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