Microsoft now allows users of the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to run commands automatically on WSL distribution startup.
WSL is a compatibility layer designed by Microsoft to makes it possible for Windows 10 to run Linux binaries in ELF format natively on Windows computers.
Insiders in the Dev channel who want to upgrade to Windows 10 Build 21286 to gain access to this new feature can do so by going into Windows Update and checking for new updates.
“We have added an option that allows you to run any specified Linux command on startup of a WSL distribution,” Windows Insider Program senior program manager Brandon LeBlanc said.
“You can accomplish this by editing the /etc/wsl.conf file in your distribution and adding an option titled command under a section titled boot .”
For example, as shown in the screenshot below, users can use this new WSL feature to log the time and date their WSL distros were started up.
Once added to the WSL distribution’s /etc/wsl.conf file, the Linux commands will automatically be run when the distro is started.
“WSL distributions will remain running for a few minutes even after the last Linux process inside of them is closed,” LeBlanc added.
“You can view if your WSL distro is running using wsl –list –verbose and you can manually shut down all WSL distributions using wsl –shutdown .”
Other new features, fixes, and improvements
Microsoft has also modernized Storage Spaces settings in this Windows 10 Dev build which now allows creating and managing Storage Spaces using the Settings app.
The new settings page dedicated to the Storage Spaces feature allows creating storage pools and storage spaces, as well as adding, and removing disks, and optimizing pools.
This build also comes with a simplified version of the Windows File Recovery tool and a new Google Discover-like Windows 10 feature called ‘News and Interests’ that displays recommended news stories, sports scores, and weather information using a taskbar flyout.
宇内虹游 2021-01-09 09:50:44 2334 收藏 11
All you need for Markdown (keyboard shortcuts, table of contents, auto preview and more).
我自己设置了preview to the side的快捷键，
- markdownlinthttps://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=DavidAnson.vscode-markdownlint 这个是给markdown语言做语法检查的： Markdown linting and style checking for Visual Studio Code ，其实就是制定了一系列规则，然后在当前markdown文档中找到这些规则的violations。
此外，在搜索markdownlint的时候，我看到了相关的插件： Markdown Extension Pack ，这里面打包了很多markdown常用插件，只需要下载这个，就可以下载很多插件，如转pdf，表格制作，Math公式等等。我不打算装这个，但是可以参考其中的列表，去下载我需要的插件。
- Markdown Emojihttps://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=bierner.markdown-emoji Adds emoji syntax support to VS Code’s built-in markdown preview 添加表情的，这个可以有。如下图，还行还行
- Markdown PDFhttps://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=yzane.markdown-pdf This extension converts Markdown files to pdf, html, png or jpeg files. 具体操作：
Ctrl+Shift+p ，然后输入 Export ，就可以调出将markdown转化为pdf，html，图片等形式的选项。太牛了。
- :emojisense:https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=bierner.emojisense Adds suggestions and autocomplete for emoji to VS Code. 表情包补全。在windows上使用 Ctrl+i ，就可以调出下图的栏目，太酷了。
- Markdown Preview Enhancedhttps://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=shd101wyy.markdown-preview-enhanced Markdown Preview Enhanced ported to vscode 增强了对预览界限的美化及功能。不过要自定义keybinding。如下：
- Markdown Preview Github Styling 和 Markdown Checkboxes，分别可以展示github形式的markdown，以及添加checkbox。这里的显示预览快捷键和预览的快捷键是一样的。
- Markdown Image 插入图片的插件。https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=hancel.markdown-image 很牛，右键就可以插入图片。
- Markdown Tablehttps://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=TakumiI.markdowntable 调整表格相关的各种操作 。如下图，其实功能还挺多。
但是，注意到： Tab 并不能移到下一个cell，我认为原因是和其他键冲突了。所以我后面将移到下一个cell的快捷键改成了 Shift+Tab 。
xiangzhihong8 2018-01-05 14:25:43 34013 收藏 49
TensorFlow 有两个版本：CPU 版本和 GPU 版本。GPU 版本需要 CUDA 和 cuDNN 的支持，CPU 版本不需要。如果你要安装 GPU 版本，请先确认你的显卡支持 CUDA。本文安装的是 GPU 版本，采用 pip 安装方式，所以就以 GPU 安装为例，CPU 版本只不过不需要安装 CUDA 和 cuDNN。
- 请确认你的显卡支持 CUDA。
- 确保你的 Python 版本是 3.5 及以上。（TensorFlow 从 1.2 开始支持 Python3.6，之前的版本官方是不支持的）
- 确保你的 pip 版本 >= 8.1。可以用 pip -V 查看当前 pip 版本，也可以用 python -m pip install -U pip 升级pip 。
依次选择：右击 我的电脑/此电脑 –> 属性 –> 高级系统设置 –> 高级选项卡（默认）–> 环境变量 –> 系统环境变量下的 Path –>编辑
当然如果你的pip版本过低，还可以使用python -m pip install -U pip命令升级pip。
说明：备注：如果之前安装过 TensorFlow < 0.7.1 的版本,应该先使用 pip uninstall 卸载 TensorFlow 和 protobuf ,保证获取的是一个最新 protobuf 依赖下的安装包。
基于 Docker 的安装
当然，也可以通过 Docker 运行 TensorFlow，该方式的优点是不用操心软件依赖问题。
首先, 安装 Docker. 一旦 Docker 已经启动运行, 可以通过命令启动一个容器:
默认的 Docker 镜像只包含启动和运行 TensorFlow 所需依赖库的一个最小集. 我们额外提供了 下面的容器, 该容器同样可以通过上述 docker run 命令安装:
镜像中的 TensorFlow 是从源代码完整安装的, 包含了编译和运行 TensorFlow 所需的全部工具. 在该镜像上, 可以直接使用源代码进行实验, 而不需要再安装上述的任何依赖。
基于 VirtualEnv 的安装
推荐使用 virtualenv 创建一个隔离的容器, 来安装 TensorFlow. 这是可选的, 但是这样做能使排查安装问题变得更容易。安装前，请安装所有必备工具:
接下来, 建立一个全新的 virtualenv 环境. 为了将环境建在
然后, 激活 virtualenv:
在 virtualenv 内, 安装 TensorFlow:
接下来, 使用类似命令运行 TensorFlow 程序:
和 Virtualenv 一样,不同 Python 工程需要的依赖包，conda 将他们存储在不同的地方。 TensorFlow 上安装的 Anaconda 不会对之前安装的 Python 包进行覆盖。使用Anaconda安装TensorFlow主要有以下几个步骤：
- 安装 Anaconda
- 建立一个 conda 计算环境
- 激活环境,使用 conda 安装 TensorFlow
- 安装成功后,每次使用 TensorFlow 的时候需要激活 conda 环境
安装完成后，请建立一个 conda 计算环境名字叫tensorflow:
激活tensorflow环境,然后使用其中的 pip 安装 TensorFlow. 当使用easy_install使用–ignore-installed标记防止错误的产生。
激活这个环境，使用 conda 安装 tensorflow。
克隆 TensorFlow 仓库，使用如下命令克隆项目。
其中，“–recurse-submodules” 参数是必须得, 用于获取 TesorFlow 依赖的 protobuf 库。
首先安装 Bazel，首先依照 教程 安装 Bazel 的依赖. 然后在 链接 中下载适合你的操作系统的最新稳定版, 最后按照下面脚本执行：
注意把 PATH_TO_INSTALL.SH 替换为你下载的安装包的文件路径，将执行路径 output/bazel 添加到 $PATH 环境变量中。
安装 CUDA (在 Linux 上开启 GPU 支持)
为了编译并运行能够使用 GPU 的 TensorFlow, 需要先安装 NVIDIA 提供的 Cuda Toolkit 7.0 和 CUDNN 6.5 V2。TensorFlow 的 GPU 特性只支持 NVidia Compute Capability >= 3.5 的显卡. 被支持的显卡 包括但不限于:
- NVidia Titan
- NVidia Titan X
- NVidia K20
- NVidia K40
下载并安装 Cuda Toolkit 7.0
将工具安装到诸如 /usr/local/cuda 之类的路径。
下载并安装 CUDNN Toolkit 6.5
解压并拷贝 CUDNN 文件到 Cuda Toolkit 7.0 安装路径下. 假设 Cuda Toolkit 7.0 安装 在 /usr/local/cuda, 执行以下命令:
配置 TensorFlow 的 Cuda 选项
这些配置将建立到系统 Cuda 库的符号链接. 每当 Cuda 库的路径发生变更时, 必须重新执行上述 步骤, 否则无法调用 bazel 编译命令。
编译目标程序, 开启 GPU 支持
这个问题的根源在于TensorFlow 的安装包目前还不支持 Python 3.6.4 。可以到https://pypi.python.org/pypi/tensorflow查看目前支持的安装包。
在window环境中使用命令pip install tensorflow的时候，开始下载过程非常顺利，但是到了安装步骤的时候就出现异常了。
It’s really easy to prevent Skype from launching when your computer starts
- Emporia State University
By default, Skype opens automatically each time your computer starts and you log in to your user account. This happens so that you get instant notifications when someone sends you a message or calls you.
When you disable Skype on startup, you have to manually open it the first time you want to use it after starting your computer. Once it’s open, it remains open like normal—and messages and calls can come in—until you sign out or close it down.
Instructions in this article work for current versions of Skype running on Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, and macOS.
Windows: Disable Skype’s Auto-Start Setting
Skype for Windows 11, Windows 10, and for Windows 8 can be configured to stop starting automatically with Windows. However, the steps are slightly different depending on how you installed the program—from the Microsoft Store or through Skype.com.
You can also promptly shut down the program in one step: Right-click the Skype icon from the right side of the Windows taskbar area, and choose Quit Skype to instantly shut it down.
Select the three-dotted menu (it’s located next to your name on the main page).
Go to General.
For the standard program, toggle Automatically start Skype to the off position (the button will turn grey).
For the Microsoft Store app, select Settings from that same screen, locate Skype from the list, and toggle the bottom to the Off position.
Exit any remaining open settings screens.
macOS: Remove Skype From the Login Items
There are a couple of ways to disable autorun for Skype on a Mac. The first and easiest method is to do so from the Dock.
Go to the Dock and right-click the Skype icon.
Go to Options.
Select Open at Login to remove the checkmark.
The other way to prevent Skype from opening automatically in macOS is to remove it from the list of startup items in System Preferences.
Open System Preferences.
Select Users & Groups.
Select your username.
Go to the Login Items tab.
Select the minus/remove button (it’s located at the bottom of the screen).
Windows 11 Enterprise virtual machine images are now available. You can download the images for several popular virtualization applications directly from Microsoft’s Developer website.
Note that the virtual images include more than just a Windows 11 Enterprise installation. They are designed for developers and include several applications, e.g. Virtual Studio 2019 and Visual Studio Code. Developer Mode is also enabled automatically on these installations.
How to download Windows 11 Enterprise
Note that the title of the page is mentioning Windows 10 –Get a Windows 10 desktop environment — but that the downloads are for Windows 11; this is likely something that Microsoft has overlooked and will address in the future.
To download the virtual machine images, do the following:
- Visit the Microsoft Developer website. The downloads are listed directly on the site that opens.
- Select one of the available Windows 11 Enterprise virtual machine images. All have a size of about 20 Gigabytes. The latest is the VMWare image, the smallest the Parallels image The following virtual images are provided:
- VMWare virtual image Windows 11 Enterprise.
- Hyper-V virtual image Windows 11 Enterprise.
- VirtualBox virtual image Windows 11 Enterprise.
- Parallels virtual image Windows 11 Enterprise.
The virtual machine images are set to expire on January 9, 2022 automatically. They contain a Windows 11 Enterprise installation with Windows Subsystem for Linux (Ubuntu) and Developer Mode enabled.
Windows Terminal, Visual Studio Code, Visual Studio 2019 and Windows 10 SDK version 2004 are installed as well.
The virtual machine images are designed primarily for developers, but none developers may use them as well to run Windows 11 Enterprise. Unless Enterprise is required specifically, it may be faster to download another edition of Windows 11 instead and create a virtual machine image manually using the downloaded ISO file.
The evaluation period feels rather short, considering that the images do expire in early January of 2022. Add the Holiday period of part of the globe to that, and you end up with just a few weeks in which the environment can be used in organizations.
Now You: what is your favorite Windows edition, and why? (via Deskmodder)
Skype-to-Skype calls are free but others require credit or a subscription
- University of Mauritius
- Wichita Technical Institute
Skype is free when you call other Skype users, no matter where they may live, much like other free internet calling services such as WhatsApp, Snapchat, Messenger, and Viber.
However, the service isn’t free when you call landlines or other mobile phones that don’t use Skype. VoIP services normally charge a fee per minute for these calls, which are lower than fees for non-VoIP calls. The rates depend on the destination you’re calling.
Skype charges a connection fee for phone calls. This fee applies to all calls to mobiles and landline phones made using Skype Credit, but only when the call is answered and lasts longer than one second.
The connection fee is a one-time charge, per call, that covers the cost of bridging a VoIP call to the packet-switched telephone network. PSTN relies on copper or fiber-optic cable, whereas VoIP uses the internet for call routing. Technically, PSTN and VoIP are separate technologies that cannot cross paths. However, several providers—including Skype—connect the two networks to complete VoIP-to-PSTN calls or vice versa. The connection fee covers this cost.
The connection fee varies depending on the country you call. For example, when you make a call within the United States, a connection fee of 2.9¢ applies. This fee can be as much as 8.9¢.
There is no connection fee for calls to toll-free numbers within the U.S.
Subscriptions and Per-Minute Rates
Per-minute rates vary depending on the country you call. Enter your preferred country on the Skype website to learn its per-minute charge.
Before making any calls to non-Skype landlines or mobile phones, purchase Skype Credit or a Skype Subscription.
If you make calls to mobile or landline phones that aren’t on Skype, save money by using one of Skype’s subscription plans.
Skype offers a 5% discount on the monthly subscription rates to people who pay every three months and a 15% discount to people who pay once a year.
Calling toll-free numbers does not accrue a charge in the United States.
To pay for calls to non-Skype numbers, purchase Skype Credit in $5, $10, or $25 increments. The credit reloads automatically whenever your balance falls to $2.
Skype to Go
The Skype to Go service offers subscribers a nifty trick. Skype provisions a number local to a given contact such that calls made through the Skype to Go number bypass international calling rates. For example, a person from Detroit who calls someone in Dublin may provision a Skype to Go number for calls to Ireland. Calls through that number are treated as local calls, using the Skype VoIP backbone.
You can establish up to 30 of these accounts, anywhere in the world except the places excluded on this list of available countries from Skype.
I have updated this PKG to v2.1.0: you need to uninstall any previous version(s) as I’ve done some breaking changes to the PKG. I had to rewrite the PKGBUILD because it was using a different repo/tarball instead of the official one.
Please note the tarball is around
2GB (2298M), you may have to download this first using wget https://github.com/ryanoasis/nerd-fonts/archive/v2.1.0.tar.gz as GitHub doesn’t offer resume download support.
This is how one may build this package:
If something is missing and/or broken, please let me know.
learnedbyerror commented on 2021-11-14 08:33
I was able to use v2.1.0-8 to successfully build and install a package which met starship’s dependency on ttf-iosevka-nerd and starship is now working correctly with the emoji icons.
I did have problems with yay being able to successfully download v2.1.0 of nerd-fonts from GitHub. It appears the problem is with curl. It failed on me at
1.5 GB. I ran makepkg -s which failed at the same point but left the working files in place. I downloaded the file using wget, which hit much higher rates than curl. Once the download was complete, I overwrote the partial file in the working directory with the full version that I downloaded.
I then ran makepkg -s again and it validated the file and completed the build. I then ran makepkg -i to install and afterwards ran pacman -S starship to install starship. Note, I removed starship and ttf-iosevka-nerd prior to starting the build process.
Thanks for getting PKGBUILD updated to support starship’s dependency and for the other comments in the thread so that I could put together the above to get it installed.
This is my first foray back on Arch in a long time. I have spent most of the last 10 years in Debian which is fine for the server stuff that I have been working. But I now need a very current reliable desktop and I think Arch will will be the best for me for that.
Rolv commented on 2021-10-15 12:01
Looks like the problem lies with starship requiring ttf-iosevka-nerd :
My bad though, not an issue on your end. Thanks for the help.
francoism90 commented on 2021-10-14 19:30
@Rolv The error seems to be valid? This package already provides ttf-iosevka-nerd , so you should only install nerd-fonts-complete , not both.
Rolv commented on 2021-10-14 12:20
@francoism90 Clearing the cache did not seem to fix the issue, I’m still getting the following error:
francoism90 commented on 2021-10-12 07:18
@andriperalt @jrabensc Could you please try again? I’ve added the font to provides as it does seem to include this font. Also note you shouldn’t have to install ttf-iosevka-nerd as this PKG already provides it.
To clean caches use, you may try:
andriperalt commented on 2021-10-12 02:04
So I could update following this procedure:
The last one will ask to remove ttf-iosevka-nerd again
jrabensc commented on 2021-10-11 19:36
Cleaning the cache did not help: ttf-iosevka-nerd and nerd-fonts-complete are in conflict (nerd-fonts-iosevka).
I’m not sure if you need to add ttf-iosevka-nerd , I’m quite new to the AUR.
francoism90 commented on 2021-10-10 19:53
@jrabensc Make sure to clean the cache. If you build using yay or paru , make sure this is empty before building it.
Edit: I didn’t add ttf-iosevka-nerd – should this also be added?
jrabensc commented on 2021-10-10 18:26
I’m still getting this message: ttf-iosevka-nerd and nerd-fonts-complete are in conflict (nerd-fonts-iosevka). I’m not sure how to proceed here.
francoism90 commented on 2021-10-10 10:16
@hugepoggers Thanks for the reminder! Sorry for the delay, I’ve pushed the requested changes. 🙂
AUR packages are user produced content. Any use of the provided files is at your own risk.
支持多协议多用户的 xray 面板
- 可自定义 xray 配置模板
- 支持 https 访问面板（自备域名 + ssl 证书）
首先从 https://github.com/vaxilu/x-ui/releases 下载最新的压缩包，一般选择amd64架构
如果你的服务器 cpu 架构不是amd64，自行将命令中的amd64替换为其他架构
从 v2-ui 迁移
首先在安装了 v2-ui 的服务器上安装最新版 x-ui，然后使用以下命令进行迁移，将迁移本机 v2-ui 的所有 inbound 账号数据至 x-ui，面板设置和用户名密码不会迁移
迁移成功后请关闭 v2-ui并且重启 x-ui，否则 v2-ui 的 inbound 会与 x-ui 的 inbound 会产生端口冲突
x-ui – 显示管理菜单 (功能更多)
x-ui start – 启动 x-ui 面板
x-ui stop – 停止 x-ui 面板
x-ui restart – 重启 x-ui 面板
x-ui status – 查看 x-ui 状态
x-ui enable – 设置 x-ui 开机自启
x-ui disable – 取消 x-ui 开机自启
x-ui log – 查看 x-ui 日志
x-ui v2-ui – 迁移本机器的 v2-ui 账号数据至 x-ui
x-ui update – 更新 x-ui 面板
x-ui install – 安装 x-ui 面板
x-ui uninstall – 卸载 x-ui 面板
How do you copy and paste on your iPhone? You will be surprised at the tiny tips that lie behind this simple task.
All Mac users have grown up with Cmd + C and Cmd + V, the usual shortcuts for copy and paste across most programs. (Just swap the Command key for the Ctrl key on Windows.) But how do you copy and paste on your iPhone?
It might seem like too basic an operation to even bother covering. But you’d be surprised how much it matters to iPhone users who still aren’t steeped in mobile culture.
This guide is for them. Unlike your desktop, there are no shortcut keys or Edit menu. Everything works through a tap on the screen, which we explain below.
How to Copy and Paste Text on iPhone
Tap on the screen and a popup menu reveals the copy and paste commands. This is common across all apps on the iPhone.
Let’s see how this works, step-by-step. You have to select a single word or a snippet of text before you copy and paste it elsewhere on the phone.
1. Double-tap on a single word to select it. A small menu will appear with options for Cut, Copy, Paste, and more. Alternatively, in the browser, you’ll see Copy, Lookup, Share.
2. To select more than one word, drag the handle with the little circle at either end of the highlighted text. You can drag the handle left and right, as well as up and down.
3. Alternatively, you can use these sequences of taps to select a word, a sentence, a paragraph, or all the text on the screen:
- To select a word: Double-tap with one finger.
- Select a sentence: Tap it three times.
- When you want to select a paragraph: Tap it four times.
- And to select all text on a page: Double-tap at the start and drag two fingers down the page.
4. Once you have selected the text you want to copy, tap Copy. The copied text is stored on a “clipboard,” ready to be pasted wherever you want it. This clipboard works in the background and is invisible. Notably, it can only store one item in its memory. If you copy something else, the earlier text will be erased.
5. Tap the location in the app or document where you want to paste the text. Press and hold your finger down until the menu appears. Tap Paste to paste the text.
Tip: Did you know that you can select text better by turning the keyboard into a trackpad? See Apple’s support page on iPhone text editing for instructions.
How to Copy and Paste With Text Editing Gestures
Apple introduced a slew of new gestures in iOS 13. These are quick three-finger movements that allow you to perform common operations like copy and paste. Depending on your preference, you can tap on copy or paste from the menu as explained above, or use these gestures.
It’s best to do these with your thumb and two fingers. Select the text and then:
- Cut: Pinch closed with three fingers two times.
- Copy: Pinch closed with three fingers (imagine you are picking up the words from the screen)
- Paste: Pinch open with three fingers (imagine you are laying them out on the screen)
We have mixed feelings about using these gestures. This might be due to old habits or stubby fingers wrestling on the iPhone’s smaller screen, but you can try them yourself and see if them grow on you.
The official video below will help you understand the technique, along with how to undo and redo the operation.
The Utility of the Universal Clipboard
The Universal Clipboard feature allows you to copy and paste content across your Apple devices, as long as you’re signed into all of them with the same Apple ID. For instance, you can copy text or anything else on your iPhone, then paste it into a document on your Mac or iPad.
Enable each of these to make Universal Clipboard work with your Apple devices:
- Sign-in with the same Apple ID.
- Turn on Wi-Fi for all devices.
- Switch Bluetooth on and keep the devices in range of one another (about 33 feet or 10 meters).
- Enable Handoff on all devices.
Universal Clipboard works with iOS 10, iPadOS 13, macOS 10.12, and later. It’s part of the Continuity features that make all Apple devices work together with the help of iCloud.
How to Copy URL Links on an iPhone
It’s safe to say that URLs (or hyperlinks) are what we copy and paste more than anything else. Thankfully, the process is similar to copying standard text.
Tap and hold the link until a popup menu appears from the bottom of the screen. From here, tap Copy.
You can paste it anywhere on your phone using the same steps as other text.
How to Copy a Safari URL
There are two ways to quickly copy a URL from Safari’s address bar on your iPhone. The screenshots below illustrate the two options.
1. Tap and hold on the address bar. Then tap Copy from the popup menu. Safari will copy the URL to your clipboard.
2. Double-tap on the address bar to display the complete URL. Cut or Copy the URL from the popup menu and paste it anywhere else.
Copy-pasting a URL from somewhere else to browse with Safari? Just tap and hold on the Safari address bar. Tap Paste and Go from the popup menu to automatically go to the webpage.
How to Copy a Text Message
Copying a text message in Messages or chat apps like WhatsApp usually leads to forwarding them. Here’s how it works in Messages on your iPhone:
- Launch the app.
- Tap and hold on the message you want to copy.
- A popup menu appears with Copy as one of the options. Tap on it, then paste it anywhere you want to.
Depending on the content of the message, a different Quick Action menu will appear with a touch and hold on the screen. iOS apps dynamically update their quick actions when new information is available. Here are three types:
The truth behind the universal, but flawed, catchphrase for creativity.
Posted February 6, 2014
Although studying creativity is considered a legitimate scientific discipline nowadays, it is still a very young one. In the early 1970s, a psychologist named J. P. Guilford was one of the first academic researchers who dared to conduct a study of creativity. One of Guilford’s most famous studies was the nine-dot puzzle. He challenged research subjects to connect all nine dots using just four straight lines without lifting their pencils from the page. Today many people are familiar with this puzzle and its solution. In the 1970s, however, very few were even aware of its existence, even though it had been around for almost a century.
If you have tried solving this puzzle, you can confirm that your first attempts usually involve sketching lines inside the imaginary square. The correct solution, however, requires you to draw lines that extend beyond the area defined by the dots.
At the first stages, all the participants in Guilford’s original study censored their own thinking by limiting the possible solutions to those within the imaginary square (even those who eventually solved the puzzle). Even though they weren’t instructed to restrain themselves from considering such a solution, they were unable to “see” the white space beyond the square’s boundaries. Only 20 percent managed to break out of the illusory confinement and continue their lines in the white space surrounding the dots.
The symmetry, the beautiful simplicity of the solution, and the fact that 80 percent of the participants were effectively blinded by the boundaries of the square led Guilford and the readers of his books to leap to the sweeping conclusion that creativity requires you to go outside the box. The idea went viral (via 1970s-era media and word of mouth, of course). Overnight, it seemed that creativity gurus everywhere were teaching managers how to think outside the box.
Management consultants in the 1970s and 1980s even used this puzzle when making sales pitches to prospective clients. Because the solution is, in hindsight, deceptively simple, clients tended to admit they should have thought of it themselves. Because they hadn’t, they were obviously not as creative or smart as they had previously thought, and needed to call in creative experts. Or so their consultants would have them believe.
The nine-dot puzzle and the phrase “thinking outside the box” became metaphors for creativity and spread like wildfire in marketing, management, psychology, the creative arts, engineering, and personal improvement circles. There seemed to be no end to the insights that could be offered under the banner of thinking outside the box. Speakers, trainers, training program developers, organizational consultants, and university professors all had much to say about the vast benefits of outside-the-box thinking. It was an appealing and apparently convincing message.
Indeed, the concept enjoyed such strong popularity and intuitive appeal that no one bothered to check the facts. No one, that is, before two different research teams—Clarke Burnham with Kenneth Davis, and Joseph Alba with Robert Weisberg—ran another experiment using the same puzzle but a different research procedure.
Both teams followed the same protocol of dividing participants into two groups. The first group was given the same instructions as the participants in Guilford’s experiment. The second group was told that the solution required the lines to be drawn outside the imaginary box bordering the dot array. In other words, the “trick” was revealed in advance. Would you like to guess the percentage of the participants in the second group who solved the puzzle correctly? Most people assume that 60 percent to 90 percent of the group given the clue would solve the puzzle easily. In fact, only a meager 25 percent did.
What’s more, in statistical terms, this 5 percent improvement over the subjects of Guilford’s original study is insignificant. In other words, the difference could easily be due to what statisticians call sampling error.
Let’s look a little more closely at these surprising results. Solving this problem requires people to literally think outside the box. Yet participants’ performance was not improved even when they were given specific instructions to do so. That is, direct and explicit instructions to think outside the box did not help.
That this advice is useless when actually trying to solve a problem involving a real box should effectively have killed off the much widely disseminated—and therefore, much more dangerous—metaphor that out-of-the-box thinking spurs creativity. After all, with one simple yet brilliant experiment, researchers had proven that the conceptual link between thinking outside the box and creativity was a myth.
Of course, in real life you won’t find boxes. But you will find numerous situations where a creative breakthrough is staring you in the face. They are much more common than you probably think.