Friday, March 31, 2006


Guiltware is a piece of freeware decorated with a message telling one how long and hard the author worked on it and intimating that one is a no-good freeloader if one does not immediately send him loads of money.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Washing Machines

Did you know that the term Washing Machines refer to old-style 14-inch hard disks in floor-standing cabinets? They were so called because of the size of the cabinet and the 'top-loading' access to the media packs and because they were always set on 'spin cycle'.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Virtual Beer

Virtual beer could either signify praise or thanks. The term is used universally in the Linux community. Originally this term signified cash, after the famous incident in which some Brits, who wanted to buy Linus a beer, sent him the money to do so in Finland.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Project Gutenberg

The first etext to appear under the Project Gutenberg was the "Declaration of Independence" typed by Michael Hart himself, the founder of the project.

Lip Service

Did you know that Lip Service by M. J. Rose is said to be the first ebook to be discovered online by the mainstream publishing industry?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


In 1956, Morton Heilig invented the Sensorama, the first device for providing multi-sensory virtual experiences. The Sensorama combined projected film, audio, vibration, wind and odors, all designed to make the user feel as if he were actually in the film rather than simply watching it.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

HP Pavilion 6330

In 1996, HP and AMD began their collaboration with the introduction of the HP Pavilion 6330, the first AMD processor-based consumer PC from a major manufacturer. The computer featured an AMD K6-2 microprocessor and was priced at $949.

Monday, March 13, 2006

First English Calculator

Did you know that the first English calculator was built in the UK by Sir Samuel Norland in 1688? It was a non-decimal adding machine suitable for use with English money. The device used auxiliary dials instead of a carry mechanism, which required the user to re-enter the numbers manually.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Floating-Point Algorithm

The use of algorithms is fundamental to developing computer programs. But did you know that the Babylonians, during Hammurabi's dynasty (1800-1600 B.C.), used the floating-point algorithm, which included conditional branches and iterations, for excavations, linear equations and geometric problems?

Friday, March 10, 2006


Perl, which was created almost single-handedly by Larry Wall, stands for Practical Extraction and Report Language. But did you know that Larry also endorsed an alternative meaning - 'Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister'?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Ian Goldberg

On January 28, 1997, Ian Goldberg took on RSA Data Security's challenge and cracked the 40-bit code by linking together 250 idle workstations that allowed him to test 100 billion possible "keys" per hour. In three and a half hours Goldberg decoded the message, which read, "This is why you should use a longer key."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Symantec Probe Network

Did you know that the Symantec Probe Network currently has more than two million decoy accounts, which attract email messages from 20 different countries around the world, allowing Symantec to gauge global spam and phishing activity?

Shigeru Miyamoto

Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario, once said in an interview that Mario wore a cap because he found it difficult to draw hair. Of course, technology restrictions in the mid-'80s prevented them from animating hair.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Smoke Test

A Smoke Test is a rudimentary form of testing applied to electronic equipment following repair or reconfiguration, in which power is applied and the tester checks for sparks, smoke, or other dramatic signs of fundamental failure.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Teergrube, which is the German word for tar pit, is a trap for spammers who use an address harvester; a mail server deliberately set up to be really slow. To activate it, scatter addresses that look like users on the teergrube's host in places where the address harvester will be trolling. The address harvester will collect the address. When the spammer tries to mailbomb it, his mailer will get stuck.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


On March 10, 1997, a hacker named 'Jester' disabled a key telephone company computer servicing the Worcester Airport, cutting off the Federal Aviation Administration tower. Jester was sentenced to pay restitution to the telephone company and complete 250 hours of community service. This was the first time that federal charges were brought against a juvenile for a computer crime.

Friday, March 03, 2006


In 1831, Dr. Joseph Antoine Plateau and Dr. Simon Rittrer constructed the Phenakitstoscope, which produced an illusion of movement by allowing a viewer to gaze at a rotating disk containing small windows, behind which was another disk containing a sequence of images. When the disks were rotated at the correct speed, the synchronization of the windows with the images created an animated effect.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Gedanken is the German word for 'thought' and it has a pejorative connotation among hackers. It refers to a project, especially one in artificial intelligence research that is written up in grand detail without ever being implemented to any great extent. Such a project is usually perpetrated by people who aren't very good hackers or find programming distasteful or are just in a hurry.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Hysterical Reasons

The term "Hysterical reasons", a variant on the phrase "for historical reasons", indicates specifically that something must be done in some stupid way for backward compatibility and that the feature it must be compatible with was the result of a bad design in the first place.