Tuesday Announcement

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2020 by itnerd

Sonos reached out to share some holiday news from Sonos – including a Giving Tuesday initiative and new Cyber Monday one day only offer. 

As part of Sonos’ efforts to promote the power of music bringing positive change, this Giving Tuesday (Dec 1) the company is: 

  • Donating 10% of its Giving Tuesday profits (up to $230K CAD) through Sonos.com to participating nonprofits around the world. New partners include SMASH SeattleMusic Heals UsJazz Foundation of America, and Guitars for Vets as part of it’s Soundwavesprogram. 
  • Dedicating 100% of its ad space on Sonos Radio to nonprofit organizations to give them a platform to raise awareness for their causes during a time when many are encountering severe funding constraints. This initiative will continue beyond Giving Tuesday as Sonos has committed to dedicating 5% of its ad space to nonprofits that align with Sonos’ social impact mission moving forward.

On a separate note – here’s a reminder about Sonos’ great savings for the holiday season.

Cyber Monday (**Nov 30 only**)

  • Save $150 on Five ($449) and Amp ($649)
  • Save $70 on One ($179) and One SL ($159)

Save on Brilliant Sound (Nov 22-30)

  • Save $150 on Move ($349), Beam ($349), and Sub ($749) 

Treat Yourself (Dec 4-13)

  • Save $50 on One ($199) and One SL ($179) between Dec 4 – 13

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers From Snap Ships

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2020 by itnerd

Stressed about finding those last-minute stocking-stuffer gifts? Don’t worry — PlayMonster has got parents everywhere covered!

Priced as low as $9.99, Snap Ships make for the perfect “extra little something” kids find in their stockings this year! 

These ships can be found in the action aisle at Target, or at Target.com! Filling your kids stockings has never been easier.

I’ve done a review of a few of these SnapShips which you can find here and here if you want to check them out.

Having Issues Reinstalling macOS Big Sur On Your New M1 Mac? Apple Posts Instructions On How To Do So

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2020 by itnerd

Shortly after the launch of Apple’s new M1 Macs, reports started to appear that attempts to restore and reinstall macOS on those machines right away could result in an installation error that would leave your Mac non-functional. The error that you got was “An error occurred preparing the update. Failed to personalize the software update.”

As a result of that, Apple has posted a support document over the weekend to try and help with that. I say try because I had a look at the documentation and it doesn’t exactly look straightforward. But if it does work for you, I’d appreciate if you left a comment to let yours truly and others know that it did.

Roku Announces Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2020 by itnerd

Roku has some great Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for you. Check these out:

Roku Premiere – $44.99
The Roku Premiere allows a simple way to start streaming thousands of free TV, live news, sports, movies and paid streaming channels, including Netflix, Crave, Prime Video and many more in 4K and HDR picture quality.

Roku Streaming Stick+ – $59.99
The Roku Streaming Stick+ features the simple setup and 4K and HDR picture quality but is super-charged with a long-range wireless receiver for four times the wireless range and smooth streaming anywhere in the house. The Streaming Stick+ also includes a voice remote with TV controls.

Roku Streambar – $149.99
The brand new two-in-one device allows users the ability to upgrade their sound and stream their favourite content including Netflix, DAZN, Cineplex as well as Spotify and other music apps, all in clear 4K HD. The Roku Streambar offers all the best of Roku streaming and sound to enhance the experience affordably.

These deals will allow you to get your hands on the best streaming platform at the best prices for yourself or a loved one. Check them out today.

Last-Minute Black Friday Deals With ASUS

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2020 by itnerd

With the holidays approaching ASUS has some Canadian Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for you that I’d like to share:

  1. The ASUS Chromebook Flip C433TA has a stylish contemporary look, compact portability and powerful specifications that are all designed to help you accomplish every task. The ideal gift for anyone working or studying remotely. (CAD $499.00 @Amazon)
  1. The ASUS TUF Gaming VG279QL1A HDR Gaming Monitor is designed for gamers and others seeking immersive gameplay. This monitor delivers stunning visuals from all angles, with wide 178-degree viewing angles that ensures minimal distortion and color shift even when viewing from extreme positions. The perfect gift for all gamers out there. (CAD $449.99 @Newegg)
  1. ASUS RT-AX58U is a 2×2 dual-band Wi-Fi router that provides dramatically faster wireless connections. With a total networking speed of about 3000Mb, this router improves coverage, providing a significantly better networking experience for households, making it a must-have while we continue to work and study from home. (CAD $189.99 @The Source)
  1. The ASUS VivoBook 14  has an ultrathin profile making it perfect for everybody on the go. This stylish laptop adds flair and dynamis to daily computing. It has an Intel® Core™ i7 processor, providing the power you need to get things done.(CAD $529.00 @Amazon)

Check them out today as these deals are not likely to last.

Canadian Centre for Cyber Security’s Cyber Threat Assessment Released….. It Says That Foreign Actors Are A Major Threat

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2020 by itnerd

Last week, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security’s Cyber released their Threat Assessment to the public.

Findings from the report identified state-sponsored programs in China, Russia, Iran and North Korea as major cyber-crime threats and said it feared foreign actors could try to disrupt power supplies. The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) signals intelligence agency, equivalent to the U.S. National Security Agency, said the four nations’ programs posed the greatest strategic threat to Canada. What this basically says to me is that companies need to up their cybersecurity defenses so that they aren’t victims of these foreign actors.

Here’s some more facts:

  • The state-sponsored cyber programs of China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea pose the greatest strategic threats to Canada.
  • They have assessed that state-sponsored actors will almost certainly continue to attempt to steal Canadian intellectual property and proprietary information, especially related to COVID-19.
  • Online foreign influence campaigns are the new normal, and no longer limited to key political events such as election periods.
  • Adversaries now look to influence discourse on both domestic and international current events. 

David Masson, Director of Enterprise Security for Darktrace had this to say about the report:

This report is a welcome refresher. Many times, organizations wait to take security precautions after a cyber-attack has already caused damage. However, this is a call to action, sounding the alarm for organizations to listen up and take action now before it’s too late. By outlining the cyber threats that Canada faces, the Canadian Cyber Security Centre has brought companies’ and organizations’ attention to the scope and scale of the 21st century threats they face. Companies should take this time to reevaluate their own security solutions and strategies and pay close to attention to how they can improve. 

Some of the most concerning notes in the report are the convergence of IT and OT systems and the increase in ransomware attacks. It also draws attention to the fact that state-sponsored actors will continue to attempt to steal Canadian intellectual property and proprietary information, especially related to COVID-19. Cybercriminals have always been inherently opportunistic – they are constantly innovating and looking for new, creative ways to take advantage, disrupt and make as much money as possible. 

As cyber threats begin to outpace human abilities, this report reminds us that combatting the rising threats will be a combined effort between Government, the private sector, and individual Canadian citizens.

Those who are responsible for defending their IT infrastructure should give the report a read and act accordingly.

Walmart Has Some Great Gift Ideas For You

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2020 by itnerd

If you’re looking for some great gift ideas, check out some of the ideas that Walmart has for you:

Nintendo Switch $399.96

Who remembers playing Nintendo in the 90s? This gaming icon has evolved but always stayed true to the classics. Nintendo Switch allows you to play the games you want, wherever you are, however you like. If you’re looking for a more personal handheld option, there is the Nintendo Switch™ Lite too!

Just Dance $59.99

Nothing says fun like dancing. Unwind this holiday season by grooving and shaking in your living room. Just Dance 2021 is a way to truly dance like no one’s watching and express yourself. For every mood, every attitude, every vibe, every squad, every troop, every crew, every you. Just Dance provides a way to connect and celebrate our individuality, together. Just Dance 2021 is about more than dancing, it is a way to feel connected and keep active during a time of separation. Players can challenge and dance with people online to feel that they are part of a community. 

Google Nest Hub $69.99

Give the gift of a personal assistant. The Google Nest Hub can be linked to compatible smart home products to control everything from your thermostat to TV. We can take calls from our wrist and buy our groceries online so why are we still manually flipping the light switch?

Merkury Innovations Smart Wi-Fi LED Strips $29.98

Control your mood lighting from a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e with Merkury Innovations Smart Wi-Fi LED Strips. Create your own mini lightshow by scheduling lighting based around your lifestyle.

Everything that you see here is available at your local Walmart store or at Walmart.ca. Check them out today.

The Husqvarna Automower 315X Is A Great Gift For Dad This Holiday Season

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2020 by itnerd

For dad’s who are looking to save a couple of hours every week, the Automower 315X can help with that. This robotic mower creates the ultimate turf with minimal supervision and can be controlled on a smartphone via Automower Connect. The app for iOS and Android devices lets owners receive their Automower’s current status and change settings remotely. This model is also compatible with Google Home and Alexa. Just simply ask, “Hey Alexa/Google, ask Automower to mow the lawn!”

The Husqvarna Automower 315X goes for $2,499.99. To find a local dealer, visit Husqvarna.ca.

Roku’s Rollout Of Roku OS Version 9.4 May Not Be Going Well

Posted in Commentary on November 23, 2020 by itnerd

Users of Roku products have been waiting for Version 9.4 of the Roku OS for a while now. This is the version that will bring AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support to their streaming devices and TVs that use the Roku OS. That’s something that has been on the wish list of many Roku users for a long time.

But judging from threads on Reddit where there has been so many people complaining about the OS update a “mega thread” was created by the moderators of the Roku subreddit, and there’s Twitter where people are also complaining about problems, there’s only one conclusion that you can draw. The rollout of this new version of Roku OS appears to be problematic.

Here’s some examples of what people are complaining about:

And I have not been immune from this. I still have the Roku Streambar set up on my TCL TV and it got the 9.4 update that enabled AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. But after unplugging it and moving it, that update has been lost and has not returned. But what’s even more maddening, when I brought this up to Roku on Twitter, and was directed to DM them with the issue, Roku went silent on me. Here’s a screenshot of my interaction with them. The interaction starts at the bottom of the screenshots and the most recent message is at the top:

Roku as of yet hasn’t chosen to respond to me. Not to say that they’re looking into it, not to say that they have a solution. Nothing. As apparently that’s becoming common based on the Reddit and Twitter posts that I am reading. That likely implies that whatever is going on, is quite serious. But in the absence of hard fact, that’s just speculation.

Now I am reaching out to Roku to get their side of the story, and I will update this post when I get it. But here’s the main issue. If Roku does have some sort of issue with Roku OS 9.4, you as a Roku owner can’t stop it from hitting your TV. Roku has to stop pushing it out from their end. Perhaps they have done that. I don’t know because they haven’t said anything about that as far as I can tell. Roku would really do themselves a favor by clarifying what is going on and what they’re doing to remedy whatever is going on. Because at present, they have a lot of upset users out there who are looking for help.

UPDATE: So the issue with the Streambar that I got from Roku for review purposes was due to the fact that it was a review unit. Roku has fixed that and the Streambar is now fully functional with HomeKit and AirPlay 2. Roku is apparently looking into the issues that I raised in my story and I will update this post when I hear back from them.