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Windows 10’s Mail and Calendar app finally gets a Focused Inbox

Taking a cue from Outlook on iOS and Android, the Windows 10 Mail & Calendar app is getting a few new features that might actually make desktop email manageable again. The latest version now includes an intelligent Focused Inbox, plus a new mentions system to help users find what’s really important in those long email chains.

Like the mobile versions of Outlook, the Mail & Calendar app learns which emails you’re likely to either read or reply to and filters the important ones into the Focused Inbox. Everything else gets filed away in the the easy-to-neglect “Other” tab. The filters can also be tweaked by manually flagging a message for one inbox or the other.

As for the mention system, users can now tag each other in an email by typing the @ symbol to bring up a list of contacts, similar to how the web version of Outlook currently works. Selecting a contact adds that person to the chain and will highlight their name in the body text so they can see exactly where in the chain they’ve been mentioned. Users can also filter their emails to search for ones where they’ve specifically been tagged.

On the calendar side, the app is also getting intelligent travel reservations and packaged delivery reminders based on your emails, as well as some new color categories and the ability to subscribe to popular calendars like holidays and sports schedules.

Microsoft says the new features are currently rolling out to Mail & Calendar users with Office 365 and Outlook accounts over the next few weeks, and that they’ll be bringing the same features to third-party email accounts in the near future.

Source: Windows Blog

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick