History has an important role in our lives, and while it can teach us a lot about correcting mistakes, it can also be fun. Things we use on day-to-day often originated from surprising sources. Or, it could be that they had the right intention, but were nowhere near as effective and streamlined, as they were often trendsetters. And while we can laugh about it when they’ve become successful, at the time, they thought it was their “next big thing” and a path to stardom. So, go ahead and read each amazing tech fact and be surprised how ridiculous some sound.
1. Interesting tech facts about Facebook
Did you know that by adding a “/4” after www.facebook.com will redirect you to facebook.com/zuck, e.g. Mark Zuckerberg’s official profile? That’s because his account was the fourth to be created, and can also be accessed by adding “profile.php?id=4“. It is also likely the first “real” account, since 1 to 3 were most likely test accounts created by Mark, and exist no more. Also, did you know Facebook regularly pays hackers to try and infiltrate or damage Facebook? This is done so that the company can fix backdoors and exploits before they are used by a real group of hackers.
2. Google hires goats
The company’s headquarters has large grass areas that used to be mowed by machines, lawnmowers. But, they realized hiring about 200 goats along with a border collie dog named Jen who helps herd them, costs about the same, they opted for that option. According to them, it’s not only more eco-friendly, but quieter and “goats are a lot cuter to watch than lawnmowers.”
3. More facts about Google
Did you know that Google was initially called Backrub.com? The founders later changed to name to Google, but this wasn’t their intended name. They misspelled the word “googol” which represents the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. Oh, and did you know that Yahoo had the chance to purchase Google for $1 million in 1998 and Excite for the same price in 1999, but both missed the chance? Yahoo wanted to purchase Google for the second time in 2002 for $3 billion, but Google’s founders wanted $5 billion.
4. Nintendo was a playing card company
We all know Nintendo as one of the biggest game developers and publishers, as well as selling hundreds of millions of game consoles. But the company didn’t start that way. They dabbled in games, but not those on a screen, but rather hanafuda, Japanese playing cards, back in 1889. In fact, the company’s name, “Nin-ten-do” translates to “luck-heaven-hall”. Nintendo continues to produce playing cards to this day but transitioned into the field of electronic games and toys in 1949, which brought them worldwide success.
5. The first computer mouse was made of wood
Douglas C. Engelbart created the first computer mouse in 1964, although he officially invented it in 1968. Instead of plastic, it was made out of wood. It also had a small cord protruding from the back, reminding the founder of the real-life mammal. He got the idea at a computer graphics conference, when he started wondering whether the on-screen cursor can be moved by hand, instead of with a keyboard. Douglas also thought that a computer mouse should have between 3 and 10 buttons for maximum functionality and control.
6. The United States pays for the GPS used worldwide
All of us use GPS daily, whether we’re aware of it or not. It is the basis of location-tracking and is used not only to provide accurate maps and navigation but also for messaging apps such as Snapchat, where you can track your friends’ location. And while the service is free and ingrained into the apps, someone must maintain the satellites in the orbit, right? Yes, the taxpayers and the United States government’s Defense Department. The department shells out approximately $2 million a day to operate, maintain, develop, and modernize GPS while we use it for free.
Are you aware that the first Apple phone was literally in the shape of an apple? It was a flip phone that opened in the middle, like an old-school lighter, and had a keypad on the bottom side, and a speaker and a microphone on the top side. When closed, it looked exactly like the Apple logo we all know and love. Bonus facts – did you know that Apple started a lifestyle and clothing range in 1986 when Steve Jobs stepped down as chairman?
Also, Steve Jobs plunged the first prototype of Apple iPod into the water. He indicated to his developers that the bubbles that appeared are empty space, and could make the iPod even smaller or have extra features.
8. QWERTY Keyboard
QWERTY became popular in 1873, with the release of Remington No. 2 typewriters. Did you know that the longest word you can type on a keyboard using letters from one row is also “typewriter“? Also, are you aware that because it was designed for typewriters, QWERTY is designed to make your typing slower, but is a “de facto” keyboard layout and used nonetheless? To increase your writing speed, you can try the Simplified Keyboard Layout, also known as Dvorak Keyboard Layout, patented in 1936.
9. Spam was named after food
We use spam to definite an influx of unsolicited or irrelevant messages or information over the Internet. But did you know that spam is also a canned/tinned meat product made of ham, introduced in 1937? Spam gained prominence in a Monthly Python sketch from 1970. In it, a waitress brings a menu to a group of Vikings, and each item has spam in it. The group then starts shouting “spam, spam, spam, spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam!” which annoyed the waitress and she screamed, “Shut up!”. It’s not too hard to see how the two situations are connected, and how the word became widely used.
10. A lot of things are banned in China
China is under a communist regime, which imposes strong censorship to its residents. For example, websites such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Netflix, and many others we take for granted are banned. Many call it the “Great Firewall of China”. Luckily, the popularity of VPNs allowed its open-minded citizens and foreigners to change their IP address and encrypt their traffic. Unfortunately, China deemed VPN illegal and a criminal offense if a person is found using it.
11. Amazon: From Selling Books to Ruling the E-Commerce World
Amazon, a behemoth in the e-commerce industry was initially started out as a humble online bookstore in 1994. In his garage, Jeff Bezos, the founder, embarked on an extraordinary journey that changed the face of retail forever.
The company’s name was initially “Cadabra,” as in “Abracadabra.” However, it was often misheard as “Cadaver,” leading to its rebranding as Amazon, named after the largest river in the world, symbolizing the company’s vast and ambitious scope.
But here’s an interesting twist: Bezos initially wanted to name it “Relentless”. So relentless was his vision that if you type “www.relentless.com” into your web browser, it will still redirect you to Amazon’s homepage!
In 1995, Bezos sent out 300 emails inviting people to test his new site. The response was overwhelming, and within a month, Amazon had sold books in all 50 US states and 45 other countries. Even then, Bezos had the foresight to understand that Amazon would be “an everything store,” not just a bookseller. He listed music and videos as potential products to sell on Amazon in the company’s early business plans.
Amazon now stands as the globe’s most substantial online marketplace, a leading provider of AI assistance, a live-streaming platform, and a dominant force in cloud computing, boasting a revenue exceeding $386 billion in 2020. A commendable leap for a company that started with book sales, wouldn’t you agree?
12. Internet Speeds and Data Consumption: A Snapshot of the Digital Age
As we continue our journey into the digital era, the dependency on the internet amplifies. In the internet’s infancy, we mostly relied on dial-up connections with speeds recorded in kilobits per second (Kbps). But, today, we benefit from gigabit internet, offering speeds that reach up to 1000 megabits per second (Mbps)! Isn’t it crazy?
However, here’s an intriguing piece of information: Are you aware of the volume of data consumed over the internet every single minute? In 2023, every minute on the internet witness the sending of 350,000 tweets, the streaming of 694,000 hours of YouTube videos, and the sending of 694,444 messages on WhatsApp.
Just like that, in this digital age, we’re generating and consuming data at a pace that’s truly mind-boggling. This shows us how integral the internet has become in our everyday lives.