Archive for the Commentary Category

Rogers Announces A Move To A “100% Canadian-based Customer Service Team”

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 30, 2020 by itnerd

This is one of these press releases that make you say “hmmmmm”. Specifically this press release from Canadian telco Rogers which announces the following:

Rogers Communications today announced that all of its customer service team members across all brands are now based in Canada. This follows the company’s announcement earlier this month that it is hiring for 350 jobs at its new customer solutions centre in Kelowna, B.C.

This month, Rogers Communications completed the transition of 150 remaining customer service positions to Canada, with new jobs created with partners across Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. With its entire 7,000 strong customer service team now based in Canada, this milestone ensures that every phone call or online chat with Rogers, FIDO or chatr is answered by a customer solution specialist on Canadian soil.

Now I get why companies outsource their customer service to places like India, Egypt and the Philippines to name a few popular outsourcing destinations. But when things become, “sub-optimal” in the eyes of the customer, which is another way of saying that the customer experience isn’t that great, there’s often a rush to bring things back in house. That’s kind of how I read this section of this press release:

“We are a proud Canadian company and pride ourselves in quality contact centre jobs in the communities where we live and work,” said Eric Agius, Chief Customer Officer, Rogers Communications. “When our customers choose to call us for help with more complex issues, they’ll be served by our Canadian-based team members who are truly experts in our products and services – and as members of their communities, they can relate to the needs of our customers.”

I guess that their customers who were looking for help weren’t getting people who were experts in Rogers products and services, nor could they relate to the Rogers customers because they were not members of their communities. That supports my theory that things were “sub-optimal” with whomever Rogers was outsourcing to.

This is apparently part of a multi-year plan to improve the customer experience. Something that Rogers CEO Joe Natale is known for. We’ll have to see if this move truly does improve the customer experience for Rogers customers.

Force Touch Is Not Present In watchOS 7…. Here’s Why That Matters

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 30, 2020 by itnerd

In places like the Apple Watch Subreddit or the other Apple Watch Subreddit people are noticing that Force Touch is gone from watchOS 7. Instead, you have to long press or there are buttons to replace the Force Touch actions that you might be used to. This is a big deal. But not for the reasons that you might think. Let me explain.

First of all, I think this means that a bigger battery is coming to the Apple Watch 6. I say that because the Force Touch layer takes up space. And if Apple ripped out the Force Touch layer, Apple can do the following:

  • Put in a bigger battery.
  • Slim down the Apple Watch
  • Both

With the addition of sleep tracking in watchOS 7, Apple will need all the battery life that they can get. Thus I think it’s pretty safe to say that a bigger battery is coming to the Apple Watch Series 6. It also silences the requests for more battery life from Apple Watch users.

The second reason that this is a big deal is that it makes the user interface more consistent with other Apple products. By that I mean that a lot of Apple Watch users had no clue that Force Touch even existed. I can’t count the number of times I showed someone Force Touch since I got my first Apple Watch. By taking that away and adding buttons and long presses in its place, its more inline with an iPhone XR, or something from the iPhone 11 series. That’s a win for Apple.

So at the end of the day, I would not lose sleep over the loss of Force Touch on the Apple Watch. Much like users of the iPhone XR or something from the iPhone 11 series, you’ll get used to it. And if you are able to get the next generation Apple Watch later this year, the trade off will likely be better battery life. I think you’ll agree with me that this is a fair trade off for the result that you will get.

Waze Brand Refresh To Begin Rolling Out To Users

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 29, 2020 by itnerd

Waze is welcoming drivers back on the roads with a new Moods feature to add more fun into every drive as part of its refreshed brand identity. 

New Moods capture users’ emotions. Waze hopes the update will add “humanness” to the driving experience. The initial set of Moods includes 30 emotions. Drivers in the same situation experience many different emotions. Moods will help capture those feelings, and serve as a reminder of the different types of people we share the road with. 

The new brand identity includes a grid system, which brings to mind the in-between spaces on the map, where streets aren’t. The brand refresh incorporated feedback from members of the Waze community and a study conducted with 13,000 drivers.

For more details, please see this blog post by Jake Shaw:

Under the Hood: Behind the Brand Refresh

https://medium.com/waze/under-the-hood-behind-the-brand-refresh-95a4c23e42e

Now Is A Really, Really Bad Time To Buy An Intel Based Mac

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 29, 2020 by itnerd

Last week Apple during its WWDC Keynote made the announcement that they were going to ditch Intel processors for their own chips which they are calling Apple Silicon. To be clear, these are going to be hopped up versions of the A series processors that are already present in the iPhone and iPad. Apple also said that they have a few new Intel based Macs that are yet to be released, and that Intel based Macs will be supported “for years to come”, but at the same time they said that the first Apple Silicon Mac will ship later this year.

Now I am sure that the reason Apple said that they have new Intel ready to go, and that they will be supported “for years to come” is that they don’t want Mac sales to fall off a cliff. But take it from me. Buying any Intel based Mac is a really, really bad idea. Why? Let me explain.

First of all, we’ve been here before. Apple back in 2005 announced that it was going to ditch IBM’s Power PC processors for Intel processors. By mid 2006, Apple had transitioned its entire lineup to Intel processors. And it took 210 days from start to finish. From there, macOS 10.7 (AKA Lion) was released in July 2011 which removed Power PC support from the operating system forever. That was six years after the announcement of the transition. While that sounds like a long time, it isn’t.

Here’s why.

With Apple having shipped Macs with A12z Bionic processors to developers, you can bet that developers are going to be spending way more time making the best performing apps that run on Apple Silicon than spending time on making Intel apps perform at their best. Which means that you as a Mac user would be better off getting an Apple Silicon based Mac because the apps that you want to run will run better on them. Oh by the way, when I say “developers” I include Apple. As it is a safe bet that Apple apps like Final Cut Pro and Logic are going to be so much better on Apple Silicon and not so much on Intel. And this will happen fast as Apple has made it really easy to transition apps from Intel to Apple Silicon. Something that wasn’t available to developers the last time Apple made a transition like this.

By the way, this isn’t a guess. I am making this assumption based on the fact that the move from Power PC to Intel played out in a similar manner. Though I expect it to be somewhat faster this time around.

So what does that mean for you?

It means that the best app experience will come from Apple Silicon based Macs running software made for Apple Silicon processors. It also means that if you were planning on buying an Intel based Mac, I wouldn’t. Intel based Macs are now a legacy product which you should avoid. Apple will have many, many better performing options powered by Apple Silicon available for you soon. And you should buy one of those Macs so that you have the best Mac experience possible with no regrets. Because now is a really, really bad time to buy an Intel Mac.

D-Link Decides To Only PARTIALLY Patch Routers That Have Serious Security Flaws…. WTF?

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 27, 2020 by itnerd

D-Link joins Netgear in being in my bad books because of this story from Bleeping Computer that details six security vulnerabilities in the DIR-865L wireless router. However, D-Link has only decided to patch three of those vulnerabilities:

D-Link has released a firmware update to fix three out of six security vulnerabilities reported for the DIR-865L wireless router model for consumers. One flaw is rated critical, others are high-severity.

Attackers can use the bugs to execute arbitrary commands, steal sensitive information, upload malware, or delete data.

Clearly these are not trivial vulnerabilities. And D-Link’s response is really bad. Here’s what they said:

“For US consumers, D-Link recommends this product be retired, and any further use may be a risk to devices connected to it and end-users connected to it” 

Seeing as this router was released in 2012, you can see why they have taken that stance. However since a lot of consumers simply install these routers and then forget about them, I believe that D-Link really needs to better support their customers. Or if you take D-Link at their word, this would be how I would deal with this situation. The second any D-Link router router goes end of life, replace it with a router from a vendor other than D-Link. Why? We’ve been here before with D-Link products. And they were slapped by the FTC for making insecure gear. Two big hints that you shouldn’t be buying their products.

Rainbow Six Siege NA League: Canada Division Kicks Off TONIGHT!

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 26, 2020 by itnerd

The Rainbow Six Siege North American League: Canada Division is making its inaugural debut today at 6PM EDT!

Tune in at Twitch.tv/rainbow6 to catch all the action and watch the very best Rainbow Six Siege players in the country battle it out in what’s bound to be an epic start to the 2020 season.

Moving forward, The Canada Division is live every Friday at 6PM EDT/3PM PDT! Make sure to block off your schedule and show some Canadian pride for your favorite Rainbow Six Siege team.

Microsoft Closing Its Stores Worldwide

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 26, 2020 by itnerd

From the “I didn’t see this coming” file comes this announcement from Microsoft titled “Microsoft Store announces new approach to retail”. Which if you read it comes down to this: All their stores are closing. Here’s the details:

The company’s retail team members will continue to serve customers from Microsoft corporate facilities and remotely providing sales, training, and support. Microsoft will continue to invest in its digital storefronts on Microsoft.com, and stores in Xbox and Windows, reaching more than 1.2 billion people every month in 190 markets. The company will also reimagine spaces that serve all customers, including operating Microsoft Experience Centers in London, NYC, Sydney, and Redmond campus locations.

If I had to take a guess, I don’t think that Microsoft stores yielded the results that Microsoft wanted them to hit. I visited the one in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall a few years ago, which ironically was down the hall from an Apple Store. My wife and I walked away with the impression that it was a slightly improved Apple Store that didn’t sell anywhere near the volume of what an Apple Store sells. There’s also the fact that with COVID-19 being a real threat, online sales and support are likely better options for customers. This was mentioned in the announcement as well.

In any case, RIP Microsoft Stores. We hardly knew ye.

Small Businesses Online Are Prime Targets For Cyber-Attacks: Darktrace

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 25, 2020 by itnerd

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada is paving the way in supporting brick-and-mortar businesses struggling to make ends meet through the Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE program. This program, powered by the likes of Google Canada, provides free website support and marketing tools to increase the digital presence of small businesses to sell goods and services, given the need for many businesses to take operations online.

However, as businesses scramble to move online in order to keep afloat, many small business owners overlook a major concern that could jeopardize the entire operation – safeguarding themselves from cyber threats. For some small businesses, it could be impossible to recover from a successful cyber-attack.  

David Masson, Director of Enterprise Security for Darktrace had this comment in regards to how small business owners must invest in the right technology to safeguard themselves against threats:

“The provincial and federal government’s offer to help small businesses create online stores is great news for the country. The ongoing pandemic has created a real, pressing reliance on online commerce. Moving businesses online opens up new and exciting revenue streams and can also be more efficient, particularly with customer outreach and retention.

However, there is a big concern as businesses move into the virtual realm: security. Progressing too quickly can lead to future consequences or costs, including theft of their customers’ financial details or the damaging operational downtime following a successful attack. We’ve seen time and time again that when businesses move quickly, security can often be overlooked or underemphasized. Cyber security for newly online retail businesses is very doable, but requires forethought, planning, and investment in the right technology.”

OVHcloud’s North American Hosted Private Cloud solutions Recognized For Their Leadership By Forrester

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 25, 2020 by itnerd

OVHcloud has been recognized as a “strong performer” on the North American Hosted Private Cloud market according to latest report on Hosted Private Cloud in North America, Q2. In Europe, as in Canada, OVHcloud is also noted for unifying services while ensuring a Cloud Act emancipated offering.

The report, The Forrester Wave: Hosted Private Cloud Services in North America, Q2 2020, analyzes OVHcloud’s position in North America through its hosted private cloud services across the continent.

A second report also recognizes OVHcloud’s as a “leader” on the European Hosted Private Cloud market, through its solid infrastructure across the continent. With its European footprint of 17 data centres in France, Germany, the UK and Poland, OVHcloud offers robust and scalable Hosted Private Cloud services that enable the company to address relevantly the large enterprise and institutional markets. 

OVHcloud’s virtual storage network is a key enabler to provide customers with greater flexibility and a range of certifications and technologies that can be adapted to meet any business need. 

An ambitious roadmap to support market transformation

OVHcloud plans to significantly expand its Hosted Private Cloud range in 2020, to provide simple solutions adapted to multiple use cases. This new dynamic will be characterized by packaged offers and a wide variety of customizations. 

In the coming days, OVHcloud will launch its Hosted Private Cloud Premier solution, which will meet the specific needs of large companies and institutions for whom the security and isolation of cloud services are crucial. This new offering will be composed of 10 references of hosts, ranging from 48 to 768 GB of RAM, including 3 references offering hyper-converged storage with VMware’s vSAN technology. This will be made accessible to the greatest number of people at an attractive price, thanks to the integrated industrial model of OVHcloud.

The release of this new range is also accompanied by a total overhaul of both the private and public network, as well as new storage capacities with NSF datastores of up to 6TB for a more advantageous performance/price ratio.

Download The Forrester Wave™: Hosted Private Cloud Services in North America, Q2 2020study here.

Download The Forrester Wave™: Hosted Private Cloud Services in Europe, Q2 2020 study here.

Salesforce and Tanium Partner To Build An Employee Service Solution For IT

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 25, 2020 by itnerd

The simple days of heading over to the IT helpdesk to resolve tech issues in person are becoming a thing of the past. Automation and self-service options like chatbots and knowledge articles have been on the rise for some time, and now a full ​51% of employees​ have shifted to work-from-home since the pandemic began. This puts IT departments under incredible strain, with more complex workloads and an increasing volume of service requests – BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) issues, critical software patches – flooding in as employees adjust to working remotely. And with this remote workforce, IT now has the opportunity to not only further automate routine tasks, but also deliver an employee experience that keeps employees engaged, connected and productive. To do this, IT needs visibility into employee assets and incidents to ensure all devices on the network on it are stable and secure.

Today Salesforce is announcing a partnership with ​Tanium​, the leader in endpoint management and security, to develop an employee service solution for the new all-digital, work from anywhere world, giving IT teams complete visibility and control of all their employees’ devices and services on their network. This Salesforce solution will include: a help desk that gives employees a one-stop shop to self-serve, submit, track and resolve service requests or incidents; a service dashboard for IT managers to view all their assets, configurations and employee incidents in one central location; the ability for IT to build workflows using the Salesforce platform to further automate common tasks; AI recommendations, powered by Einstein, that will prioritize incidents and recommend actions for IT managers to take; and secure endpoint management capabilities for IT to monitor, collect data, and take action on endpoints in near real-time, from directly within their dashboard.

Giving IT the right tools to empower everyone across the organization

The employee service solution will:

  • Help employees access support from anywhere​ across devices and channels, including AI-powered bots and mobile self-service sites.
  • Maximize IT productivity ​with integrated help desk, asset management and customworkflows that help IT automate and securely resolve incidents fast.
  • Accelerate incident resolution​ by empowering IT with a complete view of every employee coupled with AI-powered productivity tools to drive proactive resolution.

You can find out more via this blog post.