Archive for January 19, 2023

The Hisense U68HF Fire TV Comes to Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 19, 2023 by itnerd

Hisense is bringing more choice to Canadian consumers by adding new Amazon Fire TV products to its innovative TV line-up.

Now available exclusively at, the Hisense U68HF is the company’s first smart television with Amazon’s Fire TV built in. The 50- and 58-inch TV models offer Fire TV’s content-forward experience alongside the always-available intelligence of Alexa, delivering a truly immersive and powerful smart TV to Hisense Canada TV customers. Creating even more robust audio and visual experiences and making it accessible to the masses, the U68HF features Hisense’s proprietary 4K ULED technology, Quantum Dot colour, Dolby Vision HDR, HDR10/HDR10+, a 60Hz variable refresh rate, 240 motion rate and 600 nit peak brightness.

With Fire TV built in, the Hisense U68HF offers consumers a world of entertainment from apps like Prime Video, Netflix and Disney+. Subscription may be required. Plus, stream for free with CBC Gem and more. Customers also benefit from Fire TV’s expansive features including: 

  • Alexa Voice Remote, allowing users to use their voice to search and launch more than 100 apps, change channels, search for titles, play music or control other devices in their smart home.
  • Integration with smart home devices, including doorbells, cameras and more, and the ability to view video feeds from compatible doorbells and smart home cameras with features like Live View Picture-in-Picture.
  • Game Mode Plus, which decreases input lag, reduces response time and frame-rate issues on next-generation game consoles via HDMI connectivity, 60Hz Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode.

Available exclusively on, the 50″ U68HF is available for $649.99 with a larger 58″ model available for $799.99.

Bring Your Own License Now supported With Nutanix On OVHcloud

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 19, 2023 by itnerd

OVHcloud who has recently received the Nutanix EMEA Service Provider of the Year partner award, continues to enrich its Nutanix on OVHcloud solution by adding a BYOL offer in addition to existing packaged offerings. Current Nutanix customers and partners can now bring their Nutanix Cloud Platform* licenses onto OVHcloud dedicated and Nutanix-qualified High Grade HCI Intel servers benefiting from license portability and application migration transparency. Their Nutanix hyperconverged environment (HCI) is pre-deployed in just a few hours and ready to be used with their personalized infrastructure.

Nutanix on OVHcloud solution enables faster application migration from on-premises to the cloud all the while benefiting from OVHcloud infrastructure. Thanks to a low carbon footprint and best-in class PUE & WUE indexes, OVHcloud infrastructure stands out by its overall sustainability including a circular approach where the server lifecycle is thoroughly optimized. Furthermore, OVHcloud datacenters comply with high security and data protection standards.

With this new offering, OVHcloud can fulfill users’ needs, from addressing seasonal infrastructure peaks in-demand to building a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP), all the while providing a cost-effective solution. Just like the Nutanix on OVHcloud packaged offer, the BYOL offer is comprised of 27 variants of dedicated and Nutanix-qualified High Grade HCI Intel processor-based servers and includes in/out traffic, which contributes to improved OPEX for significant savings when compared to non-HCI IaaS. 

Nutanix on OVHcloud solution is a scalable and ready-to-use HCI platform, in packaged offer and now also in BYOL offer, based on OVHcloud dedicated Nutanix-qualified Private Cloud infrastructures. It is now available for online ordering across EMEA and Canada with datacenters located in Canada, France, Germany and UK.

More Than Half of Canadian TV Streamers Now Stream Ad-Supported TV: Roku Study

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 19, 2023 by itnerd

Today, Roku revealed the results of its third annual Video-on-Demand (VOD) Evolution study, examining Canadian TV streaming behaviours and trends. According to the study, three quarters (76 per cent) of Canadians are TV streamers, and ad-supported TV is on the rise with over half (52 per cent) tuning in.

The current macro-economic situation seems to have had an impact on Canadian TV households, with 18 per cent planning to cancel or downgrade their cable/satellite package in the next 12 months, and 47 per cent of respondents looking to make some changes to the selection of TV streaming services they use.

Streaming shifts and the FlexiVOD emergence in Canada 

Whether they’re downgrading from paid to free, upgrading from free to paid, or even resubscribing to services, TV streamers are on the move. With more services available than ever before, consumers carefully pick and choose what they pay for. This FlexiVOD trend is likely influenced by the fact that 57 per cent of TV streamers feel they have less disposable income than before.

When it comes to content, live TV is winning popularity, with 49 per cent of Canadians watching live TV such as sports and other key events on demand through TV streaming. This is a significant increase from 30 per cent using VOD services to stream live TV in 2020.

The rise of ad-supported TV: A deeper dive 

As ad-supported TV popularity grows, Canadian TV streamers are spending five hours per week with it (an increase of 14 per cent year-over-year, which also includes BVOD). The majority (76 per cent) are also taking measurable actions such as searching for more information, visiting the brand, adding to basket, and more after seeing the ads.

When it comes to consumer preferences for TV advertising, nearly half (48 per cent) of streamers under 35 say they prefer when the tone of a TV ad matches the program in which they see it; and 47 per cent say they’re more likely to pay attention to ads that reflect or are relevant to their mood. Some Canadians are also interested in engaging with ad formats such as QR codes.

Additional insights: 

  • 29 per cent of streamers are “Cord Nevers,” i.e., consumers who have never paid for cable.
  • The average age of monthly TV streamers is 44.
  • More streamers are collectively watching programming with subtitles – 86 per cent of anglophone streamers and 64 per cent of francophone streamers – compared to dubbed content.

To learn more about the study, and to download the full report, please click here.

About Roku’s VOD Evolution Canada Survey

Roku’s 2023 Video on Demand (VOD) Evolution study examined Canadian TV streaming behaviour and trends. This is Roku’s third study of Canadians’ TV streaming habits, and an update to its research in 2020 and 2021. Like those, this study is based on the results of an online survey of Canadian adults aged 18+ who use the internet and watched TV at least once in the last month. Fuse Insights research commissioned by Roku took place between July and August 2022, with a sample size of 2,001 Canadians nationally representative by age, gender, and geography.

Tango Card Launches Dramatically Expanded Global Catalog and Capabilities  

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 19, 2023 by itnerd

Tango Card, a global leader in rewards, incentives, and payment fulfillment has dramatically increased the number of countries and currencies able to benefit from the global reach of its streamlined and secure digital gift card delivery system.

During the last two years, Tango Card has been building the systems and processes enabling it to be the true global provider of rewards and incentives to B2B buyers. With today’s launch and announcement, Tango Card offers more than 1,000 popular e-gift card brands, prepaid cards and charitable donation options across more than 80 countries and 20 currencies. With this fully global expansion, Tango Card’s service is now accessible to 97 percent of the world’s population.

Tango Card’s global selection of gift cards is delivered via a technology first, tested, and proven Rewards as a Service (RaaS®) API. And is used for a variety of use cases, including employee recognition, marketing incentives, customer acquisition, customer loyalty, and a variety of payment disbursements. Gift cards are delivered digitally and arrive in the local currency of the recipient. Tango Card then supports these recipients with the best recipient support in the business.  

This global launch is the first of many developments planned for Tango Card in 2023, including multiple feature rollouts, a complete rebranding and further expansions aimed at solidifying the company’s position as the global gift card leader

Apple Is Now Up To Three Lawsuits Over iPhone Data Collection…. And Counting

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 19, 2023 by itnerd

You might recall that last year that a security researcher named Tommy Mysk discovered that regardless of whether you allowed your iPhone to send analytics data to Apple or not, iPhones and specifically Apple apps were sending that data anyway. That led to a lawsuit. Then it led to a second lawsuit. And now the number of lawsuits is up to three:

Paul Whalen, the attorney suing Apple in the New York suit, told Gizmodo he’s worked on a number of high-profile data breach cases over the last 20 years, matters that often involve unintentional errors. This isn’t one of those cases, he said.

“Those data breaches happened in large part because someone made a mistake that shouldn’t have occurred,” Whalen said. “In this case, with Apple, there doesn’t appear to be a mistake. Apple knowingly promised one thing and did exactly the opposite. That is what makes this case feel so very different.”

The fact is that Apple is in very deep trouble here. And they really need to speak to this whole situation as simply letting people sue them and saying nothing isn’t a strategy that’s going to work long term. I say that because they have to address the perception that they’ve lied about privacy on their platform. And the longer that they go without doing that, the worse it will get for them. Thus if they were smart, they’d come out and address this head on. This is on top of the fact that there are sure to be more lawsuits regarding this, and the best way to mitigate that is to address this head on.

Here’s the problem with that, Apple rarely does that. They would rather let people sue them and find some way to make whatever issue that they are dealing with go away rather than address the issue in question head on. That’s the sort of thing that works until it doesn’t. And I’m calling it now, it’s not going to work in this case.

Mailchimp Pwned AGAIN

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 19, 2023 by itnerd

Last year, Mailchimp got pwned by hackers. And there was some collateral damage along the way. Fast forward to today and Mailchimp is admitting that they’ve been pwned again and that dozens of customers’ data was exposed:

It’s the second time the company was hacked in the past six months. Worse, this breach appears to be almost identical to a previous incident. Mailchimp said in an unattributed blog post that its security team detected an intruder on January 11 accessing one of its internal tools used by Mailchimp customer support and account administration, though the company did not say for how long the intruder was in its systems, if known. Mailchimp said the hacker targeted its employees and contractors with a social engineering attack. The hacker then used those compromised employee passwords to gain access to data on 133 Mailchimp accounts, which the company notified of the intrusion. One of those targeted accounts belongs to e-commerce giant WooCommerce. In a note to customers, WooCommerce said it was notified by Mailchimp a day later that the breach may have exposed the names, store web addresses and email addresses of its customers, though it said no customer passwords or other sensitive data was taken.

At this point, it is clear that Mailchimp is not a company that you can rely upon as two hacks in a one year time is not a good look to say the least. Thus if you’re a Mailchimp customer, you might want to consider taking your business elsewhere to someone who is more secure. Or at least, doesn’t get pwned as often as Mailchimp seems to.

Is Apple Trolling Us With The New HomePod?

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 19, 2023 by itnerd

I have to admit that I am not getting what Apple is up to here.

Apple released a new HomePod at $299 USD yesterday. And it has the following features:

  • From the press images, it looks almost exactly like the original HomePod.
  • It comes in white and “Midnight” which I guess is the new black in the Apple reality distortion field. Either way, those are the same colour choices as the original HomePod.
  • It comes with the S7 chip from the Apple Watch Series 7 which replaces the A8 chip that came with the original HomePod. And is a step up from the S5 chip from the HomePod mini. That should make this new HomePod faster, but having used the HomePod mini for 2 years, I can’t say that they are slow.
  • This HomePod can apparently sense temperature and humidity. But fun fact: The same sensors are on the HomePod mini but Apple didn’t activate them. Though that will change next week with a software update.
  • There’s a U1 chip to hand off audio from an iPhone. But fun fact: The HomePod mini has this too.
  • It has a four-inch high-excursion woofer, five tweeters, and four microphones. But fun fact: The original HomePod had two more tweeters and two more microphones. So you can argue that this is a bit of a downgrade.
  • It has a bigger screen at the top versus the original HomePod to bring it in line with the design language of the HomePod mini.
  • It has Thread and Matter support, just like the HomePod mini.
  • It can recognize sounds like smoke and CO2 alarms and send push notifications to your phone to let you know that it heard something. But that’s coming to the HomePod mini and this HomePod in a future software update.
  • It can adjust the audio to fit the room that you’re in. But fun fact: The HomePod mini does this already.
  • Just like every other version of the HomePod, only people within Apple’s walled garden can use the HomePod. Or put another way, your friends on Android will have to bring their own speakers to your home if they want to play music from their phones and tablets.

The thing is based on the above, why should anyone buy one? No really. That’s a serious question. Let me explain.

For starters, it’s at the same price that Apple discontinued the original HomePod at. And as I mentioned earlier, you can argue that while they gave you a faster processor and brought it in line with from a feature perspective with the HomePod mini, you’re getting less in the audio department. Though to be fair, that’s going to have to be tested by tech YouTubers and we will find out quickly if having two less microphones and two less tweeters makes a difference in the real world. And what doesn’t help is that the HomePod mini is so good at $99 USD that I see zero reason to buy or recommend a HomePod at $299. Honestly, my review of the HomePod mini from 2020 was glowing. And this new HomePod would have to utterly destroy the HomePod mini to make me want to replace any of the four HomePod minis that I own with a HomePod. And the fact that a lot of the features that Apple highlighted the HomePod mini either does already, or will be doing soon really cements the fact that I feel like Apple is trolling us here. It’s as if they said this over at Apple Park when they were planning this product:

“The original HomePod failed because it was too expensive. So let’s add some stuff from the HomePod mini, take away some stuff to increase our profit margins where we think nobody will notice it, and release it at the same price that the original HomePod was reduced to before it tanked. What could go wrong?”

If Apple has some brilliant plan behind this HomePod, I’m currently not seeing it. Though, part of me wonders if this is the first step in a larger plan by Apple to take over the home by using the HomePod as a beach head to do so. And all of this will eventually make sense in a couple of years when there’s a full line of HomePod products as well as other products that work with HomePod. I hope that’s the case because in the here and now, it seems that Apple is just releasing this new HomePod in hopes that they are going to strike gold after the first one crashed and burned in such a spectacular manner. I guess we’ll see in the next couple of years what the plan is, or isn’t from Apple.

EnGenius Announces ECW270 Outdoor Access Point

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 19, 2023 by itnerd

EnGenius expands its enterprise Cloud solution with the rugged ECW270, a top-of-the-line outdoor access point (AP). With an IP68 rating, one of the highest outdoor ratings available, it protects from extreme dust, torrential rain, and even immersion under high pressure. 

This industrial-grade Cloud Managed AP boasts Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) technology and a 4×4 antenna designed for superior wireless communication even in harsh outdoor environments. It can provide network coverage to many simultaneous client connections, which is perfect for business parks, apartment complexes, senior living, airports, school campuses, and outdoor venues.  

The ECW270’s high-powered radios provide the ability to mesh the access point at greater distances and blanket larger areas with Wi-Fi minimizing expensive cable runs. IT professionals can use the existing 2.4 GHz (5 dBi) and 5 GHz (7 dBi) detachable antennas to flood an area with Wi-Fi or swap out the antennas for more demanding environments with specific requirements. 

The ECW270 AP can use its primary Ethernet port, which supports 2.5 GigE PoE++, to easily be mounted and attached to light poles, sides of buildings, and exposed ceilings or racks in warehouses up to 300 ft away from the power source. The AP also provides a secondary 1 GigE PoE+ PSE port to pass internet data and power to a surveillance camera or other power-sourcing device.

Key Features and Benefits:

  • High-rated, IP68-rated waterproof & dustproof housing withstands extreme environments 
  • Detachable four (4) 7 dBi 5 GHz & four (4) 5 dBi 2.4 GHz, Omni 360° N-type antennas 
  • Supports up to 2,400 Mbps in 5-GHz band & 1,200 Mbps in 2.4-GHz band 
  • Dual-band 802.11ax with scanning radio for an improved wireless experience
  • 2.5 GigE PoE++ compatible port for easy placement in outdoor spaces 
  • 1 GigE port with PSE (802.3af/at) to power up IP cameras or other compliant devices 
  • High-powered radios to increase meshing distances on either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz 
  • Built-in surge and ESD (electro-static discharge) protection 
  • Wide outdoor operation ranges from -4°F ~ +149°F (-20°C ~ +65°C)

The ECW270 is managed on the EnGenius Cloud, and a single or an unlimited number of these ruggedized APs can be easily installed, configured, and monitored at scale. APs can be quickly scanned, registered, pre- & auto-configured, and remotely monitored and troubleshot. The cloud solution allows IT professionals to dive into AP specifics like device status, throughput and connectivity performance, wireless statistics, and connected wireless device status.

The ECW270 AP is now shipping and EnGenius is offering it at an unmatched value of $999 MSRP through its authorized partner channel. For more information, visit×4-outdoor-access-point/

New Phishing Attacks Pose As Updated HR Policy Announcements In The New Year

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 19, 2023 by itnerd

Crane Hassold, Director of Threat Intelligence at Abnormal Security, is seeing bad actors exploit the transition to the new year by sending out phishing campaigns containing themes of updated human resources (HR) policy announcements to steal employee credentials.

Abnormal Security has looked at campaigns incorporating these themes, and has published a report discussing why the content of these phishing attacks could result in a higher success rate, and providing recommendations about how organizations can better protect themselves from similar attacks.

  1. The first link-based attack imitated a company HR email that announced the release of a new employee handbook, which included a link to a phishing page meant to steal an employee’s name and email credentials.
  2. The second payload-based phishing attack posed as an announcement from the company HR team about updates to the company’s benefits package and requested the recipient review a supposed updated handbook, which opened a phishing page to steal account credentials.

You can read the full report here.

New Email Phishing Attack: Hackers Hide Malware in Blank SVG Image via DocuSign HTML Attachment

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 19, 2023 by itnerd

Researchers at Avanan, A Check Point Company, have revealed its latest research analyzing how hackers hide malicious content inside “blank images,” creating automatic redirects that bypass anti-malware checks. 

  • This technique adds a layer of sophistication to malicious HTML attachments with the <meta> tag, obfuscating the URL to evade link analysis and redirect to a compromised domain. 
  • This email campaign starts with what appears to be a document from DocuSign, requesting the user to review and sign the document. 
  • The document provides an HTM attachment containing an empty SVG image; clicking on the image within the document automatically redirects visitors to a malicious URL.

Jeremy Fuchs, Cybersecurity Researcher/Analyst at Avanan had this comment:

“Hackers can target practically anyone with this technique. Like most attacks, the idea is to use it to get something from the end-user. Any user with access to credentials or money is a viable target. HTM attachments aren’t new, nor are using Base64 trickery. What is new and unique is using an empty image with active content inside–a javascript image–which redirects to a malicious URL. It’s essentially using a dangerous image, with active content inside that traditional services like VirusTotal don’t detect.” 

You can read the full report here. It also has defence strategies in the report that you will find useful as well.