Tech News Weekly Episode 305 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. It's me, Jason Howell. I'm flying solo today. Mikah Sargent is out, but we've got some great interviews for you, starting with Alex Reisner from the Atlantic. He has been covering the Books 3 AI dataset very closely for the past couple of months and he talks all about what's inside that dataset with a new search tool. Also, dDaniel Rubino from Windows Central joins to talk about and to break down Microsoft Copilot their announcement from last week, how it's unified into their products and what it could possibly do in the future. Roger Chang joins not from CNET now with Cord Cutter's news to recap the history of net neutrality and why it's back. And then, finally, I do a comprehensive review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus. You're going to want to hear that next on Tech News Weekly. This is Tech News Weekly episode 305, recorded Thursday, september 28th 2023: The promise of Microsoft Copilot.

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Hello everybody and welcome to Tech News Weekly. I'm your host, Jason Howell, talking about the people who are making and breaking the technology news each and every week. Normally, I have my co-host, Mikah Sargent, sitting next to me. He's not here right now. He will be back next week, though, so I hope he's having a wonderful day today, and often when Mikah's not here, we end up doing more interviews inside of the show. It's like two interviews and some discussion. This week we've got three awesome interviews lined up, and then I'm going to give a review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus that I've been using for almost a month now, so that's coming up a little bit later. Why don't we just dive right in, because we've got some great stuff to talk about this week.

A big moment in the world of AI right now Are all these lawsuits. There's like a bunch of lawsuits happening with big name authors pushing back on the data sets that were trained using their books and their work. Sometimes those books are fed in there from like pirated sources, so that's got a lot of attention. Alex Reisner from the Atlantic has been following this closely for the last couple of months, since August. In fact, published just recently an article about a search tool for seeing which author's work is contained within the Books 3 data set, which we have talked about a couple of times on this show before, and Alex is here to talk all about it. Welcome to the show, alex.

0:03:50 - Alex Reisner
Thanks, Jason, happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

0:03:53 - Jason Howell
Absolutely. It's great to have you here and I know you've been doing a lot of work to kind of understand, discover and understand what this data set actually is, and I think it's informing a lot of authors and a lot of people who are really interested in, kind of like, the developments around AI and law and copyright and ownership and all these things. I mean, this is a very big kind of stage for this battle. Is this particular data set right? Because a lot of the really big name AI companies have been using it to a certain degree and it really kind of shines a light on what we do and, probably more importantly, what we don't know about what those companies are kind of basing their business around right?

0:04:39 - Alex Reisner
Yeah, and it's very secretive. You know, what I've been investigating is, like you said, this one particular set of books that's being used is about 200,000 books, and they're being used by Metta, bloomberg and some other companies, but also a lot of just independent AI developers that are out there, and they're not old books. They're not like copyright expired books. They were. About 80% of them were written in the past 20 years, and the authors of these books, yeah, are not happy, and there's currently six class action lawsuits against the AI companies, including the latest one was filed by the authors guild, and it's got a lot of authors that anyone would recognize on it Jonathan Fransen, george Saunders, george R R Martin, writer crater of Game of Thrones, david Baldacci, scott Tarot.

There's just a lot of authors that are really unhappy about this and they're suing mostly for copyright infringement. The stakes for the AI companies are really high too. There's no way for the AI companies, if they were to lose these suits, to just pull certain books out of the large language models that they've trained. They would need to basically start over, and the stakes are high for them.

0:06:06 - Jason Howell
Absolutely, and I think this is kind of like ongoing. There is another story that we're not talking about in this show I will be talking about it later in another show I do, called AI Inside which is the Giddy's image search or rather image generative AI system, and I think the reason that I'm kind of connecting these two is because here you've got a dataset that's based largely on copyrighted material. Now, whether that actually constitutes like an overstep and overreach, because, you know, is it transformative? On the other end, do fair use rules actually apply here? This is all the stuff that these lawsuits are going to determine.

But in the case of the Giddy Giddy images having its own generative AI, their training dataset is based entirely on images that they own, and so there's a little bit more of an understanding of who owns the secret sauces being fed into the system. Here it's a lot more uncertain and it kind of feels like some of that uncertainty about what it means to train a dataset or train a model and AI around a dataset like this. Like there's just a lot of ambiguity about what that means, and I wonder the authors who have their books represented here and are upset about it. I guess the question I have, and I don't know that. This is a question that you could necessarily answer, but it's one that keeps coming up for me is do they have a good understanding of what it actually means to have this data inside of a training dataset? Are they worried about something that doesn't exist, or are their fears warranted? What would be your thoughts on that?

0:07:50 - Alex Reisner
Yeah, I think no one knows. You know, ai is a totally new technology. We talk about it largely in metaphors because it is so complex. I don't think anyone really understands what the implications of this are.

When you read through the different lawsuits, there's a slew of different complaints. They're all slightly different. There's charges of direct copyright infringement or, sorry, allegations of direct copyright infringement. If I carry this copyright infringement, there's what's called removal of copyright management information, which is like stripping authors, titles, publisher names, just different identifying information from the books. There's unfair competition, I believe.

I think there's a lot of technical, legal stuff here, but to get out of that, what I would say is what the authors, I think, anger and complaints boil down to is number one some of the richest companies in the world profiting from their work. So there's this sense that the AI systems couldn't really do anything without their work. That is the source of their so-called intelligence. And I think the second point is just that the systems may put a lot of writers out of work. It's a really serious threat to the industry. It doesn't need to write better than a human in order to really negatively affect the job market and it's you know, it's interesting. I think fair use is very, very complex. Yeah, I'm not a lawyer. I'm not going to comment on on whether I which side I think we'll win. I've talked to a lot of lawyers. Some of them think that the authors of a slam dunk case, others think that the tech companies of a slam dunk case. It's really, it's really hard to know. It seems to me like it could go either way.

0:09:47 - Jason Howell
Yeah, and it's fascinating to kind of watch it go back and forth and kind of learn in real time along with everyone, which is just a testament to how rapidly this thing has developed.

You know, not even a year ago, the majority of people didn't even, you know, had never heard the three words large language model strung together in a sentence, and now we're at a point where so I mean so many, you know, from so many directions, you know businesses are being impacted. How people are working and doing their jobs is being, you know, either improved or negatively impacted by the existence of these systems. Everybody's trying to understand it and it's impossible to avoid it. So that's kind of the weird, interesting place that we are right now. You mentioned in one of your articles, your recent articles, not. I mean, you talked a little bit or a lot about what's there, but you also made a point to mention what's not there, and I'm just kind of curious to hear in your words, from your perspective, what are the gaps that were unfilled in a data set like this and why is that important.

0:10:59 - Alex Reisner
Yeah, so it's. It's tricky to say, because you know who's to say what's not included, right, like if we're talking about what, what comprises a comprehensive list of all the knowledge of humanity, well, who's you know in whose eyes, and I think that's subjective for sure.

Yeah, it's all subjective. Everyone comes from their own cultures and has is biased towards the knowledge of that culture. You know, I would say in really simple terms there's hardly anything from an Islamic perspective In a data set where there's a lot of books written from a Christian perspective. There's things like you know, there's a lot of books on other countries, but a lot of them, maybe even a majority, are travel books, and so they're not really about the cultures in these countries. They're about how to be a tourist in these countries. You know where, where to, where to go to eat, how to buy things, and so it's a very Western centric view of the world and that matters because, as people start using these systems more, a lot of people are using large language models to replace. You know they're using it instead of Google search or Bing or whatever search engine they used to use, and they're getting information that it's not clear that it's biased towards a Western perspective, but it is because that's all the training data, for the model is heavily biased towards a Western perspective.

0:12:33 - Jason Howell
Yeah, that's. That's super fascinating and very interesting. I mean, when you're thinking about, like, geographical locations around the world and thinking it through a travel lens like that is a very specific type of lens. It might get into a little bit of culture, but it's not going to get into it the same way that something you know, written not with travel in mind but to be like a comprehensive kind of recounting of a particular aspect of that culture, might actually be. And so you end up with these gaps.

And we've talked, you know, over the last number of years about the bias in the systems that are, that are created, and it's not always intentional. It's not like someone goes I'm going to create this data set, I'm going to make sure and keep the Islamic perspective out of here, it's just that it's it's like filtered through a very specific lens that, knowingly or not, ends up excluding certain things and doesn't give a clear picture, and then we end up in the potential realm of misinformation, you know, being fed out as if it were fact, which we've seen a lot of large language models be very adept at doing. So it's fascinating stuff and you actually mentioned, you referred to this in your piece as like a gatekeeper kind of these. These models are the chatbot being the gatekeeper. Talk a little bit about that.

0:13:54 - Alex Reisner
Yeah, I think it's interesting these models are. You know, this is like cutting edge technology, but in a way the services that are being built with the technology. It's a little bit, from a certain sense, a reversion to like a pre internet model of interacting with the world's knowledge. So before the internet, you know, if you wanted to know about brewing your own beer, you'd have to go to the library and find a book, or you'd need to find an expert, who, who knew about it, and you'd kind of you'd have a very small number of sources. You'd have to kind of trust the author of the book or the expert. And that was the great thing about the internet.

You know the early days of the internet. You had Yahoo, which was a great thing, and you would give you links to hundreds of other people who were brewing beer and they would all have their own perspective. They were all just kind of a click away. In the time that it would have taken you to drive to the library, you could get 100 people's perspective on. You know a question that you had, and with the chatbot it feels a little bit like we're reverting to the single source model. You're expected to just kind of trust that the chatbot.

The chatbot is presented as an expert right or as a kind of oracle, and there's been efforts to have them cite their sources, but it's still, it's still pretty limited. They're not, they're not citing their sources all the time and you know they, as you say, they're prone to what are being called hallucinations, that they may be telling you something that's true, they may be telling you something that's false and it's really difficult, it can be really difficult to tell. So that's that's kind of why I feel like we. It is a little bit of a return from an open, a more open internet to a more of a primitive gatekeeping model.

0:15:55 - Jason Howell
Yeah, yeah, interesting stuff Now you. I know we've kind of reached the end of the time for the interview, but I did want to mention this tool, this like searchable capability that people have to kind of see what's in there and everything. Actually, I did a show yesterday with Jeff Jarvis, who's written a couple of books what would Google do, being one of them on yesterday's this Week in Google and he searched the database and, sure enough, a couple of his books were in the database, and he definitely comes from the perspective of, like you know, it doesn't bother me at all, I'm happy to have my work in there. I'm sure there are some authors that feel that way. It sounds like, though, these cases are being levied, obviously, by authors who absolutely do not feel that way. If people want to search the database for themselves, like how can they do that?

0:16:43 - Alex Reisner
Yeah, just go to the Atlantic. There's an article there. There's a search tool. If you just search the Atlantic's website for books three, you can find that and search for what it's search for all your favorite authors or your own books, if you are an author.

0:16:59 - Jason Howell
Yes, exactly, exactly. I mean, if you're searching for your favorite authors, there's I mean, there's really not a whole lot you can do with that directly. It's not like here's a source for you to get a bunch of pirated books or anything like that. It's definitely not along those lines. But I guess I suppose it's interesting to know kind of what informs this dataset, to get a better sense of how these systems come to the conclusions that they do when we're using them. And, yeah, fascinating.

0:17:27 - Alex Reisner
Yeah, exactly.

0:17:28 - Jason Howell
Yeah, alex, I appreciate you taking time to join me first of all, but I want to thank you for hopping on and taking out 15 minutes of your life to talk about this and the work that you're doing following this story. Obviously, alex writes for the Atlantic. You can find a number of articles that he's written on this topic, including the one we're showing right now. Search the books database powering Metas, generative AI. You can take a look at that yourself, and I'm sure we'll be seeing more coming from Alex in the near future. Thank you so much for your time, alex. We appreciate you.

0:17:59 - Alex Reisner
Yeah, thank you, Jason.

0:18:01 - Jason Howell
All right, we will talk to you soon. Okay, coming up. Another interview, two of three, in fact. We're going to be speaking with Daniel Rubino from Windows Central about Microsoft Copilot and what is it in its current incarnation and in light of the past week's worth of news around the topic. So we'll get to that in a moment, but first this episode Tech News Weekly is brought to you by Zip Recruiter.

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Last week Microsoft had its big surface and AI event. They all have AI in there in some way, shape or form these days. It began with a bang the announcement of a unified co-pilot offering and you know, I know I would love to know more about this. So we have Daniel Rubino from Windows Central here to talk all about that smart AI feature. Said Welcome back to the show, daniel. Thanks for having me. Yeah, it's great to get you here. Thank you for taking some time to talk about co-pilot, which I realize. Like I'm not entrenched in the Microsoft world, but I do know that co-pilot kind of existed before the news last week. So the news wasn't that it exists, but rather that it's kind of changing to kind of integrate on a wider scale. Talk a little bit about how co-pilot existed prior to this integration. Where were people running into and interacting with co-pilot prior to last week.

0:21:59 - Daniel Rubino
Actually nowhere. So co-pilot yeah, co-pilot was a demonstration of a product that was supposed to come later this fall, when it was first show off in May, got it? Yeah, I think what you're confusing with it's Bing Chat. So Bing Chat's been out since February that was the big thing that was announced and co-pilot is built off of that, using a lot of the same technology. So they're similar but they're a little bit different as well. So what happened was in May they announced that co-pilot was coming and what they showed was it existing in all different apps and everything, and they would just call it co-pilot for Outlook and co-pilot for Excel and all that. All they kind of did at this event was unify them conceptually with a unified logo, but they're still technically exist independently within different apps or Windows 11 itself. The difference, of course, is they're all tied to your Microsoft account, so stuff that's kind of shared between them. But that's kind of what was the big story. They went to more detail about stuff that's coming as well, as for Bing Chat, for Enterprise.

0:23:06 - Jason Howell
Okay. So with this kind of unified approach, which to me makes a lot of sense I know Google has been doing this as well with a lot of its AI into its products I've felt for the past year kind of my growing feeling around AI is it makes a heck of a lot more sense to bring AI into the things you're already using, as opposed to having, like a destination that you go to interact and that seems to be what Microsoft is doing with co-pilot what is its capabilities and where are people discovering it?

0:23:40 - Daniel Rubino
So what happened was this week Microsoft pushed out a new update. They're just calling it the September 26th update. There's really no official name for it, but if you go and seek this update meaning you go and check for updates on your Windows 11 computer and it's qualified you will get this update. Otherwise, it'll be pushed out to everyone in the coming weeks. This is the first release publicly or I should say that mainstream versus the insider channels where co-pilot is available. It's only available in some countries. It's going to be rolling out. It's in preview form, so it's an early look at it.

What can it do now? Not a ton, I mean. So it does like Bing chat, right, so Bing chat's in there, so you can do all the same stuff you were doing in Bing chat before. You can drag and drop things into it. So there's some cool stuff you can already do. There's a lot more coming, but, like right now, you can take like a screenshot on your computer of whatever say it has text in it. You can drop it into the chat and ask it a question summarize what's on this image, tell me what this is, translate it and all that, and it'll use OCR to basically read that image and do whatever you're asking it to do. Eventually, you'll also be able to take a photo and drop it into it and say you know, remove the background. And it will remove the background for you. So there's a bunch of this sort of like things you can do there. It's also sort of contextual, so there's an option to turn it on, and it works with Edge, so it can like see what's on Edge at the moment, so you can be like hey, summarize this page or do this and do that. And you can also do basic commands with Windows itself, like you can tell it to go to dark mode or organize your Windows.

But more and more features are coming. I think this is sort of like you know, years ago Microsoft had Cortana and then we have Siri and we had all these assistants. This is what we thought that was going to be. So this is truly an assistant that uses machine learning. It's going to love, it's going to be local and it's going to be able to actually go and do requests for you, as well as other things. For instance, microsoft has a thing called a phone link, where it connects your Android phone and even the iPhone to Windows itself and you can see text messages and alerts and notifications all on your computer without taking your phone out. Well, with Copilot, you can be able to ask Copilot, you know, to search something in your text messages and it'll be able to do that from your PC and search it on your phone because it's going to have a record of your text messages that came in. So it's really kind of a very powerful tool. That's only to get more powerful in the coming weeks, months and years.

0:26:19 - Jason Howell
Yeah, you can imagine, as an operating system is built up around this kind of advanced functionality, what that could lead to. Do you have any wish list items? You know what it's capable of doing some pretty interesting stuff, though the sky's the limit for the future. I really want this particular thing, for it to be able to do that. Do you have any wish list items?

0:26:45 - Daniel Rubino
Yeah, I think the Holy Grail here is proactive actions. In other words, you get up in the morning, turn your computer on and Copilot tells you hey, you have these important emails that came in. You have a calendar appointment here. Do you want me to text this person? You?

0:27:02 - Alex Reisner
know like, really like a true assistant.

0:27:04 - Daniel Rubino
Yeah, and that's going to be possible. It'll take us some time to get there, but it's totally possible. The big thing that's coming out with Intel is an NPU, so all processors coming out in the next couple of years will have a dedicated processor for AI and this is going to start using that, you know. So that's kind of future there.

I also just like the stuff in Outlook and Office, so like, for instance, if you're in Office like, one of the things in like PowerPoint was you had to be like a PowerPoint expert before to make a good PowerPoint presentation. It was a skill in of itself, let alone the knowledge you had to put into whatever that presentation was. Now you can go in and tell it be like hey, give me a banner with the fall leaves and use this photo in there as well, and it'll generate a banner for you and put it in there. Or give me a background image and then you can use that image. You can remove things from the background, add things to it, all using AI. Then this is now going to be powered by Dolly 3, which is a much more powerful implementation of being an image creator. Interesting.

0:28:01 - Jason Howell
Okay. So how are people, how are users presented with the opportunity to do this? Is this something that they find kind of in the task bar, like search or microphone area, in order to trigger it? Or is it more integrated into each different component of the operating system and apps in different places where it makes sense? How is that presented?

0:28:23 - Daniel Rubino
Yes, so the short answer is with the Windows 11 update this week, if you got it, which has 150 new features in there and I believe if you're in the US or certain countries you'll have co-pilot preview It'll be next to the search bar. It's their new universal icon that they're using. It's a very colorful ribbon and it says pre on it. When you click it, a pane is going to slide out from the right side and give you access to it. So that's how it's going to exist in Windows 11.

There'll be a shortcut key you can do just to bring it up as well. It'll probably be voice activated pretty soon too. It will also be in those other apps I said, like Microsoft Office Word PowerPoint. That's still coming, but that's going to be sort of the next iteration. It's also going to. They're going to update Edge to, instead of having to be chat icon, it's going to be this icon, so it's going to be in all their apps in some form. It's even in SwiftKey right now on Android and I think, on iOS, but it's so you can actually use the keyboard and start using this technology within the keyboard to grammar check and do all this sort of stuff right on your phone in real time.

0:29:29 - Jason Howell
How much of this. I'm assuming this is all happening on device and not necessarily going to the cloud. Is there any sort of concerns around? You know the standard kind of concerns that we see around AI and like data privacy, especially when you're talking about, like, enterprise users and stuff like that. Is that even a consideration here?

0:29:51 - Daniel Rubino
So for enterprise, of course it is.

0:29:53 - Alex Reisner
Right Enterprise is the white glove treatment right.

0:29:57 - Daniel Rubino
So there is Bing chat for enterprise. It's a siloed version of this and what that means is whatever data you're putting into it or giving it access to never goes to Microsoft and is never used to train models for AI. Okay, basically, it stays on the device and doesn't go anywhere, and when you use it, it actually has a secure notification at the top telling you that, or consumers. It's a bit different Now. None of the information you're giving is tied to. It's tied to your account, but not. But it's anonymous. There's no name with it, right? So it goes back into the system. It is used for training. There's been over a billion chats used by Bing chat so far. So your whatever you put in there is going to be used for training, but it won't be traceable back to you.

Now, it's just a privacy and security concern. Yeah, possibly, right, I think all this stuff is, and you know there was recently a headline talking about how all this new AI is basically a surveillance tool and it kind of is, in a way, so we have to be careful with this. I'll say Microsoft has published what they call their ethics on AI and you can go to their website and they publish all their documents of what they're doing with privacy, their goals and their philosophy on this approach. It's all transparent and there for anyone to read, so you know they're being very forward with this stuff, making sure consumers know what they're getting into. Of course, you can always opt out of this stuff. No one's forcing you to use it. You can just turn this thing off if you don't want to use it too. Sure, sure.

0:31:24 - Jason Howell
Okay, now, this was just one of many announcements and, before we let you go, I thought I'd give you the opportunity to you know. Maybe this was the most exciting part of the announcements last week, or maybe it's something else. What was the announcement from last week that had you most excited, most energized?

0:31:43 - Daniel Rubino
So I mean Windows 11 in general has just gotten a lot more refined and it's just turning out to be like a really nice modern operating system. They're clearly devoting a lot of time to doing that, so I'm pretty happy overall. This update I think it's one of the more substantial ones we've seen since the release of Windows 11. But besides that, they also announced a Surface Laptop Studio 2. I've gone on record saying the Laptop Studio the first one is one of my favorite laptops ever. It's just and it's one of the best Surface devices they've ever created. It's very expensive, it's kind of a niche use, but it's just. It gets great battery life, the performance is good and the form factor is totally unique. So I'm getting my hands on the second one very soon and very excited to try that out. I think it's just one of the best examples of what a Windows PC can be.

0:32:25 - Jason Howell
Yeah, okay, well, that's a big tease forward then, with the successor coming out and you'll have the review at windowscentralcom, I imagine, here in a short bit. So, daniel Rivino, thank you so much for hopping on and telling me a little bit about this and, yeah, everybody should follow your work at windowscentralcom. Thank you, great Thanks. All right, take care, we'll talk to you soon, we'll take a break and then, when we are done with the break, we're going to talk a little bit about net neutrality being a thing again. What does that even mean? Is it a big deal? I know it was a big deal when it kind of went poof. Suddenly the net neutrality rules were threatened, and so we're going to talk a little bit about that with Roger Chang from Cordcutter's Newscom.

But first this episode of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by Duo. Duo protects against breaches with a leading access management suite. It's strong, it's multi-layered defenses, it's innovative capabilities that only allow legitimate users in, and then, of course, keeps the bad actors out. For any organization concerned about being breached that needs protection fast especially, duo quickly enables strong security while also improving user productivity. Duo prevents unauthorized access with multi-layered defenses and modern capabilities that thwart sophisticated malicious access attempts. You can increase authentication requirements in real time when that risk is rising. When it rises, duo enables high productivity by only requiring authentication when needed. That enables swift, easy and secure access. Duo provides an all-in-one solution for strong MFA, passwordless single sign-on and trusted endpoint verification. Duo helps you implement zero trust principles by verifying users and their devices. You can start your free trial today. You can sign up today at Check it out for yourself. That's We thank Duo for their support of Tech News Weekly.

Alright, so net neutrality let's just say it's had its ups and downs in the past number of years. It was kicked off I mean, initially, it was kind of launched by the Obama administration, so it was kicked off by the Obama administration and then kicked out during the Trump presidency, then FCC Chairman Ajit Pai ultimately dismantling the rules in 2018. And things felt pretty iffy for net neutrality at that point. Things are changing, though, and so I thought it would be a good reason to check in on this. Roger Chang actually wrote about this for Cord Cutters News, and so Roger is here with me to talk all about it. Welcome back, roger. It's good to see you.

0:35:23 - Roger Cheng
Thanks, Jason. I'm excited to be back on the show.

0:35:26 - Jason Howell
Yeah, it's good to see you and with your new digs. I think the last time we had you on you were at CNET, so now you're with Cord Cutters News and yeah, so congratulations on the transition and I think this is a great opportunity to kind of talk about something. It's funny. Yesterday on this Week in Google, I brought up this story and it kind of felt like crickets and I found it kind of interesting because, man, there for a while net neutrality was the thing that everybody was talking about. I don't think that it's any less important now than it was before, but I wonder if, like, we have whiplash at this point. It's like oh, here we go again. What's your take on this current stage of net neutrality?

0:36:08 - Roger Cheng
I mean there's absolutely an aspect where there's a fatigue with the issue. I mean, this is an issue that people were so passionate about and I think a lot of people still are passionate about it but because of the back and forth, it was approved and then it was dismantled and now it might be approved again the back and forth I think folks are seeing that this has become such a partisan issue that it's exhausting to follow, because there are so many partisan issues out there and just keeping up with everything can be a lot for people.

0:36:37 - Jason Howell
Yeah, yeah. So before we kind of dive into where we are, maybe a little bit of history. Talk about the kind of briefly, if you don't mind the initial foundation of net neutrality and then kind of what led to it ultimately being dismantled.

0:36:52 - Roger Cheng
Yeah ultimately, net neutrality started as just sort of a policy, a general policy that the FCC wanted to implement across ISPs.

The basic underpinning is that ISPs like Comcast, verizon or AT&T have to treat traffic on their networks fairly. They can't prioritize one over the other. There can't be so-called fast lanes that folks can pay for priority access to the end user, and so that has resulted that sort of simple idea. Codifying it into some sort of rule that can be enforced has been just this kind of massive messy drama that has really taken place over the last decade or so and has shifted with different administrations, different political leanings, and so now you know it's coming back theoretically, but again we don't know if, for instance, if this somehow becomes successful, if history doesn't repeat itself and if, for instance, trump wins or Trump wins a reelection, then it gets all tossed out again. So I think that's kind of again going back to why people are exhausted about it. That's partly why I think there's a lot of confusion and a lot of concern about this, because even if they're going to bring it back, who's to say another administration won't dismantle it all over again?

0:38:14 - Jason Howell
Yeah, it just becomes a hot potato back and forth, or? A tennis match or something. Considering what I will call the net neutrality winter, were there aspects of the broadband industry that were able to kind of capitalize? Was there a perception that the lack of net neutrality rules, the way they had been kind of instilled prior to the removal, did that impact things? Did we see negative impacts as a result of it not being what it once was?

0:38:52 - Roger Cheng
That's a great question and I was kind of looking back at it and I didn't see a huge amount of examples. But I think that's partly because after, in the wake of those federal rules getting dismantled, a bunch of states took up the cause right California, Washington. A number of states implemented their own net neutrality rules and in some cases, like in California, the rules actually went beyond what the FCC had asked, like things like banning zero rating as a practice. And so I think, because of that sort of fragmented environment that we're in, where there are net neutrality laws but they're all kind of different and there's different state by state, there haven't been a lot of examples of egregious actions taken by ISPs, sort of capitalizing or picking advantage of the lack of regulations, because there were regulations there and that was all over the place and it wasn't a particularly consistent set of rules that anyone had to play by.

0:39:46 - Jason Howell
Yeah, yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense, that's right. The rebound after that was like all right. Well then, we're going to take it to the states and we did see a lot of changes there. But in order for what's happening now to happen, there needed to be some changes at the FCC, and that was a bit of a dramatic moment, or has been for a little while. Talk a little bit about what transpired to ultimately kind of lead to where we are right now, where it's just kind of being proclaimed as like it's net neutrality season again.

0:40:16 - Roger Cheng
Yes, yes, I mean the FCC, for the majority of Biden's administration, has been a fairly toothless organization for sanctions for all of it, really, because they were deadlocked with two commissioners two Republican commissioners, two Democrat commissioners there typically is three of whatever political parties in power and they had a lot of problems. The Biden administration had a lot of problems getting their first pick, gigi Stone, confirmed as commissioner. There was a bit of a campaign against her for some of the things she said previously, I would argue unfairly characterized as radical, but there was a lot of opposition to her being sworn in. As a result, they could not get a fifth commissioner. They were deadlocked two to two, which meant they couldn't really do anything. So now that Anagomez has been sworn in as the third commissioner, literally a day after she was sworn in, sec chair Jessica Rosenwurzel announced this push to bring back nationality, which was something that President Joe Biden and a number of Democratic lawmakers have expressed support of since the beginning.

0:41:32 - Jason Howell
Then that has been proclaimed. What is the next step then? Did they outline any official plan to say and this is how we're going to enforce this, or just this is what we want to work on?

0:41:48 - Roger Cheng
It's right now. I mean, as with every sort of government action, there's just a lot of processes. I think the initial step is to open this up for public feedback. There's a vote next month to make sure that there actually can, which is because of the three to majority and sort of the facto, but they're going to be opening up for public feedback. Rosenwurzel said that she was looking to listen this time. She wanted to have an open dialogue. But yeah, this is a process that could take a while and even as it happened with Ajapai and then with Tom Wheeler before him, it's a years long process or a year long process to kind of get this stuff through. It is a yeah, it's a messy and it's a complicated thing to kind of get a rule of this magnitude past. And even once it passes, it's going to deal with like legal challenges. So this is going to take a while, for it's not that it's not going to happen where she just snaps her finger.

Yeah, for sure it's going to be a while.

0:42:50 - Jason Howell
Yeah, yeah. Now you quoted Jonathan Salters, the CEO of US Telecom, who represents the broadband companies, so that's like AT&T Verizon. He called these rules quote designed for a long forgotten era. That runs directly counter to and will likely derail the critical achievement we are so close to reaching universal connectivity. I'm curious to know what he, what he means by that, what, what from his perspective and from the perspective of broadband companies? What is the, what is the threat from their perspective as far as this net neutrality push?

0:43:26 - Roger Cheng
coming back, yeah, this is this idea that net neutrality, that these, these rules are antiquated. That is a long time argument made by the SP is, generally speaking, that you know this. What this entails is reclassifying these ISPs under a Title II designation, which, which is a common carrier designation, similar to gas and power right, and the idea that they've got to treat all traffic neutral is kind of similar to how gas and power works. And because of that they argue that this is an antiquated law. It's overly burdensome to the ISPs to follow. But you know, the FCC sort of addressed this right.

They uh Rosenworstle was clear that this wasn't about um, you know, mandating or changing rates. This wasn't about um really mandating their businesses. It's really about bringing back enforcement power to the FCC, because when Audra Pies FCC dismantled these rules, they also sort of abdicated any kind of enforcement authority to the FCC and the FCC doesn't really have a lot to say unless there's like an antitrust concern. So you know what this really does beyond just sort of again codifying this idea of an open internet. It really kind of brings back some of the enforcement powers to the FCC for things like dealing with outages or that. She called out the situation from a few years back when Verizon throttled some firefighters in Santa Clara. Right, even if that was Verizon says that was a mistake, even if it was a mistake, the FCC didn't have the authority to step in right away and say, hey, like this is a right and kind of lovey fees or fines. With this change that would allow for that, and I think that's what the ISPs are generally concerned about.

0:45:07 - Jason Howell
Yeah, okay, that makes sense. Well, I would encourage everybody to go to cordcuttersnewscom and read. Your write-up is a very kind of detailed and insightful look into net neutrality, the then, the now, kind of where it's headed, and also just a great opportunity to get you back on the show from your new dig. So, roger Chang, thank you so much for hopping on with me today. I appreciate it. It's been nice talking to you Absolutely, absolutely.

0:45:35 - Roger Cheng
Thanks, Jason. Really appreciate it, Joe, with the chat.

0:45:37 - Jason Howell
Absolutely, and we will talk to you again in the future and bring it back. So thank you again, roger. All right, we're gonna take a quick break and thank the sponsor of this episode of TechNews Weekly, and then I am going to go ahead and give you my review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Plus. It's a little bit of a mouthful to say that, but that's what Samsung does these days. That's coming up in a moment, but first this episode of TechNews Weekly is brought to you by our friends ITProTV, now ACI Learning. Our listeners know the name ITProTV as one of our trusted sponsors for the last decade. They've been with us for so long. It's been awesome.

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All right, so about a month ago I got this here tablet. It is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 plus 5G. Actually, the folks at AT&T sent this my way through an AT&T SIM into it, which you know of any of the tablets that I've ever owned, I've never had like a SIM plan, but it is really nice to like have a SIM card inside of a tablet for when you go traveling and stuff like that. This is the 12 gig RAM and 256 gigs of storage version of the tablet and so I've been using it and I know that it's been about a month because I can tell you when I go into the camera and let's see here. I don't need location, I don't like to have location, and if I go to some of the earlier photos, it's my puppy, which I can't help but show pictures of, and I'm telling you he's like twice that size now in like a month. I looked at these pictures as I was getting ready for this review and I was like, oh my God, he is so much bigger than that now. It's just kind of blown my mind. But anyways, we'll talk about the cameras in a second.

This is the design of the tablet, and I have to say this is not the only S9, or Galaxy series kind of premium Samsung tablet that I've used before. I've reviewed a lot of their premium offerings on their tablets and my opinion is, if you're looking for an Android specific tablet and you want some of the best out there, this is where you go, samsung's Galaxy Tab kind of their premium lineup, this year being the S9. This is the S9 Plus, and then you can get the S9 Ultra, which has even better specs and even more features. I'm not reviewing that today, though. I'm just reviewing the Plus Still a very worthy competitor against even the Ultra.

This thing has been a beauty for me to use and you can see the design's very. It's got a very like thin but durable design, aluminum sides all around the back of the device. You see the camera layout is a little different from last year's. It really matches the individual little camera lenses popping out matches the look of the current iteration of phones. So the design between the phones and the tablets really match. You can see this little area on the back here. That is for your S-Pen.

I'm happy to say the S-Pen actually ships in the box and you can snap that back there. Now it's not like embedded into the device. If they did that, this device would be a lot thicker, it just would be. But the magnet's pretty solid and when it's attached there it is charging. You can hardly see it, probably on the overhead, but here let me get the do the fingerprint sensor, of which there is one, as you saw there, but up at the very top. You don't need to zoom in or anything. But I promise you one of those icons is a little pen and essentially that is charging. That's what's happening there Is it is sending charge from the tablet to the S-Pen to keep it charged and it does not take very long to do that. But the design itself you know it's pretty solid. You've got your USB-C port down the bottom.

Dual speakers on both sides and I actually have to say the speakers are very loud. They're actually 20% larger from last year's speakers in the tablet then. So that's nice. You know they're still. You know they're still gonna be kind of thin and a little empty. You're not getting any booming. You know qualities out of it because they're tiny little speakers but they do sound better. This has, for the first time, ip68 water resistance, so you could soak this in water for up to 30 minutes according to the IP68 rating. I did not do that. I'm not gonna do that for two AT&T's reviewing it. I will take their word for it, but nonetheless, you know if you find yourself in a wet environment, this tablet is gonna be protected a lot more, just inherently because of the IP68 rating.

The buttons on the top you know they feel solid. They pop out just enough for it to feel, you know, kind of intact and not loosey and kind of squishy or anything like that. They're very solid feeling. This is where the SIM card tray exists. So design-wise, I mean it's pretty simple slate. You know the, not even a rounded display. It's very flat and that allows it to be very thin, so it really does just fit into the bag really nicely. It has a little bit of kind of like a sharp edge to it. I mean, they've what do they call that? They've, I guess they've rounded it a little bit. I don't know that it's necessarily Trumford, which is a word I enjoy saying, but it does. You know, if you're kind of holding it into your wrist as you're watching something, the kind of edges of the tablet do have a tendency to kind of dig in a little bit. It wasn't horrible, but it's just something to keep in mind. Some people really prefer kind of the more rounded edges of other devices.

The display itself is a 12.4 inch dynamic AMOLED. It can ramp between 60 Hertz to 120 Hertz refresh, depending on the content, depending on what you're looking at, and so that's very nice. Did you know that the Piranha often feared as a blood thirsty killer? Okay, so you can see, you know it. Things, things kind of scroll smoothly when you're on YouTube. In other apps, as I've been scrolling through, I don't get that kind of like herky, jerky, knit quality that I do see on some pieces of hardware. So the and the display, like the colors, are nice. It's a narrow display, as you see here, 16 by 10. So it's not book like, like what you might get out of the iPad, right, it's definitely a little bit more geared for media consumption. So YouTube works. You know really well from that regard when I'm not watching an ad.

So let's see here, let's go ahead and skip that and we can go ahead and jump to the full screen and I could probably even improve the quality, because I don't think that it's automatically doing that, but I'm not. Oh, there we go, hold on, let me see if I get that here. Quality adds auto to 360. Let's just go higher quality. And did it even snap over? I don't even know this. Oh, there we go. It snapped into place now, yeah, anyways, sometimes display quality is hard to show on a live stream because we're already filtering through cameras and everything To get to your display. But I can say like the brightness of this display when I'm outside was wonderful.

I had this outside playing Fallout shelter quite a bit and it was ample, you know ample brightness for the outside light of the daylight light. Performance wise, you've got the snapdragon 8 gen 2 processor in here and and Fast enough for everything that I was throwing at it. I really could not be slowed down by this, which is to be expected for Samsung's premium hardware. It has a 10,090 milliamp hour battery with 45 watt wired charging. I found this to have excellent battery life. It actually survived Pretty much all of my trip to Boise and I was there almost a week ago, or almost for for a week a few weeks ago, but for a week and I was using this thing like crazy. I don't know why it's taken so long to load this particular level, but I don't. I think that's probably more on Fallout shelter than that is the tablet itself, but I found the battery life to be wonderful. Through that use it also charges really fast.

This thing has a vapor chamber Inside, so that's for two-way heat dissipation. So when you're, you know, playing an intensive game or doing a lot of multitasking and stuff like I never felt, the tablet Actually heat up and get warm, which I do Detect with some tablets. And then, just so you know, like I said, this does have 5g connectivity, which came in really handy. This is the only version, the only variant, to have that. So if you're getting the s9, the tab s9 or the tab s9 ultra, you're not going to have the ability to do the 5g With the sim card, but you can with the plus. So that's definitely a Bonus for this particular hardware.

Samsung's one UI, it's one UI 5.1. It's kind of a known Quantity at this point at least. If you've used Samsung in the last couple of years, you know that Samsung has I feel like they have Really kind of stepped up their game in yes, still offering a lot of the kind of bonus features and stuff that that they're known for, but also just kind of, you know, after a short break, kind of break in period, getting out of the way, like I haven't been nagged on this tablet nearly as much as I sometimes Complain about when setting up new Samsung devices a little bit here and there, but for the most part the UI offers more, while still kind of getting out of the way when need be. And you know some of the like multitasking options. Let's see here. Let's go To YouTube. I can, you know, open that in split-screen mode. Have something else over here. Maybe it's a calculator. I don't know why I'd need to pull up a calculator, but you can do some of these kind of Things that it, from a multitasking perspective that I actually really enjoyed doing on the Z fold that are reviewed like a month ago, and you know, the tablet kind of layout allows you to to do that and a big part of that is what Samsung has done with one UI to enable that. As far as updates are concerned, you get four years of OS updates, five years of security. That was kind of the top of the heap and and I guess officially still is, but the rumor is that next week with Google's pixel Announcements that they are going to offer up to seven years of updates. So it'll be interesting to see if Samsung ups its game. I mean, I feel like the hardware and the software inside would be capable of stepping up to that next level, but we'll leave that to To Samsung to Determine.

I was just showing the cameras and I kind of showed you a little bit of the camera roll. I'll be honest, when I use tablets I rarely ever take pictures, so I didn't really put the cameras through its paces as much as someone who really uses the cameras on their tablet might. I always, you know, and and I think rightfully so when I really kind of blew up some of the pictures that I did take on this device. You know they look fine, but there was nothing really to write home about. Some of you know you get a little bit of that kind of blown out texture when you are in ample light. I mean it might look good when you're zoomed out, but then when you start zooming in you start to see kind of the image breakdown and in ways that I'm not used to seeing.

When I look at my pixel Images and really kind of scrutinize some of the detail that is found in there, this is more like the wide-angle lens on the back and this is the standard, so you can see a little bit of the, the depth dimension, the difference between what they're able to capture. This is me, surrounded by a tree, giving a face. But this is the front-facing camera. To give you a sense of Kind of what you're capable of, of getting out of the front-facing camera as well. And you know it's fine, it has a camera, it's, it's serviceable, it's. It's fine that the images definitely do not stand up to the quality that I'm used to seeing on their phones, a little bit of kind of like hazy quality at times, but I've seen a heck of a lot worse when it comes to cameras on tablets, and so I think you know, for a camera on tablet, it's fine. It's just not amazing, I think.

Overall for Android, like I said, samsung's premium tablets, in my opinion, are the ones to beat. I always really enjoy when I get my hands on Samsung's latest kind of premium tablet offering. This was no different. I really enjoyed using this tablet and I'm sad that I had to return it because I just really loved it. It is pricey, though, and that is kind of the big thing about Samsung's. You know, top-of-the-line hardware, and especially with their tablets like this configuration, is one thousand one hundred forty nine dollars, so you're paying a pretty penny to get this premium tablet experience on Android, and that's going to turn some people away, like some people, you know if, whether it's fair or not, some people are going to go. Well, why would I spend, you know, almost $1200 on an Android tablet when I can get a, you know, a better tablet with the one of the Would like the iPad Pro or whatever you know perspective they're coming from, and I don't know I think that's just a determination you have to make whether $1200 almost $1200 for a large format Android tablet is worth it to you.

It's a fantastic piece of hardware. I actually really like it a lot. I don't know that I would spend $1200 or 1150 Out of pocket for this tablet. Like maybe if it was like right around 999, maybe I'd be more inclined with that. But man, passing I don't know what it is, but passing that that thousand dollar mark and going into the four digits makes it harder for me. But it's great hardware. You've got that update promise. Hopefully that expands at some point and Samsung opens that up. But I mean, even if it's just five years, I think the hardware and the software Capabilities inside this tablet Give it, give it a nice bit of life. If you're spending 1150, you know $1,150 for it. So that is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 plus 5g. Thank you to AT&T for sending me this review unit and you know, if you have the opportunity, check it out for yourself and see what you think about kind of premium Android tablet experience.

That is it for this episode of Tech news weekly. Love doing this show. Yeah, I always learned so much getting the opportunity to talk with people each and every week about the different topics that we bring on, and it's just a heck of a lot of fun. A little bit more fun when Mike is here but he'll be back next week, so I'll look forward to that.

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Twit TV slash club twit You're. You're helping us Continue to do what we love to do here at twit directly when you do that, so can't thank you enough for all the club members and hopefully you'll become one too. You can find me on all the social media. Just do a search for Jason howl. Hopefully you find my real one, because I'm not always quick enough to the draw to reserve just Jason howl. I'm his networks as much as I wish I was, but do a search, you'll probably be able to see which ones are mine. Big thanks to John, to John Burke was testing folks out for today's interviews as well behind the scenes. So thanks to Burke and thanks to you for watching and listening each and every week, and we'll see you next time on Tech News Weekly.

1:06:04 - Lou Maresca
Bye everybody. Come join us on this week in enterprise tech. Expert co-hosts and I talk about the enterprise world, and we're joined by industry professionals and trailblazers like CEOs, cios, ctos, ctos every acronym role plus IT pros and marketeers. We talk about technology, software plus services, security you name it. Everything under the sun. You know what? I learned something each and every week and I bet you you will too. So definitely join us and, of course, check out the website and click on this week enterprise tech. Subscribe today.

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