Humans have accomplished incredible feats with technological advancement during the last century. Technology has provided us with incredible tools and resources to make our lives easier. New discoveries in the technology field are so frequent that many people are struggling to keep up with the rate of advancements.
As fascinating as these technological marvels appear now, the tales behind them are much more so. Here are seven incredible little-known truths about technology that we all utilize virtually every day.
1. The QWERTY keyboard was created to slow down typing speed.
People brag about their typing speed or keyboard speed. Typing faster and more accurately is even an advantage in some jobs. But did you know that the current QWERTY keyboard layout is the result of a solution aimed at slowing down typing speed?
The first typewriters manufactured in the 1870s had few technological concerns. The metal arms that held the characters used to clash and jam if the keys were pressed quickly or if a typist pressed neighboring keys at the same time.
Christopher Latham Sholes made numerous design changes to the keyboard layout to avoid problems and improve the typing experience. E. Remington and Sons finally devised the modern QWERTY keyboard layout, which solved the problem of jammed-type bars.
2. Water Integrator – a water-powered computer
In 1936, Vladimir Sergeevich Lukyanov created the world’s first computer, which solved differential equations using partial derivatives. The gadget was powered by water, which is an incredible feat.
The building business with whom Lukyanov worked was unable to discover a remedy for the fissures that used to occur in concrete during the sub-zero temperatures of winter. Lukyanov investigated the temperature conditions in concrete masonry to better understand the thermal process.
Finally, he created the water integrator machine, which could plot graphs and aid in the visualization of the thermal process.
Water computers were employed in manufacturing companies, research groups, and educational institutions far into the 1970s. The use of hydraulic integrators declined as digital computers grew more powerful and user-friendly.
3. The original computer mouse was known as the ‘X-Y Position Indicator for Display Systems.’
The first computer mouse was invented with the help of technology in the 1960s at Stanford Research Institute (SRI). The device was known as a “X-Y position indication for screens.”
The mouse is said to have been invented by Douglas Engelbart and Bill English. The legend that Xerox APAC invented the mouse is also false. Engelbart originally demonstrated the mouse in 1968, using the Xerox Alto computer. He referred to the demo as the “Mother of all demos.”
The instrument was given the nickname ‘Mouse’ because the cable protruding from it reminded Engelbart like a rodent’s tail.
4. Wikipedia is maintained by thousands of bots
The majority of today’s internet users are familiar with Wikipedia. It is a massive online repository of crowd-sourced information. It is widely known that the online encyclopedia is generated and edited entirely by volunteers.
But did you realize that Wikipedia pages are currently maintained by thousands of bots (automated programs)? There are currently 2468 bot tasks approved to do maintenance chores on more than 52 million English Wikipedia pages.
Wikipedia bots undertake tasks such as new page generation, spelling and style correction, and so on. When edits are made due to vandalism, bots can also revert the pages to their original state.
Bots for Wikipedia can be simply created by anyone with programming experience. However, before they may maintain Wikipedia pages, these programs must be accepted by the Bot Approval Group.
5. You may still access the world’s first webpage today.
The World Wide Web was conceived in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist working at CERN. It took another two years until the world’s first website appeared. The first webpage, hosted on a NeXT machine at CERN, went live in 1991.
The amazing thing is that you can still visit the first website. It acts as a historical repository for anything available on the World Wide Web online. Check it out by clicking here.
6. Apple once dabbled in the garment industry.
Today, Apple has built a reputation for itself in everything they do. Consider the Mac OS, the Macbook, the iPod, or the iPhone. The corporation has always desired and successfully maintained an independent echo system.
But did you know that Apple also launched a clothing line in 1986? The collection was dubbed ‘The Apple Collection.’ It is difficult to believe that Apple was previously in the clothes industry. One year after Steve Jobs left the company, the company published its catalog.
7. Google was up for sale in 1999
In 1999, Larry Page attempted to sell Google to Excite. The deal was capped at $750,000 and 1% of Excite. But then the agreement fell through. Google’s market capitalization now exceeds $700 billion.
There are two stories about why Excite did not buy Google at the time.
According to former Excite CEO George Bell, he rejected the transaction because Larry Page insisted on replacing all of Excite’s search technology with Google’s search technology.
However, according to Steven Levy’s book ‘In The Plex,’ George Bell was dissatisfied with Google’s search algorithm’s good performance. Bell feared that Google’s relevant search results would divert readers away from their Excite webpages, making it more difficult to keep them there.
If Excite were to host a search engine that instantly gave people information they sought, he explained, the users would leave the site instantly. Since his ad revenue came from people staying on the site — “stickiness” was the most desired metric in websites at the time — using BackRub’s technology would be counterproductive. —Steven Levy
8. Amazon.com is not the website’s original name.
Jeff Bezos experimented with several alternative names for his company before settling on Amazon. Cadabra Inc. was the first name he registered. After receiving comments that the name was too cryptic, the entrepreneur opted to change the name.
Bezos registered his website under numerous different domains before settling on the current version — amazon.com — which is recognizable worldwide.
Aard.com, awake.com, browse.com, bookmall.com, and relentless.com were some of the earlier domain names. Among these, he still controls the domain name relentless.com. Today, however, the website relentless.com redirects to amazon.com.
9. Smoking can void your Apple product warranties
Do you realize that smoking near your Apple product can void its warranty? Apple has a policy in place to protect its technicians from any potentially hazardous work environment.
Tobacco tars that have accumulated on the systems are deemed dangerous. As a result, if Apple suspects that your product has come into touch with cigarette smoke, they may refuse to service it even if it is still under warranty.
People have shared their stories about being unable to obtain warranty repairs on their Apple products due to the discovery of tobacco tars on the parts. If you want to keep your Apple devices secure and your warranty valid, don’t allow anyone to smoke near them.
10. You can write programs entirely with whitespaces.
Do you know you can code with only whitespace? Thanks to technology.
‘Whitespace’ is the programming language that makes it feasible. To write a program in this language, simply use spaces, tabs, and line feeds. Non-whitespace characters are ignored by the interpreter.
Copy and run the entire code from my gist file to see for yourself. Copying the lines from #3 to #70, navigating to this webpage, pasting it in the ‘code’ block, and hitting Ctrl+Enter (Windows) or Cmd +Enter (Mac) on your keyboard to find the output is as simple as it gets.
It’s quite cool, isn’t it? You can use this to create programs that no one will be able to read or comprehend unless they are aware that something is typed on a seemingly blank notepad.
That’s all for now, everyone.