The US, Russia, and –three of today’s major cyber-powers– have not signed an agreement on rules and principles released today at the Paris Peace Forum by President Emmanuel Macron.
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The pact was signed by 51 countries, the 72 companies part of The Cybersecurity Tech , the 16 companies part of The Charter of , 136 other private companies, and 92 non-profit organization, universities, and advocacy groups.
The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, as the agreement has been named, is the most , coordinated effort to date to get countries to agree on a set of international rules for cyberspace –a so-called Digital Geneva Convention.
Officer Brad Smith has been advocating for such a pact since 2017 after the exec had seen the damage done to the private sector by the NotPetya outbreak, which was later proved to the work of Russian state cyber-operatives attempting to wreak havoc Ukraine.
The UK, Iran, and North didn’t sign either
Besides the US, China, and Russia, the UK, , and didn’t sign the pact as well. Canada was the only country part of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing to sign the pact.
Other countries with important and cyber units that didn’t sign the pact include Iran, Israel, and North Korea.
Without the signatures of these “heavy hitters,” the pact is useless, albeit many suspect it was only a PR stunt. The pact was signed a day after world leaders celebrated 100 years since the end of I.
The pact doesn’t include any penalties for those who signed, yet have broken the agreement’s clauses. The document is more of a charter and declaration of intent to sign a future, more comprehensive agreement.
The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace proposes the following measures and steps:
Prevent and recover from malicious cyber activities that threaten or cause significant, indiscriminate or systemic harm to individuals and critical infrastructure;
Prevent activity that intentionally and substantially damages the general availability or of the public core of the Internet;
Strengthen our capacity to prevent malign interference by foreign actors aimed at undermining electoral processes through malicious cyber activities;
Prevent ICT-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or sector;
Develop ways to prevent the proliferation of malicious ICT and practices intended to cause harm;
Strengthen the security of digital processes, products and , throughout their lifecycle and supply chain;
Support efforts to strengthen an advanced cyber hygiene for all actors;
Take steps to prevent non-State actors, including the private sector, from hacking-back, for their own purposes or those of other non-State actors;
Promote the widespread acceptance and implementation of international of responsible behavior as well as confidence-building measures in cyberspace.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said at a talk in India this week that the social media platform has been weighing the idea for an edit button “for quite some time.”
This is the first time since 2016 that Dorsey has commented on the idea of an edit button on Twitter, a much-requested feature whose supporters have adopted the rallying cry “tweets but editable” on social media.
In June, Kim Kardashian shared that she had lobbied Dorsey about an edit button at a birthday party for her husband Kanye West.
Twitter’s Jack Dorsey has heard your requests to add an edit button, but the CEO has some concerns about the “use cases” for such a feature before the social media platform does anything.
As first reported by The Next Web, Dorsey touched on the topic while speaking at an event in India this week. Dorsey said Twitter has been “considering” the feature for a while, but the company wants to ensure they implement it “in the right way.”
“We can’t just rush it out,” Dorsey said at the event. “You have to pay attention to what are the use cases for the edit button.”
Many who are calling on Twitter to add an edit button want an easy way to fix typos and spelling mistakes. But Dorsey expressed concerns over users abusing such a feature by changing the meanings of old tweets, which could have widespread implications for anyone who retweeted or favorited the post.
“Ultimately, we need to make sure we’re solving a real problem and solving a use case that people are seeing as friction within the service, and making that easy for people to do,” Dorsey said.
This is the first time that Dorsey has touched on the topic since 2016, when the CEO said on his Twitter account that the company was “thinking a lot about it,” Recode reported then. However nothing ever came to fruition.
Social media has instead campaigned for the change with the rallying cry “tweets, but editable” that users will often add onto typo-ridden posts they’ve already sent out. Kim Kardashian tried her own hand at lobbying for this cause in June, when she posted on Twitter she had confronted Dorsey at a birthday party for her husband Kanye West.
I had a very good convo with @jack this weekend at Kanye’s bday and I think he really heard me out on the edit button.
Michelle Yan: Believe it or not, virtual reality has been around for nearly 20 years. And yet, it still feels like a random experiment instead of the next mainstream video game. You’d think after nearly two decades of calling it the future, it’d be better, but it’s not.
So why does virtual reality still suck? First, the cost. Virtual reality is an expensive commitment.
Kevin Webb: Right now the cost of entry for virtual reality is around $400 or $500 once you factor in all the different devices and games and whatnot. There are some new machines coming up, like the Oculus Quest that can make it a little bit easier, or the Samsung VR, that’s a bit cheaper. But overall, you’re probably gonna be in the range of $500.
Michelle Yan: And that’s just for entry-level models. If you’re looking for something super powerful like the Vive Pro Starter Kit, you’re looking at least $1,000, if not more.
And then there’s the annoying setup. Most of these devices aren’t something you can just plug into a power outlet and be on your way.
Kevin Webb: You have the Vive that can take a full room with sensors all around you. You have the PlayStation VR which has extra cameras and sensor bars, and even specific controllers for it. And then even the Gear VR can burn up your phone’s battery if you use it for too long. Setting up a virtual reality experience on your own can be kind of a hassle. It just takes a lot of time. And even once you’ve spent it, you might not know what you wanna do.
Michelle Yan: And once you do finally figure out what games to play or how else to use it, this isn’t like your PS4 or Xbox where you can binge for hours on end.
Kevin Webb: The VR headsets that are available right now are a bit cumbersome and heavy. And spending too much time in virtual reality can be disorienting, so wearing the headset for more than half an hour can leave your head spinning when you take it off.
Right now Facebook is recommending that people take a 10 to 15 minute break for every 30 minutes that they play. That means, even if you wanna spend an hour in virtual reality, about 20 minutes of that will just be cooling off.
Michelle Yan: Not to mention, virtual reality is very platform specific.
Kevin Webb: If you purchase a game that requires the sensors and controllers of the HTC Vive, for example, you might not be able to carry it over to future technology. Most of the games that we see in VR right now are pretty basic compared to what you see on a video game console or even your smartphone.
Even the best games that have been in VR, like “Resident Evil 7” or “Superhot VR” are available on regular computers so there’s not much of a reason just to go to VR to play.
Michelle Yan: And games made for something like the PlayStation VR won’t be playable on other headsets and vice versa. Right now almost any game you buy for one platform won’t work on any other platforms. That makes it harder for virtual reality to be a shared experience, which is another problem.
Kevin Webb: With a video game or a movie that you’re really excited about it’s easy to bring that and share it with friends. You’re all seeing and experiencing the same thing. But when it comes to virtual reality, you can be sitting with someone in the same room who’s in VR and it just feels like you’re worlds apart.
Companies like Facebook are working on programs that will let you share virtual reality with friends, but it’s hard to see why that might beat out something like FaceTime or just regular video calling.
Michelle Yan: We’ve seen things like VR arcades, VR escape rooms, and even VR Ghostbusters that have been trying to make the experience more shared. But those require going somewhere and paying an admission cost for a small 10 to 15 minute experience.
So what can VR platforms do to become more successful?
Kevin Webb: For VR to really catch on, it needs to offer something that feels totally exclusive to virtual reality. Whether it’s immersive environments or different ways to interact with your friends. It needs to have a reason to make people put on that headset.
AT&T has notified a group of dealers who sell DirecTV products that their contracts will end December 1, 2018.
AT&T declined to comment to Business Insider on the number of dealers impacted, but a dealer who works under a similar agreement selling DirecTV products told Business Insider that AT&T gave 30-day notice to “thousands” of long-time residential dealers, informing them that their contracts would expire in December.
“We regularly assess and make changes to our dealer relationships based on their performance and other factors,” a spokesman for AT&T told Business Insider.
The dealers are part of a fleet of third-party laborers who sell DirecTV products and services including satellite, broadband, and phone services. Before news of the contracts ending, the dealers had also increasingly been directed to prioritize selling AT&T mobility products (phones and related plans) alongside video and broadband products, where no previous directive existed, the dealer said.
The changing business strategies in the unit may be another indication that three years after its $50 billion acquisition of DirecTV, the telco behemoth is still struggling to stabilize that part of its business.
AT&T isn’t alone in its pay-TV troubles.
The pay-TV business got clobbered during the quarter, as the industry reported its worst quarter to date and for the first time lost more than 1 million subscribers. AT&T lost 346,000 traditional video subscribers in the third quarter of 2018, faring worse than Wall Street analysts had projected.
The story isn’t much different for AT&T than for other traditional linear television providers. Disruptive companies like Netflix and YouTube have spurred a cord-cutting revolution, offering cheaper, or more customizable options. Cable and satellite companies have fought back with burgeoning virtual multichannel video programming distributor packages, or vMVPDs, that aim to retain customers by shifting them from traditional to digital within the same company (DirecTV, for example).
AT&T has an vMVPD option called DirecTV Now. But growth could already be slowing, as the company added only 49,000 DirecTV Now subscribers in the third quarter, a substantial decline in growth compared to the 342,000 added subscribers the quarter before.
If you have any thoughts or information on DirecTV, AT&T, or the future of cable and satellite TV, contact email@example.com.
Amazon’s Alexa may be in ten thousand different devices now, but they all have one other thing in common: they’re new. So for those of us that prefer old things but still want to be able to set timers and do metric-imperial conversions without pulling out our phones, Grain Design is retrofitting these fabulous old telephones to provide Alexa access with no other hints of modernity. There’s even a privacy angle!
The phones themselves (spotted by a BoingBoing tipster) are genuine antiques, and not even the mass-produced Bell sets you see so often. I personally love the copper-plated model, though I certainly wouldn’t say no to the candlestick.
Dick Whitney, who runs the company, modifies the hardware to make room for an Echo Dot inside. Pick up the phone and speak, and Alexa answers, just like the operators of yore! Except you can ask Alexa anything and it won’t be irritated. Some of the Alexaphones, as he calls them, will include the original audio hardware so you can experience the cognitive dissonance of talking to a virtual assistant and having them answer using a century-old speaker. (I bet it sounds terrible and brilliant.)
“The Echo microphones have their connections severed or are removed completely, and the microphone in the handset is connected via the original switches in the base, so it’s only in contact when the handset is picked up,” explained Whitney in an email.
The modifications to the phones don’t end there: in the rear of each will be a 1/8″ audio port so you can plug in a real speaker. No one wants to sit at their telephone table (remember those?) and listen to a few songs in mono through vintage hardware. Although having written that sentence I do have to say I’d try it once. Right now all the audio would have to go out that way, but Whitney says he may have a trick to switch it back and forth in the future (you can always just unplug the audio for privacy).
There’s also an LED hidden on the front so you have that basic feedback of whether the device is on, listening, and such. The rotary dial isn’t used, unfortunately, though more because it’s hard to apply its principles to a voice-operated device.
“It’s funny,” he wrote when I asked about the latter, “I’d actually built an installation for Android at MWC [Mobile World Congress] a few years ago that used a rotary dialer, so I know how to do it and have the hardware around (it’s very simple), but both couldn’t figure out a function that seemed interesting enough (dial 1 to increase the volume? Certainly open to suggestions) and didn’t want to add more complexity inside the telephones. Maybe in the future!”
No soldering or weird old tech stuff required on your part — the device will run on USB power and set up just like any other Alexa gadget. Of course, these things also cost $1,500. Yeah, kind of out of my price range, too. Still, they’re lovely and a great subversion of the “smart home” idea.
SAP CEO Bill McDermott was jacked up today about his company’s $8 billion Qualtrics acquisition over the weekend. You would expect no less for such a big deal. McDermott believes that the data that Qualtrics provides could bridge the gap between his company’s operational data and customer data wherever that resides.
The idea behind Qualtrics is to understand customer sentiment as it happens. McDermott sees this as a key piece to the company’s customer management puzzle, one that could propel it into being not only a big player in customer experience, but also drive the company’s underlying cloud business. That’s because it provides a means of constant feedback from the customer, one that is hard to ascertain otherwise.
In that context, he saw the deal as transformative. “By combining this experience data with operations, we can combine this through Qualtrics and SAP in a way that the world has never done before, and I fundamentally believe it will change this world as we know it today,” McDermott told TechCrunch on Monday.
Others who follow the industry closely were not so convinced. While they liked the deal and saw the potential of combining these types of data, it might not be the game changer that McDermott is hoping for after spending his company’s $8 billion.
Paul Greenberg, who is managing principal at The 56 Group and author of the seminal CRM book, CRM at the Speed of Light, says it’s definitely a big acquisition for the company, but he says it takes more than an acquisition or two to challenge the market leaders. “This will be a beneficial acquisition for SAP’s desire to continue to pivot the company to the customer-facing side, but it isn’t a decisive one by any means,” Greenberg told TechCrunch.
Customer experience is a broad term that involves understanding your customer at a granular level, anticipating what they want, understanding who they are, what they have bought and what they are looking for right now. These are harder problems to solve than you might imagine, especially since they involve gathering data across systems from a variety of vendors who deal with different pieces of the puzzle.
Companies like Adobe and Salesforce have made this their primary business focus. SAP is at its heart an ERP company, which gathers data by managing key internal operational systems like finance, procurement and HR.
Tony Byrne, founder and principal analyst at Real Story Group says the he likes what Qualtrics brings to SAP, but he is not sure it’s quite as big a deal as McDermott suggests. “Qualtrics enables you to do more sophisticated forms of research which marketers certainly want, but the double benefit is that — unlike SurveyMonkey and others — Qualtrics has experience on the digital workplace side, which could complement some of SAP’s HR tooling.” But he adds that it’s a not really the central CEM piece, and that his company’s research has found that SAP still has holes, particularly when it comes to marketing tools and technologies (MarTech).
Brent Leary, who is founder at CRM Essentials, agrees that SAP got a nice company, especially when combined with the $2.4 billion CallidusCloud purchase from earlier this year, but it has a ways to go to catch up with Salesforce and Adobe. “Qualtrics does provide a more broad perspective of customers because of operational data from back and front office systems. The Callidus acquisition helps to turn insights into certain B2B-focused customer experiences. But I think more pieces may be needed in terms of B2C experience creation tools that companies like Adobe and Salesforce are focusing on with the marketing/experience clouds,” he explained.
Whether this is an actual game changer as McDermott suggested remains to be seen, but the industry experts we spoke to believe it will be more of an incremental piece that helps move the company’s customer experience initiative forward. If they’re right, McDermott might not be finished shopping just yet.
In brief: In a world in which the lines between gender and even species are being blurred by activist groups, I suppose it should not come as a surprise that people have started wedding fictional personas. Crypton Future’s Hatsune Miku is the embodiment of such strange unions having been married to about 3,700 real people at last count.
Akihiko Kondo, a 35-year-old Tokyo school administrator, has married a hologram. His new “wife” is a virtual reality singer named Hatsune Miku. The anime-like character is a 16-year-old girl with turquoise hair and pigtails created by Crypton Future for its Vocaloid software. Her voice is modeled after Japanese voice actress Saki Fujita.
A company called Gatebox produces the $2,800 Miku hologram desktop device. Since Kondo was unable to place the wedding ring on the hologram’s finger, he used a Miku plushie as a stand-in at the ceremony. He even took the doll to the jewelry store to get the right size ring. It fits around the doll’s wrist.
Kondo invited his mother to his two-million-yen ($17,600 US) wedding ceremony, but she refused to attend. She does not approve of him marrying a fictional woman. She wants him to meet and fall in love with a real person. Even though his mom did not show up, 40 other guests did witness the spectacle.
Kondo has no interest in forming a relationship with a real woman. He has had trouble meeting girls for most of his life.
“[In school] girls would say ‘Drop dead, creepy otaku!’” He told AFP. Otaku is a Japanese slur similar to “nerd” or “geek.” It is usually applied to boys that are heavily into anime or computers.
Later in life, he claims that female co-workers bullied him to the point that he had a nervous breakdown. Miku was the one he would turn to for comfort.
“Miku-san is the woman I love a lot and also the one who saved me,” he said.
Although his marriage is not legally recognized, Kondo does not care. In his eyes she is his wife, and he will remain loyal to her.
“I’m in love with the whole concept of Hatsune Miku,” he said. “I never cheated on her, I’ve always been in love with Miku-san.”
He even has a “marriage certificate” issued by Gatebox stating that a human and virtual character “have wed beyond dimensions.” As bizarre and crazy as Kondo’s story sounds, he is not the only one in love with the character. Gatebox says it has issued 3,700 such certificates, although Kondo is reportedly the first to have held an actual wedding ceremony.
“It won’t necessarily make you happy to be bound to the ‘template’ of happiness in which a man and woman marry and bear children,” said Kondo. “I believe we must consider all kinds of love and all kinds of happiness.”
California is battling three simultaneous wildfires, which have destroyed almost 200,000 acres and killed 31 people. More than 250,000 people have been evacuated, according to CBS News, and thousand of homes have burned to the ground. Here’s how you can help.
Are you an Airbnb host within range of the fires? The company is encouraging its hosts with homes nearby to allow evacuees and relief workers to stay for free until November 29, according to Time. So far, about 900 hosts have offer. You join them or look for a place to stay here.
Enloe Medical Center
The largest fire, called the Camp Fire, has evacuation centers at this hospital located in Chico, reports the New York Times. Donations to Enloe are being used for “patients, families and caregivers who have lost their homes or been displaced due to the fire.” You can donate here or text “CampFireRelief” to 91999.
Also located in Chico, Caring Choices is organizing volunteers. Certified doctors and nurses are needed for medical care, but they also need people to help with displaced animals and are asking on their site for donations of N95 respirator masks as well as financial aid. They’re also reminding people that “this is a marathon, not a sprint”; volunteers will be needed for many weeks to come.
North Valley Community Foundation:
This nonprofit is organizing efforts in Chico for feeding and sheltering evacuees of the Camp Fire as well. As a local organization, they’re familiar with the churches and community centers in the area that need help. You can donate to them here.
This organization works consistently around aid for wildfires; they keep an inventory of necessary gear, like N-95 masks and respiratory medication for healthcare agencies and first responders. You can donate here.
California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund
The fund opened in 2003, and is provides “intermediate and long-term recovery efforts for major California wildfires, as well as preparedness efforts.” They help rebuild homes and offer both financial and mental health assistance to those affected by the fires. Learn more here.
The Salvation Army is organizing meals at churches, fairgrounds and community colleges according to the NYT, and are located in both the north and south end of the state. More info here.
United Way of Greater Los Angeles
United Way is specifically raising money to help low-income residents hit by the fires; certain working-class neighborhoods in Malibu and Ventura county were hit, despite the areas reputation for luxury mansions. Donate money to help them get reestablished here.
Entertainment Industry Foundation
This nonprofit is specifically raising money to help the firefighters and other emergency workers working to put out the wildfires. They’re partnering with the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation who need special equipment like hydration backpacks and night vision goggles for helicopter pilots. They’re also providing money for meals going to workers and evacuees at shelters. Donate here.
Humane Society of Ventura County
In addition to the people displaced by the wildfires, there are thousands of displaced, lost, or injured animals. The nonprofit is taking in and and helping both domestic pets like dogs, cats and birds, but they’re also saving livestock and horses that are common in the area. Help them with that here.
The crowdfunding company has an entire page of fundraising efforts directed towards the victims of the California fires. You can even donate to specific families who have lost their homes and belongings, or other campaigns verified by the site here.
If you’ve had your eye on Samsung’s 8000-series TVs, which are the company’s best non-QLED sets this year, their Black Friday discounts are already live. Every size (55″, 65″, 75″, and 82″) includes Samsung’s new Dynamic Crystal Color engine and HDR10/ HDR10+ support, plus some nice quality of life features, like the Bixby voice assistant, and a quad core processor for speedy smart app operation.
These prices are the same that we’ve seen in Black Friday ads, and we have no reason to expect them to go any lower. So buy now, and you’ll be set up in time for Thanksgiving football.
#2 dyson v8 animal
The Dyson V8 cordless vacuum is ideal for cleaning rugs, hardwood floors, car seats, ceilings, shelves…pretty much anything really, and you can get a the Animal version on Amazon today for $300, about $130-$150 less than usual. Compared to the standard V6, this model has 75% more brush head power to lift pet hair and other debris out of carpets and furniture.
The Animal model features True HEPA filtration to filter out allergens from pet dander, and has 150% more brush bar power than the older V6. $300 is the same price we’ve seen in Black Friday ads, so there’s no reason to wait.
Timbuk2 is continually expanding on their line of bags, while always maintaining rugged work and travel options in every style, from messengers and backpacks to duffels, rollers, and totes, all with a lifetime warranty. And you can get up to half off during their extended Singles Day sale, which is convenient since I only half understand what a singles day sale really is.
#4 dji drone
If you aren’t a professional photographer, but still value image quality and features in your drone, the DJI Mavic Air offers the best combination of portability, ease of use, and camera specs on the market. It’s rarely been discounted much from its usual $800, but now you can get it for an all-time low $700 on Amazon.
I had a chance to fly one of these at Outpost this year, and as an old Phantom 2 owner, I was completely blown away. It folds up small enough to fit in a jacket pocket, but holds remarkably still in the air. Front and rear obstacle avoidance cameras keep it from crashing into a tree (or a person), and its gimbal-stabilized 4K camera can automatically track moving subjects, or perform pre-programmed shooting routines. You’ll have a ton of fun with this thing.
#5 philips indoor grill
Philips’ indoor grill isn’t the Foreman grill you’re probably picturing. Rather than heating the grill plate directly, the Philips uses two infrared burners on the bottom to direct heat upwards at a constant 446 degrees, which is far hotter than most electric grills, and perfect for searing meat.
Today’s $150 deal is about $120 less than usual, and an all-time low by a whopping $70. If you live in an apartment and can’t use a real grill outdoors, this is the closest indoor facsimile you’re going to find. In fact, I’d go so far as to call this deal…sizzling.
Whether you’re buying kids’ gifts or lining up activities for all of the upcoming family time, today’s Crayola Gold Box has what you need. Inside, you’ll find complete art kits, markers, crayons, colored pencils, paints…if you can color with it, it’s probably on sale. These prices are only available today though, so don’t end up with a frowny face because you missed it.
#8 victorinox knives
Despite what door-to-door salesmen might tell you, you don’t need a full set of knives. You can breeze through about 99% of kitchen tasks with just a few important blades, and they’re all included in this discounted 4-piece set.
The chef’s knife is one of our readers’ five favorites, and has long been the best value in kitchen knives. The paring and bread knives are pretty self explanatory, and while you could probably get away without owning a utility knife, it is a little more maneuverable than the chef’s knife, and it’s good to have one for chopping vegetables if you’ve been using your main knife on raw meat.
The family that hydrates together, stays together. Now you can outfit yourself and your outdoorsmen-in-training with CamelBaks, the most efficient, hands-free water bottle in the wild. The CamelBak HydroBak is on sale for $37 in four colors on Amazon, as is its kids’ counterpart, the CamelBak Kids Mini M.U.L.E., also $37. Get your packs before these prices are hiked up again.
#10 Harry potter film collection
The second installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise, The Crimes of Grindelwald, hits theaters this week, so there’s never been a better time to catch up on the classic Harry Potter films. And — Merlin’s beard! — it seems they’re available now on Blu-ray at Amazon for just 40 galleons, er, dollars. Act fast to snag this deal, unless you have a time turner, in which case, no rush.
The American Cable Association, a group of about 700 small cable providers, has requested the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division open an immediate investigation into Comcast’s competitive practices after restrictions on its 2011 merger deal with NBC recently expired. The group claims the telecom giant poses a…