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Total Home Technologies Experience Centre

The Total Home Technologies Experience Centre is now here!

After talking about creating a space for our clients to come learn, play and experience all we have to offer, we have made the leap….in the middle of a pandemic! The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind with moving in and setting up the new space but we are now ready to start welcoming clients.

Whether you are looking to expand your current home automation system or wanting something new, we can now fully showcase our products. This gives our clients an opportunity to get hands on with our products and see exactly how they will integrate in their homes. Our amazing line up of products includes Lutron, Savant, Elan, Monitor Audio, AudioQuest, AudioControl, Sonos, 2GIG, Middle Atlantic, will amaze and inspire you.

For more information on our Experience Centre, the full list of product lines we carry, or to book your visit, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

And The Winner Is…..

The 93rd Academy Awards take place on Sunday, April 25, 2021 and this year will look a lot different then previous years. However, one thing that will stay the same are all of the incredible nominees.

With the weather looking pretty gloomy this weekend, this might be a good chance to catch up on some Oscar worthy movies. We took a look at a few of the Best Picture Nominees for this year and all look incredible! Together these 3 movies have a combined 22 Oscar nominations between them. So grab some popcorn, get cozy and get ready for some movie magic.

Mank

2021 Oscar Nominee for Best Picture

In 1940, film studio RKO hires 24-year-old wunderkind Orson Welles under a contract that gives him full creative control of his movies. For his first film, he calls in washed-up alcoholic Herman J Mankiewicz to write the screenplay. That film is “Citizen Kane,” and this is the story of how it was written.

Mank is nominated for 10 Oscars this year including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hair and Best Sound.

Now streaming on Netflix

Sound of Metal

2021 Oscar Nominee for Best Picture

Keeping at bay his inner demons by devoting himself to art, metal drummer, Ruben, has been living for the moment for the past four years. Then, while on tour with his lead-singer/girlfriend, Lou, Ruben realizes that his hearing is rapidly deteriorating. As his world turns his upside down, Ruben reluctantly accepts to join a small deaf community overseen by Joe, a compassionate Vietnam War veteran. Now, Ruben needs to learn that being deaf is not a handicap and isn’t something to fix.

Sound of Metal is nominated for 6 Oscars this year including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound

Now streaming on Amazon Prime.

NOMADLAND

2021 Oscar Nominee for Best Picture

Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The film features real nomads Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West.

NOMADLAND is nominated for 6 Oscars this year including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing 

Now streaming on Disney+ STAR

#TRENDING: The Evolution of Home Networking & Protecting Your Personal Data

As more people every day move their lives online, how do we protect ourselves from online threats? Now that we are working remotely from home, doing online learning, streaming movies and gaming online, posting on social media, shopping, and paying bills, we are sharing more and more personal data than ever before.

As you can imagine, this information in the wrong hands can be disastrous and since the start of Covid, we’ve been seeing a high increase in hackers trying to steal personal information. These hackers are using various methods like phishing emails, ransomware, and phone calls as ways to get your secured information.

We will be exploring network security and what you can do to protect yourself from these and all online threats. To start, here’s a well-written article from a colleague of ours, discussing what you can do to protect yourself online.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/individual-small-business-security-cheap-chris-holm/

On top of the topics Chris mentions in his article, here are some other potential security threats and how to minimize them.

IoT and Smart Devices: When researching or even purchasing a smart home or IoT (Internet of things) device, have you ever looked at the company’s security protocols? As hackers look for ways to gain information and access to home networks and corporate networks, they will look for soft targets among the rapidly growing number of smart home or the Internet of Things devices. Voice assistants, smart TVs, smartwatches, routers, baby monitors, and other IoT devices typically come without security tools and run on software that is rarely or never updated. Do your research on which devices have solid security protocols and won’t release your personal data onto the internet. A good rule of thumb, the cheaper the device, the fewer security protocols are in place.​​​​​​

Network Firmware and Settings: As mentioned in the previous point, network routers, wifi access points, and network switches may have firmware that is updated to combat online threats. Manufacturers release firmware updates as vulnerabilities are discovered and eliminate the possibility of a hacker gaining access through those devices. An added plus is the firmware may also contain added functionality and boost performance. That’s a win-win.

UPnP (Universal Plug and Plug): What UPnP does is, it allows network devices to open up network ports to let data through the firewall to a specific device. For example, a gaming station like an Xbox that uses UPnP will request the network router to open up certain network ports so users can play their favorite games online without any restrictions. The problem is that other devices can use this UPnP protocol to open up ports and then the problem becomes compounded as some network routers won’t inform owners that the ports are open nor which ports are open and the device that is asking. Hackers can use this to their advantage by using UPnP to exploit your network. It is recommended to turn off UPnP and manually set firewall rules to open up the network ports you need.

Internet Providers: If you think your internet provider will help protect you from online threats, they won’t. It’s not their job to manage the security of your home network and internet access. If using a network router that is provided to you by your internet provider, have you ever logged into the device and checked the firewall and other security settings? Most internet provider network routers are set up as basic as possible while security settings set to the lowest settings in order to maintain compatibility with the largest amount of network devices on the market. Why? Internet providers aren’t IT support companies and don’t have the resources to troubleshoot the handful of devices you own. If using an internet provider network router, it’s worth taking a look and finding out what the security settings are. Let’s start with this… do you even know how to log into the network router along with the username and password to log in? If not, give us a call and we can help.

Software Firewalls and Virus Software: While mentioned in Chris’s article, we feel like this should be repeated. Having a software firewall and virus software on your computer adds that extra layer of security. When a laptop is connected to a public network like in a coffee shop or shopping mall, this software can be the difference between keeping your data safe or freely handing it over to anyone connected to the same network. Some internet providers like Shaw Communications offer free McAfee security when subscribed to their services. It’s worth checking out.

BACK UPS!: The two most important words in all of computer and networking. BACK UPS! Sadly, online threats are only going to continue and your personal data and files are at risk, usually without you even knowing it. It’s important to have a 24/7 data backup plan in place in case of an emergency where you’ll need to get your files back quickly. This also helps in case of hardware failures like a laptop breaking or a hard drive failing. If you don’t have a good data backup plan in place, we would suggest you look into it ASAP. Repeat after us: Back up your data!

We could go on and on regarding online threats and internet security, but we’ll leave you with an article on good habits as we continue moving into 2021. If you have any questions regarding the safety of your network, please give us a call.

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