Archive for September 11, 2023

Google Unveils YouTube Ads Creative Guidance Tool

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 11, 2023 by itnerd

Today, YouTube ads unveiled Google-AI powered solutions that will allow advertisers to effectively unlock creativity on their platform.

The new creative guidance tool in Google ads will auto detect if uploaded campaigns are up to the standard of YouTube’s creative best practices – providing them with input on what is most effective on the platform. This means advertisers will have data-backed input on their campaign impact on the platform – straight from the source. 

This feedback is then made immediately actionable with advertisers ability to then access more AI-powered tools including the ability to add voiceover, perfectly edit their ads for length or orientation, and/or create new immersive and effective ads by adding their creative assets to new templates

Once advertisers have the ideal ad, they can trust our campaign types to then place their campaigns, through AI, in the most relevant context for the multi-format, multi-screen experience that is YouTube.

Read more on the blog here.

Transforming Home Cleaning with iRobot’s Latest Innovations: Roomba Combo j9+ and Roomba j9+

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 11, 2023 by itnerd

Today, iRobot announced the launch of two of its smartest and most powerful models that solve pitfalls faced by competing robots – the flagship Roomba Combo® j9+ robot vacuum and mop and Roomba® j9+ robot vacuumwith new features powered by iRobot OS 7.0.

The Roomba Combo j9+ Robot Vacuum and Mop is designed to tackle dirt, pet fur and debris with unmatched precision. It has also been engineered with a unique Auto-Retract Mopping System that lifts the mop all the way to the top of the robot when detecting carpet, preventing wet messes. The Roomba j9+ Robot Vacuum is the number one robot vacuum for dirt and dust pickup – designed to thoroughly clean and freshen larger homes and those with furry pets.

Roomba Combo j9+

·        Unlike competing 2-in-1 robot vacuum and mops that barely lift their mop pads, iRobot’s D.R.I. (Dry Rug Intelligence) means customers can trust that their Roomba Combo j9+ will keep even high-pile rugs clean and dry. This is made possible because of its unique Auto-Retract Mopping System that lifts the mop all the way to the top of the robot when detecting carpet, preventing wet messes.

·        With Dirt Detective, the Roomba Combo j9+ anticipates cleaning needs for every room in the home, automatically customizes settings and cleans the dirtiest rooms first based on insights from cleaning history, so customers never need to plan where to clean. For tackling stubborn messes on hard floors, SmartScrub adds elbow grease to the mop, working back-and-forth while applying downward pressure.

·        Roomba Combo j9+ Clean Base® Auto-Fill Dock

o   The new, stylish Clean Base® Auto-fill Dock does more than ever to support the Roomba Combo j Series robot vacuum and mop. It empties debris for up to 60 days and refills liquid for up to 30 days for autonomous cleaning.

o   iRobot’s quietest Clean Base dock yet, it has been thoughtfully engineered to produce less noise while it works to empty debris and refill liquid.

  • Available for pre-sale in Canada beginning September 11 for $1,799 CAD on

Roomba j9+

·        #1 Robot Vacuum for Dirt and Dust Pickup1 

·        With Carpet Boost technology, a 3-Stage Cleaning System and Dual Rubber Brushes, the Roomba j9+ automatically detects floor type and adjusts its cleaning power to do everything from sweeping up dust to lifting and removing trapped pet hair from deep carpets. 

·        Like the Roomba Combo j9+, Dirt Detective lets the Roomba j9+ analyze past cleaning preferences, patterns and timing, so it can automatically prioritize rooms that need the most attention and customize settings like suction and number of cleaning passes room-by-room.

·        Powered by iRobot OS and Imprint® Smart Mapping technology, the Roomba Combo j9+ and Roomba j9+ understand more voice commands than other robot vacuum brands. Customers can pair their robot with Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri6 and tell their robot to clean specific rooms or near specific objects like couches, counters, dining tables or a stove.

·        With PrecisionVision navigation, the Roomba Combo j9+ and Roomba j9+ are also able to identify exactly what’s ahead, and if there’s an object it should avoid, it steers clear. This includes cords, pet bowls and toys, litter boxes, cats, dogs and pet waste. iRobot’s P.O.O.P. (Pet Owner’s Official Promise)7 guarantees a replacement if it ever sweeps over accidental pet messes.

  • Available for pre-sale in Canada beginning September 11 for $1,199 CAD on

iRobot OS 7.0

·        Dirt Detective: Plans, Predicts and Drives a Superior Cleaning Experience

o   Powered by iRobot OS, first-of-its kind Dirt Detective intelligence lets the Roomba Combo j9+ and Roomba j9+ automate where it cleans based on its cleaning history, so customers don’t have to think about it. It learns from past cleaning missions to automatically prioritize dirtier rooms and adjust settings like suction, cleaning passes and scrubbing.

·        SmartScrub – Power and Pressure for a Pristine Clean

o   New Roomba Combo j9+ and existing Roomba Combo j7+ customers will be able to enable SmartScrub in targeted rooms, and their robot will scrub back-and-forth with consistent downward pressure to eradicate messes. SmartScrub tackles stubborn messes like grime with 2x deeper scrubbing.

·        iRobot OS 7.0 updates are currently rolling out to customers worldwide.

Fortra and Microsoft DCU Take Legal Action Against Cybercriminals

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 11, 2023 by itnerd

Today I’d like to bring you a story on how three companies are working together to take down the bad guys.

Cybersecurity software and services provider Fortra recently partnered with Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) and the Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Health-ISAC), taking technical and legal action to disrupt cracked, legacy copies of Cobalt Strike and abused Microsoft software, which has been used by cybercriminals to distribute malware, including ransomware. The ransomware families associated with or deployed by cracked copies of Cobalt Strike have been linked to more than 68 ransomware attacks impacting healthcare organizations in more than 19 countries around the world. These attacks have cost hospital systems millions of dollars in recovery and repair costs, plus interruptions to critical patient care services including delayed diagnostic, imaging and laboratory results, canceled medical procedures and delays in delivery of chemotherapy treatments, just to name a few.

On March 31, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a court order allowing Microsoft, Fortra, and Health-ISAC to disrupt the malicious infrastructure used by criminals to facilitate their attacks. Doing so has enabled these three organizations to notify relevant internet service providers (ISPs) and computer emergency readiness teams (CERTs) who assist in taking the infrastructure offline, effectively severing the connection between criminal operators and infected victim computers.

While the exact identities of those conducting the criminal operations are currently unknown, these three companies have detected malicious infrastructure across the globe, including in China, the United States and Russia. In addition to financially motivated cybercriminals, they have observed threat actors acting in the interests of foreign governments, including from Russia, China, Vietnam and Iran, using cracked copies.

Fortra’s Role

The Fortra Cyber Intelligence Team played a critical role in identifying the legitimate versus unauthorized systems as they were observed on the internet and served as the central hub for data collection from other public and private partners that was fed into the legal mechanisms to initiate the takedown processes.  

To date, there has been a decrease in the unauthorized usage of Cobalt Strike overall and what is still being observed is originating more and more from a limited set of countries.

I spoke to Bob Erdman who is the Associate VP, R&D at Fortra about this and he explained to me how this collaboration came about, and that this collaboration between Fortra and Microsoft had benefits beyond taking the actions described above. Specifically the intel the both companies along with Health ISAC gained from working together. One thing that was noted was that the threat actors behind this have moved to places that are difficult to reach for the legal system. Hopefully that changes as the thing with using pirated software is a huge risk due to the fact that threat actors can do anything to the software to get initial access to a company using this software.

I’ve only scratched the surface on this. Thus I encourage you to read more here:

Truth Social Lives…. For Now

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 11, 2023 by itnerd

Last week I posted a story that the Donald Trump owned social network Truth Social may be about to die if it didn’t get the support of the majority of their shareholders to either close or extend a merger with a Miami-based company called Digital World Acquisition.

Well, they got that extension apparently:  

Shareholders voted to grant DWAC (DWAC) another year to pull off its merger with Trump Media & Technology Group, which owns Truth Social, according to an SEC document posted Wednesday. The groups now have until September 8, 2024 to combine.

The extension was approved by about 72% of stockholders, according to a regulatory filingWednesday.

Even though this is good news for Truth Social, it doesn’t solve the fact that this social network has been a train wreck next to a dumpster fire since it launched. And even Donald Trump who himself is a frequent poster on Truth Social has posted on Twitter as of late as part of his grifting attempts to say that his is innocent of all the various criminal charges that he is facing. Thus one has to wonder how much longer Truth Social has to live.