The TrackWrite, also known as the butterfly keyboard, is a foldout laptop computer keyboard designed by John Karidis for IBM as part of the ThinkPad 701 series, released in 1995. It allowed the 701 series to be both compact (when closed) and comfortable to use (when open), despite being just 24.6 cm (9.7 in) wide with a 26.4 cm (10.4 in) VGA LCD. The 701 was the top selling laptop of 1995; however, as later laptop models featured progressively larger screens, the need for a folding keyboard was eliminated. Consequently, no model but the 701 used the butterfly keyboard.

The butterfly keyboard is split into two roughly triangular pieces that slide as the laptop’s lid is opened or closed. As the lid is opened both pieces slide out to the sides, followed by one piece sliding downward. The two halves mesh to form a keyboard 29.2 cm (11.5 in) wide which overhangs the sides of the laptop body. Conversely, as the lid is closed one piece slides back, then both slide inward until the keyboard can be covered by the lid. The movement of the keyboard is driven by a cam on the lid’s hinge, so the motions of the keyboard parts are always synchronized with the movement of the lid.

The unusual design is being displayed in the design collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, New York and Die Neue Sammlung.

IBM makes huge quantum computing advance

A new study published in Nature details how researchers with IBM have found a way to detect errors which had been holding back quantum computing. Where normal computers use bits to represent data as a 1 or 0 state, a quantum ‘qubit’ can be either 1, 0 or both - known as a superposition. The problem so far has been that a qubit in this state can suddenly flip to just being a normal 1 or 0, or another type of error can occur, known as a phase flip.

Until now it’s only been possible to detect each type of error on its own, but not to detect both at the same time without affecting the calculation. The IBM team has shown that by using two independent qubits, it can be possible to reveal information stored on two other qubits which are being used to process data.

Internet translation (with cats instead of qubits):

If I have two cats resting with their eyes closed, they could be either asleep, awake, or just resting with their eyes shut. To complicate things further, they could also be in the process of waking up or going to sleep, which upsets our calculations if we’re using them for a school science fair project called ‘how many hours a day do cats sleep’. If we went and checked either cat we’d probably get an idea of what they were up to, but we’d definitely wake them up (and risk a scratch to the face).

IBM have just published a study showing how they can use two magical ‘measurement cats’ that are linked to the ‘data cats’ in our science fair project. One measurement cat shows when the data cats are just waking up, and one measurement cat shows when the data cats are just going to sleep. By combining all of this data, they’ve just won the science fair.

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The Designer Who Humanized Corporate America

A new exhibit celebrates Paul Rand, a pioneer who re-envisioned the look of megacompanies with whimsical, colorful logos and illustrations. An interpreter of European modernism, Rand helped give a playful corporate identity to major American industries and designed some of the nation’s most recognizable business logos—for IBM, Westinghouse, UPS, ABC, even Colorforms. Logos were his forte—but he also lent his minimalist style to book covers, children’s book illustrations, posters, and package designs.

It’s the worst burrito I’ve ever had.

I don’t know another way to say it. I’m staring at my plate in disbelief. Could burritos be bad? Yes, yes I’d just learned. But that’s not the biggest shocker. The biggest shocker is that this recipe was largely designed by Watson, IBM’s best artificial intelligence—one that had already fed me one of the most uniquely delicious BBQ sauces I’d ever eaten.

I thought through the recipe in my head again. I’d cheated a little, but not enough to ruin a good thing. What went wrong?