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Troubleshooting Technology Tomorrow and Today

March 4, 2020

This month, we’re digging into troubleshooting, from how Microsoft is doing it on a large scale with Microsoft News to how you can do it as a Windows Insider. First, we’re joined by Ben Rudolph, the director of Microsoft News to look at how Microsoft is driving solutions through technology in the field of journalism.

Then we’re joined by Christopher Caulfield and Emma Saboureau to take a look at the tools available for you to troubleshoot your own devices and how Insiders can get started.

Windows Insider Podcast Ep 28: Troubleshooting Technology Tomorrow and Today

(Music)

JASON HOWARD: Welcome to the Windows Insider Podcast, where leaders from Microsoft and Windows Insiders discuss tech trends, careers, and innovation. I'm your host, Jason Howard.

This is Episode 28, Troubleshooting Technology Tomorrow and Today.

But first, if you're not yet a Windows Insider, head over to our website, insider.windows.com, and register for free. Insiders get access to upcoming Windows features before they're released to the public, plus exclusive opportunities to experience all Microsoft has to offer.

All right, on to the show!

This month, we're digging into how you can take a deep dive into troubleshooting and we'll also look at how Microsoft is doing some troubleshooting of its own in the space of journalism.

First up, we'll be joined by Ben Rudolph, the director of Microsoft News Labs, to take a look at how Microsoft is focused on driving solutions through technology to empower journalists, publishers, and consumers. From tech training to data journalism to AI innovations, his team is working hard to support and transform the field of journalism.

Then, we'll be joined by Christopher Caulfield and Emma Saboureau to dig into how we're troubleshooting within Windows and how you as Windows Insiders can make the most of the tools available to start troubleshooting your own devices.

Without further delay, let's get on with the show.

First up on this month's episode, we're welcoming Ben Rudolph. Welcome to the podcast, Ben. Thank you so much for being here.

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, you bet. Thanks for having me.

JASON HOWARD: So, for the listeners out there who may not know who you are, could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do here at Microsoft?

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, sure, so my name is Ben Rudolph. A lot of you know me as Ben the PC guy on Twitter. I think I connect with a number of you already. And I'm currently the managing director for Microsoft News Labs.

News Labs is a relatively new part of the company, and our job is to help build solutions using the Microsoft stack that can help advance the art, science, and business of journalism.

I've been at the company for 12 years. Started in 2008 as the enterprise PR lead for Windows Vista, which was a pretty tough job.

JASON HOWARD: I'm about to say, you're stretching back there a little bit.

BEN RUDOLPH: Exactly, a little bit, dating myself. I worked on the feature device program, which is really about, like how we bring our best PCs to market and really showcase the world of Windows PCs, which is where I got the nickname, Ben the PC guy stuff.

A lot of you know me from the work I did on Windows Phone on the Smoked by Windows Phone campaign and the Windows Phone challenge, which feels like yesterday, it was actually a number of years ago.

And then after I left phone, I went over to what's called CDS, consumer and device sales, where I led our worldwide retail experience team. If you think about anything that you see, hear, do, or touch while you're shopping for or selling Microsoft technology in a store, like a Best Buy or a Dixon's or a Fnac or Yodobashi, my team designed it and built it.

And then about two years ago, I came over to take on this challenge.

JASON HOWARD: Wow. That is quite the storied history you've got.

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, I've-I’ve been around. I've got a lot of miles on the odometer here at Microsoft.

JASON HOWARD: And it seems almost like you've reinvented yourself a couple times.

BEN RUDOLPH: A little bit. You know, I don't think I could have done any of the subsequent jobs without the previous jobs, and I've loved every single one of them. And being in coms is really interesting, because you get to really think about deep storytelling in a multitude of different altitudes, right? How you can convince people that we have the best position in the market, that we have the best products, why it's going to make their life better. You can really start thinking about these big issues, how you wrap a story around it.

Windows Phone was a blast, because we built a thing that turned into this global experiential marketing platform. It-it kind of—I loved it, because it gave everybody who was a Windows Phone fan like me a set of demos that they could use at—what I call the “backyard barbeque” conversation. You're standing around, and you had your Windows Phone, and all your friends had iPhones or Androids. And you could say, “No, no, this thing is great, let me show you why.” And it was like that, taking that idea, that mission of empowerment and really bringing it down to every single consumer that had a phone in their pocket.

Retail was a blast because I got to do it at scale. It wasn't just the one-to-one conversation, we were selling in tens of thousands of stores around the world, hundreds of thousands of retail pros, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of customers. So, you got to take that empowerment and that idea of helping people connect with technology to fundamentally make their day and their life better, and you just got to do it, you know, in 190 countries around the world and hundreds of languages. It was—it was a blast.

And here, we get to—my role in News Labs, we get to work on something that's critical to all of us, which is empowering journalists to tell the stories that move the world forward.

JASON HOWARD: So, kind of like taking a leg up from there, right? So MSN.com, right, no doubt some of our listeners are familiar with that page. Back in 2014, it was redesigned to become powered by Microsoft News, which essentially was leveraging existing content from partners and trusted organizations. So, can you tell us a little bit more about Microsoft News, why it's a priority for the company, and then what it represents in our broader set of Microsoft goals?

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, sure, so Microsoft News is really a superset of all of the news experiences that show up across the company. So, if you think about the newsfeed, for example, if you have an Android phone, you use the Microsoft Launcher, you have that ability to add a news pane, like a panel. That's Microsoft News.

MSN is Microsoft News. If you think about the work we're doing with Bing News, that's all tied together as part of the same kind of macro-level thing.

And then you think about some of the distribution partners we have, you actually get Microsoft News in places that you didn't even know you get Microsoft News. So for example, if you have an Amazon Fire device—an Amazon, like Fire tablet—and you open up their Silk browser, you get news. It's actually Microsoft News.

JASON HOWARD: Really? Okay.

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, it's powered by us. If you are riding on a train in Switzerland, they have little seatback entertainment things, and you get news feeds—it's actually Microsoft News.

If you go into Pan Cafe, it's an internet cafe chain in southeast Asia, when you log onto the browser, you get a news feed. That's Microsoft News.

So, we're actually in a lot of places, but the Microsoft News brand is not a brand that people are deeply familiar with. They're very deeply familiar with MSN, which is kind of the core—the core product and really like the-the center of gravity for everything we do for news. But between all of those channels, we actually reach about 500 million people in, I want to say about 140 countries we have meaningful market share, and about 35 different languages.

So we're actually, according to ComScore, which takes a look at relevance and trustworthiness of news and all those things, kind of like ranks news sites, according to ComScore, Microsoft News is actually the number one news provider in the world, which is kind of like this really interesting secret because we talk a lot about Windows, and about Office, and about Surface, and Xbox, we don't really talk a lot about Microsoft News, but it's an incredibly influential part of the business that literally hundreds of millions of people in almost every country in the world are looking at every single day.

JASON HOWARD: Like, as you're sitting here saying this, right, the-the scale of it is kind of sinking in. It's easy for me to think about the scale of the Insider population from those out there that are participating in the Windows Insider Program, because we are in every country around the world. Yes, we have Insiders in Antarctica. It's crazy, but it actually happened. I’m super awesomely excited about that.

But when you start getting into numbers like this and you think about the scale and the relationships that have to be built to enable something like this, and then the scale at which is required to deliver this type of thing, like it’s-it's a bit mind-boggling.

BEN RUDOLPH: It’s-it’s—it is. The scale blew me away, because when I first took this job, we were putting this team together, I didn't really understand the scope myself. I knew that MSN was a thing, I knew that it was incredibly important, I knew that it was very popular. What I didn't realize is, how many people we touched on a daily, weekly, monthly, annual basis, how many languages we operate on.

I didn't realize that we had a team of hundreds of editors, human editors, who are working with 4,500 different media brands around the world to curate 170,000 pieces of ingested content a day into the news feeds that you see all around the world.

JASON HOWARD: A day?

BEN RUDOLPH: A day. We get over 170,000 pieces of content every single day. And it's a really interesting mix of technology and human eyes and human empathy that connect to curate that feed into something that is reliable and relevant and important and interesting to all of those different 500 million people.

So, we have people who are former journalists, we have former editors, we have technologists, we have engineers. It's an incredibly diverse mix of people all around the world, not just here in Redmond. We have editors in about 50 different locations around the world working with our news partners to help make sure that the best, most important, most relevant news is making it to your phone, or your tablet, or your Edge browser, or wherever else you get your news.

JASON HOWARD: Across any surface that’s—

BEN RUDOLPH: Across any surface. If you think about it, Microsoft News, I mean, you can get it on Edge, of course, it's built into the new tab page or the informational mode. If you want to get news every single day, you can either—if you're on inspirational mode, just click the little arrow at the bottom, it'll pop up, or click the cog and select informational mode, it'll pop right up.

You can get it through MSN. We have apps for Windows, for iOS, for Android, available through the Microsoft Launcher. And, of course, based on the way we built the site, it works through any modern browser. So, if you're not on Edge, which you should be, (laughter,) and you use a different browser, that's okay, too, you can go to MSN and you can get all of that information.

So, literally, on any surface that you can possibly think of, including Surface, you can get Microsoft news.

JASON HOWARD: Wow, that's pretty fantastic.

BEN RUDOLPH: It's a—it’s a pretty neat team to be part of.

JASON HOWARD: So, kind of looking backwards again, just a little bit, right? Last month, February, I saw a few headlines that showed up across different surfaces of news, right?

BEN RUDOLPH: Perhaps Microsoft News.

JASON HOWARD: Hey, possibly so. And they were talking about this thing called the Insights and Discovery Accelerator, IDA for short, which if I don't—if I got this right, that's something that your team helped with. Can you tell us a little bit about what this tool is, how it works?

BEN RUDOLPH: Sure.

JASON HOWARD: And, no, doubt, you think thing is, obviously, super important.

BEN RUDOLPH: We think it's super important. So, this was actually the first solution for journalists and publishers that my Microsoft News Labs team brought to market. So, we actually launched IDA back at Ignite. If you remember watching the Ignite keynotes, Satya got up on stage and talked about, hey, all the neat stuff that we were doing with Azure AI across the company and with our partners, and one of those was with The Atlantic, which a lot of you are familiar with The Atlantic as a publication.

JASON HOWARD: Yep.

BEN RUDOLPH: With cognitive services, that was actually our project. My team's project.

JASON HOWARD: Really?

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, so when the boss gets up on stage and says, “This is cool,” that feels pretty good. But the technology, the solution is this thing called IDA, the Insights and Discovery Accelerator. And what it is is a tool that allows journalists to ingest massive amounts of unstructured data—emails, PDFs, photographs, PowerPoint decks, Excel sheets, Word documents, whatever—understand the entities that are inside those documents, and establish intelligent connections between those entities.

So, great example, I'll tell you how IDA kind of came to life. We were meeting with a major publication. I would say a top-five news organization in the world. There's a high likelihood that regardless of where your Insiders are, they’ve probably seen content from this organization in the last week.

JASON HOWARD: Okay.

BEN RUDOLPH: Put it that way, they're very big. And this is right after the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, confirmation for the Supreme Court, which you know, those of you who are in the U.S. are probably very familiar with it. Those of you who are not in the U.S., Judge Brett Kavanaugh was being confirmed, he was going through a hearing to be confirmed a Supreme Court justice, and it was a very contentious hearing, right?

Lots of people on the left and the right arguing about whether it was the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do, went on for a very long time, very long spectacle.

There was a moment during the hearings where Brett Kavanaugh was being questioned by Senator Cory Booker. And they were talking about, should the government have a vested interest in having a diverse student body?

Now, I’m not making, we’re not—forget the politics. Put the politics aside for a second, because I don't want to veer off into that thing.

JASON HOWARD: Sure.

BEN RUDOLPH: But the moment was really interesting, because they were going back and forth, and it was kind of not getting anywhere. And Cory Booker holds up an email and says, “I have this email, and in this email, you said X.” And Judge Kavanaugh said, “I don't know what you're talking about. I don't remember that email.” And Senator Booker was, like, “Check your sent folder, it should be there.”

And Judge Kavanaugh was like, well, I don't—I don't know, like, can I get a copy of it? And they go back and forth, it gets nowhere, right?

JASON HOWARD: Okay.

BEN RUDOLPH: So, we're talking to this news organization, and they said, “We felt like we had a moral obligation to find that email.” Because, was Judge Kavanaugh fibbing? Was Cory Booker, Senator Booker overstating? We don't know, right? They were like, we need to find the objective truth. It's our job as reporters.

Here's the problem, all of those emails were public record. But those emails were in a 75-gig PDF, 30,00 emails, 90,000 pages of printed and scanned emails in non-chronologic order. That's how the emails were received.

They said, “We can't find the email. We fundamentally cannot find the email.” I said, “Well, how do you search for it now?” And they said, “Well, we print out all 90,000 pages, and we each—everybody gets a highlighter, and we start looking, we start reading through.”

JASON HOWARD: Wait, wait, they print it out?

BEN RUDOLPH: They print it out, right?

JASON HOWARD: Okay. (Laughter.)

BEN RUDOLPH: And this is a sophisticated news organization. And what we said, “Wow, that seems kind of crazy. Can we—can we take a look?” And at the time, we had a very, very rudimentary prototype of IDA. And we threw this document in there, we processed it, and about four hours later we sent them the email. We found this email that you're looking for.

And they said, “This is incredible. We-we want one. Give us the thing, right? Give me the thing. Tell us how much it costs. We should go buy it.”

We realized there was a bunch of work that we needed to do to customize the solution, and we went out and we started talking to other newsrooms. We realized they all had a similar challenge that too much data, hard to find what you need, right? You're literally finding the needle in the haystack. I mean, imagine walking into a library full of paper books and saying, there's a quote by Ben Rudolph in there.

JASON HOWARD: Go find it.

BEN RUDOLPH: Good luck. (Laughter.) Right? And even if you went to the old card catalog system and said, “I want a quote by this person,” it wouldn't tell you. You kind of had to know what book it's in, and then you could kind of find it.

Well, what if you had a map of everything that was in the library? And I knew that Ben Rudolph was the entity, I knew what Ben Rudolph said. I knew that in that same quote, in the next paragraph, Jason Howard was referenced. And I can find that connection that can show me exactly where that was, and I could either confirm that hypothesis, or I could discredit that hypothesis, and I could move on with my reporting.

So that was like the genesis behind IDA. And what we've done now is we've built it as a deployable solution inside Azure. You can deploy it at no cost to a newsroom. Obviously, there's an Azure consume piece afterwards, but rather than going out to these news organizations and saying, right, for a couple hundred thousand dollars, we can build this for you, and for a million dollars, we can build this for you, and for $500,000, we can build this for you. We said, we'll take on the risk. We believe this thing is important, and we want to make this, the barrier to entry to using our technology, as low as possible, because we know that newsrooms don't always have a lot of spare cash to throw around. They're not nearly as technologically sophisticated as Microsoft. So, if we could take on that technologic role, we can play that consultative role to be, like, tell us what you need out of this solution. We can help build it and then we can hand it back to the industry.

We've done something really important for investigative journalists around the world, and we've built this tool that, now I can shovel in documents, I can get relationship maps, I can get bar charts, I can do full page extraction. The Bing API is built in, so I can look public graph across things. It’s a—it is a digital, Azure-based version of what you saw in the old police movies where they have the corkboard with all the photos and the red string. (Laughter.) That's the best way I can put it. But because it's running on Azure, it's super fast, has unlimited scale, and we've built the front end to make it easy to use. You can literally just drag and drop files into it, hit the—hit the index button, it'll send you an email when it's done, and you can start exploring your data set.

JASON HOWARD: So, you took something that was archaic, slow, very labor, and thus cost intensive, and turned it into something that is backed and powered by technology, easily searchable, and on top of anything else, not to mention the labor cost, the time savings to actually find what you're looking for, so that you can get back to doing whatever it is that's more important that you need the information for to begin with.

BEN RUDOLPH: You bet. And this kind of really anchors on, like, I believe like our company's core vision for what AI can do, right? I mean, we fundamentally believe that AI and technology can augment what makes us uniquely human, right? Curiosity, creativity, empathy—these are things that are uniquely human. They're not going to be replaced by a machine. But we've taken something that was incredibly time consuming, and we've simplified it with technology.

So now I have more head space, more time, more kind of green field to exercise that creativity, that curiosity, and that empathy, and let Azure do the heavy lifting on the stuff that our machines, our computers, our AI is great at, which is handling massive amounts of data at very, very high velocity.

JASON HOWARD: This is going to sound weird for me to phrase it this way, but it's—on top of just enabling partners that we have to be more successful, right? It seems like this big turn in computing from humans trying to do everything, to us acknowledging the areas where, whether you want to call it a weakness, or it's just not one of our strong suits, however you want to term it, right? Turning that over to what can do it best and letting us get back to doing the things that we should be doing.

BEN RUDOLPH: Exactly right. I mean, really great example is when we—if you're running IDA, just without really getting into the APIs and really messing with how fast and how much compute resource you're going to put in IDA, you know, I'm a pretty fast reader. But IDA can read 100 pages a minute and index it—so not just read it. If I'm just reading, it goes even faster. I can't read 100 pages a minute.

JASON HOWARD: I can't read it, much less remember all of it.

BEN RUDOLPH: Right. That's 6,000 pages an hour, right? That's incredibly, incredibly fast, so that's where I get that massive amount of scale. So, whether it's an acute moment in time, there's a Wikileaks dump, and we want to see what's inside. Or if it's like with The Atlantic, it's an archival question where they're like, we have 168 years' worth of the world's best reporting, we can't possibly index by hand everything that's inside of that, can you help us? Which is exactly what we were doing with The Atlantic, and we unlocked all this incredible writing and incredible historical insight that goes back to before the Civil War.

And now, they can use that to write better stories about the issues that are happening now and provide better historical context.

JASON HOWARD: There's an interesting point you just made in there that I want to make sure and like very precisely highlight. It's not just about new information that's coming up, new gathering of documents, things that haven't been looked at before, it's also going backwards, grabbing everything that's historical, putting it in there, so you can use it in this same way.

BEN RUDOLPH: Exactly right. And it goes beyond journalism, too, right? Every company in the world has this data challenge. We talked with a, again, very, very large Fortune 100 sized company, and they said, you know, “We'd love to use this for our patents and all our technical documentation.” And I said, “Great, how many patents do you have?” And they were like, “A million.” And I thought that was being hyperbolic. And they were, like, “No, we actually have a million patent applications that we fired-filed over the last—over the decades.” Some of those patent documents are a page long. Some of them are 500 pages long.

We kind of know where stuff is, but it relies too much on an individual person having the institutional knowledge to say, “Oh, you're looking for Patent X, I know where that thing—I know which box on the shelf that's in.” What happens to your organization when that knowledge is unlocked and democratized for everybody?

So, we're seeing huge interest in the tool, not just from the journalistic world, but from the finance world, pharma, healthcare, automotive, the technology sector, government. Groups are coming to us all the time and saying, you haven't just solved a journalistic need, you've solved a data challenge. You've solved a data and a data democratization challenge, and we would like to use the tool.

So, it's been really, really interesting to see it start with a journalistic challenge, then realized that journalistic challenge was actually a universal human challenge, and we had technology that we could apply to help solve it.

JASON HOWARD: So, it—I-I want to pivot here, because obviously we've talked a lot about, like, the human aspect of it, some of the problems that were being solved. But you just mentioned something I want to dig into, which is the technological aspect of it.

So, your team is obviously doing a lot with Azure, and there’s, obviously has to be, some AI scattered in here to make this work properly to use this IDA tool. So are there other key ways that your team is using Azure to help empower what you're, like, working on with like all these—these are just giant accomplishments that your team just, feels like you're just, like, chopping them down one by one here.

BEN RUDOLPH: Well, I mean, I think we did something really interesting with IDA, but there's a lot more to do. And I wish I could show you some of the stuff that's coming next, like, I wish—I wish I could. (Laughter.)

What we've realized is like the Azure AI stack, right, the entirety, when you think about Azure with a capital A, and how it touches everything from data storage, to large-style compute, to like the Cognitive Services stack, around you know, the AI pieces, all the way to things like Azure Sphere with IoT. Almost everything that my team does is reliant on the Azure technology stack and on the Azure infrastructure stack.

So, we are—we're thinking about not just things like, okay, we've done IDA, but we're also thinking of, you know, which is an important tool for helping journalists to be empowered. But as you saw, it's starting to bleed over into that next stage, at least for the journalistic phase, which is curators, publishers, how we can help them manage their archives.

And we're also starting to think about things like, how that's going to help empower consumers through transparent storytelling and bringing stories to life in-in new ways. So, I can't talk a ton about some of the stuff that's coming because it's literally like, skunkworks stuff that's hiding in the lab that I can't—

JASON HOWARD: Yeah, I'm not trying to get anybody in trouble.

BEN RUDOLPH: No, I know. We all like the fact that our badges work every time we try and enter a building. But it’s—we see tremendous power across all three of those buckets, right—the creation stack, the curation stack, and the consumption stack—to take the power of AI and use that to augment those three things I talked about earlier that are uniquely human.

If you're a journalist, it might be the curiosity and the creativity piece. If you're a consumer, it, actually it's the same thing, right? I'm curious about the world around me. How can I use AI, and how can I use solutions that we're going to be creating to help me get more news that's more relevant, more effectively? How does that help me understand the world around me? How does it drive better data literacy?

All these things that are going to naturally empower me to have a better view of my world, give me the information that I need to make decisions that are going to help me improve my quality of life and the quality of life of the people that are around me.

JASON HOWARD: I'm sitting here, like, soaking this up for a moment, because like, the deeper that I think through this, right? Like prior to us coming to the studio and having this conversation, we'd had some high-level conversation about some other stuff.

BEN RUDOLPH: Sure.

JASON HOWARD: Which was part of what's sparked my interest of, like, hey, we should actually have a deeper conversation here. But, like, trying to digest the depth and the impact of-of this project and, obviously, the broader set of things that you have forthcoming that you know we didn’t jump into, like I just keep coming back to the word of—the word scale, because it's super meaningful here.

And oftentimes in the business world, it's like, oh, we're going to scale together and things like that. But the actual word scale in this sense of things, it's legitimately like the core meaning of what scale actually is. Like, it's huge.

BEN RUDOLPH: So, I think if you take this all the way back to Bill and Paul's original vision, which was you know, put a PC on every desktop in every home and every office, they were talking not just about business at scale, they were talking about empowerment at scale.

JASON HOWARD: Yeah

BEN RUDOLPH: And when we refined that mission, that's on the back of our badges, right—empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more—if you look at that through the lens of news, we have that at Microsoft in Microsoft News, right? We're empowering hundreds of millions of people to access relevant, reliable news that they can count on.

But we even go one step higher, which is, if you look at Microsoft's ability and our desire to apply our technologic might and our resources towards tackling the challenges and capitalizing on opportunities that are going to be good for all of us—things like our AI for Good program, AI for Health Care, which just got started I think a couple of weeks ago, our investments in STEM—news is at that altitude of priority.

Like, we know that if people are empowered with the information and the news that can help inform them about the world around them, the world outside of their house, maybe outside of their town, outside of their state, outside of their country, we know that's going to—that-that’s going to empower everybody. People will be more informed, they can make better decisions, they can move the world forward.

So, we-we kind of feel like at Microsoft News, we are playing a critical role to empowering people all over the world to simply make the most out of their day and make the most out of their world.

JASON HOWARD: It's interesting when you're talking about—I'm bringing up the word scale again, right? Because everybody's trying to accomplish something, right? You mention in, in you know, our-our mission statement of empowering every person and organization on the planet. Everybody, whether they're part of an organization, or if it's just like, say my mom's sitting at home, there's something she's trying to accomplish. But along the process of her doing whatever it is that's important for her, if we can take it that extra step and get her to think just a little bit bigger and just a little bit bigger, right?

Talking about stepping outside of your house, outside of your city, outside of your town, your country, you know, every time you take one extra step out, your view of things and the way you understand and perceive the world, it opens up that much.

BEN RUDOLPH: Well, let's-let’s talk about our parents, for example, or somebody just you know, average person sitting at home reading the news. Maybe there's a health issue in their family. Well, being empowered with news about what's going on in the world of medical advancements or understanding what's happening in the insurance market, that's a—that’s empowerment at a very local, hyper local level, right?

I fundamentally have more information to affect the lives of my friends, family, and loved ones. But at a broader level, it's context, it's understanding about how those things are affecting people in your community, around the country, and around the world, and maybe that changes the way that I view my job. Maybe it changes how I interact with my community. Maybe it makes me question or makes me think about the elected officials that I'm putting into office, right? Maybe it gets me involved in a charity, gets me involved in something I can do to better my community, right?

These are all small things that are going to start with me looking at my phone or looking at my PC, but can gradually move beyond the walls of my house, or my car, or my office to start shaping how I view the world and how I can impact my community. Like, that's what great news does, and that's why we believe it's so critically important to everybody.

JASON HOWARD: So, I realize I'm kind of jumping topic here on you a little bit.

BEN RUDOLPH: Sure.

JASON HOWARD: Hopefully you don't mind, but you know, the further we get into this, there's these little tidbits that I keep wanting to unpack a little bit deeper.

So, we’ve talked a little bit about the-the current climate of news, and how do we empower journalists, right? So, there's the—there's, again, like three phases that you mentioned, which was like the first phase being creation, which is the journalists actually creating the content. Then there's the curation phase, which the publisher actually putting the news out there. And then there's the consumption aspect of consumers, myself, yourself, everybody else who—you know, there's the end users who actually need to ingest this information to do these things that we're discussing.

So, like, if you look at it, kind of like in that three-part series, I guess, can you like jump in a little bit, like of how that defines you're like, your end-to-end perception of-of what you really are doing.

BEN RUDOLPH: Sure. You bet. So we talked a bunch about, like, the high-level thing, you know, like, we fundamentally believe that a free, well-funded press and having democratized information available to everybody in a way that's relevant and reliable, that's-that’s fundamentally good for everybody, whether you're dealing with just the stuff inside your house, or in your community, or in your world.

But when you break it down a little bit, we have to think about, like, what is that, like, how do we actually operationalize that across all three of those phases?

So, we talked a little bit about IDA. IDA's a really interesting example of how we're empowering journalists. You know, we built a tool specifically to make the lives of investigative reporters easier, using machines to do the things that machines are great at and freeing up more brain power for humans to do what they're uniquely good at. It's humans and technology working together, and I fundamentally believe with every fiber of my being, Microsoft is the best in the world at bringing those two things together. We are great at it, and we have armies of brilliant, empathetic people who are working on technology, ranging from you know, video games that we play on Xbox, all the way up to the Azure stuff to make that happen.

We're also doing a lot, I would say, on the ground level for journalists. So, my team actually has a training arm, where we go out, and we help journalists understand how to use Microsoft technology to fundamentally make their lives and their work easier. And a lot of that is basic stuff like teaching them how to use Office, how to use Teams. And I think for us, I think people listening to this podcast would be like, well, we-we know all that stuff, because we live and breathe it every day.

If you're not somebody who lives and breathes Microsoft, Word, PowerPoint, they could look like magic to you, and that's kind of scary and intimidating. I liken it to going to the gym. If you're going to exercise for the first time, and you walk into a gym, and there are a bunch of people who are using machines you don't know how to use, who are in way better shape than you, right, using words and lingo that you don't understand, that can be very intimidating. So, our job is to help break that intimidation down, get rid of it by embracing people who may not understand technology, but have a real use case for it, by teaching them how to use our products and services.

And we go even one step further, which is we have actually run some grant programs, one through ONA, the Online News Association, one through the ICFJ, which is the International Center for Journalists, where we partnered with them. Reporters came to us and said, “I want to go tell this story, I feel like there's a technical blocker that I can't tell the story.”

And we empowered them with some financial resources to help write the story and technological resources. Everything from laptops to computing power, we've done some livestreaming stuff, some data journalism stuff. So, we're helping to empower journalists at the very ground level to actually do their jobs and make their lives better and easier and more effective through Microsoft technology.

JASON HOWARD: It's like—to like—summarizing that, right? Because I've heard it put this way before, but it's interesting to hear it put in this context, where the technology can be such a great enabler, as long as it's not a barrier.

BEN RUDOLPH: Right. It’s a, if you—I think it was Arthur C. Clarke, where he said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is akin to magic if you don't know what it is.”

And I think a lot of the stuff that we do, like I have a-an architectural level of how HoloLens works. I can't do the math. So, when I put on a HoloLens, I'm like, “This is magic.” Right? (Laughter.) This is—this is absolutely magical. If you talk to, say, Alex Kipman's team, they're like, it's not magic, it's math. Let me show you how it works, right?

If you bring that all the way down, Word and PowerPoint can be just that mystifying to somebody if they don't know what they're looking at. So, we run an organization that works all around the world to help journalists feel confident in using technology.

From the curation standpoint, it's really about a relationship with publishers. I said we—you know, we work with over 1,200 publishers that represent about 4,500 media brands around the world, and our best method of empowerment for them is really twofold. There's the technologic piece, which we've already talked about with things like IDA, we do a lot with a really neat tool called Video Indexer that's part of the Azure Media Services stack to help people manage huge amounts of video, automating transcription and translation, all sorts of neat stuff.

But it's really, it’s fundamentally brass tacks about our business model. Microsoft News has this business model where we work with partners, we license content from them, we publish it on our site. And if you see it on MSN, there are some ads that surround those, and we make money off of those ads, and we share a portion of the revenue with every single one of our content partners. And we've returned hundreds of millions of dollars back to the publishing industry, because we know that if we can help them stay free and well-funded, they can spend less time worrying about keeping the lights on and more time worrying about doing what they do best, which is create high-quality journalism and getting that out to the world.

So that's like the core Microsoft enterprise B2B relationship where, we are successful when our partners are successful.

JASON HOWARD: Absolutely.

BEN RUDOLPH: And it's a really interesting model that we have, you know, that-that publisher model, and then the curation that we use between technology and humans, working side by side with the editors at those 4,500 media brands to bring great news to people all over the world.

JASON HOWARD: So before we leave this topic, I have to share a quick story, just because it's-it’s funny for me looking back, but at some point in time, I guarantee you, I'm not the only person who's ever done this.

So back in the 1990s, I'm dating myself here, when I was in college, I took an introduction to Office course. It was actually, it was a big deal. Like, now it's just like, you know, level 100 stuff they kind of expect you to know this coming from high school or whatever. But at that point in time, like, Office was this big thing. And between Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access, which Access isn't a word that gets thrown around much anymore, we had to pick three of them to actually kind of dive deep in to do projects on. And so, the teacher gave his high level of what each one represented.

And I was, like, okay, I'm going to do Word, Excel, and Access. When I got to the Excel one, right, it was like, okay, this is the project I want you to do. It was just simple-simple formulas and additions and stuff, stuff that's second nature for me personally now. But I remember the first time I opened Excel, and I'm sitting there staring at this screen of just grid, and I was like—I raised my hand, and she came over and was, like, “Yeah, what's the question?”

And I was, like, “Where do I start?”

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah.

JASON HOWARD: She's, like, “What do you mean?” Like, it was a foreign question to her, because she was super familiar with the product.

I'm like, “How do I get going here?”

She was, like, “Click a cell.”

“Well, which one?”

“Well, it doesn't matter, just click any of them.”

I couldn't get over the mental hump of it's-it’s in essence an open pane that I can do whatever I want, wherever I want. I'm in control of the construct. I knew what I needed to do, but the technology was a barrier to me doing what I needed to do.

And so, you know having had this discussion about getting the barriers out of the way and enabling people, talking about the grants, and making people successful, and teaching them how to use the thing that's going to make their life easier, I can't tell you the number of times that Excel has saved my behind and my career through different companies that I've worked at.

BEN RUDOLPH: Absolutely. So, you know, I mean, you know I taught self-defense for years, right? I taught Krav Maga, I taught Jiu Jitsu, and I always tell people, like, you teach people techniques and it would—before they learned how to do it, it was magic. After they learned how to do it, it was common sense, right?

And that's the real magical piece and the important piece about great training that's delivered at the right altitude for the audience, because it helps bridge that gap from, this is completely fantastical, and I have no idea what's going on, to, oh, yeah, of course, of course it would work that way.

So, we think that's really important for journalists around the world. I mean, Office is, obviously, the world's most popular productivity suite. They should know how to use it. There's an incredible amount of power—of power in those tools that we know can help them organize their notes in OneNote, record better interviews, do better remote conversations with things like Teams, create videos using PowerPoint, do math in Excel. There's all sorts of crazy stuff, that we kind of take for granted, that can be actually completely transformative to a reporter who's covering a beat.

So, we talked about creation, we talked about curation and that really interesting publisher model that we do with our 4,500 partners. Then there's the consumption phase, and—

JASON HOWARD: Yep, I wasn't going to let you slip by without that. (Laughter.)

BEN RUDOLPH: No, you bet. You know, one of the most interesting tools that we've found to help empower consumers of news is Power BI.

JASON HOWARD: Really?

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, right? Probably didn't think I was going to say that one.

JASON HOWARD: No, that was not what I was expecting.

BEN RUDOLPH: So, are you familiar with data journalism? Do you know what data journalism is?

JASON HOWARD: You're going to have to fill me in.

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, so data journalism is the idea of creating visuals that break down complex issues or bring stories to life through interactivity, right? Largely speaking. This is literally taking data, visualizing it into a chart, into a map, into a whatever, to help make the story clearer.

And my team actually, we started, before we did any of the fancy AI stuff, working side by side with reporters doing data journalism projects. We've done over 100 of them with 100 different publications.

JASON HOWARD: Wow.

BEN RUDOLPH: Some of them are local. We did a really interesting partnership with our friends at King 5 here locally, where we worked on a bunch of local data stories around traffic, marijuana taxing, immunization rates in school, we brought that to life online and on Surface Hub for broadcast. And they took these really, kind of hairy, complex local issues and broke them down through simple, easy to understand, explorable visualizations. I think that's the important part. It's not just a static chart.

You can actually click through, and you can manipulate the data yourself. You can see different facets. You can start to see how the reporters came to their conclusions. And we know that when we can give that level of transparency to a consumer, trust and affinity in that story goes up. I believe what I'm being told, because I can verify. It's like a trust but verify thing. I can—I can verify it for myself, and you've empowered me to start thinking differently about the story, and I want to go share that with other people.

And that story actually won King 5—that series of story actually won King 5 an Emmy.

JASON HOWARD: Really?

BEN RUDOLPH: They won a Northwest Emmy. Yeah. So, it was a really compelling thing where they wanted to try this, they'd never done it before. We helped work with their reporters, train them how to use Power BI, help them understand what great data journalism looked like. They obviously had the reporting chops and the broadcast chops. We brought that together, and they won a Northwest Emmy. Pretty neat.

We did a similar project with Politico in Europe around the European parliamentary elections. They wanted to help people stop looking at the parliamentary elections by country, right? I am German, therefore I care what's happening in Germany, I don't really think about what's going on in France. They were, like, we feel like it's important that we empower people to think continentally, like we were talking earlier about like, not just what's happening in my kitchen, but what's happening in my community and around the world.

So, we worked with them. I think we did 13 different data stories over the course of a year to help them break down really complex issues, from where different candidates and parties were polling, to understanding the gender gap in people who'd been elected, to help give their readers an understanding of what was at stake in that election and all the different facets of what—of all the different facets of information, so that they make informed choices when election season came around.

So, that's been a really powerful tool, because we can help teach data literacy through these stories to consumers. And we can make them feel like they're part of the story. So, it's not just a reporter telling you what to think, it's a reporter presenting a viewpoint, and then giving you the opportunity to backtrack their analysis, verify it, and validate it yourself, and then explore it in different ways.

So it fosters both affinity, it fosters trust with that individual piece of data, but it also starts getting people into a mindset where they can—they can actively participate in the discussion around the news, they're not just being talked to, they're part of the discussion.

JASON HOWARD: So, I have to say, we have covered a ton of ground here. And no doubt, there is this entire volume of conversation to happen again, right? We can keep going and going and going.

BEN RUDOLPH: Absolutely.

JASON HOWARD: Sadly, this podcast is not five hours, but no doubt, the conversation would be amazing if it was.

So, as we wrap up here, I am going to ask you my favorite question that I ask everybody that I speak with in the studio. And, you know, might get an answer, I might not, it's totally fine. What's next? What's the next big thing, that at least that you can talk about, that you're going to bite into?

BEN RUDOLPH: Okay, so what's next for us? I would say in the short term, we have a lot of—lot of work to do to effectively land and scale the things that we've already built, like IDA, and data journalism, and our publisher model to all of those 4,500 publishers and the journalists who work in their newsrooms.

We are just scratching the surface on what we can do to empower this industry, because we know that if we can—if we can crack that, if we can help our journalists produce better content, help publishers stay free and well-funded, and help consumers feel like they're part of the news conversation, it's going to be better for everybody.

JASON HOWARD: And then we'll just see what happens after that.

BEN RUDOLPH: And then we'll just see what happens after that. (Laughter.)

JASON HOWARD: Ben, this has been, I-I—hopefully, just as much for our listeners, but I will say, I mean, a little bit selfishly, this has been fascinating conversation.

BEN RUDOLPH: I've had a blast, thanks for having me.

JASON HOWARD: Appreciate you being in the studio.

BEN RUDOLPH: You bet.

(Music)

JASON HOWARD: Next up, we're joined by Christopher Caulfield and Emma Saboureau. Welcome to the podcast, both of you. Thank you so much for being here.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Of course.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Of course, thank you.

JASON HOWARD: So, for the listeners out there, could you please introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about what you do here at Microsoft?

EMMA SABOUREAU: Sure, so I'm Emma. I'm a program manager here. And I work on debugging, specifically Time Travel Debugging. So, it's a feature—a kind of debugging that we do, and I've been here for about three years.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: I'm Christopher. I'm a program manager within debugging experiences, just like Emma. I mean, I work on Kernel Debugging and other related debugging scenarios.

JASON HOWARD: That’s fantastic. So, getting the ball rolling here, I want to talk a little bit about the different kinds of tools that Windows Insiders have available to themselves when they're digging in deeper to troubleshoot Windows. I want to talk a little bit about what's available and where can they connect to get these tools?

Obviously, two different major tools got mentioned, Time Travel Debugging, obviously Kernel Debugging. No doubt, there's more beyond that. So, if I'm an Insider, and I'm having a problem, and it turns out I need to use one of these tools, just pretend I don't know anything. Tell me a little something. Like, where would I start? How would I know what to use?

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yeah, so there's many different kinds of tools out there for multiple kinds of debugging scenarios. The ones that on our team, we focus on, is primarily WinDbg, which is going to be the one that we're going to talk about today. If you do want to learn about all the different kinds of debugging tools out there, there is great resources. We have defrag tools, and they just go deep into all the different debugging tools.

But for the scenario of WinDbg, this is usually the case when your computer crashes, or an application crashes, or you get the famous blue screen of death, (laughter,) and you don't really know what's going on, this is the tool you want to use for that.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome. So, to-to dig in a little bit there, knowing that this tool is available, how do you start?

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Sure, so how do you start? So, I think we start off by saying that WinDbg is like the most powerful tool that enables people to debug their scenarios. They can grab the tool from the Microsoft Store. Right now, we have it called WinDbg Preview. We were previously WinDbg, but Preview is the most improved user experience, so whole new way of interacting, starting your debug scenarios.

We have Microsoft Docs available if you want to deep dive into different example scenarios and how to get set up. You can do Time Travel Debugging. You can do Kernel Debugging. You can do network debugging. So, there's different scenarios that the docs cover.

JASON HOWARD: So, to kind of give an example, like, one of the things we're kind of trying to tackle right now is there's been—there's been an-a deployment error, right? And so, for those Insiders listening, I'm going to throw out the error code, and they're probably going to chuckle, because I'm sure—I'm sure a few of them hit it along the way. It's the c1900101 error code. For people who don't know error codes, that really doesn't mean anything. For those who have hit it, they're going to know it all too well. And it's a bug that hits during the offline phase of deployment that causes a rollback. That's the—that’s the easiest way to summarize it. Usually it's related to a driver causing some sort of a problem or not being registered correctly, and the next thing you know, your update fails, and you're like, what the heck happened?

You can retry all you want, and you know, unless it's a specific bug that's tied to something or there's a driver update or whatever to fix it, you're going to keep hitting this error repeatedly. Now, part of the problem is, hey, it's like, hey, please file feedback, right? Feedback grabs the typical stack of update logs, things like that—panther logs and things you know that I'm sure the Insiders have, you know, either seen or heard at some point.

But because of the phase of deployment which this is happening, during the offline phase, there's a lot of the system side components that aren't running, because Windows isn't loaded in the typical fashion of, hey, Windows is up and running, so all these services are running. So, that's what we've actually been working through currently is actually having folks trying to set up and run Kernel Debugging over our network, but with the mode enabled, so they can actually do it during the update session. And it's interesting. It is not necessarily the easiest thing to do, especially for somebody who's not familiar—

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Absolutely.

JASON HOWARD:—or confident in running through this type of scenario. So, one of the questions I did want to ask is, what type of skill level does somebody need to jump into this space?

EMMA SABOUREAU: It really depends on like, what they want to do. Ultimately, like, being a developer or like having some programming knowledge would be helpful. But at the end of the day, like you're going to get instructions from Microsoft about how to start, like help us root cause the bug, and just following these instructions should be easy enough. Sometimes, going to be a bit of like command line or using a graphical interface, but there's really no complexity behind that, just as long as you follow the instructions.

JASON HOWARD: And I will say that the documentation that's available out on Microsoft Docs seems to be very thorough, very detailed, and kind of gives step by steps. Some of it includes screenshots. So, even if somebody is potentially like a bit nervous or think, hey, I might not be able to do this, right? The documentation is available and out there, and I'm assuming it's your team that keeps up with that documentation as you make changes to your product.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yeah, we actually do have a full-time person that works on the documentation for Microsoft Docs. And he sits in all our meetings, and he's listening to what we're working on and making sure that everything we're working on is intercepting the external docs. So, we're always keeping an eye on, like, what our customers are seeing online versus what we're doing internally, so we're always making sure that there's an intersection there.

One of the things that I do want to bring up is that, if people do have issues that they're stuck with, they can always go to the docs, and I believe there's a conversation form within Microsoft Docs, where they can, like, upload their problem or just share what's going on. And full-time engineers look at that frequently, and we can give feedback right there and then about what's going on. And that's available for everybody to see then, when you see that conversation thread.

And then based on that feedback, we'll also change the docs to reflect those—that feedback. We just got that the other day. We had somebody that had trouble figuring out how to debug over a virtual machine, so they were kind of like navigating left and right, but they couldn't find the right doc, and so we made that update because we were listening to them.

JASON HOWARD: And that's-that’s obviously one of the super-important things is, taking the feedback in from customers, and then not only for the tools themselves but, in how to use the tools, especially if it's not something like, may necessarily be pretty obvious, right? I will say, like I have run a kernel debugger a couple times, right? Obviously, not to the same depth or technical capability as either of you, which is why I love the fact that there's documentation.

So, from a perspective of trying to find some of these documents, right, you know, now that, you know, listeners have a passing knowledge that such a thing exists, if they're not familiar with it, where should they go to find it? Like, where would I go to look up this documentation?

EMMA SABOUREAU: Well, you have two. There's aka.ms/WinDebugPreview, and that's for more of like, learning about WinDbg Preview, how to use the tool, that kind of thing, and Time Travel Debugging, which is a feature of WinDbg Preview.

The other one is aka.ms/KDNet, and that's about Kernel Debugging and how to use it.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome. And then if users have any questions about the documentation, or there, a space that, you know, they find some updates that need to be made, does your team have like a GitHub space where, you know, suggestions and changes can be posted up and reviewed?

EMMA SABOUREAU: So, for every documentation that Microsoft publishes on Docs.Microsoft, actually have on the top right corner, an edit button, and it gets you to GitHub, where the documentation is actually published. And then from there, you can do a pull request to like, edit the documentation or just leave a comment or an issue saying this is wrong, or something is missing.

JASON HOWARD: Oh, awesome, all right, sounds pretty straightforward.

So, with each of these, can we talk a little bit about, number one, what their primary purpose is, right? And then how to make the decision on which one you need to use. And I've got to say, I haven't spent a lot of time talking about Time Travel Debugging, it sounds super cool. I mean, just the concept of time travel to start with, can you tell me a little bit about what the tool is, why it was created, and how you use it?

EMMA SABOUREAU: Sure, so basically in regular debugging the way you go about it is that you just go through the code, and then you just look at, you know, the moments in the code that matter to you, and then you often go too far down the code, and so you have to restart, and re-go through the code.

What Time Travel Debugging allows you to do is to record your program once, and then you just run through the code forward or backwards, that's the time travel part. So, if you've gone too far, you just step back, there's no restarting point.

JASON HOWARD: So, it-it gives you a rewind button.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Exactly.

JASON HOWARD: (Laughter.) Okay, that—well, that definitely answers the why it was created part.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Yes.

JASON HOWARD: That is fantastic.

EMMA SABOUREAU: And the great part is that, if you're having a problem that Microsoft engineers can't really repro, you can record using Time Travel Debugging, and then you send what we call a trace, that file, that recording to us, and then we can see what is happening in the program itself in the code, and then understand why you're having this bug.

JASON HOWARD: So, rather than having to be there watching it in real time as it's transpiring, it's almost like taking a video of it, and you can share it with someone else, so they can lend you a hand.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Exactly.

JASON HOWARD: Okay, well, that's reason number two why that was created, wow. (Laughter.) That is—that is—that’s fascinating. Like, how has—how has that helped you and, I mean, just in general, just engineers all across the company, like, how big of an impact has that had? It sounds like it would be enormous.

EMMA SABOUREAU: It is, yeah. For us, it's really about like, being able to debug either faster, or bugs that simply weren't really possible to debug using traditional methods. So, with the Time Travel Debugging, we can debug bugs that would be almost impossible to understand in regular debugging.

JASON HOWARD: Because you get to see the output of it—

EMMA SABOUREAU: Exactly.

JASON HOWARD: —in case it was something that had just like would snap by, and you couldn't actually grab it along the way.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Yeah, so if—or if it's a bug that happens, you know once in a blue moon, something like that, you record it once, and then you can, you know, play with the code as much as you want, or play with the execution and trying to understand it. You don't have to like, redo what made the bug happen a million times.

JASON HOWARD: Because you already have it—

EMMA SABOUREAU: Exactly.

JASON HOWARD: —and you can just keep replaying it. Wow, that is fascinating. Oh, my goodness. (Laughter.) Go from hearing about a topic but, like, just understanding the impact of what that tool is capable of, that's pretty remarkable.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Yeah, and it's really making like, we hear it all the time, it makes our engineers' lives a lot easier.

JASON HOWARD: So, you mentioned that Time Travel Debugging was part of the bigger WinDbg application. So, can you tell us as little bit about for—at least for those who are unaware or haven't heard of or used like WinDbg before, what does it represent? What is it used for?

EMMA SABOUREAU: So WinDbg is a debugger to debug any sort of application—but similar to the Visual Studio debugger, but it's just this separate debugger that is a lot more powerful, especially when you want to do things like Kernel Debugging or just regular user mode debugging.

And it also contains Time Travel Debugging. So, instead of just going through regular workflow of, you know, attaching to an application, and then trying to repro, you attach, but with Time Travel Debugging, so your recording button is on, and then you do your repro, you stop it, and then you debug as much as you want.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome. And is this constrained only to Windows as an operating system, or can third-party developers use this when they're trying to figure out what's going wrong with their application, and if it's not working right, like, what is the scope of the use of these tools?

EMMA SABOUREAU: So, it's best used—well, it's only available on Windows, first—but it's best used on native code, and sometimes managed code works with it, but not as well as native code.

JASON HOWARD: Okay, okay. So, let me shift a little bit over to Kernel Debugging, right? When-when would I need to jump in and run a kernel debugger as opposed to using some of the other tools that we've talked about?

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yeah, so Kernel-Kernel Debugging, again, is just like a deep dive into why exactly a crash happened? Why did the blue screen of death happen? Why did your computer unexpectedly reboot? Maybe there was a problem with a driver, the hardware is failing, the RAM—those are usually the cases of why you want to go into Kernel Debugging.

JASON HOWARD: And so, from an output perspective, right, say I've gone through and read the documentation, I've decided which tool I need to use. Let's say I'm having like, this deployment issue that I mentioned earlier, right? I realize I need to run a kernel debugger. I need to set this up. You get your host machine that's running the debugger, you've got your target machine, which is the machine that's having the issue. They're doing the communication. It's being shared over. And all of a sudden, you've got this whole bunch of output on the screen, right?

For somebody who's not familiar with running through debug logs and things, it can be a bit overwhelming to see a screen full of, oh, my goodness, I don't even know what I'm looking at, right? I will say, the first time that I looked at the output of a kernel debugger, I kind of stared at it blankly and was, like, oh, my goodness, what am I looking at? (Laughter.)

But you know, after having some conversation with some devs, and actually kind of biting into it, tidbit by tidbit, slowly but surely, it starts to make sense, right? And I think part of it is just having a bit of familiarity with what you're looking into, what you're trying to actually work through.

So if a—if an Insider out there sets this up, runs a debugger, trying to figure out what has happened on a machine, and they have some output, is there a good way for them to like understand how to parse through what they're actually looking at?

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: I think the most popular command that a lot of people use is !analyze, and that command basically performs an automated analysis and will show a result in the debugger. And inside it there, it will give you information about the problem that happened, an exception message, sometimes it will give you the process name, the module name.

Usually, this is enough for you to figure out what exactly is happening, whether maybe it's the driver crashing, maybe it's Nvidia for example, maybe that was the crash. If that's the case, then maybe you need to swap out your graphics card.

And usually that command will give you a nice, what I think is a clean summary of the result. And I believe on Microsoft Docs, you can actually go on there and look up the !analyze command under WinDbg, and it will actually show you some of the common outputs that come out under that command, so that you're kind of aware of the different results that come from your crash and what analyze says the result is.

JASON HOWARD: So, it's a good way to get started and not just stare at, in essence, a wall of—

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Absolutely.

JASON HOWARD:—text and symbols and craziness, right, that in case you don't understand it, this is actually almost like a tool built into the tool that kind of helps you get going in the right direction.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: For sure.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome.

JASON HOWARD: So, after you've run the analyzer, and you've got the little bit of this, right? You've got, you know, a few specific lines of code or output that are like, hey, this is kind of your problem. And you’ve kind of, say, you managed to whittle it down to like this one line, where it's like this is your exception or whatnot, I get the feeling that this probably isn't the first time somebody has hit this or something similar to this. I'm-I’m just going to take the wild guess here and say, you can probably copy it, and do some sort of a Bing search or internet search, go look on Stack Overflow or something like that.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yes, absolutely. That's something that you know when you get this error, you're not alone. We've seen this before and you can—just like you said, copy and paste it, put it on Stack Overflow, maybe even drop it right in Bing, and you're going to definitely see some queries that have related problems in the past.

If you have not seen this problem before, and you go on Bing, you do your research, you don't see anybody else that's troubleshoot this, this is when Microsoft comes in hand. You can go ahead and report it to Microsoft through our forms or Docs.Microsoft.com, and you can show the error, and I'm sure there will be some good collaboration with the engineers on what's going on there.

JASON HOWARD: Cool. Users are out there, they've hit issues, they've tried to use these tools, they’ve got some information, right? On the back side, we've made these tools available to developers, to publishers, to Insiders all around the globe, whether or not they're, you know, an active daily dev who does this for work, if they're just a passing hobbyist who wants to learn and see and do, right?

So why does all of this matter to us? Like, what benefit does Microsoft get from the creation and sharing of these tools? Obviously, internally, it helps us, you know, debug Windows, figure out how to make our products better. And not just Windows, right? Any of the code that Microsoft has written across the company, these tools can be applied to help us make our platform better as a whole.

But for—from looking at it from the outside perspective, right? We provide these tools to other folks, what is it that we can do with the information that they have? Because I mentioned earlier, we talked about like, when somebody files an item in the Feedback Hub, we get a very specific set of logs that comes back, and it's whatever the particular developer or engineer has said. Anytime somebody files this feedback, I want these logs to come in, so that I can research and dig into the issue.

But it sounds like in using these tools, we can get something that's even a little bit deeper and helps us get even further down the stack to understand what they're actually hitting.

EMMA SABOUREAU: It's exactly that. What you've got to know about these tools is that, it's going to give us a lot more information than regular logs. So, you might have sensitive information there. So, you've got to know that like, if you do give us those like logs, we might—you might pass down, you know, some sensitive information. So be aware of that.

But it's going to give us really valuable information that helps us understand what goes down in your computer and why you're having the problem you're having.

JASON HOWARD: It's interesting that you called out the distinction between what comes through a regular Feedback Hub log, versus what's potentially available in these types of logs, like a kernel debug log, something of that nature.

It’s—you know, we have our privacy policy out there, we've been very clear about, you know, what is collected when you file feedback. When you're doing a kernel log, right, it is grabbing a ton of information. And obviously, this isn't something we normally grab, this is a user-driven decision. They will have had to run this themselves on their machine.

But the positive side of it is, they can look through it, and see what all is in there, right? It's not just like blindly passing information. But, again, this is really—seems like it's only something that Microsoft collects in a very extreme circumstance, right? Hopefully, most often, you know, the Feedback Hub logs give us what we need, we can go through those, do our root cause be like, oh, yeah, we got it. Work on a fix and so on and so forth. But, like, in this type of scenario, like, these logs really get us to that next level.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Yeah, and regular Feedback Hub, any kind of logs, they're stripped down of what we call PII, personally identifiable information. So, you can't really like—you're safe in that sense that like, no information that can be traced back to you will ever be like, given to Windows through the regular logs.

But with these, kind of like, with a user trying to like debug and give more information about the crash to Microsoft, then it comes with like, more information, maybe about the user that's being given to Microsoft. But that's really restricted to what the user is recording or the moment the user is doing some Kernel Debugging.

JASON HOWARD: What's happening at that precise moment in time?

EMMA SABOUREAU: Yes.

JASON HOWARD: So it sounds like it would be—if you know that you're going to be potentially sharing a kernel debug log to Microsoft, I could say, hey, we're trying to work on an issue, I need you to go to this level and run this—like run a kernel debugger so we can get this deeper level of logs.

The user could not open QuickBooks, for in essence, right? Because I know a lot of people do like financial stuff in QuickBooks. They could make sure that that's not running, so that there's none of that in the memory so nothing would potentially be grabbed. So, a user can actually take a few steps to make sure that they're not catching things that they wouldn't accidentally want to share.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yeah.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome. So, I have to ask, right, this is—this is, I realize, shifting out of some of the technical stuff to talking to the two of you, how did you get into this, right? I'm assuming each of you has, you know, computer science background of some sort, I'll let you fill me in, right? I don't want to make assumptions here, but I'm taking a guess, you know, just kind of an educated guess, but what got you into the world of debugging? Like, what made you want to work in this space? Why do you find it exciting?

Like, fill me in because, I mean, I think it's fascinating, but I don't have the deepest, like, computer science background that a lot of people who have come to Microsoft in recent years, you know, because it's, you know, things have changed a lot since I went to college, I'll just put it that way.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: My background is really deep into computer science. I did a lot on the digital side and a lot of machine learning and artificial intelligence. But I never went too deep into the hardware side. I don't have a computer engineering background, I had no clue about anything related to debugging. You know, I knew surface-level debugging, so like, debugging line-by-line code. Why is this output not resulting? What is this error? But not on the hardware side, the performance side.

So, when I was like kind of searching around for opportunities, I kind of wanted to learn something different. And so, I was really fortunate to get placed on this team to educate me about the hardware side and the debugging side and really think deeply about what debugging means and how can we solve it. And so, I think this is a really special opportunity.

JASON HOWARD: It's almost a way of rounding out some of the skills you already had, and then building on top of that to learn another area you hadn't spent as much time developing.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Absolutely. Yeah, for like such a long time, I was on the other side of technology. And I just thought, you know, for my first job when I come to Microsoft, maybe it's a great time to try something different, and try something new, and-and think differently.

JASON HOWARD: You think it's working out so far?

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yeah, absolutely.

JASON HOWARD: How about you?

EMMA SABOUREAU: Well, my background is actually a bit different. I did a double major in fine arts and computer science.

JASON HOWARD: That's quite the combo.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Yeah, it is. (Laughter.) It's called computation arts. And it's very different than—like what I studied is quite different than what I'm doing right now, but there are a lot of transferable skills still. Because being a PM is really about like, looking at the user scenario and solving problems, and all of this is things that I've learned during my undergrad degree.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome. It's like combining the art of doing the right thing with the science of getting it done. That's fantastic.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Exactly.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yep. Absolutely.

JASON HOWARD: So, I've gotta ask each of you my favorite question, right? I ask everybody that comes through the studio the same question, and you are no different, so I'm going to put you on the spot here. Now, don't get yourself into trouble, right, I'm not trying to get anybody's badge revoked or anything.

But can you tell me a little bit about what you're working on next? Like, what's next for your team? What's next for you on the projects that you're working on? Like-like, what's on the horizon? And like I said, don't get yourself in trouble, but I'm super curious if there's anything you can share.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Well, I can talk about like one recent feature that we did called timelines. And again, if you think about the Time Travel Debugging, that recording that you do, now we've allowed users to see a timeline of when exceptions or certain events happen. And so, this visual representation is a direction that we're going into in the future, so you can already have the feature in WinDbg Preview, but this general direction of making more data available to the user and visualizing it graphically is something that we're really keen on.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome. How about you, Christopher?

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: So, some of the past work that I've done and continuing to work on is partnerships with different hardware teams, such as Surface. So, we've done a lot of partnerships with them to ensure that their debugging scenarios are working properly, and you know, ready to get out to customers. So that's a really exciting experience.

JASON HOWARD: So, hold on, so it means you got to work on some of the past hardware, as well as some of the cool stuff that's coming next.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Exactly.

JASON HOWARD: That's got to be a fun space to be in.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yeah, not to get under the skin a little bit, but it's definitely a really great space to be in, and they work on some really cool stuff over there.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: And then I think another big thing that, I think Microsoft in general has been focused on is accessibility across all products, whether it's Xbox or Surface—anywhere, Teams, digital, hardware. We're really realizing that it's important to make everything inclusive to everyone.

So within our team, our WinDbg platform isn't the most accessible for all scenarios, so we're starting to really eye out where we can improve that and ensure that, despite whatever disability you have, whatever limitations you have, that you can interact with WinDbg just like anybody else.

JASON HOWARD: And still have the same access to the same tools to do the same great work.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Absolutely.

JASON HOWARD: That's fantastic. Well, I've got to say, Emma, Christopher, like, this has been a fascinating conversation. I know I've learned a few things here. And hopefully, the Windows Insiders out there who are tuning in, whether this is something they know much about now, or if it's something they've never heard of, hopefully with some of the links that we provided earlier and some of this high-level conversation, maybe it will spark some interest, they'll go and poke around a little bit. And then, you know, if they ever find a need to actually jump in and use these tools, they can of course just reach out. They know how to get ahold of us on the Insider program, and if we need to, we can reach out to y’all and get them going in the right direction.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Thank you.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Yeah, thanks for having us. It was great.

JASON HOWARD: Seriously, thank you both so much for being in the studio today. It's a fascinating conversation and, yeah, hopefully we have you on again, so we can talk about like what you're working on next.

 

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JASON HOWARD: And with that, Windows Insiders, this episode is a wrap. Thank you so much to our guests for joining us to take a closer look at how we're troubleshooting technology for the future. Whether it's the complex world of journalism or how you as Windows Insiders can get involved in investigating your own devices, troubleshooting is a deep space, and no doubt this is a topic we will revisit in the future as it continues to unfold.

Thank you once again for tuning into the Windows Insider Podcast. Join us for a new episode each month and don't forget to subscribe to the podcast on your favorite app. Until next time.

(Music)

NARRATION: The Windows Insider Podcast is hosted by Jason Howard and produced by Microsoft Production Studios and the Windows Insider team, which includes Allison Shields, that's me, and Michelle Paison.

Listen to our previous podcasts and visit us on the web at insider.windows.com. Follow us @windowsinsider on Instagram and Twitter.

Support for the Windows Insider Podcast comes from Microsoft, empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Join us next month for another fascinating inside look into Microsoft, tech, innovations, careers, and the evolution of Windows.

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Windows Insider Podcast Ep 28: Troubleshooting Technology Tomorrow and Today

 

(Music)

JASON HOWARD: Welcome to the Windows Insider Podcast, where leaders from Microsoft and Windows Insiders discuss tech trends, careers, and innovation. I'm your host, Jason Howard.

This is Episode 28, Troubleshooting Technology Tomorrow and Today.

But first, if you're not yet a Windows Insider, head over to our website, insider.windows.com, and register for free. Insiders get access to upcoming Windows features before they're released to the public, plus exclusive opportunities to experience all Microsoft has to offer.

All right, on to the show!

This month, we're digging into how you can take a deep dive into troubleshooting and we'll also look at how Microsoft is doing some troubleshooting of its own in the space of journalism.

First up, we'll be joined by Ben Rudolph, the director of Microsoft News Labs, to take a look at how Microsoft is focused on driving solutions through technology to empower journalists, publishers, and consumers. From tech training to data journalism to AI innovations, his team is working hard to support and transform the field of journalism.

Then, we'll be joined by Christopher Caulfield and Emma Saboureau to dig into how we're troubleshooting within Windows and how you as Windows Insiders can make the most of the tools available to start troubleshooting your own devices.

Without further delay, let's get on with the show.

First up on this month's episode, we're welcoming Ben Rudolph. Welcome to the podcast, Ben. Thank you so much for being here.

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, you bet. Thanks for having me.

JASON HOWARD: So, for the listeners out there who may not know who you are, could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do here at Microsoft?

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, sure, so my name is Ben Rudolph. A lot of you know me as Ben the PC guy on Twitter. I think I connect with a number of you already. And I'm currently the managing director for Microsoft News Labs.

News Labs is a relatively new part of the company, and our job is to help build solutions using the Microsoft stack that can help advance the art, science, and business of journalism.

I've been at the company for 12 years. Started in 2008 as the enterprise PR lead for Windows Vista, which was a pretty tough job.

JASON HOWARD: I'm about to say, you're stretching back there a little bit.

BEN RUDOLPH: Exactly, a little bit, dating myself. I worked on the feature device program, which is really about, like how we bring our best PCs to market and really showcase the world of Windows PCs, which is where I got the nickname, Ben the PC guy stuff.

A lot of you know me from the work I did on Windows Phone on the Smoked by Windows Phone campaign and the Windows Phone challenge, which feels like yesterday, it was actually a number of years ago.

And then after I left phone, I went over to what's called CDS, consumer and device sales, where I led our worldwide retail experience team. If you think about anything that you see, hear, do, or touch while you're shopping for or selling Microsoft technology in a store, like a Best Buy or a Dixon's or a Fnac or Yodobashi, my team designed it and built it.

And then about two years ago, I came over to take on this challenge.

JASON HOWARD: Wow. That is quite the storied history you've got.

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, I've-I’ve been around. I've got a lot of miles on the odometer here at Microsoft.

JASON HOWARD: And it seems almost like you've reinvented yourself a couple times.

BEN RUDOLPH: A little bit. You know, I don't think I could have done any of the subsequent jobs without the previous jobs, and I've loved every single one of them. And being in coms is really interesting, because you get to really think about deep storytelling in a multitude of different altitudes, right? How you can convince people that we have the best position in the market, that we have the best products, why it's going to make their life better. You can really start thinking about these big issues, how you wrap a story around it.

Windows Phone was a blast, because we built a thing that turned into this global experiential marketing platform. It-it kind of—I loved it, because it gave everybody who was a Windows Phone fan like me a set of demos that they could use at—what I call the “backyard barbeque” conversation. You're standing around, and you had your Windows Phone, and all your friends had iPhones or Androids. And you could say, “No, no, this thing is great, let me show you why.” And it was like that, taking that idea, that mission of empowerment and really bringing it down to every single consumer that had a phone in their pocket.

Retail was a blast because I got to do it at scale. It wasn't just the one-to-one conversation, we were selling in tens of thousands of stores around the world, hundreds of thousands of retail pros, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of customers. So, you got to take that empowerment and that idea of helping people connect with technology to fundamentally make their day and their life better, and you just got to do it, you know, in 190 countries around the world and hundreds of languages. It was—it was a blast.

And here, we get to—my role in News Labs, we get to work on something that's critical to all of us, which is empowering journalists to tell the stories that move the world forward.

JASON HOWARD: So, kind of like taking a leg up from there, right? So MSN.com, right, no doubt some of our listeners are familiar with that page. Back in 2014, it was redesigned to become powered by Microsoft News, which essentially was leveraging existing content from partners and trusted organizations. So, can you tell us a little bit more about Microsoft News, why it's a priority for the company, and then what it represents in our broader set of Microsoft goals?

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, sure, so Microsoft News is really a superset of all of the news experiences that show up across the company. So, if you think about the newsfeed, for example, if you have an Android phone, you use the Microsoft Launcher, you have that ability to add a news pane, like a panel. That's Microsoft News.

MSN is Microsoft News. If you think about the work we're doing with Bing News, that's all tied together as part of the same kind of macro-level thing.

And then you think about some of the distribution partners we have, you actually get Microsoft News in places that you didn't even know you get Microsoft News. So for example, if you have an Amazon Fire device—an Amazon, like Fire tablet—and you open up their Silk browser, you get news. It's actually Microsoft News.

JASON HOWARD: Really? Okay.

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, it's powered by us. If you are riding on a train in Switzerland, they have little seatback entertainment things, and you get news feeds—it's actually Microsoft News.

If you go into Pan Cafe, it's an internet cafe chain in southeast Asia, when you log onto the browser, you get a news feed. That's Microsoft News.

So, we're actually in a lot of places, but the Microsoft News brand is not a brand that people are deeply familiar with. They're very deeply familiar with MSN, which is kind of the core—the core product and really like the-the center of gravity for everything we do for news. But between all of those channels, we actually reach about 500 million people in, I want to say about 140 countries we have meaningful market share, and about 35 different languages.

So we're actually, according to ComScore, which takes a look at relevance and trustworthiness of news and all those things, kind of like ranks news sites, according to ComScore, Microsoft News is actually the number one news provider in the world, which is kind of like this really interesting secret because we talk a lot about Windows, and about Office, and about Surface, and Xbox, we don't really talk a lot about Microsoft News, but it's an incredibly influential part of the business that literally hundreds of millions of people in almost every country in the world are looking at every single day.

JASON HOWARD: Like, as you're sitting here saying this, right, the-the scale of it is kind of sinking in. It's easy for me to think about the scale of the Insider population from those out there that are participating in the Windows Insider Program, because we are in every country around the world. Yes, we have Insiders in Antarctica. It's crazy, but it actually happened. I’m super awesomely excited about that.

But when you start getting into numbers like this and you think about the scale and the relationships that have to be built to enable something like this, and then the scale at which is required to deliver this type of thing, like it’s-it's a bit mind-boggling.

BEN RUDOLPH: It’s-it’s—it is. The scale blew me away, because when I first took this job, we were putting this team together, I didn't really understand the scope myself. I knew that MSN was a thing, I knew that it was incredibly important, I knew that it was very popular. What I didn't realize is, how many people we touched on a daily, weekly, monthly, annual basis, how many languages we operate on.

I didn't realize that we had a team of hundreds of editors, human editors, who are working with 4,500 different media brands around the world to curate 170,000 pieces of ingested content a day into the news feeds that you see all around the world.

JASON HOWARD: A day?

BEN RUDOLPH: A day. We get over 170,000 pieces of content every single day. And it's a really interesting mix of technology and human eyes and human empathy that connect to curate that feed into something that is reliable and relevant and important and interesting to all of those different 500 million people.

So, we have people who are former journalists, we have former editors, we have technologists, we have engineers. It's an incredibly diverse mix of people all around the world, not just here in Redmond. We have editors in about 50 different locations around the world working with our news partners to help make sure that the best, most important, most relevant news is making it to your phone, or your tablet, or your Edge browser, or wherever else you get your news.

JASON HOWARD: Across any surface that’s—

BEN RUDOLPH: Across any surface. If you think about it, Microsoft News, I mean, you can get it on Edge, of course, it's built into the new tab page or the informational mode. If you want to get news every single day, you can either—if you're on inspirational mode, just click the little arrow at the bottom, it'll pop up, or click the cog and select informational mode, it'll pop right up.

You can get it through MSN. We have apps for Windows, for iOS, for Android, available through the Microsoft Launcher. And, of course, based on the way we built the site, it works through any modern browser. So, if you're not on Edge, which you should be, (laughter,) and you use a different browser, that's okay, too, you can go to MSN and you can get all of that information.

So, literally, on any surface that you can possibly think of, including Surface, you can get Microsoft news.

JASON HOWARD: Wow, that's pretty fantastic.

BEN RUDOLPH: It's a—it’s a pretty neat team to be part of.

JASON HOWARD: So, kind of looking backwards again, just a little bit, right? Last month, February, I saw a few headlines that showed up across different surfaces of news, right?

BEN RUDOLPH: Perhaps Microsoft News.

JASON HOWARD: Hey, possibly so. And they were talking about this thing called the Insights and Discovery Accelerator, IDA for short, which if I don't—if I got this right, that's something that your team helped with. Can you tell us a little bit about what this tool is, how it works?

BEN RUDOLPH: Sure.

JASON HOWARD: And, no, doubt, you think thing is, obviously, super important.

BEN RUDOLPH: We think it's super important. So, this was actually the first solution for journalists and publishers that my Microsoft News Labs team brought to market. So, we actually launched IDA back at Ignite. If you remember watching the Ignite keynotes, Satya got up on stage and talked about, hey, all the neat stuff that we were doing with Azure AI across the company and with our partners, and one of those was with The Atlantic, which a lot of you are familiar with The Atlantic as a publication.

JASON HOWARD: Yep.

BEN RUDOLPH: With cognitive services, that was actually our project. My team's project.

JASON HOWARD: Really?

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, so when the boss gets up on stage and says, “This is cool,” that feels pretty good. But the technology, the solution is this thing called IDA, the Insights and Discovery Accelerator. And what it is is a tool that allows journalists to ingest massive amounts of unstructured data—emails, PDFs, photographs, PowerPoint decks, Excel sheets, Word documents, whatever—understand the entities that are inside those documents, and establish intelligent connections between those entities.

So, great example, I'll tell you how IDA kind of came to life. We were meeting with a major publication. I would say a top-five news organization in the world. There's a high likelihood that regardless of where your Insiders are, they’ve probably seen content from this organization in the last week.

JASON HOWARD: Okay.

BEN RUDOLPH: Put it that way, they're very big. And this is right after the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, confirmation for the Supreme Court, which you know, those of you who are in the U.S. are probably very familiar with it. Those of you who are not in the U.S., Judge Brett Kavanaugh was being confirmed, he was going through a hearing to be confirmed a Supreme Court justice, and it was a very contentious hearing, right?

Lots of people on the left and the right arguing about whether it was the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do, went on for a very long time, very long spectacle.

There was a moment during the hearings where Brett Kavanaugh was being questioned by Senator Cory Booker. And they were talking about, should the government have a vested interest in having a diverse student body?

Now, I’m not making, we’re not—forget the politics. Put the politics aside for a second, because I don't want to veer off into that thing.

JASON HOWARD: Sure.

BEN RUDOLPH: But the moment was really interesting, because they were going back and forth, and it was kind of not getting anywhere. And Cory Booker holds up an email and says, “I have this email, and in this email, you said X.” And Judge Kavanaugh said, “I don't know what you're talking about. I don't remember that email.” And Senator Booker was, like, “Check your sent folder, it should be there.”

And Judge Kavanaugh was like, well, I don't—I don't know, like, can I get a copy of it? And they go back and forth, it gets nowhere, right?

JASON HOWARD: Okay.

BEN RUDOLPH: So, we're talking to this news organization, and they said, “We felt like we had a moral obligation to find that email.” Because, was Judge Kavanaugh fibbing? Was Cory Booker, Senator Booker overstating? We don't know, right? They were like, we need to find the objective truth. It's our job as reporters.

Here's the problem, all of those emails were public record. But those emails were in a 75-gig PDF, 30,00 emails, 90,000 pages of printed and scanned emails in non-chronologic order. That's how the emails were received.

They said, “We can't find the email. We fundamentally cannot find the email.” I said, “Well, how do you search for it now?” And they said, “Well, we print out all 90,000 pages, and we each—everybody gets a highlighter, and we start looking, we start reading through.”

JASON HOWARD: Wait, wait, they print it out?

BEN RUDOLPH: They print it out, right?

JASON HOWARD: Okay. (Laughter.)

BEN RUDOLPH: And this is a sophisticated news organization. And what we said, “Wow, that seems kind of crazy. Can we—can we take a look?” And at the time, we had a very, very rudimentary prototype of IDA. And we threw this document in there, we processed it, and about four hours later we sent them the email. We found this email that you're looking for.

And they said, “This is incredible. We-we want one. Give us the thing, right? Give me the thing. Tell us how much it costs. We should go buy it.”

We realized there was a bunch of work that we needed to do to customize the solution, and we went out and we started talking to other newsrooms. We realized they all had a similar challenge that too much data, hard to find what you need, right? You're literally finding the needle in the haystack. I mean, imagine walking into a library full of paper books and saying, there's a quote by Ben Rudolph in there.

JASON HOWARD: Go find it.

BEN RUDOLPH: Good luck. (Laughter.) Right? And even if you went to the old card catalog system and said, “I want a quote by this person,” it wouldn't tell you. You kind of had to know what book it's in, and then you could kind of find it.

Well, what if you had a map of everything that was in the library? And I knew that Ben Rudolph was the entity, I knew what Ben Rudolph said. I knew that in that same quote, in the next paragraph, Jason Howard was referenced. And I can find that connection that can show me exactly where that was, and I could either confirm that hypothesis, or I could discredit that hypothesis, and I could move on with my reporting.

So that was like the genesis behind IDA. And what we've done now is we've built it as a deployable solution inside Azure. You can deploy it at no cost to a newsroom. Obviously, there's an Azure consume piece afterwards, but rather than going out to these news organizations and saying, right, for a couple hundred thousand dollars, we can build this for you, and for a million dollars, we can build this for you, and for $500,000, we can build this for you. We said, we'll take on the risk. We believe this thing is important, and we want to make this, the barrier to entry to using our technology, as low as possible, because we know that newsrooms don't always have a lot of spare cash to throw around. They're not nearly as technologically sophisticated as Microsoft. So, if we could take on that technologic role, we can play that consultative role to be, like, tell us what you need out of this solution. We can help build it and then we can hand it back to the industry.

We've done something really important for investigative journalists around the world, and we've built this tool that, now I can shovel in documents, I can get relationship maps, I can get bar charts, I can do full page extraction. The Bing API is built in, so I can look public graph across things. It’s a—it is a digital, Azure-based version of what you saw in the old police movies where they have the corkboard with all the photos and the red string. (Laughter.) That's the best way I can put it. But because it's running on Azure, it's super fast, has unlimited scale, and we've built the front end to make it easy to use. You can literally just drag and drop files into it, hit the—hit the index button, it'll send you an email when it's done, and you can start exploring your data set.

JASON HOWARD: So, you took something that was archaic, slow, very labor, and thus cost intensive, and turned it into something that is backed and powered by technology, easily searchable, and on top of anything else, not to mention the labor cost, the time savings to actually find what you're looking for, so that you can get back to doing whatever it is that's more important that you need the information for to begin with.

BEN RUDOLPH: You bet. And this kind of really anchors on, like, I believe like our company's core vision for what AI can do, right? I mean, we fundamentally believe that AI and technology can augment what makes us uniquely human, right? Curiosity, creativity, empathy—these are things that are uniquely human. They're not going to be replaced by a machine. But we've taken something that was incredibly time consuming, and we've simplified it with technology.

So now I have more head space, more time, more kind of green field to exercise that creativity, that curiosity, and that empathy, and let Azure do the heavy lifting on the stuff that our machines, our computers, our AI is great at, which is handling massive amounts of data at very, very high velocity.

JASON HOWARD: This is going to sound weird for me to phrase it this way, but it's—on top of just enabling partners that we have to be more successful, right? It seems like this big turn in computing from humans trying to do everything, to us acknowledging the areas where, whether you want to call it a weakness, or it's just not one of our strong suits, however you want to term it, right? Turning that over to what can do it best and letting us get back to doing the things that we should be doing.

BEN RUDOLPH: Exactly right. I mean, really great example is when we—if you're running IDA, just without really getting into the APIs and really messing with how fast and how much compute resource you're going to put in IDA, you know, I'm a pretty fast reader. But IDA can read 100 pages a minute and index it—so not just read it. If I'm just reading, it goes even faster. I can't read 100 pages a minute.

JASON HOWARD: I can't read it, much less remember all of it.

BEN RUDOLPH: Right. That's 6,000 pages an hour, right? That's incredibly, incredibly fast, so that's where I get that massive amount of scale. So, whether it's an acute moment in time, there's a Wikileaks dump, and we want to see what's inside. Or if it's like with The Atlantic, it's an archival question where they're like, we have 168 years' worth of the world's best reporting, we can't possibly index by hand everything that's inside of that, can you help us? Which is exactly what we were doing with The Atlantic, and we unlocked all this incredible writing and incredible historical insight that goes back to before the Civil War.

And now, they can use that to write better stories about the issues that are happening now and provide better historical context.

JASON HOWARD: There's an interesting point you just made in there that I want to make sure and like very precisely highlight. It's not just about new information that's coming up, new gathering of documents, things that haven't been looked at before, it's also going backwards, grabbing everything that's historical, putting it in there, so you can use it in this same way.

BEN RUDOLPH: Exactly right. And it goes beyond journalism, too, right? Every company in the world has this data challenge. We talked with a, again, very, very large Fortune 100 sized company, and they said, you know, “We'd love to use this for our patents and all our technical documentation.” And I said, “Great, how many patents do you have?” And they were like, “A million.” And I thought that was being hyperbolic. And they were, like, “No, we actually have a million patent applications that we fired-filed over the last—over the decades.” Some of those patent documents are a page long. Some of them are 500 pages long.

We kind of know where stuff is, but it relies too much on an individual person having the institutional knowledge to say, “Oh, you're looking for Patent X, I know where that thing—I know which box on the shelf that's in.” What happens to your organization when that knowledge is unlocked and democratized for everybody?

So, we're seeing huge interest in the tool, not just from the journalistic world, but from the finance world, pharma, healthcare, automotive, the technology sector, government. Groups are coming to us all the time and saying, you haven't just solved a journalistic need, you've solved a data challenge. You've solved a data and a data democratization challenge, and we would like to use the tool.

So, it's been really, really interesting to see it start with a journalistic challenge, then realized that journalistic challenge was actually a universal human challenge, and we had technology that we could apply to help solve it.

JASON HOWARD: So, it—I-I want to pivot here, because obviously we've talked a lot about, like, the human aspect of it, some of the problems that were being solved. But you just mentioned something I want to dig into, which is the technological aspect of it.

So, your team is obviously doing a lot with Azure, and there’s, obviously has to be, some AI scattered in here to make this work properly to use this IDA tool. So are there other key ways that your team is using Azure to help empower what you're, like, working on with like all these—these are just giant accomplishments that your team just, feels like you're just, like, chopping them down one by one here.

BEN RUDOLPH: Well, I mean, I think we did something really interesting with IDA, but there's a lot more to do. And I wish I could show you some of the stuff that's coming next, like, I wish—I wish I could. (Laughter.)

What we've realized is like the Azure AI stack, right, the entirety, when you think about Azure with a capital A, and how it touches everything from data storage, to large-style compute, to like the Cognitive Services stack, around you know, the AI pieces, all the way to things like Azure Sphere with IoT. Almost everything that my team does is reliant on the Azure technology stack and on the Azure infrastructure stack.

So, we are—we're thinking about not just things like, okay, we've done IDA, but we're also thinking of, you know, which is an important tool for helping journalists to be empowered. But as you saw, it's starting to bleed over into that next stage, at least for the journalistic phase, which is curators, publishers, how we can help them manage their archives.

And we're also starting to think about things like, how that's going to help empower consumers through transparent storytelling and bringing stories to life in-in new ways. So, I can't talk a ton about some of the stuff that's coming because it's literally like, skunkworks stuff that's hiding in the lab that I can't—

JASON HOWARD: Yeah, I'm not trying to get anybody in trouble.

BEN RUDOLPH: No, I know. We all like the fact that our badges work every time we try and enter a building. But it’s—we see tremendous power across all three of those buckets, right—the creation stack, the curation stack, and the consumption stack—to take the power of AI and use that to augment those three things I talked about earlier that are uniquely human.

If you're a journalist, it might be the curiosity and the creativity piece. If you're a consumer, it, actually it's the same thing, right? I'm curious about the world around me. How can I use AI, and how can I use solutions that we're going to be creating to help me get more news that's more relevant, more effectively? How does that help me understand the world around me? How does it drive better data literacy?

All these things that are going to naturally empower me to have a better view of my world, give me the information that I need to make decisions that are going to help me improve my quality of life and the quality of life of the people that are around me.

JASON HOWARD: I'm sitting here, like, soaking this up for a moment, because like, the deeper that I think through this, right? Like prior to us coming to the studio and having this conversation, we'd had some high-level conversation about some other stuff.

BEN RUDOLPH: Sure.

JASON HOWARD: Which was part of what's sparked my interest of, like, hey, we should actually have a deeper conversation here. But, like, trying to digest the depth and the impact of-of this project and, obviously, the broader set of things that you have forthcoming that you know we didn’t jump into, like I just keep coming back to the word of—the word scale, because it's super meaningful here.

And oftentimes in the business world, it's like, oh, we're going to scale together and things like that. But the actual word scale in this sense of things, it's legitimately like the core meaning of what scale actually is. Like, it's huge.

BEN RUDOLPH: So, I think if you take this all the way back to Bill and Paul's original vision, which was you know, put a PC on every desktop in every home and every office, they were talking not just about business at scale, they were talking about empowerment at scale.

JASON HOWARD: Yeah

BEN RUDOLPH: And when we refined that mission, that's on the back of our badges, right—empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more—if you look at that through the lens of news, we have that at Microsoft in Microsoft News, right? We're empowering hundreds of millions of people to access relevant, reliable news that they can count on.

But we even go one step higher, which is, if you look at Microsoft's ability and our desire to apply our technologic might and our resources towards tackling the challenges and capitalizing on opportunities that are going to be good for all of us—things like our AI for Good program, AI for Health Care, which just got started I think a couple of weeks ago, our investments in STEM—news is at that altitude of priority.

Like, we know that if people are empowered with the information and the news that can help inform them about the world around them, the world outside of their house, maybe outside of their town, outside of their state, outside of their country, we know that's going to—that-that’s going to empower everybody. People will be more informed, they can make better decisions, they can move the world forward.

So, we-we kind of feel like at Microsoft News, we are playing a critical role to empowering people all over the world to simply make the most out of their day and make the most out of their world.

JASON HOWARD: It's interesting when you're talking about—I'm bringing up the word scale again, right? Because everybody's trying to accomplish something, right? You mention in, in you know, our-our mission statement of empowering every person and organization on the planet. Everybody, whether they're part of an organization, or if it's just like, say my mom's sitting at home, there's something she's trying to accomplish. But along the process of her doing whatever it is that's important for her, if we can take it that extra step and get her to think just a little bit bigger and just a little bit bigger, right?

Talking about stepping outside of your house, outside of your city, outside of your town, your country, you know, every time you take one extra step out, your view of things and the way you understand and perceive the world, it opens up that much.

BEN RUDOLPH: Well, let's-let’s talk about our parents, for example, or somebody just you know, average person sitting at home reading the news. Maybe there's a health issue in their family. Well, being empowered with news about what's going on in the world of medical advancements or understanding what's happening in the insurance market, that's a—that’s empowerment at a very local, hyper local level, right?

I fundamentally have more information to affect the lives of my friends, family, and loved ones. But at a broader level, it's context, it's understanding about how those things are affecting people in your community, around the country, and around the world, and maybe that changes the way that I view my job. Maybe it changes how I interact with my community. Maybe it makes me question or makes me think about the elected officials that I'm putting into office, right? Maybe it gets me involved in a charity, gets me involved in something I can do to better my community, right?

These are all small things that are going to start with me looking at my phone or looking at my PC, but can gradually move beyond the walls of my house, or my car, or my office to start shaping how I view the world and how I can impact my community. Like, that's what great news does, and that's why we believe it's so critically important to everybody.

JASON HOWARD: So, I realize I'm kind of jumping topic here on you a little bit.

BEN RUDOLPH: Sure.

JASON HOWARD: Hopefully you don't mind, but you know, the further we get into this, there's these little tidbits that I keep wanting to unpack a little bit deeper.

So, we’ve talked a little bit about the-the current climate of news, and how do we empower journalists, right? So, there's the—there's, again, like three phases that you mentioned, which was like the first phase being creation, which is the journalists actually creating the content. Then there's the curation phase, which the publisher actually putting the news out there. And then there's the consumption aspect of consumers, myself, yourself, everybody else who—you know, there's the end users who actually need to ingest this information to do these things that we're discussing.

So, like, if you look at it, kind of like in that three-part series, I guess, can you like jump in a little bit, like of how that defines you're like, your end-to-end perception of-of what you really are doing.

BEN RUDOLPH: Sure. You bet. So we talked a bunch about, like, the high-level thing, you know, like, we fundamentally believe that a free, well-funded press and having democratized information available to everybody in a way that's relevant and reliable, that's-that’s fundamentally good for everybody, whether you're dealing with just the stuff inside your house, or in your community, or in your world.

But when you break it down a little bit, we have to think about, like, what is that, like, how do we actually operationalize that across all three of those phases?

So, we talked a little bit about IDA. IDA's a really interesting example of how we're empowering journalists. You know, we built a tool specifically to make the lives of investigative reporters easier, using machines to do the things that machines are great at and freeing up more brain power for humans to do what they're uniquely good at. It's humans and technology working together, and I fundamentally believe with every fiber of my being, Microsoft is the best in the world at bringing those two things together. We are great at it, and we have armies of brilliant, empathetic people who are working on technology, ranging from you know, video games that we play on Xbox, all the way up to the Azure stuff to make that happen.

We're also doing a lot, I would say, on the ground level for journalists. So, my team actually has a training arm, where we go out, and we help journalists understand how to use Microsoft technology to fundamentally make their lives and their work easier. And a lot of that is basic stuff like teaching them how to use Office, how to use Teams. And I think for us, I think people listening to this podcast would be like, well, we-we know all that stuff, because we live and breathe it every day.

If you're not somebody who lives and breathes Microsoft, Word, PowerPoint, they could look like magic to you, and that's kind of scary and intimidating. I liken it to going to the gym. If you're going to exercise for the first time, and you walk into a gym, and there are a bunch of people who are using machines you don't know how to use, who are in way better shape than you, right, using words and lingo that you don't understand, that can be very intimidating. So, our job is to help break that intimidation down, get rid of it by embracing people who may not understand technology, but have a real use case for it, by teaching them how to use our products and services.

And we go even one step further, which is we have actually run some grant programs, one through ONA, the Online News Association, one through the ICFJ, which is the International Center for Journalists, where we partnered with them. Reporters came to us and said, “I want to go tell this story, I feel like there's a technical blocker that I can't tell the story.”

And we empowered them with some financial resources to help write the story and technological resources. Everything from laptops to computing power, we've done some livestreaming stuff, some data journalism stuff. So, we're helping to empower journalists at the very ground level to actually do their jobs and make their lives better and easier and more effective through Microsoft technology.

JASON HOWARD: It's like—to like—summarizing that, right? Because I've heard it put this way before, but it's interesting to hear it put in this context, where the technology can be such a great enabler, as long as it's not a barrier.

BEN RUDOLPH: Right. It’s a, if you—I think it was Arthur C. Clarke, where he said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is akin to magic if you don't know what it is.”

And I think a lot of the stuff that we do, like I have a-an architectural level of how HoloLens works. I can't do the math. So, when I put on a HoloLens, I'm like, “This is magic.” Right? (Laughter.) This is—this is absolutely magical. If you talk to, say, Alex Kipman's team, they're like, it's not magic, it's math. Let me show you how it works, right?

If you bring that all the way down, Word and PowerPoint can be just that mystifying to somebody if they don't know what they're looking at. So, we run an organization that works all around the world to help journalists feel confident in using technology.

From the curation standpoint, it's really about a relationship with publishers. I said we—you know, we work with over 1,200 publishers that represent about 4,500 media brands around the world, and our best method of empowerment for them is really twofold. There's the technologic piece, which we've already talked about with things like IDA, we do a lot with a really neat tool called Video Indexer that's part of the Azure Media Services stack to help people manage huge amounts of video, automating transcription and translation, all sorts of neat stuff.

But it's really, it’s fundamentally brass tacks about our business model. Microsoft News has this business model where we work with partners, we license content from them, we publish it on our site. And if you see it on MSN, there are some ads that surround those, and we make money off of those ads, and we share a portion of the revenue with every single one of our content partners. And we've returned hundreds of millions of dollars back to the publishing industry, because we know that if we can help them stay free and well-funded, they can spend less time worrying about keeping the lights on and more time worrying about doing what they do best, which is create high-quality journalism and getting that out to the world.

So that's like the core Microsoft enterprise B2B relationship where, we are successful when our partners are successful.

JASON HOWARD: Absolutely.

BEN RUDOLPH: And it's a really interesting model that we have, you know, that-that publisher model, and then the curation that we use between technology and humans, working side by side with the editors at those 4,500 media brands to bring great news to people all over the world.

JASON HOWARD: So before we leave this topic, I have to share a quick story, just because it's-it’s funny for me looking back, but at some point in time, I guarantee you, I'm not the only person who's ever done this.

So back in the 1990s, I'm dating myself here, when I was in college, I took an introduction to Office course. It was actually, it was a big deal. Like, now it's just like, you know, level 100 stuff they kind of expect you to know this coming from high school or whatever. But at that point in time, like, Office was this big thing. And between Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access, which Access isn't a word that gets thrown around much anymore, we had to pick three of them to actually kind of dive deep in to do projects on. And so, the teacher gave his high level of what each one represented.

And I was, like, okay, I'm going to do Word, Excel, and Access. When I got to the Excel one, right, it was like, okay, this is the project I want you to do. It was just simple-simple formulas and additions and stuff, stuff that's second nature for me personally now. But I remember the first time I opened Excel, and I'm sitting there staring at this screen of just grid, and I was like—I raised my hand, and she came over and was, like, “Yeah, what's the question?”

And I was, like, “Where do I start?”

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah.

JASON HOWARD: She's, like, “What do you mean?” Like, it was a foreign question to her, because she was super familiar with the product.

I'm like, “How do I get going here?”

She was, like, “Click a cell.”

“Well, which one?”

“Well, it doesn't matter, just click any of them.”

I couldn't get over the mental hump of it's-it’s in essence an open pane that I can do whatever I want, wherever I want. I'm in control of the construct. I knew what I needed to do, but the technology was a barrier to me doing what I needed to do.

And so, you know having had this discussion about getting the barriers out of the way and enabling people, talking about the grants, and making people successful, and teaching them how to use the thing that's going to make their life easier, I can't tell you the number of times that Excel has saved my behind and my career through different companies that I've worked at.

BEN RUDOLPH: Absolutely. So, you know, I mean, you know I taught self-defense for years, right? I taught Krav Maga, I taught Jiu Jitsu, and I always tell people, like, you teach people techniques and it would—before they learned how to do it, it was magic. After they learned how to do it, it was common sense, right?

And that's the real magical piece and the important piece about great training that's delivered at the right altitude for the audience, because it helps bridge that gap from, this is completely fantastical, and I have no idea what's going on, to, oh, yeah, of course, of course it would work that way.

So, we think that's really important for journalists around the world. I mean, Office is, obviously, the world's most popular productivity suite. They should know how to use it. There's an incredible amount of power—of power in those tools that we know can help them organize their notes in OneNote, record better interviews, do better remote conversations with things like Teams, create videos using PowerPoint, do math in Excel. There's all sorts of crazy stuff, that we kind of take for granted, that can be actually completely transformative to a reporter who's covering a beat.

So, we talked about creation, we talked about curation and that really interesting publisher model that we do with our 4,500 partners. Then there's the consumption phase, and—

JASON HOWARD: Yep, I wasn't going to let you slip by without that. (Laughter.)

BEN RUDOLPH: No, you bet. You know, one of the most interesting tools that we've found to help empower consumers of news is Power BI.

JASON HOWARD: Really?

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, right? Probably didn't think I was going to say that one.

JASON HOWARD: No, that was not what I was expecting.

BEN RUDOLPH: So, are you familiar with data journalism? Do you know what data journalism is?

JASON HOWARD: You're going to have to fill me in.

BEN RUDOLPH: Yeah, so data journalism is the idea of creating visuals that break down complex issues or bring stories to life through interactivity, right? Largely speaking. This is literally taking data, visualizing it into a chart, into a map, into a whatever, to help make the story clearer.

And my team actually, we started, before we did any of the fancy AI stuff, working side by side with reporters doing data journalism projects. We've done over 100 of them with 100 different publications.

JASON HOWARD: Wow.

BEN RUDOLPH: Some of them are local. We did a really interesting partnership with our friends at King 5 here locally, where we worked on a bunch of local data stories around traffic, marijuana taxing, immunization rates in school, we brought that to life online and on Surface Hub for broadcast. And they took these really, kind of hairy, complex local issues and broke them down through simple, easy to understand, explorable visualizations. I think that's the important part. It's not just a static chart.

You can actually click through, and you can manipulate the data yourself. You can see different facets. You can start to see how the reporters came to their conclusions. And we know that when we can give that level of transparency to a consumer, trust and affinity in that story goes up. I believe what I'm being told, because I can verify. It's like a trust but verify thing. I can—I can verify it for myself, and you've empowered me to start thinking differently about the story, and I want to go share that with other people.

And that story actually won King 5—that series of story actually won King 5 an Emmy.

JASON HOWARD: Really?

BEN RUDOLPH: They won a Northwest Emmy. Yeah. So, it was a really compelling thing where they wanted to try this, they'd never done it before. We helped work with their reporters, train them how to use Power BI, help them understand what great data journalism looked like. They obviously had the reporting chops and the broadcast chops. We brought that together, and they won a Northwest Emmy. Pretty neat.

We did a similar project with Politico in Europe around the European parliamentary elections. They wanted to help people stop looking at the parliamentary elections by country, right? I am German, therefore I care what's happening in Germany, I don't really think about what's going on in France. They were, like, we feel like it's important that we empower people to think continentally, like we were talking earlier about like, not just what's happening in my kitchen, but what's happening in my community and around the world.

So, we worked with them. I think we did 13 different data stories over the course of a year to help them break down really complex issues, from where different candidates and parties were polling, to understanding the gender gap in people who'd been elected, to help give their readers an understanding of what was at stake in that election and all the different facets of what—of all the different facets of information, so that they make informed choices when election season came around.

So, that's been a really powerful tool, because we can help teach data literacy through these stories to consumers. And we can make them feel like they're part of the story. So, it's not just a reporter telling you what to think, it's a reporter presenting a viewpoint, and then giving you the opportunity to backtrack their analysis, verify it, and validate it yourself, and then explore it in different ways.

So it fosters both affinity, it fosters trust with that individual piece of data, but it also starts getting people into a mindset where they can—they can actively participate in the discussion around the news, they're not just being talked to, they're part of the discussion.

JASON HOWARD: So, I have to say, we have covered a ton of ground here. And no doubt, there is this entire volume of conversation to happen again, right? We can keep going and going and going.

BEN RUDOLPH: Absolutely.

JASON HOWARD: Sadly, this podcast is not five hours, but no doubt, the conversation would be amazing if it was.

So, as we wrap up here, I am going to ask you my favorite question that I ask everybody that I speak with in the studio. And, you know, might get an answer, I might not, it's totally fine. What's next? What's the next big thing, that at least that you can talk about, that you're going to bite into?

BEN RUDOLPH: Okay, so what's next for us? I would say in the short term, we have a lot of—lot of work to do to effectively land and scale the things that we've already built, like IDA, and data journalism, and our publisher model to all of those 4,500 publishers and the journalists who work in their newsrooms.

We are just scratching the surface on what we can do to empower this industry, because we know that if we can—if we can crack that, if we can help our journalists produce better content, help publishers stay free and well-funded, and help consumers feel like they're part of the news conversation, it's going to be better for everybody.

JASON HOWARD: And then we'll just see what happens after that.

BEN RUDOLPH: And then we'll just see what happens after that. (Laughter.)

JASON HOWARD: Ben, this has been, I-I—hopefully, just as much for our listeners, but I will say, I mean, a little bit selfishly, this has been fascinating conversation.

BEN RUDOLPH: I've had a blast, thanks for having me.

JASON HOWARD: Appreciate you being in the studio.

BEN RUDOLPH: You bet.

(Music)

JASON HOWARD: Next up, we're joined by Christopher Caulfield and Emma Saboureau. Welcome to the podcast, both of you. Thank you so much for being here.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Of course.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Of course, thank you.

JASON HOWARD: So, for the listeners out there, could you please introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about what you do here at Microsoft?

EMMA SABOUREAU: Sure, so I'm Emma. I'm a program manager here. And I work on debugging, specifically Time Travel Debugging. So, it's a feature—a kind of debugging that we do, and I've been here for about three years.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: I'm Christopher. I'm a program manager within debugging experiences, just like Emma. I mean, I work on Kernel Debugging and other related debugging scenarios.

JASON HOWARD: That’s fantastic. So, getting the ball rolling here, I want to talk a little bit about the different kinds of tools that Windows Insiders have available to themselves when they're digging in deeper to troubleshoot Windows. I want to talk a little bit about what's available and where can they connect to get these tools?

Obviously, two different major tools got mentioned, Time Travel Debugging, obviously Kernel Debugging. No doubt, there's more beyond that. So, if I'm an Insider, and I'm having a problem, and it turns out I need to use one of these tools, just pretend I don't know anything. Tell me a little something. Like, where would I start? How would I know what to use?

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yeah, so there's many different kinds of tools out there for multiple kinds of debugging scenarios. The ones that on our team, we focus on, is primarily WinDbg, which is going to be the one that we're going to talk about today. If you do want to learn about all the different kinds of debugging tools out there, there is great resources. We have defrag tools, and they just go deep into all the different debugging tools.

But for the scenario of WinDbg, this is usually the case when your computer crashes, or an application crashes, or you get the famous blue screen of death, (laughter,) and you don't really know what's going on, this is the tool you want to use for that.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome. So, to-to dig in a little bit there, knowing that this tool is available, how do you start?

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Sure, so how do you start? So, I think we start off by saying that WinDbg is like the most powerful tool that enables people to debug their scenarios. They can grab the tool from the Microsoft Store. Right now, we have it called WinDbg Preview. We were previously WinDbg, but Preview is the most improved user experience, so whole new way of interacting, starting your debug scenarios.

We have Microsoft Docs available if you want to deep dive into different example scenarios and how to get set up. You can do Time Travel Debugging. You can do Kernel Debugging. You can do network debugging. So, there's different scenarios that the docs cover.

JASON HOWARD: So, to kind of give an example, like, one of the things we're kind of trying to tackle right now is there's been—there's been an-a deployment error, right? And so, for those Insiders listening, I'm going to throw out the error code, and they're probably going to chuckle, because I'm sure—I'm sure a few of them hit it along the way. It's the c1900101 error code. For people who don't know error codes, that really doesn't mean anything. For those who have hit it, they're going to know it all too well. And it's a bug that hits during the offline phase of deployment that causes a rollback. That's the—that’s the easiest way to summarize it. Usually it's related to a driver causing some sort of a problem or not being registered correctly, and the next thing you know, your update fails, and you're like, what the heck happened?

You can retry all you want, and you know, unless it's a specific bug that's tied to something or there's a driver update or whatever to fix it, you're going to keep hitting this error repeatedly. Now, part of the problem is, hey, it's like, hey, please file feedback, right? Feedback grabs the typical stack of update logs, things like that—panther logs and things you know that I'm sure the Insiders have, you know, either seen or heard at some point.

But because of the phase of deployment which this is happening, during the offline phase, there's a lot of the system side components that aren't running, because Windows isn't loaded in the typical fashion of, hey, Windows is up and running, so all these services are running. So, that's what we've actually been working through currently is actually having folks trying to set up and run Kernel Debugging over our network, but with the mode enabled, so they can actually do it during the update session. And it's interesting. It is not necessarily the easiest thing to do, especially for somebody who's not familiar—

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Absolutely.

JASON HOWARD:—or confident in running through this type of scenario. So, one of the questions I did want to ask is, what type of skill level does somebody need to jump into this space?

EMMA SABOUREAU: It really depends on like, what they want to do. Ultimately, like, being a developer or like having some programming knowledge would be helpful. But at the end of the day, like you're going to get instructions from Microsoft about how to start, like help us root cause the bug, and just following these instructions should be easy enough. Sometimes, going to be a bit of like command line or using a graphical interface, but there's really no complexity behind that, just as long as you follow the instructions.

JASON HOWARD: And I will say that the documentation that's available out on Microsoft Docs seems to be very thorough, very detailed, and kind of gives step by steps. Some of it includes screenshots. So, even if somebody is potentially like a bit nervous or think, hey, I might not be able to do this, right? The documentation is available and out there, and I'm assuming it's your team that keeps up with that documentation as you make changes to your product.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yeah, we actually do have a full-time person that works on the documentation for Microsoft Docs. And he sits in all our meetings, and he's listening to what we're working on and making sure that everything we're working on is intercepting the external docs. So, we're always keeping an eye on, like, what our customers are seeing online versus what we're doing internally, so we're always making sure that there's an intersection there.

One of the things that I do want to bring up is that, if people do have issues that they're stuck with, they can always go to the docs, and I believe there's a conversation form within Microsoft Docs, where they can, like, upload their problem or just share what's going on. And full-time engineers look at that frequently, and we can give feedback right there and then about what's going on. And that's available for everybody to see then, when you see that conversation thread.

And then based on that feedback, we'll also change the docs to reflect those—that feedback. We just got that the other day. We had somebody that had trouble figuring out how to debug over a virtual machine, so they were kind of like navigating left and right, but they couldn't find the right doc, and so we made that update because we were listening to them.

JASON HOWARD: And that's-that’s obviously one of the super-important things is, taking the feedback in from customers, and then not only for the tools themselves but, in how to use the tools, especially if it's not something like, may necessarily be pretty obvious, right? I will say, like I have run a kernel debugger a couple times, right? Obviously, not to the same depth or technical capability as either of you, which is why I love the fact that there's documentation.

So, from a perspective of trying to find some of these documents, right, you know, now that, you know, listeners have a passing knowledge that such a thing exists, if they're not familiar with it, where should they go to find it? Like, where would I go to look up this documentation?

EMMA SABOUREAU: Well, you have two. There's aka.ms/WinDebugPreview, and that's for more of like, learning about WinDbg Preview, how to use the tool, that kind of thing, and Time Travel Debugging, which is a feature of WinDbg Preview.

The other one is aka.ms/KDNet, and that's about Kernel Debugging and how to use it.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome. And then if users have any questions about the documentation, or there, a space that, you know, they find some updates that need to be made, does your team have like a GitHub space where, you know, suggestions and changes can be posted up and reviewed?

EMMA SABOUREAU: So, for every documentation that Microsoft publishes on Docs.Microsoft, actually have on the top right corner, an edit button, and it gets you to GitHub, where the documentation is actually published. And then from there, you can do a pull request to like, edit the documentation or just leave a comment or an issue saying this is wrong, or something is missing.

JASON HOWARD: Oh, awesome, all right, sounds pretty straightforward.

So, with each of these, can we talk a little bit about, number one, what their primary purpose is, right? And then how to make the decision on which one you need to use. And I've got to say, I haven't spent a lot of time talking about Time Travel Debugging, it sounds super cool. I mean, just the concept of time travel to start with, can you tell me a little bit about what the tool is, why it was created, and how you use it?

EMMA SABOUREAU: Sure, so basically in regular debugging the way you go about it is that you just go through the code, and then you just look at, you know, the moments in the code that matter to you, and then you often go too far down the code, and so you have to restart, and re-go through the code.

What Time Travel Debugging allows you to do is to record your program once, and then you just run through the code forward or backwards, that's the time travel part. So, if you've gone too far, you just step back, there's no restarting point.

JASON HOWARD: So, it-it gives you a rewind button.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Exactly.

JASON HOWARD: (Laughter.) Okay, that—well, that definitely answers the why it was created part.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Yes.

JASON HOWARD: That is fantastic.

EMMA SABOUREAU: And the great part is that, if you're having a problem that Microsoft engineers can't really repro, you can record using Time Travel Debugging, and then you send what we call a trace, that file, that recording to us, and then we can see what is happening in the program itself in the code, and then understand why you're having this bug.

JASON HOWARD: So, rather than having to be there watching it in real time as it's transpiring, it's almost like taking a video of it, and you can share it with someone else, so they can lend you a hand.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Exactly.

JASON HOWARD: Okay, well, that's reason number two why that was created, wow. (Laughter.) That is—that is—that’s fascinating. Like, how has—how has that helped you and, I mean, just in general, just engineers all across the company, like, how big of an impact has that had? It sounds like it would be enormous.

EMMA SABOUREAU: It is, yeah. For us, it's really about like, being able to debug either faster, or bugs that simply weren't really possible to debug using traditional methods. So, with the Time Travel Debugging, we can debug bugs that would be almost impossible to understand in regular debugging.

JASON HOWARD: Because you get to see the output of it—

EMMA SABOUREAU: Exactly.

JASON HOWARD: —in case it was something that had just like would snap by, and you couldn't actually grab it along the way.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Yeah, so if—or if it's a bug that happens, you know once in a blue moon, something like that, you record it once, and then you can, you know, play with the code as much as you want, or play with the execution and trying to understand it. You don't have to like, redo what made the bug happen a million times.

JASON HOWARD: Because you already have it—

EMMA SABOUREAU: Exactly.

JASON HOWARD: —and you can just keep replaying it. Wow, that is fascinating. Oh, my goodness. (Laughter.) Go from hearing about a topic but, like, just understanding the impact of what that tool is capable of, that's pretty remarkable.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Yeah, and it's really making like, we hear it all the time, it makes our engineers' lives a lot easier.

JASON HOWARD: So, you mentioned that Time Travel Debugging was part of the bigger WinDbg application. So, can you tell us as little bit about for—at least for those who are unaware or haven't heard of or used like WinDbg before, what does it represent? What is it used for?

EMMA SABOUREAU: So WinDbg is a debugger to debug any sort of application—but similar to the Visual Studio debugger, but it's just this separate debugger that is a lot more powerful, especially when you want to do things like Kernel Debugging or just regular user mode debugging.

And it also contains Time Travel Debugging. So, instead of just going through regular workflow of, you know, attaching to an application, and then trying to repro, you attach, but with Time Travel Debugging, so your recording button is on, and then you do your repro, you stop it, and then you debug as much as you want.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome. And is this constrained only to Windows as an operating system, or can third-party developers use this when they're trying to figure out what's going wrong with their application, and if it's not working right, like, what is the scope of the use of these tools?

EMMA SABOUREAU: So, it's best used—well, it's only available on Windows, first—but it's best used on native code, and sometimes managed code works with it, but not as well as native code.

JASON HOWARD: Okay, okay. So, let me shift a little bit over to Kernel Debugging, right? When-when would I need to jump in and run a kernel debugger as opposed to using some of the other tools that we've talked about?

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yeah, so Kernel-Kernel Debugging, again, is just like a deep dive into why exactly a crash happened? Why did the blue screen of death happen? Why did your computer unexpectedly reboot? Maybe there was a problem with a driver, the hardware is failing, the RAM—those are usually the cases of why you want to go into Kernel Debugging.

JASON HOWARD: And so, from an output perspective, right, say I've gone through and read the documentation, I've decided which tool I need to use. Let's say I'm having like, this deployment issue that I mentioned earlier, right? I realize I need to run a kernel debugger. I need to set this up. You get your host machine that's running the debugger, you've got your target machine, which is the machine that's having the issue. They're doing the communication. It's being shared over. And all of a sudden, you've got this whole bunch of output on the screen, right?

For somebody who's not familiar with running through debug logs and things, it can be a bit overwhelming to see a screen full of, oh, my goodness, I don't even know what I'm looking at, right? I will say, the first time that I looked at the output of a kernel debugger, I kind of stared at it blankly and was, like, oh, my goodness, what am I looking at? (Laughter.)

But you know, after having some conversation with some devs, and actually kind of biting into it, tidbit by tidbit, slowly but surely, it starts to make sense, right? And I think part of it is just having a bit of familiarity with what you're looking into, what you're trying to actually work through.

So if a—if an Insider out there sets this up, runs a debugger, trying to figure out what has happened on a machine, and they have some output, is there a good way for them to like understand how to parse through what they're actually looking at?

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: I think the most popular command that a lot of people use is !analyze, and that command basically performs an automated analysis and will show a result in the debugger. And inside it there, it will give you information about the problem that happened, an exception message, sometimes it will give you the process name, the module name.

Usually, this is enough for you to figure out what exactly is happening, whether maybe it's the driver crashing, maybe it's Nvidia for example, maybe that was the crash. If that's the case, then maybe you need to swap out your graphics card.

And usually that command will give you a nice, what I think is a clean summary of the result. And I believe on Microsoft Docs, you can actually go on there and look up the !analyze command under WinDbg, and it will actually show you some of the common outputs that come out under that command, so that you're kind of aware of the different results that come from your crash and what analyze says the result is.

JASON HOWARD: So, it's a good way to get started and not just stare at, in essence, a wall of—

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Absolutely.

JASON HOWARD:—text and symbols and craziness, right, that in case you don't understand it, this is actually almost like a tool built into the tool that kind of helps you get going in the right direction.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: For sure.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome.

JASON HOWARD: So, after you've run the analyzer, and you've got the little bit of this, right? You've got, you know, a few specific lines of code or output that are like, hey, this is kind of your problem. And you’ve kind of, say, you managed to whittle it down to like this one line, where it's like this is your exception or whatnot, I get the feeling that this probably isn't the first time somebody has hit this or something similar to this. I'm-I’m just going to take the wild guess here and say, you can probably copy it, and do some sort of a Bing search or internet search, go look on Stack Overflow or something like that.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yes, absolutely. That's something that you know when you get this error, you're not alone. We've seen this before and you can—just like you said, copy and paste it, put it on Stack Overflow, maybe even drop it right in Bing, and you're going to definitely see some queries that have related problems in the past.

If you have not seen this problem before, and you go on Bing, you do your research, you don't see anybody else that's troubleshoot this, this is when Microsoft comes in hand. You can go ahead and report it to Microsoft through our forms or Docs.Microsoft.com, and you can show the error, and I'm sure there will be some good collaboration with the engineers on what's going on there.

JASON HOWARD: Cool. Users are out there, they've hit issues, they've tried to use these tools, they’ve got some information, right? On the back side, we've made these tools available to developers, to publishers, to Insiders all around the globe, whether or not they're, you know, an active daily dev who does this for work, if they're just a passing hobbyist who wants to learn and see and do, right?

So why does all of this matter to us? Like, what benefit does Microsoft get from the creation and sharing of these tools? Obviously, internally, it helps us, you know, debug Windows, figure out how to make our products better. And not just Windows, right? Any of the code that Microsoft has written across the company, these tools can be applied to help us make our platform better as a whole.

But for—from looking at it from the outside perspective, right? We provide these tools to other folks, what is it that we can do with the information that they have? Because I mentioned earlier, we talked about like, when somebody files an item in the Feedback Hub, we get a very specific set of logs that comes back, and it's whatever the particular developer or engineer has said. Anytime somebody files this feedback, I want these logs to come in, so that I can research and dig into the issue.

But it sounds like in using these tools, we can get something that's even a little bit deeper and helps us get even further down the stack to understand what they're actually hitting.

EMMA SABOUREAU: It's exactly that. What you've got to know about these tools is that, it's going to give us a lot more information than regular logs. So, you might have sensitive information there. So, you've got to know that like, if you do give us those like logs, we might—you might pass down, you know, some sensitive information. So be aware of that.

But it's going to give us really valuable information that helps us understand what goes down in your computer and why you're having the problem you're having.

JASON HOWARD: It's interesting that you called out the distinction between what comes through a regular Feedback Hub log, versus what's potentially available in these types of logs, like a kernel debug log, something of that nature.

It’s—you know, we have our privacy policy out there, we've been very clear about, you know, what is collected when you file feedback. When you're doing a kernel log, right, it is grabbing a ton of information. And obviously, this isn't something we normally grab, this is a user-driven decision. They will have had to run this themselves on their machine.

But the positive side of it is, they can look through it, and see what all is in there, right? It's not just like blindly passing information. But, again, this is really—seems like it's only something that Microsoft collects in a very extreme circumstance, right? Hopefully, most often, you know, the Feedback Hub logs give us what we need, we can go through those, do our root cause be like, oh, yeah, we got it. Work on a fix and so on and so forth. But, like, in this type of scenario, like, these logs really get us to that next level.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Yeah, and regular Feedback Hub, any kind of logs, they're stripped down of what we call PII, personally identifiable information. So, you can't really like—you're safe in that sense that like, no information that can be traced back to you will ever be like, given to Windows through the regular logs.

But with these, kind of like, with a user trying to like debug and give more information about the crash to Microsoft, then it comes with like, more information, maybe about the user that's being given to Microsoft. But that's really restricted to what the user is recording or the moment the user is doing some Kernel Debugging.

JASON HOWARD: What's happening at that precise moment in time?

EMMA SABOUREAU: Yes.

JASON HOWARD: So it sounds like it would be—if you know that you're going to be potentially sharing a kernel debug log to Microsoft, I could say, hey, we're trying to work on an issue, I need you to go to this level and run this—like run a kernel debugger so we can get this deeper level of logs.

The user could not open QuickBooks, for in essence, right? Because I know a lot of people do like financial stuff in QuickBooks. They could make sure that that's not running, so that there's none of that in the memory so nothing would potentially be grabbed. So, a user can actually take a few steps to make sure that they're not catching things that they wouldn't accidentally want to share.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yeah.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome. So, I have to ask, right, this is—this is, I realize, shifting out of some of the technical stuff to talking to the two of you, how did you get into this, right? I'm assuming each of you has, you know, computer science background of some sort, I'll let you fill me in, right? I don't want to make assumptions here, but I'm taking a guess, you know, just kind of an educated guess, but what got you into the world of debugging? Like, what made you want to work in this space? Why do you find it exciting?

Like, fill me in because, I mean, I think it's fascinating, but I don't have the deepest, like, computer science background that a lot of people who have come to Microsoft in recent years, you know, because it's, you know, things have changed a lot since I went to college, I'll just put it that way.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: My background is really deep into computer science. I did a lot on the digital side and a lot of machine learning and artificial intelligence. But I never went too deep into the hardware side. I don't have a computer engineering background, I had no clue about anything related to debugging. You know, I knew surface-level debugging, so like, debugging line-by-line code. Why is this output not resulting? What is this error? But not on the hardware side, the performance side.

So, when I was like kind of searching around for opportunities, I kind of wanted to learn something different. And so, I was really fortunate to get placed on this team to educate me about the hardware side and the debugging side and really think deeply about what debugging means and how can we solve it. And so, I think this is a really special opportunity.

JASON HOWARD: It's almost a way of rounding out some of the skills you already had, and then building on top of that to learn another area you hadn't spent as much time developing.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Absolutely. Yeah, for like such a long time, I was on the other side of technology. And I just thought, you know, for my first job when I come to Microsoft, maybe it's a great time to try something different, and try something new, and-and think differently.

JASON HOWARD: You think it's working out so far?

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yeah, absolutely.

JASON HOWARD: How about you?

EMMA SABOUREAU: Well, my background is actually a bit different. I did a double major in fine arts and computer science.

JASON HOWARD: That's quite the combo.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Yeah, it is. (Laughter.) It's called computation arts. And it's very different than—like what I studied is quite different than what I'm doing right now, but there are a lot of transferable skills still. Because being a PM is really about like, looking at the user scenario and solving problems, and all of this is things that I've learned during my undergrad degree.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome. It's like combining the art of doing the right thing with the science of getting it done. That's fantastic.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Exactly.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yep. Absolutely.

JASON HOWARD: So, I've gotta ask each of you my favorite question, right? I ask everybody that comes through the studio the same question, and you are no different, so I'm going to put you on the spot here. Now, don't get yourself into trouble, right, I'm not trying to get anybody's badge revoked or anything.

But can you tell me a little bit about what you're working on next? Like, what's next for your team? What's next for you on the projects that you're working on? Like-like, what's on the horizon? And like I said, don't get yourself in trouble, but I'm super curious if there's anything you can share.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Well, I can talk about like one recent feature that we did called timelines. And again, if you think about the Time Travel Debugging, that recording that you do, now we've allowed users to see a timeline of when exceptions or certain events happen. And so, this visual representation is a direction that we're going into in the future, so you can already have the feature in WinDbg Preview, but this general direction of making more data available to the user and visualizing it graphically is something that we're really keen on.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome. How about you, Christopher?

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: So, some of the past work that I've done and continuing to work on is partnerships with different hardware teams, such as Surface. So, we've done a lot of partnerships with them to ensure that their debugging scenarios are working properly, and you know, ready to get out to customers. So that's a really exciting experience.

JASON HOWARD: So, hold on, so it means you got to work on some of the past hardware, as well as some of the cool stuff that's coming next.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Exactly.

JASON HOWARD: That's got to be a fun space to be in.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Yeah, not to get under the skin a little bit, but it's definitely a really great space to be in, and they work on some really cool stuff over there.

JASON HOWARD: Awesome.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: And then I think another big thing that, I think Microsoft in general has been focused on is accessibility across all products, whether it's Xbox or Surface—anywhere, Teams, digital, hardware. We're really realizing that it's important to make everything inclusive to everyone.

So within our team, our WinDbg platform isn't the most accessible for all scenarios, so we're starting to really eye out where we can improve that and ensure that, despite whatever disability you have, whatever limitations you have, that you can interact with WinDbg just like anybody else.

JASON HOWARD: And still have the same access to the same tools to do the same great work.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Absolutely.

JASON HOWARD: That's fantastic. Well, I've got to say, Emma, Christopher, like, this has been a fascinating conversation. I know I've learned a few things here. And hopefully, the Windows Insiders out there who are tuning in, whether this is something they know much about now, or if it's something they've never heard of, hopefully with some of the links that we provided earlier and some of this high-level conversation, maybe it will spark some interest, they'll go and poke around a little bit. And then, you know, if they ever find a need to actually jump in and use these tools, they can of course just reach out. They know how to get ahold of us on the Insider program, and if we need to, we can reach out to y’all and get them going in the right direction.

CHRISTOPHER CAULFIELD: Thank you.

EMMA SABOUREAU: Yeah, thanks for having us. It was great.

JASON HOWARD: Seriously, thank you both so much for being in the studio today. It's a fascinating conversation and, yeah, hopefully we have you on again, so we can talk about like what you're working on nex

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JASON HOWARD: And with that, Windows Insiders, this episode is a wrap. Thank you so much to our guests for joining us to take a closer look at how we're troubleshooting technology for the future. Whether it's the complex world of journalism or how you as Windows Insiders can get involved in investigating your own devices, troubleshooting is a deep space, and no doubt this is a topic we will revisit in the future as it continues to unfold.

Thank you once again for tuning into the Windows Insider Podcast. Join us for a new episode each month and don't forget to subscribe to the podcast on your favorite app. Until next time.

(Music)

NARRATION: The Windows Insider Podcast is hosted by Jason Howard and produced by Microsoft Production Studios and the Windows Insider team, which includes Allison Shields, that's me, and Michelle Paison.

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Join us next month for another fascinating inside look into Microsoft, tech, innovations, careers, and the evolution of Windows.

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