Tell me a factoid I might not know about. It could be some weird edge case, a moment in history, or little known reasons for why some software behaves the way it does.
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Top comments (58)
From the top of my head:
dc, a stack based Reverse Polish calculator still present on Linux/Mac today.
M-x doctorin Emacs to get access to a Rogerian psychotherapist.
... I'll have a think and come back ...
This one seems to be an urban legend, probably not actually true
That's fun! Although I'm not sure if it's any better to know that QWERTY is an efficiency hack for transcribing telegrams from Morse.
Can you elaborate on this one? "Lambdas" are named after the lambda calculus, which originated in the 1930s... Is the stuff about hats and eenie-meenie related to the name of the lambda calculus?
Willingly. You'll find most of it on the Wikipedia page under History, but in brief:
either Alonzo Church picked a random Greek letter, in his own words by eenie-meenie.
or he started with a 'hat' over a variable - like ê - which got shifted to the left to become an upside down V. Which looks like a capital lambda, and so it was lowercased.
I was informed that C was named so because it came after the B language (made by Bell Labs) - where did this Christopher thing come from?
So B came from BCPL, the Basic Combined Programming Language at Cambridge. Which came from the (unimplemented) CPL - Combined Programming Language.
The C also stood for Cambridge. But it was also known as Christopher's Programming Language after one of its inventors, Christopher Strachey.
source: The Art of Unix Programming
I always remap caplock as a Ctrl in my keyboards. Very comfortable.
If you don't YOU'RE A MONSTER!
Actually, on my ezbook (with US keyboard) I remapped the Caps Lock to the "Compose" key in order to type accented letters (for everything else there is Shift-Ctrl-u + unicode) :-)
I'm a monster, cause I only use Shift (with little finger)
This one blew me away when I first read it years ago.
Behold: The case of the 500-mile email
This is gold
That is good, but you MUST read the FAQ to this story. There is a link in the header.
Microsoft Excel originally (and perhaps still?) treated the year 1900 as a leap year in its date computations even though it is not a leap year. It was an intentional choice. The existing spreadsheet software with the greatest market share at the time of Excel’s release was Lotus 1-2-3. Lotus 1-2-3 had the same behavior via a legitimate bug. By replicating the behavior, Excel could import Lotus 1-2-3’s file format with no unexpected outcomes for the user. This made the switch to Excel seamless and it quickly dominated the market.
Nice note. In the 80s, I worked on a 3D spreadsheet program named BitsCalc (later BoeingCalc). We inserted the same behavior, for the same reason.
Do you know lisp uses () instead of  solely because the keyboard that was used to develop its first versions had a problem with [ key?
When Apple acquired NEXT in 1996, they mostly did it so Jobs could return to his previous role. But Apple/Jobs also saw the NEXT OS as a serious improvement over the existing Mac OS.
Because of this, Apple chose to build the next OS on top of NEXT. In fact, up until recently (might even still be the case) if you peeked into the source code of OSX you would still find original unmodified NEXT files. So in some ways if you’re running OSX you are still running part of NEXT.
That's why tons of classes have NS in the beginning, Next Step.
Heres a few of mine:
Magic: The Gathering is Turing-complete: toothycat.net/~hologram/Turing/
In 2009, a carrier pigeon was faster and more reliable at data transfers than the Internet in South Africa.
Did you know the inventor of Atari also invented Chuck E Cheese 🤯
The hashtag/pound sign,
#, is originally known as the octothorpe.
Actually, in my youth, we called it "trace" (and I still use it sometimes) because the TRACE command in Apple II BASIC, outputs the line numbers prefixed with #.
I learned much later that in some places # is used instead of № character.
WellActually that's the proper name for it, from a typesetting point of view.
Wi-Fi doesn't officially stand for anything and is just a pun on the abbreviation "hi-fi"
Lies it stands for Wireless Infidelity
In 2009-2010 Google tried to merge a separate version of Python inside the official one but didn't ultimately succeed.
The story around it was interesting for a few reasons:
The reason it failed:
So, it was a good idea, but it technically didn't work the way they tried it and there was not enough support around it to keep at it for a long time and hopefully improve the performance gains.
I think this story mostly speaks of what it means to mantain a hugely successful open source project and the relationship with contributors, even if they are a big company ;-)
If anyone is interested, the details and the story are here: python.org/dev/peps/pep-3146/
Do you know this exists? Is a cool flowchart visual program developed by USAF. raptor.martincarlisle.com
And this is useless but funny, have you ever read any discord changelog?
I'm sure you know the arrow in the fuel gauge pointing towards the fuel tank.
That Raptor page sent me right back to 1995.
Lmao, is stuck in the last century. Don't get fooled by that, Raptor is an awesome program.
Americans pronounce "cache" as "kaysh", but Australians are more likely to pronounce it like "cash".
Oh, and UK/Eire-denizens pronounce "router" like "rooter" - but that's got certain connotations here in AU/NZ ;)