Archive for the Commentary Category

Syngenta & AI For Good Foundation Announce winner Of Syngenta AI Challenge

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 16, 2017 by itnerd

Syngenta and the AI for Good Foundation have named Tzvi Aviv, Ph.D., of Aviv Innovation and his partner, Vanessa Lundsgaard-Nielsen, Ph.D., of the University of Toronto, as the winners of the Syngenta AI Challenge. The contest recognizes and rewards innovative thinkers who use artificial intelligence (AI) tools to improve plant breeding by challenging them to create a model that predicts seed variety performance.

The team earned a $5,000 prize for its entry, Ensemble of Cubist Models for Soy Yield Prediction using Soil Features and Remote Sensing Variables, following finalists’ presentations at the SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The winning submission set forth a novel mathematical model that can be used to help plant breeders determine the performance and viability of seed varieties—and inform commercial variety advancement decisions.

AI Challenge participants were provided access to a real-world data set and tasked todesign a model to help scientists analyze extensive soybean seed data more efficiently and effectively, improving the plant breeding process and ultimately, the world’s ability to grow more crops with fewer resources. Due to the complexity inherent in agriculture, data driven models are increasingly being deployed in making seed breeding decisions.

Syngenta, an award-winning company for its innovation in plant breeding analytics, supported this competition, which was sponsored by the AI for Good Foundation and in partnership with IdeaConnection.

The premise of the competition underscores Syngenta’s commitment to make crops more efficient—an essential pillar of The Good Growth Plan, the company’s global initiative to improve the sustainability of agriculture.

For more details about the Syngenta AI Challenge, please


SunBriteTV Outdoor Televisions Facilitate Resort-Like Experiences

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 15, 2017 by itnerd

The summer vacation season is firmly upon us, and as many take to the road or brave the airlines, some smart Americans are forgoing the hassle and expense by making their homes more resort-like for a perfect family staycation.

An outdoor television by SunBriteTV helps bring the entertainment outside, so live sports games, network TV and movie classics can be enjoyed in the beautiful weather, on your own private deck, patio, or favorite outdoor space.

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SunBriteTV’s new 4K Ultra-High Definition (UHD) Veranda Series Outdoor TVs feature superior safety, durability and performance in shaded outdoor areas over standard indoor televisions. Veranda’s screens are up to 30 percent brighter than typical indoor televisions, providing an optimal viewing experience any time of day or night. Rust-proof, powder-coated aluminum exteriors and a watertight cable entry system prevent moisture, insects, dust and salt corrosion from affecting components outside and in. Starting at just $1,499 for the 4K UHD 43-inch model, the new Veranda series is the most affordable true outdoor TVs ever.

Built for permanent outdoor installation in shaded locations, the Veranda Series offers an operating temperature range of -24° to 104°F and storage temperature range from -24° to 140°F. SunBriteTV also offers the new 4K UHD Signature Series for partial sun applications and the rugged Pro Series for full sun.

The IT Nerd’s Back to School Techie Products For 2017

Posted in Commentary on August 15, 2017 by itnerd

Got a student who’s going back to school shortly? Here’s some techie products that they will surely love.



OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock: with an amazing 13 ports, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock brings exceptional connectivity to Thunderbolt 3 laptops and computers through a single Thunderbolt 3 cable, delivering unprecedented power and speed to laptops and other devices. Price: $299


OWC USB-C Dock: full-featured connectivity companion lets you reconnect 10 ports of devices to your USB-C equipped computer, especially important with laptops with limited ports. Price: $148.75



OWC Drive Dock: ultimate, high-performance bare drive access tool. For creative workflows, backup, or other tasks requiring constant access to multiple drives, Drive Dock delivers a compact, easy solution with the performance of Thunderbolt 2 technology. Price: $69.75


OWC Envoy Pro mini: full-sized, fast SSD storage that fits in your pocket. This is not your average thumb drive. Elegant, light, and strong, Envoy Pro mini is full-sized desktop-class SSD performance in the ultimate go-anywhere storage companion – incredibly fast and perfectly portable for your life on the move.
Price: $119-$179

Is there anything that I’ve missed? Post a comment and share your suggestions.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses Why Your Internet Browsing Is Never Anonymous

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 15, 2017 by itnerd

The identity of every Internet user can be easily revealed by following the fingerprints that they leave online, found two German researchers. Secrets and private identities can be exposed – such as someone’s sexual or porn preferences or medications they use. The main offender turned out to be Web of Trust, a “safe surfing” plug-in.

The research, which involved setting up a fake marketing company and asking hundreds of companies to provide raw browsing data of Internet users, showed that the “anonymous” personas of millions of people could be decoded.

Some users can be easily identified by leaving a trail online, such as their Twitter username on some analytics page; for others, analyzing 10 of their visited URLs can be enough to determine their identity.

Big companies, such as Netflix, have already been accused and taken to court by customers whose identities had been exposed.

“If Internet users do not use any security tools, such as VPNs, they should realize that when they go online, nothing that they do on the Internet will remain private,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “Nobody can know when their private browsing history may be exposed and for what reason. That can seriously hurt their personal lives, their careers and even their physical safety – if they are, for example, a political dissident in a country with an authoritarian government.”

“There are a few ways to protect one’s Internet privacy, such as avoiding any kind of plugins and browser extensions, taking note of Terms of Service that might hide intrusion of privacy, and using incognito mode. VPN (Virtual Private Network) can protect browsing history from ISP surveillance. We at NordVPN take users’ privacy very seriously – we don’t keep any information about what anyone does online when they connect to one of VPN servers. We are strictly against any log keeping.”

A VPN encrypts user data through a secure tunnel before accessing the Internet – this protects any browsing data. The only information visible to any third party is that a user is connected to a VPN server and nothing else. All other information is encrypted by the VPN’s security protocol.

NordVPN is determined to secure users’ data with features like double data encryptionor a new CyberSec feature that protects from malware, ads and phishing attempts.


Schneider Electric Showcases A Shore Power Solution For Cruise Ships

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 14, 2017 by itnerd

Schneider Electric Canada has announced the Port of Montreal Shore Power solution for the new Alexandra Pier is now successfully commissioned. On Saturday, August 12, the Holland America Cruise Ship Veendam shut down her diesel engines after docking at the new Alexandra Cruise Terminal in Old Montreal. The ship was connected to the electrical power grid to provide the necessary power to the ship while in port. In doing this, all air pollution caused by the ship’s diesel engines was effectively eliminated.

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The total cost of the project is $11 million (CAD) with funding coming from the federal government, the provincial government as well as the Montreal Port Authority. The commissioning procedure was executed flawlessly.

Schneider Electric commited to sustainability at COP22 Marrakech as an official partner. Schneider Electric is fully committed to fighting climate change and is proud to be a key actor in the Port of Montreal shore power project. Creating a sustainable future is key to Canada’s economic well being. Providing green solutions that help contribute toward the reduction of green house gas emissions is just one of the ways that Schneider Electric is helping Canada create a sustainable future.

The Montreal Port Authority estimates that the shore power project will eliminate upwards of 2,800 tonnes of green house gases annually. This is comparable to reducing the distance driven by passenger vehicles by over 10,000,000 kilometres or replacing upwards of 100,000 incandescent light bulbs with LEDs, according to the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.   

Schneider Electric is a world leader in shore power solutions, with over 50 deployments in North America alone. The Port of Montreal shore power solution represents the first cruise terminal deployment in Canada for Schneider Electric and is a significant demonstration of its capabilities to design and build a sophisticated solution incorporating international standards that enforce safety and interoperability for ships calling on the Port of Montreal.

Guest Post: Why Small Business Should Use The Cloud

Posted in Commentary on August 14, 2017 by itnerd

Cloud computing is using the Internet to deliver hardware and software services instead of keeping physical hardware and software at your office. Many small businesses are migrating to the cloud and experiencing benefits that were never before possible, which is why today, 37 percent of U.S. small businesses have fully adapted to cloud computing, with experts predicting those numbers to double by 2020. The cloud is redefining the way small businesses do business. To learn more about why your business should use the cloud, check out this slideshow from Maryland Computer Service.

Author Bio

Steve Johnson is the owner of Maryland Computer Service Inc. For over a decade, he has been helping businesses with HIPAA compliance and various other IT support services.

Infographic: Social Media Users Struggle To Understand Risks Of Oversharing

Posted in Commentary on August 11, 2017 by itnerd


Source: NordVPN