Intuit QuickBooks Canada & Dream Payments launch new Integration To Help Entrepreneurs Get Paid Faster

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 24, 2017 by itnerd

The QuickBooks Online (QBO) ecosystem has a new member: Toronto-based startup Dream Payments.

With the new QuickBooks and Dream Payments integration, small business owners can now accept cash, credit and Interac Debit from anywhere, anytime, helping them get paid faster and improve their access to capital and better manage their cash flow.

With 1.3 million debit terminals in Canada and growing, there’s been a gap in the market for an affordable and comprehensive mobile point of sale to replace dated and expensive payment terminals, and as 68 per cent of entrepreneurs use apps to run their businesses according to Intuit’s “2017 Small Business App Study,” there’s also clearly an appetite for greater integration within the ecosystem.

For the 32 per cent of small business owners who say cash flow is the main concern keeping them up at night, the Dream Payments QuickBooks integration provides users with all the information they need at their fingertips to manage their business from anywhere:

  • Focus on business growth: With the Dream Mobile Point of Sale, SMBs can accept Interac Debit and credit cards and even contactless payments (including Apple Pay and Samsung Pay) and never have to turn a sale away again.
  • Get paid faster: Each transaction is automatically updated in QBO. Even inventory and taxes are updated instantly.
  • No more guessing or reconciliation problems: Users can access QBO invoices right from within the Dream mobile app and accept in-person payments towards them; they’ll automatically be recorded as paid and reconciled within QBO.

If you’re a small business owner, you should check out Dream Payments for QuickBooks Online.


BREAKING: Rogers Rollout Of DOCSIS 3.1 Seems To Be Back On The Rails

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 23, 2017 by itnerd

I’ve been tracking the rollout by Rogers of DOCSIS 3.1 which when completed will give Rogers the ability to offer faster than Gigabit speeds. It started with them exchanging their customer’s modems. But that quickly hit a snag as the modems had problems when they actually started flipping the switches for DOCIS 3.1 to go live. In fact, I was one of those customers who had problems as I noted:

I am noticing lag when I play online games that was not present before DOCSIS 3.1 was enabled. Clearly Rogers still has issues that it has to get sorted. But according to my sources inside Rogers, I am doing better than some people who have had severe speed drops when Rogers enabled DOCSIS 3.1.

Since writing that story, I did some additional digging and noted this when I logged into the modem/router that Rogers supplied me:

Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 10.35.56 PM.png

Now let me explain what you are looking at. I want to focus your attention on the downstream overview section which is what’s coming into my condo. More specifically, I want you to focus on the Port ID column. You’ll note that I have ports numbered 1 – 16 and 27-32. That’s a problem as I should have ports numbered 1-32 with none missing. My theory was that this was somehow responsible for my lag issues in whole or in part.

That changed today when Rogers posted this notice to their community forum informing users that they were pushing a firmware update that would address the issues that users of this modem/router were having. As an added bonus, they would also be enabling IPv6 as well. All users had to do is reboot the modem/router and the new firmware would download and install. Then the modem/router would reboot again to complete the installation. So I did a reboot and within a few minutes I got the new firmware. I logged into the modem/router and saw this:

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 10.57.12 PM.png

For the first time, I have all 32 ports. Plus the lag issues so far do not appear to be present. I will be monitoring this for the next few days, but this does look promising. I also enabled IPv6 on my router and got an IPv6 address on Rogers network. So that part works as well. I would be interested to find out what results other people who have the CODA-4582 modem/router from Rogers are getting as I’d like to get a sense of how well this fix addresses the issues that have been reported by users. Please leave whatever feedback you can in the comments below.

Samsung Plans To Sell Refurb Galaxy Note 7’s In “Emerging Markets”?

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 23, 2017 by itnerd

From the “what could possibly go wrong” file comes news that Samsung is planning on selling their prone to explode Galaxy Note 7 in emerging markets according to according to Hankyung [Google Translate]. Here’s the one change that will be made to deal with that exploding thing:

According to Samsung, Samsung Electronics will release Galaxy Note 7 with a low-capacity battery as early as June this year.

So they’re going to put a smaller battery in it. Apparently it is not only physically smaller, but it will have less capacity. Hopefully the combination of the two will keep these phones from exploding.

Good luck with that.

They’re allegedly selling these phones into Vietnam and India in hopes of recouping some of the 7 trillion won (or roughly $6 billion USD) that they lost because of this exploding phone fiasco. Assuming that this is true of course because Samsung claims that it’s not true… Sort of:

In a statement to Gadgets 360, a Samsung India spokesperson said, “The report on Samsung planning to sell refurbished Galaxy Note 7 smartphone[s] in India is incorrect.”

Hmmm…. There’s no mention of selling the phones in Vietnam which is what the original report mentions. Thus this still is well within the realm of plausibility.

My two cents goes something like this: If this is true, I really have a problem with Samsung taking these phones and selling them in emerging markets. It’s as if “emerging markets” are less worthy then places like Canada or the US. Thus the optics of this suck and so do the ethics of this. Assuming this is all true of course. So watch this space to find out if this is true or not. And what the fall out might be.


macOS Malware Is Now A Very Real Threat… You Need To Protect Yourself

Posted in Tips with tags on February 23, 2017 by itnerd

I’ve been saying for a few years that Mac users shouldn’t feel smug about their perceived level of security. Anything on any platform can be hacked. In the case of macOS, there have been very few real threats to speak of, and most required some level of user interaction which meant that unlike those who use Windows, macOS users had nothing to worry about.

Those days are over.

We’ve seen in the last couple of weeks some scary malware that is brought to you by the same guys who hacked the US election. Plus just yesterday, we’ve seen the appearance of ransomware on the macOS platform. Crude yes, but it is still very concerning. It’s a sign that attacks on the macOS platform are on the rise and getting more sophisticated. In fact I predict that 2017 will be the year of macOS malware and Mac users will experience what Windows users experienced in the early 2000’s when malware exploded on the Widnows platform. That’s bad news for anyone who runs a Mac. But you can protect yourself and do so easily.

First, you need to run an antivirus app. Yes. Seriously. If you don’t have an antivirus app on your Mac, you will get pwned sooner or later. I’m currently running Sophos on my fleet of Macs, but there’s other options from BitdefenderESET Cyber Security and AVG among others for you to consider. Whatever you choose, choose something to protect yourself.

Next are the things that I file under the category called common sense:

  • Only install apps from trusted sources such as the Apple app store or from well known developers. In other words, running pirated software is not an option. For bonus points, make sure that under your “Security and Privacy” settings, ensure that “Allow apps downloaded from App Store” is checked. That way it provides and extra layer of protection.
  • Never type your password into dialog boxes that randomly pop up (unless you are installing an app that you trust of course) as that can be the sign of malware trying to set up shop on your system.
  • Some types of malware are distributed via social engineering attacks like “Spear Phishing” which is a social engineering attack targeted at a specific individual. This article from CSO can help you mitigate these specific kinds of attacks. But for a more general view on how to stop social engineering attacks, this article can help with that.

Finally, I would advise against using Oracle Java and Adobe Flash on your Mac (or your PC for that matter) as they are common attack vectors for malware creators. Realistically, you likely won’t miss anything by not having them and you will make your Mac a whole lot more secure.

Do you have any other tips that I didn’t cover here? If so, please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Introducing Evercondo: Improving The Condo Experience Digitally

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

Did you know more than 50% of homes being built in North America are condos? We are increasingly shifting to community-oriented living particularly in cities like Toronto, New York, San Francisco, Vancouver. In light of this growth property management is becoming a new market waiting to be disrupted with technology.

One start-up is setting out to improve the community experience by taking the industry from pen-and-paper to digital. Evercondo  is reaching extraordinary success with its easy-to-use web and mobile platform that connects property managers, board members, and tenants to manage requests, increase transparency, and improve efficiency.

The market opportunity is huge – with more than 70-million people living in managed communities in North America. The company, which has grown 300% in the last two years and has established itself in 22 provinces and states managing more than 500 communities, is setting its sight on disrupting this huge market and bringing it into the digital world. 

Evercondo Facts:

  • Adrian Teh built Evercondo for the Malaysian market. Two years ago he re-launched the platform to suit the growing needs of North American communities.
  • With more than 45,000 users across 500 communities, this startup is profitable and has retained 100% of its clients.
  • The company works with leading property management companies and condo boards to improve communication flow with residents, increase transparency, and create operational efficiencies – with up to $9,000 in savings each year.
  • Customers report new levels of tenant satisfaction and higher levels of engagement.

 Here’s a video introduction of Evercondo: 

Microsoft Releases Patches For Adobe Flash Vulnerability…. Leaves Another One Unpatched

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

There’s some really strange behavior going on in Redmond these days. After not delivering their monthly stack of patches on Patch Tuesday for the first time that I can recall, the company has now released a patch to address a Adobe Flash vulnerability in Windows 8.1 and up as Flash patches are delivered by Microsoft and not Adobe in those operating systems. Specifically this one that I highlighted here last week. But the weird part is that an exploit that is in the wild that I spoke about recently is left unpatched. Seeing as that exploit is the more serious of the two, you’d think that Microsoft would do something about that first or at the same time as released this Adobe Flash fix. But I guess they’re waiting for March to deal with it as they’ve previously announced.

Hopefully, nobody gets pwned by a hacker who exploits this in the meantime.

Europe Still Doesn’t Like The Lack Of Privacy In Windows 10

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

Microsoft has not had a great time with EU regulators and Windows 10, and those issues continue. An Article 29 Working Party which is meant to oversee data security in the EU, has questioned a number of issues with the OS, above and beyond those addressed by the adding features such as the privacy dashboard, which Microsoft introduced after lawsuits from Switzerland were threatened and ultimatums from France were fired out. Reuters has the details:

The watchdogs, a group made up of the EU’s 28 authorities responsible for enforcing data protection law, wrote to Microsoft last year expressing concerns about the default installation settings of Windows 10 and users’ apparent lack of control over the company’s processing of their data.

The group – referred to as the Article 29 Working Party -asked for more explanation of Microsoft’s processing of personal data for various purposes, including advertising.

“In light of the above, which are separate to the results of ongoing inquiries at a national level, even considering the proposed changes to Windows 10, the Working Party remains concerned about the level of protection of users’ personal data,” the group said in a statement which also acknowledged Microsoft’s willingness to cooperate.

Microsoft was not immediately available to comment.

All I have to say is that they might want to not only consider addressing these concerns ASAP. The European Union when it comes to this sort of thing aren’t exactly a fun bunch of guys to deal with if you’re on the wrong side of an issue. And that would be really bad for Microsoft. Having said that, one wonders if other countries should be investigating Microsoft’s data collection practices? Clearly if the EU is concerned, so should other jurisdictions.