January 21st, 2015

Microsoft HoloLens

ms_holograph

I’ve seen my fair share of science fiction movies which attempt to predict the future of virtual or augmented reality. Many showcase technology, imagined by writers and directors, that immerses the user within a virtual world – aptly described as Virtual Reality or VR for short. The problem for me personally is that this technology essentially replicates what you currently see on screen but in 360 degree perspective; there isn’t a real sense of self within that experience. Well today Microsoft announced a game-changer which they call Microsoft HoloLens.

What is HoloLens? Put simply it’s a computer built within a headset that projects holograms into your first person field of vision, essentially adding artificial objects into your reality. Picture looking at a car and trying to figure out instructions to change a tire. Now imagine each step projected on to your car showing you exactly how to do that? Now imagine sitting on your couch and tapping the air to enlarge a huge holographic TV to watch a game or movie? The applications of this are also huge for 3D modeling for 3D printing, which was demonstrated today by creating a quad copter using the software included with HoloLens.

The applications of this technology are mind boggling to say the least and will change what we view as being a computer, how we navigate through our day to day activities, and even what we perceive as being real or imagined. This is just the beginning.

Want to see more? Much has already been written following today’s announcement and rather than attempt to re-write that I’ve included the links to many of those articles below. I’d recommend first checking out the official HoloLens site at www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-us

YOUTUBE

The Verge

Wired

Theo
@thereal_theo



January 8th, 2015

Day 2 – CES2015

ces1

Well, let’s start with what I thought was the sexiest tech item at the show I have seen so far: the new Sony XBR series with a screen so thin, it looks like it is floating 0n air. Yes, the on screen image is beautiful. Yes, the bezel is an example of minimalist design. Sony has done such a fine job over the years on producing great TV’s, such features are no longer surprising. However, when you check out how incredibly thin this TV is, you’d be amazed.
It’s art. It’s engineering. It’s both.

READ MORE



January 7th, 2015

Day 1 – CES2015

day-1

Arriving at Las Vegas.

Between Comdex and Consumer Electronics Show, this is my 31st year of electronics or computer trade shows in Vegas. If the first day is any indication, it could be a banner vintage.

OK, there is the usual share of weird stuff that leaves you scratching your head, so let’s get that out of the way. Sketchers is going to launch their kids shoe line that features a version of the “Simon Says” game on the shoe itself. Why? I have no idea. But just in case there are some kids out there that still lack stimulation and distraction, they can now play with their shoes.

READ MORE



December 24th, 2014

How to Set up Chromecast

Chromecast is a small device that plugs in to a free HDMI port on your TV (just like your digital cable box or Blu Ray Player) which then receives video and audio from your tablet or PC/Mac wirelessly! It’s currently one of the easiest methods to share content from your tablet or PC to your TV without a tangle of wires or cables.
Here’s a very easy setup guide if you happened to get a Chromecast, or are thinking of getting one, over the holiday (setup guide courtesy of pcmag.com)

Step 1: Plug in the Chromecast
The first thing you have to do when you take the Chromecast out of the box is plug it into your HDTV and a powered USB port. This should be as easy as plugging the stick directly into a free HDMI port, and then plugging the micro USB cable from the Chromecast to an open USB port on the HDTV. But it might not be quite that simple, depending on your HDTV. If your HDMI ports are clustered too close together, you may need the included HDMI cable extender to give the Chromecast more wiggle room. And if your HDTV doesn’t have a powered USB port, you might have to connect the Chromecast to its included power adapter, and then plug that into a free power outlet. However you get the Chromecast plugged in and powered, it should start flashing as it turns on.

tvStep 2: Switch the HDTV input to the Chromecast
This is even simpler than plugging it in: Set your HDTV input to the HDMI port to which the Chromecast is connected. Your HDTV should show a friendly “Set Me Up” screen with the Chromecast’s name and a URL to visit to begin the setup.

Step 3: Download the Chromecast app
Chromecast has dedicated Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac apps for setup, and they’re extremely easy to use. Go to Google’s Chromecast setup page on your computer or find the Chromecast app on the Google Play or iTunes App stores and install the app for your platform of choice.

Step 4: Run the Chromecast software and select the Chromecast
Regardless of the platform you’re using, the app will automatically list any Chromecasts nearby in setup mode, and walk you through the process of setting them up to work with your Wi-Fi connection. If you’re setting up multiple Chromecasts at once, look at the HDTV to which each Chromecast is connected and note the number on the screen. (You can name each Chromecast later, after you’ve set up the Wi-Fi connection.)
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Step 5: Confirm the Chromecast code
After you select the Chromecast, your device will attempt to communicate with it. It will show a four-character code on the screen that should match a code that appears on your device in the setup software. If the code matches, click the correct box to move on to the next step.

Step 6: Rename your Chromecast (optional)
If you have more than one Chromecast, or you just want to mark it as yours, the software will let you change its name once you confirm that it’s connected to your device. You don’t have to change the name if you’re okay with ChromecastXXXX as its designation. Still, you may find it useful to name each one based on the room it’s in, such as Living Room or Bedroom.
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Step 7: Enter your Wi-Fi information
The software should automatically populate with your device’s current Wi-Fi network. Just enter your network password and the Chromecast will try to log onto that network as well. As soon as it does, you’re ready to start streaming to it. Note: The Chromecast only supports 2.4GHz networks; in one of our attempts, our loaner Nexus 7 asked to leave its 5GHz network and log onto the 2.4GHz version, which isn’t great, but it worked perfectly.

Step 8: Start using your Chromecast
At this point, your Chromecast is ready to roll. Now you can stream various media, apps, and Chrome browser tabs. Enjoy!



October 31st, 2014

Electronic Software Downloads

When shopping online, we pride ourselves in protecting our customers’ identity and personal financial information. London Drugs information technology, loss prevention and retail operations departments spend significant time on customer credit card security measures daily. We review all of our in-store and online security systems on a continual basis which includes 24/7 surveillance of our systems to protect our customers.

On October 28 our fraud awareness team noticed an unusually high number of transactions focused on select electronic software items. We immediately suspended the sale of electronic software downloads.

It isn’t unusual for criminals to attempt the use of credit card accounts that customers are not yet aware have been stolen to make purchases at retail stores. In this case, our fraud team’s attempt to contact customers to verify their purchases were in some cases the first customers were aware their credit card information had been compromised from elsewhere.

To be clear, no customer credit card information was compromised or taken at London Drugs, but would appear to have been stolen in other means not associated with London Drugs.

We are still investigating a variety of factors from October 28, working with all appropriate authorities. Once the investigation is complete we will determine a plan for possible reactivation of the electronic software download component of our site.

As a reminder, customers should be vigilant of their credit card charges, and should you notice any questionable transactions via your credit card accounts at any time you must notify your financial institution immediately.

London Drugs will continue to do everything possible to maintain the best practices in online retail commerce and credit card information protection for the safety and security of our customers.

Our IT and loss prevention systems and people will continue with their ongoing security methods, utilizing the very best security tools to keep our customer’s personal information including any financial information safe.

If you have any questions regarding London Drugs online payment systems please contact our customer service care agents at any time at ldonline@londondrugs.com



October 27th, 2014

What is Crypto Ransomware?

Computer_Hacker_219655588

Ransomware is malicious software (Malware) that infects a computer and restricts a user’s access to their own personal computer.  The software locks or encrypts all data on the infected PC demanding that a ransom be paid to restore access to the PC.  The ransom is typically $100-$200 but can be significantly higher.  Paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee the data will be unencrypted, nor removal of the malware.

READ MORE



October 16th, 2014

Poodle – A New Web Vulnerability

Web Vulnerability

There is a web vulnerability that was recently discovered called Poodle.  The vulnerability makes it possible to exploit secure web browsing that uses SSL (secure sockets layer) communications.  SSL is one of the communication methods that may be established between the browser and the web server.  SSL is an old communication method that has been replaced by a more modern and secure method known as TLS (Transport Layer Security).  However, many if not most web servers still support SSL (as well as TLS) in order to support older web browsers.

What does this mean for you?

Due to the potential seriousness of the vulnerability, London Drugs will be immediately taking steps to remove support for SSL from all our web sites.  For the vast majority of our customers, there will be no issue at all.  A very small percentage (less than 0.2%) will be able to browse our websites but will not be able to make purchases, login, or perform any operations that require secure communications (https://).

Our research suggests that those affected will be customers using Internet Explorer versions 6 and earlier.  For many reasons, these customers should consider upgrading their browser to a newer version.

As a general note, all customers should take a moment to disable SSL in their browsers to protect against this vulnerability when using other web sites that may not have taken the same action we have.

How do I disable this?

Follow the link below for  instructions on how to do this.

https://zmap.io/sslv3/browsers.html



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