Share on Social Media:

Metaverse Hype: Communist Propaganda?

Does the recent noise and fuss about the Metaverse resemble Communist propaganda? Phil Libin, A CEO who grew up in the Soviet Union. says so. He calls the hype “empty promises of an idealized future.’

Soviet propaganda poster" Art Board Print by Khokhloma | Redbubble

Libin founded Evernote, a note-taking app. He now heads Mmhmm, a videoconferencing firm.

Speaking in a recent podcast hosted by Eric Newcomer, Libin blasted Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of alternate reality. Mr. Z’s promises, he says, will never materialize. It is “…a gloss that uncreative people and companies put over fundamentally a lack of good ideas.” Ouch! That had to leave a mark.

What makes Metaverse hype like Communist propaganda?

So then, where does the comparison with Communist propaganda come in? “I went to first grade in the Soviet Union”, Libin said. “I was subjected to a lot of Soviet propaganda, and I was told… repeatedly, “Communism doesn’t exist yet. We haven’t built Communism yet. We’re building towards Communism.” Libin believes Zuckerberg and company are playing the same game. “You know, you can smell a bad idea before it’s fully built”, he says. “So I don’t want to hear, ‘Oh yeah, the Metaverse doesn’t exist yet. No, no, no, all this stupid, useless, crappy stuff that exists right now, that’s not the Metaverse. The Metaverse is coming. It’s coming.'”

Zuckerberg’s pet project has drawn fierce criticism. Some analysts say it will prove even more addictive than current social media. And so far, a distressingly high percentage of users seem to be children. They would be especially prone to suggestion through immersive digital environments. And people who grow accustomed to such experience would lose ability to function in reality.

Libin sneers at such concerns. He calls the Metaverse idea “so spectacularly stupid, there’s actually not that much to fear.”

Call 1-855-216-0185

Even if the Metaverse is not for you, you need the internet. For the most reliable connection, get HughesNet. For the best deals, call Satellite Country. We can help. Call today.

Call 1-855-216-0185 Today

Share on Social Media:

Across the Metaverse

Is your future in the ’embedded internet’?

Can you travel across the Metaverse? Should you?

If you ever saw The Matrix, a 1999 movie starring Keanu Reeves and Lawrence Fishburn, you might guess roughly what this is about. In the movie, self-aware machines have trapped the human race in a virtual reality simulation.

Laurence Fishburne Doesn't Know Why 'Matrix 4' Left Morpheus Out | IndieWire

Well, now a real life version of The Matrix could be coming our way. Facebook and Microsoft have made much noise lately about their versions: an “embedded internet” meant to render the current internet obsolete.

Facebook’s Version of the Metaverse

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, calls his version the “Metaverse”. A “people-first internet”, it would rely less on current forms of social media and browser search. Instead, it would rely far more on VR and AR connections that seem almost to be alternate worlds. Zuckerberg has committed himself so fiercely to this vision, he renamed Facebook as ‘Meta’.

At a recent Oculus Connect event, Zuckerberg’s troops demonstrated seamless connectivity between some of its apps, such as Messenger, and Oculus VR and AR devices. Zuckerberg emphasizes social media and personal use.

Microsoft’s Version

Microsoft, by contrast, gears its version to business and professional use. The company claims to have built a collection of tools for enabling businesses to create “immersive spaces”. Via AR and VR, these tools will facilitate more advanced online meetings. Some apps enable ‘moving’ and interacting in virtual factories and retail outlets. These apps go by the name of Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces.

Microsoft calls the software for this project “Mesh”.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, dismisses Meta’s version as unrealistic. “The public perception of The Metaverse, as a futuristic world where plugged-in people recreate their whole lives online, is still a ways off. But business uses are starting to be available now.”

What Should You Believe?

Of course, we can’t predict the future. However, we can make some educated guesses. The Metaverse is unlikely to be as sinister as alarmists predict. And it’s unlikely to benefit us as much as its promoters predict.

Every new communication medium can draw us in and tempt us to abandon reality. All can be addictive. This was true of the original internet. It was true of television. It was even true of radio. We decide how much we’re going to immerse ourselves in any medium. We can walk away if we want to.


Call 1-855-216-0185. Call Today.

To get the most out of the Metaverse, you need a reliable internet connection. To get the most out of any communications medium, you need a reliable connection.

For the best deals in Internet service, shop with Satellite Country. We can help.

Call 1-855-216-0185. Call Today.

Share on Social Media:


How can we communicate most effectively? Electronic devices offer efficiency and range, but distance us somewhat from direct experience. In-person contact is more complete, but not always practical. With mixed reality, we can combine the advantages of both.

Related image

Alexander Graham Bell’s first message through the telephone he had just invented was to his assistant, Thomas Watson. Bell said, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.” As important as his new invention was, Bell still valued face-to-face contact.

The telephone, of course, enabled communication over long distance. But with it, we hear only disembodied voices. We can’t see facial expressions, gestures, or backgrounds, and without this information, we often have to guess at meanings of words.

To this day, we often use our phones to schedule face-to-face meetings.

Through personal computers, we’ve increased efficiency in communication. But our efforts are still highly abstract. We started with keyboards and lines of text. We’ve moved on to touch pads and gestural mice. From these foundations, some of us have moved onto voice commands.

At every step, though, we’re still very much aware of our devices. We stare into rectangular screens. ‘Reality’ is still highly abstract.

What difference does mixed reality make?

Mixed reality (MR), also called merged reality, promises to make computing less abstract and more ‘real’.

Mixed reality is related to virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). MR combines properties of both. AR is display of digital images over a real environment. The heads-up display on an auto windshield is one example.

MR takes the AR concept further by scanning the user’s physical environment. With this scanned data, it creates a digital map of his surroundings. The MR software knows, then, where to place digital objects so they seem real. While AR images appear to be a on a flat plane before the viewer, MR images appear three-dimensional. When a real object is between the viewer and a digital object’s apparent position, the real object obscures the user’s view of the digital object. If the digital object’s apparent position is in ‘front’ of the  real object, it will obscure the real object. MR images, then, interact in real time with the user’s physical surroundings. The viewer can walk around the images, zoom in on them, or manipulate them.

Mixed reality, then, promises to be nearly as direct and immediate as face to face conversation. Jeorg Mewes, the CEO of Avegant, said: “Mixed reality enables people to interact directly with their ideas rather than on screens or keyboards.” We are less conscious of our devices then; immersed more deeply in real and virtual worlds.

In a future post, we will outline some of the most important uses for mixed reality. Watch for it.


(To get the most from your computer, you need a strong internet connection. Talk to us. We can help.)

Share on Social Media:

Mixed Reality: the Future of Computing?

Microsoft is betting heavily on mixed reality (MR). Earlier this year, it released the Hololens, a holographic computing system. The Hololens overlays virtual images on real, physical environments. Wearing the Hololens headset and looking at a table in your office, for example, you may see a 3D image of a vehicle or a building on it. You can walk around the virtual object and examine it from different angles. You can even ‘move’ it with your hands, as you can with physical objects.

Image result for mixed reality images

What is mixed reality?

Mixed reality differs from Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). VR is a simulated 3D environment. VR is ‘immersive’; that is, it shuts out the physical world completely.  For you, VR would be what the Holodeck was for characters in Star Trek TNG.

VR is used in advanced flight simulators and other ‘immersive’ trainers.

Augmented Reality overlays simulated images on the user’s view of the real world. The heads-up displays on automobile windshields are examples of AR.

Mixed reality, also known a hybrid reality, is a version of AR. Unlike AR devices, though, the mixed reality device scans the user’s physical environment. It then creates a 3D map of his surroundings. With this map, the device knows where to place digital content so it’s realistic and the user can manipulate it with gestures. The MR images are more dimensional than AR images- hence more ‘real’.

What difference does it make?

Computing now usually entails staring at a screen. The images we see are confined within rectangles. We can’t suspend disbelief since we can’t suspend awareness that we’re staring into machines. No matter how well designed, touch screens and keyboards are highly unnatural means of dealing with our environments.

Mixed reality promises to change this. Communication becomes more intense- more ‘real’. You could seem to share physical space with a friend thousands of miles away. You see 3D objects, not merely pictures. You can move around the objects and manipulate them.

MR computing would be much more ‘natural’ and intuitive than the forms we’re familiar with. With MR, we are less conscious of our devices, We can communicate and learn more easily and more naturally.

In a future post, we will cover some of the most important applications for mixed reality.


(To get the most out of your computer, you need a strong internet connection. If you need more speed or reliability, talk to us. We can help.)

Share on Social Media:




 Image result for images of greed

No matter how much you get, you want more. You’ve always wanted more, and you always will.

No, this isn’t about your love life. It’s about your insatiable demand for internet bandwidth. No matter how much you get, it will never be enough. This is mainly because as the pipeline expands, you will think of ever more material to fill it with.

What Makes the Web Different from Older Technologies

In this respect, the internet differs from previous means of communications. In over a hundred years of home telephone service, bandwidth usage for it changed hardly at all. Innovation brought modest improvements in convenience and sound quality, without fundamentally altering the nature of voice transmissions. The internet, though, is constantly evolving. Increasing bandwidth promotes innovation, and innovation promotes demand for increased bandwidth.

Increased bandwidth doesn’t just improve the speed of e-mail. It makes entirely new functions possible. At the dawn of the internet age, few of us would have guessed that it would become a major medium for commerce, telephony, streaming video, or social media such as Facebook or Twitter. Now these uses are so commonplace, we could scarcely imagine living without them.


Technology is forcing massive changes in education. A few decades ago, knowledge was quarantined, and difficult to find. Seeking information in libraries was tedious and cumbersome, and the most important and timely information was in the hands of corporate and government elites.

Now, though, we carry nearly all of the world’s knowledge in our pockets. Whatever we want to know, we can usually find it in a few seconds. Education is now mostly guidance in what to look for.

It was inevitable that greater access to information would affect demand for formal schooling.

MOOCs and Home Schooling

As college tuition rates skyrocket climb into the stratosphere, and millions of students take on crippling debt, and with many of the most prominent universities mired in stifling intellectual conformity, demand for alternatives multiplies. Multiple open online courses (MOOC) are one answer. They cost far less than standard university courses, and are often at least as effective, perhaps more effective, in communicating course content. Unlike textbooks, material on the web can be updated constantly. Students can log in for real-time class discussions on video, download their assignments, and upload their homework.

The web is also becoming vital to home schooling (elementary and secondary levels). Parents can tailor course content to the needs and aptitudes of their children, and students can learn at their own paces, without being either rushed or slowed by the learning abilities of classmates.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

We have learning tools that previous generations could scarcely have imagined. No longer bound by school schedules, we can learn as we need to. Without waiting for others to teach us, we can constantly upgrade our professional skills online.

Virtual reality (VR)  and augmented reality (AR) can hugely enhance effectiveness of online training.

VR is digital simulation of 3D environments.  With VR, you’re not held to one fixed perspective, as when you’re watching a movie.  You can look around and ‘move’ in the digital environmental.

At a trade show in Barcelona, Spain, a reporter climbed into a control booth owned by a heavy machinery firm. Wearing a VR helmet and manipulating levers in the booth, he operated an earth mover in real time in Sweden, 1500 miles away. Think, then, of VR’s potential alter construction, inspection, and manufacturing. It has already changed training for skilled trades. We could learn surgery, piloting of aircraft, and other skills without all of the risks that come with learning them in real environments.

Augmented reality is the overlay of a digital environment over a real one. With AR, an apprentice mechanic or plumber can see a repair diagram laid over real pipe or a real engine. The AR app provides constant feedback on his work, so he can see and feel how the task should be done.

AR and VR can revolutionize education, because they help develop habit or ‘muscle memory’. When he tries his new skills in real environments, the student already understands them from memory. VR and AR are much more effective for skill training than written manuals could ever be.

Of course, such forms of education require huge amounts of bandwidth. For this reason, among others, we’ll always demand more.

(Demand the best internet connection. Demand the best deals in internet service. Talk to us. We can help.)

Share on Social Media:


Image result for lady macbeth washing hands images

Conscience and Emerging Technology

We want to believe that technical development is unalloyed blessing. As our tools  get better, out lives get better. What could possible go wrong? Why should any new technology trouble anyone’s conscience.

In fact, many of our the most prominent voices in politics and the press predict the imminent arrival of a secular Eden. Mankind’s third great technological leap, they say,  is already on our doorstep. It will bring universal prosperity. With abundant food, water, clean energy, and leisure for all, there will be nothing to fight over. Peace will reign over the whole Earth. The long-promised Utopia, the pundits say, at last is at hand.

Is this too simplistic, though? Should we avoid some types of innovation? Should technological development ever trouble conscience? Should we worry that our quest for better living will pave the road to Hell?

Some analysts argue that emerging technologies bring new temptations. Conscience should not make us cowards, afraid of any new tool or technique. But many emerging technologies entail thorny ethical questions. Driverless cars, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and gene-editing could be horribly destructive if used in the wrong way.

Here, we will examine the ethical dilemmas presented by just two emerging technologies: virtual reality and facial mapping.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality:  

Since the invention of the printing press, pornographers have been quick to exploit every innovation in information technology. Virtual Reality, combined with sensors attached to the user’s body, could create an immersive experience nearly indistinguishable from actual sex. VR lovers would be physically perfect, always available when wanted, and never present when unwanted. Will most of us prefer VR  mates to flawed flesh-and-blood lovers? Will we stop mating? If we do, does the human race have a future?

VR experiences in general, offering realism conventional movies couldn’t match, could become extremely addictive. Will millions of people refuse to leave their VR environments to address problems in the relatively boring and colorless real world?

Information Technologies:  

When I was a small child, I often heard people say, “The camera doesn’t lie.” It wasn’t true then, and it’s even less true now. We can lie far more effectively with cameras than without them. Every improvement in information technology can augment deception.

With Face2Face, a digital facial capture and mapping tool, a couple of wags overlaid real-time facial mapping over source video of Donald Trump, making him seem to say hilariously preposterous things– not that he’s incapable of doing so on his own.

With Face2Face, other CGI tools, and advanced audio editing, we could convincingly put words in anyone’s mouth. We could fake almost any event involving almost any character. With such video and audio manipulation in the wrong hands, we may be unable to trust any online videos, so how will we know what’s accurate? Do we have to read source code to be sure?

More to come…

In a future post, we will explore other innovations that provoke vexing questions of conscience. Among these will be gene-editing, radical life extension, driverless cars, and artificial intelligence.

(To keep abreast of technology, you need reliable internet service. Talk to us. We can help.)

(The accompanying image is a still from the Roman Polanski movie: Macbeth.)


Share on Social Media:

Pokemon GO: the Animated Apocalypse?

Signs of impending apocalypse continue to accumulate. The human race becomes ever more decadent. We, in turn, are ever more nervous wondering when The Almighty, His patience exhausted at last, will decide to ring down the curtain on history.

The current Pokemon GO craze isn’t reassuring. Released officially in only a few countries barely a week ago, it has taken much of the world by storm. In some areas, so many players were involved that they overloaded the game servers. Large crowds of players have gathered in cities, and the game has even led to the discovery of a dead body.

In case you haven’t noticed, Pokemon GO is a wildly popular augmented reality game. Players use the GPS functions in their iOS or Android phones to find Pokemon characters, which are overlaid on the ‘real world’ displayed on their screens. By going to the locations displayed, players can ‘catch’ and collect Pokemon characters– 250 different ones. The game further encourages movement in the real world with actual landmarks designated as Pokestops or gyms. A Pokestop is a venues for collecting Pokeballs and other in-game items. A gym is an arena in which rival teams battle.

According to players we know in Austin, there are few Pokestops or gyms either in downtown Austin or on the UT campus. There are many in New Braunfels. We don’t know why.

Some information technology analysts consider Pokemon GO an enormous social good. Unlike other internet or video games, this game encourages people to explore the ‘real world’ outside of their homes. Pokemon Go encourages exercise and face-to-face communication with other people.

There is a fly in the ointment, though. The arenas and treasure caches for the game are not just in major landmarks. Some Pokemon Go sites are memorials, museums, graveyards, hospitals, churches, private homes, and police stations.

One can even catch Pokemon in Auschwitz, the most important Holocaust memorial.

In so recklessly designating Pokestops and gyms, Niantec, the owner of the Pokemon universe, has commandeered public, private, and commercial venues for its own commercial purpose. Homeowners have complained about groups of players gathering outside their homes at all hours of the day and night, and about drivers stopping for several minutes without leaving their cars. Some hospitals have filed criminal complaints against players who entered restricted areas, and a police station in Darwin, Australia was nearly unable to function for hours because it was overrun by players.

So far, Niantec has failed to address these problems. It is leaving affected homeowners, businesses, and public institutions no means for removing their locations from Gym or Pokestop status. Niantec is responding only to reports of augmented sites “that present immediate** physical danger- for example, they are in the middle of a road or on railroad tracks”. (Emphasis is ours.)

The game has obviously gotten out of hand. It is interfering with commerce, religious and communal functions, private family life, even emergency services.

The Almighty has tolerated an awful lot from mankind, but Pokemon GO has to be testing His limits. It certainly is testing the patience of many of us.

(Editor’s note: Some people have taken Pokemon GO to extremes. Still, it demonstrates some of the potential of augmented reality. You may have multiple uses for AR in your home. To get the most out of it, you need a reliable internet connection. Is yours adequate? If it isn’t, talk to us. We can help.)