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Questions tagged [computers]

A computer is a programmable machine designed to automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations.

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76 votes
7 answers
12k views

Was the QWERTY keyboard layout designed to slow down typists?

I have heard that the QWERTY keyboard layout was invented to get around the problem of old fashioned typewriters getting stuck if you typed too quickly. Is this story true, or was there another ...
28 votes
0 answers
1k views

Did Burmese typewriters contain an upside-down character, which subsequently became proper typewriter style?

I was reading about the Internet Archive's work to archive the materials of a famous New York City typewriter family: http://blog.archive.org/2020/08/26/an-archive-of-a-different-type/ I was ...
52 votes
3 answers
11k views

Does the color temperature of a computer screen affect sleep patterns?

There's a little tool called f.lux that claims: During the day, computer screens look good — they're designed to look like the sun. But, at 9PM, 10PM, or 3AM, you probably shouldn't be looking at the ...
-5 votes
1 answer
289 views

Are (modern) computers/AI (only) as intelligent as Apises (Bees)?

Modern computer systems contain only a few hundred thousand neurons and in rare cases, a few million, which, in terms of intelligence, is comparable to a bee. Ab Bees & AI How true is this ...
23 votes
1 answer
4k views

Did the Windows XP CD include Microsoft Bob?

Microsoft employee Raymond Chen says that an encrypted copy of Microsoft Bob is included on the Windows XP CD to take up space. But Windows XP doesn't take up the entire CD; there is a lot of free ...
23 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is Sprockit the robot an AI or a fake?

I just attended a local technical conference and there was a robot roaming the building, talking to people. His name was Sprockit, and he was talking with people. He saw a guy and said "Hey dude, ...
27 votes
2 answers
7k views

Did an AI-enabled drone attack the human operator in a simulation environment?

According to this news article on the Royal Aeronautical Society website: ...an AI-enabled drone tasked with a SEAD mission to identify and destroy SAM sites, with the final go/no go given by the ...
16 votes
0 answers
656 views

Are scammers using AI voice cloning to fake kidnappings?

There have been numerous news reports of scammers using AI voice cloning to trick people into thinking that their kid has been kidnapped: NY Post An Arizona mom claims that scammers used AI to clone ...
15 votes
0 answers
799 views

Were nuclear sub engineers told that when alarms go off they should grab a bar, until they have examined their instrument panel?

The book Debugging: The 9 Indispensable Rules for Finding Even the Most Elusive Software and Hardware Problems by David J. Agans, which was first published in 2002, contains the following claim: On ...
19 votes
1 answer
4k views

Does working at a standing desk consume more calories than sitting?

src I've heard conflicting claims: Site that claims it maks a crap load of difference Site that claims it doesn't make a shred of difference What does science say? You may find this question ...
20 votes
1 answer
4k views

Are ergonomic keyboards better for your health?

Popular consensus seems to be that ergonomic keyboards (with the middle split or curve) are better for your physical health than standard keyboards, and reduce the likelihood of carpel tunnel syndrome ...
21 votes
2 answers
1k views

Has the birth certificate recently uploaded to whitehouse.gov been digitally altered?

Whitehouse.gov - Birth Certificate Long Form (Web Archive) This is the one. I tried asking in my normal channels (hacker news, IRC) but am getting bombarded with accusations of being a Birther. I am ...
73 votes
3 answers
13k views

Did Bill Gates say 640k ought to be enough for everyone?

This is a quite famous quote: 640k ought to be enough for anybody. Did Bill Gates say this?
23 votes
1 answer
904 views

Did Intel have low chip yields due to a clerk hand-checking blank wafers?

In this blog post Bob Cringley recounts the following story (abriged for brevity here): There was a time in the early 1980s when Intel suffered terrible quality problems. [..] The problem was caused ...
7 votes
0 answers
701 views

Does Windows 7 have lower latencies than Windows 10 in gaming workflows? [closed]

I saw a claim that Windows 7 is superior to Windows 10 for gaming: There’s a lot of reasons win7 is utilized. Especially in strictly competitive games that support it, (CSGO, Valorant, Fortnite), a ...
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Have ATMs across the US "spat out money" in the second half of January 2018?

In a response to the DDoS attacks on several Dutch banks and other institutions, "cybersecurity specialist" Rian van Rijbroek claimed on 29 January 2018 on the Dutch news programme Nieuwsuur ...
21 votes
1 answer
8k views

Do Gunnar Glasses reduce eye strain?

In my RSS feeds today, I got an article named Gunnar Glasses Reduce Computer Eyestrain, Are 75% Off for the Next Two Days which links to a previous article about their benefits: Gunnar's website ...
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

Does looking at screens damage your brain?

I found several articles that warn of the dangers of too much computer time, especially for children. Oxford Learning, Jun 2010: Too much computer time can be bad for your brain However, a recent ...
38 votes
1 answer
4k views

Did the computing term "bug" come from a moth stuck in a computer?

The story goes like this: Back when computers still consisted of vacuum tubes, a system went down one day and people started investigating the cause. They found that a moth was stuck in the ...
-1 votes
1 answer
3k views

Do some captchas record your mouse movements?

I have heard (I can't remember where I heard this unfortunately) that some types of captchas don't verify that the user is human by having them click on the correct images but rather examine the users ...
11 votes
0 answers
423 views

Has there never been a virus infection in Chromebook history?

Diamond product expert (maximum level expert for Chromebooks) Jim Dantin stated in a community post that (quoting user) Chromebooks can be infected by viruses. (response) It's never happened to a ...
266 votes
2 answers
44k views

Do bigger or more monitors increase productivity?

There is a ton of anecdotal evidence that adding more screen estate (more or larger monitors) leads to an increase in productivity, especially for programmers. For example, where I work, all ...
7 votes
1 answer
651 views

Were flight reservations centrally managed on wall boards in huge halls in the pre-computer era?

For the first fifty years of scheudled air travel, agents' bookings were done over the telephone. At first, charts recording space on particular flights were sheets of paper. Eventually, for large ...
4 votes
0 answers
563 views

Do long sessions of computer use damage the user's skin?

I believe that regularly spending long periods of time facing computers monitors while using them significantly damages the skin. The Daily Mail reported in 2018: According to [Rebecca Mason, skin ...
1 vote
1 answer
626 views

Are Teslas with autopilot system safer than vehicles without it?

An AP article describes some recent crashes that may have been linked to the Tesla autopilot system. The article states that there have been three fatal crashes since 2016 potentially linked to the ...
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

Does Ubuntu have 40 million users?

Ubuntu.com claims that there are 40 million Ubuntu users: Ubuntu now has over 40 million desktop users and counting. 40 million seems quite low, so I'm wondering how accurate this number is.
36 votes
1 answer
5k views

Does the Dvorak keyboard increase typing speed?

I've read somewhere, I can't seem to find it now, that in an experiment involving people learning to type, that the Dvorak keyboard didn't have a tangible typing speed benefit in comparison to the ...
1 vote
0 answers
152 views

Are there 200 billion lines of COBOL in production in 2019? [duplicate]

Cited in this article from ZDNet, According to a COBOL consulting company, which goes by the delightful name, COBOL Cowboys, 200 billion lines of COBOL code are still in use today and that 90% of ...
96 votes
3 answers
26k views

Was credit for the black hole image misattributed?

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) was used to create an image of Messier 87*, a supermassive black hole in the Messier 87 galaxy. This result has been heavily reported in the media leading up to its ...
7 votes
0 answers
273 views

Did the "Windows Web Browser Choice Screen" enforced by the EU make a difference?

In response to a EU anti-trust ruling, European Android users will soon be presented with a browser choice screen. Those of us who are old enough will remember that the same thing happened on Windows ...
17 votes
1 answer
6k views

Did a computer server get accidentally walled in?

I'm in IT and I've repeatedly heard stories of a server that was left stuck in a space that had a wall built in front of it, and was only discovered years later when the wall was torn down. This 2001 ...
15 votes
2 answers
2k views

Have "backdoors" in software programs been seen in the real world?

Has there ever been a software program that has been shown to have an in-bad-faith "backdoor" allowing privileged access? When I say "in bad faith" I mean, "that cannot be credibly explained by ...
11 votes
5 answers
40k views

Can overheating laptops cause fire?

I have come across a Facebook post from an unverified and unreliable source, which claims that a fire was started using heat as a source alone. Here is the exact post which is the subject of the ...
2 votes
0 answers
284 views

Had ENIAC run more calculations than all mankind had done (up to 1955)? [closed]

According to this comment on Quantum Computing StackExchange, For a decade, until a 1955 lightning strike, ENIAC may have run more calculations than all mankind had done up to that point I search ...
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Was there a ML-backed algorithm that learnt to delete list instead of sorting it

Here's a quote from an article which was discussed pretty heavily a while ago: Well, it’s not unsorted: For example, there was an algorithm that was supposed to sort a list of numbers. Instead, ...
57 votes
8 answers
67k views

Can the human eye distinguish frame rates above 60 Hz?

I know that frame-rates above 60fps all look the same to the human eye. Is that true? Why? If so, why do graphics cards boast anything higher than that?
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Was this Harry-Potter themed text written solely by a computer program?

A YouTube video caught my eye with the title, "A Robot Wrote A Chapter To A Harry Potter Book, And It's Absolutely Insane." The video claims that a software algorithm created by Botnik Studios was ...
72 votes
1 answer
4k views

Do programmers who learn to type faster become better programmers?

CodingHorror writes: So if you want to become a great programmer, start by becoming a great typist. [...] When you're a fast, efficient typist, you spend less time between thinking that thought ...
2 votes
0 answers
348 views

Is Computer Science the fastest growing science field in the history of mankind? [closed]

Background Wikipedia lists several scientific disciplines on its science article. To name a few, they are: Logic, Maths, Statistics, Molecular, Atomic, Plasma, Quantum Physics, Astrophysics, ...
8 votes
1 answer
12k views

Can the "Xtra-PC" USB device make your old computer faster?

The Xtra-PC web-site describes a cheap USB device that can speed up old PCs: Make everything fast again with Xtra-PC: browsing the Internet, writing emails, watching videos, playing games, and more! ...
8 votes
0 answers
485 views

Do "digital natives" process information in fundamentally different ways

Marc Prensky defines the term digital natives, referring to people who were born after digital computers were popular. He claims that they process information in fundamentally different ways. Our ...
2 votes
0 answers
126 views

Is humidity more relevant than high operating temperatures in hard drive reliability?

According to Environmental Conditions and Disk Reliability in Free-cooled Datacenters: Based on our experience and observations, we conclude that high relative humidity degrades reliability ...
2 votes
0 answers
273 views

Is looking at a computer screen all that bad for you? [closed]

As you've all heard around on the internet looking at a screen is bad and awful for you, however, is there any proof that screens and only screens are the cause of these health issues? This article ...
47 votes
3 answers
18k views

Do four random common words make a stronger password than passwords like "Tr0ub4dor&3"?

In xkcd comic #936, Randall Munroe claims that passwords like "Tr0ub4dor&3" (uncommon base word, caps, common letter substitutions with a number and punctuation suffix) has ~28 bits of entropy, ...
22 votes
1 answer
910 views

Can reading fine print cause damage to eyes?

I have my computer font set quite small so that I can see more on one screen at a time, but a collegue recently warned me that I would cause damage to my eyes later in life. Is there any scientific ...
1 vote
1 answer
1k views

Does Windows 10 defragmentation damage your SSD?

I was having a conversation with one of my colleagues about installing Windows 10 on his machine, then he suddenly dropped a bomb that installing Windows 10 would reduce the life of his SSD since ...
10 votes
0 answers
624 views

Do people not understand why Google's AlphaGo made a particular move? [closed]

I was reading a UK Government paper on AI and technology and found this section to be slightly unbelievable. when Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo played Lee Sedol in March 2016 (see paragraph 3), the ...
8 votes
1 answer
38k views

Can hot-plugging an HDMI cable damage the HDMI port?

I found this site on the Internet saying something to that effect: Warning!!.....Never connect and disconnect HDMI cables and equipment while your devices are powered on (hot plugging cables). The ...
-3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is this measurement of data to grains of rice accurate? [closed]

This image purports that you can measure data in grains of rice - one byte being one grain of rice and one gigabyte then being three container lorries. Byte of data : one grain of rice Kilobyte ...
25 votes
1 answer
1k views

Did a TV news show cause lots of Amazon's Alexa devices to try to order doll houses?

With reference to this Stack Exchange Internet of Things question and this news article, which is only one of many: Is there evidence that when a news anchor uttered the words "Alexa, buy me a ...