45 Interesting Facts About Computers

Last updated on July 25th, 2022

Since their invention, computers have proved to be very valuable in the modern world. Experts believe that without discovering these astonishing machines, it would have been tough for businesses to operate the way they do in the contemporary world. Computers are used at home, in medical fields, entertainment, industries, government, education, banking, arts, and even engineering.

45 Interesting facts about Computers that you should know.

1. Although nowadays the computer is applicable in every sector, the truth is that computers were first invented to solve a number-crunching crisis in the U.S. In the 1880s, the U.S population had grown so much that it took almost seven years to complete the tabulation of census results. As a result, punch-card based computers that took up entire rooms were invented that helped the government get the job done quickly and efficiently.

ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer)
ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer). Interesting Facts About Computers. Image credit – thekirbster

2. The first computer was very spacious and heavy. ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) weighed about 27 tons and occupied over 1800 square feet. Regardless of the size of ENIAC, it proved very useful then.

3. The first woman to earn a PhD in computer science in the U.S. goes by the name of Mary Kenneth Keller. Before receiving her PhD, she had a good background in physics and mathematics. Mary Kenneth Keller has been a motivation for many women who want to pursue a career in computer science because she achieved a lot during her time.

4. The first transistor computer was used by the United States Air Force to execute their military functions. The realization that the computer had various tasks through the experiment is most likely what led to the increased popularity of the incredible machine up to this era.

A USB drive, computers facts
A USB drive. Interesting Facts About Computers. Image credit – Pedro Rebelo

5. The worst computer breach that ever happened was experienced by the U.S. military. Here, foreign intelligence hackers used a random memory stick found on a parking lot by an employee to execute their operations.

6. Three students used keystroke loggers to hack into the computers of their teacher. They installed the keystroke loggers into their teachers’ computers and used them to steal answers and grades. The school authority discovered the breach during a routine computer checkup and used it to send the three students to prison.

7. John Lasseter was fired for promoting computer animation. His keen interest in studying computer animation was the primary motivation for his discovery. Although no one appreciated him then, computer animations have become one of the best inventions in the film industry.

First computer mouse 1964.
First computer mouse 1964. Image credit – Uwe Hermann

8. Douglas Engelbert is the first man to invent a mouse in 1964 using wood.

9. The Sasser worm, which hackers have used to cause atrocities to businesses and other computer users, mainly targets computers that run on Microsoft operating systems by exploiting a vulnerable network port. Once the worm completes infecting the system, it deletes itself to make it difficult for anyone to trace it.

10. One of the fascinating things that ever happened in computer technology is a 15-year-old successfully hacking NASA systems. The phenomenon compelled NASA to shut down its operations for 21 days while trying to fix it. Surprisingly, the entire process of checking and fixing the problems cost NASA a whopping 41000 dollars then. Jonathan James, the 15-years old teen who managed to hack NASA systems, was put under house arrest till the time he turned 18. He was also under strict surveillance during his house arrest.

11. Microsoft, H.P., and Apple started building their computers from a garage before they were able to advance. H.P. preserved their garage to tell a story of the humble beginning of now what many people consider as one of the top computer brands in the world. Further, they made their garage a private museum that does not allow tours.

12. In the year 2010, a high school in Pennsylvania used computers to spy on their students while they were at home. The school achieved these objectives by issuing MacBooks to the entire student body and linked them to the school. The school remotely activated the cameras in the students’ laptops to spy on them while they were at their home. 

Amazon kindle, an ebook reader from Amazon. interesting facts about computers
Amazon Kindle 4 WiFi, an ebook reader from Amazon. Interesting Facts About Computers. Image credit – Sergey Galyonkin

13. Although Amazon initial sold hardcover books; they are currently selling more eBooks than hardcovers. Notably, this is a clear indication that most people now prefer digital books to hardcover ones.

14. About 5000 new computer viruses are created every month. Unfortunately, this means that there are many hackers out there who are willing to reap when they did not sow. However, not every malware is malicious.

The McAfee company corporate office at 5000 Headquarters Drive in Plano, Texas.
The McAfee company corporate office at 5000 Headquarters Drive in Plano, Texas. Image credit – Tony Webster

15. John McAfee admitted during an interview in 2012 that he does not use the antivirus that he developed, the McAfee Antivirus program. He seemingly agreed that the antivirus was too annoying. Nonetheless, millions of people are still using antivirus to curb virus attacks.

16. In 1969, it was tough to send the word “LOGIN ” over the internet. It was so complicated that when a University Professor in Los Angeles tried to send it to another professor in the University of San Francisco, the internet collapsed. The first message sent over the Internet was: “lo.” The programmers were able to transmit the entire “login” message about an hour later.

17. The original name of the window operating system was interface manager. However, in 1982, experts saw it fit to change the name after various crucial considerations.

18. The more significant percentage of the world’s currency exists on computers. Experts believe that approximately 10% of the world’s currency exists as physical money. The rest lies in computers.

19. It is hard to find a new and straightforward domain because millions of domain names are registered daily by different people.

IBM Model M SSK Qwerty keyboard. fact file computers
This particular SSK, dated December 14, 1987, was rescued from an e-cycler, then fully cleaned and restored. The keycaps (many of which were broken or missing) have been replaced with a replica set produced by Unicomp, Inc. image credit – Nick Bair

20. The term “Typewriter” is the most extended term that anyone can type using one row of a keyboard alone.

21. A computer is not as powerful as the human brain. If there were such a computer, it would have processed 38 thousand trillion operations per second and stored more than 3580 terabytes of memories. Notably, the ease with which a computer executes its operations is borrowed from the human brain.

22. Most of the viruses that are developed are meant to compromise systems. To be precise, experts believe that 70% of viruses work under the contracts of crime organizations.

23. A computer can interfere with the normal blinking of a human being. While a normal human being can blink up to 20 times a minute when not using a computer, things are different when a computer is involved, as one can blink only seven times a minute.

24. The first 1 G.B. hard disk came into existence in 1980, and it weighed over 550 pounds. Additionally, it had a price tag of about $ 40000. However, with advancements in technology, hard disks have become cheaper and cheaper, and the SSD can potentially replace them in the future.

An early example of one of the first microprocessors 1972. fact file computers
An early example of one of the first microprocessors 1972. Interesting Facts About Computers. Image credit – Simon Claessen

25. Intel first created a 4004 microprocessor that was meant for a calculator. Many people were unsure of the final destination of the invention.

26. The first computer programmer was a woman. The woman (Lady Ada Lovelace), also famous for working on the analytical engine, lived in England. Further, she worked as a writer and a mathematician. Nowadays, many women have ventured into computer programming and are making a fortune out of it.

27. The most expensive computer virus in history goes by the name of MyDoom. The virus caused estimated damage of $38 billion, and shortly after its launch in 2004; it became the fastest-spreading tool of spreading viruses ever.

28. Artificial intelligence may result in computers being able to tell what dogs think. However, that is not the only practical use of artificial intelligence, as it can boost data security in organizations.

CAPTCHA. Image credit – Phil Whitehouse

29. Did you know the whole meaning of the term CAPTCHA? There is no doubt that most people who use the internet come across it most of the time when using the internet. “Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computer and Humans Apart “is the meaning of the term CAPTCHA. Although the creators of the concepts intended to differentiate between humans and machines, artificial intelligence has surpassed it.

30. Research has shown that 123456 and 12345678 are the most common types of passwords that people use in the world. It is not recommendable to use any of those because it simply means that you will be making it easy for hackers to compromise your system.

I’m the creeper, catch me if you can!
I’m the creeper, catch me if you can! Image credit – dscomputerstudies

31. The Creeper is the name of the first computer virus that was developed in 1971. During its creation, the virus was harmless as the developer intended to see how it spreads from one computer to another. It was written by Bob Thomas of BBN Technologies and spread through DEC PDP-10 computers on ARPAnet, displaying the message, “I’m the creeper, catch me if you can!”

32. The word “bug” standard in computer technology came from a moth that caused the malfunctioning of the Mark II computer. Many experts consider it a milestone in computer technology. A computer scientist and U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, coined the terms bug and debug after the incident. 

33. The IBM 1311 was the first disk drive that used removable media. Most people would not believe it, but looking at the disk for the first time, one would get the impression of a washing machine.

34. Phishing is a common technique that hackers use to compromise computers across the world. However, most people seem not to understand that you cannot be affected by opening an email with a malicious program. The problems come when you click on the links on the emails sent to you by nasty people.

A webcam, facts about computers
A webcam. Interesting Facts About Computers. Image credit – Uwe Hermann

35. The first webcam was utilized by Cambridge University. They used the webcam to watch a coffee maker, eliminating the need to make trips to an empty pot. Interestingly, this made work easier for employees who were assigned the task of making coffee.

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