Tech News Weekly 312 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.

0:00:00 - Jason Howell
Coming up next on Tech News Weekly. I'm Jason Howell and I start things off talking about the really big, literally breaking news. Right before the show story about Apple supporting RCS sometime next year, Will Saddleburg from Android Police talks all about that.

0:00:15 - Mikah Sargent
And there goes a pig flying through the sky. Up next I'm Micah Sargent and I have Daniel Rubino on the show from Windows Central to talk all things Microsoft Ignite. It's all about AI, as you might imagine.

0:00:28 - Jason Howell
These cancelling headphones. We know what they do for us already, but it turns out the technology can be reworked so that it acts like a mixer for your life. That's really neat.

0:00:38 - Mikah Sargent
Ooh, and I think it's about time Common Sense Media has its first ratings for those AI services to make sure that you know what your kids are using and maybe which tools they shouldn't be. All of that coming up on Tech News Weekly.

0:01:04 - Jason Howell
This is Tech News Weekly Episode 312, recorded Thursday, november 16th 2023. Apple Supporting RCS in 2024.

0:01:13 - Mikah Sargent
This episode of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by Mylio. Mylio Photos is a smart and powerful system that lets you easily organize, edit and manage years of important documents, photos and videos in an offline library hosted on any device. Check out their limited time holiday gift bundle for a 25% discount on Mylio Photos Plus at

0:01:36 - Jason Howell
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0:01:51 - Mikah Sargent
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Hello and welcome to Tech News Weekly, the show where, every week, we talk to and about the people making and breaking the tech news. I am one of your hosts, Micah Sargent.

0:02:23 - Jason Howell
I'm the other guy, jason Howell, right up to show time who just was breaking Breaking breaking, breaking, I mean I thought my prep was all done.

I'm like wait a minute, this changes things. It does change things, yes. And what are we even talking about? You aren't even going to have to wait until like mid-show to know what we're talking about right now, because it's right off the top. I love it when things work out that way. Will Sattelberg from Android Police is here to talk all about the many ways in which this, like Android, iphone messaging, green bubble, blue bubble, imessage, nothing, phone I mean it's many things Teens and the smartphone usage it's everything all combined into one giant soup. And thankfully, will you are here to make sense of it, how you doing.

0:03:09 - Will Sattelberg
I'm good, Jason, Hi Micah. Hi Jason. Yeah, what a day this turned out to be. Jason sent me an email like 30 minutes before I was supposed to jump on the call and was like, well, this is more interesting now. I guess. Yeah, we should just get into it.

0:03:28 - Jason Howell
Yeah, yeah. I mean, initially this whole discussion was going to be about nothing. Phone and their announcement. They made an announcement Was it yesterday or the day before that essentially they have a partnership with a company called Sunbird to essentially enable iMessage on their phone their phone running Android. Maybe we should just start there, since that was kind of the genesis of this. What exactly is that?

0:03:56 - Will Sattelberg
Yeah, sunbird is an app that launched about a year ago. Essentially, if you managed to get off their waitlist which I don't know how many people did I didn't it allows you to log in using your Apple ID to one of their what is essentially a Mac mini running on a server farm and then when you send a message through the Sunbird app on Android, it reroutes through that Mac mini, sends it as an iMessage to an iPhone and you can communicate through that. There are a couple other apps that do this AirMessage uses your own Mac hardware, and Beeper, if people know Beeper, which allows you to plug in all sorts of basically any messaging app, including iMessage. It's the same idea of rerouting through a Mac mini sitting somewhere remote. Basically, nothing announced that they were going to partner with Sunbird on an app called Nothing Chats, which would be exclusive to the Nothing Phone 2, which launched earlier this year and allow for basically communication between Nothing Phone 2 users and iMessage users without any restrictions between them, which was a big deal up until about an hour ago.

0:05:18 - Jason Howell
Yeah, yeah, and you literally just published this article that we're looking at here about a half an hour ago. Looks like it hit the site, the news being that Apple has announced I have to imagine dragging their feet to some degree has announced that they are going to bring RCS support to the iPhone sometime next year. And wow, we could go in a million different directions on this conversation, but let's, I mean, some people on social media were quick to say like wow, hell is freezing over. So I guess my question for you is did you think that you would ever see this move from Apple? I was never convinced that it would happen 100%, but I had a good feeling that eventually it would, because RCS really does seem like it's been positioned to be the upgrade to this very antiquated protocol. What are your thoughts?

0:06:11 - Will Sattelberg
Yeah, so I agree with you. I would say, as I've written about this in the past, I always thought, you know, google has really been pushing with this get the message campaign they've done for over a year now. I never thought a PR campaign would pressure Apple. I always thought it would be either regulatory pressure, specifically from the EU, because I don't, I never thought we would see it from the US government we haven't or it would be like pressure from the carriers to kind of be like hey, we want to drop SMS or we want, you know, more people using RCS, Can you please add RCS to the iPhone? And it seems like it's probably the former that did this.

It's not really I'm sure Google is going to do a victory lap on this, but my guess would be you know, last week we saw Google and a bunch of European carriers write to the European Commission to try to get iMessage listed as part of their new rules about gatekeeper apps, which iMessage is under investigation.

And if that were to, if iMessage were to be added to that list of services that that you know require specific, you know ways of interoperability, like it could be, it could mean they would have to work with apps like WhatsApp, which I don't think Apple wants. I think Apple, doing this RCS move, is trying to come out on top without having to completely open up iMessage. They're saying, well, look, you know, if we add RCS support, it's kind of its own thing. Imessage still exists, but it's you know, if you have an Android phone, you can now, you know, get kind of improved messaging. You know, typing indicators, red Receipts, all the stuff that I think people have wanted between iOS and Android for a long time, and they don't have to start working with Meta or something to to have that between, like, specific apps.

0:08:12 - Jason Howell
Yeah, it's interesting because I'm sure I'm guessing the way the regulatory winds have been blowing, especially in the EU in the past couple of years, this was probably inevitably going to be somewhat of a target, regardless of if Google did its P big PR campaign or not. Yeah.

I have a feeling, though, that you know some of that Google attention and effort there is kind of part is part of this. It's hard to know which came first, the chicken or the egg, you know, are they really giving it that extra attention because of Google or is it just, you know, kind of Google had their thing and they were going to do that anyways. But regardless, like I'll go ahead and pat Google on the back a little bit, they definitely took a chance, they took a risk in really hitting the PR front on this, and I think they probably have some cause to celebrate here. It doesn't really like. I know.

For myself, as an Android user, I'm satisfied. I don't feel like I need an iMessage app on my phone, quite honestly, like I don't need another app on my phone. But I do want to know that my conversations with people on iPhones isn't going to. You know, give me, like I just I just got a handful of photos from from someone who I was in contact with this morning, who has an iPhone, and they're all low resolution, small images, you know. So now I got to ask them hey, can you send that in a different way, because these aren't ideal, like I don't those inconveniences don't crop up, and I don't think it's going to end up really addressing the green bubble, blue bubble thing. Do you have any knowledge around that aspect of things? There doesn't seem to be anything here that would indicate otherwise.

0:09:49 - Will Sattelberg
Yeah, I'm really curious how this translates to. In my news, right up on this, I kind of included of like is this, you know, our RCS conversations still going to be green bubbles? Like, are they going to use a different color? It doesn't sound like they would use blue bubbles, specifically because Apple, in talking to nine to five Mac today, made it very clear that they were going to like iMessage is its own thing. Like this is not RCS and iMessage, this is.

Or iMessage and Android, this is RCS and iOS. Yeah, it'll certainly use the messages app the same way SMS does, but it won't. You know it won't work quite how iMessage on Android would work if you were to think of that. So so you know, I'm curious. It does sound like basically every RCS feature you would want, right, like every every enhanced messaging feature you would want, so higher quality media based in your case, or Rudder Seeds, typing indicators, location sharing and the ability to work over data connections. That's both, you know, 5g, slash, 4g and Wi-Fi all coming to iOS, which is good, and therefore, and I would assume, group chats as well, whether or not that will be, I know, I think that's the big one, that's the big question mark of like. I can't see them launching RCS with some kind of arbitrary limitation of like. Hey, like, if you want, you know, group chats between Android and iOS, you still have to use MMS Like. I just can't see that happening, although, again, we're maybe a year out from this launching, so who knows. But but I think that would be the real big thing to kind of kill the blue bubble, green bubble thing that in just like and I wrote about it a little bit this week this kind of what we originally going to talk about today is the stigma, especially around younger users, of you know Android users breaking group chats and you know Apple pushing teenagers to buy iOS devices and why iPhones, specifically, are so popular among you know, younger users.

There was a study about not a study but a paper about a month ago that was just shy of nine and 10 teenagers buying iPhones and like how bad that is for Android's future in the US. I don't know if this will help that. There are other reasons that the iPhone is so popular in the US at the moment and I kind of break that down in my piece at Android police. But I do think I message is the biggest one and specifically enhanced messaging on you know, between group chats and between you know. It's just with the iPhone so popular, it's easy for social pressure to push teenagers into buying the device that works with the device so their friends have. So I'm curious how that changes in 2024 and beyond. But like you know, any any prediction it would make would be a guess.

0:13:08 - Jason Howell
You brought up something that I can't get out of my mind now, which is the. This is the sheer reality that you pointed out. I think this is going to be really interesting to see what they do going forward. I message to I message that is blue, specifically because it tells the user there are certain features that you get in this conversation that you don't get if it's not blue, and you know encryption is the easy one to point to you so that when you see it it's blue, you know that's an encrypted conversation.

I have faith and trust this conversation is encrypted. Green bubble, up until now, has told us you don't have those features, and so if you're talking with a green bubble, don't expect your conversation to be encrypted. Just as one example, now we're going to have this RCS thing, and RCS I'm envisioning. I mean, I know it's encrypted with Android, so I'm guessing that they would have this encrypted communication with Apple. What this tells me is there might actually be three colors at some point, and green might still be the color that is shunned because you get no protection whatsoever.

You get absolutely none of the benefits. Rcs is some I don't know purple or yellow.

0:14:13 - Will Sattelberg
I hope for purple. I put purple in my news post. I was like come on, apple, do purple, do green, purple blue.

0:14:20 - Jason Howell
Come on, it's right there. But I mean, but I guess the point is and I'm not taking credit for this because you're the one that said it but there is going to be a need to still identify the type of protection. If Apple made that a priority before, they're going to make it a priority here. And I wonder what the you know, and it's totally a guess, but what is the social stigma or social impact of that going forward? We already know what the impact has been on the green bubble, blue bubble debate, but now you've got an extra color. Is that one let go Because, hey, we get everything we need, or is it still not blue? So it's not okay? No, I know.

0:14:55 - Will Sattelberg
It's. You know, I want to hope it is like well, you know purple's not blue, but yeah, you didn't break the group chat or whatever Right.

So, I'm hoping it is basically like all right, like purple's, fine, or whatever color it ends up being. I do think it will have to be a third color, right, like I think. I think they wouldn't want, just even just from a security perspective, wouldn't want, to reuse green because they are, you know, rcs. It is encrypted or can be encrypted and in Apple's statements today, they're making it clear that although, you know, unsurprisingly they're like I message is much more secure and private, that RCS is an upgrade above SMS and that they are working with the GSMA to continue improving RCS. So it's clear that they have privacy on their mind with this update.

But, yeah, I am so clear, I'm so I'm so curious where the, where the stigma is in two years? Right, so we have probably, you know, let's say, this launches with iOS 18 in September of 2024. That seems as likely as anything. You know, I'm so curious where we are in September of 2025. Like, I could see, I could see that stigma still being there. It is certainly entrenched in in culture, especially in the US of, like you know from, from sports leagues to high schools, like it is a, it is a whole thing.

0:16:29 - Jason Howell
It's a, thing, yeah, absolutely.

0:16:30 - Will Sattelberg
Yeah, and. But you know, if the group chats function how people want them to function, I think it's possible that that we start to see that break at least a little bit Right, you know, I I'm just, but honestly, your guess is as good as right, it's all, it's all guessing.

0:16:48 - Jason Howell
at this point, I think, at the end of the day, I'm just I'm happy to see this happen, because I think it's you know, it's not just good for Android users, it's good for iOS users.

0:16:57 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, I've talked before about how I want to know, I have that anxiety when I send an Android user something that it's not going to show up how I'm expecting it to, and so to know that the message, the photos, are going to show up and as high quality as they can be, it makes me feel a lot better about it and, honestly, the whole thing is always bugged me because we call the person that we're sending the message to the green bubble, but the fact is, the color that is changed is the color of our messages, not the other person's messages. The other person's messages come in and gray background with black text it's our message of the changes. So really it makes us the green bubble. When I send you a message, I'm the green bubble, but it's your fault.

0:17:40 - Jason Howell
We are all green bubbles, Mike. Yes, that's a great perspective. I like that.

0:17:45 - Will Sattelberg
Yeah, it's actually. It's all on iPhone users to critique. Yeah, no, it's. I think at the end of the day, I am hopeful that you know as much as this has been a thing for a decade, basically that you know people are able to kind of chill and be like look like we really wanted the features. It wasn't the color of the.

That was just easy way, you know, and now that they're here, more or less, you know, I still can't. Well, I mean, even FaceTime is in the browser, but you know it's. It's sure it's not perfect, but you're also not destroying anything. Maybe we have to start a new chat, but that's about it.

You know, I'm hoping that that kind of lets people chill, because there is a weird amount of heat around iOS versus Android, kind of specifically for this reason, and I think, once this is not there, you know, people are a little more calm about it and maybe iPhone users, who are really only there for iMessage, can try out Android phones if they want. They don't have to stick with it, but you know, android phones are pretty good these days. This was actually a really good year for for Android phones, in my opinion. We're putting together our end of year awards at Android release, and the list of candidates is much longer than it was last year, and you know, whether you just want to try something new or you want to try a foldable or something like that, opportunity will kind of exist. Yeah, so I think it's exciting.

0:19:13 - Jason Howell
Yeah, I'm, I'm, I know I'm excited to see the news and excited to see where it goes, so will thank you so much for coming on and, you know, going with the flow, because we had plans. You know what this conversation makes me realize poor, nothing. They had the. They had the attention for like a moment and then this happened and the attention is completely gone.

0:19:36 - Will Sattelberg
So I wonder how they're feeling about that.

0:19:38 - Jason Howell
It's funny.

0:19:38 - Will Sattelberg
And that that app launches tomorrow. Like that's the real shame that app hits the play store tomorrow.

0:19:47 - Jason Howell
All right. Will Saddleburg writes for Android police. You can find all three of the articles that he's written in the past couple of days that have to do with each different point of everything we just talked about will. Thank you so much for coming on today. It's been a pleasure.

0:20:01 - Will Sattelberg
Thank you guys. Thanks for having me. We'll talk to you soon. Bye.

0:20:06 - Mikah Sargent
All righty up. Next we are going to get some news from Microsoft Ignite, but first I want to tell you about our first sponsor. It's Mylio. We're bringing you this episode of Tech News Weekly. We have talked a lot about Mylio photos here on the network because we've become big fans of it, and right now, for a limited time, milio is offering a holiday gift bundle, which means it's the perfect time to get started. The holiday gift bundle includes one full year of Mylio photos plus, easy to use editing software, radiant photo and premium membership to the photographer community platform. View bug.

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All right back from the break and it is time to talk about Microsoft and the announcements that it recently made at Ignite. I mean that it quite literally recently made at Ignite. Just yesterday, our own Windows Weekly podcast was live at Ignite and had some of the announcements, but things keep rolling out. So to help us make sense of what is happening, we have Windows Central's own Daniel Rubino back on the show. Welcome back, daniel. Thanks for having me. Yeah, always a pleasure to chat with you and to talk about what's going on. I think we should dig right in. First and foremost, let's start with something that I remember Mary Jo Foley and Paul Therot on Windows Weekly talking about this ages ago which is Microsoft Loop. I'm hearing that it's now generally available. Can you tell us what is Microsoft Loop? What does general availability mean? Who can use it, what does it do, et cetera, et cetera.

0:23:48 - Daniel Rubino
Yeah, so there's a lot of confusion around Loop. It's one of those new products that Microsoft is pursuing in terms of getting people to create things, but online, as well as being able to collaborate with people remotely. So this is obviously part of the push from the COVID thing and work from home and all that. So it's mostly for business users. It's Microsoft 365, business standard, business premium licenses. It's not something that consumers would necessarily want to jump into right now.

Like I said, it's more meant for teams who are working on projects. It's a way to track things, keep things separated, and it's a different type of app than, say, like Microsoft Teams. So Microsoft Teams is going to be used for real-time chats. You can link two things here. You can link back to those things and share different aspects of Microsoft's different apps, like PowerPoint and Excel, and put those all into those things. Whereas Teams is really good for communication, this is good for actually working on projects, sharing designs, imagery and, of course, it has AI is going to be in it and all that kind of stuff. So is it a big deal for consumers? No, but if you work in terms of design, especially kind of graphic design, and you're working on something where other people need to see what you're actually doing and you want to hand off stuff back and forth. This is going to be a great app for that Nice.

0:25:20 - Mikah Sargent
Okay, that kind of bums me out that it's not necessarily for everyday users, because this seems like it could be a real solution for folks who are maybe looking for something to replace or augment notion or one of those other kind of what logs, seek and obsidian and some of these tools that are.

0:25:41 - Daniel Rubino
Yeah, I was going to say like so a lot of this is definitely aimed at big enterprise, but also small businesses, startups and that kind of stuff. Your point about the consumers how like Microsoft typically works as they release this for those enterprise productivity based institutions, if they see a lot of uptake on it and a lot of interest, they will then bring it down to the consumer market. But I think we can all agree that Microsoft and the consumer market is always a tough play for them. You know something, even like Microsoft Word is used by consumers as well as enterprise. But you know it's an easier sell because everybody kind of needs a word processor. So that's usually how they kind of operate on this stuff. It is kind of new territory for them. But we'll see what happens.

I wouldn't be surprised this eventually trickles down, maybe in a simpler form. It did do that after all with Microsoft Teams, I would say with less success. This idea of like cause a lot of small works were using Slack, but you saw a lot of younger people using Discord, which is really where it came out. So Microsoft was like well, maybe we can do Teams for consumers kind of play. I would say it wasn't pulled off very well with more of an afterthought, but sometimes they do do that.

0:26:49 - Mikah Sargent
Understood, understood. Now let's talk about something that may not be incredibly detailed, but at least on the face of it you go wait. What's changed there? Bing Chat has a new name, so is it just the name that's changing? Will everything else work the same, and what is the new name of Bing Chat?

0:27:07 - Daniel Rubino
So this is, let's be truthful here. When Microsoft announced Bing Chat back in February, it was a little bit rushed out, right. Everybody knew Google was about to have their announced and they called Microsoft, called this press conference with very little notice, and so there was this. They've been working on it, of course, for a while, but in terms of rolling out to the public, came kind of early. So there's that issue with branding, and initially they tied it to Bing and I think that was probably the smart play, partially because it is powered by Bing. Yeah, it's Chat GPT, does the AI part, but it's also reaching out and getting stuff from Bing and that's why it's better than Chat GPT in that sense. But you also needed to have an edge browser to use it at first, and Bing as a brand is not the best in the world. There was this question whether or not they can gain larger support and market share by using this and tying it to Bing, because it was so exciting and it seemed like that might have worked. But the latest numbers from Statista and others show that actually Microsoft really hasn't gained any share, whether it's in browser use or even search engine use where Bing Chat was found. That said. Since then, their whole move has been putting this tool into as much stuff as they can. In that process they decided we can't really call it Bing Chat. If it's going to be in, say, like Microsoft Word, or eventually it'll be in the mail app, it'll be in Microsoft Teams, because then it gets a little confusing.

And they came up with a general name which is just called Copilot, and it's actually a really good name for it, I think. One it's not a personified name, right, Anthropomorphize. So this was always an issue with AI. I can tell you Microsoft internally has struggled with this. Should they give it a name, right? You know, like Cortana was? We should have called it like Siri, like what Apple does, right? This is not that. So they're just giving it a general name Copilot, with the implication being it is an assistant that sits there and helps you do what you're supposed to do, but it's not the pilot. So all they're doing here they're fading out the Bing Chat brand and Lou of Copilot for the web. Basically, it still says Copilot and then it'll say, I think powered by Bing, below it. So they still have the Bing reference there. It is still the same functions, exactly the same.

That's the change, and that came in addition to them releasing a web app. Now, you could always kind of done the web app. If you know about Microsoft Edge or use Google Chrome, you can kind of create a web app from any web page, basically, but it does depend, in terms of functionality, how that page was programmed. So all they did was release a website you can go to and then create it as a web app. What's neat about that is you can use this on something like a Chromebook now and you don't need to use an Edge browser or any specific browser, nor do you need to use Bing search, right?

They're not trying to get you now to switch to Bing. They're not trying to get you to switch browsers. This is basically a standalone app called Microsoft Copilot, and so it just gives you all that chats up. Sure, it's still technically powered by Bing, but it's a different branding altogether. You still need a Microsoft account, however, to access it, which I know some people will have issue with, but I think it's just part of where chat apps are at these days, like Google requires that as well, Right, right yeah and chat GPT.

0:30:40 - Mikah Sargent
If you wanna use that, you've gotta create an account to be able to try that out. Now, one of the more developer focused announcements at Ignite that involved AI was the introduction of something called Windows AI Studio, and much in the same way that folks were pretty pumped about the introduction of custom GPTs to chat GPT, I did hear some pretty interesting excitement about Windows AI Studio. What is Windows AI Studio?

0:31:11 - Daniel Rubino
Yeah, so this is using multiple different types of large language models, llms. It is for developers to basically build in these sort of chat clients and two apps. You know where this technology needs to go. You can have destination brands. So we just talked about Microsoft Copilot. It's a kind of a destination brand. It's a destination app, right?

The next evolution of this stuff is gonna be, I would say, twofold in 2024. One is allowing developers to have access to these tools through APIs and being able to integrate them somehow into their current apps in some way or function. This reminds me very much of and I think that's why Nadella says it's such a Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft that this is very much like the beginning of the internet. I remember the beginning of the internet not the actual ART net, but like in 1994, 93, when we had AOL at first and then eventually brought it out. You had GoFury, you had FTP, you had all this stuff no one had that time and then you had the worldwide web right, that was now what we take to be the internet, but no one at that time actually could predict things like Google Maps and TikTok and YouTube and like where all this stuff would go. That's where we are right now with AI, and that's what this tool is gonna help, you know, do. Basically, it's to get these tools into developers' hands. Let's see then what they create with it.

The other half of this is getting NPUs neural processing units into hardware. So there, intel, qualcomm and even AMD are building NPUs into all their next-gen CPUs, which are coming very early 2024 for Intel, a little bit later for Qualcomm, and then AMD, and that's gonna allow localized processing of this. In fact, I saw how Qualcomm uses it. You could be able to run something like a chat, gpt model locally on your laptop. You wouldn't even need an internet connection, but you could still ask it all the same questions, and it's able to fit 7 billion systems into that, where it could just do it on the fly, and compared to going to the web and coming back again, it's night and day difference. This thing is just instant. You're also not sending your data out to the web and coming back again, which is, of course, a security feature that most people will want. So that's kind of where all this wraps around and why 2024 is gonna be really important for all this stuff coming together. Understood.

0:33:31 - Mikah Sargent
And the naming scheme is definitely getting confusing for me, because that was what Windows AI Studio, and what I intended to ask you about first was Copilot Studio, which is the other studio that Microsoft has announced that one is, and why I led into it with the custom GPTs, because this is essentially Microsoft's way, with Copilot Studio, to let users create their own AI chatbots, right.

0:34:01 - Daniel Rubino
Right, yeah, so that's the new. I don't wanna say FAD it's almost too early to even call it a FAD but OpenAI has this as well. In fact, a lot of times when you see OpenAI now with something, microsoft has their own kind of version of that that's either about to come out or waiting in the wings, right. So this is the idea of creating your own personal chatbots based on Microsoft's technology, which then can be used internally by companies. I can tell you, even my company, future PLC, is looking at using these types of models in terms of helping customers find the thing that they're looking for.

Right, it's an augmented search, but you can do things like limit search to just our websites, which is really kind of interesting, and so it allows you to use these models, put in the terms you want, but keep it within the system itself, versus going out to the wider web and pulling in data.

So companies can kind of use this to create all sorts of specific help tools, or you need to find a document or something that's within the company's repository, like. You can do all that now with these tools. And again you're getting back to security, because it's cool to go to the web, use something like co-pilots, but you wouldn't want to probably put in your credit card information, or, if you're a company, you probably wouldn't want to upload a document to have it analyzed and summarize it for you if that document maybe contains proprietary information about the company or something secret you're working on right, doing all these types of chats though these models allows you to do it yourself and it's set the constraints there, so it's not going out to the web. This is also the play of co-pilot pro, which that's what Microsoft's calling that now for enterprise, which builds that into systems as well, the last thing that I want to mention.

0:35:48 - Mikah Sargent
I didn't see this until this morning and I thought oh, this is really compelling as an idea. Later on down the line is the Windows app that Microsoft has unveiled. Tell us about this, and then I'm curious to hear your take on how we could maybe see this come to consumers in the future.

0:36:09 - Daniel Rubino
Yeah, so this has been a long time in the making. It's not that different from what people refer to as RDP the ability to remote into a desktop. The difference here is this does get powered by, or can be powered by, what's called Windows 365, which is a subscription service currently mostly aimed at business and enterprise, where you access a cloud based version of your operating system in this case, windows with apps installed and allows you to run those apps remotely. The idea here is that if you have certain secure systems and you only want limited access or maybe you're even on a Linux system or Mac OS you can then go and access it. So it's like a virtualized form of Windows, but it's not actually running virtualized on your desktop. It's up in the cloud somewhere. You're also getting access to much more powerful hardware in theory, because you can base this on different types of levels of computation.

Your question about like where does this go for consumers is an interesting one. You know I was pointing out today that in 2016, hp announced their X3 Elite. It was a Windows phone and it came with a dock and you could connect it up to a computer and it would do continuum. So it ran like a version of Windows mobile, but for the big screen, just like DeX is today for Samsung. But then they had their own service which you could run on top of that, called HP Workspace, which was a virtualized online version of Windows, so then you could run full desktop apps on your phone. How this transcribes to potentially consumers in the coming years is going to be basically these really thin client devices you'd be able to carry around. Imagine a laptop weighing 1.3 pounds powered by an ARM processor which normally, if it ran a full operating system, you know, might not get the best battery life even with ARM. But now you can, you know, go online, access this and have access to like a GPU which you couldn't fit into this laptop, and be able to render stuff remotely on that server for you. You can also, if you're a Mac user or you're a Linux user, but you occasionally do need a Windows environment to work from, whether for programming or other projects you can now access that through this app as well. You could probably we think it's also gonna be able to run on an Android tablet, like.

So it's, that's the ability there. It's just to have this. If I had to make an analogy, if you remember, years ago there was this issue with ISPs becoming dumb pipes. Consumers wanted ISPs to be dumb pipes, isps to not, so they're always trying to add value to their system and we're just like just let us run the internet. That's kind of where hardware is going, in my opinion, where hardware is becoming less important about the software it's running or the operating system, it's about the services it can access, and, in a sense, hardware is becoming like dumb hardware. You just need to screen the processor, the RAM and all that, but what it's running on there can be anything you want, so long as you have access to the internet. And so that's where this technology is going and why Microsoft is very platform neutral, let's say, when it comes to all this technology.

0:39:09 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, I think it's very cool to hear about this Windows app and the idea that I could have one device maybe I invest in an iPad and I can do my work on it because I can pull up the Windows app and access the company's Windows ecosystem. I think super, super compelling and I'm glad that Microsoft continues to push forward this platform agnostic ideology. I think it's really cool, I guess. Last thing I'd say is anything else from the event that bears mentioning here, or did we cover the grounds?

0:39:44 - Daniel Rubino
You covered most of it. I will say there was a little bit of anticipation regarding Microsoft announcing its own ARM processors. There's two of them. One is an Azure based one and the other one is an AI based one, an AI accelerator. It's an interesting play.

We don't know exactly the details of these processors yet. They were made in conjunction with open AI support and it looks like they're trying to Microsoft break away a little bit from NVIDIA here. Rather because NVIDIA is under such high demand for its products. Microsoft wants to have alternatives.

The point here for these chips is that Microsoft is kind of what Apple does it's trying to make custom silicon to run its own applications based on its own servers and its own constraints and regarding how things should be running for AI in terms of optimization. So they're working with open AI here for that. So these chips are gonna be more optimal, faster, more efficient. They're already working on the second generation of those chips. Now, this has nothing to do with consumers currently. Could that technology trickle down to a consumer laptop at some point? It could. I don't think that's their plan. Between Qualcomm's recent Snapdragon X Elite and then you have Intel 14 Gen or whatever Meteor Lake is gonna be called. I think they're pretty well covered, but I would like to think that Microsoft is keeping this in their back pocket for contingencies, in case something like that does happen.

0:41:08 - Mikah Sargent
All right. Well, daniel Orbino, I wanna thank you so much for your time today and for helping us understand the cool things announced at Ignite. Of course folks can head over to Windows Central to check out your work, but is there anywhere else they should go to keep up with what you're doing?

0:41:23 - Daniel Rubino
I'm on Twitter and I'm gonna call it Twitter. By the way, it's not actually Twitter, it's Twitter Daniel Orbino, and it's the same address on threads as well. I'm active on both, so feel free to follow me there and ask me questions. Awesome Thanks, so much. Thanks for having me.

0:41:40 - Jason Howell
Thank you Daniel. All right coming up. I'm gonna talk a little bit about noise-canceling headphones. We know that they can get rid of the environment, but new research actually shows that they can also focus the environment. There's ways to kind of like play around with the technology on these things that can do some really cool things. So we're gonna talk about that up next.

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So we've had noise canceling headphones for a while now. I remember the first pair of noise canceling headphones that I got. It's really hard to go back when you've got those things, especially when you're on a plane. That sort of thing. It can really filter out things. They've gotten better over time as well. Sometimes, though, I have noticed as much as I like hearing things clearer because I can filter out the environment, I'm in an environment where maybe it's not safe to filter things out, so it's like I want it all. I want to be able to filter out, but I don't want to filter out certain things. Maybe it's emergency vehicle siren, maybe it's a baby screaming or an alarm that I need to hear. Sometimes these noise cancellation systems are just so effective that you don't hear these things Are you saying you want to hear your cake and eat it too.

Yeah, but I don't want it to make a mess. Let's keep it not messy. There's a technology called semantic hearing that actually might change this. It's a prototype technology right now and it's meant to transform current off the shelf noise canceling headphones into something that's a bit smarter. So it uses the onboard mic on a headphone. This is the button, the mic that would normally be used to capture the world, to reduce the noise, because that's largely how these noise cancellation systems work.

They kind of sample the noise that's out there. I don't know if they're doing reverse phase or what exactly they're doing, but it's probably a combination of things to basically take that signal and remove it from the signal that's transmitted into your ears. So they take that and instead they send those noises to a neural network on the phone. So this is how it's able to operate with a pair of headphones. Let's say that you might already have that. It doesn't instantly have this feature when you bought it. You could still do it because of the power of the neural network on the phone, and then it either boosts or reduces pieces of the noise that goes into the ears. So you could you know you could have or they with the app or whoever's making this, could train the neural network to recognize certain noises that you could turn on or off. I'm imagining, right, like I could see a kind of a row of checkboxes.

0:47:21 - Mikah Sargent
Oh yeah, so it almost pops up. It's like here are the things I'm hearing. Yeah, I mean, these things do you want to turn off?

0:47:26 - Jason Howell
Mind you, the article says nothing about that part.

I'm just assuming like I could see that being the case, like oh yeah, I definitely want to hear you know emergency vehicles or I do want to hear a baby, because I have the baby and I definitely don't want to, you know, not hear the baby crying when I need to. So you can wear them and then hopefully not miss the most important things that might happen in your life. And the article that I've that I read here MIT, what is it MIT? Why am I suddenly blanking on? I can't even pull up the article anymore. Anyways, it's a great article.

Noise canceling headphones could let you pick and choose the sounds you want to hear. Just do a search for that it's. It pointed out a really big challenge for for computers, historically speaking, that I hadn't really considered. When we are in a room filled with people MIT technology review that's what it is when we are in a room filled with people and we're talking, there is a ton of noise in that room. Yet, for whatever reason, I can hear you clearly, I mean, unless it's like insanely loud and we're yelling over the top of everything. But our brains are capable of being inside of this room of noise and still focusing our attention on a particular voice, or maybe it's a combination of voice and you know, seeing the mouth move and everything.

The article calls it the cocktail party problem and when computers try and do this they have a really hard time discerning the difference because it's just all flat, noise right, and it's all coming in. You know, it doesn't have kind of the depth perception that maybe we do because we got two years looking, you know that's true.

0:49:02 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, in different directions.

0:49:03 - Jason Howell
Exactly, that's so much involved filter through this and it really does seem like the sort of thing that neural networks and artificial intelligence, you know, would be based on what we know about AI. This seems like one of those problems, like we couldn't do this very easily before, but now what do you know?

0:49:19 - Mikah Sargent

0:49:19 - Jason Howell
Now it can be solved, it can be totally solved. So, anyways, I just thought that's an interesting piece of technology that would and not just for like headphones that you and I wear assuming that you have no hearing. You know hearing impairments, right, but people who do have hearing impairments, this kind of technology and like hearing aids and that sort of stuff to be able to, with that technology, say these are the important things that I really want to make sure I hear more than everything. Or I'm getting a flat level of noise coming in from my environment and I want that noise to go back and I want the important things to come forward. That seems really useful.

0:49:56 - Mikah Sargent
That's interesting, because does this not suggest that it would be possible for any pair of headphones that's running this app or service that has the noise canceling?

0:50:08 - Jason Howell

0:50:08 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, so that's what I was curious. I didn't know if it was doing some sort of some sort of method of filtering that doesn't involve actually the way that you know, we know, noise canceling headphones to work to actually send out sound as well that runs in contrast to the sound that's coming in. So it'd be cool if you could just essentially upgrade any pair of headphones. Yeah, right. You know what I mean? Yeah, but I guess that would be kind of difficult.

0:50:34 - Jason Howell
So I mean, or maybe it wouldn't be like. If it's truly the kind of thing you know, I guess they'd have to well think about this, because essentially, when I'm wearing a noise canceling headphone and it's plugged into my phone, it's basically saying here's the audio that you want to hear, here is the music playing through the music app, and we're reducing everything that's outside of it. So I guess it would just require some sort of software to act as kind of like a mixer between the two would be my my thought, plus an easily accessed microphone somewhere, because that's one of the things that well, for sure.

0:51:13 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, you know, your your noise canceling headphones have microphones built into them to listen, to be able to know what to block out. So maybe if you could have your phone on the table or something, turn this on, the phone could have the microphone and be able to yeah, the app that's.

0:51:27 - Jason Howell
this is all conceptual, but yeah, but still it's a neat idea and I could be incredibly useful not just from a day to day like I want to hear my music better.

0:51:36 - Mikah Sargent
But for some people it could be. I need to hear this person changing. Yeah, just the idea that I could say I can't quite hear this conversation I'm trying to have. Can we just turn down the room?

0:51:45 - Jason Howell
Right, Exactly Like. That's really cool. I love that. It's almost like you have a. You have a mixer for life.

0:51:53 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, my, my mental mixer. Yes, super cool.

0:51:59 - Jason Howell
Anyways, mit technology review is the place to go for this article and check it out and, yeah, I'm looking forward to hearing more about this technology. Who knows, at some point, you know, is this something that ends up in like the settings of a phone. You know it's like a noise canceling headphones activate this switch and when it recognized because, like the Google Pixel Buds Pro are, are, you know, the Google's latest Pixel Buds that have noise cancellation built into it People could potentially, with this technology, have that just be a checkmark feature. Yeah, absolutely Mix your environment.

0:52:34 - Mikah Sargent
And, yeah, for a while now, ios has offered the ability to recognize many of these sounds you're talking about, so you can actually have it, do this thing where it is actively listening for certain appliances, the sounds that appliances make, or standard alarms, or a baby crying or a dog barking, and right now it's just to get a notification on your phone saying I've heard that sound. But it's not far from there to just say you know, I want this. And it also has a custom training option to where you can say listen to the sound I'm about to play and then tell me when you hear that sound. So that's cool. You have I don't know, a tea kettle that instead of whistles it makes a cow's mooing sound, and then you could train it on that, yeah, or maybe you just have a cow who you love that I really want to make sure that you pet it whenever it's moving.

0:53:20 - Jason Howell
No judgments, yeah, whatever is your cow.

0:53:22 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, if you've got a cow to pet, by golly, you better pet it.

All right, let's take a quick break before we come back with my story about how common sense media is, has just officially sent out its ratings for some of the chat bots and AI services that are out there, but I do want to take this moment to tell you about our next sponsor.

It's ZocDoc who are bringing you this episode of Tech News Weekly. So let's take a moment and let's think about this, that feeling you get when you finally find the thing you've been searching for on the internet, that tea kettle that makes a cow's mooing sound. After spending hours researching and reading thousands of reviews about moving kettles, you finally find it, the kettle it could be for in your case sparkly disco pants, designer dog hoodie that probably be me, whatever it happens to be. It checks all of your boxes and it has five stars, and it arrives in just 48 hours, hallelujah. So why is it that you can get that special mooing kettle in just two days, but if you want to see a good doctor, it can take forever to get an appointment. Why is it like this?

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I know you all out there very clever people. You could go and do a search for ZocDoc, but I'm asking you to go to that URL, that way they know that we sent you there. will give you the link to the app, but we'll also then let them know. Oh yeah, I heard Mikah talking about that. Anyway, once you download the ZocDoc app for free at that URL, then find and book a top rated doctor. Today that's Z O C D O And we thank ZocDoc for sponsoring this week's episode of Tech News Weekly. All right back from the break, some of you may know have heard about Common Sense Media.

0:56:33 - Jason Howell
I love Common Sense Media.

0:56:36 - Mikah Sargent
It is a not for profit organization. That is a not for profit or a nonprofit. It is a nonprofit organization that basically does ratings for movies and other media. That's aimed at helping parents make a decision on whether they should show their children or, if they're a guardian, show this child that specific media. So a quick little history.

Long ago, when Hollywood was kicking off and started making movies, they saw the way that other big kind of big groups were being regulated by the government. And Hollywood said we, the film industry, said we don't want to be regulated by the government, so what we're going to do is go ahead and regulate ourselves and that way we can say look, government, you don't need to worry about regulating us, we've got it figured out. That is where the standard ratings came in with G, pg, pg, 13, r, etc. Same thing happened in the video game industry. They created a rating for themselves but over time those ratings have shifted slightly. Society has shifted in some ways and maybe those ratings don't have the same meaning that they used to have. Common sense media saw this and said look, we're going to do kind of an independent thing that gives parents and guardians a better understanding of what the media is Apple TV. In its listings, it will show you the common sense rating, and what I like about it is that these ratings are specific to the specific title that you are looking at. So it'll say, instead of just saying rated R for violence and you know bad words or whatever it happens to be, it will say this film I wish I could think of something that's actual, but it gets a little more detailed. It will say, like there are goofy moments in this film, treats drug use lightly, or something like that. It's just a little bit more detailed, a little bit better information to give you that. So there's your understanding of common sense media versus the standard ratings that are in place, and what has happened is that common sense media said look, we need to take a look at AI, because that is a new form of media for many people and we need to understand and help people understand how this stuff is being used and how it may impact children. So they have a set of AI principles, and there are eight of them, and so I'm going to go through them very quickly here. These are the principles that they use to rate these different AI tools and services.

The first one is to put people first, so does it respect human rights and children's rights, as well as identity, integrity and human dignity? Does it support human agency? The second principle is to promote learning. Is it centered on the needs of individual students, including linguistically diverse students and students with disabilities? The third is to prioritize fairness. Does it prioritize equitable sharing of the benefits of artificial intelligence, with a goal of eliminating unfair bias in the development and use of AI systems?

The next one is to help people connect. Does it foster meaningful human contact and interpersonal connection? Does it create addition to or dependence on the AI system? It should not incite hatred against an individual group or dehumanize individuals or groups. The next one is to be trustworthy. Is it built on sound science that embraces peer review, validated multidisciplinary research and reproducibility?

The next one is to protect our privacy. Does it protect data? Does it provide clear policies and procedures? Does it have notices and consent for the use of data? Does it allow children to access, securely, share, understand the use of, and control and delete their data, and for the parents, obviously, to be able to do the same?

The next principle is to keep kids and teens safe, so does it protect children's safety, health and well-being, regardless of whether the product is intended to be used by them. I think that's important. Even if it was not necessarily created for children, we need to know that children will be using it, and if that is the case, then does it protect kids? Is it a safe tool for kids? And then the last principle, the eighth principle be transparent and accountable. Does the product provide mechanisms for feedback, moderation tools for adults or notification tools that flag potentially harmful content? A question they would ask is are parents, teachers and school leaders aware of the AI methods and features being utilized by the system?

So, with those different principles in mind, they did set out to look at the different tools chat, gpt, bard Dolly, stable diffusion, my AI from Snapchat, lura Conmigo, which is from Khan Academy, kyron, learning Tottle AI and something called ELLO. And one of the worst ratings in the entire system was for Snapchat, snapchat's my AI tool. In its review, it said that it got a common sense rating of two out of five. Its privacy score was 64%, and that is because it willingly gives sex advice or tips on how to hide beer. So, essentially, when they talked to this tool, it had lots of red flags that came along with it. It chatted with teens about sex and alcohol and it misrepresented Snap's targeted advertising. Common sense concludes there are quote more downsides to my AI than benefits. But let's take a look at something like Dolly. Okay, so Dolly, which is the tool that turns text into visuals. It got a privacy rating of 48% and it got an overall rating of two out of five stars. So if we look at it, it says Dolly has the potential to enable creativity and artistic expression and allow for visualization of new ideas.

Openai has taken a number of efforts to reduce Dolly's ability to generate harmful content. We know that, and this is where they contrast it with stable diffusion. In their review of stable diffusion, they said that it often sexualizes women and girls in generated images, and that is why it received one out of five possible stars, because of its chance of doing that. If we look at some of the kind of breakdowns of everything, the highest ratings for Dolly were for its privacy, transparency and people first, but things like fairness and trust and kids' safety all did not score very well, because its view of the world can shape impressionable minds with little accountability. The use of Dolly, too, has the potential to harm individuals and groups by reinforcing stereotypes, erasing or denigrating them, providing them with disparately low-quality performance or by subjecting them to indignity.

The other thing that I wanted to mention was that ConMigo from Con Academy actually got a four out of five on its common sense rating and an 80% privacy score. The one complaint that they had was that it features simulated chats that you can have with historical figures, and of course, those can be misleading. If you don't make it clear to the child that is under a certain age, I would imagine that you're not actually having a chat with George Washington or whomever it happens to be, and so, yeah, that could be misleading and something to be aware of. But at the same time, I think that's pretty cool. If I could have had a conversation with one of the historical figures we learned about and then, based on the historical information that we had about that person, how they would respond, I'm sure that I would learn about some sad things from a few of the historical figures I thought were cool, because many of them were slave owners, unfortunately.

Right right Very flawed history that is also important too, right, Absolutely.

To have the whole kitten caboodle there. So yeah, I think that's a. I had not heard about Conmigo, but I'm going to have to check that one out. It sounds pretty neat. But in any case, I really am glad that common sense media is doing this. Even as a person without kids or anything like that, I don't care if my dogs watch R rated content. They'll be fine. But even without that, I actually like common sense ratings Just for myself. I think that it's nice to see what they have to say about whatever it is I'm about to watch, because it might bring up something that I'm like oh, actually, that is something that I don't want to see or I don't like. So what? Skip this movie, or this is the show, or whatever it happens to be.

1:06:02 - Jason Howell
So it's been really, as a parent, it's been really useful for me throughout the years. I mean, I've used Common Sense for years. You know, my kids are now 13 and 10, so they're a little bit older but, especially like recently in the oh, there's this movie that I saw when I was a kid. I have such fond memories of it and then I put it in Common Sense so I'm like whoa, okay, different time period, like then that was okay, now this is.

You know, there's a lot of themes here that just you know, over the over time we have different view, a different understanding that that's actually sexual harassment, even though back then we thought that was hilarious, and now our understanding of it is more refined and Common Sense really is really good at pointing that out. And I think it's super important for them to be doing this because, as you mentioned and as they found out a lot of these AI systems, what they've been trained on, you know they're very focused, they like to, they like to pretend like they're, you know, very impartial in the data that they're putting in there, but it all, all that data, tells a certain story and it tells a certain perspective of a story. So you might see, you know a disproportionately white people. You know output, or you might see the highly sexualized. You know if there's a woman in the imagery chances are she's really lusty and

you know it's got the sexualization thing going on and you know again that, just for kids, that feeds into this, whether they, you know, without their knowing this, understanding that they're developing about the world around them and that these things, these sexualized images or whatever they may be, that's normal, and when it's not, you know, when it's totally it's a filter that is being presented to them. These systems are not, in my opinion, well, I mean, except for the ones that are explicitly designed for kids, like the ConMigo. They're not designed for kids at all. You know they really. It's the Wild West, and especially where we're at right now with AI being, you know, wild West in so many different ways and a lot of the rules not having been written yet, you got to be really careful, especially with your kids, absolutely yeah, so head over to commonsensemediaorg.

1:08:09 - Mikah Sargent
Slash AI to learn more about that. Love it.

1:08:12 - Jason Howell
Good pick, all right. Well, we've reached the end of this episode of Tech News Weekly. Thank you so much for always being here for us. We appreciate your presence while we do this show, not the presence that you send us. That's different. Christmas is around the corner. You don't have to feel like you need to send us any presents.

1:08:29 - Mikah Sargent
I mean speak for yourself, but we've got a present for you.

1:08:31 - Jason Howell
Twittv slash TNW. Our gift to you is to go there, subscribe and every week we will give you the gift that is Tech News Weekly in your earbuds.

1:08:42 - Mikah Sargent
If you would like to get all of our shows ad-free, there's the gift you can give. Check out Club Twit. You can give it to someone else or to yourself, which, in effect, is a present to us. It starts at $7 a month, $84 a year and you get every single Twitch show with no ads. You get access to exclusive Twit Plus content on the Twit Plus bonus feed. It's a place that has stuff you won't find anywhere else outtakes behind the scenes before the show, after the show, special events that take place in the club so much fun and access to the members-only Discord server, a fun place to go to chat with your fellow Club Twit members and also those of us here at Twit. It is also the place now where you get to see kind of the making of the show and the live stuff heading up to the show Twittv slash Club Twit. I say starting at $7 a month, not because it's a tiered subscription, but because some folks have said, hey, I'd like to give you more than $7 a month and thank you, you are able to do that. So it starts at $7, but you can put in a different number there if you'd like, and when you join the club you'll also gain access to some special Club Twit exclusive shows. There's the Untitled Linux show, which is a show all about Linux. There's Hands on Windows, which is Paul Therat's program that covers Windows tips and tricks. There's Hands on Mac, which is my program that covers Apple tips and tricks.

This week I'm talking about the check-in feature on iOS that lets you let your friends know that you've made it somewhere safely. Friends or family know that you've made it somewhere safely. And there's also Home Theater Geeks from Scott Wilkinson. That is all about Home Theater reviews, home Theater questions answered, home Theater interviews really great show. And AI Inside from Jason Howell. That covers all things AI.

If that sounds good to you and I think it should head to twittv slash club twit to join the club, and I happen to know that we've got lots of people standing by making sure that your Club Twit experience is great. So if you've been thinking about it, now's the time to take the plunge. Check it out and join us at the Discord and get all those shows downloaded to your podcast players of choice. If you would like to follow me online, I'm at Micah Sargent on many social media network or you can head to chiwawacoffee that's C-H-I-H-U-A-H-U-Acoffee, where I've got links to the places I'm most active online. You can, if you're a Club Twit member, check out Hands on Mac later today. On Sundays, you can watch Ask the Tech Guys with Leo Laporte and yours truly where we cover or not where we cover, but where we answer your tech questions live on air. And you can check out, on Tuesdays, ios Today with Rosemary Orchard and yours truly, where we cover all things iOS, tvos, watchos, homepodos, all the OS's basically from Apple. Jason Howell, what about you?

1:11:30 - Jason Howell
Well, you can find me on Twitter at Jason Howell. You can find me on mast on twittersocial slash as Jason Howell, or you can just go to reconfun and everything is listed there. And let's see here yes, ai Inside is my other show that I do here right now, aside from producing behind the scenes. That's a Club Twit exclusive. Got Steven Shanklin from CNET on with me today to talk about one of his features on kind of the reality distortion field of digital photography nowadays and what's real and what's not and how do we feel about that. So that's coming up later. But as for this show, thank you so much for everyone who helps us do this show each and every week John Selenina, john Ashley we got Burke in the other room everybody here at Twit helps us in some way, shape or form. So thank you to everyone who does that. Thank you for subscribing and for downloading and everything that you do to support us. We'll see you next time on Tech News Weekly.

1:12:25 - Scott Wilkinson
Hey there, Scott Wilkinson here. In case you hadn't heard, home Theater Geeks is back. Each week I bring you the latest audio video news, tips and tricks to get the most out of your AV system, product reviews and more. You can enjoy Home Theater Geeks only if you're a member of Club Twit, which costs seven bucks a month, or you can subscribe to Home Theater Geeks by itself for only $2.99 a month. I hope you'll join me for a weekly dose of Home Theater Geekatude.

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