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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258
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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 ...
177
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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 ...
132
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2answers
17k views

Do consumer computers include components that can connect to the internet when the computer is apparently turned off?

I have seen many claims that devices such as laptop computers contain components that can "connect to the internet" even when the main device is powered off. The implication is that such devices could ...
95
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3answers
25k 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 ...
73
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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 ...
72
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1answer
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 ...
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?
56
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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?
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 ...
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 ...
48
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2answers
22k views

Has a programmer ever embezzled money by shaving fractions of a cent from many bank transactions?

There's a popular story that describes a programmer having altered a program at a bank so it diverted fractions of a cent from every transaction to another account (or some variation like multiple ...
47
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3answers
15k 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, ...
44
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1answer
9k views

Is it possible to recover data on a zeroed hard drive?

Let's assume that I have a modern magnetic (not SSD) hard drive, manufactured within the past ten years, and the hard drive is packed with the only copies of an unpublished paper about cheap cold ...
44
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3answers
6k views

Is leaving a computer running better for it than turning it on and off?

Among some computer users I've heard the claim that turning a computer on and off reduces the life of the computer, here's an example of this claim. In this claim, it is believed that turning the ...
42
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2answers
3k views

Are there an unusually large number of people with Asperger's who work in or study IT or Computer Science?

I hear it claimed very often that there is a higher incidence of people with Asperger's Syndrome who work in IT or study computer science (far more so than other fields). This wired article touches ...
38
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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 ...
35
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1answer
13k views

Did Apple sue New York city over the nickname Big Apple?

An article in The Guardian - Apple's rot starts with its Samsung lawsuit win Makes the following claim: Apple is one of the most aggressive intellectual property litigators of all time ... It's ...
35
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1answer
4k 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 ...
34
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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 ...
29
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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 ...
28
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3answers
11k views

Did Apple “jumpstart” the USB market?

Did Apple "jumpstart the USB market"? An example of the claim is as follows: When Apple released their iMac there was a rush to release peripherals to support them. Before that nobody really cared ...
27
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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 ...
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 ...
26
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1answer
6k views

Can a computer be hacked to use a connected speaker as a microphone?

I read a book in which someone hacked into a computer and used the speakers (not a microphone) to listen to what was happening in the room. Is this even remotely possible without gaining physical ...
26
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3answers
4k views

Is using “sleep mode” wasteful and harmful to a computer?

I have my home computer set to go into "sleep mode" when idle for a short time, and I assumed that by doing so I was saving lots of energy and that it was good for the computer by shutting down ...
25
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2answers
2k views

Are low-spec computer parts just faulty high-spec computer parts?

Someone was telling me that lower-price or lower-spec computer parts such as graphics cards and central processing units are actually just higher-spec, higher-price units that have manufacturing ...
25
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1answer
2k views

Is D-Wave Systems's “D-Wave One” a quantum computer?

D-Wave Systems claim to have produced the first commercial quantum computer: The company's flagship product, the D-Wave One, is built around a novel type of superconducting processor that uses ...
25
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1answer
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 ...
24
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1answer
4k views

Can CAPTCHA images be read automatically?

The CAPTCHA website says: ...humans can read distorted text as the one shown below, but current computer programs can't... I realize this technique is widely used, and that this could indicate ...
24
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1answer
5k views

Is it dangerous to vacuum-clean motherboards (and other electronics)?

I've been informed that using the standard household vacuum cleaner's blower attachment to clean motherboards (and the insides of laptops and desktops in general) is dangerous due to the possibility ...
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" ...
22
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1answer
787 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 ...
22
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2answers
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?
22
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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
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2answers
1k views

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

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/birth-certificate-long-form.pdf This is the one. I tried asking in my normal channels (hacker news, IRC) but am getting bombarded with ...
21
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2answers
754 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, ...
21
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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 ...
20
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2answers
4k views

Are these suppliers providing Macbook Pros for only US$230?

After requesting some quotes on computers in China-based global trade site Ali Baba, a friend of mine was bombarded with offers via email. You can see an example in the image bellow. The prices are ...
20
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2answers
21k views

Does baking your graphics card fix it?

There's a tonne of articles online about fixing you graphics card by baking it in the oven. Supposedly this 'reflows' the solder to fix flaky connections. It's even been reported on sites such as ...
19
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1answer
3k views

Did Bill Gates tamper with his school's computer system?

There is a story around that Bill Gates tampered with his school's (or college's) scheduling system to get in class with all the 'hot' girls. Did this in fact happen? References I've found: 10 ...
19
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1answer
3k 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 ...
19
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2answers
3k 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 ...
19
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0answers
735 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 ...
19
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0answers
521 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 ...
18
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2answers
5k views

Does Van Eck Phreaking work?

Does Van Eck phreaking perform as described, i.e. allow a person to observe what is being displayed on a given computer screen (notably a LCD) from a distance without having any physical connection to ...
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 ...
17
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1answer
3k views

Thermal advantage of “server” CPUs over “consumer” CPUs

It seems that one of the main advantage of CPUs that are marketed for servers (e.g. the AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon) over CPUs marketed for consumers (e.g. AMD Phenom II and Intel i7) is related to ...
16
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1answer
945 views

Does the US army use unlicensed copies of Windows 7?

I saw this claim at TorrentFreak: However, a signal soldier serving in Qatar informs TorrentFreak that this incident may not be as unique as it sounds. According to the soldier, who we will name ...
16
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1answer
3k 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 ...