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Weekend tech reading: Microsoft is tinkering with tabbed windows, RIP Robert Taylor, doing...

By Matthew ยท 10 replies
Apr 16, 2017
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  1. Microsoft is experimenting with tabs in File Explorer and other apps on Windows 10 If you're one of many Windows Insiders who have been constantly asking Microsoft to bring tabs to File Explorer, we may have some good news for you. According to sources familiar with the matter, Microsoft is currently experimenting internally with a new feature called "Tabbed Shell", which brings the familiar browser tabbing module to all app windows in Windows 10, including the File Explorer. Windows Central

    1950's tax preparation: plugboard programming with an IBM 403 accounting machine Long before computers existed, businesses used electromechanical accounting machines for data processing. These one-ton accounting machines were "programmed" through wiring on a plugboard control panel, allowing them to generate complex business reports from records stored on punched cards. Even though they lacked electronics and used spinning mechanical wheels to add up data, these machines could process more than two cards a second. Ken Shirriff

    Magic AI: These are the optical illusions that trick, fool, and flummox computers There’s a scene in William Gibson’s 2010 novel Zero History, in which a character embarking on a high-stakes raid dons what the narrator refers to as the “ugliest T-shirt” in existence — a garment which renders him invisible to CCTV. In Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, a bitmap image is used to transmit a virus that scrambles the brains of hackers, leaping through computer-augmented optic nerves to rot the target’s mind. The Verge

    This new solar-powered device can pull water straight from the desert air You can't squeeze blood from a stone, but wringing water from the desert sky is now possible, thanks to a new spongelike device that uses sunlight to suck water vapor from air, even in low humidity. The device can produce nearly 3 liters of water per day for every kilogram of spongelike absorber it contains, and researchers say future versions will be even better. ScienceMag

    Are Chromebooks responsible for PC market growth? Microsoft might have more reason to be scared of Chromebooks these days. While the software giant was spooked by Google’s low-cost laptops three years ago, they’ve mostly only been selling well to schools. That appears to have changed over the past year. Chromebooks outsold Macs for the first time in the US last year, and now they appear to be contributing to overall PC market growth. The Verge

    BioWare’s new IP has elements from Destiny, The Division, to be revealed at E3 2017 The original Mass Effect team’s next project is reportedly codenamed Dylan, and it’ll represent EA’s answer to other MMO-light games such as Destiny and The Division. BioWare Edmonton, developers of the Mass Effect trilogy, have been working on a new IP for over four years now. We were first introduced to it at E3 2014, but only the vaguest details were shared at the time. VG24/7

    Researchers develop master fingerprints that can break into smartphones The story goes that no two fingerprints are exactly alike, which makes them an excellent method for authentication. However, as researchers at New York University and Michigan State University have recently found, they’re hardly foolproof. The team has developed a set of fake fingerprints that are digital composites of common features found in many people’s fingerprints. Digital Trends

    Heat shrink tubing and the chemistry behind its magic There’s a lot to be said in favor of getting kids involved in hacking as young as possible, but there is one thing about working in electronics that I believe is best left as a mystery until at least the teenage years — hide the shrink tube. Teach them to breadboard, have them learn resistor color codes and Ohm’s Law, and even teach them to solder. But don’t you dare let them near the heat shrink tubing. Hackaday

    Hybrid ink 'drawable' electronic circuits create radical possibilities for flexible gadgets Who said pen and paper was dead? German scientists have developed a new type of ink that allows fully-functioning electronic circuits to be 'written' directly onto a surface from a pen. The technology could provide an inexpensive means of manufacturing printed circuits suitable for flexible smartphones, tablets and other radical gadget designs. International Business Times

    Star Trek’s “tricorder” medical scanner just got closer to becoming a reality Throughout the myriad voyages of the crews of the Starship Enterprise, medical officers always carried with them a futuristic little device, about the size of a cellphone, that allowed them to diagnose any ailment—alien or otherwise. Just by waving the device, called a tricorder, over the patient’s body, they could get a complete rundown of all vitals and diseases. Quartz

    Robert Taylor, innovator who shaped modern computing, dies at 85 Like many inventions, the internet was the work of countless hands. But perhaps no one deserves more credit for that world-changing technological leap than Robert W. Taylor, who died on Thursday at 85 at his home in Woodside, Calif. Indeed, few people were as instrumental in shaping the modern computer-connected world as he. The NY Times

    Explained: Neural networks In the past 10 years, the best-performing artificial-intelligence systems — such as the speech recognizers on smartphones or Google’s latest automatic translator — have resulted from a technique called “deep learning.” Deep learning is in fact a new name for an approach to artificial intelligence called neural networks, which have been going in and out of fashion for more than 70 years. MIT

    Building an Xi 8088 PC This was a long, involved project. I started out by ordering a set of boards from Todd over at the retrobrew forums...The backplane was the first board I constructed. It has spots for eight edge card connectors, and BIOS POST logic. You get to choose which driver you want to use for the post display. Some drivers can display hex digits, some cannot, and some just display weird things instead of A-F. Dr. Scott M. Baker

    Forgotten audio formats: The flexi disc The flexi disc has, for a physically flimsy format, an incredibly diverse background, and its story incorporates everyone from the Beatles, David Bowie, and ABBA, to Alice Cooper and heavy metal. In terms of retail it cropped up with National Geographic, in a million-dollar McDonalds campaign, and on the covers of numerous teenybopper magazines. Ars Technica

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  2. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,864   +2,169

    Chromebooks will never replace PCs because apps will never replace software
  3. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,050   +1,384

    Adding tabs to a file explorer seems to me that it would clutter the interface far more...the point of the task bar is for all your tasks to be there IMO and not stacked together and convuluted.
  4. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,864   +2,169

    If file explore had tabs I see myself using them but it isn't a feature that I feel that I NEED.
  5. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,372   +1,823

    Apps is just another name for software. Their size and functionality are only restricted by the devs and the system they are built for.
    Reehahs and cliffordcooley like this.
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,286   +4,941

    Thanks Puiu, I was confused as to why they stated that the way they did.
    Reehahs likes this.
  7. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,864   +2,169

    Well at this point "apps" is the term coined for any useless peice of software that runs on a phone using the ARM architecture, at least that's what it has come to mean for me and many of my techie friends. Chromebooks use ARM chips to keep costs down and can't run full on x86/x64 software so you're stuck using either apps or google chrome extensions.

    That means things like autocad, photoshop, and other pieces of software will never be able to run on them. Anyone who wants anything other than a facebook machine will take horribly to chrome books.
  8. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,903   +1,414

    Term app is spreading like a bad smell and it's just a matter of time before even pro software like AutoCAD and PS start calling themselves apps. I don't like it either but that's the trend now.

    As for tabbed Windows I can see how it would work but we have to see how bad MS will **** it up.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  9. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,372   +1,823

    If you can run big games and other kinds of big software on a smartphone then you can 100% make autocad and photoshop run on them too. The better question is: does it make sense to run them on such hardware?
    As long as MS can't make a decent ARM Windows port (Windows RT was crappy) you won't see devs of workstation software take it seriously. MacOS has better chance of moving to an ARM architecture and there are rumors for quite some time of Apple trying to remove third party x86 CPUs from their laptops and use their own CPUs built by them using ARM similar to their phones and tablets.

    FYI I've also seen a lot of atrocious desktop software and calling all "apps" useless is just stupid. It's all about what you need and where you need it.
  10. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,669   +2,428

    Yeah, but..you *can't* run anything serious on a smartphone, so the second question never becomes relevant. And it most likely never will since a PC will always have more processing power. At some point phones and tablets may be "good enough" for things like Photoshop, but their never going to seriously challenge a desktop or laptop.

    I sort of agree. The truth is, however, that "apps" are bogged down with advertising, terrible UIs and a host of other handicaps that inevitably make them inferior to full strength computer software.
  11. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,913   +3,363

    Well they should be doing tabs from the task bar. On a 2K or 4K monitor it's nearly impossible to fill anyways. I definitely don't want them on the title bar.

    That said, QTTabBar has allowed tabbed browsing in explorer and there are a plethora of explorer replacement apps that also offer the feature.

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