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Last week Apple launched new iPhones with many interesting new features. One feature reports if you’ve been in an accident (assuming your phone can connect), and the other connects the phone to satellite in a very limited way for the times when a cellular tower is out of range.

Starlink and T-Mobile are promoting a yet non-existent service that should make Apple’s satellite service look like it’s survived years of modems. All of these follow AST Spacemobile which will install its first 4/5G satellite next year to begin its coverage.

Let’s talk about our future of satellite cellular services this week. Then we’ll close with our product of the week: a very affordable pair of active noise-canceling headphones that could be perfect for those who take long trips and need to sleep with them.

apple fills a need

Apple’s emergency SOS via satellite service, which will be the first for these next-generation services, is very limited. One big advantage of this is that it will work long before the others reach critical mass.

If you’re in the middle of nowhere and need help, it won’t do any good to have a service that doesn’t work yet, so Apple service limitations only become a problem for Apple when other services become critical. Mass. Look for it in or around 2025.

This service only works in open areas that have a clear view to the sky and, I expect, you may have to do a little dancing sometimes to get enough signal. It won’t work if you fall into a ravine, get stuck in a cave, or are in a bunker.

Yet, every year there are a ton of people who get stuck at my place of residence. What they don’t realize is that the weather here can change very quickly, and that if you’re too far from your car or civilization in only shorts and a T-shirt, you’ll need help if this happens, or you’re likely to lose. Chances are anything from a few fingers to your life.

The app helps you find a satellite and then, through menus, uses the phone’s intelligence to narrow down the message and pass it on to someone who can help you. However, it can take anywhere from 15 seconds to several minutes for the satellite to get a clean line for this to work. So, if you have a broken leg, or are otherwise handicapped, you may still be out of luck.

Apple is working with Globalstar for this feature. iPhone 14 users, who initially got this facility, will get two years of this service for free. Until then, there will likely be alternatives available, and this initial offering will undoubtedly be even better.

The service is better than nothing and right now, unless you want to invest in an expensive Iridium (or other satellite) phone, it’s your only choice. Iridium’s service, while expensive, I remember it being much less expensive than traditional cellular, but still more expensive.

Starlink and T-Mobile

Elon Musk has an idea of ​​a minute and many are surprisingly good. Although I’ve worked with a guy like Musk and know it’s a nightmare to work for or with someone like this because not every idea is good and generally, people like this can’t tell the difference Huh.

Having said that, the idea of ​​turning Starlink satellites into a telephone solution is interesting. However, given that Starlink is already experiencing bandwidth issues, this service could make Starlink less attractive if it reduces bandwidth for existing Starlink customers.

Musk also tends to overpromise and underdeliver, miss announced delivery dates, and cause a fair number of problems for his companies. Still, SpaceX is the cheapest launch platform currently in service, surprisingly reliable, and most Starlink reviews I’ve seen have been impressively positive.

Personally, I would have waited until Starlink was profitable and performing extensively before offering another service on the network, but that’s not Musk’s way. So far, their big, risky bets have mostly worked out. But he and his companies remain a big mistake away from the crisis. Given the complexity of his companies, it looks like he’ll eventually hit a bad wall.

The service will initially be more capable than Apple’s satellite offering but will not be true cellular, and will require upgrades to the Starlink satellites. A beta of this service is rumored to last until the end of 2023, with full service expected within the next year in areas where there is a significant mass of new satellites. If it doesn’t reach critical mass, T-Mobile and Starlink are in an interesting position to be the first to succeed with a satellite-based smartphone solution.

AST Spacemobile

AST Spacemobile, which is set to launch its Low Earth satellite in 2023, has partnered with companies such as Vodafone and AT&T to provide a robust route to early worldwide coverage. They would need between 45 and 65 satellites to reach critical mass, assuming no major market changes or the emergence of largely better competitive technology, before the end of 2025.

The company is wrapped up with 2,400 patents and should be able to provide good 4/5G coverage once critical mass is achieved. The service will be treated like international travel or on-plane service to areas that have cellular options, so your phone will work where it currently doesn’t. Or as primary phone service for people who are outside cellular coverage areas, such as remote land or sea locations.

This will certainly improve ship-to-shore and most radio solutions for police and first responders are operating in areas where there is either no cellular service or where cellular service has been disrupted. Unlike the other two services, AST SpaceMobile will be like regular cellular in that it will support both voice and data and will not have the limitations of the other two services. But its quality and data throughput will surpass terrestrial cellular services indefinitely.

This service should work on planes as well and be better than what you currently get on airplanes. It will support both voice and data whereas planes currently only support data (people are against getting cellular coverage on planes for fear that those using it will drive them crazy with loud incessant phone calls).

wrapping up

With Apple’s announcement last week, we are now in the world of consumer satellite cellular communications and the growing potential to be able to call for help from anywhere in the world, regardless of where the cell tower is located.

This can be huge for those who find themselves in trouble or lost in remote areas and provides peace of mind for parents who can’t locate their children.

Apple is just the beginning. Companies like Starlink and T-Mobile promise far better data bandwidth than Apple, and AST Spacemobile promises global general-purpose 4/5G cellular service that includes both voice and data in the same general time frame. .

By the latter part of this decade, the idea of ​​going out of service may be as obsolete as the need to find a phone booth was in the 1990s. That, my friends, is something worth looking forward to.

Technical Product of the Week

Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Noise Canceling Headphones

I travel a lot, so I have a lot of noise-canceling headphones with me.

Most headphones are not only very expensive, they are also not comfortable to sleep on a plane. Many are in the $250+ range, which is way too expensive for kids and, considering I leave these on airplanes, they add up for me too. Also, I don’t like earbuds or earplugs because they make my ears itch, which makes it difficult to sleep.

Well, I may have found the perfect solution in a set of headphones you can sleep in: the Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Adaptive Noise Canceling Headphones. At a retail price of around $150 on Amazon, they’re not the cheapest on the market, but they’re a ton less expensive than most of the headphones I currently own.

Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Noise Canceling Headphones

Space Q45 Noise Canceling Headphones (Images Credit: Soundcore)


These are an over-the-ear design with very soft pads, which make them much easier to sleep than my Bose and Sony headphones, and far more comfortable long-term for me than earbuds or on-ear products.

The Space Q45 headphones offer 50-hour battery life (I haven’t tested it), support Bluetooth 5.3, and have one of the most robust noise cancellation solutions I’ve tested—including five levels of noise cancellation Which are either turned off automatically or can be controlled by an app. If someone wants to chat with you – and you want to listen – they have a voice passthrough button.

These headphones have big 40mm drivers that lend themselves to decent lows and the sound quality was pretty good, to my ears, with significant range. For those who need an over-the-ear, affordable, noise-canceling solution they can sleep with, the Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Headphones may be the ideal solution—and it’s my product of the week .

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

This week is Siggraph 2022 where Nvidia will be doing one of the main things.

While on the consumer side the Metaverse has industrial uses, outside of gaming, which has effectively included Metaverse instances over the years, at Siggraph Nvidia will talk about its leadership in integrating AI into technology, the creation and application of digital twins, and successes. . In major new robotic factories such as the one made by BMW with the help of Siemens.

But what I find even more interesting is that as metaverse tools like Nvidia’s Omniverse become more consumer friendly, the ability to use AI and human digital twins is enabling us to create our own worlds where We Let the rules dictate and where our AI-powered digital twins will simulate real people and animals.

At that point, I expect we’ll need to learn what it means to be gods of the world we’ve created, and I doubt we’re prepared anywhere, in terms of the addictive nature of such products and the way these metaverses become virtual. How to create a world in a way that can form the basis of our own digital immortality.

Let’s explore the capabilities of the Metaverse this week, then we’ll end with our product of the week: the Microsoft Surface Duo 2.

Sigraph and the AI-powered metaverse

If you’ve participated in multiplayer video games like Warcraft, you’ve experienced a rudimentary form of the metaverse. You also found that objects that do things in the real world – like doors and windows that open, leaves that move with the wind, and people who behave like people – don’t exist yet.

With the introduction of digital twins and physics through tools like Nvidia’s Omniverse, this is changing so that reality-dependent simulations, such as those developed by autonomous cars and robots, work accurately and assure that humans or Potential accidents are reduced without putting real animals at risk. Because those accidents initially happen in a virtual world.

At SIGGRAPH, Nvidia will talk about the Metaverse’s current capabilities and its near future, where for a time, money and greatest capabilities will be tied to industrial, not entertainment, use.

For that purpose, the need to make an observer feel as though they are in a real world, outside of simulations intended to train people, is largely reduced. But training humans is also a goal of simulations, and creating human digital twins will be an important step forward in our ability to use AI of the future to handle the ever-increasing amount of repetitive and annoying portions of our workloads.

It is my belief that the next major breakthrough in human productivity will be the ability of regular people to create digital twins of their own that can perform an increasing number of tasks autonomously. Auto-fill is a very, very early milestone on this path that will eventually allow us to create virtual clones of ourselves that can cover for us or significantly increase our reach.

Nvidia is at the forefront of this technology. For anyone wanting to know what the Metaverse is capable of doing today, attending Siggraph Keynote should virtually be on your important to-do list.

But if we project 20 or so years into the future, given the enormous pace of development in this space, our ability to immerse ourselves in virtual worlds will increase, as well as our ability to create these existences. Worlds where physics as we know it is not only optional, but where we can choose to put ourselves in “God Mode” and walk through virtual worlds as the ultimate rulers of the virtual spaces we’ve created. Huh.

immersion is important

While we’ll have intermediate stages using prosthetics that use more advanced forms of haptics to make us feel like we’re immersed in these virtual worlds, it’s like Elon Musk’s attempt to create better human-machine interfaces. that will make a real difference.

By connecting directly to the brain, we should be able to create experiences that are indistinguishable from the real world and place us far more realistically in these alternate realities.

Meta Reality Labs is researching and developing haptic gloves to bring the sense of touch to the metaverse of the future.


Yet, as we gain the ability to create these worlds ourselves, changing these connections to provide more reality (e.g. experiencing pain in battle) will be optional, allowing us to walk through encounters. As if we were super powers.

human digital twin

One of the biggest problems with video games is that NPCs, no matter how good the graphics, use very limited scripts. They don’t learn, they don’t change, and they’re barely more capable than the animatronics at Disneyland.

But with the creation of human digital twins, we will gain the ability to populate the created world with more realistic citizens.

Imagine being able to present the Digital Twin you create to others and license them to be used in companies or games made by them. These NPCs will be based on real people, will respond more realistically to changes, potentially be able to learn and grow, and will not be tied to your gender or even your physical appearance.

For example what about Talking Dragon based on your digital twin? You can also populate the created Metaverse world with a large number of clones that have been altered to look like a diverse population, including animals.

Practical applications will include everything from virtual classrooms with virtual teachers to police and military training with virtual partners against virtual criminals – all based on real people, providing the ability to train with an unlimited number of realistic scenarios.

For example, for a police officer, one of the hardest things to train is domestic disturbance. These collisions can go all the way sideways. I know of many instances where a police officer stepped in to protect the abusing spouse and then was spotted by the same spouse who suddenly decided to defend her husband from the officer.

Today I read a story about a rookie who approached a legally armed citizen who was on his property. The officer was almost shot because he tried to seduce a civilian who had not broken any laws. He was all set to kill the civilian officer if it had happened. For this the officer was fired but he could have died.

Being able to train in situations like this can help ensure the safety of both the civilian and the officer.

Wrapping Up: God Mode

Anyone who has ever played a game in God Mode knows that it really destroys a lot of the game’s value. Yes, you can burn through the game in a fraction of the time, but it’s like buying a book and then reading a comprehensive summary with no spoilers. Most of the fun of a game is figuring out puzzles and working through challenges.

“Westworld” explored what might happen if virtual people, who were created to emulate humans, found out they had been abused. To be realistic, these creations would need to emulate the full flow of pain, suffering, and emotion, and it’s certainly a remote possibility that they could kick off their schedule.

However, another possibility is that people fully immersed in God Mode may not be able to differentiate between what they can do in the virtual world and the real world. This can result in some bad behavior in the real world.

I think we will find that there will be a clearer delineation between those who want to create viable worlds and treat those worlds beneficially, and those who want to create worlds that allow them to explore their distorted fantasies and occult desires. allow.

This can be a way to determine if someone has the right personality to be a leader, as it would be so easy to abuse power in the virtual world, and the tendency to abuse power is for anyone who goes into management. Should be a big red flag.

We’re still decades away from this potential, but we should start thinking about the limits of using this technology for entertainment so that we don’t create a significant group of people who don’t see others as different from virtual people who don’t. They misbehave in the twisted world. they will make.

What kind of metaverse god would you be?

Technical Product of the Week

Surface Duo 2

I’ve been using the Surface Duo 2 for several months now and it remains my favorite phone. I’m amazed at how many people came up to me to ask me about the phone and then said, when I shared with them what it does, they want to buy one.

This has huge advantages when consuming emails with attachments or links. The attachment or link opens on another screen without interrupting the flow of reading the email that it delivered. Just like using the phone when you’re opening a website that requires two-factor authentication. The authentication app is on another screen, so you don’t have to go back and try to locate the screen you were working on, preserving the workflow again.

For reading, it reads and holds like a book with two virtual pages, one on each screen. While I thought I might have problems watching videos due to the gap between the screens, I have been watching videos on both screens for some time now and unlike my issues of using dual screen monitors where I find the separation annoying , it’s not the difference. Doesn’t bother me at all.

Ideally this phone works best with a headset or smartwatch, such as the Apple Watch, so you can talk and listen – as it’s awkward to hold this form factor on its head. However, many of us somehow use the speakerphone feature on our smartphones and the Surface Duo 2 works fine that way.

In the end, I think it shows why with a revolutionary device – such as the iPhone was, and there is the Surface Duo 2 – it needs a lot of smart marketing for people to really understand the benefits of a different design. Otherwise they won’t get it.

Remember that the iPhone design, which previously emulated the failed LG Prada phone, was supported by a lot of marketing, while Prada, even though it initially had a strong luxury brand, was not.

Nonetheless, Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 remains my favorite smartphone. This is really awesome – and my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

Last week I heard about a podcast from Lucid Motors SVP Mike Bell (ex-Apple, ex-Rivian) who codes the Lucid Air and the upcoming Lucid SUV to be named Gravity in 2024, which is very different from every other car. Is. Road including Tesla.

Given that Tesla was heavily influenced by Apple, as well, it will be interesting to see what difference Apple makes in this market when it finally announces its electric car.

The direction of these three companies seems to be hanging in the balance. This is a change from the traditional preferences of older car makers to a model that is more compatible with a tech firm. Car companies like Lucid and Tesla are more like Apple than GM or Ford – which I imagine will eventually become a problem for GM and Ford.

I’ve also had updated briefings from Nvidia and Qualcomm on how they’re tackling autonomous driving, which could be a complimentary approach to the next generation of EVs.

Let’s talk about the future of electric cars, and we’ll kick off with our product of the week: an update on the Bartesian robotic bartender, no joke, Black + Decker.

Nvidia and Qualcomm Vehicle Tech

Nvidia’s drive platform is heavily used in Lucid vehicles. It is a comprehensive suite of offerings that cover the autonomous car technology stack, from concept and simulation to training, to inference in cars. However, most of the strength lies in Nvidia’s Omniverse simulation capability, which is widely used in the automotive industry.

Qualcomm is focusing more on bridging the car side of this equation, with compelling in-car technology that, on paper, is both cheaper and better than other options.

Given that car companies are margin-focused lasers, you can see a world emerging where Nvidia may own much of the backend and control structure for autonomous cars, and where Qualcomm can power its respective self-engineering systems in most cars. May present with driving abilities. Qualcomm has demonstrated that its ability to keep smartphone costs down can translate into in-car solutions that can do the same thing.

An increasingly potential future is one where Nvidia offers a much more autonomous car backend while Qualcomm provides in-vehicle multi-layered computer vision technology.

car and driver conversation

I was driving in the back of a Lucid car (pictured above) last week and I must admit I found the car fascinating to look at. It really is like no other car on the road. The performance specs and price are both amazing.

On performance, they deliver 2.5 seconds 0 to 60 acceleration time, up to 1,111 hp, up to 168 mph, and a range of 520 miles which is class-leading performance at the moment. But that performance will cost you closer to $200K.

Then again you could argue that you’re basically getting four cars for the price of one: a sports car, a family car, an off-road car, and the Holler (there’s a huge amount of luggage space), All in one vehicle.

Lucid also demonstrates a change in thinking about the interaction between the car and its driver. By now the driver has had to learn to drive a car. Every car is so different that most drivers may never learn how to use all the features. For example, I’ve never been able to successfully use my car’s self-parking capability.

The Lucid model learns how to work with you, learns your preferences, and this data can be transferred from car to car so you never have the issue of being unable to properly use a feature you purchased. Don’t have to face

upgrade after purchase

Lucid goes to the forefront of offering a solution that is not only software-defined, but potentially easy to update and upgrade over time, which will keep the cars in service longer than would otherwise be the case.

I’ve gotten frustrated with more traditional car companies because you can almost bet that right after you buy a new car, they’ll make an upgrade that can’t be retrofitted, and you’d know it was coming. .

For example, a few years ago I bought a Mercedes. Sometime between when I ordered the car and it was delivered, they put one of the features I ordered in another package, which was not available when I ordered my car and, because I didn’t select that bundle (again, it wasn’t even available at the time I ordered) they removed the feature from the car.

The only way I could get it back was to pay three times its cost before that happened. This huge cost increase was because it was far more expensive to add that feature once the car was built.

Both Lucid and Tesla have demonstrated that they can do a better job of providing post-purchase upgrades to their cars. As the industry considers the concept of cars as service, this ability to change a car’s configuration after it leaves the factory not only opens the door to a stronger used car opportunity for dealers, but also for a long time. Till then, with a happy relationship. Cars we buy in the end.

Instead of replacing a perfectly good car after three years because it became out of date, imagine updating the vehicle so that it looks almost as good as a new one.

Lucid’s technology-focused software-focused approach also means that many of these upgrades could come as part of the service, just like some of the more interesting improvements to Tesla cars over the years. Tesla is one of the few car companies where drivers can look forward to software updates as Tesla makes in pleasant surprises, and Lucid is looking to overtake Tesla in this regard.

Part of why Lucid may be able to outpace Tesla is its use of Nvidia Drive which is a unique way small car companies can match or exceed the capabilities of larger firms by using Nvidia’s extensive resources. It really is a game changer.

wrapping up

As we move into the middle of the decade, our in-car experiences will be changing substantially, not only to become more customizable for the buyer, but to provide a level of personalized after-sales auto-customization experience for that buyer. To do what hasn’t been seen in the tech market, let alone in the automotive market.

Once this is done, the technology market may have to pick up from some of the advancements of the automotive industry to better compete in its segment as this product concept is a competitive revolution to adapt itself to the unique needs of the user. .

It is difficult to see that any customer, when given the option, would ever opt for the old-fashioned way of forced learning and the lack of flexibility in the increasingly smart personal technology, equipment and vehicles they buy.

Companies like Lucid, Rivian, Tesla, Nvidia and Qualcomm are leading the automotive market and screaming for a future that is far more responsive to the needs of their buyers. That’s good news for our purchasing future, though probably not until the latter half of the decade.

Technical Product of the Week

‘Bev’ by Black + Decker

We were one of the first owners of Bartesian Robotic Bar Tender, and we have enjoyed the product for many years since it came out.

However, there was annoyance over how the alcohol was placed in the device and the pain of filling it with water that often spilled over. We left a bottle of wine without cleaning it for too long and it got stuck. So, we went looking for a replacement only to find out that Black + Decker has created a new version of Bartesian called Bev (little B) and it’s awesome!

Let’s start with the fact that with the old Bartesian we had to swap bottles of rum and gin when making the drink because it only contained four types of alcohol. The new version has five different bottles, and it uses the bottles the alcohol comes in, so you no longer have to clean the bottles, you just throw them out when they’re empty. Plus, it provides a sixth bottle for water so you can easily fill it under the tap (don’t try to fill it with the refrigerator; you’ll find water all over the floor).

'Bev' On-Demand Cocktail Maker by Black+Decker

‘Bev’ on-demand cocktail maker (Image Credit: Bartesian)


The unit has lights under the bottles that light up as drinks or can be cycled as it sits unused, making an impressive presentation in your kitchen or bar. Whereas the old Bartesian had a display that would take you through making a drink, the Biwi has five buttons. The first four drinks are for size and the final drink starts the making process which is much quicker and more fun to watch.

The Bev uses the same pods as the old Bartesian, but lacks a water chiller, so you’ll need a supply of ice. But the result is looking better, far less messy (the old bartesian would leak from time to time when filling), and so far it has worked flawlessly.

On a hot day, and we’re getting a lot of them, a cold rum punch is a great way to end the day; And sitting outside with a chilled cocktail on the weekend helps make it all worthwhile.

Priced at around $300, the new Biwi by Black + Decker is my product of the week. encourage!

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.