A better keyboard than QWERTY | The Vergecast

A better keyboard than QWERTY | The Vergecast

Intro (00:00:00)

  • David Pierce talks about his tech crap bag, a collection of duplicate chargers, plugs, cords, and backup headphones he keeps in his suitcase for easy travel.
  • He explains how it saves him time, effort, and the hassle of forgetting essential items while traveling.
  • Despite its occasional messiness, he finds the system effective and satisfying.
  • The Vergecast will feature a segment on reinventing keyboard layouts.
  • An individual spent two years reimagining how their keyboard functions and utilizes it.
  • The story promises to be engaging and entertaining.
  • Tom Warren will discuss significant changes occurring at Microsoft.
  • Topics include Microsoft's plans for AI, Surface devices, and the concept of an AI PC.
  • Various other subjects will also be covered.

Hotline question [N/A]

  • The Vergecast will address a hotline question during the episode.

The T-34 keyboard layout (00:02:04)

  • Jonas, a self-taught developer, created a custom keyboard layout to reduce repetitive strain injury (RSI) after trying ergonomic keyboards without success.
  • The commonly used QWERTY keyboard layout is not necessarily the most efficient or ergonomic design, but it has become the standard due to familiarity and the difficulty of retraining.
  • Alternative keyboard layouts, such as Dvorak, Colemak, Workman, and Be, aim to improve typing efficiency and reduce strain.
  • Jonas focused on optimizing his layout for his specific use case and needs, prioritizing the reduction of same-finger diagrams and discomfort.
  • The concept of a "repeat key" was introduced, which repeats the last pressed key, reducing same-finger presses and enabling rolling motions between keys.
  • Jonas's custom layout, called T34, features multiple layers of keys accessed through modifier keys, including arrow keys, function keys, and number keys.
  • Split keyboards were also recommended for ergonomic benefits.
  • Overcoming muscle memory built over decades of using QWERTY keyboards is a significant challenge in adopting new layouts.

Microsoft and AI PCs w/Tom Warren (00:26:33)

  • Microsoft has undergone significant changes, including corporate moves, product launches, and the hiring of Mustafa Suleyman as the CEO of Microsoft AI, signaling a shift in the company's approach to AI, Windows, and Surface.
  • Panos Panay's departure from Microsoft resulted in the division of his responsibilities, with Pavan Davuluri overseeing Surface hardware and M. Parkin leading Windows engineering.
  • Microsoft's reorganization placed most teams under Pavan Davuluri's leadership, consolidating Windows engineering and Surface Hardware.
  • Microsoft's recent moves suggest concerns about its position in the AI race, leading to a rebranding of its AI chatbot from "ChatGPT" to "Co-pilot" and increased efforts to integrate AI into products like Office and Outlook.
  • Microsoft introduced the concept of "AIPC" (Artificial Intelligence Personal Computing), requiring the latest CPUs, GPUs, and MPUs (Neural Processing Unit) for tasks like background blurring and noise cancellation.
  • Microsoft's upcoming consumer-oriented Surface devices will be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite or Elite X Arm-based processors, marking a shift from Intel-based CPUs.
  • Microsoft is developing a feature called AI Explorer, which will record user activity on their PC and allow easy access to past information, leveraging the Microsoft Pluton chip for quick data retrieval.
  • Concerns have been raised about the privacy implications of AI Explorer, with some opposing the idea of their screen being recorded.

Netflix recommendations tips (Vergecast Hotline) (00:52:29)

  • Netflix uses various factors to recommend content, including watch history, title metadata, member preferences, and user feedback.
  • The "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" rating system is designed to be simple and easy to understand.
  • A "thumbs down" rating is particularly important as it helps Netflix understand what content users dislike and avoid recommending similar content in the future.
  • Watching trailers and using the "remind me" button for upcoming content are strong signals of interest.
  • Netflix values how much of a show or movie a user watches, with watching something to the end being a positive signal.
  • Users can help improve their recommendations by creating a taste profile and rating content.

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