Friday Fun: Computer Facts

Posted on May 27, 2011 in Computer Fun

Something a little different for today’s Blog entry; here are a few facts about the world of computers that should surprise even the geekiest among us.  I would be willing to bet that there is at least one thing listed below that you didn’t know before you read this article.

CDs are just the right size
When the CD was first invented back in 1979, future Sony CEO, Norio Ohga suggested that the standard for CD sizes should be based on the amount of data required to hold Beethoven’s Symphony Number Nine, specifically the recording of the symphony from the 1951 Bayreuth Festival.  This turned out to be exactly 74 minutes, to accommodate that much data the size of the disc had to be 120 millimeters.  That’s the size that all standard CDs and DVDs have been since.  Though now, with advancements in compression technology more data can be placed on a disc of the same size.

Why is it called Bluetooth?
The communication technology called Bluetooth wasn’t named by accident.  Bluetooth actually has a very regal background.  It is named for Harold “Bluetooth” Gormsson who united three Danish tribes into a single kingdom. By naming the product Bluetooth, the company is saying that its technology does the same thing with communications protocols, uniting them into one universal standard.  But why Bluetooth?  It turns out that Harold I of Denmark (Bluetooth to his friends) was very, very fond of blueberries and his teeth were permanently stained blue.  Even the very familiar Bluetooth logo hearkens back to our king with the blue grin; it’s a combination of the Danish runes Hagall (ᚼ) and Bjarkan (ᛒ), King Harold’s Initials.

Who needs to blink?
The average person blinks about 20 times per minute; this is mainly to lubricate your eyes and to move any particles on your eye to the edges where they can be easily washed out with your tears.  When you are staring at a computer screen you will usually only blink about 7 times per minute.  While focusing intently on anything your body suppresses the blinking reflex.  Monitors display images as a series of pixels instead of a solid image like on a printed page; this means that your eyes have to continually re-focus to keep the image sharp and this keeps you from blinking as often as you normally would.

No Cons in Windows
This one actually surprised me, try to create a new folder and name it “Con” without the quotes.  You can’t do it, can you?  No matter what version of Windows you’re working in, this along with a few other folder names are impossible to create.  This actually comes from ridiculously old code from the original version of Windows that ran on top of DOS.  “Con” referred to Console, which was how DOS referred to your Keyboard.  To keep a user from accidentally losing control of their computer by creating a second Console this block was inserted into the original Windows code.  It isn’t remotely necessary now, but Microsoft hasn’t seen the need to remove it from any of the subsequent versions of Windows since.

Doing the Splits
Microsoft’s stock has split a whopping 9 times since going public in 1986.  Each share on that first day of trading could be purchased for around $22.  As the price per share climbed, eventually it made sense for Microsoft to split its stock to make it more affordable for the average buyer.  The first split was in 1987, the most recent split was in 2003.  If you bought a single share of Microsoft stock back in 1986 you are now the proud owner of 288 shares.  That means that if you sold that stock today your $22 investment would get you about $7200.

Now be honest, did you learn something today?  Comment below and leave some of your own odd facts about computers.

Dennis Edmondson Jr
Computing Concepts LLC

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Andrea Owens Edmondson
Andrea Owens Edmondson

oooh.. I know! In 1979, it's how they decided in how big to make a CD. Beethoven's 9th = 74 minutes = 120 mm (I'd feel smart if I hadn't just read that in your blog this afternoon.) ;-P

Dhara Mistry
Dhara Mistry moderator

Thanks for sharing this Dennis. I have got a few too:

QWERTY keyboard sequence is 129 years old.

TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

Bill Gates' house was designed using a Macintosh computer ;)