Tomorrow's World (BBC)
Tomorrow's World (BBC)

Watch Technologists Get Excited About Pen Computers in 1991

Tomorrow's World (BBC)
Tomorrow's World (BBC)

In this clip from a 1991 episode of Tomorrow's World we learn about a revolution in computing: A FREAKIN' TOUCH-SCREEN! Of course you don't actually touch it with your fingers, you use a stylus instead. And the screen is monochrome. And it's bulky. But still, you can kind of draw on it and that's a big deal.

The early computers demonstrated in this clip struggle to do very basic handwriting recognition, but they do work. In a fascinating segment, they visit a Jaguar factory and note how the touchscreen is actually used in the wild, to ensure quality in paint jobs.

My favorite quote from this bit:

"It's predicted that we will soon see an electronic checkbook which can read the amount, verify your signature, and communicate directly with the bank's computer."

Not a bad prediction, though of course the checkbook itself was largely made obsolete by ATM cards.

For special bonus points, after the touchscreen computer segment we learn about an exciting new technology that will allow for widescreen "high definition" TV. The future was so exciting in 1991. Enjoy:

One of the computers shown appears to be a Kyocera Refalo KX-1601, which actually ran MS-DOS!

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Arthur Shi, iFixit // CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
The New MacBook Has a Crumb-Resistant Keyboard
Arthur Shi, iFixit // CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Arthur Shi, iFixit // CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Soon, you won’t have to worry about ruining your Macbook’s keyboard with muffin crumbs. The 2018 MacBook Pro will feature keys specifically designed to withstand the dust and debris that are bound to get underneath them, according to Digital Trends. The keyboard will also be quieter than previous versions, the company promises.

The latter feature is actually the reasoning Apple gives for the new design, which features a thin piece of silicon stretching across where the keycaps attach to the laptop, but internal documents initially obtained by MacRumors show that the membrane is designed to keep debris from getting into the butterfly switch design that secures the keycaps.

Introduced in 2015, Apple’s butterfly keys—a change from the traditional scissor-style mechanism that the company’s previous keyboards used—allow the MacBook keyboards to be much thinner, but are notoriously delicate. They can easily become inoperable if they’re exposed to dirt and debris, as any laptop is bound to be, and are known for becoming permanently jammed. In fact, the company has been hit with multiple lawsuits alleging that it has known about the persistent problem for years but continued using the design. As a result, Apple now offers free keyboard replacements and repairs for those laptop models.

This new keyboard design (you can see how it works in iFixit's very thorough teardown), however, doesn’t appear to be the liquid-proof keyboard Apple patented in early 2018. So while your new laptop might be safe to eat around, you still have to worry about the inevitable coffee spills.

[h/t Digital Trends]

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iStock
Finally! Windows Notepad Is Getting an Update for the First Time in Years
iStock
iStock

While some of Window's core programs have evolved dramatically over the years, or disappeared all together, Notepad has remained pretty basic. But as The Verge reports, the text-editing app is about to get a little fancier: Microsoft is updating it for the first time in years.

Since it debuted in 1985, Notepad has become a popular platform for writing out code. One common complaint from programmers working in non-Windows coding language is that Notepad doesn't format line breaks properly, resulting in jumbled, messy text. Now, both Unix/Linux line endings (LF) and Macintosh line endings (CR) are supported in Notepad, making it even more accessible to developers.

For the first time, users can zoom text by holding ctrl and scrolling the mouse wheel. They can also delete the last word in their document by pressing ctrl+backspace. On top of all that, the new update comes with a wrap-around find-and-replace feature, a default status bar with line and column numbers, and improved performance when handling large files.

The arrow keys will be easier to navigate as well. You can now use the arrow keys to deselect text before moving the cursor. And if you ever want to look up a word online, Microsoft will allow you to connect directly to Bing through the app.

The new Notepad update will be made available first to Windows Insiders through Windows 10 Insider Preview, then to everyone on the forthcoming update, codenamed Redstone 5, likely later this year.

[h/t The Verge]

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