What is the Meaning of the 21st Century?

earth-globeAs we start a new year, some of us try to find time to look back over the old year, and try to anticipate the changes coming in the new year.

Some people take the long view. James Martin and a few people at Oxford University, have chosen to think about what’s coming in the next few decades. They’ve put together an hour long video to illustrate the problems and solutions that will be needed for the 21st century. Here’s an 11 minute trailer for the movie.

Follow the link below to see this hour long video.

> The Meaning of the 21st Century

Here’s a quote from the sponsors of it:

We are at an extraordinary crossroads of human history. Our actions, or failure to act, during the next 20 years will determine the fate of the Earth and human civilization for centuries to come. This is a make-or-break century.

There are massive problems in the decades ahead … The good news is that there are solutions.

As we learn to understand this century and play its complex game, we can chart extraordinary futures. We can create civilizations more magnificent than anything yet conceived.

I’ve only watched the trailer at this point, but I’ll take time soon to watch the full movie. I recommend that you make time to watch it as well.

Coming in 2011 – World Population Hits 7 Billion

earth-globeAmong the predictions for the new year, I found a video showing the direction of the world’s population growth. I was surprised to learn that in 2011, the 7 billionth person will be born.


Even more surprising, I found out that the world’s population may actually stabilize at around 9 or 10 billion people by 2050. It was surprising, only because I remember Malthusian predictions that this planet was headed for a big train wreck because of the birth rates. It turns out that it was mostly hype, and birth rates are slowing as we move into the future. In addition, improving technology allows us to support more people on fewer resources.

However, don’t consider this prediction to be very accurate. I’m not certain that they’ve completely considered the ideas of technology’s accelerating returns. Several people believe that medical science could allow us to live forever by 2030. If a group of our population actually stops dying, what happens to the future population growth?

I don’t trust long term predictions made by scientists. They prove to be wrong more often than they are right.

DYK Thursday – The First Ever Laptop Weighed 12 Kg!

Hey there, welcome to the DYK Thursday. Here we share interesting and fascinating facts every week.

Have you ever wondered how the world’s first laptop looked? or how much did it weigh? If you did, the answer is in this post. Read on.

The first portable computer was invented in the year 1981. It could be called as a portable computer rather than a laptop, for the reason which I will state in this post later. This portable computer was released by the Osborne Computer Corporation, under the name “Osborne – 1”. The Osborne – 1 was priced at around USD 1795 which was just about half the cost more than the normal computers in those times (1981).

Here are some specifications of the Osborne Computer.

Introduced: April 1981
Price: US $1,795
Weight: 24.5 pounds
CPU: Zilog Z80 @ 4.0 MHz
Display: built-in 5″ monitor
53 X 24 text
Ports: parallel / IEEE-488
modem / serial port
Storage: dual 5-1/4 inch, 91K drives

An interesting fact worth noticing here is that the Osborne Computer weighed about 24.5 pounds/ 12 Kg approximately! So tell me now, can you call this a “laptop”? Certainly not!

The founder of Osborne Computer Corporation, Adam Osborne was the mastermind behind this innovative idea. Osborne 1 was a huge hit amongst the people and it gave a great profit to the company.

Later, after the success of Osborne 1, the company announced about two new computers (portable) named as Executive and Vixen. This announcement lead to a serious downfall of the company. The customers stopped buying the Osborne 1, instead waited for the new computers.

The downfall of the company resulted in the bankruptcy of the company. Thus, even the production of other to computers could not take place. This became a phenomenon and is often called as the Osborne effect.

The above situation is somewhat similar to the “Apple – Gizmodo” story. After seeing the iPhone 4G specs,   people would mostly wait for it, rather than buying the iPhone 3G. However, in this case the product was leaked, but in the above case it was announced by the company itself!

That’s it in this DYK post! Hope you liked it!

Source: Wikipedia and Old Computers

There are 184 Million Active Registered Domains on the Internet [DYK]

, there are 184 million registered domains on the Internet? As of the third quarter of 2009, there are 184 million active domains, taking the total all-time registered domains close to half a billion.


.com domains are the most popular, with 83 million active domains, followed by .net with 12 million registrations. Other popular TLDs include .org, .us, .biz, .ch, uk and .de. Regional China domains (.ch), are the most registered amongst regional country based domains. Considering that ICANN has now approved non-Latin domain names, you can expect this number of registered domains to balloon very shortly.

Another interesting fact is that, almost 70,000 new domains are registered everyday. In addition to that, there are a total of more than 3 billion registered IP addresses across the world.

Statistics for the above Did you know fact has been collected from Domain Tools Internet Statistics page and the Domain Name Industry Brief from VeriSign.

First Traces of Computer Virus Dates Back to 1949 [DYK]

, that the first traces of viruses are dated back to 1949 (cite: Panda Security) and was spread related to a game called Core Wars? However, according to Wikipedia, the first documented virus was released in 1971.


The first documented virus, was called as Creeper virus, and was a experimental self-replicating program, written by Bob Thomas. Creeper virus affected networked computers and displayed the message, “I’m the creeper, catch me if you can!“.

The term viruswas only coined in 1983 by Frederick Cohen, to describe self-replicating programs. Malicious viruses started making their appearances in 1986, when a virus named Brain boot sector virus coded in Pakistan was released, and affected IBM based PCs. In the same year the first Trojan name PC-Write made its appearance.

The first documented removal of computer viruses is dated back to 1987 and was created by Brent Fix. Several other popular antivirus systems were released between 1987 and 1990, a few of which are widely used even today, including Avira AntiVir, Norton and McAfee.

In those days there was no Internet, however, viruses were usually spread through Floppy Disks and networked computers. However, the virus writers quickly adapted to the internet and started spreading worms through this medium.

At present, viruses have taken a more sophisticated approach and are very hard to spot. There are millions of documented and undocumented viruses going around the Internet. In modern terms, viruses are more than just self-replicating programs and crackers (not hackers) have taken up to scamming people through various means.

You can find more information about the origin of Viruses and Antivirus systems at the Antivirus page on Wikipedia.

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Google Does Not Display More Than 1000 Results [DYK]

Google is most used search engine one could come across. The first thing I do, when I want to search something, is to head to Google. However, that Google only displays a maximum of 1000 results per query?


If you try to go beyond 1000 results, Google will display an error to you, as displayed in the screenshot above.

To try this yourself, go to Google.com and search for any keyword. Once you are shown some results with more than 1000 entries, add &start=1010 to the URL. Once you do that, you will see the above error.

There is no real explanation as to why Google restricts the results to just 1000. However, I pretty much believe that, Google has considered those limits based on how much results a user tries to browse. In my experience, I have not browsed more than 20 pages or 200 results for a single search query. What about you? What is the max number of results you have browsed in Google search results for any given query?

E-mail is Older Than The Internet [DYK]

, electronic mail or E-mail is older than the Internet? E-mail started in 1965 as a way for multiple users of a time-sharing mainframe computer to communicate [cite: Wikipedia]. Internet on the other hand, came into commercial existence in 1988, even though the origins of WAN (Wide Area Network), based on TCP/IP, came into existence in 1983 [cite: Wikipedia].


In 1988, Corporation for the National Research Initiative began the experimental use of their systems for Email, providing the first sanctioned commercial use of the Internet. The first commercial email providers came in the form of Compuserve in 1989. America Online (AOL) and  Delphi joined the email bandwagon later in 1993.

In later years, email became very popular and AOL ruled the roost for quite a while and provided paid email subscriptions to users along with its Internet packages. Microsoft also wanted to get onto the email bandwagon, and purchased Hotmail, known as Windows Live Mail today, in 1997.

Hotmail was originally created in 1995, by Jack Smith and Sabeer Bhatia and had a huge user base of 8.5 million subscribers by 1997. Today Hotmail is one of the largest email service on the Internet. Yahoo Mail!, which is another popular email service also started in 1997, and has over 280 million active users today.

which is credited with revolutionizing how we look at email today was launched on April 1st 2004, and was perceived as many as a April Fool’s joke, based on the day it was released. Gmail was the first to offer users with 1GB space, which was huge in those days, where Hotmail and offered only 6MB and 2MB respectively.

Gmail also made use of a fully AJAX based UI and threaded conversations approach, which was a instant hit with users, as browsing emails was even easier. In addition to that, the search feature worked amazingly well. In its initial years, Gmail was invite-only, which meant that only current users could invite users to use the service. This in turn, drove interest towards the service and made it hugely popular.

These days, most email services, provide users with unlimited disk space storage, and also enhanced GUI with several add-ins to make the email experience much better. Most of the email services also allow users to access emails on their desktop, using software like and Thunderbird for Free.

There are several ways in which people abbreviate electronic mail, including email, e-mail, eMail and EMail.

If Facebook Were a Country, It Would Be the 4th Largest One [DYK]

, with a registered user base of over 300 million users, would be the 4th largest country, if it were a country that is?


According to the latest census reports, the World’s largest populated country is China with a population of 1.3 billion, followed by India with a population 1.1 billion. United States is a distant third with a population of 307 million followed by Brazil with a population of 191 million.

If Facebook were a country, it would easily fit between US and Brazil at number 4. We are pretty sure that the registered user base of Facebook will soon cross 307 million putting it into the 3rd position.

Now are you surprised that Facebook users account for almost 25% of internet usage in United States alone?

Did You Know? Google’s First Logo Was Created Using GIMP and Mimicked Yahoo!

Did you know that the first ever logo  created by Google was designed by Sergey Brin in 1998, using a very popular and open source , GIMP?


In addition to that, Sergey also added a exclamation mark to the end of the logo. He was actually inspired by Yahoo’s logo, who were the Internet giant in those days.

The current Google logo is derived from the original one, and uses the most of the original colors. Google is also famous for Google Doodles, which are basically Google Logos created to mark a special day or to celebrate birthday’s of famous personalities, the most recent one being the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.

Editor’s Note: “Did You Know?” is a new series in which we’ll give you fun facts  from across early computing era and the current tech world. We aim to present at-least 3 facts every week. For our readers convenience, we will tag all posts under , and occasionally as , wherever applicable. All “Did You Know” posts will be marked as [DYK] in the title in the future.