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4 min read

Little-Known Facts About Computers 

Computers: What Do We Really Know About Them

Computers have allowed humans to do wonders, especially as technology progresses. Innovations and advances in technology have brought spectacular tools and resources to the limelight to make life and work more convenient. New findings in the technological world are coming up so fast that it's hard to keep up with the pace of invention.

However, as fascinating as the inventions are, did you know that there are several facts about computers that most people don't know? Some are hilarious, others exciting, while others are downright unbelievable. Let's take a look.

The First Computer was Water-Driven

The maker of the world's first computer, Vladimir Sergeevich Lukyanov, was an exceptional mind. He created a machine that solved differential equations in partial derivatives in 1936. The fantastic thing about it is that it was driven by water.

Lukyanov's construction company could not find a solution for the cracks that would occur in concretes when temperatures were sub-zero during winter. For insights into the thermal process, Lukyanov researched temperature conditions in concrete masonry. After an intensive search for knowledge, he built a water integrator with unique features to plot graphs, helping them visualize the thermal process.

The machine became a big deal in many industries, including research organizations, manufacturing plants, and educational institutes. They would use water computers for various functions well into the 1970s. Their use diminished once digital computers came into the limelight and proved to be more powerful and convenient to use.

The History of the QWERTY Keyboard

It's not uncommon to hear people boast of their fast typing speed on a computer keyboard or a typewriter. You even have a competitive advantage for some jobs if you can type fast and accurately in a shorter time. However, did you know that the current layout of the computer keyboard was initially supposed to slow down the typing speed?

The initial typewriters versions created in the 1870s had few technical issues. The metal arms on which the characters were ingrained used to jam and clash if pressed in rapid succession. Pressing adjacent keys simultaneously would also cause problems.

Christopher Latham Sholes figured out that the only way to avoid the problem for a better typing experience was to alter the layout. It took many trials to finally come up with the keyboard layout as you know it today, and it sure solved the jamming problem of the typebars.

X-Y: The First Computer Mouse

The Stanford Research Institute (SRI) invented the first world's computer mouse in the 1960s. They named it the 'X-Y position indicator for displays.' The credit for this invention goes to Bill English and Douglas Engelbart and not the Xerox APAC, as the story goes.

The mouse was the invention of Engelbart in 1964. He made it from wood and designed it to resemble a slightly heavy box. He later demonstrated how to use the mouse for the first time in 1968 using a Xerox Alto computer, which might have brought the confusion. Furthermore, he coined the name 'mouse' from how the cable attached to the instrument stuck out. It reminded Engelbart of a rodent's tail.

Apple Once Has an Apparel Business

Apple is one of the prominent brands in the world today. From the macOS and iPod to the iPhone and MacBook, the company has always tried to create an isolated ecosystem and maintained it that way.

However, despite its current standing and being a leader in the computer world, did you know that Apple once had a clothing line in 1986? It was known as the "Apple Collection,' and it's hard to imagine that it was once an apparel business.

Smoking Can Void Your Apple Product Warranties

Did you know that smoking can make you lose warranties on Apple products? When tobacco tar settles on the systems, they are considered harmful. Smoking near them exposes them to a toxic environment, which Apple has a policy against. As such, if Apple has a reason to think that a product has come in contact with tobacco, they can deny servicing your product even when the warranty is still valid.

Unfortunately, Apple product documents lack a warranty void clause, but there are several instances where the company has failed to honor warranties for finding tobacco tars on the parts.

Coding Programs is Possible Using Whitespaces

Computers have a programming language called "whitespace" that makes it easy to code using only white spaces. All you need to do is use the tabs, spaces, and linefeeds to write a program. The computer interpreter will ignore all non-whitespaces characters.

If you would like to check this for yourself, copy the whole code from my gist file and run it. The procedure is to copy the lines from number 30 to number 70 and paste them onto this site on the 'code' block. Hit Ctrl + Enter on Windows OS or Cmd + Enter on Mac to find the output.

You can use it to create programs that other people won't know about unless they know what's written on a seemingly blank notepad.

Other Interesting Computer Facts

There's a myriad of other exciting computer facts that would make an interesting read:

  • The password for the computer that controlled the United States Army nuclear missiles was 0000000000 and stayed that way for years. If anyone forgot, they would be given a piece of paper.
  • Google consumes the energy of approximately 200,000 households annually. All this is to help it index less than 1% of all the available information on the internet.
  • Malicious actors create more than 6,000 new computer viruses each month.
  • Did you know what CAPTCHA means? It refers to the "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. Unfortunately, artificial intelligence has already overcome captchas.

Final Thoughts

It's interesting to know how much information is out there about computers that many people don't know. However, it's understandable since people tend to only keep up with new developments. Hopefully, this made for an interesting read and has taught you a thing or two you didn't know about these powerful machines.

Furthermore, if anything bothers you about computers and technology in the business setting, On Time Tech is here to demystify everything. If you're looking for IT services and support, don't hesitate to reach out to us today.

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