Archive for February 4, 2021

Bell Rolling Out Fibre Out To More Places…. Further Putting The Pressure On Rogers

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 4, 2021 by itnerd

Rogers is really not going to like this. According to this press release, Bell will be spending a billion dollars over the next two years to fast-track its fibre, wireless and rural network rollouts. Here’s what’s on tap:

  • 900,000 extra fibre and rural Wireless Home Internet locations
  • Double its 5G population coverage this year.
  • Bell says up to 400,000 new homes will get broadband in 2021, along with up to 250,000 extra all-fibre connections, and up to 150,000 more homes covered under Wireless Home Internet.

This is really going to further put pressure on Rogers who already trails them when it comes to the quality and speed of their Internet access. I will be watching to see how Rogers responds to this. Assuming that they can.

SquadCast: Podcasts Evolve With High Fidelity Video Collaboration

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 4, 2021 by itnerd

SquadCast, a SaaS-subscription remote recording platform provider, announced today SquadCast version 3.0 Beta, including Studio Quality Video Recording. The new version – currently available for customers – will be released for general availability in Q1 2021. With the addition of high definition (HD) remote video recording capabilities, SquadCast’s offering will directly challenge Zoom and Skype – products with a larger market share, but a lower quality audio experience.

Podcast consumption has reached 100 million American users and continues adoption as the world is doing more online collaborating remotely. As the podcast market explodes, so does the demand for quality remote recording. A new category has emerged to address the quality gap: Remote Content Production. SquadCast is a market leader in this category with over 12k customers across 123 countries, including marquee brands such as Microsoft, Spotify, ESPN, NPR, iHeartRadio, Kara Swisher, and Shopify.

According to The State of Podcast Interviews 2020SquadCast.fm is the fastest-growing podcast interview platform, growing 141% in 2020. And the demand for video usage in podcasting is up — 12% in 2020 to 36% of all podcasts incorporating video.

Zoom and Skype Not Prepared to Meet Demand for Quality Remote Audio & Video Recording

Well-known recording platform players like Zoom and Skype are ill-equipped to meet the demand for quality audio & video performance. Because both companies process their audio over the Internet, their recordings are vulnerable to poor connections and, therefore, quality. Additionally, a lack of advanced technology to record high-quality audio and video content makes those offerings fraught with issues such as audio drift and a propensity for incomplete audio files due to Internet disconnections. With SquadCast, there are no audio syncing issues, no lost recordings, and no worries for remote guests.

SquadCast’s podcast solution is known for its intuitive audio recording platform that helps podcasters easily connect with their guests to record studio-quality content remotely. SquadCast’s “virtual studio” is used by Independent, Professional, and Enterprise podcast creators to record podcasts remotely. With the addition of video recording, podcast creators will now be able to distribute to other channels like YouTube and social media apps to reach a wider audience.

SquadCast’s version 3.0 Beta with Studio Quality Video Recording consumer plans start at $40/month up to $300/month and offer:

  • Separate iso-track video recorded locally in 720p;
  • Same patented recording engine with lighting fast video rendering;
  • Improved onboarding experience for hosts & guests.

Differentiators: Patent-Pending Progressive Uploading, Audio Drift Solution & Downloadable ISO Tracks

SquadCast is the only podcast recording service that offers patent-pending Progressive Uploading and a solution for audio drift. SquadCast’s Progressive Uploading feature uploads audio files conversations in the background, in real-time. When a conversation is finished, it only takes a few seconds for the audio files to be accessible. Customers will never lose recordings in cases of spotty or dropped Internet connections. SquadCast records all participants in the session locally on separate tracks and automatically uploads the files to the SquadCast cloud. Once a recording is done, the host can download all audio files of the full conversation directly from SquadCast in WAV & MP3 format for audio and MP4 & WebM for video.

SquadCast’s other unique differentiator addresses common audio recording timing issues, known as audio drift when the connections slip out of sync. The company is also building a reputation for making post-production a breeze, which is especially helpful for podcasters with multiple shows. SquadCast enables optimal collaboration for big production teams.

For more information, go to www.SquadCast.fm.

Parler’s CEO Has Apparently Been Shown The Door

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 4, 2021 by itnerd

John Matze, CEO and co-founder of far-right friendly social media platform Parler, said on LinkedIn Wednesday that he has been terminated. Here’s what Axios has to say:

Parler has been at the center of controversy since Amazon Web Services, Apple and Google unplugged the network last month for its lack of content moderation related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. In a memo obtained by Fox News, Matze said that the company’s board of directors, controlled by Republican political donor Rebekah Mercer, terminated him last Friday. He did not participate in the decision, and the reason for the firing remains unknown. 

“Over the past few months, I’ve met constant resistance to my product vision, my strong belief in free speech and my view of how the Parler site should be managed,” Matze wrote. “For example, I advocated for more product stability and what I believe is a more effective approach to content moderation.” “I have worked endless hours and fought constant battles to get the Parler site running but at this point, the future of Parler is no longer in my hands.” Matze will take a few weeks off before looking for new opportunities, he told Parler colleagues.

In terms of him finding new opportunities, given the current political climate that may be a challenge. Though if something from a right leaning organization presented itself to him, that may be his best option in terms of a next gig.

But in terms of why he was fired, perhaps it’s something like this.

First of all, the CEO has one job, and one job only: they are expected to make the company a success and grow shareholder value, and they are the ones responsible for everything.

In this case, he “implemented a system of content moderation that he believed was more effective.” Clearly it was not as Parler was Thanos snapped off the Internet. The results are Parler lost access to their core infrastructure and their name and brand is utter garbage across the country. Many people had never heard of Parler before this, but now they have and that’s not the best impression to make. This directly affects shareholder value and thus he was shown the door. As a bonus, having him exit shows shareholders that Parler is going to go in a new direction to get some value back. That’s my take. But what do you think? Leave a comment and share your view.

Software Update For Sennheiser TeamConnect Ceiling 2 Now Available

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 4, 2021 by itnerd

Widely used in corporations and higher education institutions, TeamConnect Ceiling 2 has become a leading microphone solution for conferencing audio in business and distance learning applications. Now Sennheiser is opening a new chapter for its ceiling microphone array. A free firmware update brings TeamConnect Ceiling 2 into the heart of a voice amplification system: TruVoicelift ensures clearly audible in-room audio for classrooms, lecture halls, and boardrooms, with many easily controllable features that make for a pleasant and clear listening experience.

A free update for clear in-room audio

For existing TeamConnect Ceiling 2 (TCC2) implementations, users can now add the TruVoicelift functionality simply by installing the free firmware update (1.6.4) via the new version of the Sennheiser Control Cockpit app (4.3.0).

New users gain two solutions in one from the start and will be delighted by the ease of installation, freedom of movement and clear audio that TCC2 offers. Depending on the size and configuration of the room, additional TeamConnect Ceiling 2 microphones can be installed as audience mics, thus creating a completely touchless microphone solution that reduces potential hygiene risks.

Clever features for an even better listening – and presentation – experience

TruVoicelift is powered by an advanced frequency shift algorithm that delivers a few crucial extra dB of gain – an enhancement that could make all the difference to perfectly hearing the lecturer or CEO. At the same time, TruVoicelift also includes a “feedback prevention mute” function – if levels should get too loud, TCC 2 briefly mutes to prevent any feedback. Speakers can therefore relax and focus on their presentation, knowing that TeamConnect Ceiling 2 will provide optimum audio for their audience.

During pauses in speaking, if a pre-defined audio threshold is not reached, a noise gate will be activated that mutes TeamConnect Ceiling 2 to prevent any background noise from being amplified.

All TruVoicelift settings can be conveniently controlled via the Sennheiser Control Cockpit app. The app also allows you to easily create “priority zones”, i.e. areas where audio is predominantly picked up. This is helpful for any set-ups where audio usually comes from a defined place, such as the front of a lecture hall. Also, you can define “advanced exclusion zones”, enabling you to target and exclude noise sources with pinpoint accuracy, such as air conditioning or ventilation equipment.

You can get the Sennheiser Control Cockpit update (4.3.0) here.

You can get the TeamConnect Ceiling 2 firmware update (1.6.4) here.

You can find out more about TruVoicelift here.

Self-Sovereign Identity Solutions Provider Northern Block Selects Acuant For Identity Verification & Compliance

Posted in Commentary with tags , on February 4, 2021 by itnerd

Acuant, a leading global provider of identity verification solutions, today announced that Northern Block has seamlessly integrated its Identity Proofing and Compliance technology to offer their customers best-in-class Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) and Verifiable Credential solutions. With Acuant solutions implemented, Northern Block customers have the confidence to accurately verify identities across all channels and provide a faster and more secure process for clients with high-value transaction requirements.

Northern Block helps companies acquire new customers with an improved onboarding experience that builds confidence and trust in the brand to increase the lifetime value of customers. Products including Acuant are easily integrated to existing systems in as little as one week, providing companies outstanding ROI.

Northern Block assessed multiple vendors to meet its fraud prevention and privacy expectations while offering a secure, user-centric experience. It selected Acuant due to the accuracy of its identity verification technology, the fact that their identity document library is composed of more than 6,000 ID types (covering more than 200 countries and territories), and critically, that Acuant does not store user data. Both companies share data privacy as a key imperative and are members of the Digital Identification and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) which is committed to securing the future of digital identities for both consumers and businesses.

Acuant is a leading global provider of identity verification, regulatory compliance (AML/KYC) and digital identity solutions. Our Trusted Identity Platform is powered by AI and human assisted machine learning to deliver unparalleled results and operational efficiency. Omnichannel deployment delivers seamless customer experiences to fight fraud, increase conversions and establish trust in seconds. With leading partners in every major industry and completing more than 1billion transactions in over 200 countries and territories, Acuant is the leader in global coverage.

Northern Block is a leading global provider of self-sovereign identity, blockchain, verifiable IDs & documents and automated business workflow technology headquartered in Toronto, Canada. We work with visionary companies that want to implement transformative business processes using the above-mentioned technologies. Northern Block is active in the decentralized identity community, contributing to the Trust over IP Foundation, the Digital Identity and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) and the Digital Identity Lab of Canada.

Toronto’s Top Super Bowl Ordering Trends On SkipTheDishes

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 4, 2021 by itnerd

Super Bowl LV may look a little different this year but one thing we can count on—the snacks. SkipTheDishes is delivering from your favourite Toronto restaurants, going beyond the endzone and right to your door for the big game this Sunday.

To kick-off the celebration, SkipTheDishes tackled the data on Toronto-area ordering trends for last year’s Super Bowl. The huddle is real on these numbers:

  • There was an almost 15% increase in Toronto orders during Super Bowl 2020 compared to the week before…looks like Torontonians were in total feast mode for the game!
  • When we stack up the numbers on total burgers vs. wings ordered across the Skip network, it’s a dead heat—at just over 11,000 orders for each, this one is too close to call. We’ll leave it up to a coin toss for who wins this one! 
  • For game-day favourites, some of the most popular nacho orders across Canada included nachos grande, chili cheese and an honourable mention for nachos fries, while the MVP of wing flavours was the always-classic hot wings
  • Torontonians were wide-open for deliveries at game time with 64% of orders placed on Superbowl Sunday happening during the game! 
  • Toronto’s top three items during last year’s game were:
    • Chicken burgers
    • Wings
    • Chicken nuggets

Will this year’s deliveries break 2020’s record of kilometres travelled, or yards gained, for 2021 orders? SkipTheDishes be watching the data to find out!

To make this year’s game extra special, you’ll see SkipTheDishes on your TV’s throughout the pregame and throughout the game with their new Jon Hamm spot going live during the game.

And throughout COVID-19, SkipTheDishes has been hungry to help—that’s why they have given over $43 million million back to their restaurant partners and communities through commission rebates and order-driving initiatives across the country since March 2020. 

Super Bowl LV Starts On TikTok

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 4, 2021 by itnerd

Super Bowl Sunday will look different this year, but TikTok is making sure it’s still going to be a party! With the NFL, TikTok will host their first-ever #TikTokTailgate, a two hour, virtual pregame experience featuring a live performance by the one and only Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus).

The musical performances will take place in front of 7,500 vaccinated health care heroes the NFL invited to attend Super Bowl LV, but fans across the U.S. and Canada can join the party by tuning into @NFL on TikTok, starting at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT.

#TikTokTailgate will be hosted by Steve Harvey (@steveharvey) and MJ Acosta (@mjacostatv), the TikTok community can expect LIVE appearances from Rebel Wilson (@rebelwilsontiktok), Adam Devine, Kane Brown (@kanebrown), Ajani Huff (@ajani.huff), Dave Jorgenson (@washingtonpost), “TikTok’s most popular QB” Trace McSorley (@tracemcsorley), and more as they discuss their favorite tailgate food, who they think will win Super Bowl LV, and what the perfect touchdown celebration looks like. TikTok foodies and creators including our very own Canadian celebrity chef @mattymatheson, along with @chefcuso@goodeatswithtati, and @acooknamedmatt will also share their best game day recipes so fans can recreate the tailgate dishes they’ve been craving.

The TikTok Tailgate will culminate in a LIVE concert from Grammy-nominated artist  Miley Cyrus, who will also be performing in front of 7,500 vaccinated health care heroes the NFL invited to attend Super Bowl LV in Tampa starting at 3:30PM ET/12:30PM PT.

Trend Micro Highlights 4 Challenges Of Cloud Migration For Healthcare Organizations

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 4, 2021 by itnerd

Trend Micro has found that healthcare organizations (HCOs) have accelerated their spending on cloud migration, but many may be over-estimating their ability to protect these environments.

Trend Micro commissioned Sapio Research to survey more than 2,500 IT decision makers in 28 countries, including Canada, across several industry sectors. For HCOs in particular, The results revealed that 88% have accelerated their cloud adoption because of the pandemic, on par with the global finding. Globally, remote working, cost savings and improved IT agility were three main reasons for the switch to cloud-based infrastructure.

According to the survey findings, rapid shifts to the cloud may leave organizations at higher risk of cyber threats. Here are four challenges HCOs in Canada are reportedly faced when moving to cloud-based environments:

  • Skills shortages: Half (49% vs. 43% globally) revealed that skills gaps are a persistent barrier to migrating to cloud security solutions.
  • Day-to-day operations: Setting and maintaining policies (32% vs. 34%), patching and vulnerability management (29% vs. 32%), and misconfigurations (35% vs 32%) were challenges of protecting cloud workloads.
  • Increased costs: 43% (same as global result) have spent more on capital expenses and paying for contracted out services, while 43% (vs. 39% globally) have spent more on operational and training costs since migrating.
  • Security responsibility: Over one-third (37% vs. 48%) are confident they understand their part of the Shared Responsibility Model.

While cloud migration isn’t simple, it can be enabled and improved using the right security tools.

The healthcare sector has been on the frontline in the struggle against COVID-19, and digital transformation can make a positive impact on productivity and patient care during this time of critical need. However, it is essential that the broader attack surface of an expanded digital infrastructure is given due consideration.

With the right cloud-ready solutions in place, HCOs can maximize cloud benefits without putting mission-critical systems or patient data at risk. Such tools can also minimize skills challenges by spotting misconfigurations, automating patching and policy management, and integrating security into DevOps, across both cloud and on-premise environments.

Surprise! Clearview AI Broke Canadian Privacy Laws…. Not That They Care

Posted in Commentary with tags , on February 4, 2021 by itnerd

Clearview AI is back in the news for all the wrong reasons. It has come to light in the last 24 hours that the company who is known for scraping social media for pictures so that it can use them to power its facial recognition tech for various law enforcement agencies has a product that is effectively illegal in Canada according to a joint investigation involving the Canadian Privacy Commissioner, Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, and the Information Privacy Commissioner of Alberta. The report put out by this group is pretty damming and doesn’t paint Clearview AI in a positive light and the company really is giving Canada the metaphorical middle finger:

In disagreeing with our findings, Clearview alleged an absence of harms to individuals flowing from its activities. In our view, Clearview’s position fails to acknowledge: (i) the myriad of instances where false, or misapplied matches could result in reputational damage, and (ii) more fundamentally, the affront to individuals’ privacy rights and broad-based harm inflicted on all members of society, who find themselves under continual mass surveillance by Clearview based on its indiscriminate scraping and processing of their facial images.

In terms of remedies, noting that it had withdrawn from the Canadian market during our investigation, Clearview stated that it was “prepared to consider” remaining outside of the Canadian market for a further two years, while our Offices developed relevant guidance. Clearview suggested that it would be appropriate for our Offices to suspend our investigation and not issue this final report, and that during such a suspension, it “would be willing to take steps, on a best efforts and without prejudice basis, to try to limit the collection and distribution of the images that it is able to identify as Canadian” [emphasis added]. Clearview has not committed to following our recommendations. The Offices view it as inappropriate to suspend the investigation and not issue this Report. We therefore find the matter to be well-founded and restate the recommendations in our preliminary findings.

It’s nice to know that Canadian authorities aren’t willing to take Clearview AI’s bulls**t. Which is what this company is pedaling at this point based on their blog. It really seems that Clearview AI is going out of their way to defend their behavior. In fact that they use the age old technique of justifying it by claiming that they put the bad guys in jail and said bad guys would otherwise go free if it were not for their technology. To me that’s really lame. And they really need to address the fact that they have broken the law in Canada if they want to be seen as a good corporate citizen. Until then, Canadian authorities need to keep putting the pressure on Clearview AI to change it behavior. Especially since getting any photos that the company has of you out of their database is a challenge that the company appears to be unwilling to address.

Cisco AppDynamics Delivers Industry-First Solution For Application-Led Security

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 4, 2021 by itnerd

AppDynamics, a part of Cisco and the world’s #1 APM solution and full-stack, business-centric observability platform, today announced Cisco Secure Application, the industry’s first solution to drastically simplify vulnerability management, defend against attacks and protect applications – from the inside-out. Co-innovated with the Cisco Security business, the world’s largest enterprise security company, this new solution correlates security and application insights through a single solution. Built natively into the AppDynamics platform, users benefit from reduced alert fatigue, real time threat detection, and automatic breach prevention. The result is businesses’ confidence in application performance without the fear of significant damage to brand reputation and customer trust.

Organizations are increasingly reliant on applications to engage with and deliver services to customers, which leads to huge volumes of personal user data being housed within the application. As a result, organizations face increased vulnerability to cyber threats and security incidents. This challenge is further exacerbated as they continue to support more employees working from home who are using laptops and devices connected to the public internet. This is testing the limits of monitoring practices and vastly expanding the IT perimeter, creating new weaknesses and vulnerabilities in even the most secure IT estates. Failure to have the right processes and solutions in place to safeguard data housedin applications not only puts brand reputation and consumer trust at risk, but also may cost organizations millions of dollars in the event of a breach.

With applications now running anywhere from on-premise to multi-cloud and cloud-native microservices, combined with accelerated innovation, the need for an application-led approach to security is paramount. This critical shift will enable technologists to identify vulnerabilities within the application during production, correlate vulnerabilities and breaches with business impact, and bring together Application and Security teams to facilitate speedy remediation.

With Secure Application, IT teams will no longer sacrifice security for velocity. Secure Application is the only solution that uniquely brings together business performance and security insights with zero friction​ to protect brands against slowdowns and exploits.

With Secure Application, enterprise IT teams will have access to:

  • Automatic runtime protection: Visibility into an application’s true behavior to easily detect attacks, identify deviations, and block attacks automatically.
  • Simplified vulnerability management: Access at the code level to detect dependency and configuration level security vulnerabilities in production.
  • Security insights informed by business impact: Security details correlated with the application topology to apply business relevance to security events and helps teams focus on the incidents that matter most.
  • Collaboration between Application and Security teams: Shared context for Application and Security teams for optimal collaboration, improved security posture, and healthy digital business.

AppDynamics with Cisco Secure Application is currently accessible through early availability. Learn more about Secure Application here.