Category Archives: User Interface

Chrome is reducing memory usage, adding tab search, and more

As always I’m low-key embarrassed to find this stuff exciting, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The team writes,

Chrome now prioritizes your active tabs vs. everything that’s open—reducing CPU usage by up to 5x and extending battery life by up to 1.25 hours (based on our internal benchmarks).

Plus:

You can pin tabs (for those go-to pages), send tabs to your other devices and even group tabs in Chrome. This month we’re adding tab search to the toolbox.

You’ll now be able to see a list of your open tabs—regardless of the window they’re in—then quickly type to find the one you need. It’s search … for your tabs! The feature is coming first to Chromebooks, then to other desktop platforms soon.

Search has rolled out on Chrome OS & is due to come to other platforms soon.

Oh, and the “omnibox” (URL/search/dessert topping/floor wax) is learning to do new things you type in. Initial actions:

  • Clear Browsing Data – type ‘delete history’, ‘clear cache ‘ or ‘wipe cookies’
  • Manage Payment Methods – type ‘edit credit card’ or ‘update card info’
  • Open Incognito Window – type ‘launch incognito mode‘ or ‘incognito’
  • Manage Passwords – type ‘edit passwords’ or ‘update credentials’
  • Update Chrome – type ‘update browser’ or ‘update google chrome’
  • Translate Page – type ‘ translate this’ or ‘ translate this page’

AR soups up the humble car manual

The new Ram comes with an augmented reality feature for exploring one’s 700hp whip:

Hovering the camera over the steering wheel will show customers how to use the steering wheel controls or paddle shifters, while pointing at the dashboard will show infotainment functionality.

The app was developed in just three months to roll out on the 2021 Ram TRX. The wild truck will be the first vehicle to use the Know & Go app, and it will be available on other FCA vehicles down the line.

Employee-Developed Know & Go Mobile App Debuts on 2021 Ram 1500 TRX

Give FX the finger in AR

The free new app Diorama pairs with the $99 finger-worn Litho device to let you create AR movies directly inside your phone, using a selection of props & tapping into the Google Poly library:

VR Focus writes,

“Diorama will democratize the creation of special effects in the same way the smartphone democratized photography. It will allow anyone to create beautiful visual effects the likes of which have previously only been accessible to Hollywood studios,” said Nat Martin, Founder at Litho in a statement.

When combined with the Litho controller users can animate objects simply by dragging them, fine tuning the path by grabbing specific points. Mood lighting can be added thanks to a selection of filters plus the app supports body tracking so creators can interact with a scene.

Chrome gets tab groups

“Can I get that icon in cornflower blue…?”

Being a middle-aged man getting excited about tab management in a Web browser makes me a little queasy—but hey, I live in this stuff all day, so 🎉.

You can now group tabs in Chrome:

You can collapse the tab groups, and you can make the titles small:

 My pro tip is that you can use an emoji as a group name such as ❤️ for inspiration or 📖 for articles to read.

Hey, find joy where you can, amirite? 😌

After 10+ years of teasing, Microsoft’s dual-screen device arrives

Back in the day (like, when Obama was brand new in office), I was intrigued by Microsoft’s dual-screen tablet Courier concept. Check out this preview from 2009:

The device never saw production, and some of the brains behind it went on to launch the lovely Paper drawing app for iPad. Now, however, the company is introducing the Surface Duo, and I think it looks slick:

Fun detail I’d never have guessed in 2009: it runs Android, not Windows!

The prices is high ($1400 and up for something that’s not really a phone or a laptop—though something that could replace both some of the time?), and people are expressing skepticism, but we’ll see how things go. Congrats to the folks who persevered with with that interesting original concept.

Action Blocks make tasks more accessible for those with cognitive impairments

I’ve long joked-not-joked that I want better parental controls on devices, not so that I can control my kids but so that I can help my parents. How great would it be to be able to configure something like this, then push it to the devices of those who need it (parents, kids, etc.)?

Check out the gesture-sensing holographic Looking Glass

This little dude looks nifty as heck:

The Looking Glass is powered by our proprietary 45-element light field technology, generating 45 distinct and simultaneous perspectives of three-dimensional content of any sort.

This means multiple people around a Looking Glass are shown different perspectives of that three-dimensional content—whether that’s a 3D animation, DICOM medical imaging data, or a Unity project – in super-stereoscopic 3D, in the real world without any VR or AR headgear.

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[Vimeo]