Need some random facts to tell your friends during Trivia night? Here are a few weird but interesting facts about technology that you might not have known…
1. The Firefox logo isn’t a fox…
Mozilla Firefox’s logo is a red panda and not a fox. You might not think it makes sense with the word “fox” being in the name but a very little known fact is that the red panda’s nickname is “firefox.”
2. The first ever computer virus was called, “Creeper”
In 1971, Creeper was the first-ever computer virus developed. It was created as an experiment to see how it could spread between computers and displayed a message, “I’m the Creeper, catch me if you can!”
3. Google was misspelled
Google was originally supposed to be named Googol which is the mathematical term for the number one followed by 100 zeroes (so like the term “million,” etc.) but it was misspelt and they ended up just sticking with Google.
4. There are phobias for tech
There are various phobias these days as people become more suspicious of technology. Technophobia is the fear of technology, Cyberphobia is the fear of computers and Nomophobia is the fear of being without a mobile phone.
5. “Man of the Year” 1982: The Computer
In 1982, the TIME magazine, “Man of the Year” was named and it was… drumroll please… the computer! *Applause*
6. You can still visit the world’s first webpage
The first webpage went live on 6 August 1991 running on a NeXT computer at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. It was made by Tim Berners-Lee and it is still online today. Check it out.
7. There’s a website just to tell you the internet’s age
The website, howoldistheinter.net, counts down the internet’s age and today (5 November 2021) it is 11926 days old. It includes an internet timeline of events such as the birth in 1989, the release of Linux in 1991, the first Microsoft Windows browser in 1993, the first live stream in 1993, the first banner ad in 1994, the first major online leak in 1999, etc. You can also add your birthday to check how old the internet was on the day you were born.
8. The Deep Web is 400x bigger than the internet we know
The Deep Web are the sites that aren’t picked up by a search engine like Google. We generally associate the word Deep Web with the Dark Web but they aren’t actually the same thing. The Dark Web – which basically consists of encrypted websites with hidden IP addresses making their users and locations anonymous – is a subset of the Deep Web. Obviously, being able to hide identities like that will create a popular space for criminals to sell their illegal content, etc. But the Dark Web only takes up 0.01% of the Deep Web. The Deep Web is also just things like where your password-protected email accounts are held, parts of paid subscription services and other similar protected data. The Surface Web (what gets picked up by a search engine) only consists of 0.03% of the internet.
9. Computers were called “Electronic Brains”
In the 1950s, personal computers were called “Electronic Brains” which is pretty accurate but still sounds a bit weird.
10. There are more than 1 billion malware programs
The 2021 Malware Statistics show that there is currently 560 000 new malware detected each day and more than 1 billion malware programs. Google reports that 50 websites contain malware every week and 46% of hackers use email exclusively for spreading malware. If you thought that your mobile is safe, don’t be so sure. The total amount of mobile malware attacks were more than 28 million in 2020 – so you can guess it must be much more by now. Check out our blog on how to keep your passwords safe to get some tips on cybersafety.
11. The first computer was a very big boy
The first computer weighed almost 30 000kg and stood at a height of 2.5m – imagine working on that monstrosity just to send an email or check your social media…
12. Wikipedia is run by thousands of bots
Most of us are aware that Wikipedia is just a crowd-sourced encyclopedia. What most don’t know, or think of, is that the site is run by thousands of automated programs (bots). There are around 2456 bot tasks approved to carry out maintenance on the pages. Another random fact is that there are 54 million English Wikipedia pages. Click here to view more stats about Wikipedia’s size updated daily.
13. Amazon almost had a different name
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, first registered the company as Cadabra Inc. in 1994, with the word Abracadabra in mind. However, after realising it could be misspelt and over the phone it sounded like “cadaver”, he decided to change it. After an epiphany, while sifting through the dictionary, he decided on Amazon.
14. There are over 3.5 billion Google searches per day
Google processes over 40 000 searches every second on average, 3.5 billion a day and over 1.2 trillion searches per year. You can see the live stats on internetlivestats.com and see what’s trending in South Africa on Google Trends.
15. Nokia used to sell toilet paper
Apart from mobile phones they also manufactured other items like toilet paper, tires, computers, cables, rubber boots and televisions. Nokia started as a single paper mill operation in 1865, believe it or not!
16. More people have mobile phones than toilets
While we’re on the topic of toilets… Over 6 billion people (out of 7.7 billion in the world) have access to a mobile phone but only 4.5 billion has a working toilet according to researchers. In South Africa, this might be easy to believe but for first world countries, this fact might be surprising.
17. Why the time is set to 9:41 on all Apple iPhone ads
If you haven’t noticed, the Apple iPhone advertisements (in the ones they don’t use a blank screen) always have the time set to 9:41 on the phone’s screen. It might just seem like a randomly picked number but it actually has meaning. This was the exact time that Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone in 2007.
18. Nintendo was founded long before video games
The Nintendo company was founded back in 1889 already, waaaaaay before video games even seemed like a possibility. They were, however, always in the business of games. They started off as a playing card company and only made their first video game 89 years later in 1978.
19. The first computer mouse was made from wood
The very first computer mouse was made by Doug Engelbart in 1964 from wood and rectangular in shape.
20. Alexa is easedropping
If you have an Amazon Alexa product, you might want to switch off the power or its mic when you’re not using it. Alexa constantly listens to your conversations and stores the dialogue history in the cloud to keep improving the Alexa experience. It’s not really news as we are already used to Google listening in over our phones. But there’s still just something creepy about it…
21. Candy Crush is crushing it
Since its launch in 2012, players of the game have spent around 73 million hours (basically 8.3 million years) on the app. Even today, it’s still one of the more popular gaming apps out there.
22. The first Smartphone was created in the 90s
IBM claims to have made the first version of a Smartphone in the early 1990s. The Simon Personal Communicator (SPC) as it was called, was invented in 1992 and released in 1994. It was big and bulky and you were able to send emails and faxes, schedule appointments on your calendar and even had a predictive stylus input screen keyboard. It was nothing near what we now know as a Smartphone but it was deemed to be the first. It was only in 2001 that Smartphones were connected to the internet and that’s when the ball started rolling and got us to where we are today.
23. The most used password in the world
If you have checked out our blog on how to keep your passwords safe, you will already know this fact. The most used password in the world is “123456” and by 2020 it was hacked over 23.5 million times with each password being cracked in less than a second. Secure passwords are usually the longer ones that include letters, numbers and symbols.
24. A man threw away 7500 bitcoins
James Howells had 7500 Bitcoins back in 2009 when cryptocurrency was still slow-growing and valued at almost nothing. He stored it on a hard drive, not worrying about the seemingly useless currency. When Bitcoin started booming in 2013, Howells suddenly realised he could be sitting on a small fortune, but it was too late. He already threw the hard drive in the trash. He offered the city council in his local town, over $70million (around R106mil) if the hard drive is recovered but they declined due to environmental regulations. Just to give you an idea of the value, 7500 Bitcoins would be R7 025 268 123.00 today.
25. Google hires goats
That might sound strange at first but it’s actually kinda cool. Since 2009, instead of using lawnmowers, they started renting goats to “mow” the lawn. On their blog, Dan Hoffman says, “Instead of using noisy mowers that run on gasoline and pollute the air, we’ve rented some goats… a herder brings about 200 goats, and they spend roughly a week with us at Google, eating the grass and fertilising at the same time.”
26. The first VCR was HUGE!
The very first Video Camera Recorder (VCR) that was made in 1956, was the size of a piano.
27. The first photograph took over 8 hours
The very first camera was created by Louis Daguerre in 1826. The first photo taken took over 8 hours to expose. Daguerre was able to get that down to only 15 minutes by 1839.
28. On average, people read slower on a screen
You read 10% slower on a computer screen than from paper and you also blink less on a screen.
29. There’s a name for when you feel your phone vibrate when it isn’t
Sometimes you think your phone is vibrating but when you check, nobody has called, no new SMS or WhatsApp message, no new notifications – nothing. It happens to most of us and there’s a name for it: Phantom Vibration Syndrome. The cause, according to researchers, is if a person is on their phone too much and over-involved in it. So if it happens, put your phone down and take a mobile break for a day or two.
30. There’s a reason why Facebook is blue
Facebook’s logo and colour scheme is a very normal blue colour for a reason. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook creator, is colourblind and the blue colour is the clearest, richest colour he is able to see. This means anyone else that’s colourblind will also find the scheme appealing.
And there you have folks! We hope these random facts will make for interesting conversations and make you look super clever in front of friends and family!