I Have a Few Questions About This Bacon Vending Machine


It’s come to our attention that the Ohio State University now features a bacon vending machine. The technology was installed in the Animal Sciences Building at the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, and it dispenses servings of ready-to-eat bacon for $1 each. These basic facts have led me to ask a lot of questions about what’s really going on.

The bacon vending machine is very real, by the way. The Ohio Pork Council is responsible for installing the marvel, and the organization told me in an email that the machine has “been very well received on campus.” But still, my questions.

1. How does it work?

Based on the available information, it looks like you put money into the machine and get ready-to-eat bacon in return.

2. Is this real bacon?

It is. The bacon has been provided by Sugardale Foods, Hormel Foods, and Smithfield Foods.

3. Do vending machine customers have to cook the bacon?

Apparently not. The Ohio Pork Council says that the bacon is ready-to-eat. Bacon enthusiasts will know that this is not a revolutionary invention. Pre-cooked bacon has been on the market for quite some time. It’s great on salads, in sandwiches, and as a snack. You can even buy ready-to-eat bacon in bulk on Amazon.

4. How much bacon does $1 buy?

More than you might think. For $1, customers can select either a box of 12 bacon slices or a pouch of bacon bits.

5. Who benefits from this bacon vending machine?

While the machine was installed by the Ohio Pork Council, all proceeds from the bacon vending machine go directly to the Ohio State Meat Sciences program.

6. Who maintains the bacon vending machine?

Students from the Ohio State Meat Sciences program are responsible for stocking, restocking, and maintaining this delicious meat machine.

7. What does Ohio State think of all of this?

Well, obviously, the university has supported the addition of a bacon vending machine on campus. “The meat science program is excited to partner with the Ohio Pork Council through the Bacon Vending Machine project,” Lyda G. Garcia, an associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences, told local news outlets. “Excited” might be an understatement for local bacon enthusiasts.

8. Is the bacon vending machine permanent?

The bacon vending machine presently installed at Ohio State is a temporary treat. The machine will be on campus until December 13. However, the Ohio Pork Council told Gizmodo in an email, “The future of this bacon vending machine is still unknown—we may see it again, or maybe not. Time will tell!”

9. Why is this happening?

Why hasn’t it happened in the past?

via Gizmodo https://gizmodo.com

December 7, 2018 at 02:09PM

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Helmet-Cam Footage Of A Cyclist Finishing The World’s Longest Urban Downhill Course


This is a video from the helmet-cam of cyclist Rémy Métailler as he attacks the Guinness World Record holding longest urban downhill track, which snakes its way through Commune 13 of Medellín, Colombia. The track measures a total of 2,274-meters (7,462 feet, ~1.41-miles) and takes about four minutes to complete provided you’re a firm believer your body is not a temple, but rather a warehouse that deserves to be demolished. Personally, that sounds like more of a day trip to me. I like to take my time when I’m biking and really enjoy the scenery. Same goes for when I’m driving. “Just how long have you been sitting at that red light?” At least four full cycles now. “And the honking doesn’t bother you?” I just tune it out like a fire alarm.

Keep going for the whole video, it’s intense.

Thanks to Mike R, who agrees they should also run the course from bottom to top for the bikers with those calves that look like elephant ballsacks.

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via Geekologie – Gadgets, Gizmos, and Awesome https://geekologie.com/

December 7, 2018 at 02:15PM

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World’s First Insect Vaccine Could Help Bees Fight Off Deadly Disease


Researchers say they’ve found a way to let queen bees pass on immunity to a devastating disease called American foulbrood. The infectious disease is so deadly, many states and beekeeping groups recommend burning any hive that’s been infected. Here, a frame from a normal hive is seen in a file photo from 2017.

Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

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Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

Researchers say they’ve found a way to let queen bees pass on immunity to a devastating disease called American foulbrood. The infectious disease is so deadly, many states and beekeeping groups recommend burning any hive that’s been infected. Here, a frame from a normal hive is seen in a file photo from 2017.

Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

Bees may soon get an ally in their fight against bacterial disease — one of the most serious threats the pollinators face — in the form of an edible vaccine. That’s the promise held out by researchers in Finland, who say they’ve made the first-ever vaccine for insects, aimed at helping struggling honeybee populations.

The scientists are targeting one of bees’ most deadly enemies: American foulbrood, or AFB, an infectious disease that devastates hives and can spread at a calamitous rate. Often introduced by nurse bees, the disease works by bacteria feeding on larvae — and then generating more spores, to spread further.

The idea of a potential new weapon to fight AFB has generated excitement in the beekeeping community, along with some skepticism about the claim of a vaccine — which remains in the testing phase. The news comes three years after the same researchers were hailed in Entymology Today as discovering the “key to bee vaccination.”

Scientists Dalial Freitak and Heli Salmela of the University of Helsinki say their new vaccine solves a vexing problem researchers have faced as they try to save bees from disease. Because insects’ immune systems don’t have antibodies, they essentially lack a “memory” for fighting diseases.

Freitak says she and her colleagues were able to get around that limitation, after she realized Salmela’s study of a protein called vitellogenin seemed to complement her own work, in which she found insects that were exposed to bacteria were able to impart an elevated immune response to their offspring.

From the university’s news release:

“When the queen bee eats something with pathogens in it, the pathogen signature molecules are bound by vitellogenin. Vitellogenin then carries these signature molecules into the queen’s eggs, where they work as inducers for future immune responses.”

“Now we’ve discovered the mechanism to show that you can actually vaccinate them,” Freitak said in a news release. “You can transfer a signal from one generation to another.”

The Finnish team calls their vaccine PrimeBEE, and they say it can be delivered to the queen via a sugar patty. Another plan would call for beekeepers to simply order a queen that’s already been vaccinated. While a website has been created for that product, it does not list a price — or say when the vaccine might be available commercially.

The new vaccine is still undergoing safety tests, but it could represent a breakthrough in the protection of bees, a crucial link in the food chain. In the U.S., their pollination is vital for many foods we eat, from apples and almonds to watermelons and zucchini.

When an American foulbrood infection sets in, each brood cell can host millions upon millions of spores. And because of bees’ tidy housekeeping practices, those spores are then spread even further when the bees clean the cell out. The disease can be treated with antibiotics, but no cure is available.

“It’s a death sentence” for a hive or colony to be diagnosed with the disease, says Toni Burnham, president of the D.C. Beekeepers Alliance in Washington.

In D.C. and Maryland, Burnham says, “if a colony is diagnosed with AFB — regardless of the level of the infestation — it burns. Every bit of it burns; the bees are killed and the woodenware burns, and it’s gone.”

Concerns about American foulbrood are so serious, Burnham says, that it’s the main reason why her group recommends never buying used bee hives and other equipment.

“They have pulled 100-year-old samples out of storage and have been able to reinoculate honeybee hives with American foulbrood spores,” she says.

In addition to AFB, honeybees and other pollinators face a number of existential threats, from diseases and parasites to insecticides. The researchers in Finland say they plan to use the same approach to combat other diseases.

“We hope that we can also develop a vaccination against other infections, such as European foulbrood and fungal diseases,” Freitak said in a statement. “We have already started initial tests. The plan is to be able to vaccinate against any microbe.”

If the vaccine works as the Finnish team expects, it would be a welcome bit of good news for beekeepers, farmers and advocates for pollinators, who have watched one of the world’s most important insects struggle in recent decades.

“We need to help honeybees, absolutely,” Freitak said. “Even improving their life a little would have a big effect on the global scale.”

While acknowledging the other problems bees face, she added, “If we can help honeybees to be healthier and if we can save even a small part of the bee population with this invention, I think we have done our good deed and saved the world a little bit.”

via NPR Topics: News https://ift.tt/2m0CM10

December 7, 2018 at 01:57PM

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Six Pediatricians Ate LEGO Minifig Heads To Calm Parents’ Concerns About Their Kids Eating Small Toys



Mmmm, so many snacks to choose from!

In a recent study published in the Journal Of Pediatrics And Child Health, which includes both SHAT (Stool Consistency And Travel) and FART (Found And Retrieved Time) scores, six pediatricians each recently swallowed a LEGO minifig head to see how long the piece of plastic would take to pass through their body, and if it had any effect on their digestive tract. The hope is that the results would help calm would-be frantic parents after their little one finds out what a LEGO tastes like. On average, it took 1.71 days to pass the head (although one doctor never actually found, leading at least one blogger to speculate somebody doesn’t know how to dig through a turd with a stick), and unsurprisingly had zero effect on their digestive tracts. Well of course it didn’t, you chose the easiest, pea-sized round piece to swallow. Now try a 2 x 8 brick. SPOILER: You can feel every stud on the way out like a colon toothbrush.

Keep going for the video.

Thanks to Jessica C, who agrees if you’re only going to eat minifig heads, you should at least knock back a handful like Skittles.

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via Geekologie – Gadgets, Gizmos, and Awesome https://geekologie.com/

December 7, 2018 at 10:48AM

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Even self-driving leader Waymo is struggling to reach full autonomy


Even self-driving leader Waymo is struggling to reach full autonomy

The Wednesday rollout of Waymo One, Waymo’s commercial self-driving taxi service, falls far short of expectations the company itself set earlier in the year.

In late September, a Waymo spokeswoman told Ars by email that the Phoenix service would be fully driverless and open to members of the public—claims I reported in this article.

We now know that Waymo One won’t be fully driverless; there will be a driver in the driver’s seat. And Waymo One is open to the public in only the narrowest, most technical sense: initially it will only be available to early riders—the same people who have been participating in Waymo’s test program for months.

This seems to be the latest sign that Waymo’s technology is progressing more slowly than a lot of people expected—including Waymo’s own leadership a year ago. People who have observed Waymo’s vehicles on public roads in recent months report that the cars still struggle with unprotected left turns, merges, and other tricky situations.

Waymo is widely seen as the industry leader. The company began working on self-driving technology in 2009, long before most other technology and car companies started taking it seriously. So if Waymo isn’t ready to launch a fully driverless service after more than 18 months of intensive public testing, that should make us skeptical of claims from other companies that they’ll be ready to launch fully self-driving technology any time soon.

Waymo One is barely a public service

The launch of Waymo One feels less like the launch of a public, commercial service than a rebranding of its testing program. Waymo vowed to launch a commercial service before the end of the year, and Waymo One technically qualifies. But the service hardly seems more open to the public than the early rider program Waymo had last week.

In a Thursday phone conversation, a Waymo spokeswoman declined to tell me how many customers had signed up for Waymo One on the first day or how many rides they’d taken. If a lot of people were signing up, you’d expect some of them to post photos or videos on social media, but 48 hours after the official launch I haven’t been able to find any sign of people using Waymo One—and neither have other people.

I’m sure Waymo is telling the truth when it says it has invited “hundreds” of early riders to switch to Waymo One, and I assume at least a handful of people have signed up. But this is not what normally happens when a big public company launches a major new product.

Waymo abandoned plans for a fully driverless launch

This is a screenshot from Waymo's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaOB-ErYq6Y">November 2017 video</a> announcing the start of fully driverless testing. It shows fully driverless Waymo cars driving on residential streets that are almost empty.
Enlarge /

This is a screenshot from Waymo’s

November 2017 video

announcing the start of fully driverless testing. It shows fully driverless Waymo cars driving on residential streets that are almost empty.


I wasn’t the only reporter who was told that Waymo’s first commercial service would be fully driverless.

In March, The New York Times reported that Waymo’s Phoenix service would launch by the end of the year. Waymo “intended to move forward rapidly with a driverless ride service for the public because it was confident its vehicles could operate safely in virtually any driving situation where they would be put into use,” the Times’ Neal Boudette wrote. The same article stated that Waymo expected to be “providing as many as one million rides a day” by the end of 2019.

But in recent months, Waymo seems to have lost confidence in its fully driverless operations. The Information’s Amir Efrati reported last week that “due to concerns about safety, the Alphabet company put so-called ‘safety drivers’ back behind the wheel of its most advanced prototypes.”

Indeed, it’s not clear if fully driverless vehicles have ever accounted for a significant fraction of Waymo’s testing activities. According to an August story by Efrati, fully driverless tests have typically been “in relatively small residential areas of Chandler, Arizona, where there is little traffic.”

That squares with the experience of Ryan Randazzo, a reporter at the Arizona Republic who has covered Waymo over the last two years. Because he’s based in the Phoenix area, he’s able to regularly observe Waymo vehicles in action and talk to others in the area about the cars—including three days in October and November when he followed around Waymo vehicles to see how they perform.

“I don’t know that anyone has ever seen one without a driver in the driver seat” since Waymo first announced driverless testing in November 2017, he told Ars. “I’ve asked five different ways—what percent of rides [are driverless]—they won’t answer that question.”

Waymo cars struggle with tricky situations

Over the course of October and November, Randazzo spent three days observing Waymo’s cars in action—either by following them on the roads or staking out the company’s depot in Chandler. He posted his findings in a YouTube video. The findings suggest that Waymo’s vehicles aren’t yet ready for fully autonomous operation.

“Lane changes appear to be a problem for the cars,” Randazzo says in the video. When trying to move into a crowded lane, a Waymo car seemed to lack a human driver’s ability to anticipate other drivers’ actions and squeeze into an open spot. Instead, the vehicle would turn on its turn signal and wait for a few seconds for an opening to appear. If one didn’t appear, it would turn the turn signal off and wait for a while before trying again.

“It actually took this car almost a minute and a half to change lanes here,” Randazzo said. “We talked to one person who uses these vehicles around the East Valley. He said that they sometimes miss their turns they’re so hesitant.”

In another incident, a Waymo car was part of a line of cars approaching an intersection where a car crash was blocking the right lane. The human drivers saw the issue far ahead and began shifting to the left lane. The Waymo car continued straight and only began trying to merge left when it was a few car lengths away from the traffic cones. The car then abruptly cancelled the left merge and instead went right into a turn lane—Randazzo speculates that this was the human safety driver taking over the vehicle.

That jives with a video posted to YouTube in September showing a Waymo vehicle struggling to merge onto a California freeway.

According to The Information’s Efrati, Waymo has struggled with turning from a low-speed residential street onto a major boulevard. This is also a problem The Washington Post observed during a recent Waymo test ride. The Post reported that “left turns can be painfully slow” when turning onto a major traffic artery.

With these kinds of challenges, it’s not surprising that Waymo chose to keep safety drivers in its cars. And to be clear, I don’t fault Waymo for doing this. Quite the contrary, they deserve credit for putting safety first. But if Waymo has largely halted testing with fully driverless vehicles—and there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence that they have—it would be nice if Waymo would level with the public about this.

And if even Waymo—long regarded as the industry leader—is struggling to roll out fully driverless cars, that may be a cause for skepticism that its rivals will achieve the feat any time soon. We’re going to see more and more self-driving cars on our roads. But it might be a while before we see ones that are fully driverless.

via Ars Technica https://arstechnica.com

December 7, 2018 at 11:01AM

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How SpaceX Launched 64 Satellites Into Orbit on a Falcon 9


A few years ago, a company called Spaceflight had a wacky plan. The plan, in the words of CEO Curt Blake, was “Let’s buy a Falcon!”

Not, like, the bird of prey. Like the big SpaceX rocket that, similar to its avian namesake, swoops back down to Earth once it’s done its job. Buying the full capacity of such a big launcher is like booking out the town’s largest, schmanciest bar: You really hope people will come to your party, and also that they’ll pay their own tabs.

It was a little naive, Blake admits. But Spaceflight had a job to do, and a Falcon 9 seemed the way to do it. Spaceflight is a launch broker that, not unlike a travel agency, takes care of gritty takeoff details for satellite makers. The company wanted—needed—to launch a lot of small satellites. At the time, around 2015, there weren’t many other options. Russia had invaded Crimea, making missions from there more difficult. India, which now holds the record for most satellites launched in one go, hadn’t yet launched “secondary payloads,” or a big ol’ rocket rideshare, en masse. And smaller rockets, like Rocket Lab’s Electron, were just glimmers in their parents’ eyes.

Even before signing the contract with SpaceX, Spaceflight had lined up a bunch of customers, the final list of which included universities, artists, commercial Earth observers, and the military. Soon enough, SpaceX agreed to let the company stuff one of its rockets full of smallsats. Normally, a Falcon might tuck a few smallsats in as secondary payloads alongside a more impressive passenger, but they were never themselves the stars of the show. On the SmallSat Express, though, they were.

It was on Spaceflight to protect all those payloads on the trip up and deploy them safely in orbit. And after three years of post-contract planning, they did it: After some delays, a Falcon 9, which had already been to space twice, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base the morning of December 3.

But it wasn’t always pretty. Spaceflight had dreamed up a complicated mechanism, which looks like a giant steampunk spyglass, to protect and then deploy its satellites. When SpaceX engineers first saw it, they gave it a catchier name: Frankenstack.

Frankenstack might spawn children. According to consulting firm Bryce Space and Technology, 336 smallsats launched in 2017, six times as many as launched in 2012. Another consulting firm, Frost and Sullivan, forecasts that more than 11,000 small satellites might seek a launch between 2018 and 2030. Compared to the inflated costs and timelines of most space projects, these satellites can be built quickly and cheaply, and they’re easy to improve as their hardware and software mature. They’re also quite resilient by satellite standards—in that you can distribute capabilities across a constellation of them, rather than putting all your eggs in one exquisite basket. That’s part of why the military is interested in them. As satellites get cheaper in all ways, space (and space data) become more accessible, not just to the government but also to high-school students.

That future’s small satellites will have a few options: catching small, bespoke, and consequently more expensive rides; sharing a big ride with bigger satellites; or clown-carring on big fire-tubes. The clown-car approach—of which the SmallSat Express is an example—comes with complications. You have to coordinate schedules, deploy everybody without a smashup, then identify and track all those floating boxes. But sending up so many sats on one launch is like killing 64 birds with one stone.

Before the SmallSat Express could even leave the station, Spaceflight had to prove it could handle all of that. Starting with filling the seats, which wasn’t easy at first. “SpaceX—early on, they had a couple problems,” Blake says. (Read: two explosions.) “And that did put a bit of a damper on sales, I have to say.” But SpaceX’s launch cadence galloped back to normal, sans blowup, and ultimately 64 satellites from 34 operators rode the SmallSat Express.

To accommodate all the passengers, Spaceflight had to build “upper and lower free flyers” to hold most of the satellites and then send them shooting out into space. On Tuesday, when the cargo got to orbit, the free flyers flew off and, soon, satellites slid out of the upper one like Tie Fighters. Others staggered out of the lower free flyer, while a few flew from a payload carrier in the rocket’s second stage. Deploying all of them—one every five minutes or so—took hours, with customers tweeting “Mine’s out!” updates into the evening.

The team at Spaceflight ran thousands of simulations, tweaking and tweaking, to make sure the satellite shoot-outs wouldn’t lead to collisions. They showed their work to both the FCC and the Air Force. That work appears to have been good: No one shouted that their satellite had crashed into another. Once all the payloads were out, the mayfly-mortality free flyers sprouted sails from their backs, adding drag, and drifted down into the atmosphere.

But the complexities didn’t end with deployment. All the payload operators had to find, identify, and make contact with their satellites. It’s not so simple ever, really, and definitely not when 60-plus satellites besides your own just blasted forth from the same spot. Imagine trying to follow and find out the names of all the people who get off a bus at the last stop. Before the launch, T.S. Kelso, who runs orbital-analysis site CelesTrak, expressed anxiety. “It remains unclear how prepared we are to track & ID passengers from the SSO-A launch in a timely fashion,” he tweeted. “I am still very concerned.” He later cited another launch of 31 objects, of which only 18 had been identified three and a half days in.

“We put our plan in front of all the regulators and in front of the Combined Space Operations Center,” Blake says, referring to the relevant part of the Air Force. “We wanted to get feedback. We’ve done everything we could think of.” The same day that Kelso tweeted, the Air Force squadron in charge of tracking did seem to subtweet his call to alarm: “We’re working closely with all O/Os [owners and operators] to track & catalog the objects ASAP. Thanks to all O/Os for their cooperation, transparency & support for #spaceflightsafety.”

That process looks like this: Spaceflight gives customers initial data about their orbit, which they use to try to make contact with the satellite as it passes over a ground station. They give resulting information about their satellite’s orbit and ID to Spaceflight, and Spaceflight passes that word on to the Combined Space Operations Center (CSpOC). The center analyzes that data along with its own to try to identify individual satellites. “The procedure to claim an object is somewhat informal,” says Pekka Laurila, cofounder of ICEYE, an imaging company that launched a satellite aboard the SmallSat Express. It’s a conversation with CSpOC in which Spaceflight’s customers conclude that certain data blips represent their orbiting progeny, and share their data to back up their assertions. “Ultimately, it settles out that all the parties have claimed their satellites,” he says. “It could easily take multiple days or weeks.”

Others concur: It’s not simple. “If you’re dropped off with a whole bunch of satellites, you can spend weeks not knowing where your satellite is,” says Dan Ceperley, CEO of LeoLabs, a private company that tracks objects in space. “It can take a long time to figure out who’s who, where you’re going.” Even if CSpOC knows the orbits of 64 new satellites, it doesn’t necessarily know which is which.

It worked quickly for some companies. HawkEye 360, which launched three satellites to detect radio transmissions coming from Earth, caught its satellites by dinnertime in its DC-area offices.

The satellite company Planet, which has about 120 “Dove” satellites taking images of Earth, has dealt with big-flock launches before: From India, 88 of its craft took off on a flight with 104 satellites total. “Usually within the first handful of orbits, we’ll make contact with all the satellites,” says Mike Safyan, vice president of launch. Indeed, for the SmallSat Express, Planet had contacted its five satellites before bedtime.

Planet’s was the “primary payload” here—even in these egalitarian launches, there are, of course, classes—and so garnered the honor of putting art on the outside of the rocket. “We went with an homage to the Space Invaders arcade game,” Safyan says. Planet’s payloads are painted on like pixelated conquerors. “It’s a little tongue-in-cheek,” Safyan explains, “Planet having the biggest satellite fleet.” (We get it. But does Planet remember that the aim of that game is to destroy the invaders?)

A less-invasive company called Audacy launched its very first satellite on the SmallSat Express as a test of their communications tech. As of Thursday, Audacy was still trying to identify and make contact with its satellite, separating it out from the many others nearby. “Since the placement of our ground station allows us only four passes per day, this was expected to take several days,” CEO Ralph Ewig said on Tuesday. “A significant part of our mission to build and launch our own nanosatellite was to understand the communications roadblocks our customers face.” Identification and pingback delays being some of them.

Leading up to the launch, Ewig was confident, but circumspect. Normally, if something goes wrong with a takeoff or a deployment, only a few satellites will be harmed. That’s not nothing, but it is what space insurance is for.

So far so good, though. Since Tuesday night, a Twitter roll-call of satellite operators has shouted “Here!” “Here!” “Here!” Still, it’ll take time for CSpOC, and some of the satellites’ owners, to sort things out. And as thousands more satellites launch, crowding orbits and launch manifests, delineating what’s mine and what’s yours will only grow more complicated. In space, it’s true: No one can hear you scream. But it’s important that Earth, at least, can hear a satellite shout, talk back to it, and figure out who’s where, doing what.

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December 7, 2018 at 06:03AM

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Why 5G Hype Is Out of Control This Week


Is it really though?
Photo: Qualcomm

This week, we’ve been assaulted with a barrage of 5G “news” and announcements, but without a real good reason for why things are happening now. Companies like Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi, and others have been out talking big about making 5G capable phones, while wireless carriers—most notably AT&T and Verizon—have been out there promising cell networks with lighting fast downloads, low latency, and enough bandwidth to power pretty much anything you do on a phone or PC—all coming soon (TM) a city near you.

And while there’s a lot of bluster and hype going around, there are a number of reasons for all the commotion. So here’s a quick check in on the state of 5G to help cut down on the noise.

First and foremost, Qualcomm’s annual Snapdragon Tech Summit happened this week, and as one of the few companies that has a 5G modem ready for use on 5G networks, it’s not exactly a big surprise that Qualcomm is trying to spread that info as much as possible.

To fuel things even more, Qualcomm invited a ton of guests to its event, including representatives from most of the major carriers and devices makers such as Samsung senior vice president Justin Denison, OnePlus co-founder Pete Lau, Verizon chief network office Nicki Palmer, AT&T senior vice president Kevin Petersen and more. All of them got on stage at some point to talk about how invested each company is in our 5G future, as if that was something that was ever in doubt. The thing is all those announcements all sort of boiled down to the same thing: 5G is coming, it’s going to be cool, and X company is going to help make it possible. We’ve been saying the same thing for years. 5G is on the horizon, and it will eventually make your life better.

However, there was very little substance to be found in any of the hype. AT&T and Verizon both had official announcements essentially saying that each company was partnering with Samsung to create a 5G phone for their networks that would be available sometime in 2019, which is something almost anyone could have predicted. Samsung even showed off a 5G device with a funky front-facing camera hole, which was neat, but might not be what gets released next year.

Here’s the Governor of Hawaii pointing at some 5G base stations set up for Qualcomm’s tech summit.
Image: Qualcomm

Verizon and AT&T even flew in millions of dollars worth of 5G equipment just to set up a 5G network at a single hotel in Hawaii. Except as attendees quickly found out, actual speeds for the 5G demos weren’t all that impressive. Carriers claimed the demo was more to show that 5G works rather than as a way to show off 5G’s true capabilities, which is fine, but not really what people were hoping to see.

So basically, a bunch of companies spent mountains of cash so a handful of people could see a tiny 5G icon in the top corner of a phone that isn’t for sale. (To be fair, one of the demos used a Moto Z3, which is available now. However, the 5G Moto mod that actually let it connect to Verizon’s temporary 5G network is not.)

On top of that, there were other tidbits of info that came out that may have people balking, such as OnePlus co-founder Pete Lau saying that 5G phones could carry a $200 to $300 premium over phones with 4G LTE, which is a lot to ask for young tech that might not work that well yet.

If you look at the current availability of 5G right now, unless you are on a certain carrier and live in a select number of cities, 5G isn’t even an option. And even if you do, the only real way to get 5G currently is by using a 5G hotspot, because as I’ve mentioned already, there are no consumer 5G phones on the market right now.

My point is, if you’ve seen a bunch of 5G coverage and somehow have been worked up into a frenzy, don’t worry, chill out. Yes, 5G is still coming, and it absolutely will have an impact on the way people stay connected. But the mainstream rollout of both 5G networks and 5G devices isn’t scheduled to ramp up until mid-2019.

Hell, T-Mobile is so nonchalant about 5G that just recently, that instead of attending Qualcomm’s tech summit, T-Mobile CEO John Legere just released a cookbook for slower cooker recipes. So enjoy the holidays, take a break, and check back next year for when 5G shit starts to heat up for real.

via Gizmodo https://gizmodo.com

December 7, 2018 at 07:57AM

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