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Apple wants to fly to new heights with satellites

(TECHNOLOGY) Apple is looking to the future of communications technology. The tech giant is reportedly working on a top-secret satellite technology project.

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apple satellites

Recent reports from Bloomberg indicate that Apple has hired a number of aerospace engineers to head-up the new satellite project, including two former leaders at Google’s satellite and spacecraft operation. The team also includes satellite and antenna designers, a former Aerospace Corporation executive, and experts from the wireless networking and content-delivery network industries.

The project is reported to still be in the early phases, in fact, sources say that the project could still be scraped all together.

While the shelf-life of Apple’s satellite project appears questionable, Bloomberg’s sources say that the project has already caught the eye of Apple CEO, Tim Cook, who has made the satellite project a company priority.

Apple’s plans for the satellite technology are unclear, but current speculation points in two directions. First, the satellite could be used to power a direct wireless iPhone data transmission. With this technology, Apple could bypass the need for wireless networks to upload and download user data. Devices could be linked together without the need for traditional grounded networks.

Theoretically, this could eliminate Apple’s need for traditional, third-party networks all together.

Sounds cool, but it’s unlikely that Apple is building this satellite with the hopes of eradicating all traditional networks. At least, not yet. The satellite will most likely work in tandem with current systems to provide a quicker, more seamless data transfer for users.

An alternative theory, albeit a less exciting theory, is that Apple is seeking to vastly improve the location tracking capabilities on all its devices. The satellite project would help them improve their GPS and mapping capabilities.

What is clear is that Apple’s satellite project is going to cost them a whole ton of money. According to company filings, Apple has already expanded its research and development budget by 14%.

History is littered with the bones of companies who got into the satellite communications game only to find themselves filing for bankruptcy soon after. Let’s hope Apple can learn something from the mistakes of the past.

Staff Writer, Natalie Gonzalez earned her B.A. in English and a Creative Writing Certificate from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a writer and social media nerd with a passion for building online communities.

Real Estate Technology

Curated newsletters help you learn literally anything you want

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) All the news you could ask for in a large quantity of topics, from independent journalists brought to you in a neat looking Newsletter Stack.

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Over the shoulder look at laptop on bistro table, with online newsletter stack open.

To say it has never been more important to stay up-to-date on world news than it is right now doesn’t feel like too much of a stretch, but the issue of where to start can be so daunting as to overwhelm people—a problem that Newsletter Stack attempts to fix, and quite handily at that.

Newsletter Stack is a curated news service that delivers “unfiltered and fresh takes” from independent journalists on a variety of topics (56, to be exact). These topics are expansive and range from things like artificial intelligence and technology to think-pieces on pop culture and wellness, and one can browse by featured collections—for example, “Adult Picture Books” or “Emerging Markets”—for a more immersive experience.

Should the urge strike, one might also find themselves browsing the reading materials of other curators, a list found immediately below the Newsletter Stack collections library. This isn’t necessary, but it’s a nice touch for anyone looking to consume information they know is interesting to like-minded (or dramatically dissonant) individuals.

Newsletter Stack even has a section of their website dedicated to news submissions if you come across a piece that fits their aesthetic. That aesthetic is actually a huge selling point for the service; while plenty of inbox news subscriptions (and even more established services like Apple News) allow you to curate topics and sources to your liking, Newsletter Stack places a heavy emphasis on independent authorship.

In an effort to be as transparent as possible, one can browse a list of all current curators on the service’s website, search through their reading preferences, and see their recommendations.

Independence in an age of digital literacy metrics might be a sticking point for some folks, but Newsletter Stack makes it clear that they aren’t anti-mainstream media. In fact, it seems that the point behind this news subscription is much less holistic than other services (again, inbox subscriptions fall into this trap). At no point does Newsletter Stack make the claim that they should be one’s only source of news, and that’s incredibly important.

If you’re at all interested in expanding your knowledge using independent authors, and a clean interface, Newsletter Stack deserves a few minutes of your time.

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Real Estate Technology

This proptech optimizes remote viewing – and it just went public

(REAL ESTATE TECH NEWS) Another property tech company goes public…. but NOT in the conventional way. And this proptech is building on ways to share online properties.

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Woman on laptop in window seat, looking at proptech sites online.

Hunting for a place to live during a pandemic has been… challenging.

Obviously, the housing market didn’t explode entirely (for better or worse), but the whole ‘Don’t be in close contact with a bunch of randos’ of it all meant that more sellers had to adapt their viewing practices.

I maintain that I should have snuck in some of my stuff and tried to claim squatter’s rights when I was let into a potential apartment by myself, but the idea wouldn’t have even entered my head if that complex was using walk-through technology like Matterport.

The company not only produces 3D walkthrough cameras, but also provides SAAS through creating 3D renderings for potential buyers/renters through phone camera-shots.

Matterport was founded in 2011, so it’s not like they were a total unknown when the ‘new normal’ hit us. It IS pretty sweet that they had gotten to a good point of establishment when we got pandemic-ked though, because they grew their base five times what it was in the year of our dumpster fire, 2020. Luck really does favor the prepared.

And now, in Dumpster Fire 2: 5G Vaccine Boogaloo 2021, not only did the company reach Android-compatibility (UNLIKE SOME PEOPLE), they also went public. Yay for both. But they went a kind of different way about getting that stock abbreviation than most companies.

Backed by Alec Gore to the tune of $640 million in proceeds and $2.9 billion in valuation, Matterport is now MTTR not through solely private investors, but through inconceivably monied
shell company Gores Holdings VI Inc.

These shell companies are more favorably known as Special Purpose Acquisition Companies, AKA SPACs, AKA “blank check companies”. They’re interesting in that they have literally no other purpose than to acquire a company that does actually do stuff in order to take the stuff-doing company public, and not only are they getting big names like Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank attached to them, they’re getting popular.

According to Investopedia, “SPACs have become more common in recent years, with their IPO fundraising hitting a record $13.6 billion in 2019—more than four times the $3.2 billion they raised in 2016.”

Between the rise of proptech and the rise of SPACs, and the… not-worrying-at-all rise of variants of COVID-19 that we’re waiting to see the efficacy of the vaccine on, we’ll probably see more
news like this, and soon.

I got too motion sick at ‘Cloverfield’ to partake of anything more advanced than ceiling-down AutoCad drawings, but I’ll be watching the headlines.

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Real Estate Technology

Want a second home but don’t know where to start? Try Pacaso!

(REAL ESTATE TECH NEWS) Owning a second home can be a daunting experience, but Pacaso looks to simplify it, and gives you more ownership over your dream vacation home.

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A second home on a lakefront property at sunset.

Owning a second home can be a lucrative investment, especially when the market goes up. Having your dream home near one of your favorite vacation spots can provide you a quick getaway without the hassle of having to find good deals and accommodations.

However, owning a second home is a huge financial decision. And, unless planned out properly, you could end up with plenty of surprising expenses your pocketbook isn’t ready to handle.

But, if that cabin in the woods or beach house retreat is a must-have, you could purchase part of a home with Pacaso. Pacaso is a marketplace for second homes, and it’s rethinking the timeshare model and nixing out the middleman.

Founded by CEO Austin Allison and Zillow Co-founder Spencer Rascoff, Pacaso says it’s “the modern way to buy and own a second home.” With them, you share joint ownership of a property with up to 8 other people so you’re able to get a second home for ⅛ of the cost.

How does Pacaso work?

You look through the company’s listings to shop for your perfect home. If what you are looking for isn’t on there, you can search for a listing on any real estate website and share it with them. If they decide the property is a match for the company, they will partner with you to purchase up to half of the property.

After you’ve chosen your home, Pacaso will create a property LLC for the home, referred to as the Pacaso home LLC. At the same time, they will remarket remaining shares, vet co-owners, and handle all the sales details and closing paperwork. Buyers can purchase from ⅛ to ½ of all shares. Then, at closing, the collective owners own 100% of the property.

The company also takes care of furnishings, repairs, utilities, and property management. And, once you’re ready to enjoy your new second home, owners can book a stay using the Pacaso app.

How is Pacaso different from a traditional timeshare?

In a timeshare, you are usually buying the rights to use a property for a set amount of time so you don’t necessarily own the property itself. With Pacaso, you’re buying shares of a real estate property so you have true real estate ownership.

Timeshares give you the right to use that property during a specific range of dates. With each Pacaso share, you get 44 nights per year. Since you aren’t locked to a specific time frame, you have the flexibility to plan your vacation whenever you want.

Also, Pacaso streamlines the resale process. You work with a real estate agent, and you set the selling price. So, you don’t need to settle for what the timeshare resale market sets for you.

If owning a second home is on top of your list, but the large financial burden is what’s holding you back, Pacaso might seem the right thing for you. You can still get that dream home, but for a fraction of the cost, and still enjoy all the second homeowner benefits.

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