EnGenius Launches EWS850AP High Capacity Next-Generation Outdoor Wi-Fi 6 Access Point

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 20, 2020 by itnerd

EnGenius Technologies today announced that its EWS850AP high-capacity Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) outdoor access point will begin shipping worldwide in October 2020. The new weatherproof AP uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology needed to support the growing bandwidth demands of densely congested outdoor environments like stadiums, airports, smart cities, and parks.

Backed by EnGenius’ decades-long expertise in outdoor wireless networking, the new EWS850AP paves the way for outdoor use of Wi-Fi 6’s top features. Armored by the ruggedized IP67-rated dust and water-resistant enclosure, the EWS850AP is fully capable of withstanding harsh weather environments, including prolonged exposure to sunlight, extreme cold, frost, snow, rainfall, and humidity. It features four external detachable 5 dBi high-gain, 360° module SMA type antennas, which optimize the Wi-Fi signal, reception and bandwidth to connected devices through beamforming. Key benefits include:

  • Superior Connectivity: With up to 2 streams across both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz
    bands, the EWS850AP encompasses downlink and uplink MU-MIMO and OFDMA to simultaneously manage and transmit data between AP and client devices.
  • Powerful Computing: Dynamic data processing and management to boost data throughput up to 25% with 1024QAM and expand connectivity capabilities.
  • Advanced Data Management: Cut through densely congested outdoor environments with better data management and extend wireless coverage through longer OFDM signals and reduce channel interference through BSS coloring, offering less latency and improved transmit signals. 
  • Powerful Networking Acceleration: The exquisitely designed architecture can successfully associate and maintain connectivity for complex and secure data transfer. Enabled with WPA3 security, the EWS850AP supports higher encryption for sensitive data transfers for hundreds of simultaneously connected devices.

The EWS850AP delivers optimal performance through stronger, and more efficient wireless connections. 

The EWS850AP will ship worldwide in October 2020. For more information visit https://www.engeniustech.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/ews850ap-datasheet.pdf

Hellmann’s® Animal Crossing Island Returns To Educate Consumers On The Horrors Of Food waste this Halloween

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 20, 2020 by itnerd

Hellmann’s® Canada’s island is back on Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons, with a spooky makeover. Around 80,000 metric tonnes of pumpkins are produced in Canada each year, however most of these are never eaten and end up being thrown away*.  Hellmann’s believes nothing is scarier than food waste, and the Halloween-themed island aims to help Canadians be more resourceful with their food and waste less this Halloween. 

With Halloween tipped to look a little bit different this year, Hellmann’s Halloween Island will offer Canadians a new, spooky virtual island experience and fun escape to enjoy safely from home, as well as the opportunity to once again make change in the real world, by converting their spoiled turnips in the game into real food for people in need via Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization.

Along with the eerie makeover, Hellmann’s has introduced some exciting new features and experiences to offer a full 360 Halloween experience within the game, including a Pumpkin Carving Station, Canola Maze, Pumpkin Patch, Haunted House and Cemetery, along with additional opportunities for non-gamers to participate in the initiative and support Second Harvest. 

Scary Food Waste Costumes

Hellmann’s has created a collection of in-game scary food waste costumes, available to download for free here, which includes; “Spooky Fish Skeleton”, “Creepy Leftover Carrot Costume”, “Sad Jack-o Lantern”, “Frightful Bacon Fat”, “Orange Rind Mummy Costume”, “Bruised Banana” and “Eerie Egg Yolk”. Each costume, inspired by a commonly wasted food item, is also accompanied on the site by food waste tips and recipes to try and encourage Canadians to waste less over the popular holiday period.

How both Animal Crossing players and non-gamers can give back

Between the hours of 2:30 PM and 12:15 AM EST from Monday, October 26 to Saturday, October 31, players will be able to visit Hellmann’s Halloween Island to drop off their spoiled turnips**. In exchange for each turnip, Hellmann’s will donate a real meal to Second Harvest to help provide 25,000 meals in total to Canadians in need.

Non-gamers can also participate in the initiative, by using the costume collection as inspiration to create their own scary food waste costumes at home and if they wish, share pictures of their creations on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with #HellmannsIsland. For each scary food waste costume picture shared, Hellmann’s will donate one meal to Second Harvest, for an additional 1,000 meals in total. Seehere for DIY inspiration and guidelines***.

Hellmann’s has been on the side of food since 2007 with the introduction of the Real Food Movement. To date, Hellmann’s has donated 127,250 meals through the Real Food Rescue program and original Animal Crossing initiative for Canadians in need, with an additional 26,000 meals to be provided through the brand’s ongoing partnership with Second Harvest via Hellmann’s Halloween Island. 

Hellmann’s Halloween Island will be open between the hours of 2:30 PM and 12:15 AM EST from Monday, October 26 to Saturday, October 31, with dodo codes provided on a first-come, first-served basis on Twitter @HellmannsCanada

Visit Hellmanns.wyng.com/animalcrossing for scary food waste merch codes, DIY inspiration and simple tips and tricks to reduce your personal food waste at Halloween. 

*Statistics Canada – https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/spooky-statistic-most-edible-pumpkins-end-up-in-trash-1.4859127

**How to access Hellmann’s Island: 

  1. Hellmann’s Island will be open to visitors Between the hours of 2:30 PM and 12:15 AM EST from Monday, October 26 to Saturday, October 31
  2. To access the island, gamers will direct message Hellmann’s Canada on Twitter @HellmannsCanada to receive their personal dodo code which will be shared on a first-come, first-served basis. 
  3. Selected visitors will be given a 15-minute timeslot to drop off their spoiled turnips. For each spoiled turnip dropped off, Hellmann’s will donate a meal to Second Harvest until the 25,000 meal target is achieved.  
  4. After dropping off their spoiled turnips, guests will have the opportunity to explore the rest of the attractions on Hellmann’s Island including: 
  • Hellmann’s Farm – visitors can take a peaceful stroll through the picturesque canola fields or take a look at some other Hellmann’s ingredients, including freshly laid eggs from free-run hens and quality vinegar in rustic barrels.  
  • Second Harvest Outdoor Kitchen & Pumpkin Carving Station – here, guests can relax and unwind by a waterfall, or take a seat at one of the picnic tables, enjoy a light snack, and gaze into the eyes of some ghoulish gourds.
  • Canola Maze – visitors can explore the twists and turns of the canola maze, where scary surprises lurk around the corners.
  • Apple Orchard, Pumpkin Patch & Cemetery – while touring Hellmann’s Island, guests can take in the scenery, like trees full of fresh autumn fruit, pumpkins ready to be picked, and a spooky cemetery that just might be home to a ghost or two.
  • Guide’s Haunted House – guests who dare to enter here are certainly in for a scare, and it’s not just from the skeletons and bubbling cauldron: abandoned meals from feasts gone by are sure to leave visitors shaken.

***Hellmann’s social media donation initiative is a family friendly engagement meant to encourage people to learn more about food waste and engage with other participant’s costume ideas. Participants will create their food waste costumes to represent any type of food that may go to waste. Costumes can be homemade or purchased. Costumes must be family friendly. Photos must be posted to one of the qualifying platforms between 12AM, October 26 and 12.15AM, October 31, using the approved entry mechanisms. All described guidelines must be followed to qualify for the donation program.

Feds Plan To Sue Google For Anti-Trust As Early As Today [UPDATE]

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 20, 2020 by itnerd

The US Justice Department plans to accuse Google of maintaining an illegal monopoly over search and search advertising in a lawsuit to be filed on Tuesday, the government’s most significant legal challenge to a tech company’s market power in a generation, according to officials at the agency:

In its suit, to be filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., the agency will accuse Google, a unit of Alphabet, of illegally maintaining its monopoly over search through several exclusive business contracts and agreements that lock out competition, said the officials, who were not authorized to speak on the record. Such contracts include Google’s payment of billions of dollars to Apple to place the Google search engine as the default for iPhones. The agency will argue that Google, which controls about 80 percent of search queries in the United States, struck agreements with phone makers using Alphabet’s Android operating system to pre-load the search engine on their phones and make it hard for rival search engines to become a replacement. By using contracts to maintain its monopoly, competition and innovation has suffered, the suit with argue.

The suit reflects the pushback against the power of the nation’s largest corporations, and especially technology giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. Conservatives like President Trump and liberals like Senator Elizabeth Warren have been highly critical of the concentration of power in a handful of tech behemoths. Attorney General William P. Barr, who was appointed by Mr. Trump, has played an unusually active role in the investigation. He pushed career Justice Department attorneys to bring the case by the end of September, prompting pushback from lawyers who wanted more time and complained of political influence. Mr. Barr has spoken publicly about the inquiry for months and set tight deadlines for the prosecutors leading the effort.

This will be interesting to watch because this can be the first of many lawsuits to be filed by the feds. Lawyers at Amazon, Facebook and Apple have to be very worried as it looks like Google is going to be made an example of. If and when the lawsuit gets announced, I’ll update this post.

UPDATE: The Lawsuit has dropped.

UPDATE #2: Google calls the lawsuit “deeply flawed” in a blog post.

Guest Post: NordVPN Has A Complete List Of Cybersecurity Tips Every User Must Follow: How Many Boxes Can You Check?

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 20, 2020 by itnerd

To the digital community, October is known as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. For the 17th time, the celebration continues to raise awareness of the importance of cybersecurity, online privacy, and digital hygiene in general.

Did you know that approximately 6.85 million accounts get hacked every day? This is 158 accounts per second! “Even though the statistics are shocking, every user can avoid the risk of becoming a target just by following the right cybersecurity practices,” explains Oliver Nobel, a data encryption specialist at NordLocker.

Repetition is the mother of learning, so it’s a good idea to go over the things you think you already know. The list below includes 22 key tips every computer and internet user should follow to protect themselves from becoming a victim of cybercrime.

  1. Use multi-factor authentication for an extra layer of security whenever possible.
  2. Create complex and unique passwords for your online accounts. Start using a password manager to help you generate strong passwords and store them in one safe place.
  3. Stay away from unsafe public Wi-Fi and use your mobile data instead. If you really need to connect to a public network, always use a VPN. A virtual private network encrypts all communications passing between your device and the internet so no outsider can intercept your traffic.
  4. Turn off the Wi-Fi on your device when you don’t use it. 
  5. Back up your data to a portable hard disk or cloud-based storage so you can always recover your information if it ever got lost.
  6. Disable Bluetooth when you don’t use it.
  7. Make sure your operating system is up to date both on your computer and smartphone.
  8. Enable your firewall. Most operating systems have a built-in firewall, which keeps outsiders from going through the data you keep on your computer.
  9. Make sure your antivirus is up to date.
  10. Buy and download apps and software only from official stores.
  11. Set your social media account to private. Before posting anything online, check who you’re sharing the information with. 
  12. Turn off geotagging to prevent your photos from including location-disclosing metadata.
  13. Don’t overshare online. Avoid posting your email, phone number, or home address on blogs, forums, and social networks when it’s unnecessary. Never share your emotions, intimate pictures, and vacation plans with strangers online.
  14. Don’t upload high resolution photos to social media platforms. Make sure to hide all the street names, building numbers, and any other information that can indicate your whereabouts.
  15. Encrypt the sensitive files you store on your computer and in the cloud. There’re easy-to-use file encryption tools that turn all your files and information into uncrackable codes that even skilled hackers can’t read without your permission.
  16. Shop only on secure websites. The address of a safe website should start with “https://” (often preceded by a padlock symbol), where the letter “s” stands for “secure.” 
  17. Look for telltale signs of a fake e-shop to avoid scams: poor website design, broken English, shady contact information, unclear return policies, poor customer reviews, and so on.
  18. Don’t open emails from unknown senders, as those might be phishing attempts.
  19. Don’t download any attachments from suspicious emails.
  20. Never click on scammy links. Always verify the sender and contents of the email before clicking on anything.
  21. Don’t use your work device for personal needs, and vice versa.
  22. When browsing online, always protect your data and location. Use a VPN, which hides your IP address and creates a virtual tunnel for your data to safely travel across the web.

Review: Snap Ships

Posted in Products with tags on October 19, 2020 by itnerd

Today I am presenting a review of a toy called Snap Ships.

Designed for kids ages 8 and up, Snap Ships has eleven ships at a suggested retail price of $9.99–$39.99. To tell the epic story of the Snap Ships universe, the company behind Snap Ships which is PlayMonster has joined forces with award-winning content studio Wind Sun Sky to produce a fast-paced and edgy animated series. Season one of the series, Snap Ships Dawn of Battle launched this past Friday on YouTube with new episodes airing every Friday. But there’s more to this toy. Snap Ships is supported by an AR app which allows users to explore the vibrant world of Snap Ships. Highly detailed digital versions of the constructible toys come to life in the app and can be summoned into via Augmented Reality.

All of this sounds great. But I’m not a kid so I can’t speak to how engaging Snap Ships would be for a kid. Thus I had to enlist someone much younger than I. Enter Zavier who is 12 years old and as you will read, he can do product reviews after he’s finished his homework. For the record, everything was written by Zavier and he did the screen shots as well.:

After getting myself familiar with the Snap Ships I can say it’s a great product. The Snap Ships are fun and straightforward to put together with simple, clear instructions. The interlocking cubes snap together well, however they are quite hard to take apart by yourself. Thankfully each kit comes with a separate tool that comes in very handy. All snap ships are fairly unique and considering the highly affordable price, gives a huge incentive to buy more than one kit. In short, the kits themselves are spectacular. 

Now onto the App itself. When you first enter the app you’re presented with a very easy to navigate user interface. It gets its job done and isn’t too overwhelming. 

The dogfights, sectors are fun at first but can get very repetitive. Just a couple of different variations on the standard gameplay can improve the game a whole lot. Sometimes when playing the game it feels like the game is playing for you. There should be an option whether you want the autopilot or manual controls. A crosshair would also be a neat addition so that you’re able to tell where you’re shooting.

The main attraction, augmented reality is immersive and amazingly rendered. It’s really fun to just play around with and other kids will love it. Sometimes though, the ships can get a little glitchy and confusing.

Overall Snap Ships are a great product and I would recommend it to all my friends. Since every piece can snap together it invites a lot of creativity, you make your own ships. It’s very reminiscent of things like Lego in that way. With a few updates and a bit more availability the app could take off (no pun intended).

That’s a very detailed review from Zavier and I appreciate his perspective on Snap Ships. Since he recommends Snap Ships, I will recommend it given the price and the entertainment value that it provides.

Nikon Mirrorless Cameras Help People Create & Connect

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 19, 2020 by itnerd

Today I would like to share to share Nikon’s Z series mirrorless camera lineup.

As families are more focused on each other and spending time in their bubbles, the gift of a camera can help capture memories being made. From video calls with family and friends, to catching special moments during this year’s unique holiday season, Nikon’s Z series has something for everyone on your list.

For those more focused on creating, or who find themselves on-camera more often, the precision optics of a Nikon camera not only help make better videos, but can also bring Nikon’s beautiful imagery to video calls. Nikon Z cameras can work as webcams with a free app. They also transfer photos and videos to other devices in the background over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so your phone always has your latest shots — making them easy to post and quickly share with others. 

Another benefit of the Z series is its wide lens mount, which lets in more light for faster photography and more detail. And, with an optional adapter, Nikon Z cameras can be used with hundreds of Nikon DSLR lenses. 

The Nikon Z 50 is an affordable camera for creators who need gear that’s light, easy to use and captures superior videos and images for TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. The flip-down screen is perfect for selfies or vlogging.  

  • Available now. MSRP starting at $1,099.00 

The Nikon Z 6II has expert-level multimedia features, and more processing speed than its predecessor. Dual memory card slots help photographers keep shooting, whether it’s a wedding, basketball game or nature walk. 

  • Available in November 2020. MSRP starting at $2,799.95 

TELUS To Offer iPhone 12 Pro & iPhone 12 On The World’s Fastest Network Starting Today

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 16, 2020 by itnerd

TELUS will offer the new iPhone 12 lineup, including iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12, and iPhone 12 mini all on the fastest network in Canada and the world, covering 99 per cent Canadians from coast to coast. With a beautiful all-new design, iPhone 12 models feature an unparalleled new camera systems, edge-to-edge Super Retina XDR displays for a more immersive viewing experience, the biggest jump in durability with the Ceramic Shield front cover, and Apple-designed A14 Bionic chip, the fastest chip in a smartphone. TELUS customers can now order iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 starting today, with availability on October 23. In addition, customers will be able to order iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 mini beginning on November 6, with availability on November 13. For complete pricing and availability details, please visit telus.com/iphone12pro.

TELUS 5G will be available at no additional cost on TELUS Peace of Mind plans, starting at only $75/20GB of high-speed data until October 31, with endless data and no overage fees. Moreover, customers can connect their smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, TELUS Drive+, and TELUS Track+ all to a single plan with TELUS’ exclusive Peace of Mind Connect plans starting at $85/20GB per month. With endless data, customers can continue to stream, share, and stay connected across all of their devices as much as they want without worrying about overages.

TELUS customers can also take advantage of our Bring-It-Back™ program and receive up to $630 off depending on the device, when they agree to return it in good working condition to TELUS at the end of their two-year term. To save even more, customers can sign up for TELUS’ Trade-In Program, where customers will receive a credit for their old device, up to $825.

ServiceNow Partners w/ IBM To Automate IT & Releases New IoT Solution & COVID Testing App

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 15, 2020 by itnerd

The stakes have never been higher for enterprises – in order to survive, it’s crucial for them to enhance employee productivity, get full visibility into their operational footprint, and respond to incidents and issues in real-time.

ServiceNow and IBM today announced a strategic partnership to help enterprises around the globe automate IT. The partnership includes a first-of-its-kind joint IT solution – combining IBM’s Watson AIOps with ServiceNow’s IT Service Management and IT Operations Management Visibility – that equips companies with the tools they need to drive greater efficiency, reduce risk, and lower costs in IT across their organizations.

The company also released new products to help businesses and employees manage work in the wake of COVID-19 and sustain business continuity, including:

  • Launching Connected Operations, a powerful new solution that bridges IoT data with ServiceNow digital workflows so enterprises can monitor and manage critical infrastructure, break down data siloes, and pursue new business models (like goods-as-a-service). You can find more informationhere.
  • Updates to the ServiceNow Safe Workplace app suite, including a new Health and Safety Testing app to streamline the process for requesting and receiving test results from employees. You can find more information on today’s release – including a new Safe Workplace Experience for Now Mobile and enhanced contact tracing capabilities with Zebra Technologies’ MotionWorks Proximity solution – here.

Review: Roku Streambar

Posted in Products with tags on October 15, 2020 by itnerd

Today I’m reviewing a 2 in 1 device called the Roku Streambar. It combines a Roku streaming device that is capable of 4K with a compact sound bar that is capable of Dolby Audio.

Here’s what you get in the box:

Besides the Streambar and the power cable, you get an high speed HDMI cable, a optical cable which you only need if your TV doesn’t have an HDMI-ARC port, and a remote with AAA batteries.

On the back of the Streambar you get power, optical, HDMI, USB ports along with a reset button. The Streambar does support Ethernet via a USB adapter that is an optional extra. Out of the box you can connect the streaming part of the Streambar to your network via 802.11ac MiMO WiFi.

This is the Streambar set up and functioning normally.

It is tiny by sound bar standards. It also doesn’t take up a whole lot of real estate as it’s about a third of the size of a typical sound bar. That’s great if you need the space. It also has a pair of mounting holes on the back so that you can mount it to a wall if you wish.

Speaking of the set up process, it was laughably easy. I plugged it into the HDMI-ARC port of my TV and then followed the directions onscreen to set it up. Including adding it to my WiFi network and software updates, it took me ten minutes to set it up. I might have been able to set it up quicker if I didn’t put one of the AAA batteries into the remote backwards. As part of the process, the streaming half of the Streambar automatically optimizes itself for my TV so that it can stream in 4K HDR.

The Streambar has four internal speakers that point in different directions so that it fills your room with sound. You can easily tweak your sound to highlight voices for example, or level the sound, or reduce bass. And it did a good job of filling my living room with sound despite being a physically small sound bar. The sound is very rich, clear, and detailed. This was true whether I was watching regular TV, a movie, or playing a video game. I was kind of surprised at a sound bar at this price point could be this good. More on the price in a moment.

The Streambar comes with Roku OS 9.4 which as part of its feature set is supposed to come with Apple HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support. However, I could not find this support for either in the product. A quick email exchange with Roku confirmed that this is still coming later this year. It makes sense as my TCL TV which has Roku functionality that needed to be updated to Roku OS 9.4 so that I can test the Streambar doesn’t have HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support either. But until AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support makes an appearance, you can stream music to the Streambar via Bluetooth which sounded really good. On the downside, I had to switch to the Streambar to stream music via Bluetooth. And I had to use the remote (which by the way supports voice commands) that came with the Streambar to use it. Maybe I am doing something wrong here, but assuming that I am not doing something wrong, I would have liked to see a bit more integration between the two devices.

In my opinion, if you don’t have a Roku device, the Streambar is a great way to get streaming and upgraded sound onto your “dumb” TV. As always Roku brings a large channel selection to the table. So at what this costs, it’s a total win. If you’re like me and have a Roku TV, in my case a TCL TV, you’ll get upgraded sound. But you’ll also get a second Roku device that you won’t be using most if the time. In my case, I only used it when I was streaming music via bluetooth after I was finished my initial testing. But in either case, the Streambar only costs $189.99. So even in my use case it’s still a win. The Roku Streambar is very much worth a look if you want to bring better sound to your TV along with streaming to your TV at a good price.

New TELUS Owner’s Advantage Plan Gives Canadian Business Owners Exclusive Benefits

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 15, 2020 by itnerd

In celebration of Small Business Month, TELUS announced the launch of The Owner’s Advantage Plan, a new mobility plan for business customers that includes a variety of exclusive benefits designed to provide greater value and more flexibility than ever before. Here’s an overview of the key features:

  • Upgrade every year: Stay ahead of the competition and upgrade your smartphone to the latest and most advanced 5G smartphones every year.
  • Same day device repair: Quickly reconnect with same day screen repair included in your plan and available at more than 80 Mobile Klinik locations nationwide.
  • Fastest customer support: Save time and get back to running your business faster with front of the line access to customer support. 
  • Endless data: Plan includes 50GB of high speed data and no overage charges for added peace of mind, all on the fastest mobile network in the world. 
  • TELUS Health Virtual Care: Owners get one year of complimentary access to on-demand virtual healthcare service, Akira, for themselves, their family, and up to ten of their employees – 24/7, 365 days a year, in English and French.

For a limited time as part of Small Business Month, the Owner’s Advantage plan is $110/month (regular price $120/month), plus the monthly cost of your device. For the latest information about the Owner’s Advantage Plan, please visit: www.telus.com/ownersadvantage.