FCC won’t punish Verizon and T-Mobile for exaggerating their coverage maps

Verizon, T-Mobile, and US Cellular overstated their 4G coverage in rural communities across the country, a Federal Communications Commission investigation determined on Wednesday. Despite the Commission’s findings, it will not punish the carriers in any way.

Throughout its investigation, the FCC staff ran speed and coverage tests in rural areas across the country to determine whether consumers were receiving sufficient download speeds. According to the FCC’s report, “only 62.3 percent of staff drive tests” met those thresholds. US Cellular achieved it only 45 percent of the time, while T-Mobile and Verizon met the standard at around 60 percent of the time. The FCC staff was unable to receive any 4G signal in 38 percent of US Cellular’s tests, 21.3 percent of T-Mobile’s, and 16.2 percent of Verizon’s.

In its report detailing the findings, the FCC wrote, “Overstating mobile broadband coverage misleads the public and can misallocate our limited universal service funds, and thus it must be met with meaningful consequences.” Outside of punishing carriers, the FCC staff recommended that the Commission assemble a team of staffers to audit the accuracy of the mobile broadband maps sent in from carriers and require carriers to “submit actual on-the-ground evidence of network performance.”

T-Mobile stood by its maps, but told The Verge that it agrees “with the FCC that there is an opportunity to improve their procedures for collection of broadband coverage data for the Mobility Fund maps.” A spokesperson for US Cellular said “that the parameters adopted by the Commission for the submittal of broadband coverage maps would result in overstated coverage, so the conclusions in the staff report come as no surprise to us.”

Verizon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The FCC won’t be penalizing the carriers in any way. According to Axios, the FCC was unable to find a “sufficiently clear rule violation” of the Mobility Fund Phase II data reporting requirements that would warrant an enforcement action. Instead, the FCC will send out an advisory to the entire industry as a reminder that they could be punished for exaggerating their coverage maps.

The Commission also decided on Wednesday to drop its $4.5 billion Mobility Fund II 4G LTE subsidy plan and replace it with a $9 billion 5G deployment fund. In a press release, the FCC said that the overhaul was due largely because of the overstated coverage maps it had discovered. “Commission staff finds that the 4G LTE coverage data submitted by providers is not sufficiently reliable for the purpose of moving forward with Mobility Fund Phase II,” the release said.

Without accurate coverage maps, this money could go to waste. At a House Energy and Commerce hearing with FCC commissioners on Thursday, lawmakers challenged the agency’s decision to overhaul the Mobility Fund II in light of its coverage findings the day before. “It sounds good. I support the build out in 5G for rural areas, but I have no details on this plan,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) said.

Democratic Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks were dismayed by the Republican majority’s decision not to disclose the inaccuracy of the maps earlier. “I’m disappointed that we are not going to hold people accountable for those representations,” Starks said.

“We want to make sure that rural Americans enjoy these benefits, just as residents of large urban areas will,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement Wednesday regarding the new 5G fund. “In order to do that, the Universal Service Fund must be forward-looking and support the networks of tomorrow.”

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Early 16-inch MacBook Pro complaints include speaker ‘popping’ and display ghosting

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro finally righted Apple’s keyboard debacle, and it’s a beast of a machine in terms of performance. But early buyers have still managed to uncover some bugs with the latest MacBook Pro — and one hardware characteristic that might put off some people.

As noted by AppleInsider (and backed by this long MacRumors forum thread), owners of the 16-inch MacBook Pro are complaining about an intermittent “popping” sound coming from the speakers. It’s noticeable after audio playback is stopped. From AppleInsider:

If you get the problem, what happens is that when you’re playing any audio or video, when you stop it, skip to another part, or close the window, you get this sound. It’s similar to the clipping you can get when audio peaks too high, or when speakers are abruptly switched off and on.

Here’s a video demonstration of the issue:

Definitely the kind of thing that would grate on you over time from a $2,400 laptop. Apple’s support team has responded to some people by telling them that the company is aware of the issue and at work on a fix.

Other customers are less than pleased about an apparent slow response time from the 16-inch MacBook Pro’s wide-color display, which can result in a “ghosting” effect when scrolling text. That, too, has earned a multipage thread at MacRumors, though there are also people who are unbothered by the display’s scrolling performance or don’t seem to notice it in regular use of the laptop. And if you mostly use your machine with it hooked into an external monitor, this perceived fault might not matter to you.

But those upgrading from a 2014 or 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro — the crowd that steered clear of the butterfly keyboard, in other words — claim their previous displays didn’t exhibit this problem (at least not to the same degree). Some are going as far as to return the device over this situation. Apple is rumored to be working on Mini-LED MacBook Pros and iPad Pros for release in 2020, so the 16-inch MacBook Pro panels might be the last of their kind in Apple laptops — at least in the pro lineup.

As someone who has used 13-inch MacBook Pros over the last few years, I’ve noticed some text and icon trailing at times, but haven’t really ever thought of it as as problem. In a world of 90Hz phones, 120Hz iPads, and even smoother gaming monitors, is this just a situation where the MacBook’s 60Hz refresh rate is sticking out?

The speaker quirk does seem a bit more prominent, however. Just remember that Apple’s holiday return policy is now in effect, so you’ve got until early January to keep using your MacBook Pro and see if Apple resolves the popping sound with a macOS software release or firmware update.

The Verge has reached out to Apple about both of these concerns. I’ll update this article should the company offer comment.

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Riot launches publishing label for more League of Legends games

For its 10th anniversary in October, Riot announced a number of new initiatives meant to expand the League of Legends universe, including a fighting game, mobile spinoff, animated series, and others. But there are plenty more in the works. Today, Riot announced a brand-new publishing label, which will see the developer partner with smaller studios to create even more League of Legends games. In fact, multiple titles are already in development, though Riot isn’t ready to announce specific games or partners just yet.

According to Leanne Loombe, head of the new label — which has been dubbed Riot Forge — the company is looking to work with studios with an existing track record. “One of the key elements we often look for is the studio having previously shipped a great game or games,” Loombe tells The Verge. “We are extremely interested in partnering with studios who have a unique identity, whether this comes from an art style, certain game mechanics or design, something that makes the studio stand out and provides a unique way to represent League of Legends.” Loombe says that Riot isn’t targeting specific genres when it comes to new games; instead, it’s aiming to have “a lot of variety” in terms of the games it publishes.

League of Legends has been around for a decade, and with new titles like Teamfight Tactics and Legends of Runeterra, Riot is looking to create similarly long-lasting live-service games. Riot Forge has a different goal. With its new partners, Riot is aiming to build complementary experiences within the League universe, dubbing them as “completable” games. They’re the kinds of titles Riot has little experience with, hence the publishing initiative.

“Riot’s focus is to make genre-defining games for players that will last decades, which takes time, and might not manifest itself in a large number of games,” Loombe explains. “Making live service, competitive games requires a certain skillset which Riot is an expert in. Those types of games are fundamentally different to the completable games that Riot Forge is focused on. Riot doesn’t have a ton of traditional experience making completable games, so we’re working with studios who do have that experience and unique style to bring a new look to League of Legends.”

Loombe also says that its development partners will have full responsibility for creating and designing the games, with Riot serving in a sort of supervisor capacity — particularly when it comes to helping developers understand the intricate and expansive League of Legends lore. “They have the freedom to make their own stylistic and gameplay decisions in order to make the best game,” she says. “Riot is here to support and ensure our developers understand all aspects of the world so that we create authentic expressions of the League of Legends IP.”

It’s not clear yet when we might see some of these games. But the new publishing label, combined with all of the anniversary announcements, shows a new direction for Riot. After a decade focused entirely on a single game, it looks like the League of Legends universe is set to expand significantly.

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Pokémon Go creator Niantic is working on AR glasses with Qualcomm

Qualcomm just announced a new virtual and augmented reality platform, and it’s working with Niantic — the company behind games like Ingress and Pokémon Go — on a smart glasses reference design. The Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 platform is a follow-up to the earlier XR1 platform, and, like its predecessor, it’s specifically designed for AR and VR hardware. But it now supports 5G connectivity as well as voice-based interaction, eye tracking, and passthrough camera capabilities, among other features.

Qualcomm’s XR2 is a substantial upgrade to the XR1. It allows screen resolutions of up to 3K per eye at 90 frames per second as well as 8K resolution 360-degree video playing at 60 frames per second. It also supports up to seven concurrent cameras, which could be used for traditional head tracking, but also less common options like tracking of eyes and facial features. And it allows for options like real-time translation and object recognition.

Five unnamed manufacturers are working with Qualcomm on XR2-based hardware, and according to Qualcomm XR head Hugo Swart, products featuring the platform should start coming out in the second half of 2020. Qualcomm hasn’t released the names of these manufacturers, though, and there’s no completed reference design. CNET did preview an early XR2 hardware prototype, but it didn’t yet support facial tracking or the passthrough camera, just basic features like a high-resolution screen.

Niantic also offered limited details about its work on the project, but it confirmed the existence of a “multi-year joint collaboration on an integrated design spanning AR glasses reference hardware, software, and cloud-components.” The results will be shared with members of the Niantic Creator Program for location-based and AR app developers.

Qualcomm’s chips already power headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens; the recently released HoloLens 2 uses the Snapdragon 850 chip, rather than the VR / AR-specific XR1, as was initially rumored. In general, augmented reality has taken off slowly and remains primarily useful for specialized enterprise hardware rather than consumer products. Qualcomm’s XR2 announcement nodded toward mainstream applications, which apparently include your kid wearing smart glasses at the dinner table. That’s still not a super likely scenario, but Niantic’s involvement does suggest some real commitment toward this idea since it’s one of the few companies to make a real breakout AR (albeit phone-based AR) game.

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Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8c and 7c processors will power cheaper ARM laptops

Qualcomm has had big ambitions for ARM-powered Windows laptops for years. At its annual Snapdragon Tech Summit, the chipmaker revealed its biggest play yet: the Snapdragon 8c and the Snapdragon 7c, two new processors that are designed to create a new lineup of ARM chips for Windows laptops.

The 8c is positioned as a replacement for the Snapdragon 850 processor, Qualcomm’s second-generation Windows ARM chip. The 7c is an entirely new entry-level product that’s meant to compete with budget Windows laptops on the low end of the hardware spectrum. Last year’s 8cx isn’t going anywhere; it’ll remain a top-of-the-line flagship option for those who want the absolute best performance.

On the spec side, Qualcomm says that the 8c will offer up to 30 percent improved performance compared to the Snapdragon 850. It’ll feature a Kryo 490 CPU, Adreno 675 GPU, and an integrated X24 LTE modem for connectivity. Manufacturers will also be able to pair it with an X55 5G modem.

The 7c is a step down from that, with an octa-core Kryo 468 CPU, Adreno 618 GPU, and X15 LTE modem. (There’s no 5G option available here.) The advantage, however, is that Qualcomm says the 7c will offer a 25 percent increase in system performance and up to twice the battery life compared to “competing platforms” (e.g., traditional entry-level Windows PCs).

Taken together, the new lineup gives Qualcomm a much wider range of ARM processor solutions for PC manufacturers at a much wider range of prices and performance levels. But there are some big questions about the announcement that have yet to be answered.

Chief among those is the fact that over a year after it announced the 8cx processor, no company has actually shipped a device that’s powered by it. The closest we’ve gotten is the Surface Pro X, which has a custom variant of the 8cx (the Microsoft SQ1). There’s also the announced-but-delayed Galaxy Book S, which was supposed to be out in September but never actually shipped. (Samsung has yet to announce a new release date.)

While we’ll likely see more 8cx-powered (and 8c- and 7c-powered) laptops out in 2020, the adoption of ARM on the PC side of things has been slow, to say the least. It’s great that Qualcomm is giving hardware manufacturers more options, but it’s still on laptop makers to actually start selling ARM devices.

The other question is performance and software. While it’s still difficult to gauge exactly how good Qualcomm’s stock 8cx is (again, nothing has shipped yet), the Surface Pro X’s SQ1 offered lackluster performance and problems with app compatibility. Given that Qualcomm’s new chips offer lower performance than the 8cx (and, presumably, the SQ1), it’ll be interesting to see if these issues will persist on the new processors — whenever they do.

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Popular manga art app Clip Studio Paint is now available on the iPhone

Clip Studio Paint, the industry-standard software for manga artists, is now available on the iPhone. Unlike the iPad version, which is just an identical clone of the desktop app ported over for the tablet, the iPhone app is optimized for smaller screens. It features cloud integration so that work on the iPhone will also sync with files on the desktop and iPad versions. There’s no word yet on when an Android version will arrive.

Celsys, the makers of Clip Studio Paint, is clear to point out that “unlike the app versions of many popular desktop software kits, Clip Studio Paint for the iPhone offers all of the features and functionality of the desktop original in a mobile package, without the usual mobile compromises.” That may be a jab at competitors like Photoshop, which was recently released on the iPad to disappointing reception. But it’s to be seen whether jamming every feature on the desktop on a smartphone is ultimately good for artists, as an early review on the App Store calls it “clip studio on an unusable sized screen,” and users have reported that brush features could be more streamlined.

Unfortunately, Apple Pencil won’t work on iPhones, but the video below shows an artist doing some pretty impressive work using a disc stylus.

Pricing for the app is a little unusual: there’s a monthly fee of $0.99 for the Pro version and a $2.49 monthly fee for the EX version, which comes with a few more features. If you choose not to pay for a monthly plan, you can use the app for free for one hour every day. Clip Studio Pro on the desktop is a one-time price of $50 (with the software regularly going on sale for half that price), and the iPad app is $4.49 / month. But the one-hour limit might make sense if you’re already paying for the iPad version, and you just need to quickly touch up some artwork on your iPhone. “Clip Studio for the iPhone also features cloud integration, so artists can add to home projects while on the go and see those changes reflected on their desktop when they get home,” Celsys CEO Kei Narushima said.

Nonetheless, it’s nice to have the option to draw on your phone. The popular iPad app Procreate offers a mobile version of its software called Procreate Pocket that costs $4.99 a month, but users have reported that it lacks some features found on the full version. Photoshop for the iPad isn’t yet available on mobile, but if Clip Studio Paint on the iPhone is a success, maybe it’s a sign that it’s something artists want after all.

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Filmmakers sue State Department over social media surveillance rules

A group of filmmakers have sued the US government for making visa applicants hand over details about their social media accounts. The lawsuit argues that the requirement unconstitutionally discourages applicants from speaking online — and, conversely, discourages people who post political speech from trying to enter the US.

The US government has ramped up social media surveillance as part of President Donald Trump’s “extreme vetting” of immigrants. After initially asking a subset of applicants to provide information voluntarily, the State Department recently began requiring most visa applicants to list all social media accounts they’ve used in the past five years.

This lawsuit, filed by the Doc Society and the International Documentary Association, challenges the decision on First Amendment grounds. It calls the registration system “the cornerstone of a far reaching digital surveillance regime” that makes would-be visitors provide “effectively a live database of their personal, creative, and political activities online” — which the government can monitor at any time, long after the application process has been completed. Applicants must even disclose accounts that they use pseudonymously, and if US authorities fail to keep that information secure, it could potentially endanger people who are trying to avoid censorship from a repressive foreign government.

Social media can be a minefield for people visiting the US, because posts can be easily misinterpreted by immigration officials. Earlier this year, an incoming Harvard freshman was blocked from entering the US apparently because his friends had made posts critical of the US government. (He was later readmitted.) Meanwhile, there’s little concrete evidence that the increased vetting has had positive effects on national security. And it’s part of a larger expansion of surveillance at the border — which can affect citizens and noncitizens alike. Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security revealed that it wants to expand facial recognition usage to encompass identifying US citizens as they enter and exit the US.

The plaintiffs in this lawsuit say that some non-US members have begun deleting social media content or stopped expressing themselves online because they’re afraid it will complicate their ability to enter the US. Others have decided to stop working in the country because they don’t want to reveal their social media accounts. “The Registration Requirement enables the government to compile a database of millions of people’s speech and associations, which it can cross-reference to glean more information about any given visa applicant,” warns the suit. And “the government’s indefinite retention of information collected through the Registration Requirement further exacerbates the requirement’s chilling effect because it facilitates surveillance into the future.”

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Microsoft wants everyone to follow its lead with its new mobile design

Nearly a decade ago, Microsoft launched its Windows Phone platform with the promise that its software would free users from their phones. The first big ad campaign showed people engrossed in their devices at clubs, restrooms, and even on a roller coaster, while frustrated bystanders asked, over and over: “Really?

Windows Phone would answer those frustrations, said Microsoft. It was “designed to get you in and out, and back to life” with the help of the company’s striking tile-based Metro user interface. Microsoft envisioned a world in which apps would talk to each other seamlessly and content flowed freely. Despite some great design principles, Windows Phone didn’t work out, but Microsoft never gave up on the idea of improving mobile productivity.

Today, Microsoft is reviving some of these ambitions by bringing what it calls its Fluent Design system to its mobile Office apps, a simplified set of principles designed, just like Windows Phone, to speed things up on the go. It’s even letting third-party app developers embrace these design elements with toolkits to prettify their own apps. This will have the benefit of making Microsoft’s mobile apps feel more consistent, but the end goal is the same as Windows Phone’s was: to get users in and out of their apps quicker and back to life again.

“When we look at the mobile market, we feel like no one has done an amazing job of nailing productivity on phones across voice and visual systems in a sort of microtasking kind of way,” explains Jon Friedman, corporate vice president of design and research at Microsoft, in an exclusive interview with The Verge. “We feel like it’s our birth right and duty to help people in the world accomplish their goals, so that’s why we’ve been super focused on this.”

Microsoft has spent years researching exactly how people use their phones on a daily basis in markets like China, India, Europe, and the Americas. More than 40 designers and researchers across Microsoft “have collaborated to rethink and redesign how we approach mobile and mobile productivity,” reveals Friedman. “Not just the apps themselves, but how they all connect together and work together; and to build a common design system to extend Fluent to be a truly mobile-first design system.”

This unified mobile design system borrows a lot from the work Microsoft has been doing on Outlook in recent months, with improved iconography, identical file lists, updated typography, new splash screens, and a focus on dark mode.

Apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneDrive will now all share common design elements and look far more similar. You’ll soon notice a brand-colored header at the tops of these apps (like what exists in Outlook) and a simple bottom bar with Microsoft’s new Fluent design icons. Just like how Microsoft created a new dedicated mobile Office app to focus on tasks people do on the go, these separate apps have been simplified with the same goal in mind.

”The thing we learned in all of our research is that people spend about 4 hours a day on their phone, but the average session time of doing something is between 20 and 30 seconds long,” explains Friedman. That’s an extremely short burst of time to get something done on the go, and Microsoft is trying to improve its own apps, and others, to simplify those tasks with a design that makes it more familiar and less jarring when you switch apps.

That doesn’t mean every Microsoft app will look the same on iOS and Android, as the company is still trying to feel at home and native on these platforms. It means things like search should be in a similar place, and iconography will be reused so things feel more familiar. It’s these very subtle changes that can add up to improvements over time, and it’s a big part of Microsoft’s open design approach internally.

It’s not been an easy journey to get all Microsoft designers on the same page, but things like buttons, patterns, and file lists are now being reused freely in the company. “That took us some time to really get everyone involved and contribute,” says Benedikt Lehnert, director of product design for Microsoft 365 mobile experiences, in an interview with The Verge. “Now we have a really thriving community of mobile designers across the company that’s literally every week making the system better.”

A lot of this work has started off in small and subtle ways, but recently, Microsoft launched a new “Play My Emails” feature for Outlook that uses Cortana to read out emails and even calendar invites when you’re driving to work, cooking, or commuting. This feature was born out of designers wanting to design email for people who are visually impaired. Microsoft formed a relationship with the Washington State School for the Blind and spent time studying what it’s like to live in a narration experience.

“Listening to the entirely of a UI… is highly fatiguing for your brain,” explains Friedman. Microsoft added audio bumpers between emails, thanks to its research, allowing everyone to ignore things that aren’t important and stop listening. This is a feature that was designed around accessibility, which is a big focus for Microsoft, but that actually ends up being useful for everyone using it.

Beyond these subtle changes today, Microsoft has broader ambitions to impact iOS and Android further and push dual-screen experiences ahead. “Building this foundation of a Fluent mobile system that works across iOS and Android has been an awesome experience in designing dual-screen experiences as well,” reveals Friedman. “So when we work on Surface Duo and work on iPad side-by-side experiences, having a common system helps our apps align and have a cognitive connection across them with shared components and it makes the foundation of the dual-screen experience way better.”

Microsoft obviously faces big challenges here because the company doesn’t own or control the platform on which it’s trying to build apps. To counter this, the answer seems to be close partnerships with Samsung, Google, and others. Microsoft only vaguely hinted at its Google partnership for dual-screen Android experiences during the Surface Duo unveiling earlier this year, but it looks like this will go a lot deeper soon. Gmail, Google Drive, and Calendar are coming to, and Microsoft is testing ways to let people use their Google accounts to sign into a number of the company’s services.

“We have designers from Samsung, Google, and Microsoft sitting in rooms together designing together,” reveals Friedman. That’s a surprising turn of events, given the history of Samsung holding back on Windows Phone and Google’s bitter rivalry with Microsoft. Things have started changing, though. Microsoft and Google are also collaborating on Chromium, and now we’re starting to see some collaboration on Android. “It’s really about how do we make that experience better for our customers. That gives us a direct line of communication between designers on how we improve Microsoft experiences, how do we help Samsung improve its experiences, and how do we help Android improve its experience,” explains Friedman. “Those collaborations are awesome, it feels great to be part of an industry where we can actually work together on these things to make the products better.”

Microsoft is now leaving it up to developers to decide whether they want to use Fluent design elements in their own apps that plug into Office or even ones that are entirely separate. “If developers decide to build entire apps with these toolkits we’ll be really excited to see that, too, since they represent the best in class patterns from our perspective,” says Lehnert.

It’s fair to say that Microsoft’s previous Metro design system really helped push iOS and Android forward, and the company has been quick to adopt other design trends that the industry has implemented. “We’re in an interesting time when it comes to UI, things are converging more and more,” says Friedman. “I like to think that back in the Metro design days we started with this idea of simplification… and that’s gotten friendlier over time, which we’ve embraced with round people, rounded corners, and subtle drop shadows, and dark mode. I think generally speaking when we look at Android, iOS, the web, Windows, and Mac, there is a common DNA from a visual design perspective we’re starting to feel.”

Microsoft’s fresh approach to mobile design will be interesting to follow in the year ahead and beyond. Combined with the company’s promises for Fluid Framework, it feels like Microsoft is truly embracing mobile and the web as the foundations of its future. As Satya Nadella said recently, “the operating system is no longer the most important layer for us.” For Microsoft, it’s all about apps and services and building useful features that help people get work done on the go just that little bit quicker.

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Watch SpaceX launch its last resupply mission to the space station of 2019

This afternoon, SpaceX is set to launch its Dragon cargo capsule, filled with nearly 5,700 pounds of cargo and supplies for the crew of the International Space Station. It’s SpaceX’s last resupply mission to the station for 2019. Following the flight, SpaceX will attempt one of its signature rocket landings, targeting a drone ship floating in the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s atypical for SpaceX to do an ocean landing after a flight to the ISS. Normally, the company tries to land its Falcon 9 rocket on a concrete landing pad on solid ground. That’s because there’s usually enough propellant left over to pull off such a ground landing. Getting to low Earth orbit — where the space station lives — is a fairly short trip. That means there’s usually enough leftover propellant for SpaceX to turn around and head back to land, a process that eats up more propellant than landing in the ocean.

However, SpaceX is trying something new for this mission. After the Falcon 9 drops off the Dragon capsule in orbit, the top portion of the rocket will stay in space longer than usual, performing a lengthy six-hour coast. It’s a “thermal demonstration” that SpaceX is performing for some of its other customers, according to Jessica Jensen, director of Dragon mission management at SpaceX. “I can’t give too much more detail about it,” she said during a press conference before the launch, adding that the maneuver was for “longer demonstration missions that we’re going to have to fly in the future.”

Because of this, SpaceX needs to burn extra propellant on the way up, which means the Falcon 9 won’t have as much leftover propellant to travel back to the landing site. An ocean landing will have to do.

If the launch goes as planned today, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule is set to meet up with the International Space Station on Saturday, December 7th. It will bring numerous science experiments to the ISS, including one that will study how flames spread when in small spaces. Dragon is also carrying the first Mexican-developed small satellite to be deployed from the space station, created by students in Mexico to demonstrate ways for satellites to communicate with one another in orbit. Dragon will stay at the ISS for about a month before returning back to Earth, filled with 3,800 pounds of cargo and scientific samples. “When it returns, it’ll be bringing back samples that represent about 54 investigations,” Bryan Dansberry, the assistant program scientist with the International Space Station program science office, said during the press conference.

Today’s launch will jump-start a busy traffic month for the ISS. After SpaceX makes it to the station, a Russian cargo ship will also launch to the ISS on December 6th. Then, on December 19th, Boeing will launch its new passenger spacecraft, the CST-100 Starliner, to the ISS for the very first time. No astronauts will be on board, but the spacecraft will run through all the things it’s supposed to do during future flights: it will attempt to dock with the station, stay attached for four to five days, and then make the perilous journey back to Earth (hopefully in one piece). If all goes well, it should pave the way for Boeing’s next big flight with the Starliner sometime next year, which will transport its first passengers to the ISS.

SpaceX also has a busy couple of months ahead. The company is set to launch a communications satellite in mid-December, followed by another launch of its Starlink satellites potentially by the end of the month. SpaceX is also on tap to perform a test flight with its own passenger spacecraft, the Crew Dragon, to demonstrate the capabilities of the vehicle’s emergency escape system. That flight could happen this month or in early January.

But first, today’s launch needs to get underway. SpaceX is using a brand-new Falcon 9 for this job, although the Dragon capsule has flown the space station twice before. The Falcon 9’s landing attempt will take place about eight minutes after takeoff.

Liftoff is scheduled for 12:29PM ET from SpaceX’s launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Originally, SpaceX was supposed to launch on Wednesday, December 4th, but the company postponed the flight due to high winds above the launch site as well as choppy conditions at the drone ship in the Atlantic where the rocket is supposed to land. For today, the weather is looking better, with an 80 percent chance that conditions will be favorable, though there is some concern about high clouds will build over the area.

Both NASA and SpaceX will provide live coverage. NASA’s begins at 12PM ET, and SpaceX’s will begin about 15 minutes before takeoff. Check back then to see if the Falcon 9 can fly this second time around.

Update December 4th, 12:05PM ET: This post was updated after SpaceX delayed its first launch attempt.

Correction, December 4th, 11:45AM ET: A previous version of this article misstated that the Dragon would carry the first Mexican-developed small satellite. It’s the first one to be deployed from the space station, and the article has been corrected.

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This Is The Easiest DIY Duck Tape Bow You Could Possibly Make

Duck Tape is amazing. Not only is one of the strongest adhesive tapes in the world, but it also comes in a variety of colours, patterns and even glitter! It has never been easier to make a DIY duck tape bow because I’ve made a template for you. Scroll below to download in a PDF file or the JPEG version that you can upload to the Cricut Design Space. 

Do you want to know how to design your own phone case to sell in your dropshipping store? Even if you’re not into eCommerce, you can create your own phone case so easily nowadays. Everything you need is available for you at your fingertips!

Duck Tape is amazing. Not only is one of the strongest adhesive tapes in the world, but it also comes in a variety of colours, patterns and even glitter! It has never been easier to make a DIY duck tape bow because I’ve made a template for you. Scroll below to download in a PDF file or the JPEG version that you can upload to the Cricut Design Space. 

Tape is an essential tool if you’re a crafter and there are so many different types to choose from. Including complementary colours that help you curate a stunning project, no matter what it is. 

Duck tape is so versatile; it’s water-resistant, flexible, strong and easy to tear. The glitter tape, however, can not be torn and must be cut but it’s still an incredibly beautiful decorative tape so it’s PERFECT for decorating gifts this Christmas!


I'm not kidding, this really is an insanely simple DIY duck tape bow to make. Your packages will be showstoppers this Christmas day. Impress the pants off friends and relatives when they find out their big bow was made using Duck Tape! since that stuff is almost indestructible you can reuse them year after year, as long as you store them in a box. Click through for instructions and start making this Duck Tape Craft Idea #Christmas #Gifts #DuckTape

This Is The Easiest DIY Duck Tape Bow You Could Possibly Make


I'm not kidding, this really is an insanely simple DIY duck tape bow to make. Your packages will be showstoppers this Christmas day. Impress the pants off friends and relatives when they find out their big bow was made using Duck Tape! since that stuff is almost indestructible you can reuse them year after year, as long as you store them in a box. Click through for instructions and start making this Duck Tape Craft Idea #Christmas #Gifts #DuckTape

For This DIY Duck Tape Bow You Will Need: 


I'm not kidding, this really is an insanely simple DIY duck tape bow to make. Your packages will be showstoppers this Christmas day. Impress the pants off friends and relatives when they find out their big bow was made using Duck Tape! since that stuff is almost indestructible you can reuse them year after year, as long as you store them in a box. Click through for instructions and start making this Duck Tape Craft Idea #Christmas #Gifts #DuckTape

Click here for instructions if you want to upload an image to the Cricut DesignSpace.


Related: The Best Die Cutting Machines Available Right Now!


Metallic Duck Tape

How To Make This DIY Duck Tape Bow:

Making your packages stand out is a great way to add more meaning to any gift you give. The fact that it took so much time is what is appreciated. If you’re using a Cricut machine you could make several of these little bows from one 12×12 piece of card to save yourself some time!

Which is your favourite colour or pattern of this craft duck tape?

I'm not kidding, this really is an insanely simple DIY duck tape bow to make. Your packages will be showstoppers this Christmas day. Impress the pants off friends and relatives when they find out their big bow was made using Duck Tape! since that stuff is almost indestructible you can reuse them year after year, as long as you store them in a box. Click through for instructions and start making this Duck Tape Craft Idea #Christmas #Gifts #DuckTape
Disclosure of Material Connection:

This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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