Facebook Refocusing on ‘Serving Young Adults’; Verizon Teams with Amazon For Rural Satellite Broadband; Microsoft tries (Yet Again) for K-12 Kids; Plastic Pollution Will Overtake Coal by 2030

In an investor call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he is re-aiming the company to “make serving young adults their north star.” He said they know usage among older users will grow more slowly that it otherwise would, but believes the new direction is ‘the right approach.’ Instagram will be the first to see changes, as they lean further into video and make Reels the centerpiece of the IG experience. This is an obvious attempt to try to stem the bleeding of young users to TikTok. Zuck called that platform “one of the most effective competitors we’ve ever faced.” With all the bad press from document leaks and testimony, Facebook fears regulation more than ever. Recent articles have noted that they can’t even buy a flack with connections to the Democrats in power to try to lobby for them. 

Amazon and Verizon are teaming up to bring better fixed wireless internet access in the rural US. CNBC says the partnership will initially aim at expanding Verizon’s LTE and 5G service, using Amazon’s Project Kuiper for ‘backhaul,’ boosting coverage in areas with little or no high-speed data. After that, Amazon and Verizon hope to offer unified internet accessor industries worldwide…including smart farms and transportation. The companies expect to have the full constellation of satellites in low earth orbit no later than July, 2029.

First Apple had a lock on K-12 school kid computing, then along came Google’s Chromebook. Now, Microsoft is taking another bite at the Apple…or Chrome (ouch…) with a new, low-cost 11.6 inch Surface laptop. According to zdnet.com, it will be powered by an Intel Celeron N4120 processor and have a plastic exterior. Redmond expects it to go head-to-head with Chromebooks. Up to now, Microsoft and its partners have put out devices that are just way more money, and schools have taken a pass. Most have run $400 to $550 a unit. Microsoft does say that they have a new edition of Windows 11 that will be aimed at schools. Besides getting right on price (they say…), the new edition will give schools a better way to manage the devices…something that has been lacking compared to what Chromebooks could do when it comes to simple provisioning, wiping, and re-provisioning.

As coal continues to lose market share, at least in the US, to the benefit of the environment, plastic is emerging to take its place…as soon as 2030. Arstechnica.com notes this doesn’t mean plastic grocery bags and the rings that hold a 6-pack of beer cans together. Plastic production is a large source of carbon pollution. Plastic production in the US generates at least 232 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses…this according to a report by Bennington College and the nonprofit Beyond Plastics. If nothing changes, that will increase by another 55 million tons. For comparison, coal belched out 786 million metric tons of CO2 last year….but coal dropped by 166 million metric tons between 2019 and 2020, so by 2030 plastic will be generating more to contribute to global warming. 


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