Archive for January 12, 2021

Alienware Announce Tie Up With NVIDIA & AMD Via New Gaming Hardware

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 12, 2021 by itnerd

Alienware has announced a new partnership with NVIDIA and AMD to push the boundaries of PC gaming further.

  • For on-the-go gamers: The New Alienware m15 and m17 R4 delivers a faster and more powerful competitive edge with the next-gen NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 30 Series.
  • For desktop users: The Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10, is designed to power gaming and creation and features AMD’s latest Ryzen™5000Series desktop processors. This will be the first Dell platform to offer AMD’s new Radeon™ RX 6800 XT series graphics, in addition to AMD’s latest Ryzen™ 5000 Series desktop processors.

Alienware is also revealing exciting hardware collaboration news during a livestream event via Twitch.TV/Alienware on Jan. 26 at 3-5pm EST. Put it down in your calendar as it should be cool.

New Launches From Dell Technologies For Students

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 12, 2021 by itnerd

Dell Technologies made a series of announcements for exciting new devices for students. To support students while they study remote:

  • The New Latitude 3120 offers better performance and speed with Intel’s new Pentium® Silver and Celeron® processors. Available as a laptop or 2-in-1, students can collaborate with the best Wi-Fi technology for video conferencing, audio and learning apps, seamlessly at the same time.
  • The Chromebook 3100 with LTE is Dell Technologies’ first Chromebook for Education with LTE and is designed for those learning from areas that don’t have reliable, or any, internet access.

The Chromebook 3100 with LTE is coming this spring, and Dell isn’t confirming pricing at this time. The Latitude 3120 is coming on January 19, starting at $429 USD.

GrandPad To Exhibit Purpose-Built Tablet & Telehealth Platform At All-Digital CES 2021

Posted in Commentary on January 12, 2021 by itnerd

GrandPad has announced that it will exhibit during the all-digital CES 2021 on January 11-14, where it will showcase its purpose-built tablet for people over the age of 75 and corresponding telehealth platform for commercial use. GrandPad is being used to connect more than 1 million seniors in 110 countries with their families, friends, and caregivers. In addition, the GrandPad telehealth platform is being used by a growing array of healthcare companies that provide clinical care and companion care to seniors and other at-risk populations.

The GrandPad tablet was created by the father-son team of Scott and Isaac Lien in 2013 and has since seen rapid adoption among family caregivers, professional caregivers, home health and companion care companies, and clinical care providers because of its ability to break down all major technology barriers for seniors and individuals with physical or cognitive limitations.

For commercial healthcare users, the security and simplicity of GrandPad helps improve telehealth engagement because seniors are able to use the device and they enjoy the interaction more than with traditional telehealth interfaces. 

Key features include:

  • Ready to use, right out of the box — no setup required 
  • Enables pre-loaded “trusted circle” of contacts for the senior
  • Built-in LTE (no home WiFi needed)
  • 24×7 always-on, live, personal tech support
  • Closed network for greater security (no one outside the “trusted circle” can contact a GrandPad user)
  • Secure internet browsing
  • Video and voice calling
  • Multi-party Zoom calling (currently being rolled out on a limited basis)
  • Texting and emailing
  • Family photo and video sharing
  • Curated entertainment content, music, and brain games
  • Streaming radio stations
  • Ergonomic design and enhanced speakers and camera
  • Transportation by Lyft app

To learn more visit GrandPad on the web.

Guest Post: Blockchain Hackers Stole $3.8 Billion In 122 Attacks In 2020 Says Atlas VPN

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 12, 2021 by itnerd

The Atlas VPN team found that blockchain hackers stole nearly $3.78 billion in 122 attacks throughout 2020. Blockchain-linked attacks that happened last year alone account for almost a third (33%) of all time hacks aimed at blockchain projects.

Ethereum (ETH) DApps were the most frequently breached blockchain target. In 2020 alone, there were 47 successful attacks aimed at ETH DApps, which cost victims around $436.36 million or $9.28 million per hack. 

Cryptocurrency exchanges were also highly targeted last year. In 2020, there were 28 cryptocurrency exchange breaches, which together amounted to $300.15 million in losses or approximately $10.72 million per hack.

Blockchain wallets occupy the third spot in the list. Last year, hackers launched 27 successful attacks aimed at crypto wallets, netting $3.03 billion or around $112.12 million per hack. The nature of blockchain wallets makes them the most profitable target to cybercriminals.

Blockchain-linked hacks drop for the first time in 5 years

In 2020, blockchain-related hacks dropped for the first time in the last five years. The year 2019 saw 133 coordinated attacks targeting various blockchain platforms, apps, and tokens. In 2020, the number decreased by 8% to 122. While the drop is not very significant, it still indicates an overall decline in blockchain-related hacks.

When it comes to this year, in January, two successful attacks, as well as one blackmail case involving cryptocurrency, have already been reported. Nevertheless, the numbers are not near the ones recorded in the record-breaking year of 2019, when 31 attack took place in January alone. 

Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, shares her insights for the year ahead:

“It is hard to say what the future holds for the blockchain in terms of security. However, the blockchain-related breaches may continue to decline in 2021.”

To read the full article, head over to:

Darktrace’s Cyber AI Analyst Wins 2021 BIG Award For Innovation

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 12, 2021 by itnerd

Darktrace, the world’s leading cyber AI company, has today announced that its Cyber AI Analyst technology has won the 2021 Business Intelligence Group (BIG) Award for Innovation. The annual awards program recognizes the organizations, products and people that bring new ideas to life.

Cyber AI Analyst is the world’s first AI-powered security analyst. Using supervised and unsupervised machine learning, the technology automatically investigates threats at machine speed, producing easy-to-read security reports that can be actioned in minutes. The technology delivers a 92% time saving and currently performs over 1.4 million security investigations per week. 

In 2019, Cyber AI Analyst was responsible for automatically investigating the activity of nation-state threat group APT41, helping organizations protect themselves against the most sophisticated attacks before the attacker group had even been named.

Guest Post: OVHcloud Illustrates Why Canadian Businesses Need To Properly Scale Online To Maintain Consumer Revenue

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 12, 2021 by itnerd

With the holidays now behind us, data over the final quarter of 2020 showed a significant increase in online shopping in Canada – a testament to the new normal we now find ourselves. As the increased desire of consumers to buy during these peak moments is fantastic for online retail it also brings with it the challenge of not only managing this online traffic, but retaining it. This is where setting the foundation of a strong cloud infrastructure comes into its own.

Global cloud leader OVHcloud, which offers dedicated servers, cloud and web services and is continuing to make waves in the Canadian market, encourages a few key practices businesses can implement moving forward, including:

  • Ensuring a seamless experience online 
  • After a period of just three seconds, a user leaves a page if it loads too slowly. Retailers therefore need to prepare their websites so that they can absorb peak loads and load times do not suffer significantly from the increase in simultaneous connections.
  • Understanding the public and private cloud and what works for your business 
  • Businesses need to better understand what capabilities work best to handle additional resilience against traffic fluctuations. A public cloud can most easily adapt to an increase in resource demand while the private cloud is more readily available as a dedicated resource pool for an organization, offering a high level of security, control and flexibility.
  • Thinking ‘small but mighty’ with performance
  • If you’re a smaller online retailer, virtual private servers (VPS) are valued as a cost-effective alternative, while another way to optimize the performance of a website without necessarily changing the infrastructure is to use content delivery networks (CDNs).

It’s clear from this that businesses need build their infrastructure, maintain this momentum and retain customers choosing to shop online well into 2021. And OVHcloud can help them with that.

Introducing Zoho Projects 7

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 12, 2021 by itnerd

With the current challenges facing distributed work teams, the newest version of Zoho Projects will help users manage projects with features that include:

  • Instant messaging and virtual meetings by integrating with Zoho Cliq and Zoho Meeting.
  • Virtual check-in and check-out by integrating with Zoho’s HR management tool, Zoho People
  • Improved UI that supports multiple themes and single-click navigation
  • Business rules for Tasks – users can set escalation rules for specific tasks
  • Custom view in Gantt chart – save specific views of specific tasks within the Gantt report
  • Status timeline for tasks – identify task bottlenecks at a glance
  • Workdrive integration – better file management and team file sharing capabilities
  • Discuss module – organize chatrooms old and new
  • Single page layout – reach majority of functions and modules from the same page
  • Contacts – CRM contacts to be imported as contacts instead of client users

More details about Projects 7 can be found on the Zoho Blog.

Digital Defense, Inc. Integrates With Palo Alto Networks Cortex XSOAR To Automate Proactive Response

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 12, 2021 by itnerd

Digital Defense, Inc., a leader in vulnerability management and threat assessment solutions, is now integrated with Palo Alto Networks Cortex XSOAR (previously Demisto), the industry’s first extended security orchestration, automation and response platform with native threat intel management that empowers security leaders with instant capabilities against threats across their entire enterprise.

Through this integration, Digital Defense Frontline.Cloud and Cortex XSOAR deliver the ability to:

  1. Assess a set of assets within a network segment or specific domain as either under attack or at high-risk of being compromised.
  2. Develop a playbook, based on either risk score or threat level, for identifying the assets in question and quarantining that segment to prevent the spread of infection and give administrators the time needed to take remediation steps.

Digital Defense Frontline.Cloud can leverage the power of Palo Alto Networks Cortex XSOAR – combined with its own unique real-time profiling, assessment of vulnerable assets and threat scanning – to provide customers a way to take immediate action, prevent the spread of advanced threats and mitigate the possibility of a successful breach.

Cortex XSOAR is an extended security orchestration, automation and response platform that unifies case management, automation, real-time collaboration and threat intel management to transform every stage of the incident lifecycle. Teams can manage alerts across all sources, standardize processes with playbooks, take action on threat intel and automate response for any security use case – resulting in significantly faster responses that require less manual review.

How Tech Is Keeping Me Fit & Sane During Lockdown

Posted in Commentary on January 12, 2021 by itnerd

The year 2020 didn’t go exactly as planned. And 2021 isn’t starting out that great either. That’s because of the global pandemic where terms like “lockdown” and phrases like “You’re on mute” became part of our everyday language. Early on in lockdown I made the decision to focus on my fitness to keep myself fit and sane. And my gateway for that was cycling. Indoor cycling to be specific. I’m not talking about Peloton. But something that is more in line with the type of road cycling that I do. Now I have invested in a fair amount tech to make that happen, so let me walk you through what that tech is and how it fits in:

  • Zwift: This is a massively multiplayer online cycling and running physical training program that enables users to interact, train and compete in a virtual world. You can get clients for iOS, Android, PC and Mac. Zwift allows players to ride their bicycles on stationary bikes or smart trainers while navigating through virtual worlds. You can cycle freely around the game worlds which include Richmond Va, London, Yorkshire, New York, Innsbruck among others, and join organized group rides, races, or workouts with other users. Zwift uses ANT+ or Bluetooth Low Energy technologies to transmit data that, in combination with my weight and equipment choices, is used to convert the my efforts as speed and power in watts. While there are other platforms out there for this sort of thing, Zwift are the leaders this space. At least for now.
  • I’ve chosen to run Zwift on a PC, which meant that I had to build my on PC. Here’s the specs of what I built:

Is this the hardest core gaming PC? No, but it does the job quite well and perhaps borders on overkill for Zwift as this setup is way above the minimum requirement for Zwift.

  • Tacx Neo 2T Smart Trainer. “Smart” trainers, which include a built-in power meter, permit accuracy in the measurement of watts as well as enabling an immersive technology experience, where resistance is applied or lessened to simulate the gradient encountered on the virtual courses in Zwift. This specific smart trainer is the most immersive trainer that money can buy. It can simulate road surfaces, uphills, and downhills almost perfectly. It connects to the computer via  ANT+ or Bluetooth Low Energy. I use the latter. You put your bike on this this trainer so that it looks like this:

The net result is that I have a setup that does more than a reasonable job of replicating real world riding. Seeing as I have the computer hooked up to this 4K TV from TCL that sits in our living room, I can run this at 4K 60 frames per second to maximize the realism. For the record I don’t do that because it is too realistic for my wife who gets motion sickness at that resolution when she uses this setup. Therefore I run it at 1440P instead to avoid that. Here’s what the environment looks like:

You can find me on Zwift pretty much every day doing a virtual ride of some sort. I’ve developed a somewhat structured training program that currently looks like this:

  • Monday: An “easy” 60 minute group ride at up to 1.3 watts per kilogram. Riding in a group tends to work you harder than riding solo.
  • Tuesday: A “harder” 50 minute group ride at up to 2.0 watts per kilogram
  • Wednesday: This is a day where I can do a race, a structured workout, or just free ride on Zwift. It is up to me to decide what to do so that things don’t get boring.
  • Thursday: A “hard” 60 minute group ride at up to 2.5 watts per kilogram
  • Friday: A Zwift open category race (meaning anyone of any ability can join) that lasts up to 60 minutes and the distance varies. The reason why I do an open category race is that racing is the best way to get a maximum effort workout. And races that have riders from a variety of abilities tend to be harder than races that are categorized by ability. That means you get a better workout as a result.
  • Saturday: An “easy” 90 minute group ride at up to 1.3 watts per kilogram
  • Sunday: An “hard” 90 minute group ride at up to 3 watts per kilogram

Watts per kilogram is a basic power-to-weight ratio measurement that cyclists use. This data point reflects how many watts can you hold for a certain period of time, divided by your weight in kilograms – and can help you to compare your fitness level with others, or just yourself as the higher the watts per kilogram that you can ride at, the faster and fitter you are. So when I choose these group rides, I try to mix in easy rides for recovery, and harder ones to challenge myself. That way I am constantly improving. And as I improve, I change some of the “harder” or “hard” rides for even harder rides. Since lockdown I have made these sorts of changes twice. Though I do mix things up with special events that Zwift sometimes offers to keep things interesting.

Since I have started doing this, two things have happened. First, my resting heart rate has dropped as per this chart from Apple Health and as captured by my Apple Watch Series 6:

Having a lower heart rate is a sign of better health. So that’s good. The other thing that has happened is that I have lost weight. I have gone from about 115 kg to just over 101 kg as per this chart and as captured by my Withings Body+ Smart Scale:

I seem to be losing between 0.5 and 1.5 kg’s a month. So I plan on continuing this to see if I get to below 90 kg’s. What isn’t showing up on either of these charts is my mental health. Since the pandemic started, my interaction with other humans in person has been dramatically cut. So having an outlet and being able to do something is really keeping me from losing my mind. Plus a lot of the rides that I’ve been on have allowed me to make some friends on line that I hope to ride with in the real world once the world stops ending.

That’s a quick overview of the tech that I am using during lockdown to keep myself fit and sane. I hope it gave you some insight and maybe an idea or two so that you can do something similar. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below and I answer them as best as I can.