Elons Musk’s Space X’s road to the fastest internet from orbit: Here’s what latest stats say

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SpaceX Launches Falcon 9 Rocket

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been dreaming of creating a constellation of broadband satellites surrounding the Earth. He vowed to provide the fastest broadband internet service to anyone in the world, and he seems to be on his way to fulfilling his promise.

With the new data from Speedtest.net, Starlink users can expect download speeds from 11 megabits per second (Mbps) to 60 Mbps while upload speeds range between 5 Mbps and 18 Mbps. Starlink is currently at 80% to the required satellites to achieve “moderate” capability, but its recent performance is impressive.

SANTA BARBARA, CA – OCTOBER 07: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying the SAOCOM 1A and ITASAT 1 satellites, as seen during a long exposure on October 7, 2018 near Santa Barbara, California. After launching the satellites, the Falcon 9 rocket successfully returned to land on solid ground near the launch site rather than at sea. The satellites will become part of a six-satellite constellation that will work in tandem with an Italian constellation known as COSMO-SkyMed.

Although the results show just 6% of the 1 Gbps that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires for the $16 billion funding competition under the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), it is still much faster internet than many rural service providers.

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Inside Facebook’s new power grab

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Mark Zuckerberg is not a man used to failure. He has built a $600-billion empire, buying up or crushing most would-be competitors and brushing regulators aside. When, in 2015, he personally headed up an effort – first called internet.org, then “Free Basics” – to help 3.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to the internet get connected, he might have expected praise for what he framed as philanthropy. The service would offer free unlimited access to a selection of hand-picked websites to people in India and countries across Asia, South America and Africa – getting more people online while, incidentally, making Facebook the controllers of the front page of the internet for these new users.

The praise did not come. Facebook was accused of “digital colonialism”, and of creating “poor internet for poor people”. There were even street protests against Free Basics in India, the country Zuckerberg had visited to promote the initiative. As political pressure mounted, in 2016 Free Basics was effectively outlawed by Indian regulators. The debacle was for a time described as “Facebook’s biggest setback”. If you only look at the headlines, Free Basics – and Facebook’s mission to connect the world – all but disappeared after that. But the reality of what happened next is very different.

“The project kept expanding – albeit much more discreetly,” explains Dr Toussaint Nothias, director of research at the Stanford Digital Civil Society Lab. “At the end of 2015, Facebook reported that Free Basics was available in 30 countries. Today, they say it’s available in ‘more than 55 countries’. In Africa [alone], I found that it’s available in 29 countries.”

Working far more quietly than before, Facebook has spearheaded efforts across the globe to connect people to the internet – working on technology, software, business models and more. The company refined Free Basics to give it less control over which sites users could access, and in May 2020 launched a successor, Discover, which allows users a daily allowance of data they can use to access any website.

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The big future of satellite internet just took a promising step forward

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As companies like SpaceX and Amazon scramble the satellites to build internet constellations, an old piece of tech gets an update.

Some of the biggest companies in the world, like Amazon and SpaceX, are looking towards space for the future of the Internet. Satellite-based Internet is a nascent enterprise, but analysts believe that broadband Internet beamed to Earth from orbit could be a massive business fewer than 20 years, earning hundreds of billions of dollars.

Attention has focused on the “space” part of “space Internet,” with news stories focused on the rocket launches getting SpaceX’s Starlink satellites into space, and how Amazon plans to catch up with satellites of its own. But all of these satellites will need transceivers on Earth to send and receive data. Scientists at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Socionext Inc. have built a new one that is made to work with the next generation of Internet satellites.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX: We now want to bring Starlink internet from space to 5 million in US

The rise of Elon Musk and SpaceX

 SpaceX asks to operate 5 million end-user terminals after the US approves Amazon’s rival satellite broadband plan.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has applied for a license to roll out five million ‘UFO on a stick’ end-user terminals, after 700,000 US residents signed up to be updated about the service’s availability.

“SpaceX seeks to increase the number of fixed earth stations authorized under this blanket license from 1,000,000 to 5,000,000,” the company said in an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

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Cambridge researchers create a touchscreen you don’t have to touch

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We’d assume at this point that every smartphone user knows that their touchscreen is one of the nastiest devices they own. The surface of a touchscreen can be packed with viruses and bacteria that have the potential to make people sick. This is a particularly significant issue in the current world climate with the coronavirus pandemic leading to illnesses that could potentially kill people.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have been working on a new type of touchscreen that doesn’t have to be touched. It’s called the “no-touch touchscreen” and was developed specifically for use in cars. Researchers believe that it could have widespread applications in the post-COVID-19 world thanks to its ability to reduce the risk pathogen transmission from the surface of devices. The patent behind the technology is known as “predictive touch” and was developed as part of research collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover.

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Samsung: Expect 6G in 2028, enabling mobile holograms and digital twins

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Just as the earliest 5G networks began to go live two years ago, a handful of scientists were eager to publicize their initial work on the next-generation 6G standard, which was at best theoretical back then, and at worst an ill-timed distraction. But as 5G continues to roll out, 6G research continues, and today top mobile hardware developer Samsung is weighing in with predictions of what’s to come. Surprisingly, the South Korean company is preparing for early 6G to launch two years ahead of the commonly predicted 2030 timeframe, even though both the proposed use cases and the underlying technology are currently very shaky.

Given that the 5G standard already enabled massive boosts in data bandwidth and reductions in latency over 4G, the questions of what more 6G could offer — and why — are key to establishing the need for a new standard. On the “what” side, Samsung expects 6G to offer 50 times higher peak data rates than 5G, or 1,000Gbps, with a “user experienced data rate” of 1Gbps, plus support for 10 times more connected devices in a square kilometer. Additionally, Samsung is targeting air latency reductions from 5G’s under 1 millisecond to under 100 microseconds, a 100 times improvement in error-free reliability, and twice the energy efficiency of 5G.

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Facebook built a new fiber-spinning robot to make internet service cheaper

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Facebook has designed a robot that can install fiber on traditional power lines, as shown in this rendering.

 The robot’s code name is Bombyx, which is Latin for silkworm, and pilot tests with the machine begin next year.

The robot rests delicately atop a power line, balanced high above the ground, almost as if it’s floating. Like a short, stocky tightrope walker, it gradually makes its way forward, leaving a string of cable in its wake. When it comes to a pole, it gracefully elevates its body to pass the roadblock and keep chugging along.

This isn’t a circus robot. Facebook developed the machine to install fiber cables on medium-voltage power lines around the globe. The aim is to make it cheaper for internet service providers to build out their networks using super-fast and reliable fiber connections. Installing fiber is a pricey endeavor, limiting where it can be deployed. If the cost of installation goes down, says Facebook, so too does the cost of service for the end user.

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Alphabets Loon launches its balloon powered Kenyan internet service

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 Alphabet’s Loon has officially begun operating its commercial internet service in Kenya . This is the first large-scale commercial offering that makes use of Loon’s high-altitude balloons, which essentially work as cell service towers that drift on currents in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Loon’s Kenyan service is offered in partnership with local telecom provider Telkom Kenya, and provides cellular service through their network to an area covering roughly 50,000 square kilometres (31,000 square miles) that normally hasn’t had reliable service due to the difficulty of setting up ground infrastructure in the mountainous terrain.

Loon has been working toward deploying its first commercial service deployment in Kenya since it announced the signed deal in 2019, but the company says that the mission has taken on even greater significance and importance since the onset of COVID-19, which has meant that reliable connectivity, especially in light of the restrictions upon travel that the epidemic has placed, makes the ability to remotely contact doctors, family members and others all the more important.

Some of the technical details of how Loon’s stratospheric balloons will offer this continuous service, and what kind of network quality people can expect, include that the fleet has around 35 balloons acting together, which are moving constantly to maintain the target area coverage. Average speeds look to be around 18.9Mbps down, and 4.74 Mbps up, with 19 millisecond latency, and real-world testing has shown that this has served well for use across voice and video calls, as well as YouTube streaming, WhatsApp use and more, according to Loon.

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18 freelance sites to find your next gig

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Not all job boards are created equal, but some are capable of getting you where you want to go.

Consider this: Freelancers are expected to become the U.S. workforce majority in the near future. That means we can expect to see more and more freelancing job boards appear. That’s not to say we need them. Take a look at the Google search results for “freelance jobs.” You’ll find hundreds of websites that can connect you with prospective clients.

The problem, however, is that not all job boards are created equal. Some are a bit suspicious, causing both freelancers and businesses to question their legitimacy. Others are meant only for seasoned veterans. There are also boards capable of finding work quickly for freelancers, but they won’t get paid very much. Consider it the “price of entry” to the freelance realm.

These obstacles make finding freelance work more complicated than it has to be. That’s why I’ve put together a list of 18 freelance sites to help entrepreneurs find their next gig. Each of these sites is reputable and can be used by freelancers of all experience levels, empowering people to make the most of their skills in a shaky economy.

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30% of remote employees admit to having an online account compromised on a work device

Work From Home for Social Distancing in Coronavirus Covid-19 Situation, Woman Designer Using Laptop on Flooring Carpet at Her Home. Above View of Creative Design Woman is Working Online at Home

A OneLogin survey covered how employees are using work devices for a variety of other things.

The transition to working from home has been rocky for millions of people as they adjust to transitioning workplace policies into the privacy of their own home. According to a new report from cybersecurity firm OneLogin, people are using work devices for much more than work, even after they’ve had accounts or passwords compromised.

The company’s 2020 COVID-19 State of Remote Work Survey Report features a global survey of 5,000 employees who started working remotely since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Of those surveyed, 30% have had a corporate device breached and only 10% changed the password afterwards. Half of organizations globally have not established cybersecurity guidelines regarding remote work according to the survey and US remote employees use work devices to access adult entertainment sites more than any other country.

Half of UK respondents had not changed their home Wi-Fi password in the last two years, compared with 36% overall, and 25% never changed their password while 45% of US workers have given their work passwords to their child or spouse, compared to 13% in the UK and 9% in France.

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These are boom times for Augmented Reality

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There’s no escaping the pandemic, but bizarre Instagram filters and Zoom backgrounds give us the illusion that we can.

I am alone in my apartment, as always, and I’ve just replaced my left eyeball with an orange springing out of its peel.

A mile away, a friend, also home alone, is taking her seat—every seat, actually—at the table in The Last Supper, yelling as the camera pans down the row of disciples and her face replaces that of one man after another. Another friend is watching a mouse dressed as the Pope dance across her kitchen floor. A third is smiling while a strange man wraps his arms around his throat.

Many of us have nowhere to go, no one to see, no communal experience to be a part of, no shared feelings other than dread. But the platforms of the pandemic—Zoom, Instagram, Snapchat, FaceTime—all let us pretend that our life is more than just four walls. With augmented-reality filters, users can mess with their appearances in elaborate ways. Before the coronavirus hit, out-there virtual effects were something of a novelty, but now they’re becoming a major mode of passing the time, giving us the technology to make our faces interesting enough to keep on sharing.

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AR contact lenses are the holy grail of sci-fi tech. Mojo is making them real

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Every technology has its trade-offs. The key to success is making sure that the benefits are so great that the trade-offs seem like minor nitpicks by comparison.

Steve Sinclair, the senior vice president of product and marketing at a Silicon Valley startup called Mojo Vision, is excited about the technology his company is developing. And he’s betting you’ll be excited, too — so excited that you’ll forget all about the fact that using it requires you to press two tiny screens up against your eyeballs.

If what Mojo has planned works, sticking a piece of tech directly onto your eyes every day will be as minor a drawback as your smartphone making your pocket a few ounces heavier.

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