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March 29th, 2018 by


This week in tech news, phones with foldable screens are just over the horizon. Apple is working on a brand new iPhone design that could allow the phone to double as a tablet. But, will there be bezels?

Also, the game developer industry finally looks toward unions as a solution to the industry’s abusive ‘crunch’ workplace philosophy.

And lastly, we look at how to control your mouse pointer with your keyboard. You know, just in case.

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Apple Working On A Foldable iPhone

According to a top Wall Street firm, Bank Of America Merrill Lynch, Apple is busy working on something quite different from what we’ve previously seen. Within the next two years, we could be seeing a foldable iPhone.

We’re not talking about simple old flip phones either. We’re talking about flexible OLED displays or the use of revolutionary MicroLED displays, which allow you to flip your phone open and essentially double the size of the screen. Without seams or lines or gaps.

Sounds like Science-Fiction. What’s next, flying cars?

Wait…

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After meeting with several Apple suppliers in Asia, senior analyst Wamsi Mohan wrote:

“We expect the iPhones this fall to be largely unchanged for the OLED versions, although size changes have proved to be a catalyst in the past. Our checks also suggest that Apple is working with suppliers on a foldable phone (that potentially could double up as a tablet) for launch in 2020.”

iPhone fanatics, analysts and tech bloggers have been venturing for some time that foldable phones will be the next big thing. Other companies, such as LG, Lenovo and Samsung, have also played around with foldable screens and concept devices. One example of this is the forthcoming Galaxy X.

Hopefully it will turn out better than the Nokia 9210i Communicator which, when used as a regular phone, eclipsed the entire side of a person’s head.

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Take Control Of Your Cursor

If, like me, you returned from the public holiday to find that you’ve been relieved of your PC mouse – and you were also smart enough to completely disable your touchpad – it helps to know a couple of keyboard shortcuts. We know, everybody hates learning about these things, but one day you might find them useful.

Adding these shortcuts into your daily routine increases your work rate. Why hunt around for that little x to close a window when you could just hit Ctrl + W?

I digress. Windows offers an accessibility feature called Mouse Keys, which is specifically designed for people who have a hard time using a mouse or a touchpad. Mouse Keys, essentially, allows you to control your mouse pointer with the keyboard.

To turn on Mouse Keys, open the Ease of Access Center by going to your Control Panel and then clicking Ease of Access Center.

Then go down and click Make the mouse easier to use.

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Select the Turn on Mouse Keys check box. Easy! Once this is done, you can use the numeric keypad to move the mouse pointer around and do all the clicking.

In order to click items on the screen, you need to select which mouse button to activate. Only one can be activated at a time. For instance, to activate the left mouse button you hit the (/) key. When you need the right button you activate it with the (*) key.

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You then use the 5 key to do all the clicking, and the (+) key to double-click.

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It takes a little getting used to at first, but in case of emergencies it sure is useful.

Game Developers Unite!

Working for a gaming company is a dream job. To build worlds, gain countless fans, tell immersive stories and literally bring your ideas to life. Some of us may even gaze upon them as rock stars. This couldn’t be further from the truth, though.

For many developers, life consists of meeting one strict deadline after another without rest.

Job insecurity, burnout, working 20-hour days under crunch conditions, bad backs, never seeing the sun and falling asleep with your face on the keyboard are but some of the problems developers are living with.

These practices are the industry norm – and they are debilitating to the people who make these games happen.

At this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, these people had one word on their minds. Unionize.

In a meeting coordinated by the International Game Developers Association and moderated by the IGDA president, Jen MacLean, game developers came together to discuss the pros, cons and consequences of unionization.

For years, developers have spoken in hushed tones about the exploitative and toxic working conditions in the industry.

Using Telltale Games as an example, many people responsible for some of their greatest and most successful titles have simply abandoned ship and moved on to other things because they could no longer put up with the poisonous workplace.

Now, these developers are starting to raise their concerns quite openly.

The first step will be to improve conditions in the $36 billion gaming industry. To put an end to the practice of working employers half to death and draining them of all passion.

With the tremendous amount of work and expectation that goes into making a big-budget game, though, will it be possible?

The tide is rising, regardless, and we’ll have to see.

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