7 useless facts about software you don’t need to know

Software DevelopersAppdrawn Team | Updated 4th January 2023
On National Trivia Day, we give you a list of random facts pertaining to the world of software development.

Today is National Trivia Day. A day to celebrate those with impeccable general knowledge on the nichest of subjects. Facts that entertain but are not necessarily useful. As an office, we thought it would be fun to come up with a list of random facts pertaining to the world of software development that are fun but won’t get you anywhere.

April Fools Code ‘418 I'm a teapot’

Even if you are not particularly tech savvy you are probably familiar with Code 404. It normally crops up in your internet browser when a webpage no longer exists, accompanied by the words ‘Page not found.’ Well now, back in 1998 some joker from the Internet Engineering Task Force or IETF (us computer whizzes can have a sense of humour too) created a code for April Fools Day that reads ‘418 I am a teapot.’ A code that, according to the IETF, should be returned by teapots who have wrongly been requested to brew coffee. Bonkers! Nowadays developers can use this code and lure unsuspecting users in with clickbait titles that lead to a page with this bemusing greeting.

The Apple Logo was originally ‘centre stage’

Back in 2000, Apple designed the current type of Mac software that we are familiar with today; however, the main Apple icon was originally in the centre at the top of the screen. This was at Steve Jobs' request -  he thought it looked nice there. Realistically, it got in the way, so they had to move it to the top left hand corner where it remains to this day.

Justin Timberlake was a joint owner of Myspace

Remember Myspace? Well back in June 2011, Justin Timberlake became joint owner along with the advertising company Specific Media. A year prior, he starred in The Social Network, a biographical film about the founding of Facebook. He just can’t stop that social feeling ….

iPhones don’t keep every app running in the background

Your iPhone can't actually keep every app running in the background. If it has to close one to free up space for another, it takes a screenshot of what was last showing in that app and then shows you the screenshot when you re-open it. What deception!

Gmail addresses used to be googlemail.com

Originally gmail addresses used to read @googlemail.com. They ended up changing it because it took too long to type out! Ok, so this bit may actually be useful. If you send an email to firstnamelastname@googlemail.com or firstnamelastname@gmail.com they will both go to the desired/same recipient - they do not represent separate accounts. You are welcome!

160 is the magic number when it comes to SMS

Once upon a time, well in 1985 to be exact, the German engineer Friedhelm Hillebrand was tasked with a mission: to define the character limit for SMS messages. As chairman for the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) at the time, he and his team were looking to introduce technology that allowed cellphones to communicate via text message. However the messages needed to be as short as possible, in order to fit in between all the other signals a mobile phone makes while communicating with a mobile mast. But how short? Hillebrand took to his typewriter and began writing out random messages, sentences, thoughts and questions. For each, he counted up the number of characters and he found that most were within the 160 count. He corroborated this number by analysing messages sent on postcards. His findings solidified 160 as the ‘perfectly sufficient’ or magic number.

Facebook was not founded in a garage

The idea for a lot of the big software giants were conceived in a garage. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple. According to the internet, Facebook sometimes joins that list. This is a great example of the Mandela Effect in play. To clear things up, Mark Zuckerberg actually came up with the idea for Facebook in his dormitory at Harvard.

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