In this article, I’m going to share with you a compilation of interesting facts about computers I learnt online, many of which will seriously amaze you!
Computers have become a significant part of our day-to-day life worldwide, from business to education to entertainment to medical care, almost everything we do involves a computer somehow. But have you ever stopped and actually wondered about computers; their origin and evolution?
But first off, let’s define a computer;
In simple terms, a computer is a machine that takes input from the user and gives output. Basically, you present the computer with a command and it follows it to produce a result.
Computers have a microprocessor that makes instant calculations. Lots of things have microprocessors, such as your watch, your washing machine, your mouse and even your mobile phone. Which is what makes them an essential part of our lives.
Let’s kick this off with this interesting mind-opener:
Ever wondered what happens when you click the Refresh option on your Windows desktop?
Well, for your information; refreshing the desktop has absolutely NO effect on your computer’s performance, it simply redraws the icons on the desktop, that’s all! It doesn’t refresh the RAM or clean your PC or even refresh your computer the way waking up from a nap refreshes you for example. Crazy right?
Keep reading if you would like to know even more awesome facts about computers.
Historical Computer Facts
- The Z1 was the first fully operational digital computer developed by Konrad Zuse in 1936. Zuse can be considered the inventor of the “modern computer”.
- IBM released the world’s first computer hard drive in 1956. It weighed more than a ton (that’s bigger than a refrigerator!)
- Alan Mathison Turing is considered the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. He also invented the “Turing Machine” which is a mathematical model of computation.
- IBM 1311 was the first disk drive to use removable media. It was quite large, yet it had a storage capacity of fewer than 5 megabytes. Believe it or not, it actually looked like a washing machine!
- The mouse (one of the most necessary computer peripherals) was introduced to the world by Douglas Engelbart in the 1960s. You’ll be surprised to learn that the body/base of the first mouse was made of wood with metal wheels supporting it to roll back and forth. It had a cord connected to it, which was interpreted as the tail of a mouse, which is why it was termed the “Mouse”.
- ENIAC, the first electronic computer weighed more than 27 tons and occupied about 1800 square feet.
- When the keyboard was invented, it had buttons in alphabetical order, as a result, the typing speed was too fast that it made the keyboard keys jam. So, to reduce the speed of a typist, the QWERTY keyboard was invented in 1867.
- In 2005, Sony illegally installed rootkits on 22 million computers to prevent users from ripping copyrighted music, and it could not be uninstalled. The software also reported users’ listening habits back to Sony. Ironically, the code itself contained open source software and therefore infringed copyright.
- The IBM 5120 from 1980 was the heaviest desktop computer ever made. It weighed about 105 pounds, not including the 130 pounds of the external floppy drive!
- In 2000, a 15-year-old hacked NASA computers and caused a 21-day shutdown of NASA computers that support the international space station, and invaded a Pentagon weapons computer system to intercept 3,300 e-mails, steal passwords and cruise around like an employee.
- In 1960, a computer at a U.S. nuclear command centre (NORAD) warned with 99.9% certainty about a full-scale missile attack against North America the Soviets had just launched. NORAD later discovered that the Early Warning System in Greenland had interpreted the moon rising over Norway as a missile attack from Siberia!
- In the 1800s, Charles Babbage invented all the parts of the modern computer, however, it wasn’t until 120 years later that the first modern computers were invented.
“The computer in your cell phone today is a million times cheaper and thousand times more powerful and about a hundred thousand times smaller than the one computer at MIT in 1965.”— Stephen Hawking
Educative Facts About Computers
- Only about 10% of the world’s currency is physical money, the rest only exists on computers; Bitcoin, Ethereum, ripple, etc.
- More than 5000 new computer viruses are released every month.
- Bill Gates’s house in Medina, Washington was designed using a Mac computer.
- Web Arx security says more than 20,000 websites are hacked each day and most from the US
- YouTube was founded by 3 former employees of PayPal.
- The first ever hard disk drive was made in 1979 and could hold only 5MB of data.
- In 2012, the founder of McAfee Antivirus, John McAfee confirmed he personally doesn’t use his own antivirus! In his words: “I take it off,” “It’s too annoying.”
- China has the highest number of internet users in the whole world, with over 746 million active users.
- There are around 4.9 billion internet users worldwide as of 2021 according to Statista.
- The first 1GB hard disk drive was announced in 1980, weighed about 550 pounds, and cost $40,000.
“I think it’s fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we’ve ever created. They’re tools of communication, they’re tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.”— Bill Gates
- Susan Wojcicki, the woman who rented her garage to Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998 when they were creating Google later became the CEO of YouTube.
- The first webcam was invented at Cambridge University by students for the purpose of monitoring the coffee levels in their coffee maker so that they didn’t waste trips to an empty coffee pot!
- A group of 12 engineers called “The Dirty Dozen” designed IBM PC in 1980.
- The first two arcade games that were made in the US were called Asteroids and Lunar Lander in 1980.
- Mircosoft included Solitaire in their operating systems “to soothe people intimidated by the operating system”, and to familiarize users with graphic user interfaces and the use of a mouse.
- The original name of the Windows OS was Interface Manager.
- The first programmable computer in the world was invented by Konrad Zuse in 1936 and named Z1. Konrad Zuse.
- symbolics.com was the first and oldest registered domain name.
- All the domain names such as Google, Log In or Sign Up were free until 1995, but now everyone has to pay for every new domain name.
- In 1936, Russian scientist Vladimir Lukyanov built a computer that ran on water, it was called Water integrator.
- A professional typist types fast and types a great number of words daily. If we measure this as distance then it becomes 12.6 miles a day for the fingers of the typist to cover each day.
- During IBM Watson’s Jeopardy Game, it stored all 15 terabytes of its knowledge in RAM, including every page of Wikipedia in existence.
- E-Mail was invented before the Internet! Shocking isn’t it?
Fun Computer Facts You Don’t Know
- “TYPEWRITER” is the longest word that you can type using the letters only on one row of the keyboard of your computer.
- In the U.S., the password used for the computer controls of nuclear-tipped missiles was “00000000” for 20 years.
- HP, Microsoft and Apple have one very interesting thing in common – they all started in a garage.
- Amazon started as a hardcover bookseller, now it sells more e-books than hardcovers.
- An average person normally blinks 20 times a minute, but when using a computer he/she blinks only 7 times a minute, which is less than half the normal rate of 20.
- In 2010, a high school named Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania issued a MacBook to each of its 2,300 students, and then remotely activated the webcams to spy on the students at home.
“Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all.”— John F. Kennedy
- Approximately 70% of virus writers are said to work under contract for organized crime syndicates.
- In Windows 98, minimized windows are actually moved far away outside the average monitor’s resolution.
- It took the Pixar team 29 hours to render a single frame from the Monster’s University movie. If done on a single CPU it would have taken 10,000 years to finish!
- You will not be affected by viruses just by opening an email. It is activated only when you click a link or open an attachment.
- According to various statistical analyses, more than 80% of emails sent daily are spam! These are mostly ads, newsletters, and other junk emails.
- A computer worm called ILOVEYOU was one of the most damaging computer worms that ever existed in 2000. It primarily spread when targeted victims opened an email attachment, and then the malware re-sent itself to all the victim’s contacts in Microsoft Outlook. ILOVEYOU caused billions of dollars in damages.
- Extra fun fact: Google used to hire a herd of 200 goats to mow their lawn attheir Mountain View headquarters.
Computer Facts for Kids
- There is a website called “The Useless Web”. This is the last treatment for your boredom. If you ever feel bored please visit.
- The first Apple computer was made by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak using old parts they collected for free from their staff!
- Only 2 out of the top 500 supercomputers run on Windows, the other 485 run on Linux.
- IBM was so powerful in 1983, people feared that its PCjr home computer would destroy Apple, Commodore, and all other competitors. The PCjr became “one of the biggest flops in the history of computing”.
- IMDb is one of the oldest websites on the internet, it began on Usenet in 1990 as a list of “actresses with beautiful eyes”!
- No human has won a standard tournament chess game against a high-spec computer since 2005.
- A programmer developed an operating system called TempleOS in 2003. He believed that TempleOS was literally the Third Temple prophesied in the Bible. Per “God’s instructions,” he designed the OS to use a 640×480, 16-color display and use the language HolyC. He was hospitalized for mental health problems.
- The first word sent on the internet was “lo”. Apparently, it was supposed to be “login” but the computer crashed after the first two letters!
- Windows 95 was the second most installed piece of software on computers in 1995, video game DOOM was the first.
- Gaming computers heat a room just as efficiently as a space heater does.
- Space Invaders game was intended to always be played at the same speed, but as you destroy more aliens, the computer can render faster, which is why the aliens speed up as you near the end of the level.
- At some point in time past, AMD and Intel CPUs used the same socket (Socket 7) and could run on the same motherboard.
- Hard disks are so sensitive to vibration, that just screaming at them diminishes their performance!
- In 2002, Sony released a kit that allows PS2s (Linux for PlayStation 2) to be used as a personal computer.
- There is a video game called “Lose/Lose” which deletes a random file on your computer every time you kill an enemy!
- As computers run, they get hot, so they have fans to keep them cool, how cool is that!
- elgoog.im (Google spelt backwards) is a mirrored website of Google Search with horizontally flipped search results, also known as a “Google mirror”. An unofficial elgooG website was created by All Too Flat “for fun”, which started to gain popularity in 2002
- When you’re all grown up and working and you use a computer each day, your hands would have travelled 12.6 miles (about 20km) per day!
- Before Mozilla, Chrome, or Explorer, there was Mosaic, the first browser in 1993.
- The US Federal Register is still using floppy disks sent by courier, apparently because a secure e-mail system is “too expensive”.
- Inside the rear case of the original Macintosh, there are 47 signatures there from each member of Apple’s Macintosh division in 1982. Interesting!
- During the production of Toy Story 2, Pixar accidentally deleted the entire movie from its servers. Fortunately, an employee, a new mother who worked from home had saved on her personal computer.
- Lenovo stands for ‘new legend’. ‘Le’ for legend, and ‘novo’ stands for new.
- If Facebook was a country it would be the third largest in the world, it has over a billion users!
- American mathematician Marion Tinsley played checkers for 45 years and lost only 7 games. He once beat a computer program, and later analysis showed that Tinsley had played the only possible winning strategy from 64 moves out.
- Apple’s first computer, the Apple I, went on sale in 1976 for $666.66 because Steve Wozniak liked repeating digits and found them easier to type. He said he was unaware of any Satanic connotations with the number.
- The “World Wide Web” was invented by Tim Berners in 1989.
- The abacus was one of the first inventions that led to the first computer, credited to Charles Babbage in 1822.
Scientific Computer Facts
- Around 50% of all Wikipedia vandalism is caught by a single computer program with more than 90% accuracy.
- If there was a computer as powerful as the human brain, it would hold more than 3580 terabytes of memory and be able to do 38 thousand trillion operations per second.
- One of the first instances of a stored computer program was in 1801 when Joseph Marie Jacquard demonstrated a loom that wove fabrics based on hole-punched cards that were fed into the machine.
- Steve Jobs wanted to hide a man wearing a fedora on “Mr Macintosh” the first Mac computer. This man was to appear after opening the menu bar several thousand times and then quickly disappear, leaving users to question their sanity. This idea was dumped due to Mac’s paltry 128KB of RAM.
- CPU manufacturing is so unpredictable that every chip must be tested since the majority of finished chips are defective. Those that survive are assigned a model number and price reflecting their maximum safe performance.
- There is a programming language called INTERCAL, it has keywords like IGNORE, PLEASE , FORGET. If you don’t use PLEASE enough times while coding, Compiler rejects the code!
- Computers use memory or RAM to store items when they’re not in use. The processor stores everything your computer needs to run.
- In 2009, computer scientists created a system called Sketch2Photo, it composes a realistic picture from a simple freehand sketch.
- HDMI charges its licensed manufacturers $10,000 per year plus $0.15 per cable, reduced to $0.05 if the HDMI logo is on the socket.
- In May 1997, an IBM supercomputer known as Deep Blue beat then chess world champion Garry Kasparov, who had once bragged that he would never lose to a machine. After 15 years, it was discovered that the critical move made by Deep Blue was due to a bug in its software.
- The Ultra NVidia GeForce 6800 video card was built with 222 million transistors and is considered among the best to date.
- The first microprocessor created by Intel was the 4004. It was designed for a calculator, and at that time nobody imagined where it would lead.
- The first bug in a computer was a dead moth found shorting a relay in the Harvard Mark II computer in 1947
“My goal wasn’t to make a ton of money. It was to build good computers. I only started the company when I realized I could be an engineer forever.”— Steve Wozniak
- Windows OS doesn’t allow the creation of folders labelled CON, PRN, AUX, or NUL. These are keywords reserved by DOS.
- Mortal Kombat II was so popular when it hit the arcades that several of the machines were later installed with deadlock security panels on the back to prevent thieves from ripping the game’s motherboard straight out of the machine and taking it home.
- The worst breach of U.S. military computers in history happened when someone picked up an infected memory stick they found in the parking lot and plugged it into a computer attached to United States Central Command.
- According to a survey, most of the apps on your android device leak your data, so be aware!
- The microcontroller inside a MacBook charger is about as powerful as the original Macintosh computer.
- Alan Turing the father of computer science, and artificial intelligence and who helped break German WW2 cyphers, committed suicide by cyanide in 1954.
- The Tandy TRS-80 Model I computer radiated so much interference that while playing games an AM radio was placed next to the computer to provide sounds.
- An Apple laptop stinks! One 2001 iBook model used glue that smelled like human body odour after 12-18 months, making repairs difficult because of the nauseating smell.
- CAPTCHA in full is “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”
Bonus: Facts About Computers Currently
- Cybercrime has skyrocketed since COVID-19 hit the world. The FBI reported a 300% increase in the number of cybercrimes, from about 1,000 cases to between 3,000 – 4,000 cases each day.
- According to Statista, by 2023, over 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet.
- 80% of all pictures on the internet are of naked women, shocking right? What’s this world coming to?!
- 500+ hours of video are uploaded to Youtube every minute according to Forecast.
- MIT has computers that can detect fake smiles! These computers can tell between genuine and frustrated smiles.
- Android OS is expected to dominate the mobile VoIP market by 2024.
- According to Genpact by 2025, firms who have adopted AI will be 10 times more efficient and have twice the market share than the rest who haven’t.
- Statista predicts that by 2025 there will be 30.9 billion IoT (Internet of Things) devices.
- There are over 4 billion active users on social media platforms worldwide.
- Amazon, Apple, Google and Meta (the big four) are collectively worth $4 trillion.
- There are 5 billion searches a day worldwide, 77% of which are conducted on Google.
- 97% of people type words in Google for spell-checking.
I hope you enjoyed reading these interesting facts about computers in a brief and interesting way, and I hope you’ve learnt a useful thing or two from this article.