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Browser tabs used to help me stay organized. Now they’re part of the problem.
For me at least, it’s become second nature to open a page in a background tab to save it for later. That sounds fine in theory, but then half an hour later, I’m buried in so many tabs I can’t even see their titles anymore. More often than not, tabs end up cluttering up my digital workspace, making it harder to find information when I actually need it.
Spawning a mess of tabs had became a bad habit, one that was hampering my productivity. There was a time when I frequently cleared out my tabs to keep my computer running smoothly, but in 2017 – espcially running a powerful desktop rig – that’s no longer necessary. And while I’ve tried a myriad of tab management solutions – niche browsers, extensions, etc – none of them really seemed to solve the core problem.
Then I realized, I don’t even need to open pages in new tabs in the first place. Most of the time I was opening tabs, I should’ve been opening in new windows instead. Yes, like back in the days when people actually used Internet Explorer.

Hear me out for a bit. Tabs were created as an organizational system at a time when browsing the web and running native apps were largely separate experiences, and when opening multiple instances of a browser would slow your computer to a crawl. This is no longer the case. Instead of helping you keep websites tidy, now they just add an extra step to get to the information you want.
My typical workday involves alternating between browsers, Slack, SimpleNote, an RSS reader, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, and more. But then many of the sites I open in a browser are basically apps themselves – Google Docs, Facebook, Netflix, WordPress, Twitter, Wikipedia, Google Play Music, etc.
could use the desktop version of some of these apps, but the web apps are often better, or the differences are primarily cosmetic. And yet web apps still live on a separate interface layer – the browser – which leads to a sloppy experience when I’m trying to switch software.
I normally do that via Task View (Win+Tab) or Alt+Tab on a PC. These commands provide me with a visual preview of all the software I have open, but become much less useful if software is housed on the web. If I want to switch directly to Facebook from Lightroom, I need to first open up my browser, and then sort through the dozens of tabs I have open.

It’s an unnecessary extra step that isn’t a problem if you simply open a page in a new window. Press Alt+Tab and now you can quickly pick out the app you’re looking for – whether it’s native or on the web. It may just amount to a second or two saved at a time, but they’re savings that add up over the course of a day.
As a nice bonus, this new strategy also means I open up less “read for later” pages I know I’m probably never going to get to in the first place. Having multiple windows open makes me more aware of all the things I have running, and be more selective about what I click on in the first place.
All this isn’t to say you should stop using tabs altogether. Once I’ve opened up Wikipedia in a new window, I’ll still keep all my other Wikipedia pages in separate tabs within the same window – or perhaps use tab stacking in a browser like Vivaldi. That way I keep things nice and tidy, but am still able to find Wikipedia when I press Alt+Tab.
In an ideal world, there’d be an option so that Windows 10 would show me not just a preview of the apps I have open, but tabs within a browser as well. But in the meantime, next time you think of opening a site in a new tab, try opening it up in a window instead. It’s not a solution for everyone, but if you’re anything like me, it might just make your life a little easier.

An Albert Einstein chatbot on Facebook Messenger is a window into how the chat service could be used as an educational tool — at least when it comes to simple facts.
The chatbot is intended to promote National Geographic’s new show Genius, which is about Einstein. And it does that, with a constant stream of gifs and pictures from the show. The conversation was also bookended by references by both the show and a March for Science happening on the National Mall in D.C. this weekend.
But, that aside, I did learn more about Albert Einstein than I knew when I started the conversation. He apparently had a great love for the violin. (I can’t play the piano, for the record.)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’d delved into a biography. I learned very basic information, such as when Einstein was born and died, the names of his wives, etc. Still, if I could talk to Messenger bots dedicated to teaching people simple facts about historical figures and their ideas/inventions/significance in a more organic way, the facts would definitely be more likely to stick in my head.
With the Messenger API spawning ever more bots, here’s to hoping more educational ones crop up free of sponsorship.

Earlier today, Windows Central leaked a document detailing Microsoft’s grand plan to take on the Chromebook. The company is reportedly releasing a variant of its main OS called Windows 10 Cloud or Windows 10 S, which can only run apps downloaded from the Windows Store.
These can be legacy apps, mind you, but they can only be downloaded from the official Windows Store. In doing so, Microsoft is able to better regulate which apps users download and emphasize software optimized for low power consumption.
Considering Microsoft is holding an event on May 2 that’s focused on education – and that Chromebooks have become immensely popular in schools – Windows 10 Cloud seems practically a given. But taking on the Chromebook is not going to be easy.
ChromeOS has seen the some of the largest growth in the US PC market the last several years, digging into both Windows and Mac sales. And it’s not hard to see why: they’re cheap, generally built well, and perform ‘good enough’ for the tasks many students need. If you don’t need to run complicated desktop software – why spend more than a few hundred dollars?
It’s not surprise Microsoft would feel threatened, and now it seems poised to challenge some of ChromeOS’ advantages. Just look at the leaked chart:

I’m all for a fast, cheap, Windows laptops with all-day battery life. I’m not even particularly worried whether Microsoft could meet its performance targets. But the way I see it, Microsoft has a few issues to address for Windows 10 Cloud not to go widely ignored.
Firstly, a huge part of Google’s success with Chrome OS is its suite of free cloud apps. Outlook and Office may still be powerful forces among adults, but with the youngins at school, Gmail and Google docs likely suffice. Of course, you can use Google apps on Windows PCs, but running them on a Chromebook ensures they always “just work.” Meanwhile Microsoft has separate Web and native versions of office – not to mention the variety of Office subscription tiers. Microsoft needs to ensure the productivity experience is as seamless as on a Chromebook.
Second, Microsoft’s marketing needs change the perception that specs matter on Windows. When people buy Chromebooks, they don’t much think about processors, RAM, and storage. It’s cheap, and it gets the job done. But god forbid someone try to sell you a Windows laptop with 3GB of RAM, even if it’s just $200.
Windows 10 can definitely run smoothly on low-end specs, mind you, especially when using modern apps – it’s just that the OS comes decades of baggage. People have expectations on what hardware you need for apps to run smoothly on Windows, especially if they want to install apps they’ve been using for years (assuming they land on the Windows Store eventually). Chrome OS has no such problem.
We’ll have to see what Microsoft has up its sleeve come May 2. We already know that its building a power-throttling feature into Windows 10 – expect to hear more about mobile performance optimizations once it announces whatever it’s planning in a couple of weeks.


A drone-sailboat-submarine-Bond villain’s wet dream could be the key to getting an unprecedented look at the world’s oceans — and all it needs is sun and water.
The Submaran 10 is a hybrid device created by marine tech company Ocean Aero. It can function both as a sailboat-like water done and as a submarine. Importantly, it doesn’t need any external fuel. It’s powered by the solar and wind power.
An article on FOX News which describes the Submaran focuses on the military applications, but I’m more interested in it’s “civilian” uses — specifically, how it could be used to view the ocean.
The coral reefs are dying, fish are going extinct, and the waters are filling up with plastic. So much of the ocean goes unmonitored, and unseen. With a drone that can go long distances and doesn’t need to be recharged or refueled, you have the opportunity to see the ocean as it’s rarely been seen before.
Suppose you hooked a solar-powered camera up to the Submaran and livestreamed the footage of the ocean? If thousands of people follow Twitter accounts tracking marine predators, I have to believe they’d tune in to see live video of the oceans.
Sure, there’s a strong possibility of it being devoured by a shark, but that’s just an occupational hazard.


Uber is on fire.
It has a $68 billion market cap and countless happy riders who can readily articulate why using Uber is better than taking a cab or driving their own car, or maybe even owning their own car. And the Uber drivers get to be their own boss and choose the hours when they want to drive.
What’s not to like?  Well, of late, there’s quite a bit not to like, and the fire may be burning out of control.
Even if Uber overcomes the resigning and firing of key executives, and escapes from the legal mess of Waymo and the sleaziness/stink of Greyballing. And no matter who Uber hires to be COO – even if Uber fixes its sexual harassment and toxic workplace culture problems – the elephant in the room will continue to be its exploitation of its drivers, who in combination with the VC money, make it possible for all Uber employees to be extremely well-compensated… at least for now.
Here is the deal with Uber – short and sweet:

Uber is good for the rider

Uber is good for the rider now, but will get worse as the quality of the drivers deteriorates, especially now that Uber offers sub-prime loans for folks with credit scores of 500-600, who will become indentured drivers to Uber.  And Connecticut has recently softened background checks for drivers in that state

Nevertheless, to date, Uber’s ridership continues to grow, even with all of the recent bad press about the company.

Uber is good for lawyers

Has any startup company ever incurred so much legal friction as it enters new markets, domestically and abroad?  Since Uber’s launch in 2009, lawsuits have been pouring in from governments, drivers, passengers and competitors.  Reasons for the lawsuits include alleged theft of intellectual property, employee benefits, passenger accessibility, price fixing, safety, and background checks.  
It certainly would be interesting to know Uber’s total cost to date for attorney fees, fines, suit settlements, alleged theft of trade secrets, lobbying etc.  And it certainly looks like this expense will continue to grow.

Uber is bad for the drivers

Drivers’ annual turnover rate is 50 percent which necessitates that Uber find non-credit worthy drivers and drivers of questionable backgrounds, as referenced above.  

The fact that drivers earn barely over minimum wage with no benefits is the root cause of the attrition problem.  Of all of Uber’s current issues, this is the most serious one, and the one receiving the least attention by Uber’s senior management.  As mentioned above, this is truly ‘the elephant in the room’.

Uber is bad for its employees

Recent news about Uber clearly shows that the company is riddled with sexual harassmentruthless employee behavior, and serious ethics issues.  A significant number of employees are either victims or perpetrators in this undisciplined environment.  
Uber executives and board members are currently saying all the right things about cleaning up this toxic culture, but will they really be able to do so?

Uber is bad for Uber

Simply put, how is Uber ever going to turn a profit? 
If it raises fares, it loses customers.  If it lowers fares, it loses drivers at an even faster turnover rate.  In the meantime, even though Uber has 85 percent of the ‘market’ compared to Lyft’s 15 percent, it has to compete savagely with Lyft, which means paying driver referrals and bonuses, which is unsustainable without fare increases. 

And the threat continues to linger of the independent contractor drivers getting reclassified to Uber employees.  If that happens, Uber can close its doors immediately.

Self-driving cars will not be the salvation

Critical mass for 100 percent fully autonomous vehicles is at least 10 years (40 quarters) away and will require hundreds of billions of dollars of additional investment to get there.
Critical mass means tens of millions of vehicles in use and at a cost of travel that is less than that of car ownership.  And Uber will have plenty of competitors in this space, including Google, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Volvo, GM, Ford, Daimler, Audi, Baidu, Honda, Hyundai, PSA Groupe, and Tesla.  

What successful company has Uber’s characteristics?

What major successful company has endured where the customers are happy (trending to less happy), the de-facto employees are miserably exploited, there is major malignant dysfunction among its senior management and employees, current and future competition is and will be brutal, and the company is losing money hand over fist? 

Pretty short list, no?

Bottom line

Uber is now at a critical inflection point.  Will it be able to turn it around, or will it continue to self-destruct?  Who knows.
What would be really instructive is if each major Uber investor were asked today: “If you had it to do all over again, would you have invested in Uber?”, and if each of them answered that question honestly.


              Huawei P10, LG G6, and Sony Xperia XZ Premium at MWC 2017.

This article was originally posted during Mobile World Congress earlier this month. The trend it addresses, of smartphone manufacturers sticking with the traditional audio jack, is even more prominent today in the wake of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 launch.
In 2016 Apple removed the headphone jack from its iPhone, and in 2017 it seemed the rest of the mobile industry would follow suit, leaving us with only a choice between a Lightning or USB-C dongle. But a cool thing is happening at Mobile World Congress this year: Android phone manufacturers are shrugging off the jack-less fad and are forging ahead with the traditional 3.5mm headphone output intact.
Rob Pegoraro of Yahoo noticed the common thread among the big announcements at this show — they all run Android and they all have a headphone jack — and opined that "the headphone jack isn’t going anywhere." I agree with his assessment, but have to append the word "yet" to that statement. The threat of a jack-less future still lingers on our horizon, though it might be a little more distant than initially thought.

\At MWC 2017, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, the LG G6, and the Huawei P10 — which can be counted as the three major premium-class flagship launches of the show — all have headphone jacks. If you want to be inclusive and throw BlackBerry in among that bunch, it also opted for Android and a 3.5mm jack on the BlackBerry KeyOne. And the Nokia 3, 5, and 6 Android devices, plus the adorably cute 3310 phone, all have the standard, beloved, universal audio connector. Not only that, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 that’s launching at the end of this month is also almost certain to feature a headphone jack.
But this divisive issue isn’t going away anytime soon. HTC’s Ultra phones dumped the headphone jack at CES, which I thought was an awful idea at the time and think it’s even worse now that we know all of its direct competitors will have the feature. Huawei CEO Richard Yu also told a small group of reporters during CES that there will be a Huawei flagship phone this year that omits the headphone jack. So at least two global smartphone brands are pushing the wireless and USB-C agenda to the detriment of the traditional audio connector.

At this point, there’s no telling exactly how this will all shake out. Apple broke its iPhone sales record in the last quarter of 2016, even with its constrained iPhone, so it didn’t hurt its sales as much as some of us might have expected. Moto also ditched the headphone jack in its 2016 flagship Moto Z, and yet it’s reported encouraging user adoption numbers for its Moto Mods accessories. So, in both cases, the lack of a headphone jack hasn’t been lethal to the device’s chances of success.
Looking around the MWC halls, I’ve seen only one Apple Lightning audio adapter — almost everyone is either plugging into a different device or using wireless alternatives. But the wireless world is uneven now that Apple has its excellent W1 Bluetooth chip and every other manufacturer is making do with only so-so connectivity. Will everyone be as receptive to living a totally wireless audio life?
For now, the headphone jack is still the safest route for most mobile manufacturers to take. It serves their users’ needs and doesn’t really get in the way of doing cool things like waterproof designs, wireless charging, and dual-camera systems. For now

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