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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177
votes
4answers
26k views

Does a webpage with a black background save energy?

Blackle is a search engine that claims to save energy because it uses a black background. Is there any evidence to back up their claim that a website using a black background will save energy, and if ...
54
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1answer
10k views

Did COBOL have 250 billion lines of code and 1 million programmers, as late as 2009?

In 2009 COBOL turned 50 years old. It got some publicity with claims, which I find rather hard to believe: "Cobol hits 50 and keeps counting" article in the Guardian. According to David ...
27
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3answers
11k views

Can blue light from LCD panels cause damage to the eyes?

In Japan there is quite a fad about LCD blue light filtering and how they might help reduce eyestrain, etc. The web site of a major computer accessory manufacturer has an English-language press ...
53
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3answers
10k 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 ...
73
votes
7answers
10k 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 ...
29
votes
2answers
18k views

Will freezing your hard drive help recover its data?

Source There seems to be (anecdotal) evidence that putting your hard drive in the freezer can make it readable again, at least for a short time: Lifehacker - Save a Failed Hard Drive in Your Freezer ...
22
votes
1answer
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 ...
21
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
21
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1answer
2k views

Does using the computer before sleeping affect sleep patterns?

According to this Bloomberg Businessweek article using electronics before bed may hamper sleep. Is it true that using a computer, watching T.V. or using some other type of face-to-screen electronics ...
27
votes
1answer
5k views

Does handwriting assist memory retention more effectively than typing?

I have both heard and experienced (perhaps as a placebo effect) that writing things out by hand allows the text to be better remembered than typing it. This particularly applies to taking notes ...
258
votes
2answers
41k 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 ...
56
votes
8answers
64k 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?
66
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3answers
9k 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?
38
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
34
votes
1answer
4k views

Is using a mouse less efficient?

Users of programmable text editors such as Emacs and Vim claim that using a mouse for day-to-day programming and computing tasks makes you less efficient. For example, in this playful Welcome to Vim ...
15
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2answers
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 ...
18
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1answer
2k views

Is Google Chrome killing my laptop battery?

I was reading an article on Forbes that says Google Chrome might be draining my laptop's battery because it brings the system into a mode that uses a tick rate of 1ms instead of 16ms, and is using up ...
23
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1answer
2k views

Was the C compiler trojan horse written by Ken Thompson ever distributed?

This is a followup to the comments in this question. Thanks to Oddthinking for bringing up the issue. Ken Thompson gave a famous speech upon receiving an award titled "Reflections on Trusting Trust" ...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

Does using headphones to drown out ambient noise reduce the quality of work?

There has been some fierce discussion about this subject in blogosphere and on Programmers.SE. It all started with Joel Spolsky's claim: [...] putting on headphones to drown out the ambient noise ...
11
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5answers
39k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
6k views

Has 90% of the world's data been created in the last two years?

"Big Data" is a big trending term on the internet (especially on the web sites of big companies selling data management services). For example, I came across this article while reading the Irish Times ...