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5G is actually going to become a thing in 2019

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Have you heard of 5G? It’s supposed to be the future. It’s going to make it easy to transmit massive amounts of data super quickly. That will apparently enable things like robotic telemedicine, immersive VR, self-driving cars, and myriad other buzzwordy activities.

And it’s coming soon. It’s totally just around the corner. Like, tomorrow. Just you wait!

This has pretty much been how every article describing 5G has played out since the term, meant to connote the next generation of wireless connectivity technology, was first floated years ago. These were all theoretical ideas, though, as the standards of what would constitute 5G technology hadn’t been agreed upon (and technically probably won’t be until 2020). But things are different now—for real.

Recently, concrete deadlines have been put in place—the telecom companies, phone manufacturers, and government officials working to standardize 5G will be meeting over the next year to finalize the standards. (That would be download speeds of up to 20 Gbps, though more likely around 100 Mbps on a crowded cell connection.)

Before then, companies are expected to ship the first smartphones compatible with 5G technology. And the first 5G-ready networks will be set up by carriers in US cities by the end of 2018. Chinese phone manufacturer OnePlus said it plans to release a 5G phone in 2019 (that is likely to cost more than its usually affordable phones, given the new technology). Samsung is expecting to have a couple ready in the year. While Apple is reportedly waiting until 2020 to dip its toes into the 5G world (it tends to wait until technology is mature before jumping in), it’s likely that many phone makers will follow Samsung’s lead next year. Expect a fair amount of practical discussion about implementing 5G networks and phones at the industry’s premier connectivity conference, Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona, in February.

Already, the marketing bluster has begun. In the US, Verizon claimed to have launched the country’s first 5G network in October. As The Verge notes, it was based on an earlier version of the 5G standard, rather than the one everyone is now working towards building. (AT&T’s service, which is based on the current version of the standard, is expected to launch before the end of the year.)

So it’s likely that if you live in a specific city, have cash to burn, and are on the right network, you will be able to surf the web on a 5G phone, on a 5G network, in 2019. But it’s likely that for everyone else, 2020 is looking to be the year when there will be far more phones, with networks in more areas, for you to start testing out 5G.

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davebelt
8 days ago
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First correct usage of myriad I’ve seen in months
earth dimension c-138

Goodbye and thank you.

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As you probably know, starting December 17th, 2018, Tumblr will ban all porn and explicit imagery. Like so many other blogs, LiarTown will soon be flagged for its adult, offensive, and sexual content. Rather than neuter material to fit Tumblr’s new standards, I’m leaving. I expect many posts will no longer be visible, and I’ve already noticed nonsexual material is being flagged. I wouldn’t bet on much being left up.

Whatever remains will stay up, but I will no longer publish new LiarTown material on Tumblr. I have years’ worth of images still to make, though, so I’ll be actively searching for another platform or archive. Any suggestions are welcome. I chose tumblr because it let me post what I wanted without much fuss. I’m sure there are other outlets suitable for my minimal needs. One way or another, LiarTown will continue. When I have updates on a new home, I’ll post them here.

For anyone wishing to contact me, I’m at liartownusa at gmail.

As for Tumblr, I sincerely hope its embrace of prudishness ironically fucks it right into oblivion. In the haunting, immortal words I once saw spraypainted on a boarded-up McDonald’s: Eat McShit and Die.

AN ANNOUNCEMENT

I planned on posting this in a couple of months, but I figure better it’s best to say it now.

Tumblr’s new policy is arriving at the end of a long break I’ve been taking. I first stepped away to finish the LiarTown book (published in fall of last year). After that exhausting project, I decided completing another, even bigger project would help me rest. This new project has taken every bit of free time I’ve had over the past year.

Some quick background: This is Crap Hound:

image

For those who don’t know, Crap Hound is a zine I started in 1994. I don’t talk about it much here, because it’s got no connection to LiarTown. Crap Hound consists almost entirely of high-contrast, black and white commercial art and imagery, collected into themes. All past issues have been reprinted, thanks to the extreme loveliness of folks at BuyOlympia. Topics are Clowns, Devils, and Bait, Hands, Hearts, and Eyes, Death, Phones, and Scissors, Church and State, Superstition, and Sex and Kitchen Gadgets.

And THIS is the upcoming The Crap Hound Big Book of Unhappiness:


image

I didn’t want to make an anthology, so this book will basically be an enormous, horizontal tenth issue devoted to images notable for their lack of positivity. There will be men, women, children, and even pets in states of confusion, pain, fear, stress, anger, embarrassment, sorrow, depression, and frustration. There’ll be headaches, upset stomachs, storms, earthquakes, fires, floods, vehicular collisions, weight issues, drugs, suicide, murder, execution & punishment, atomic bombs, unemployment, riots, injuries, falls, fistfights, tantrums, and the silent, nocturnal shame of bedwetting. I’m including accessories (syringes, knives, pills, crutches, splints, etc.), and imminent unhappiness (e.g. roller skates on stairs and overloaded electrical sockets). From the tearful sting of a scraped knee to the ominous shadow of impending planetary doom, you can expect a rich tapestry of trouble.

I’ve been collecting unhappy material for more than fifteen years. As of today, it stands at FIVE HUNDRED AND FORTY FOUR pages. Only the intro and acknowledgements remain to be finished. A street date hasn’t been officially announced, but it’ll be published by Feral House prior to Fall 2019.

Here’s a small sampling of the pages:

image

So that’s where I’ve been, working hard on getting it done, and it’ll be arriving pretty soon.

IN CONCLUSION

That’s it from me for the foreseeable future. To the various porn blogs, vintage collectors, and glorious weirdos I have followed here, I’ve loved you so much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the porn and art and ideas. To the great people I’ve met here (and met elsewhere because of this blog): THANK YOU for your kindness and support over past few years. If there is anything I can do for you in return, please email me and let me know.

Finally, to the handful of joyless activists and insufferable internet scolds I’ve encountered: I offer a swift kick in the proverbial cunt. Once upon a time, moralizing busybodies and language police were defining features of the religious right. It’ll be a long time before the damage from this latest moral panic peaks, let alone fades.

Thank you again, everyone. I’ll post here (and on Twitter at @LiarTownUSA) when LiarTown has a new home.

Sincerely,

Sean Tejaratchi

December 6 , 2018

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On the Vile Technology of Self-Checkout Counters

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Time to return to one of my oldest hobby horses: the horror of the self-checkout counter. Between no one knowing how to use them, the fact that companies are asking you to labor for free instead of paying people, and the job destroying side of them, this provides absolutely nothing positive for the world. Kaitlyn Tiffany has a good piece at Vox on these and other problems with them:

I saw a self-checkout in the Urban Outfitters in Herald Square and almost called the ACLU: Some lucky employee sits on a stool near the self-checkout stations and does nothing but remove ink tags from things before you buy them? Sure. What is a person if not just a slightly more dexterous arm than the ones that robots so far have?

Blessedly, I am not alone in fearing self-checkout. John Karolefski, a self-proclaimed undercover grocery shopping analyst who runs the blog Grocery Stories and contributes to the site Progressive Grocer, tells me, “I’m in a lot of supermarkets around the country. I watch people. I can tell you that I’ve been in stores where the lines that have cashiers are very, very long, and people are a little upset, and there are three or four self-checkout units open and nobody is using them.

“Wouldn’t the shopper be better served, customer service improved, if those weren’t there?” he asks. I’m not arguing. “Why do I want to scan my own groceries?” he asks. I have no idea! “Why do I want to bag my own groceries?” he asks. An equally reasonable question with no reasonable answer. The simple solution, he points out, would be to hire enough cashiers to serve the number of customers that typically shop at the store. I agree, and this seems very obvious.

“Unexpected item in the bagging area” is a shared cultural reference like no other. It is recognizable by demographics so broad, the only thing that connects them is that they have at one point attempted to buy something at one of the nation’s largest grocery stores, pharmacies, or fast-food restaurants. It is fuel for memes, and tweets, and Reddit threads. It is the worst phrase known to retail. “Unexpected item in the bagging area” seems to be passive-aggressive code for “are you a shoplifter or just stupid?” and it haunts dreams. One Twitter user suggested that a good idea for a haunted house would just be a series of fake ghosts saying over and over, “Unexpected item in the bagging area.”

Anyone who has used a self-checkout has accidentally put something unexpected in the bagging area and been admonished. They’ve also forgotten to put something in the bagging area and been admonished. They’ve also done seemingly exactly what they were supposed to do and been admonished by some terrible robot nonetheless.

There have been attempts to make this serial berating more pleasant, such as when the UK supermarket chain Morrisons hired Wallace and Gromit actor Ben Whitehead to voice all of its commands, or when another UK supermarket giant, Tesco, decided that its machines should shout, “Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas!” in between each action, or when another British chain, Poundland, replaced all of its voice commands with instructions from an Elvis impersonator.

Stateside, we have made few vocal improvements, but Target did just replace all of its fruit and vegetable menus with emoji, so you can tap on a crying face to indicate that you would like to weigh and pay for an onion.

This constant frustration and humiliation is a contributing factor to the absolute stupidest thing about self-checkout, which is that a full 4 percent of the would-be sales that pass through them are not actually paid for.

Grocery stores have extremely tight profit margins, so that’s a big deal. (Again: We don’t have to do this!) People steal and steal and steal from self-checkout. They type in the price look-up code for bananas (#4011, for your reference) while far more expensive fruits or vegetables or even meat are on the scale. They pull stickers off cheap stuff and put them on expensive stuff. They are ingenious, as humans are when they want to do something that is against the rules. One Australian woman photocopied the barcodes from packets of instant noodles and printed them on sticky labels, which she then brought to the store with her every time she went shopping.

They are modern-day pirates without the violence; Walmart is their East India Trading Company.

As of 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 3.5 million Americans were employed as cashiers. The bureau’s 10-year forecast shows only a 1 percent reduction of these positions (just under 31,000 jobs), but this decrease has to be understood in the context of another trend: the rise of retail. The National Retail Federation says the sector grew nearly 4 percent last year and predicts it will do so again this year.

Beck tells Vox, “There are a number of reasons why retailers have invested in self-scan technologies. The first and most important is that it enables them to reduce their costs considerably. The largest proportion of a retailer’s cost is their wage bill.”

In one store, he added, he saw one supervisor tasked with overseeing 23 self-checkouts at once.

Why would you participate in this???

And look, I really don’t care about your social anxiety, which is always brought up when I mention this. I mean, I am empathetic. But your social anxiety is not something we can base employment policy upon. That has to be based on what is best for society. Self-checkouts are horrible for society. They are anti-social, they throw people out of work, they make you labor for free. They are significant net negative. And if you hate dealing with people that much, there are delivery services now that limit your social interactions.

If you care about workers at all, do not use self-checkout counters. They are toxic and awful. Ban them.

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davebelt
22 days ago
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These are great for when your basket is just lube and clothespins.
earth dimension c-138
glenniebun
24 days ago
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Andy Rooney over here doesn't care about my anxiety, but amazingly, I still do.
CT USA
fxer
24 days ago
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"they throw people out of work, they make you labor for free"

oh man, completely disagree I love the self checkout lines. since the article is full of anecdotes, mine is there is always a line for self-checkout while cashiers lines are empty!

and making my labor free? lots of stores have cashiers but you have to bag your own groceries, how does that fit into the "throwing people out of work" argument?

it seems silly to base employment policy on banning people from doing slivers of menial work themselves; you can't bag groceries, you can't pump gas, how about you can't mow your lawn? you can't pick up your own pizza?
Bend, Oregon
aranth
24 days ago
I want to know why this employee-hating blog owner publishes on the Internet, putting tens of thousands of delivery people, paper factory workers, and lumberjacks out of their jobs.
mareino
24 days ago
It all depends whether you believe that dignity comes from doing (menial) labor, or from having the (meager) income provided by that labor.

Turn Your Two-Wheel-Drive Car into Four-Wheel-Drive by Adding Hubless Orbis Electric Wheels

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A company called Orbis has developed a hubless aluminum wheel fitted with an electric motorcycle motor inside. Incredibly, this weighs--and, they improbably claim, costs--about the same as a standard, conventional wheel. Yet it adds 50 horsepower per new wheel and turns your 2WD car into 4WD. 

As a proof-of-concept, they retrofitted a Civic Type-R with two of their wheels to create a powerful hybrid. In the video below, they start off driving the car powered only by their Orbis Ring-Wheels, then engage the gasoline engine for some spirited 4WD hybrid power:

Here are the technical claims the company is making, along with an explanation of how it works:

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I've already got an AWD vehicle, but if I didn't--and if Orbis' cost claims result in actual deliverables--I'd absolutely be tempted into buying two and connecting them to create a 4x4 hybrid.

There is also this tantalizing possibility, according to the company: "ORBIS Ring-Drive wheels can be added to any vehicle with or without motors." How cool would it be to pick up some derelict junker with a dead motor, and get it going again by adding four new wheels?

The company also states that their Ring-Drive wheels improve handling: "The ORBIS Ring-Drive wheel has the lowest center of gravity of any known wheel design," they write. "The motor mass is just inches off the ground, improving vehicle stability, acceleration, braking and cornering dynamics."

There is, however, a discrepancy between the second and first videos above. The second video unequivocally depicts the added motors as being integrated within the wheels themselves. However, the Type-R case study states that "To complete this prototype, the rear seats were removed to accommodate two Zero Motorcycle AC electric motors and controllers that turn the rims via a fixed 6.2:1 gear ratio. This equipment adds approximately 180 pounds to the original curb weight of the Civic Type R." If the cost of adding the wheels requires removing the rear seats, then the proposition becomes less attractive.

That being said, Orbis' accomplishment is still technically impressive, and I look forward to seeing where this goes.

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davebelt
29 days ago
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i love the idea that i could buy one of those beautiful old beaters off bringatrailer and just stick a pair of these things on the front and drive off
earth dimension c-138

What If We Lose Tomorrow?

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November 8, 2016 was one of the worst days of my life. I’m sure many of you feel this way as well. Yet in the aftermath, I was very angry with myself for not seeing this coming. After all, our entire history is based on white supremacy. So I am determined to not overlook the reality of this nation again just because I want a different result.

Therefore, what does it mean if Republicans hold on to both the House and Senate tomorrow. In a very real way, this would be a terrible result, for reasons I hardly have to state. It would lead to definitive evidence to Republicans that white supremacy is the ticket to electoral success, huge attacks on entitlements, more right-wing judges, the likely end of the Mueller investigation without a House committed to following it up, even more open voter suppression, etc. etc.

Now, I don’t think this is going to happen. That’s not so much because of the polling, which was so flawed in 2016, as because of two years of special elections where Democrats have consistently and significantly surpassed polling. That doesn’t mean tomorrow is a wave and we welcome Phil Bredesen and Beto O’Rourke into the Senate. But it’s possible.

On the other hand, it’s totally possible Republicans only lose 15 House seats while gaining 2 Senate seats and all hell breaks loose. What happens then?

The answer is, well, we just keep doing what we are doing. We have to have a long game as well as a short game in saving this nation. Yes, the election is critical. No doubt about that. But either way, we have a lifelong fight against white supremacy and fascism ahead of us, one made far worse by right-wing media and the social networks they can use to create spurious fears among old white people. The struggle for justice is a lifetime struggle. Things could very easily get worse, if not in 2018 than in 2020 or 2022. We face a Republican Party dedicated to destroying everything decent about this nation.

Moreover, voting is only part of our struggle. Even if we win, the structures of oppression remain powerful. The police will still murder black people, fascists will still run through ICE, Native peoples will continue to be oppressed. In many ways, the emphasis on the vote as the be all and end all of politics is a symbol of comfortable white liberalism, for whom it is easy to ignore all the other terrible things happening if the things that affect them daily are not a problem anymore. None of this is to dampen the enthusiasm for voting tomorrow–not at all! Rather, it’s to remember that our struggle must include voting and organizing, marching in the street and donating to candidates, working on issues outside of electoral politics and trying to take over the Democratic Party to make it a force for justice. We have to do all of these things at once.

We would do well to remember the generational struggles of our heroes of the past. Remember that W.E.B. DuBois was born in 1868 and died in 1963. He lived 95 years and was born at the peak of Reconstruction black power and died a few days before the March on Washington. He lived his entire life in an era of incredible oppression. Yet he continued to fight. This could be our future. The only choice is to not be too jubilant or too depressed after tomorrow and keep moving forward. It’s the fight of our lives.

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The NewsBlur iOS app also hits version 8.0

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Fresh off the heels of the Android app hitting version 8.0, today I’d like to announce the latest update to the iOS app. This is a huge release and it’s got a lot of new features packed in it. I also want to welcome David Sinclair back to the team. He’s the builder behind all the incredible features in this release. Really wonderful having you back, David, and thanks for making v8.0 of the best news reader on a phone. Here’s what’s new: * NEW: Save stories offline * NEW: Share stories from other apps into NewsBlur with the new share extension * NEW: Scroll vertically between stories (can be turned on while reading a story) * NEW: 3D Touch links in stories to preview them * NEW: search for sites directly from the feed list * Switching themes no longer reloads the story * iOS 12 compatibility fixes * Upgrading to a premium subscription now handles App Store payment updates * Fixed issue where locking the device while playing a video over Airplay would stop the video Here’s a preview of what a 3D touch on a link looks like:

And sharing stories from other apps directly to your blurblog is now easy to do from the share menu.

Now that David’s back there’s a lot to look forward to.

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satadru
42 days ago
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Share functionality for the Android app too please!
New York, NY
wmorrell
47 days ago
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When bringing up the share sheet, the top-level one (Message, Mail, Reminders, etc default) scroll all the way to the right for the … More icon. There is a NewsBlur option there that may be turned on.
MotherHydra
47 days ago
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Love that share sheet, finally. My big gripe continues to be the letter-boxing in landscape mode and the lack of a two-column layout in said mode. Complete waste of screen real estate.
Space City, USA
Ferret
48 days ago
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FINALLY SHARING YAY
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