10 weird but true facts about technology

ET Bureau’s Hitesh Raj Bhagat

Even if technology is progressing at an unstoppable rate, there are certain recent oddities that are amusing to consider.

The facts and tales ET compile seem so absurd that you’ll doubt their veracity.

Printer ink may be saved by changing typefaces

Yes, typefaces are not all created equal. People produce many typefaces for various purposes, including iconography, ornamentation, embellishment, and message delivery.

According to the hypothesis, using a font with a “lighter” stroke will result in a minor reduction in the amount of ink used on each page. By switching to one of the lighter fonts, you’ll probably save roughly 10% ink, assuming that you’re only printing with inkjet printers that utilise the standard cartridges (not ink tanks or laser printers that use toner as their printing medium).

As a home user, you will never print enough volumes to genuinely realise a profit, which is the argument’s opposite side.

Before the internet, there was email

You most likely don’t even stop to consider your actions before sending a one-line email message. But things weren’t always so simple. The video “How to Send an Email-Database-1984” is intriguing. This was from a technical television programme called Database, and the presenters showed how to send an email back then.

A service named Micronet required you to connect using a computer and a rotary phone. There were just numbered websites since WWW hadn’t yet been invented. The web address for emails was 7776.

Qwerty was made to make you take more time

In reality, there are two competing hypotheses. When you take a look at manual typewriters, the first one begins to make sense. Overly rapid typing would cause the keyboard to jam. Common alphabets were separated from one another in QWERTY, which made typists take longer.

Another hypothesis holds that the QWERTY layout was created by telegraph operators because Morse code could be decoded more quickly and easily.

In each case, there was no justification for using the layout, although reluctance to change existed. In the language settings, you may really switch your keyboard’s layout to the quicker Dvorak layout (or just buy a new Dvorak keyboard).

92% of the world’s money is electronic

This indicates that most of the money you make, deal with, spend on products and services, and so on only resides on computers and hard drives. Physical money makes up just around 8% of cash worldwide.

This 8% is the source of all black money hoards. Although not a precise number, this is a reasonable estimate that economists seem to agree on. Although this low proportion first appears crazy, it really makes sense when you realise that the majority of significant transactions are carried out online.

Banks also keep electronic records, and 92% cover all types of wire transfers and credit/debit card transactions. Rewatching all those hacker movies where geeky computer hackers steal billions in a matter of minutes would be a good idea.

Before 1995, registering a domain name was free

Back then, nobody truly understood the potential of the internet, which presented a big chance for individuals to acquire a wide variety of domain names. The authority to charge users for domain names was given to a business named Network Solutions in 1995. Additionally, it was pricey, with an average starting fee for two-year registration at $100.

The National Science Foundation received up to 30% of this charge to establish the “Internet Intellectual Infrastructure Fund.” In 1997, the cost was subsequently overturned and reduced to $70 for two years.

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In 1956, 5 megabytes (5 MB) of data weighed a tonne

The first computer with a feature similar to the modern hard drive was introduced by IBM in 1956 with the release of RAMAC.

When we refer to a hard drive, we imply a device that stores data on magnetic discs and employs a moving head to read and write to those discs. It was regarded as a significant advance in mass storage technology at the time because it marked a transition from punch cards and magnetic tape (which stored data sequentially) to randomly accessible hard drives.

RAMAC, or Random Access Method of Accounting & Control, had its own initials. The 5MP data was dispersed among 50 enormous, magnetic iron oxide-coated aluminium discs, and the cabinet weighed over 1000 kg. Back then, computers were rented for $3,200 a month and had discs that revolved at a speed of 1,200 rpm.

The display’s X-Y position indication, also known as The Mice

The X-Y Position Indicator for Display Systems was the name given to the first pointing device when it was created in the early 1960s by Stanford Research Institute members Douglas Engelbart and Bill English (referring, of course, to the X and Y axes).

In 1968, Engelbart used the Xerox Alto computer to present it for the first time in what is referred to as the “Mother of all demonstrations” (check it out on YouTube). The word processing, graphics, windows, file linking, and mouse control that Engelbart demonstrated in 1968 eventually found their way into modern computers.

The term “mouse” was also created by Engelbart, who did so only because the wire protruding from the device’s end reminded him of a rodent’s tail.

In 1936, Russia created a machine that functioned on water

Before smaller transistors, computers employed a much more obvious counting method. Gears, pivots, beads, and levers were often used, requiring a power source to run.

Similar technology was developed in 1936 by Vladimir Lukyanov, but his computer utilised water to solve partial differential equations. Images of the Lukyanov computer show a complicated network of interconnecting tubes that are all filled with water.

Water flow could be modified (and variables changed) by turning taps and plugs, while the outcome could be seen by checking the water level in certain tubes. It was first created to address the issue of concrete cracking and was also known as a water integrator. The Polytechnic Museum in Moscow presently houses it.

Advanced graphing calculators use either QWERTY or ABC layouts

Before cellphones, powerful calculators and digital diaries were commonplace. In addition to algebra and calculus skills, they may be used to store basic kinds of data and conduct computations that students can use to solve differential equations.

While more sophisticated calculators were “allowed” in exam rooms, several exams forbade using devices with QWERTY keyboards since they adhered to the conventional definition of a “computer.”

Texas Instruments came up with a solution by developing graphing calculators with alphabetized keyboards.

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