Saturday, November 11, 2017

TechTalk November 7, 2017

Apple, Samsung, SONY, blah, blah, blah...

There is an endless amount of conversation, speculation and opinion about what is hot and what is not in the world of technology.

So, if you are looking for straight talk about the stuff you love and stuff you don't want to love in the world of tech then this is the program you need to listen to and be happy that the podcast is here so you can listen at work!

Andrew,Mr. Duck Dynasty and James Groot wannabe guide you through the best and worst in the world of tech.

Funny, informative and maybe a bit educational this is a podcast that you will want to make a staple in your podcast diet!

Grab the podcast here.

The notes.

Emoji decisions!

More emoji fun

What Facebook fakes? Ahhh
In the fine print of Facebook’s impressive third-quarter earnings report are two crucial statistics that tell the real story behind the social network’s massive user base.
Ten percent of Facebook’s 2.06 billion monthly users are duplicate accounts. That number is up from 6 percent the social giant previously reported. Even more concerning is the increase in fake, or “user-misclassified and undesirable” accounts, from 1 percent in July to 2 to 3 percent. Add those values up and nearly 270 million active Facebook accounts are either copies or clones, which is almost the entire population of the United States.
Facebook claims the changes to those statistics aren’t due to a rapid increase in fake or duplicate accounts but rather the result of more accurate reporting, what the company described as “a new methodology for duplicate accounts that included improvements to the data signals we rely on.” Some of the duplicate accounts could be generated by users but it’s likely many of them are bot accounts used to spam.

Triple threat!

Attackers are combining credential phishing, credit card data theft, and malware into a single campaign targeting banking details.
While it's common to see attacks involving phishing or malware, the combination of these tactics in a single campaign targeting Android devices of financial services and banking customers indicates the extent to which attackers are willing to play a longer game in order to get to their goal.

The attacks combine phishing with the distribution of the Marcher Android trojan, a form of banking malware which has been active since at least late 2013. Lures previously used to distribute Marcher include a fake software update, a fake security update, and a fake mobile game.
Marcher first originated on Russian underground forums but has since become a global threat, with the trojan targeting bank customers around the world.
Uncovered by researchers at Proofpoint, the latest Marcher campaign has been ongoing since January and uses a multistep scheme to target customers of Austrian banks.
The attacks begin with phishing emails containing a shortened link to a fake version of the Bank Austria login page, which has been registered to a number of different domains containing 'bankaustria' in the title, in an effort to trick the user into believing they're visiting the official site.

Cool Camera 360 but app is what people are talking about

Smart video doorbell coming to UAE
Ring has launched the Ring Video Doorbell 2 with 1080p HD video, adjustable motion sensors and a removable, rechargeable battery pack.
According to the firm, it adds next-level security and convenience to any home, so monitoring your property is even easier than before. Ring’s second-generation video doorbell also features customisable, interchangeable silver and brown faceplates, and improved infrared night vision with a 160° field of view and 180° horizontal motion detection angle. It also has a two-way audio with noise cancellation, and so-called bank-grade encryption.
Mohammad Meraj Hoda, managing director, Ring, “Continuously inventing is core to the execution of Ring’s mission ‘to reduce crime in neighborhoods’ and globally, our customers trust our innovative and industry-first security products to reduce neighborhood crime in a meaningful way. We wanted to introduce and offer our Middle Eastern customers best-of-breed smart home security solutions and launching with the Ring Video Doorbell 2 in the region continues our mission to reduce crime in neighborhoods around the world.”
The device has 1080p HD video and built-in night vision, allowing users to get crisp video details at any time of the day, explained Hoda. “Its adjustable motion sensors let you get the ideal setting for you and your home, so you can cut down on false alarms and the quick-release rechargeable battery pack lets you easily charge your Doorbell without moving the device,” he added. “All of these are key features because a big part of what Ring provides with its connected video products is peace of mind. By putting the power of home security in the hands of homeowners, we can all work together to make our families and communities safer for all.”
Ring Video Doorbell 2 is equipped with other features such as removable, rechargeable battery pack; two-way audio; it also allows connectivity to existing doorbell (8-24VAC); 180-degree horizontal motion detection angle; 160-degree field of view; and it is compatible with 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz) among others.
The device will be available from mid-November across the UAE at AED799.
Nintendo is back!

Fake apps in the news

Are we thinking of IT security with devices being brought into a company?

Despite high profile cyberattacks, almost half of the IT decision makers at 250+ employee organizations in the Middle East believe that cybersecurity is still not a significant priority for board members. That’s according to Fortinet’s latest Global Enterprise Security Survey, which highlighted that 47% of IT decision makers believe that IT security is still not a top priority discussion for the board.
It’s an alarming statistic to report about, given that malware and ransomware attacks have been growing steadily in the past year alone. As companies integrate more cloud services into their infrastructure, the security requirements need to change as well, allowing for more cloud services to communicate with local networks in a secure manner.
Speaking to Techradar at GITEX Technology Week, Kalle Björn, Director, Systems Engineering РMiddle East at Fortinet says that with the growing number of IoT devices being brought into the corporate environment, companies need to look at ways to keep these devices away from core enterprise systems.
“A lot of IoT devices integrate with a network via WiFi, and we’ve got protocols in our portfolio that can help secure a wireless network and identify devices communicating with the network. A lot of times you’ll have corporate devices on the network that you’re managing anyway, but users may bring in other foreign devices that you need to monitor and isolate from your corporate network.”

Nice jab at iphones

Cool interview with Andrew Keller on 6 second ads and prototyping

We talk broadly about a framework for work across Facebook platforms: 70-20-10. Focus 70 percent of your efforts into short on-the-go mobile, 20 percent into interactive pieces, and 10 percent into immersive, lean-back spaces. Instagram Stories is just a great space where you can do 15-seconds-or-less video, and then let people swipe it up to dig in deeper. You can embed websites, apps, all kinds of things to allow people to go deeper with the brand.

Feeling the iPhone X is not the next big thing
Apple is an oddity. It's a company that's doing remarkably well, but over the past ten years it hasn't had a product that comes close to replacing the iPhone as its cash cow, which means that it has to find ever more inventive ways to make a smartphone feel new, different, or at least a little exciting.
Apple has convinced us that a better screen, a better camera, and a different way to unlock the device packaged into a different form factor is new.
And don't get me wrong, the iPhone X is both bold and clever, but that boldness and cleverness is mostly down to marketing. I mean come on, Apple is pretty unique in being able to push gimmicky features such as Animojis or a new ringtone and not look like it's scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas.
And the pent-up demand for the iPhone X proves my point. I've heard from people who haven't upgraded for years who are interested in the iPhone X for the simple reason that it's a little different and a little more exciting.
And they're willing to pay $1,000+ for something that's a little different and a little better. And let's be honest, that $1,000+ price tag is the most revolutionary thing about the iPhone (and you Android fans can stop sniggering, because that'll be the price tag slapped onto premium Android handsets by mid-2018).

Snap and pixel tracking this is cool
Facebook, Google and others also offer pixels or tags that help advertisers measure and target their ads. Before beginning to ramp up its ads business a couple of years ago, Snapchat famously shied away from sophisticated targeted ads, with CEO Evan Spiegel calling those ads “creepy.” But like all ad-supported tech platforms, Snapchat is building out an ad-tech stack with measurement, analytic and tracking tools to compete alongside heavyweights in digital advertising.
“It’s still pretty early days so there are some things that we’re testing and learning on, but we want to get as much data as we can,” said Laura Joukovski, svp of media at TechStyle Fashion Group. “The pixel gives us a whole new and better way of seeing what’s going on and a new opportunity to harvest direct-response signals beyond the click.”
Advertisers first create a pixel within Snapchat’s ad-buying tool by picking a website to track. For example, a retailer may want to see how many people visited the page on their ecommerce site after someone makes a purchase to measure who saw an ad and then converted on a website. Or, an advertiser could track the confirmation page of a website that someone sees after signing up for an email newsletter to see if Snap Ads led someone to fill out a form.
Once a pixel is set up, marketers can keep track of campaign stats in real time and analyze data collected within 28 days after someone has viewed or engaged with an ad. By the end of the year, the tags will include ad targeting that will allow brands to hone in on specific audiences and groups of people who have visited their websites. Snapchat will allow users to opt-out of retargeting.
“If you look at other digital marketing platforms, you’ve got Facebook and Google—they have very sophisticated tooling for direct-response advertisers,” Joukovski said. “Snapchat understands that if they want to play the game with us, they’ve got to give us tools.”
However, unlike Facebook and Google, Snapchat’s pixels are only being used for measurement initially. By the end of the year, the tags will include ad targeting that will allow brands to hone in on specific audiences and groups of people who have visited their websites.
“The pixel can be used to optimize the auction bidding around your conversion and try to serve ads to people who are most likely to convert based on their understanding of people’s behavior on other sites,” explained Joukovski. “Snapchat is not there yet.”

Amazon wants to upend Starbucks?

There are already clear signs Amazon is making moves in food and beverage, especially in the coffee space. In June 2016, it launched its own brand of coffee, Happy Belly, as part of an overall strategy to move into the larger snack and beverage space.
I've purchased the Happy Belly brand of coffee beans and it's really good stuff for the price. It's freshly roasted in Canada, is shipped direct to the customer, and it doesn't sit on the shelf very long.
The roast profile for its coffees is on the medium side, and for those of us that hate that burnt and acrid taste of Starbucks in latte drinks with its signature ultra-dark espresso roast, Amazon's coffee is a refreshing change.
The Whole Foods acquisition adds an additional layer of distribution for all Amazon food and non-food products. And, if I was Starbucks, I would be very concerned about this.
As of 2016, there were nearly 7,900 company-owned Starbucks stores and about 5,300 licensed stores (kiosks, etc). Whole Foods has approximately 450 locations.
On paper, that doesn't sound like much of an existential threat. But let us continue.

Whether you're working remotely for the day or on an extended business trip, packing the right tools can make you a lot more productive.
Certainly, Amazon can use Whole Foods locations as cafes and places to pick up web-based or app-based coffee orders. That's a given. But it can also use them as distribution points for doing local delivery of virtually anything Amazon wants to sell to an end-customer and also partner businesses.

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