1. Email existed before the WWW (World Wide Web)
You probably don’t even think before composing a one-line email message and sending it. But it wasn’t always so easy. There’s an interesting clip on YouTube: “How to send an Email – Database – 1984”. This was from a tech TV show called Database and the presenters demonstrated what it took to actually send an email back in those days.
You had to use a computer and a rotary telephone to connect to a service called Micronet. This was pre-WWW, so there were no URLs, just numbered webpages. For emails, the webpage number was 7776.
2. QWERTY was designed to slow your typing speed
The initial versions of typewriters made in the 1870s had few technical issues. The metal arms, which hold the characters, used to clash and jam if the keys were pressed in rapid succession or if a typist pressed the adjacent keys simultaneously. To avoid the problem and have a better typing experience, Christopher Latham Sholes made many design alterations to the keyboard layout. The current layout of the QWERTY keyboards was finally designed by E. Remington and Sons, which solved the problem of jammed type bars.
3. The first computer mouse was called ‘X-Y Position Indicator for Display Systems’
When the first pointing device was invented in the early 60’s by Douglas Engelbart and Bill English (they were part of the Stanford Research Institute), it was called the X-Y Position Indicator for Display Systems (referring of course, to the X & Y axes).
It was first used with the Xerox Alto computer and demonstrated in 1968 by Engelbart in what is called the ‘Mother of all demos’ (check it out on YouTube). In 1968, Engelbart showed off word processing, graphics, windows, file linking and control using a ‘mouse’ – all these things made their way into modern computers.
Engelbart was also responsible for the name mouse, coined simply because the cable sticking out the end of the device reminded him of a rodent’s tail.
4. The world’s first webpage can still be access
Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist, working at CERN, invented the World Wide Web in 1989. It took another two years for the world’s first website to make its appearance. The first webpage went live in 1991 and was hosted on a NeXT system at CERN. The amazing fact is that the first web site is still available for you to visit. It serves as a historical archive for everything available online about the World Wide Web.
5. Thousands of bots worked together to maintain Wikipedia
Most of today’s internet users are aware of what Wikipedia is. It is a vast collection of crowd-sourced information available online. It is common knowledge that the online encyclopedia is created and edited by volunteers. But do you know that there are thousands of bots (automated programs) that currently maintain the Wikipedia pages? Today, there are 2468 bot tasks approved to carry out maintenance jobs on more than 52 million English Wikipedia pages. Wikipedia bots perform operations such as new page creation, spelling correction, style correction, etc. Bots can also revert the pages to the original version when edits are made due to vandalism. Anyone with programming knowledge can easily create bots for Wikipedia. However, these programs need to be approved by the Bot Approval Group before they can maintain Wikipedia pages.