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The Boss Key

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This weekend I was enjoying some performance from Coachella via AT&T Blue Room and noticed something fun: their online video player has a Boss Button. Pressing the Boss Button pops up a fullscreen fake Excel spreadsheet (pictured at left), designed to fake out your boss or coworkers if they happen to walk by while you're, uh, not being productive.

This feature brought me back to video games from the 80's, where a Boss Key (often F10 or some other generally unused key) was a common feature. Where did the Boss Key go? Why haven't we developed a modern equivalent -- there are over 100 keys on my keyboard; surely they could have assigned one to the Boss Key function by now.

Wikipedia has some historical info about the Boss Key. One implementation I remember is from Leisure Suit Larry, where pressing Ctrl-B would bring up a fake word processing document.

Reading the Wikipedia article, they suggest some alternate mechanisms for implementing your own Boss Key -- including the simple notion of hitting Alt-Tab (or Command-Tab for us Mac users) to switch to another application. In Mac OS X, you can also hit Command-M to minimize the current window. In the upcoming Mac OS X Leopard, Apple will implement Spaces, which allows you to quickly shift the entire contents of your screen to another set of applications -- I look forward to having an entire Space just for goofing off.

Have you figured out your own version of the Boss Key? Let us know your strategies for keeping your nonproductivity a secret!

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This Just In
Mattel Unveils New Uno Edition for Colorblind Players
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Mattel

On the heels of International Colorblind Awareness Day, Mattel, which owns Uno, announced it would be unveiling a colorblind-friendly edition of the 46-year-old card game.

The updated deck is a collaboration with ColorADD, a global organization for colorblind accessibility and education. In place of its original color-dependent design, this new Uno will feature a small symbol next to each card's number that corresponds with its intended primary color.

As The Verge points out, Mattel is not actually the first to invent a card game for those with colorblindness. But this inclusive move is still pivotal: According to Fast Co. Design, Uno is currently the most popular noncollectible card game in the world. And with access being extended to the 350 million people globally and 13 million Americans who are colorblind, the game's popularity is sure to grow.

Mattel unveils color-friendly Uno deck
Mattel

[h/t: The Verge

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fun
Lightning-Fast Teen Sets New Rubik’s Cube World Record
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iStock

In less time than it takes some people to open a pickle jar, 15-year-old Patrick Ponce can solve a Rubik’s Cube. His total time of 4.69 seconds makes him the new holder of the world record for fastest 3-by-3 Rubik’s Cube completion, as highlighted by Compete (and seen in the video below).

Ponce achieved the impressive feat of dexterity at a tournament in Middletown, Virginia, on September 2. He takes the title from the previous Rubik’s Cube speed record holder, Feliks Zemdegs, who solved the puzzle in 4.73 seconds at a competition in Australia in December 2016.

But the teenager may not hold his new position at the top for very long: Expert Rubik's Cubers have been steadily lowering the speed record beneath the 5-second mark since 2015. And human competitors still have a long way to go before solving a cube in 0.887 seconds—that’s the record that was set by a robot in March of 2017.

[h/t Compete]

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