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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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178 votes
4 answers
28k 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 ...
user avatar
54 votes
1 answer
11k 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 ...
vartec's user avatar
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27 votes
3 answers
12k 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 ...
Ken Y-N's user avatar
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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 ...
Ardesco's user avatar
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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 ...
Lagerbaer's user avatar
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29 votes
2 answers
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 ...
Oliver_C's user avatar
  • 48k
27 votes
1 answer
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 ...
Apophenia Overload's user avatar
22 votes
1 answer
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 ...
ruddfawcett's user avatar
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 ...
Brendan Long's user avatar
  • 1,549
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 ...
Sklivvz's user avatar
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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 ...
Sklivvz's user avatar
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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?
Lincity's user avatar
  • 2,992
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?
myusuf3's user avatar
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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 ...
user avatar
35 votes
1 answer
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 ...
Nick's user avatar
  • 453
23 votes
1 answer
3k 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" ...
Dr. belisarius's user avatar
21 votes
2 answers
1k views

Does using a computer affect your eyesight?

I've heard it said very often: Using a computer/smartphone can make you nearsighted. Is it true? Is there good research on the topic?
MarkZ's user avatar
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18 votes
1 answer
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 ...
corsiKa's user avatar
  • 371
17 votes
1 answer
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 ...
vartec's user avatar
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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 ...
Larry OBrien's user avatar
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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 ...
Barath Bushan's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
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 ...
matt_black's user avatar
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