The Honeymoon With Rogers MAY Be Over [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 26, 2014 by itnerd

Frequent readers will recall that my wife and I switched my Internet and Home Phone to Rogers after I had difficulties our previous telco. At the time I said that this was the deal that was offered to my wife and I:

So at this point, I turned things over to my wife who is a master negotiator to see what kind of deal she could work out. We had agreed to only switch the Internet to Rogers. But being the master negotiator that she is, she called me on my cell with the following deal:

  • Rogers Hybrid Fiber Internet 30 (30 Mbps downstream, 5 Mbps upstream) with a free modem and 270GB of usage a month
  • Rogers Home Phone with three features
  • A free 1TB PVR for my TV watching habits (Well, it’s a free rental for 3 years and it’s $1 to buy, so it’s basically free)

That we thought was a good deal so we pulled the trigger and switched. The install was painless, but at the time I did say this:

Now, we’ll see if any of the billing related to this gets screwed up in any way. It’s happened before when we’ve made changes with Rogers and it’s been painful to fix. If nothing happens on that front, I will sing their praises to anyone who asks.

And when I sold my old PVR, Rogers had to go through some gymnastics to get the PVR at the time. That made me say this:

The person I sold my old PVR to called into Rogers and called me back to get the PVR removed from my account. It was five minutes of listening to silence, but it was removed. The root cause of the first Rogers CSR not being able to remove the PVR from my account was because of the way the discounts were applied to my account. To fix it, she moved all my equipment from “cable outlet one” to “cable outlet two.” What’s weird about that was the fact that we only have one physical outlet. We’ve had problems with Rogers believing that we’ve had more than one outlet and billing us for it. That was painful to fix as we had to escalate to the Office Of The President and have a Rogers tech come out and confirm that we don’t have a second outlet. I am hoping this does not create a new nightmare for us to have to fix.

Well, what I had feared may have come true. After a Rogers telemarketing call where the person at the other end of the phone said a few things that piqued my curiosity, I decided to log into MyRogers and look at our bill online. I must admit that this is a handy feature and it sure came in handy today. There appears to be a billing error on our account. Actually, two of them. Here’s a couple of screen shots from our MyRogers account with our personal info redacted:

cable

 

If are getting a free rental of a PVR for three years that we can buy for $1 after that, why does the rental discount end on September 25, 2014?

Internet

If we’re supposed to be getting a free modem for our Internet access, why are we being charged for it?

Clearly, Rogers has screwed something up in relation to our billing. Maybe it was because I sold the PVR and they had to do something to get it off our account? Maybe this wasn’t set up right from the get go? Who knows? I do know that my wife will be calling Rogers on Monday morning to get this corrected. That should be “interesting.”

Now, people and companies screw up. How the screw up is dealt with says a lot about the person or company in question. Rogers has an opportunity to show how well they deal with this screw up as previous billing errors like this were painful to fix. If this one is easy to fix, then I will say that Rogers has changed a lot. Given how well things have gone to this point, I’m willing to give them a shot at fixing this. But only one shot.

I’ll update you on what happens.

UPDATE: Here’s something that happened. If you check the comments below, Chris from Rogers reached out to us. I responded via Twitter:

More as it comes.

Security Researcher Posts Video Showing How Easy It Is To Bypass iOS Security

Posted in Commentary with tags , on July 26, 2014 by itnerd

You might recall the name Jonathan Zdziarski as being the guy who set off a firestorm by outlining apparent “backdoors” in iOS that Apple responded to in a way that didn’t exactly put people’s minds at ease. Now it’s about to get harder for them as Zdziarski yesterday posted a video showing how easy it is to bypass the security on iOS devices and proving that your personal data is not secure.

Here’s the video below:

It’s a safe bet that people with more sinister intentions are figuring out ways to use this to do very bad things. Thus, this is getting worse and not better for Apple. They need to really explain all of this in a direct and fulsome way. Because the longer this goes on, the less Apple can be considered trustworthy.

All New Volvo XC90 To Have Cutting Edge Safety Technology

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 26, 2014 by itnerd

The all new Volvo XC90 is going to be officially going to be revealed in August. But ahead of that, Volvo is clearly going to set the bar when it comes to safety. Consider the following safety technologies that will be available in the XC90:

Run-off road protection

Run-off road is a common accident type with different causes, such as driver distraction, fatigue or poor weather conditions. For example, half of all traffic fatalities in the United States are road departure accidents, while in Sweden, single-vehicle accidents involve one third of all fatal and severe injury crashes with passenger cars.  To combat this, Volvo Cars developed Safe Positioning.

The Safe Positioning capability means that in a run-off road scenario, the all-new Volvo XC90 detects what is happening and the front safety belts are tightened to keep the occupants in position. The belts are firmly tightened as long as the car is in motion. To help prevent spine injuries, energy-absorbing functionality between the seat and seat frame cushions the vertical forcesthat can arise when the car encounters a hard landing in the terrain. The solution is capable of reducing the vertical occupant forces by up to one third. This counteracts spine injuries, which are serious and relatively frequent consequences of these situations.

The XC90 also features technologies that help the driver avoid run-off road scenarios:

  • The Lane Keeping Aid applies extra steering torque if the car is about to leave the lane unintentionally.
  • Driver Alert Control is also standard detects and warns tired or inattentive drivers.
  • Rest Stop Guidance directs the driver to the nearest rest area.

Auto brake at intersections

The XC90 is the first car in the world with technology that features automatic braking if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car. This is a common scenario at busy city crossings as well as on highways, where the speed limits are higher. The all-new Volvo XC90 detects a potential crash and brakes automatically in order to avoid a collision or mitigate the consequences of a crash.

Both of these are world firsts from Volvo. Which will keep Volvo on the top the heap when it comes to safety. But they didn’t stop there. They also brought the following to the table:

  • Pre-crash protection in rear impacts: Rearward facing radars detect if a rear impact is imminent and safety belts are tightened in advance in order to keep the occupant in a good position. Lights also start flashing to warn the driver behind, and the brakes are activated to help reduce the impact on the occupants.
  • Groundbreaking rollover prevention and protection: The all-new XC90 comes with the latest generation Roll Stability Control as standard. The system uses advanced sensors to calculate the risk of rolling over. If the risk is assessed as high, engine torque is restricted and some braking force is applied to one or more wheels to counteract the rollover tendency.  If a rollover is inevitable, the Inflatable Curtains are activated. They cover all three seat rows for an extended period of time to help prevent head injuries. All seven seats in the XC90 have pyrotechnical safety belt pre-tensioners that also activate in rollover situations.
  • City Safety auto braking functions: City Safety will become the umbrella name for all of Volvo Cars’ auto brake functions – which are standard equipment in the all-new XC90. The purpose of the new collision avoidance system is to assist the driver in case there is a high risk of collision with another vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist through an intuitive warning strategy and a brake support system. If a collision is almost unavoidable, the system will provide autonomous braking when the driver fails to respond to the imminent threat.
  • Extended Road Sign Information: The XC90 is the first car on the market with Road Sign Information technology as standard. It has been further enhanced to show an extended selection of road signs in the digital display in front of the driver, such as various types of supplementary signs.
  • The Blind Spot Information System informs about vehicles in the blind spots. It also alerts the driver to vehicles that are approaching fast from behind.
  • Queue Assist enables safe and comfortable driving by following the vehicle in front in slow-moving queues. Acceleration, braking and steering are controlled automatically.
  • To help keep the occupant space inside intact in a crash, the all-new XC90 has literally been made stronger in every sense. This is achieved by more extensive use of hot-formed boron steel, which is the strongest type of steel presently used in the car body industry. The complete safety cage around the occupants is made from hot-formed boron steel and is designed for maximum occupant protection in all types of crash scenarios. The hot-formed steel amounts to about 40 per cent of the total body weight.
  • When the driver activates the Park Assist Pilot in a parallel parking situation, the 12 sensors in the XC90 start to scan the side of the car for empty parking slots. When a parking slot measuring a minimum of 1.2 times the car’s length is detected, the driver is notified by an audible signal and a message in the instrument cluster. In a bay parking situation, the slot needs to be the width of the car plus one metre. The display then guides the driver step by step via texts and animations in the instrument cluster until the car is parked.
  • The all-new XC90 also features a 360° Surround View that gives the driver a bird’s-eye view, an overview of the surrounding area, seen from a point above the car. This bird’s-eye view is enabled by four concealed fish-eye cameras – one integrated into the front, one integrated in each of the door mirrors and one fitted above the rear number plate. The 360° Surround View also gives the driver comfortable access to other views of the surrounding area such as front, rear and side views.
  • Cross Traffic Alert covers the driver’s back when reversing out of a parking space. It warns of approaching traffic up to 30 metres on each side, alerting the driver with an audible signal and a warning on the centre screen.

Volvo’s vision is to design cars that should not crash. In the short term, the aim is that by 2020 no one should be killed or injured in a new Volvo car. Given all of the safety technology in the all new XC90, that goal should be attainable.

iPhone 6 Cases Start Appearing At Retailers

Posted in Commentary on July 26, 2014 by itnerd
The size and dimensions of the upcoming iPhone 6 are no real secret anymore as every tech site seems to be reporting them. So it’s not a great surprise to me that retailers are starting to stock phones for a phone that will likely prove to be the one that generates a ton of hype this year. Mobile Fun for one has started stocking these cases. They’re likely going to joined by others.

So what do you think of retailers stocking cases for a phone that hasn’t been released yet?

Volvo Joins Open Automotive Alliance And Includes CarPlay Too

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 26, 2014 by itnerd

Volvo announced this week that they have joined the Open Automotive Alliance led by Google and they will be integrating Android Auto into their cars. Android Auto will provide access to Google Search, Google Maps, Google Play Music and specially adapted third party applications, such as Spotify. All phone-based applications can be controlled via voice or steering wheel controls or the car’s touch screen ensuring the entire interaction with Android Auto content is both safe and easy. However, Apple fans should not feel left out as Volvo is going to include CarPlay as well. Volvo joins Audi in playing both sides of the smartphone fence.

147104_3_2

 

Both will be available on all new Volvo cars based on the new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), starting with the all-new XC90. I’ll have a report on the all new XC90 later today as it’s groundbreaking from a technology perspective.

Official LG Wireless Charger – WCD-100 Arriving At Retailers

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 26, 2014 by itnerd
LG’s Qi Wireless Charger has is starting to appear at retailers now. This is the official model for the LG G3 if you’re lucky enough to have that phone, but works with all Qi compatible smartphones. At least from pictures, it looks like one of the more elegant wireless chargers that I’ve seen as it a foldable design that supports both portrait and landscape modes for hands-free viewing while charging. I’ve reviewed a Qi Wireless Charger in the past and I really liked it. I think you will too. Mobile Fun is one retailer who has started stocking them, so check them out if you’re looking for one.

First Impressions Of OS X Yosemite

Posted in Products with tags on July 25, 2014 by itnerd

I installed OS X Yosemite last night on a Mac that I don’t rely on so that if things went horribly sideways, I wouldn’t be shut down to recover. I’ve had way too much of that lately. Now keep in mind, I am running a beta. Thus what I am describing can change before it is released in the fall. But I think that I’ll be able to give you a hint of what is to come from Apple.

Look And Feel: If you like the look of iOS 7, you’ll like the look of Yosemite.  All of the built in Apple apps have flat looking icons and it’s a safe bet that other software houses will change their icons to match. Controls are flat as well. They’ve also made some subtle changes to how the user interface behaves. For example, the green button that’s part of the red, yellow, and green trio of buttons that control window size and minimization of apps now allows you to bring windows to full-screen. That’s a nice touch.  One thing that I wasn’t a fan of was translucent menu bars and apps.

Notification Center: Notification Center is way more useful now as it takes on an iOS feel to it, and you can install widgets to make it more useful.

Safari: Safari’s new found ability to give you a look at all tabs at once, complete with nested grouping of tabs from the same website and snapshots of what was last loaded in each is a huge benefit when you’re working with a lot of them open at once. That alone makes Yosemite worth the price of admission. But they’ve also added native HTML5 for video playback with Netflix and other supported sites. That will save some battery on your MacBook. Plus you can now use DuckDuckGo instead of Google for your search needs without a plugin. Nice!

Spotlight: Spotlight appears as a Google-like search bar across the desktop, and indexes results from Bing, iTunes, Maps, Wikipedia and more. I like that.

Messages: Finally, Messages looks and feels modern. You can name a group thread that has three people or more on it, and you can add new people to the conversation easily.

Mail: Much like Messages, Mail has gotten a much needed makeover. Besides the ability to send and receive large attachments easily, you can annotate messages as well without any extra plugins.

Calendar: Again, Apple borrowed heavily from iOS for the look and feel and Calendar and it works. It also integrates maps and weather into one place which is handy.

AirDrop: Apple has addressed a pet peeve of mine by giving AirDrop the ability to work between Mac and iOS devices. For bonus points they also made it work across multiple versions of the various operating systems as well.

Performance: I really didn’t note any performance gains over Mavericks. But that may change when the product is actually released.

I wasn’t able to test other features such as Handoff as I don’t have a spare iPhone lying around to install a beta of iOS 8. But from what I see so far. I like Yosemite. It makes Mavericks which was released last year look like it was from the 1980′s. Apple users should be prepared to be impressed when it finally ships later this year.

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