We've been talking a lot about Net Neutrality, which is the idea that bits should flow along the "information superhighway" without being artificially impeded by an internet service provider. If the internet is an information superhighway, then the internet service provider is the exit ramp. It's how that stuff going back and forth across the world gets to your home. But wouldn't it be annoying if there were toll roads across town, and you'd need to pay a toll to get the internet to your house? If in order to get access to certain websites, you'd need to pay an additional toll?
This Week in Tech News
Elon Musk is afraid that machines are getting smarter and smarter and he worries that they are an existential threat to humanity and may decide that they can rule over us or even worse, get rid of us. Leo thinks Musk has watched too many movies. Rodney Brooks, an artificial intelligence expert from MIT, said most people worried about that aren't working in AI, and he says that they aren't too worried because AI is too hard to perfect. Most are limited machines who can't move beyond their programming. It's a thin veneer of what looks like AI, but in reality, machines are pretty dumb.
Amazon has launched a social purchasing network called Spark, where you buy something and it posts your purchase to your social network so that others can buy it too. They've also launched a clothes app, where the app will make suggestions of what you should wear.
This week a lot of companies announced their quarterly profits and losses, and Microsoft had a very good quarter. Net income in 3 months of 6.5 billion. For the first time ever, Microsoft made more money with Microsoft Office subscriptions than off the shelf copies. This has become a common practice for software now.
This week marked the annual Day of Action for Net Neutrality designed to lobby the FCC and Congress. Leo says that naturally, most of the broadcasters ignored or gave lip service to covering the event, because they are all tied to major internet providers who "have a dog in this hunt." Leo says that the internet needs to be treated like a utility, something that needs to be open and available to all.
On Friday, Tesla launched its more affordable $35,000 car, the Model 3. The thing that's been keeping these cars so expensive is because of the batteries it requires. Teslas have a long range of 200+ miles, which means it needs bigger batteries. Tesla has put batteries in the chassis for this, which is a good place to put them because it gives the car more stability and keeps it out of the way. The price of these batteries has been dropping considerably, though.
Leo has had the Nest IQ camera for review this past week. It's an indoor 4K camera, but it doesn't necessarily stream 4K over the network. Because it has such a high resolution camera, it can zoom and pan, and also has face recognition. It can see a person coming to the house and identify whether or not it's someone familiar or a stranger. It's an expensive camera, but because it's a Google company, Nest cameras are among the most secure cameras on the market.
Leo got the Amazon Echo Show this past week. This has a 7" screen, with high quality stereo speakers in it. It also has a camera and microphone. This means it can do things like play video content in Flash Briefings, and has video calling. It also has a 'drop-in' feature, which is kind of like an intercom. When you drop-in on someone, you'll be able to hear the other person's audio right away, but they will have to accept to send video.
This past week marked the ten year anniversary of the release of the original iPhone. Leo remembers waiting in line for that iPhone. By today's standards it's tiny, but it was so much better than anything else that was out at the time. When Steve Jobs first talked about it in his keynote address, he introduced it as three new products — a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a phone, and an internet communicator. He kept repeating those three things until everyone understood it was one product, the iPhone.
This week is the tenth anniversary of the iPhone's initial release. Leo says he actually waited in line for it for a few hours, and was a part of the fun of that new product. But he also says that we don't see lines anymore. The head of Apple's consumer division says that it isn't good business to make people wait in line anymore, though it's good for PR purposes. Which is why Apple shifted to a preorder model.