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Keyboard Software Responds Differently to Each Finger to Improve Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts provide a quick and easy way to change settings in different computer programs without scrolling through menu windows or searching cryptic toolbar icons. Usually, shortcuts involve combinations of different keys pressed in unison, and often the more shortcuts you program, the tougher those combinations can be to remember. Researchers Jingjie Zheng and Daniel Vogel of the University of Waterloo are trying to make keyboard shortcuts simpler—with new software that can detect which hand and finger you use to press each key.

Gizmodo reports that Zheng and Vogel created a program called Finger-Aware Shortcuts which uses your computer’s built-in camera and a simple 3D printed mirror to track finger positioning on the keyboard. Depending on which finger you use, each key responds differently. For example, pressing the “G” key with your left pointer finger might produce the letter “G” as it normally does. But pressing the same key with your right pointer finger might take you to a new page, or open a search window.

In the short demo video above, the researchers show how Finger-Aware Shortcuts could revolutionize workflow on word processing programs and visual design software. For instance, Finger-Aware Shortcuts could let Photoshop users toggle between different settings fluidly without searching through settings, augmenting existing keyboard shortcuts with a much wider range of possibilities. Check it out above.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Banner Image Credit: Daniel Vogel, YouTube

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The Evolution of "Two" in the Indo-European Language Family
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The Indo-European language family includes most of the languages of Europe as well as many languages in Asia. There is a long research tradition that has shown, though careful historical comparison, that languages spanning a huge linguistic and geographical range, from French to Greek to Russian to Hindi to Persian, are all related to each other and sprung from a common source, Proto-Indo-European. One of the techniques for studying the relationship of the different languages to each other is to look at the similarities between individual words and work out the sound changes that led from one language to the next.

This diagram, submitted to Reddit by user IronChestplate1, shows the word for two in various Indo-European languages. (The “proto” versions, marked with an asterisk, are hypothesized forms, built by working backward from historical evidence.) The languages cluster around certain common features, but the words are all strikingly similar, especially when you consider the words for two in languages outside the Indo-European family: iki (Turkish), èjì (Yoruba), ni (Japanese), kaksi (Finnish), etc. There are many possible forms two could take, but in this particular group of languages it is extremely limited. What are the chances of that happening by accident? Once you see it laid out like this, it doesn’t take much to put *dwóh and *dwóh together.

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infographics
Beyond Plumbing: 19 Other Jobs on Mario's Resume
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Nintendo made news this week by subtly announcing that Mario is no longer a plumber. In fact, they're really downplaying his whole plumbing career. On the character's Japanese-language bio, the company says, "He also seems to have worked as a plumber a long time ago."

But Mario has always had plenty of jobs on the side. Here's a look at his resume:

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