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SpaceX's Starlink internet beta expands to more customers, and it's expensive
by João Carrasqueira
SpaceX, the space exploration company owned by Elon Musk, has been working on its satellite-based internet service, Starlink, for a few years now, but it's taken some time for it to come to fruition. Today, the company is inviting customers to test the service in what it calls the "Better Than Nothing Beta", as reported by CNBC.
The name of the test program doesn't lie, and SpaceX is fairly upfront about what users are signing up for, telling users that it's "trying to lower" their initial expectations. The company says users can expect to see speeds varying from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s, and latency ranging from 20ms to 40ms over the next few months, as it continues to improve the system. At times, it's possible that service won't be available at all.
On top of the spotty internet service, the initial Starlink price is not for the faint of heart. Customers need to buy the Starlink kit to get set up, which includes a terminal to connect to the satellite network, a Wi-Fi router, and a mounting tripod. That costs $499, and on top of that, the service itself costs $99 per month. To help users get set up, a Starlink app is now available for Android and iOS, meant to help users find the best place to install the terminal, check for obstructions, and more.
Naturally, this isn't something that's meant for everyone to subscribe to just yet, and it remains to be seen how things will look when the service is fully available. On that note, the description for the app mentioned above says that this beta program will enable service in the United States and Canada this year, with near global coverage being attainable in 2021. Of course, that too is yet to be seen.
By Usman Khan Lodhi
Twitter's experiment to get more people to read articles before tweeting worked
by Usman Khan Lodhi
In June, Twitter started an experiment to prompt people to read an article before tweeting it in an attempt to foster "informed discussion." The test, which was available to Android users only, has succeeded in getting more people to read before they tweet, the firm announced. It shared the results today:
According to the released statistics, upon seeing the prompt, people opened the article 40% more than the usual times, and in some cases, people opted the choice to not retweet the article after opening it.
This feature would help Twitter step up its fight against misinformation as we near the 2020 U.S. presidential election. There has also been a surge of fake news during the coronavirus pandemic, which the firm hopes to clamp down through its initiative. It believes that if people take the time to read an article, it could prevent false claims from spreading as widely as they might otherwise.
Twitter will soon roll out this feature to users globally in a bid to encourage "more informed tweeting." Additionally, when users retweet a link that they haven't opened in the app, it will be accompanied by a prompt stating that "headlines don't tell the full story."
By Ather Fawaz
Microsoft's Project Natick finds that underwater datacenters are reliable and effective
by Ather Fawaz
Image via Microsoft Project Natick is Microsoft's research project to determine the feasibility of underwater datacenters that are powered by offshore renewable energy. These datacenters have been hailed as a promising venture in Microsoft's future in cloud computing when back in 2018, CEO Satya Nadella emphasized that the future of datacenter deployment lies in underwater server pods. Besides promising faster deployment, one of the primary advantages of this setup is the fact that by positioning datacenters closer to coastal settlements, we can reduce latency due to transmission delays.
Back in spring 2018, to test whether submerging a datacenter could improve its reliability, researchers lowered Microsoft's Northern Isles datacenter 117 feet underwater to the seafloor near the Orkney Islands in Scotland. After a lengthy period of testing involving the 864 servers onboard, on July 9, the datacenter was recovered and Microsoft has now finally revealed what it has learned from its experimentation.
The Project Natick researchers announced that their initial hypothesis was indeed correct. Underwater datacenters can improve the reliability of datacenters while being powered by offshore renewable energy. This is majorly due to the fact that land datacenters suffer from natural phenomena like temperature fluctuations, corrosion, and humidity, which lead to frequent equipment failure, and subsequently, the need for regular maintenance. But underwater, they are in a relatively cooler environment that is less prone to such factors. In fact, the cooler environment underwater allows for energy-efficient heat-exchange plumbing that can further lower operational costs.
Image via Microsoft Microsoft states that Natick Northern Isles datacenter had a failure rate of 1/8th that of the land-based control group that it was compared with. This showcases the practicality and reliability of hosting underwater datacenters that serve our cloud computing needs. The Redmond giant had already gauged its deployment speed back in 2018. While deploying a land-based data center can take up to two years due to the expensive cooling and land requirements, among others, underwater datacenters can instead be deployed in 90 days. This is what the company did back in 2018 in Scotland.
Image via Microsoft Interestingly, during its tenure in Scotland, the datacenter was also used to perform COVID-19 research for Folding@Home and World Community Grid during testing. Perhaps most importantly, the datacenter ran entirely on wind, solar, and other experimental green energies that are currently under development at the deployment site. This crucially ties in with Microsoft's pledge to go carbon-negative by 2030 before removing all its carbon emissions that it's ever produced from the atmosphere by 2050.
Image via Microsoft Talks between Project Natick researchers and Microsoft Azure officials for commercial deployment are already underway. Scaling considerations to power Microsoft Azure services are being discussed together with the prospect of positioning datacenters closer to customers. Since half the world’s population lives within 120 miles of the coast, underwater datacenters could enable a smoother and more stable internet experience in tasks ranging from video streaming to gaming to general web surfing.
Image via Microsoft But perhaps these underwater server pods offer much more. Just a few hours back, Google announced that the firm will only tap renewable power by 2030. One of the logistical challenges associated with that move will be to relocate some of its datacenters. With Microsoft's Project Natick providing a potent alternative that promises reliability and deployment speed while operating on renewable energy, we could have a potential solution onboard.
Edit .. the recent purchased you see is either from my already owned software that I've reinstalled or new software that I tried getting to try and kickstart my list of Owned apps.
I've just installed Windows 10 Pro on my iMac again, after being off it for a while. It's currently the only OS installed and I have a major issue with Windows Store.
I consider it a major issue, but you may not. Anyway, I've purchased and downloaded a few programs like Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer and wallpaper sets from Microsoft(of their Premium uploads to the Store) from the Windows Store. I am quite a bit frustrated as the list is empty all the way down - individual listings doesn't reveal anything either i.e by selecting Apps/Games/Movies in My Library inside Windows Store on Windows 10.
To make matters worse my Packard Bell laptop that uses the same Microsoft account as login also yields the exact same issue. I am at a loss as what to do about this - I reckon it's an account issue. I am able to install my software by searching for them individually, but not from any list containing an overview of same software and various wallpaper sets. One other issue that you'll notice in my Capture6 image is that my iMac isn't on the list for Windows Store - despite just having installed and logged in to my Microsoft account at setup. This installation is the second in two days; to try and solve the issue via reinstall of Windows.
These screenshots are from my iMac but the EasyNote laptop has the same look.
Let me say that I have already; reset the Store Cache and deleted files manually per instructions from Microsoft Online Support Community/Forum - didn't help one bit. wsreset didn't help .
Funny thing is that the online view of all my purchased is empty too. This page is available on my Microsoft account page and yours too - I would think.
I can't say how recent this issue is with the Windows Store - I noticed it first on my EasyNote laptop and then it settled to function - then I thought to install Windows 10 on my iMac because of customization reasons. Then this.
What is the experience with this from other users? Is there that one thing that can help me get a feeling of liking the experience of Windows and solve this bothersome problem? Do I need to call Microsoft and have them look through my account?
By Garg Ankit
178 terabits per second is the new world record for internet speed
by Garg Ankit
Hand drawn capture globe by Shutterstock Imagine being able to download the entire Netflix library, as it stands, in less than a second. This is far from being commercially available any time soon, but the record for the fastest internet speed in the world is now set at 178 terabits per second (Tbps), that is 178,000,000 megabits per second.
To bring things in perspective, the fastest available speed to consumers currently is 10Gbps in Japan. Even the connection developed by United States’ Energy Sciences Network maxes out at 400Gbps.
Engineers at KDDI Research, University College London, and Xtera have developed new technologies to pass through more data through the existing optical fiber setup. Most of the current infrastructure is capable of up to 4.5THz bandwidth, and some new technologies had raised it to 9THz. This new system raises it to a whopping 16.8THz.
The wider bandwidth is the result of new Geometric Shaping (GS) constellations. In order to fit more information without interference, these patterns of signal combinations alter the brightness, phase, and polarization of the wavelengths. The hybrid system is a result of different combinations of existing amplifier technologies.
Since the setup utilizes the existing optic fiber setup, integrating this new technology would be relatively easier as well as cheaper in comparison to other experimental researches in this field. Just upgrading the amplifiers would do the job, there would be no need to replace the cables altogether.