Hashtag Trending Jun. 6- Apple reveals mixed reality headset; Gartner says less is more when it comes to cybersecurity; Reddit’s largest communities to go private for 48 hours on Jun.12

Apple reveals their mixed reality headset, Gartner says less is more when it comes to cybersecurity and Reddit’s moderators plan a day long shutdown to give a big “downvote” to the company’s plan to charge for use of their API. 

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These and more top tech news stories from Hashtag Trending and Tech News Day. I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

It is one of the most anticipated releases this year, Apple has unveiled its much-anticipated mixed reality headset, the Vision Pro. This device, resembling a set of futuristic ski goggles, allows users to overlay digital content onto the real world and is controlled using voice, eye gaze, and hand gestures. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook described the Vision Pro as “the first device you look through and not at,” transforming the user’s surroundings into an “infinite canvas.” The headset, priced at $3,499, is powered by an M2 processor, a new R1 chip designed for mixed reality devices, and a new visionOS operating system. 

The Vision Pro can create photorealistic avatars for video conferencing and display a variety of virtual windows with 4K resolution. It can also capture immersive “spatial photos” and “spatial videos,” allowing users to relive moments in time. 

Apple has promised 100 games available at launch and showcased early ideas from Disney, including enhanced viewing of sports and movies and interactive experiences. Despite the excitement, Apple faces challenges, including the nascent state of components needed for such devices and a tech world whose attention has largely shifted towards AI.

In addition to the Vision Pro, Apple announced several new Macs and updates to the software that powers the iPhone and other devices. The Mac Pro, now running on Apple’s new M2 Ultra chip, starts at $6,999. The new 15″ MacBook Air, weighing 3.3 pounds with an 18-hour battery life, starts at $1299. 

Apple also previewed iOS 17, which adds a new journaling feature, improved autocorrect and speech-to-text dictation, and NameDrop, a feature that lets two iPhone users share contact information just by bringing their phones near each other. 

For more, check out itworldcanada.com

Sources include: Axios

Microsoft has confirmed that it has restored its online services after an outage that affected thousands of users of its 365 software suite, including Teams and Outlook, for just over two hours. 

The outage, which caused significant disruption, highlights the dependency of businesses and individuals on cloud-based services. Microsoft 365, a suite of productivity tools, is used by millions of people worldwide, making any downtime a major issue.

Microsoft has had at least three outages since the beginning of the year. 

Sources include: Reuters

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has highlighted the potential for Israel to play a “huge role” in mitigating risks from artificial intelligence (AI). Altman, who has been meeting with global leaders to discuss the opportunities and threats of AI, sees potential investment opportunities in Israel, even as the country debates how to regulate the technology behind ChatGPT.

Altman’s comments come during his visit to Israel, a country recognized by a Stanford University study as being among the top five for significant machine learning systems and concentration of AI skills. He expressed optimism about the focus and urgency he has seen from world leaders in addressing the risks associated with AI.

While visiting Microsoft’s R&D center in Israel, Altman hinted at the possibility of OpenAI opening a local office, stating that the company is exploring various investment options in the country. He also addressed concerns about AI’s impact on jobs, asserting that there will always be jobs for humans, although the jobs of the future may look vastly different from those of today.

The rapid development of generative AI, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, is prompting lawmakers worldwide to formulate regulations to address safety concerns related to the technology. Altman emphasized the importance of striking a balance between fostering innovation and ensuring responsible use of AI.

In a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the two discussed the opportunities and challenges facing Israel and the world in relation to AI, as well as potential cooperation to develop the AI field.

Sources include: Reuters

Toyota has disclosed another data exposure incident, revealing that hundreds of thousands of vehicles had data exposed due to a “cloud misconfiguration.” This comes on the heels of an admission two weeks ago that a similar issue exposed information on more than 2 million vehicles in Japan for over a decade.

The recent company wide assessment of all its cloud environments uncovered several instances where customer information was potentially accessible by those outside of the company. One such instance affected about 260,000 customers, exposing in-vehicle device identification numbers and map information from the car’s navigation terminal. Reportedly, this information, did not reveal or identify any individual customer and could not be used to access the vehicle.

The breach affects customers who subscribed to G-BOOK with a G-BOOK mX or G-BOOK mX Pro compatible navigation system, and some customers who subscribed to G-Link or G-Link Lite and renewed their Maps on Demand service between February 9, 2015, and March 31, 2022.

Another data exposure involved files Toyota manages in cloud environments for overseas dealers’ maintenance and investigation of systems. Due to a misconfiguration, the systems were publicly accessible. The data involved includes names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, customer IDs, vehicle registration numbers, and vehicle identification numbers.

Toyota has taken steps to address these issues, including implementing a system to monitor cloud configurations. The company is also notifying affected customers and setting up a dedicated call center to address any questions or concerns.

Sources include: The Record Media

Generative AI is making significant strides in the marketing sector, according to a recent study by Salesforce. The research, which surveyed over 1,000 marketers across the U.S., U.K., and Australia, found that 51 per cent are currently using generative AI, with many reporting substantial productivity gains.

The study revealed that generative AI can save marketers over five hours per week, equivalent to over a month per year. This allows them to focus on more strategic and meaningful work. However, the study also highlighted a skills gap, with 43 per cent of respondents unsure how to maximize the value of generative AI, and 39 per cent expressing concerns about its safe use.

Generative AI is being used in various ways in marketing, including creating groups or segments for campaigns, personalizing messaging content, conducting copy testing and experimentation, and building and optimizing SEO strategies. Despite these benefits, the accuracy and quality of content generated by AI remain a top concern for marketers.

The study also underscored the importance of trusted customer data, human oversight, and proper training in successfully leveraging generative AI. With these elements in place, generative AI can empower marketing organizations to deliver powerful customer experiences while driving efficiency.

Sources include: ZDNet

Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, has identified four common myths that are obscuring the full value of cybersecurity for enterprises and inhibiting the effectiveness of security programs. The company encourages Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) to adopt a “Minimum Effective” mindset to maximize cybersecurity’s impact for the business.

Myth #1: More Data Equals Better Protection. Gartner suggests that instead of pursuing more data and analysis, CISOs should adopt a Minimum Effective Insight approach, determining the least amount of information needed to link cybersecurity funding to the amount of vulnerability that funding addresses.

Myth #2: More Technology Equals Better Protection. Despite increasing spending on cybersecurity tools and technologies, security leaders often feel inadequately protected. Gartner recommends embracing a Minimum Effective Toolset – the fewest technologies required to observe, defend, and respond to exposures.

Myth #3: More Cybersecurity Professionals Equals Better Protection. With demand for cybersecurity talent outstripping supply, Gartner suggests democratizing cybersecurity expertise, rather than trying to hire out of the talent gap.

Myth #4: More Controls Equals Better Protection. Gartner found that a significant percentage of employees have bypassed their organization’s cybersecurity guidance, suggesting that adding more controls is backfiring. The company recommends adopting Minimum Effective Friction, prioritizing user experience rather than technical functionality alone.

These insights were shared during the Opening Keynote of the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit. The company believes that by debunking these myths and adopting a Minimum Effective mindset, security leaders can create new value across business engagement, technology, and talent.

Sources include: Gartner

In a significant move, some of Reddit’s largest communities, including r/videos, r/reactiongifs, r/earthporn, and r/lifeprotips, are planning to go private for 48 hours on June 12th. This protest is in response to new pricing for third-party app developers to access the site’s APIs, which many argue is prohibitively expensive and threatens the future of their services.

The developers of popular third-party Reddit apps, such as Apollo and Reddit is Fun, have expressed concerns about the new pricing. For instance, Apollo’s developer stated that at its current rate of making 7 billion requests per month, it would need to pay $1.7 million for access to Reddit’s API, or $20 million a year, a sum far beyond its financial capabilities.

However, a Reddit employee argued that the new API charges should be affordable if third-party apps are efficient with the API calls they make. The employee stated that the pricing is $0.24 per 1000 API calls, which equates to less than $1.00 per user monthly for a reasonably operated app.

The potential loss of third-party apps is particularly concerning for subreddit moderators, who often rely on these tools to manage their communities. They argue that these apps offer superior mod tools, customization, streamlined interfaces, and other quality of life improvements that the official app does not offer.

The open letter from the moderators also raises concerns about the ability of third-party apps to show ads, a key source of revenue, and new restrictions that would prevent NSFW (not safe for work) content from being made available via the API.

This protest comes as Reddit is reportedly planning to go public later this year, which could explain the restructuring of fees for API access.

Sources include: The Verge

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Lovehttp://www.itworldcanada.com/
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO of a great company - IT World Canada - Canada's leading ICT publisher.

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