Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses Facebook’s VPN App Which Collects User Data

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 16, 2018 by itnerd

Facebook is now officially promoting its own VPN (Virtual Private Network), called Onavo.

Users of the Facebook’s iOS app have recently been shown a new option called Protect (found within the app’s navigation menu), which prompts users to download  the Onavo VPN app. However, this app comes with serious privacy issues.

“The purpose of a VPN is to provide its users with online privacy and security by encrypting all data exchanged between a user’s device and a VPN server. Reputable VPNs do not keep any user logs. Unfortunately, Facebook’s VPN seems to do the opposite – its goal is data collection, while it’s disguised as a privacy tool,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN.  “This discredits VPNs and deprives people of online protection that they need – especially if they are using a VPN in countries where the freedom of speech is restricted.”

The Onavo app has already got 33 million installs by claiming it provides online protection. When a user downloads Onavo, the app establishes a tunnel – the usual VPN practice – to reroute all traffic from the user’s device to one of Onavo’s servers. This tunnel is encrypted, and a privacy-focused VPN will never monitor the online habits of its users by keeping logs of their activity. However, Onavo does collect mobile data traffic, claiming the collection helps improve its service.

“The problem is that when the data is collected, we cannot know how and where it will be used. It becomes the property of Facebook, and Facebook is not in the business of data privacy,” said Marty P. Kamden. “The data can be easily mishandled, sold to third parties or used for any other purpose. Facebook users should avoid downloading this app, and if they did – they should uninstall it, and use a trusted paid VPN instead. Unfortunately, a VPN provider that is offering a free service will be using other ways to earn money – and it’s usually through selling user data.”

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HP Launches Device As A Service For Apple To Solve Major Customer Pain Point

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 15, 2018 by itnerd

HP Inc. today unveiled an expansive new set of Device as a Service (DaaS) offerings for customers and channel partners, including the launch of DaaS for Apple. HP will provide support for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and other Apple devices used by commercial customers in mixed operating system (OS) environments. The company also introduced new virtual reality (VR) solutions and predictive analytics capabilities available as a service to support a broader range of customer needs.

The growth of HP DaaS comes as corporate IT departments are seeking new ways to manage both HP and other manufacturer devices more efficiently and effectively. HP has delivered strong growth in its services business, with HP DaaS now available from nearly 100 channel partners around the world.

As part of HP’s expanded DaaS offering, customers will be able to pair iPhone, iPad, Mac, and other Apple devices with HP’s world-class support, managed services, and analytics. HP estimates that by 2020 there will be 9 billion commercial devices worldwide, with an average of four devices per user. Mixed-device environments are the norm in today’s world and becoming increasingly difficult and costly for organizations due to the number of devices, managing multiple device types, OSes, and vendors.

HP is embracing mixed-device environments by offering complete solutions to customers extending far beyond HP-manufactured hardware. DaaS for Apple is the latest example, currently offered directly from HP in the U.S. with plans to expand to other countries and select channel partners over the next year.

Additionally, the HP DaaS product line includes the latest and most innovative HP devices. The new HP Virtual Reality solutions, including the HP Z4 Workstation and HP Windows Mixed Reality VR headset, are now available as a service through HP DaaS. The HP Z4 Workstation is ideal for design, engineering, simulation, and visualization, and it can easily handle tasks that require high-frequency processing, multiple cores and high-powered GPUs. The HP Windows Mixed Reality VR headset delivers a stunning immersive computing experience due to its1440x1440 resolution per eye and up to a 90Hz refresh rate. Users will enjoy six degrees of freedom, no tracking boundaries, and the included wireless motion controllers.

According to IDC, 63 percent of commercial IT managers say their resources are drained by device management and would like to be able to focus on other IT projects such as mobility, business applications, and security initiatives. To help free up resources, HP is expanding its real-time hardware analytics and proactive device management capabilities. This service from HP enables customers to analyze hardware performance, detect potential problems in advance, and proactively implement corrective actions. The unique data analytics capabilities of HP DaaS are now available on Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS devices – creating a multi-OS solution that’s designed to boost IT efficiency and improve employee experiences.

HP DaaS agreements can also be tailored to fit customers’ unique needs by easily adding specific device lifecycle services. Today the company introduced HP Tech Café Market Enhanced, an end-to-end vending and storage solution that provides instant access to accessories and 24/7 lockers for device swaps or repairs. In addition to vending and storage, HP will manage the ordering, replenishment, and reporting for customers. The solution supports the needs of an increasingly mobile workforce and significantly simplifies life for IT departments.

For more information about HP Device as a Service, please visit www.hp.com/go/DaaS or see HP at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona on February 26 – March 1, 2018.

Urban Armor Gear Announces Drop-Tested Case For The Oneplus 5T

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 15, 2018 by itnerd

Urban Armor Gear announced the launch of their acclaimed Pathfinder case designed for the all new OnePlus 5. Created to withstand the drop, shock, and impact, Urban Armor Gear’s Military-Spec case will protect the OnePlus 5T smartphone from the rigors of an active lifestyle. UAG’s latest case offers full compatibility with the OnePlus 5T’s fingerprint scanner, front and rear cameras, including facial unlock, and audio components, while providing UAG’s engineered tactile click-feel to all buttons. The Pathfinder Case also boasts compatibility with NFC payment systems such as Android Pay.

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UAG’s Pathfinder cases are also available for select Apple, Samsung and LG devices.

Pathfinder Case for OnePlus 5T

Available in Black

MSRP: $39.95

  • Feather-light composite construction
  • Armor shell and impact resistant softcore
  • Scratch resistant skid pads and screen surround
  • Compatible with wireless NFC payment systems
  • Meets military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G-516.6)

Highlights From The 2018 Canadian International Auto Show Media Day

Posted in Commentary on February 15, 2018 by itnerd

This is fourth year in a row that I have attended the Canadian International Auto Show media day. Now for those of you who think getting a behind the scenes look at the coolest cars and attending exclusives press conferences is fun…. Well it is.

It is also grueling. Very grueling

My day started at 5:15 AM to be at the Metro Toronto Convention Center at 7:10 AM. Fortunately, they feed us breakfast. The actual events start at 7:30AM and there were two highlights that I’d like to point out. One was a hyper car from Sweedish car maker Koenigsegg:

This is the car in question:

From there, it was the Automotoive Journalists Association Of Canada also chose their category winners along with their best car and utility vehicle of the year:

From there, it was on the press conferences. You’re marching around the Metro Toronto Convention Center to see car after car. They feed you lunch, but like I said, it was very grueling. Before the press conferences at about 7:30AM, this is what my Apple Watch had recorded that I had done:

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At the end of all the press conferences at about 2:30PM, this is what my Apple Watch had recorded:

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As you can see, that’s a lot of walking. Here’s some highlights of what I saw:

I’m going to stop here to say that Ford Canada had the best display in the show. It’s highly engaging and has something from they youngest to the oldest visitor to the show:

I highly recommend the Mustang Bullitt display as they let you shoot a trailer in the famed sports car. At the end of it, you get via email a movie poster:

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And a movie trailer posted to YouTube:

The people at this display recommend that you come early as it may take you up to 2 hours to get your shot at movie stardom.

Oh yeah, Ford Canada has cars too for you to see.

Speaking of cars, here’s the rest of the highlights:

If you want to see what one of these press conferences looks like, I recorded the Jaguar/Land Rover one in 4K on my iPhone 7 Plus:

Finally, a couple of unique things that you should see:

Speaking of tech, here’s what I brought along with me to live tweet, take photos, and write this story:

Apple MacBook Pro 15″ Retina Mid 2015 Model 

Apple Watch Series 3 w/GPS

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

ZTE Axon

Tylt Backpack

This is just a fraction of what I saw today. If you’re into cars, and you’re in or around the Greater Toronto area, check out the Canadian International Autoshow. It runs from February Feb 16 until the 25th at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. Come early as there’s a lot to see and do here, and bring comfortable shoes. I’ve only scratched the surface in terms of what’s on offer for visitors to see.

OpenText Acquires Hightail

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 14, 2018 by itnerd

OpenText, a leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM), today announced that it has acquired Hightail, Inc. formerly known as YouSendIt, a leading cloud service for file sharing and creative collaboration with approximately 5.5 million customers globally spanning enterprise accounts, paid subscribers, and individual consumers.

This acquisition expands OpenText’s strength in the content collaboration market through Hightail’s existing user-base of marketing, advertising and creative professionals.

Hightail is not expected to contribute significant revenue to OpenText’s results for the fiscal third quarter ending March 31, 2018.

2ndQuadrant Announces Release Of OmniDB 2.5

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 14, 2018 by itnerd

2ndQuadrant, the Gold Standard for PostgreSQL products and services, announces the release of OmniDB 2.5, with support for PostgreSQL and Oracle databases.

OmniDB is an interactive and powerful, yet lightweight, browser-based tool that simplifies database management. OmniDB includes a smart SQL editor that runs smoothly in any browser on any operating system and the interface includes all the necessary features to add, edit, and manage user data in a unified workspace. Through real-time monitoring, users are able to track the status of their database with charts and grids for of the major aspects, such as backends, bloat, sizes, etc.

OmniDB is highly performant and allows users to manage multiple databases in a unified workspace with a user-friendly and fast-performing interface and this release introduces basic support for Oracle databases. Users can connect and interact with Oracle databases in the same way the tool currently works with PostgreSQL databases.

The OmniDB project was initiated by 2ndQuadrant support engineers and is fully backed by 2ndQuadrant’s world-renowned 24/7 Production Support services.

For a complete list of updates in the latest release, check the OmniDB change tracker here.

OmniDB 2.5 is available for download here.

 

A Follow Up To The Linksys WRT32X Firmware Issue

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 14, 2018 by itnerd

One of the things that I promised to do when Linksys released the firmware to fix the issues that popped up late last year. Now I did test a beta version firmware. But now there’s a released version. It is version 1.0.180118.3 and it is available here. Release notes are available here. If you read the release notes, there is one note that you may want to pay attention to:

Known issue: the Google/OpenDNS/Custom DNS server functionality may not work
consistently. This will be resolved in a subsequent release.

In other words, if you’re like me and you don’t use your ISP’s DNS server settings. And instead you choose to use your own settings, you may have an issue. That’s a bit of a downer. But fortunately for Linksys, that’s where the bad news ends. I can’t find anything wrong with that. Plus the speed increases that I noted in the beta are still there. Thus if Linksys fixes the custom DNS issue, which if they’re reading this I’d really like that fixed, then this firmware would be perfect.

In short, when that firmware appears, I will consider this issue fully closed. But as it stands now, if you have a WRT32X router from Linksys, you should update your firmware now.