Steve Jobs bills the iPad as revolutionary and magical, while Apple haters peg the tablet as a ginormous waste of $500+. Chris Lucas, proprietor of Pearl restaurant in Melbourne, Australia, has found a way to make Apple's slate a little bit of both. His will be the first restaurant in Australia -- and maybe the world -- to replace paper-based menus and wine lists with iPads.
"The thirst for knowledge from consumers these days is massive," says Lucas. "It doesn't matter whether it's ingredients, origins of produce. or wine, and particularly Old World wine, this platform can provide as little, or as much, information as each customer wants.
"This is not a gimmick. I really reckon this is going to set a precedent."
The iPads will come with custom software that will allow hungry patrons to "drill down" for information. View the wine list, for example, and you'll be able to not only see the price, but dig further to see suggested food matches, recipes, and even make your way to the wine maker's website. What the tablets won't do, however, is replace the wait staff.
"We don't want the consumer placing the order," Lucas clarified. "There is still a very important role for service staff in a smart restaurant, but the graphics and functionality make this thing a very important resource. I think a lot of traditional restaurant situations can be very intimidating. This is a way to liberate the consumer."
Hot on the heels of my "5 Add-ons That Make Windows Explorer Even Better" article comes the appropriately named utility Right Click Context Menu Extender. It's a recent addition to the freeware world--as in, it was launched five days ago--yet the program shows a surprising amount of prowess for its relative infancy. As for what the little application actually does, you can probably figure out the general context by its name alone. The specifics, well, there's the real kicker.
Install the utility to your system and you'll suddenly unlock a wealth of configurable extensions to your average Windows right-click menu. These are split off into two categories: right-click context options that work in your standard Windows Explorer interface and right-click menu options that only come about when you've performed that activity on the desktop itself. As to what different kinds of features have been unleashed in your day-to-day PC use, here's a brief overview:
Copy / Move to
Administrative Command Prompt (opens to the folder)
Flip Windows 3D Switcher
Control Panel shortcut
Administrative Tools shortcut
Desktop God Mode
Even better, you can specify which options show up in each right-click menu using the application's super-simple configuration menu. That's it. While this isn't the kitchen sink of right-menu context options, nor can you add any that aren't already specified by the program, Right Click Context Menu Extender provides a simple way for increasing the power of your middle finger in a manner that's pleasing to all.
Windows Explorer hasn't always been the most feature-packed of elements inside Microsoft's operating systems. Yet, oddly, it's probably the one part of your Windows version that you use most frequently. But that's not to say that everything is Microsoft's fault. We're often so quick to blame the software giant for what's more a lack of future-proofing than outright failure. In this case, Windows Explorer can't predict what's going to be the next big thing--it can't know that you'll want your photographs easily updated to Maximum Photos someday; it has no idea that you might somehow need to paste a direct link to a file instead of its name or containing folder.
Windows Explorer is, in a word, dumb.
But that's not what we're here to talk about. We're not going to sit around a table and lament about all the features Windows Explorer could have were you one, Bill Gates, and had access to an engineer, or two, or twenty thousand. We're going to go over all the unique little elements that you can build into Windows Explorer right this darn second. I can think of five off the top of my head that are useful additions to your standard interactions with your operating system. They're free, they're awesome, and they're yours for the taking after the jump!