The Alcatel Idol 3 Is Now At Telus

Posted in Commentary with tags , on July 7, 2015 by itnerd

The Alcatel Idol 3 is now part of the Telus lineup of future friendly devices. Alcatel’s newest release offers well-rounded features while taking it easy on your wallet. Here are a few reasons why they think the Idol 3 will make a killer everyday smartphone:

  • Luxurious design: Its stylish design and solid build quality give the Idol 3 a premium feel without the premium price.
  • Superb audio: Featuring award-winning JBL Audio by Harman, Idol 3 brings an amazing on-the-go music experience.
  • Fast performance: Powered by an Octa-Core Qualcomm® Snapdragon 615 processor, the Idol 3 delivers ultra-fast 4G LTE connectivity to help keep up with your fast paced life.

The Alcatel Idol 3 is now available to Telus customers starting at $0 on a 2-year term or $360 outright. Telus Customers looking to pick up Alcatel’s latest device can take advantage of T-UP which gives our users the ability to upgrade to the latest and greatest devices every year.

I’ve request one for review and when I get it, expect to see a review online quickly.

In Depth: Method

Posted in Products with tags on July 7, 2015 by itnerd

Large businesses typically have the benefit of using one piece of software,or a suite of applications to run their business operations. Be it from accounting, inventory, or customer relationship management. Small businesses however often run multiple applications to do business. Thus they run an application to do accounting and inventory, and another application to perform customer relationship management. Typically the applications are not integrated so small business owners have to enter data twice which of course is far from ideal.

A company called Method is changing this for the better. If you’re a QuickBooks user (and there are a lot of small and even medium sized businesses that are) and you want to add customer relationship management functionality, their flagship cloud based application Method:CRM allows you to do that. The key feature is that Method:CRM integrates with QuickBooks (and it doesn’t matter if you use QuickBooks in the cloud or on your desktop). Thus you get a single pane of glass to look at your data and you don’t have to enter data twice. But the innovation doesn’t stop there. Method:CRM allows you to see your data on multiple platforms be it Android, iPhone, iPad, laptop, desktop, Windows phone or Blackberry. Because the app is web based, it makes it completely platform agnostic. Thus you can use whatever device suits you to see your data rather than be forced to pick a platform to get at your data. The final piece of the puzzle is that Method:CRM is 100% customization. That way you can make it work for you as opposed to you being forced to adapt to it. The average user should be able to customize it themselves. But if that’s not you, Method has assisted services to help to train you and customize the application to suit your needs. Plus they have dedicated services where you get a 1:1 relationship with one of their Business Solutions Specialists for a fixed number of hours to train, assist, mentor, and customize your instance of Method:CRM. Alternately, Method has a small army of partners that can help you get the most from Method:CRM.

Another thing about Method that caught my eye is a second application that they offer called Method:Donor which is aimed at someone in the non-profit space that needs to collect and track donors and donations. It works the same way as Method:CRM, but in my mind, this is may have more of an impact for Method as this is a space that is growing and they are leveraging what they know from their CRM product to make Method:Donor a product to strongly consider if you’re in this space. One key point to mention is that Method:Donor came about via winning a QB Connect hackathon in 2014 where they built the app in 36 hours.

Method is a very interesting company from my perspective. They’re located in the Fashion District of Downtown Toronto and have been around in some form since 1999.They have a “work hard and play hard” culture that comes through even when browsing their website. They also come across as very agile when it comes to how their products are developed and supported, and I think that’s a huge advantage for them as they’re the #1 CRM product for QuickBooks with a 5-star rating on Intuit Apps.com.

Method:CRM is $25 to $40 per user per month and they have a 30 day trial to let you test drive it. Method:Donor is $25 per user per month. In either case, you’ll be getting a customer relationship management or donor management application that can take you to the next level. For that reason, If you’re an small or medium business or a non-profit, you need to take a serious look at Method.

A Contender Falls And A New One Joins The List

Posted in Commentary on July 7, 2015 by itnerd

Here’s a quick update on our latest problem with our Toyota Matrix that has led us to begin the process of at least looking for a new vehicle to replace it. In my most recent post, my wife and I had put together a list of contenders. They were as follows:

We then started doing our research and one vehicle has been removed from the list. We’ve decided to eliminate the Lexus NX 200t because of two reasons. First is cost. It starts at $41,900, but if you want items like blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alerts, and navigation, then you have to go up to the “Luxury” package which takes the price up to $50K. We’re sorry, but there are vehicles that are half the cost that come with those items as part of their standard build. Plus just because you want a luxury nameplate doesn’t give said nameplate the right to nickle and dime you. Thus we really feel that the NX 200t isn’t a good value. The second reason is that as much as we wanted to look past the experience that we had with Toyota Matrix and give the Lexus a fair look, we couldn’t find a way to justify giving Toyota our hard earned money for a second time. Thus it’s off the list.

Replacing the Lexus NX 200t is the Acura RDX. I was at the press launch at the 2015 Canadian International Auto Show and I had a good look at it. It caught my interest at the time, but taking a second look at it now I have to admit that it is an excellent value. It’s basically the same base price at the Lexus, but it comes with a V6 under the hood rather than a turbo 4 cylinder, and with the options that we’d want, it comes in at $5K less than the Lexus. Even fully loaded, it is way less than the Lexus with only the options that we wanted, never mind fully loaded where the difference is huge. That makes the Acura a much better value than the Lexus in our minds and we’ll be going to a dealership soon to check it out.

As for our oil consumption test with the Toyota Matrix, it is still ongoing. Based on my current driving patterns, I will have to visit the dealership sometime in the next week to 10 days to see what the results are. That will determine what our next move will be.

Hacking Firm Was Hacked And Embarrassing Details About Their Business Dealings Leaks Out

Posted in Commentary with tags , on July 7, 2015 by itnerd

The Guardian is reporting that the cybersecurity firm Hacking Team has been hacked and tons of their data is now floating around the Internet:

According to the documents, 400GB of which have been published, Hacking Team has also been working with numerous repressive governments – something it has previously explicitly denied doing. It has not been possible to independently verify the veracity of the documents.

The perpetrators of the apparent hack used the company’s own official Twitter feed (renamed “Hacked Team”) to communicate. They continued to post to the feed for hours after, highlighting specific documents they claim come from the hack, such as emails, invoices and even screenshots of Hacking Team employees’ computers, until the company regained control on Monday morning and removed the posts.

That’s pretty embarrassing. But here’s something else that caught my eye:

The company describes itself as in the business of “providing tools to police organisations and other government agencies that can prevent crimes or terrorism”, but if the documents are genuine they suggest it may be willing to sell to non-state actors as well. One invoice apparently reveals the company dealing with a private Brazilian firm, YasNiTech, to whom it sold three months access to its remote access tool, allowing the firm to hack in to Android and Blackberry phones, and Windows devices. We do not know if this sale was part of a wider contract with the Brazilian government.

That’s interesting. They have the ability to hack into Android and BlackBerry phones. The former I can see, but the latter is surprising. I’m pretty sure that there are some people in Waterloo who are going to have to explain how it is possible for someone to hack into BlackBerry phones which the company touts as being secure. But if that’s not enough, MacWorld has the same story on its website with a slightly different angle that will be of interest to Apple fans:

iOS users should therefore take note that the long-running concern that jailbroken iPhones and iPads were susceptible to vulnerabilities that could include access by so-called state actors appears to be confirmed by the data breach.

Two security outfits—the commercial Kaspersky Lab in Russia and academic Citizen Lab in Canada—first revealed in June 2014 that they had discovered and decoded Hacking Team’s smartphone-cracking software. The reports at that time indicated that only jailbroken iOS devices could be hijacked, but that malware could be installed on an iOS device when connected to a computer that was confirmed as trusted, and which had been compromised.

That external analysis has now been complemented by the Hacking Team’s internal documents. One pricelist shows a €50,000 ($56,000) price tag on an iOS snooping module with the note, “Prerequisite: the iOS device must be jailbroken.”

Take home message: If you have a jailbroken iOS device, You can become a victim of their software. Thus it highlights what I’ve said for a long time. You may not like the walled garden of Apple. But you’re better off with it than without it.

So, let’s recap,…. Hacking firm gets hacked and info showing that they sell their services to anybody with cash leak out. Plus info that they can get into almost any phone leaks out as well.

Scary stuff indeed.

Second Suspect Named In Cellphone Murder

Posted in Commentary with tags , on July 6, 2015 by itnerd

You might remember that a young man in London Ontario was murdered when he went looking for his cell phone and one of the people responsible drowned while running away from police. Now a second person has been named by the cops:

London police have applied for a Canada-wide arrest warrant, charging Mohamed Ibrahim Sail, 24, of Calgary, with second degree murder.

Mohamed Sail’s whereabouts are not known. Police say he is considered dangerous and the public should not approach him.

There’s a picture of the wanted man in the story that I linked too. If you see him, call the police and let’s get an accused killer off the streets.

Fido’s #MobileMusicVideo Is Live

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 6, 2015 by itnerd

Fido sent me a e-mail today to tell me that Fido’s #MobileMusicVideo is live and ready to be checked out on your device – mobilemusicvideo.ca

But what is a #MobileMusicVideo exactly?

Fido has teamed up with Canadian electronic trio Keys N Krates to present an original track “Save Me,” featuring Katy B in the world’s first location-based #MobileMusicVideo. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Vania Heymann, the experience looks and feels like a social network where the social feed becomes the setting for the video, and your photos become the scenes. Keys N Krates make their appearance by “GIF bombing” your photos.

Here’s more:

  • #MobileMusicVideo feed is made up of over 4,000 handcrafted GIFS that are in sync with the track
  • Each one consists of a user submitted image composited with footage of Keys N Krates. No matter how quickly one scrolls, the GIFS remain on beat
  • Includes geo-tagged images collected from over 100 artists and collaborators from 23 regions across Canada, BUT even better – it also incorporates hundreds of social media submissions from consumers, who contributed content by tagging their pics with #MobileMusicVideo
  • The experience customizable by location, creating a completely unique video every time you watch, wherever you watch it. By sharing one’s location in the experience, the GIFS in the feed start to populate from a distant region across the country and gradually get closer to you. Finally, the video ends with the band “GIF bombing” your photo.

Fido has created this project to pique the curiosity of Canadians by engaging them in the creation and experience of an interactive experience right from their mobiles. For the interactive scroll-down experience, go to mobilemusicvideo.ca and/or share your photos with #MobileMusicVideo and you could be in the video.  Be sure to also check out the behind-the-scenes creation here.

OVH Welcomes A Canadian As Its 1000th Employee

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 4, 2015 by itnerd

OVH announced that it now has 1,000 employees amongst its 16 subsidiaries throughout the world. To maintain its R&D strategy and support its customers, OVH is pursuing an active recruitment policy. More than 150 new employees have already joined the group since January and more than 100 more are expected for the second quarter.

To give you an idea of how fast they’ve grown, here’s a snapshot of their employee count:

  • One in 1999
  • Ten in 2000
  • Five hundred in 2012
  • Today – one thousand

OVH is proud to welcome a Canadian as its 1000th employee and a Frenchman as its 1001st, a real image of its international development on both sides of the Atlantic.

To support their growth, the group continues to reinforce its technical teams.

  • Candidates for developer positions must be masters of different languages, like Python, Angular, Node JS, C, C++, Java or Go.
  • Candidates for devops and system administrators, for their part, must have an excellent knowledge of the Linux environment, OpenStack and Docker platforms and the open source technologies of big data, storage, and especially data bases.

These positions are going to continue the development of the teams already in place internationally and in France.

OVH is also recruiting for its customer relations and support teams, seeking to fill technical and commercial consultant positions. To become familiar with the entire product and service lines marketed by OVH as well as its daily operation procedures, new recruits will undergo several weeks of training at the group’s Training Center. To recruit 300 people, OVH counts on the scale of its projects, its resourcefulness and its international ambitions. In April, the company reinforced its position in Canada with a 32.9 million dollar investment which will allow the creation of 150 jobs in Quebec over the next 2 years.

Furthermore, the group is taking more action in the direction of candidates, such as with the creation of a new website, OVH Careers, dedicated to recruitment where potential candidates can discover information regarding career opportunities.

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