TechMan: Bill Gates salutes his mistake

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Famous mistake: At an interview at a Harvard fundraising event, Microsoft founder Bill Gates did something he doesn't often do -- admit making an error in Windows.

He said forcing users to press the Control-Alt-Delete key combination, often called the three-finger salute, to log into a PC was a mistake: "We could have had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn't wanna give us our single button."

David Bradley disagreed. He worked on the keyboard for the original IBM PC and invented the combination, which was originally designed to reboot a PC.

Tech Talk: Control-alt-delete not so neat

The PG's Ced Kurtz and Laura Schneiderman talk about Bill Gates' reservations on control-alt-delete, the ascension of the Apple brand and more on this week's "Tech Talk." (Video by Melissa Tkach; 9/30/2013)

"I may have invented it, but Bill made it famous," he said, explaining he meant when it was made part of the Windows NT log-on.

Mr. Gates said the key combination is designed to prevent other apps from faking the login prompt and stealing a password.

No matter, it has become an icon, existing on Windows to this day.

Don't need your steenking Internet: In a new report, Pew Research says 15 percent of Americans are offline and, of those, 94 percent plan to stay that way, according to BetaNews.

The survey found that 34 percent of those offline Americans claim the Internet is not relevant to them, that they are not interested, do not want to use it or have no need to use it, according to BetaNews. Meanwhile, another 32 percent claim they perceive it as too difficult or, worse, overrun by hackers and spam. Only 19 percent cited expense as the reason for the disconnection.

As you might guess, 44 percent of the off-the-gridders are 65 and older, according to BetaNews. Just another reason for the mistaken belief that old people are not cool.

Unplug it: notes that leaving your laptop plugged in while not using it so that it is charged to 100 percent is bad for the battery life. Battery experts told Wired that you should charge batteries to 80 percent and then let them drain to about 40 percent. This will prolong the life of your battery by as much as four times.

Off the wall. The BBC reports that Lloyd's List, one of the oldest newspapers at 279 years, has given up print and gone fully digital. The journal of shipping news, which began life in 1734 as a notice pinned to a London coffee shop wall, had only 25 customer left who got both the digital and the print editions.

Happy birthday. Google marked its 15th anniversary by announcing a revamp of its underlying search algorithm. The change is to accommodate the way people are searching now, asking questions that are longer and involve more complex concepts. arising out of voice search.

When Google was formed in 1998, the popular search engines included HotBot, Excite, Alta Vista, Ask Jeeves and, of course, Yahoo.

Extension of the week: WikiTube is an extension to the Chrome browser that searches YouTube and attaches relevant videos to the results of Wikipedia inquiries. It displays them as a bar of three playable videos at the top of the results. Free in the Chrome Web store.

Geek quote of the week: "When I was a kid, it was a huge insult to be a geek. Now it's a point of pride in a weird way." -- J. J. Abrams, television and film producer and director

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