Archive for the Commentary Category

Symphonica: Newest Smartphone Accessories Come Out of the Woodwork

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 22, 2017 by itnerd
Symphonica SoundWorks announced today a new line of acoustic speakers, cases, chargers and remotes for Samsung Galaxy S and Apple iPhone smartphones handcrafted of sustainable woods using environmentally friendly practices.
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Going against the grain of plastic smartphone speakers, the Symphonica™ passive horn speaker organically boosts the volume of sound collected from a smartphone’s external speaker by up to 6 decibels or more without electricity, making it ideal for background ambiance or for listening in a relaxed setting, such as bedside or in an office. Symphonica is designed to enhance all types of music, adding body and warmth to naturally equalized sound. Listeners find heightened clarity in the mids and mid-highs where it matters most for vocals, and many musical instruments.

Sculpted to acoustic perfection, this innovative and beautiful product not only serves a useful purpose, but pleases the eye as well. Subtly reminiscent of the iconic gramophone with its Victrola-style speaker horn, the Symphonica exudes elegance with its graceful curves and swirling wood grains that give each horn its own unique character, and make it an object of natural beauty and an instant conversation starter. Symphonica is compatible for iPhone 5 and later, the Samsung Galaxy S series, and any other smartphone with a similarly placed bottom mounted speaker and charging port.
The design is simplicity itself. There are no buttons. There are no power switches. There is no battery to charge. And no power cables to worry about.
Symphonica Soundworks is supporting the launch by launching a crowd-funded Kickstarter campaign aimed at raising the $35,000 needed for initial manufacturing and operations costs. Visit the Kickstart page for Symphonica: http://kck.st/2oc4ib5. Special early-bird packages starting at $25 are available featuring rewards such as matching wooden smartphone cases, docking stands and a rechargeable Bluetooth remote for control of phones, tablets and computers.
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BeIN Sports Connect Launches on Roku In Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 22, 2017 by itnerd

beIN SPORTS CONNECT makes its Canadian debut on Roku streaming devices just in time for some of the biggest and most anticipated events in international sports, including UEFA Champions League playoff matches, El Clásico – the biggest match in club soccer featuring fierce football rivals Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, and the MotoGP US Grand Prix.

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Canadians with a Roku streaming player or Roku TV can add the beIN SPORTS CONNECT channel from the Sports category in the Roku Channel Store. BeIN Sports and Roku have also collaborated on a special retail offer for new Roku customers, who get a 60-day free pass to beIN SPORTS CONNECT with the purchase of a Roku streaming player or Roku TV.

Canadians with beIN SPORTS CONNECT have access to live action from the world’s leading sports leagues, tournaments and events. Highlights of beIN SPORTS CONNECT’s programming lineup include exclusive European football playoff coverage from the UEFA Europa League, La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1, along with coverage of the Sky Bet League Championship, EFL Cup, Copa del Rey, Coupe de la Ligue, Coupe de France, Copa do Brasil, and Real Madrid TV.

beIN SPORTS CONNECT also delivers live coverage of college football, basketball, baseball, mixed martial arts, softball, women’s volleyball, and the best in motorsports with MotoGP, WorldSBK and MotoAmerica

Upcoming events on beIN SPORTS CONNECT include:

  • MotoGP US Grand Prix on Sunday, April 23 at 9 a.m. ET
  • El Clásico – Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona on Sunday, April 23 at 2:45 p.m. ET

 

HP Unleashes The World’s Most Secure Workstations

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 22, 2017 by itnerd

HP has reinvented device security for their fourth generation ZBook Mobile Workstations. In fact, one of the workstation, the HP ZBook 15,  is being used by NASA to help push the boundaries of science and discovery on the International Space Station.

The HP ZBook Mobile Workstations provide several security features including: HP Sure Start Gen3 – the industry’s first self-healing PC BIOS with comprehensive encryption, strong authentication, malware protection, data protection, identity assurance, and threat detection and response.

The new models in the ZBook Mobile Workstation include:

  • HP ZBook Studio – built for creative visionaries including filmmakers, architects, and engineers – it offers exhilarating power in a sleek and modern design
  • HP ZBook 17 – delivers HP’s ultimate power and performance, that can be configured with optimal horsepower and graphics cards to bring VR content to-life
  • HP ZBook 15  – this workstation endures 120,000 hours of testing and is made for demanding workloads
  • HP ZBook 14u – HP’s smallest and lightest workstation, delivers extraordinary levels of power and graphics capability in a slim design

Pricing and Availability

  • HP ZBook Studio is available now starting at $1,399. The datasheet is available here.
  • HP ZBook 17 is available now starting at $1,519. The datasheet is available here.
  • HP ZBook 15 is available now starting at $1,419. The datasheet is available here.
  • HP ZBook 14u pricing and availability will be announced this summer. The datasheet is available here.
  • HP ZBook 15u has a starting price of $1,079 and has been shipping since January.

HP ZBook Mobile Workstations also come preloaded with HP Remote Graphics Software for remote collaboration, HP Performance Advisor for optimal performance and HP Velocity for reliable and fast network performance. ZBook Mobile Workstations are also ISV certified, and are Military Standards-tested (MIL_STD_810G).

 

Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8+ Goes On Sale Today

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 21, 2017 by itnerd

Today is the launch day for the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ for those who live in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and Korea. For Canadians specifically, carriers such as Telus are offering up Samsung’s latest offering starting at $250 on a two-year term for the Samsung Galaxy S8, while the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is available at $320 on a two-year term.

Key features of the new flagship Samsung phone include:

  • See the Whole Picture – Infinity Display lets you see more on Samsung’s largest smartphone screen yet.
  • Unlock Your Potential – Protect your phone by using Iris Scan to unlock your device and IP68 water and dust resistance will keep your phone feeling like new.
  • Enhanced Audio Experience – Play Ultra High Quality (UHQ) audio with Samsung’s new AKG-tuned earphones.
  • Leave it to Bixby – Bixby Vision uses the native camera so you can search and buy products, discover nearby attractions and more.

Reviews are starting to trickle in and so far so good for Samsung who are trying to recover from the Note 7 gong show. There’s even a video of it being tested by YouTube star Karl Conrad for how waterproof it is in beer:

One issue has popped up though. People have complained about a red tint on the screen that the company has now committed to fix.

Have you bought the S8 or S8+? If so, what do you think of it? Post a comment below and share your thoughts.

 

Cradlepoint Delivers New 4G LTE-Optimized SD-WAN Router Capabilities in NetCloud OS Release 6.3

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 20, 2017 by itnerd

Cradlepoint has introduced Release 6.3 of its NetCloud OS router software, part of the Cradlepoint NetCloud platform, with extended SD-WAN functionality for 4G LTE-dependent networks. The company also announced that its SDN-enabled network solutions have been recognized by Gartner in their 2017 WAN Edge Infrastructure Guide, which was published in March. The new router software functionality and recent Gartner recognition bolsters Cradlepoint’s leadership in software-defined 4G LTE network solutions for Connected Enterprises.

Cradlepoint’s strength in integrating wireless services into SD-WAN topologies, including 3G, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi-as-WAN, played a factor in the company’s inclusion in Gartner’s newly released WAN Edge Infrastructure Guide: “Cradlepoint is representative of an established cellular router vendor that is evolving its offering to address emerging requirements, including SD-WAN and OTT delivery of services”.

Today, Cradlepoint’s routers have a wealth of policy-based traffic prioritization, filtering, shaping and steering capabilities built into the NetCloud Traffic Control function. NetCloud OS Release 6.3 extends these critical SD-WAN router capabilities with several new 4G LTE-optimized functions:

  • Client-Side Visibility: Network administrators can see and analyze LAN-attached devices on both Ethernet and Wi-Fi. This new feature provides enhanced visibility, secure and control of on-site PCs, servers and IoT devices and aids in determining 4G LTE failover policies and remote troubleshooting from NetCloud.
  • Adaptive Quality of Service:  In a hybrid WAN environment where individual wired and wireless links may have widely differing speeds, it can be difficult to effectively control quality of service (QoS) in all scenarios, especially for latency-sensitive applications. Cradlepoint’s new Auto-QoS feature implements an advanced traffic queuing algorithm that automatically adapts to differing WAN speeds of primary and failover links to ensure latency-sensitive traffic, such as voice over IP and PoS applications, always performs optimally.
  • Smart WAN Selection (SWANS):  A new traffic steering mechanism optimized for wireless connections. For most SD-WAN solutions, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi-as-WAN connections are essentially a black box, offering little in the way of data needed for efficient traffic steering decisions. Worse yet, using synthetic transactions over 4G LTE to deduce link performance can consume multiple gigabytes of a customer’s monthly data plan. SWANS operates at the Connection Manager level (layer 2) and uses statistics captured directly from the modem and other interfaces combined with lightweight “pings” to measure latency and jitter and data plan consumption to precisely control traffic steering behavior across 4G LTE links without excessive overhead.

In the age of Digital Transformation, the definition of a wide-area network (WAN) is changing within both enterprise and government organizations. WANs are extending beyond private datacenters and fixed branches to connect cloud services and mobile sites — such as vehicles, pop-up stores, smart city infrastructures and mobile command centers — as well as remote sensors, surveillance cameras, digital signage and kiosks. The need to securely connect people, places and things everywhere is driving the convergence of SDN and cellular technology today, which sets the stage for realizing the benefits of 5G in the future.

Emerging 5G services promise up to a 10X increase in WAN throughput over today’s average 4G connection while delivering one millisecond latency and ten year battery life for IoT devices. Cradlepoint’s new Business Intelligence Report — “The State of 5G in 2017”  — details this leap in cellular technology, which will enable many new and unimaginable use cases, including gigabit-per-second wired WAN replacement, augmented reality, remote-controlled robotics and revolutionary advanced healthcare.

For more information, please visit www.cradlepoint.com.

Husqvarna Pilots Pay-Per-Use For Chainsaws & Hedge Trimmers

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 20, 2017 by itnerd

Starting this May, homeowners in Stockholm can access pay-per-use power tools for the garden, eliminating the need to maintain and store hedge trimmers, chainsaws and other tools that are used less frequently. The project is a pilot, and part of Husqvarna’s commitment to explore innovative and sustainable solutions for taking care of gardens and green spaces.

The Husqvarna Battery Box, is a “smart”, 8×3 meter, unattended container with 30 electronic lockers that store battery powered garden care products. Via an iPhone app, homeowners can reserve tools, get instructions, pay, and open the locker to pick up their pre-booked power tool. The “box” will be placed at Bromma Blocks, a shopping center 15 min west of Stockholm city. Renting a garden care product will cost 350 SEK a day (approx 35 Euros or 38 USD).

Sustainability and innovation put to the test

This pilot project supports Husqvarna’s sustainability agenda to drive the conversion from petrol powered products to silent battery products with no direct emissions in urban areas. Additionally, the purpose is also to test the real-world applications of this technical solution, as well as collect insights on market maturity, customer behaviour, and potential future revenue streams for Husqvarna’s distribution network. The test period runs from May 1 to October 31, 2017.

How it works

After completing registration in the iPhone app (also called ”Husqvarna Battery Box”), the customer can reserve one of the 30 available battery powered products (chainsaw, hedge trimmer, trimmer or blower). The app guides the user on how to open and close the door to the particular locker where the product they want to rent is kept. The app also includes “how-to-films” to explain how the product works. The Box, powered by solar cells, will be serviced by Husqvarna staff daily, ensuring that products are in good condition and that the batteries are fully charged.

The connection between the Husqvarna Battery Box and the customer is enabled via Bluetooth. For identification purposes, the customer uses the Swedish ID app “BankID”. Payments are charged to the registered credit card at the end of the month.

Powerful and silent products in the box

From a performance perspective, the battery products in the box are equivalent to the petrol versions of comparable size, but without the noise and direct emissions. The battery series in the box is powered by a 36V Li-ion battery, and one battery fits all products in the box (chainsaw, hedge trimmer, blower, trimmer).

Project partners and set-up

Husqvarna Battery Box is the result of a partnership that includes Telenor, Flex, Zuora and HiQ. Flex builds the connected Box and reports its status on events handled through a cloud solution with Telenor Connexion. Zuora supplies the subscription payment solution and HiQ builds the app and the system needed to bring everything together. The shopping center Bromma Blocks provides the space for the test.

Alison Celebrates 10th Birthday, New Web Platform & Rebrand

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 20, 2017 by itnerd

Alison has launched a new mobile-friendly, personalised platform design, enhancing user experience and strengthening learner engagement. Founded 10 years ago today, Irish-based Alison is one of the world’s largest free education and skills training platforms, recently registering its ten millionth learner. It boasts over one million graduates of its courses with learners and graduates in every country.

The launch also marks the adoption of a brand re-fresh. Feerick explained “We are excited to be combining the new website launch with a refresh of our brand. Free access to education and skills training through Alison has enabled our Learners and Graduates to make positive change in their lives. “Empower Yourself” is our invitation to our members – who of course can sign up and study with Alison for free. By striving daily to give everyone the freedom to learn and the tools to succeed, our mission to improve the world through the power of education can be achieved”.

Around 14% of Alison graduates state that free learning with Alison has led to new employment, promotion and college opportunities, while 88% said graduating with Alison improved their personal confidence and 90% said it encouraged them to learn further. Alison provides more than 800 free courses on a broad range of subjects including project managementIT skillslearning languages and business management skills.